“Attitude Reflects Leadership” And Other Life Lessons

Some of the most important life lessons can be learned from Remember The Titans. For those of you who don’t know the story, it’s based on a true story about one of the first integrated football teams in the south. This entry onto the football field, to this day, is one of my favorites of all time. It shows the beginnings of acceptance and teamwork that were beginning to take root during a very tough time in our history. As I thought about the this movie, I saw a lot of pertinent things to today in both acceptance and leadership. Today I’m going to try to share with you some of the lessons I picked up along the way…see if you don’t agree.

To understand a bit of what the tensions were like during that time, a black child had just been killed by a white shop owner. The local high school was being integrated and they’d hired their first black coach. This particular school’s pride and joy was their high school football team and their All American defensive player, Gary Burtier. Here is what the intro to the new coach looked like.

And even in leadership, sometimes there’s division. When faced with antagonism and disdain, you have a choice in how you proceed. Handling things with class and grace is vital for success.

Sometimes bringing someone to the scene of past battles over similar causes can create understanding…and a little respect. Some people are starting to understand the bigger picture. If we don’t look back on past mistakes, we could be doomed to repeat them.

Sometimes a bit of cold, hard honesty can wake you up and change you for the better. Although this scene seems negative…it’s actually a healing moment. It’s the first time the two biggest leaders from both sides of this team have talked…and truly communicated with each other. They both had great points. To this day I remind myself of that quote. “Attitude Reflects Leadership.” Although I don’t lead a team anymore, I try to remember it every day.

As you can tell, acceptance was far away. The coach recognized that the first step was going to require him to be tough…and to gain the compliance of the leader of the white side of the football team in order to get the rest of the team to follow. Unfortunately, sometimes this requires making an example of someone. If you’ve ever been around teenagers, you know how that can work. If you can get the “king or queen bee” in line, the rest will follow. Sometimes that lesson can be painful for the teenager.

The most rewarding thing is seeing when someone listens to you, acknowledges their need to change…and then acts. Especially as a leader. Because if leaders can find a way to come together, everyone else will follow.

And now they’re starting to understand each other… it helps when there are a couple people on the team don’t know how to hate. Love the big guy, Lastik. Sunshine, too. Both kids were military brats, so had been forced to learn to get along. Of course, sometimes whole other issues come up…LOL! (BTW, the kiss was revenge for Burtier’s comment when he first got to camp, assuming he must be gay to wear his hair long…Sunshine had been in California…lots of hippies there.)

I love this part. Coach Boone setting expectations. Does he believe these kids are going to be perfect? No. But he realizes that striving for it every time is the best way to get them there. Excuses will not be tolerated. Repitition is key to making things happen. It’s like a quote from a commercial I heard a long time ago. “Amateurs practice till they get it right. Professionals practice till they can’t get it wrong.” Set your expectations, then practice, practice, practice. (I remind myself of this daily with my writing)

Look at what can happen with a little honesty and support. This is when you know it’s real. It’s what you do when no one is watching….and there’s nothing in it for you. That’s when you define yourself as a person and as someone worth following.

There will always be people who will not change. Who don’t care who they hurt. And there are those who will step up and define themselves. This is one of those moments for two different people. Rev is the quarterback, in the beginning scene, one of the kids holding on to hate chooses to ignore an audible causing Rev to get hurt. Sunshine steps in and shows his greatness.

Integrity defines you as a person. I think Gary Burtier learned that. Growing up requires you to make the hard decisions. He stood up for his values, even though it was probably one of the hardest things he’s done. Sometimes the lesson is…there are hopeless causes in the world. And hard as it may be, you have to let them go or they will continue to be the toxic poison in your life.

Coach Yoast stepped up for a cause he believed in at great personal cost. By speaking up he lost his opportunity to be nominated into the Hall Of Fame and to take the team back. He chose to do what was right…and be the example he expected his team to live up to.

Remember The Titans taught me that there are no odds that can’t be overcome…you’ve just got to be willing to fight for it. This movie isn’t about football. It’s about life and friendships and overcoming adversity.  What do you guys think? What movies have inspired you? What quotes have changed your life…or maybe your outlook? What did you take away from these clips… If you didn’t get through them all, that’s okay. If you did…it was worth it, wasn’t it? I loved that this was based on a true story. If you haven’t watched this movie yet, I strongly recommend you do. If you already have, what did you learn? What did you like best?

The Sex Talk

I was talking to an old friend today. When she and I get together on the phone, our conversations wander everywhere. This is partially due to the fact that we don’t get the opportunity to talk very often and partly because we both seem to just flow from topic to topic. We spent a portion of our youth in the same universe and had some very similar negative experiences in our lives, so there’s a lot of common ground.

This time our conversation flowed between two things….and it was kicked off by none other than Kid Rock and how we both absolutely loved his Rock And Roll Jesus album. I shouldn’t have been surprised when our mutually favorite song from the cd was the same one. So Hott is sexual, explicit and unapologetic…and we both have those moments about us. I will warn, if you’re under 18, this probably isn’t the song or blog for you…

From there, we talked about other sexual type songs that we love (and that in my case surprise people). Making the list was Bring Out The Freak In You by Lil Rob, Akon’s Smack That and, oddly enough, Erasure. There are no naughty words in this song, but if you listen carefully to the words…yeah…there’s a hotness about them.

The sexy music led to talk about sexy philosophies. She made me laugh when she told me that quote’s Meredith Brooks to her man and tells him “I’m a bitch, I’m a tease…I’m a goddess on my knees.” I LOVE that. It reminded me of Jerry Hall’s quote, “My mother said it was simple to keep a man; you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen, and a whore in the bedroom.”

Remember Molly Ringwald’s lipstick trick from The Breakfast Club? I used to think that was cool until I found out about what my friend can do. Yup! That’s where we went next. Naughty human tricks.

There was the trick my friend liked to do that went with the quote…. Seriously. A trick. I’ve heard of tying a cherry stem into a knot. In fact, I’ve tied a cherry stem into a knot. (For that matter, so has hubby…LOL!) I’ve even heard of being able to stick your entire fist in your mouth. Tried that one, too. Yeah, I’ve got a big mouth…no one was shocked that I could do that one. But hers? No way in heck I can do what she can do.

My friend can take her tongue, drop it into the back of her throat like she’s swallowing it…all the way back past the uvula. In fact, she can get it so far back that she can make push it against the uvula and make it dance. Yeah. Gentlemen…start your engines. I’m sure you can imagine how this talent can be beneficial to you. I’m pretty sure this means NO GAG REFLEX…LOL!

So what about you guys? What songs make you think raw sex? Do you have any quotes that speak to what appeals in a relationship? Do you know any “tricks”? If you don’t have any tricks of your own, what tricks have you seen that made your jaw drop?

Rising Through The Ashes…

To say this week has been a challenge would be a mild understatement..and it’s just Tuesday.  Yesterday I chose to spend time with my husband and didn’t have much to say anyway.

Last week, Julie Glover wrote a blog on movies that defined our generation.  For whatever reason, Julie’s blogs always seem to get my own creative juices flowing.  I take a few days to soak up her posts, then I write.  Considering that Pump Up The Volume was my all time favorite (Yes, even over The Breakfast Club which is my 2nd fave), it really got me reminiscing…and thinking about what it was that made that movie matter so much to me.

You know, these days you hear so much about bullying and all of it’s causes.  This is nothing new.  In fact, it doesn’t just stop because you become an adult!  I don’t like it.  I don’t agree with it.  In my youth I’d gotten more than my fair share of it.  In Pump Up The Volumethe main character, Harry, played by Christian Slater says that getting through it…surviving it…that’s the point!  I think about that line a lot.  And I think he’s right.

There’s a scene where Samantha Mathis’ character (his love interest) tells him that he keeps waiting for a voice to tell him what to do or what to believe…then says…you’re the voice you’ve been waiting for!  In fact, earlier in the movie she sends his character a letter on red paper with a poem on it…She’s trying to figure out who his radio persona really is.  The only thing she knows at this point is that they go to school together and that he speaks to her on a very visceral level.

“You’re the voice
crying out in the wilderness,
you’re the voice that
makes my brain burn and make my guts go gooey.
Yeah you gut me,
my insides spill on
your alter and tell the future,
my steaming gleaming guts spill out your nature.
I know you,
not your name, but your game.
I know the true you,
come to me or I’ll come to you.”

Going through challenges in life, embracing them, allowing them to sink into your soul and strengthen you…it helps to define the person you are.  It feeds your passions.  As writers, musicians and artists…it really helps you constantly recreate yourself.  These are the gritty things that inspire you.  They’re the opposites of the good, clean positive feelings that help you to realize, remember and appreciate when the good ones come along!

There’s another not so well known movie from the recent past that starred Lindsey Haun  from True Blood & Toby Keith, that really drives that point home.  It’s called Broken Bridges. It’s where I discovered Lindsey Haun for the first time.  She has an amazing voice.  I’d love to hear more of it!  And the lyrics are just so powerful, so filled with emoition.  We artsy types really feed on emotion.  I know for me, though I can’t always write my grief while it’s happening, give me a couple days of distance and poetry or stories fly…and with a type of depth to them that speaks to real life experience.  In this movie, and the above song, Lindsey Haun’s character writes this song and sings her heart.

She found a way to turn her pain into something beautiful.  Because, like Christian Slater said…”surviving it’s the point!”  What about you?  Are there movies that have touched you deeply?  Maybe pushed you harder toward your dreams?  Maybe helped you get through tough times?  Or maybe it was music?  What inspires you?  Who inspires you?

Genre Favorites Blogfest

So I blame Sydney Aaliyah for introducing me to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh‘s fun Blogfests.  So here I go, trying my hand at this one.  Genre Favorites Blogfest.  The instructions are as follows…

List your favorite genre:
Movie
Music
Books
And a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories!

So my favorite Movie Genre is:  Romantic Comedies (I know, how much more predictable could I be, right?)  I’m a sucker for movies like Maid Of Honor, The Ugly Truth, 27 Dresses and many more.  Who could blame me?  They’re feel good movies.  And right behind that is Comic Book Movies…so there!

Favorite Music:  For a poet like me?  That’s easy!  Country!  With those strong lyrics and beautiful ballads…and words that I can still understand?  Yeah.  Definitely country.  Plus, they grow their men sexy…nothing like looking great in a pair of worn jeans and cowboy boots.  Plus, I dig that whole southern accent, and even their bad boys could be taken home to meet mom.  😉

My favorite Books have been leaning in the same direction as what I’ve been enjoying writing lately, though what I like to read varies.  Right now it’s definitely Erotic Romance, more specifically leaning toward BDSM and Menage.  Yes, I like the classics, but even more, lately…I like them raunchy with a bit of down and dirty…especially if it’s in a loving relationship.  So give me some Cherise Sinclair and Sophie Oak and throw a little bit of Bella Andre and I’m a happy girl.

My guilty pleasure category?  Hmmm….  It’s not really in the movie category…more in the tv genre.  My guilty pleasures are soaps.  General Hospital (Since I was 3…RIP John Ingle), Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, Days Of Our Lives, even Queer As Folk…(I have the box sets of Dawson, Felicity & QAF).  I was even into 90210 and Melrose back in the day.  I like to think I’m too cool for soaps, but the truth is, I love them.  I manage to escape their pull every once in a while only to be sucked back in.  Like I said…I’ve been watching GH since I was three.  I was living in Germany when I saw Luke & Laura get married.

So there you have it, folks…My Genre Favorite stuff.  And the truth comes out.  I’m not always that deep…LOL!  Enjoy your night and feel free to play along.

That Thing You Do!

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Here is a quote from Liv Tyler’s character from “That Thing You Do!”

Faye: I have wasted thousands and thousands of kisses on you – kisses that I thought were special because of your lips and your smile and all your color and life. I used to think that was the real you, when you smiled. But now I know you don’t mean any of it. You just save it for all your songs. Shame on me for kissing you with my eyes closed so tight.

If you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone and you’ve felt small and unimportant and under appreciated, you get the heart of this movie quote.

What feels like eons ago I watched “That Thing You Do!”. I had the preconceived notion that it was all about a band in the ’50’s who got discovered and made a one hit wonder. As music is a passion of me only surpassed by writing, I knew I had to check it out. And I was right. The story WAS about this sad tale of One Hit Wonders. But it was so much more. This was a love story.

The main character, played by Thomas Everett Scott, is a guy named Guy Patterson. But the character who stole the show for me was Faye. She was supportive and caring. She listened to her lead singer boyfriend Jimmy’s hopes and dreams. She was the muse for the songs he wrote. She unselfishly dropped her whole life to follow him on the road to support his dreams and that of the band’s. Guy, the drummer, watched all this happen and became her best friend.

She did everything right, but in the end it wasn’t enough. Despite the fact that Jimmy was the most important thing to her, she wasn’t valued the same way. That realization hurt…and her quote said it all.

Why did I share this quote? Because it happens all the time! We make wrong choices. We fall in love with people who don’t appreciate us. We lose ourselves and our identities in something or someone, then realize it’s all for nothing. It hurts. But recognizing it? Addressing it then finding a way to move on? That’s the beauty and resiliency of the human heart! It’s also the way to finding that happy ending…if only you have the courage to reach out and grab it.

As Guy watched Faye, he saw a gem in the woman his bonehead of a lead singer was willing to throw away. And Faye got her happily ever after with a man who would always value her.

Guy Patterson: When was the last time you were decently kissed? I mean, truly, truly, good and kissed?

And then he kissed her.