Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Pep talks on the battlefield

Movies that revolve around sports are rife with scenes of pep talks. It's the same with flicks with plots that involve a teacher and wayward students. There's always bound to be one big scene in which the mentor will deliver some speech meant to push the mentee to give his all and defy his limits.

Have you ever heard such a speech in any movie that has the mentor talking about how convenience and comfort are the path to success? That commitment and sacrifice are better off forgotten? That aiming high is for losers? How about "Do whatever catches your fancy, and throw integrity, service and hard work out the window"? No, such lines and ideas sound more like what the enemy, the bad guy, the traitor would say to his minions or an apprentice he's training for life on the dark side.

Movies about basketball or football games may be worthwhile viewing for such plots and scenes, and though they're just movies, they may reflect slices of  real life. For instance, one lesson that's repeatedly conveyed in such films is that attitude is instrumental in a person's road to success or descent to defeat. And in this case, it's all about a basketball game, or a football championship, or a shot at a college education (if it's one of those maverick teacher - "dead-end future" students scenarios) that's at stake -- petty compared to, say, if it's the future of Middle Earth, the survival of Jedi Knights, or diplomatic relations between powerful countries hanging in the balance.

Think of the movies about wars and battles you've seen, and you're unlikely to remember any motivational speech given by the leader of the good guys that puts vice on a pedestal and downplays virtue, that doesn't tell the men to rise to the challenge or get out of their comfort zone. Right now I'm thinking of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King since I saw parts of it today on TV.  Aragorn's speech outside the gates of Mordor is striking and rousing, one that men of valor would need to hear when up against evil (and seriously grotesque) opponents and they feel they are on the losing side. I couldn't help but liken the situation these men were in to that which we in the Philippines are currently confronted with. We had just lost a battle of sorts, and though it is merely part of a war, the loss has temporarily disheartened some young and tired souls. During such times it can be easy to forget that there is always hope and that the wisdom of God is infinitely beyond that of man.

I'm sharing two videos below: one is of Aragorn giving that speech at the Black Gate, and the other is the scene from Rocky Balboa in which the Rocky opens his son's mind about some things. Both are inspiring, but the second dwells more on a personal level as it imparts words of wisdom from a father to a son.

Attitude -- it can really spell the difference.

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