Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lombardi on HBO and at Fordham

My sports passions reside with baseball rather than football, but Vince Lombardi's accomplishments transcend any particular sport, and indeed transcend sports in general, which is one reason I enjoyed HBO's documentary on Lombardi, which premiered this evening.

The other reason is the crucial role of Fordham University in Lombardi's life and work, well shown in the documentary.  I see Lombardi's photo as one of the Seven Blocks of Granite - the Fordham Ram offensive line in 1936, of which Lombardi was a part - every time I walk through the Lombardi Center on my way to take a swim in Fordham's beautiful pool.   I often think, as I glance at the young Lombardi and his six team mates, if they could have had any idea that students and professors would be looking at their picture in 2010.

In Lombardi's case, I just bet he did.   Anyone with such an unquenchable thirst for winning had to have a sense of what winning did for your name in the future.   The HBO documentary reported that Lombardi came to regret his famous remark that "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing," but I rather like that remark and believe it conveys one of Lombardi's most admirable qualities.

Modesty would have us believe that winning isn't so important.  But the drive to win - or to be best in whatever your field - is what drives human beings to greatness, and propels our species forward.   I bet Socrates, Leonardo, Marie Curie, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and Jonas Salk, to name just a few,  all would have agreed with Vince Lombardi, in their heart of hearts.

Back here in the present, at Fordham, Lombardi continues to inspire students.  Jason Caldwell, team captain and wide receiver, did this series of videos about the current football team and season for our just concluded "Television and New Media" graduate course.
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