Thursday, September 29, 2011

We Get to Play...

In the spirit of October baseball that’s about to descend on the nation, I thought I’d use a Disney movie about baseball that’s starting to emerge as a classic to support a point. The motion picture is “The Rookie,” a true story about a high school baseball coach that had missed his chance at Major League Baseball fame and fortune because of an injury many years before.

Now, a husband and father with bills to pay and obligations to keep, the coach played by Dennis Quaid, goes about the business of living and coaching. One thing leads to another and much to his surprise, the coach gets noticed and has that second chance at the majors that he never dreamed would come. Of course, he’d have to earn his way up by spending time in the minor league system. That’s the struggle of the story.

He knows time is not on his side and this is his last chance. He’s put his life on hold to pursue his dream, and it’s creating hardships at home. He misses his family and wonders if it’s all worth it. The stress shows in his performance. He’s in a slump, and as negativity dominates his thinking, it all starts to spiral.

Through the course of it all, he has an epiphany. He finally remembers what it was about the game that drew him to it as a boy. He loves baseball. When he was a kid, every day on the ball field was pure joy, and seen by him as an opportunity to live his passion, if only for a few hours each time. The solution becomes clear, change his mindset.  To get back to the love of the game, his passion for it, and the notion that every day he gets to put on a uniform and take the field is an opportunity, not a job, an obligation, a struggle.

The turning point of the story is when he realizes this and then returns to the locker room with a new attitude. While not profound, the line stands out as a classic. He approaches the young star of the team and says simply, “You know what we get to do today, Brooks? We get to play baseball.”

It’s a great movie moment even if you’re not a baseball fan.

So how does this apply to communications?

Quite simply, we are often confronted with communications challenges or business challenges where communications plays a role. We become preoccupied with the nature of the challenge or the work. And sometimes we forget that what may have drawn us to the profession is a love of writing, strategizing or problem-solving.

Every now and then, it’s good remember our own “love of the game.” Play ball!

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