FEBRUARY 12, 2023: “Any Given SUNday” …

Since it’s Super Bowl Sunday, let’s talk football! Nah! Just kidding! To be honest, I could care less about the sport. Can I sit through a game now and then? Yup! I’ve spent many a given Sunday either on a couch at home while the man in my life was watching, or at a kitchen island with other uninterested biotches who only watch football when they have to because of … err … the pants. Wait! What? C’mon ladies, and maybe even some of you gents, who in this world can’t appreciate a footballer in those gloriously tight ASS pants? Lol!

Anyhoo …

How ironic is it, then, that one of my “Top 10” favorite movies is about football? I vividly remember the night I first saw Any Given Sunday when it was released in December of ’99. The only reason I even agreed to go was because I have always adored Al Pacino.

While this flick gives the viewer a cinematic glimpse into a fictional world of the NFL player experience, it was Coach Tony’s “Game Of Inches” speech that anchored me to one of the most impeccable cinematic uses of “words” I’ve ever heard. Although I didn’t know it then, this monologue was subliminally preparing me to find the metaphorical “inches” I’d eventually need to claw with my fingernails out of hell:

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’re gonna to crumble … inch by inch … play by play … ’til we’re finished. We are in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me. And, we can stay here and get the shit kicked out of us, or, we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell … one inch at a time.
Now, I can’t do it for you. I’m too old. I look around – I see these young faces, and I think … I mean … I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make. I, uh, I pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who’s ever loved me. And lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror.
You know, when you get old in life, things get taken from you. That’s … that’s … that’s part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches. So is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean … one half step too late or too early … you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game … every minute … every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We CLAW with our fingernails for that inch, ’cause we know when we add up all those inches that’s going to make the fucking difference between WINNING and LOSING … between LIVING and DYING. I’ll tell you this … in any fight, it is the guy who is willing to die who is going to win that inch. And I know if I am going to have any life anymore, it is because I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch … because that is what LIVING is. The six inches in front of your face.
Now, I can’t make you do it. You gotta look at the guy next to you … look into his eyes! Now, I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. You are going to see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it, you are gonna do the same thing for him. That’s a team, gentlemen, and either we heal now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football, guys. That’s all it is. Now, whatta you gonna do?

(“Coach Tony D’Amato“)

While it’s obviously geared towards inspiring a team, in all the years I’ve listened to it, I’ve done so from the perspective of “me, myself, and I”. Meaning? This “I am my own best friend and the one person I know I can always count on” mindset of mine was clearly within me all the while, even during the lowest points of my “game”. I guess I just needed some “get REAL, Cat”, no nonsense, TOUGH LOVE and GRIT coaching from myself as I fought to climb my way out of hell and into the Light … one inch at a time. These words can apply to essentially any relationship dynamic:

… and either we heal now, as a [family … couple … friendship], or we will die as individuals. That’s [life]! That’s all it is. Now, whatta you gonna do?

For the record, I’ve probably watched this movie a few dozen times and listened to the speech itself a hundred times, if not more. I can recite it word for word – AND HAVE – to not just myself, but a few other people I love. Meanwhile, if you’ve never seen it, and even if you don’t like football, I cannot recommend it enough. And oh, yah … ENJOY THE PANTS!

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