Earlier this month, a new play based on one of my personal heroes, former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, premiered on Broadway. My first reaction to this news was utter surprise. It doesn’t seem like Vince’s life would lend itself easily to the Broadway stage.
But, as I began to think about it, I realized that his life really was the stuff of good theater. His no-nonsense determination to win, his endless ability to inspire, and his penchant for delivering pitch-perfect motivational wisdom are all characteristics that have the potential to create great theater. If nothing else, I'm sure the show is interesting.
I’m also eagerly awaiting HBO’s documentary on Vince, due out this December, and also a motion picture about Lombardi produced by ESPN films and starring Robert De Niro. It’s great to know that, even 40 years after his death, there’s no shortage of enthusiasm about this inspirational character.
Here’s a taste of vintage Lombardi:
"Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate."
"Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence."
"The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price."
"Football is like life - it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority."
"The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That's real glory. That's the essence of it."