This sports coach, although I admit over-the-top, completely understands mindset. I don’t know whether he wrote that speech, but whoever did needs to receive a thumbs-up: it’s excellent for a few reasons. It’s not just clichés and messages of hope: it’s actually quite ironic to some degree, and constructed, well, like poetry really.
Firstly, there’s that repetitive question and answer refrain of ‘Who am I?’ – ‘I am a champion’. He uses it like a hypnotic mantra and it’s beautiful. The coach obviously understands that everybody has alternative identities. I don’t mean multiple personalities, but alternative states of mind, and of course as the mind is, so follows the body. Have you ever felt like you were so focused that literally everything goes right? That you can’t put a foot wrong? If you’re a sports person, a chess-player, a musician that performs live or doing any kind of activity that involves high levels of concentration and action (mental or physical), then you’ve probably experienced it at some point. By setting up the question and answer call, his men begin to believe in their alternative identity as ‘the champion’, an identity in which they can operate at a higher level of performance.
Part of the speech that I particularly enjoyed is where he speaks about ‘Belief’ shaping his (and presumably their) world. He points out that mankind has already been through the shifting of continents, the change of countries, wars, and even managed to ‘put man on the moon’ – what then is winning a game of American football? Of course the answer is nothing. The coach is almost mocking how extreme his speech is for the situation. A lot of the comments on the video claimed that they were uncomfortable with the military comparisons, and the remarked that it is ‘only a game’, but of course anybody reading this that’s ever been in a situation like this knows that at the time these things (sports, performances, or any type of area where someone has to be at their best) REALLY matter.
In fact, there’s not a single reference to American football in the whole of the speech, which shows it’s not for that sole purpose. I don’t know what the coach (or writer) intended when penning this piece, but it obviously grew to become beyond the game. It’s not about a group of men winning an American Soccer game: it’s about human psychology. It’s about a group of individuals coming together and fulfilling all the expectations of their fans and supporters and trainers, and even, as the coach points out: ‘Those that brought you into this world’. It’s about a team finally going out there and showing that all their training was worth something, and that if humanity has got through innumerable battles, tragedies, and disasters then sure: they can win a sports match.
The coach isn’t trying to get his team to win, at least that’s not what it seems like to me. He’s getting them to the point where they unequivocally know, despite anything that happens or ‘go[es] wrong’, that they are champions. And that’s something we all need to know sometimes, because it’s easy enough to forget.
Thanks for reading
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