Diptych

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winning is the only thing


Vince Lombardi

Back in May of 2005, in the darkest depths of my despair over our country having chosen (by popular election) the path of tyranny, impoverishment, and death, I ran across a transcript of Vince Lombardi's last public speech. I can't bear to read whatever drunken gibberish I dumped on top of Lombardi's words at that time, but these excerpts deserve another look, in another context:

...Right now in a large sense I think, we’re engaged in a struggle which is far more fiercely contested than anything, and it’s a struggle for the hearts and it’s a struggle for the souls and minds of all of us. And it’s a game in which there are no spectators, only players, and it’s a struggle which is going to test all of our courage, and all of our stamina, and all of our teamwork. At the same time, I want to say too that I think we live in an age for heroes.

At no other time in our history have the prizes and the perils at one and the same time been so great. But I think we have to decide whether we want to provide a full life for humanity or destroy ourselves with our own problems. And the test is going to be whether man mistakes the growth of wealth and power with the growth of spirit and character. Or like some infant who is playing with matches destroys the very house he may have inherited.
...
Mental toughness is spartanism with its qualities of sacrifice and self-denial, also the qualities of dedication and fearlessness and love. Not the love that you have for your wife or your wife may have for you. The love I am speaking of is loyalty, which is the greatest of loves. Teamwork, which is a form of love, and the love that one man has for another is respecting the dignity of another man. The love I speak of is not detraction. You show me a man who speaks ill of another and I’ll show you a man who is only temporarily successful. Or one who is not charitable. Or one who is not loyal.

I’m not advocating that love is the answer to everything, but when I speak about the love which forces everyone to love everyone else. For example, you’ve got to love the white man because he is white or the black man because he is black or the poor man because he is poor or your enemy because he is your enemy, but rather a love of one human for another human -- who just happens to be white or black, rich or poor, enemy or friend, because heart-power is your strength, heart-power is the strength of your company, heart-power is the strength of America and hate-power is the weakness of the world.
...
How you do this, I think is essential to understand that conquests are won primarily in the hearts of men and once you have won their hearts, they’ll follow you anywhere. Man will respond to this type of leadership in a most remarkable way. Success is based upon a spiritual quality, a power to inspire others. Sometimes for good, sometimes for evil, sometimes for one’s own personal ends. Sometimes it can be partially or wholly evil. When it is evil, fortunately, while it may temporarily succeed, it always keeps within itself the seeds of its own destruction...


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