Thursday, February 23, 2006


Inspiration is an external force. By definition, it is something that acts upon us; causes in a reaction.I was reading a sheet someone printed out from a website. It was a recap of the events of the year 1976. As I read through the list, I realized that was some fun year, full of inspiration for lots of different people.

1976 was the year of Rocky. Everyone wanted to be Rocky. Everywhere you went, that theme song was blaring over some PA system, usually a lot more loudly than was good for us, in attempts to inspire a school basketball team, or some guy stepping into the ring in the Golden Gl0ves. Guys wanted to be Stallone! I wonder how many guys tried to run up those steps in Philly after coming out of the theatre.

1976 Winter Olympics gold medal winning skater Dorothy Hamill lit the fuse on a hairstyle craze, (oh bullshit, if you were a teenage girl in those years, you know you at least considered that haircut.) and inspired a whole bunch of little girls to try and achieve something. And told them that living a clean life sure pays off. who could argue with success?

The 1976 Summer Games saw what was probably the greatest Boxing Team ever assembled. Sugar Ray Leonard was on that team, as were the Brothers Spinks. In fact, all but one of those guys went on to become professional World Champions. That team was so hot, that few even noticed that the US Basketball team won the gold that year, too. In the year of our nation's bicentennial, we sure kicked ass, and felt good.

Even the Geeks had some inspiration that year, through the movie All the President's Men. We got a lesson in the power of the press, and it shed a whole new light on journalism. I'm sure a lot of our current journalists can look back at that influence as their inspiration.

Fast forward to 2006. What is there to inspire us? I can say that I have personal contact on a regular basis with at least 20 young people, say, between the ages of 6 and 18. None of that group has watched the Olympics broadcasts. None could name a true personal hero (as in they couldn't name one beyond what they thought was the "stock answers") and none seem to have anything acting as an inspiration.

We seem to have, all around us, people whose claim to fame is, "I do what I want, if you don't like it, kiss my ass". Any talent that brings them to the forefront is often dubious, at best. Old Bode Miller seems to have proven that "talking the talk" doesn't get it done, and you only get the rewards (celebrity) if you bring the goods. I guess "skiing while drunk" isn't something I want to inspire my kids. The two speed skaters, Davis and Hedrick, epitomized the new mindset in sports these days, with their attitudes and behavior during what is supposed to be the quintessential "sportsmanship" event. It's all about the talk, the controversy, and the noise. There is no "i" in team, but it's right there in "rich". Guess that's what it all boils down to.

Television shows seem to thrive on presenting people who prove that some folks will do anything for money. We applaud boorish behavior among idiots. We make these people rich, afford them celebrity status. And for what?

I'm very grateful to have seen the display of talent and hard work offered up by the young women on the US Figure Skating Team, as it was all about the true meaning of the Olympics: go out, give it your all, and be proud of the results, even if there are no medals for them.

But I miss being inspired. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places. I know someone might say that we get inspiration from within, but that's not true. Inspiration is an external force that acts upon us, so while that sounds nice and all, it's not accurate. We need to be inspired by someone else.

What do you think? What inspires you these days?


  1. Jimmy,

    You are certainly echoing many of my own thoughts in this entry.

    It is quite sad to say it, but the young people today have no heros, no good hard-working idols to inspire them- no Harrison Ford's on Air Force One.

    1976 was a good year. My first born was born that year, and having lived in Philly at the time, I remember the Rocky craze quite well. We got a lot of bang for the money out of it by using the music in a routine in my dance school recital, only we used my husband's karate students doing katas instead of using dancers. The audience loved it.

    I watched the news tonight and they interviewed an Olympic daredevil trick skier who said he has only 2 speeds- fast and stop. He bragged about driving 125 mph on his motorcycle and skydiving. All I could think of was "Your poor mother!" and "I hope this isn't giving other young people ideas."

    I can't remember his name by the way.

    Oh well...all I can say is that I totally agree with you.


  2. Ah. 1976. I remember that year quite well. I recall it was also the last year a college basketball team went undefeated (Indiana University). That, in itself, kind of makes you wonder about the team concept. 30 years later and still no team is able to go undefeated? That "i" gets put into team far too often these days.

    I hate to blame parents for things. They are always the easy target when things go wrong...and many times it is unfair. Yet, I DO think a large chunk of blame should go to them. They gave and gave and gave to their kids. Video games replaced other forms of entertainment and activity. Competition was in the form of keeping up with the Joneses. Quality time replaced quantity time. The "my precious darling would never do anything wrong" syndrome appeared in full force. Who did those kids have to look up to even in their own homes?

    The majority of reality TV shows are ridiculous, and criticizing contestants is expected and accepted by the judges AND the people who waste their time watching. Man, I hear some of the nastiest comments about the contestants, and I don't even watch the stupid shows.

    It seems it's a no-holds-barred sort of world we live in where it is acceptable to bash and trash anyone and everyone who does not meet our approval.

    The media is often blatantly biased in their reporting of any events. How in the world can a kid or young adult learn to think for himself when he is bombarded by biased accounts of happenings? And throw in that the bad news upstages the good news ALL THE TIME, and it is disgusting.

    Ugh. There are a lot more things I could say, but I have already hijacked a significant portion of your journal. Sorry 'bout that!

    I will close by saying that I in no way feel all kids have no deserving heroes or sources of inspiration. I just think parents can help tremendously by helping their children see the people who are making a positive difference in the world, either in a large or small way.

    Aren't you sorry I discovered that you have a blogspot journal?!!!

  3. Jan Dinda3:24 AM

    Sincerely? YOU Mr StupidSheetGuy have inspired many many people with your writings!! I for one, appreciate it from the bottom of my heart! I agree with you 100% Inspiration IS an external force, that if we're luckly touches our life several times a week..Thank You for inspiring me!!

  4. Wow...I often have asked kids that I work with..."Who's your role model?" I've asked this for years. As time as passed, they can no longer answer this. And it's sad.
    You expressed my sentiments quite well. I'm not sure though, if it's that the role models are no longer out there, or if our kids are no longer searching for them...or at least seeking the "right" qualities. Either way, it's just another indication of something gone amiss.
    But on a lighter note, I do agree that people, such as yourself, inspire other people, such as MYself! lol.
    Oh, and thanks by the way.


  5. Inspiration, geeze, in 1976, I was getting my BS in Meterology at FSU. Today I find myself the author of a Dummies book about art photography. Inspiration changes over time.

  6. I agree, Jimmy. It's sad, isn't it? When we were young, the TV shows we watched were meant to inspire. Now they are full of mean-spirited humor and negativity. And getting ahead at the expense of someone else's misfortune. I guess the Olympics don't go over as well these days because they aren't about who wears what, or who knocked over who to get ahead. I feel for our young people. Everybody needs someone to look up to, and to aspire to be like. Let's hope we see things change, and soon. Tina

  7. What inspires me? Finding lost friends :(


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