ANY GIVEN MONDAY
You remember that terrific 1999 film, Any Given Sunday,directed by Oliver Stone and staring Al Pacino.
It's about a fictional football team, the once great Miami Sharks, who are struggling to make the playoffs. They're coached by a thirty-year veteran, Tony D'Amato (played by Pacino), who is engaged in his own struggle to recapture past glory.
The team stumbles again and again, game after game, thanks to injuries, frayed nerves, arrogance and just plain inexperience. Rookie quarterback Willie Beamen played by Jamie Foxx is so nervous he throws up in the huddle of his first game - which becomes a ritual in every game....) But they keep coming. And in the pivotal, life and death game of the playoffs, when they're fighting (however clumsily) for a win, and it looks beyond bleak, Coach D'Amato gathers his team at halftime and delivers (in true Pacino style) one of the all-time great inspirational speeches. A speech that came to be known as "Inches"...
"I don't know what to say, really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives all comes down to today. ..Either we heal as a team or we are going to crumble, inch by inch, play by play till we're finished...Life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because in either game, life or football...the inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch...'cause we know when we add up all those inches, that's going to make the f------ difference between winning and losing, between living and dying...That's football guys. That's all it is..."
And that's all life is. So maybe it's time, on any given Monday, like this one, to take a look at the "inches" in the "game" we're playing - those things we can do now; that difference we can make now, that win we can claim now...wins that will give us the gutsiness, the energy, the raw chutzpah to go another inch. And then go the next one. And then the one after that...
Of course, the Sharks won...in the last three minutes. And hey, winning is good. But I think the real thrill is in the inches...
Here's a link to Pacino's speech:
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