The Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors are currently competing to be the best basketball team in the world. Each team is filled with men who can be seen as modern-day gladiators. But these gladiators fight on the court instead of a field and use a ball instead of weapons, but the parallels can still be seen.
On Sunday, June 2 Stephan Curry and the warriors proved this claim. Despite fighting an illness, Curry played 41 minutes and scored 23 points. He showcased leadership skills that seem to be directly from a gladiator fighting for his tribe. The entire Warriors team showed a desire to win despite multiple injuries to star players. Another player who showed great determination was Demarcus Cousins. In just his second game back from a quadriceps injury he played a pivotal role in the Warriors’ win.
On June 5 the series will move to Golden State where the Raptors will look to get back on track. The Raptors have made it to the finals for the first time in their team’s history and are seen as an underdog to the mighty Warriors. Leading the Raptors in battle is Kawhi Leonard, who has emerged as one of the NBA’s best players this year. Men want to follow and be led by men they want to be like. Leonard is a perfect example of this as his humble attitude and great on the court leadership have led to him being one of the most liked players around the league.
The Warriors have become the dominant team in the NBA and can be likened to the ancient Roman Empire. Much like the Roman Empire, the Warriors may soon fall apart. Many sources say that back-to-back finals’ MVP Kevin Durant will most likely leave the Warriors after this season. Klay Thompson, another key player also can move on from the Warriors this season if he chooses. This makes it even more important for the Warriors to find a way to win this year despite key injuries. Just like gladiators, the Warriors will not use these injuries as any kind of excuse and will continue to fight.
The Finals have taken all of America’s attention once again this year. One reason we value sports so much in today’s society is a carry-over from thousands of years of history where men protected their tribes, women, and homes. In my book, “Hard Times Create Strong Men I explain what it means to be a strong man in both the age of gladiators and modern time and how there’s far more to being a truly strong man than meets the eye. For starters, a strong man is a moral man. To be strong, when you make a promise you need to keep it, and that especially goes for marriage vows. Throughout history, Masculinity has always been about power, while femininity has been largely about morality. When power and morality come together, that is the whole package. A man in his base state is primal like a wild beast, but when you add morality you get a really well-rounded man, something more than a wild beast.
Sports is a great way for men to release their anger and aggression and express their traditional masculine values. As for those who state the obvious that many sports are violent, let’s face facts: Life is full of risks. Sports help prepare men for real life battles and help men to overcome future fears. Lessons learned while playing sports are often more valuable than those learned in a classroom.
Millions of Americans will be watching over the next weeks to see which team will out-compete the other to become champion. Just as our ancestors watched gladiators and knights in shining armor compete, we too will watch these modern-day gladiators square-off. The stakes might not be as high, but as fans, we are still invested in the fight and the outcome.
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Stefan Aarnio has written multiple books and has produced hundreds of podcasts and videos.