“All your strength. All your power. Everything you’ve got. Right now.” -Duke, Rocky IV
As a therapist, I talk to people about their relationships.
What I have come to learn is that many relationships end up being the casualty of lofty expectations. Everyone wants a team player as a partner but many forget what being a team member actually means. Team members show up. They practice. They accept that teams are made of a collection of strengths and weaknesses. Teams don’t expect pitchers to also get home-runs. When someone on the team does well, it’s recognized, even when the person makes 22 million dollars a year to do well. Every success is celebrated and failures are seen as learning opportunities. There’s loyalty. Commitment.
Teams surround themselves with fans that believe in what they’re doing and they have cheerleaders for the nail biting moments. They also have coaches– People who remind them of their skills and that there’s always an opportunity to do better.
If marriages had more fans and there were more coaches encouraging people through the tough times, maybe marriage wouldn’t be getting such a bad rap. Good thing we have our sports movies for when we need a pep talk:
Remember What Your Marriage Is Supposed to Look Like
Coach Gaines on Being Present and Engaged
Being perfect is not about the scoreboard out there. It’s not about winning. It’s about you and your relationship with yourself, your family, and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down because you told them the truth. And the truth is you did everything you could. There wasn’t one more thing you could’ve done. Can you live in that moment as best you can with clear eyes and love in your heart? With joy in your heart? If you can do that…you’re perfect. – Friday Night Lights
Gordon Bombay on Sticking Together
Have you ever seen a flock of ducks fly in perfect formation? It’s beautiful. Pretty awesome the way they all stick together. Ducks never say die. Ever seen a duck fight? No way. Why? Because the other animals are afraid. They know if they mess with one duck, they gotta deal with the whole flock.-The Mighty Ducks
Remember That It Takes Hard Work
Tony D’Amato on Why It’s Worth Fighting For
You know, when you get old in life, things get taken from you. I mean, that’s a part of life. But you only learn that once you start losin’ stuff. You find out life is this game of inches. So is football. Because in either game—life or football—the margin of error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early, and you don’t quite make it. One half-second too slow, 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 because we know when you add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the difference between winning and losing, between living and dying. I’ll tell you this, in any fight, it’s the guy who’s willing to die who’s gonna win that inch. – Any Given Sunday
Rocky Balboa on Fighting and Getting Back Up
Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently, if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you’re hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. –Rocky Balboa
Remember Why You’re Doing It
MILLIE: “You should be at the game.”
ANNIE: “No, no–I’m fine. Millie, how much time did you and Jimmy spend together before he proposed?”
[Annie holds the dress up to Millie.]
MILLIE: “Five hours. We both just knew.”
[Millie studying the dress]
“Do you think I deserve to wear white?”
ANNIE: “We all deserve to wear white.” -Bull Durham
I used to believe, I still do, that if you give something your all, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, as long as you’ve risked everything and put everything out there. And I’ve done that. I did it my entire life. I did it with the game. But I never did it with you. I never gave you that and I’m sorry. I know I’m on really thin ice but when you said I didn’t need you…Well, last night should’ve been the biggest night of my life, and it wasn’t. It wasn’t because you weren’t there. So, I just wanted you to tell you, not to change your mind, or keep you from going, but just so you know that I know, that I do need you.”- For Love of the Game
Marriage and commitment isn’t always easy. Interdependence challenges us every day. We all just need a pep talk sometimes–A reminder of what to believe in and what we can accomplish when we join together as a real team. As Jimmy Dugan reminds us in A League of Their Own “If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard…is what makes it great.”
Missing your favorite sports movie quote in this discussion? Include it in our comments section!
Special thanks to Afshin Chaharmahalian for editing assistance and for giving this piece its own pep talk. I hope this is just the beginning of your contribution to GMP.
What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
A $50 annual membership gives you an all-access pass. You can be a part of every call, group, class, and community.
A $25 annual membership gives you access to one class, one Social Interest group, and our online communities.
A $12 annual membership gives you access to our Friday calls with the publisher, our online community.
Register New Account
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.