Philadelphia, PA

9:22 PM

My desire to be out and about has slowed down some and this was a weekend for movies. I saw Deja Vu with Denzel Washington. Not bad, entertaining. Kind of like a longer CSI with some Hollywood fact bending. That was Friday afternoon after lunch. Friday night was Thank You for Smoking. It was a spoof on the industry of lobbyists, in this case highlighting the tobacco business. The actor talked with glee how his client killed hundreds of people a day versus his counterparts in alcohol and the other in firearms. The movie was decent, but I’m sure it has more truth to it than we think.

Millions and millions of dollars are spent by companies to keep their products from being sanctioned by the government. And no matter what, the saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease is true. I can write a letter to my senator who I’ve never met. Or a company can find ways to contribute millions or to insure million dollar projects go that particular state, helping with re-election. My letter is a squeaky wheel, but the roar of the lobbying world puts it to shame. I can see the problem, but don’t have a solid solution, so I’ll move on.

After a late breakfast on Saturday, it was time for Invincible. I am a huge sports and football fan so I had heard of the movie before. I like Mark Whalberg as well so I settled in with a strong focus, especially for late morning. What I watched glued me to the TV. I’m sure it has a lot to do with being an athlete and a guy (because my female counterpart fell asleep), but I loved the story of a nobody becoming somebody due to passion and hard work.

If there is a sports story made for movies this is it. The scene is Philly, where their fans are as passionate about the NFL Eagles as any city in the country. And Vince Papale, the main character, was just like the rest of the city, he bled Eagle green. I guess I don’t need to rehash the whole movie. Here’s the deal:

In 1975 the movie said the Eagles held open tryouts (not sure if this part is true). It seemed like it was mainly a PR stunt, but one guy stood out, Papale. The movie said he was 6’1, 190, and ran a 4.5 40. He was the only person invited to training camp (true). That is fine and dandy, but what makes it compelling is that he was 30 years old, had played one year of high school ball and none in college. He was the longest of long shots. But his passion, determination, and ability to channel the energy of others who couldn’t do what he was doing propelled him to the final spot on the 45 man roster.

Dick Vermeil, the coach, didn’t start him at WR or DB, he was too raw. What he did do was harness that passion on special teams. The Papale story is so great to me because he wasn’t a PR stunt. He didn’t play one home game and then get cut. He played three seasons, eventually becoming the special team’s captain.

I loved the movie. There were many players with more talent and ability than Papale, but there were few with his heart and passion. As I tell my students during my talks, you can’t put a price on passion. It will propel you to do amazing things. Just ask Vince Papale.