Many times in the last decade or so, I have had outside-the-zone thoughts while viewing major TV events such as the Super Bowl, the NBA championship, the World Series, the Cup, the Final Four, the Oscars, the Grammys, etc. We, the public, get the chance during these and all forms of entertainment to escape from our own realities. When I hear conversation about making the day after the Super Bowl a holiday, I begin thinking, when is all of this maybe too much? Is history repeating itself as we return to Roman times of gladiators?

The end of the Gladiator Games reportedly occurred abruptly with the stoning death of a monk, Telemachus, on Jan. 1, 404 AD. Christianity became the official religion of Rome dictated by Emperor Theodosius in 380 AD. 

St. Telemachus was so horrified by the games that he physically entered the ring in his attempt to stop them. After his demise, the Emperor Honorius was so disturbed by the monk’s murder that he stopped the games from that day forward.

Today, just like Telemachus, we as individuals are doing the same, sacrificing ourselves to a virus. Is it temporary or permanent? Are we witnessing the end of the games? Maybe we have to reexamine whether sports and Hollywood and all other forms of escape deserve so much of our attention. It is evident that the losses of our viewing pleasure have begun to return all of “us” to family and the real outdoors. With all the extra time on our hands, we find that we are drawn to more productive and enjoyable activities forced upon “us” from an angel in disguise.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in a major dither without sports and new releases on the screen, but an age-old question arises. Is this (God to some) nature’s way of telling you something’s wrong? Instead of an emperor ruling for a worldwide dramatic change, an imaginary form of a Messiah has intervened here and is giving all of “us” a wakeup call in a way we never anticipated. 

MICHAEL J. BARRETT

Littleton, N.C.