One of my favorite things to do when I’m not doing homework or working on stuff for my website is watching movies. I don’t know what is, but there aren’t a lot of things better than throwing on some comfy clothes, grabbing some popcorn (with extra butter), and just getting lost in whatever it is you decide to watch. The only thing that’s even better than that is when I’ve got my daughter on my left and my fiancé on my right (plus Remy and Ali if they can find a spot).
Earlier this week Ava put on The Sandlot while Katelynn and I were in the kitchen cooking. Now, I don’t always like eating dinner in the living room, but when The Sandlot is on, there’s no way I’m turning it off. I knew that Ava had seen it before, but this was our first time watching it as a family (plus I haven’t seen it in awhile). I’m not kidding when I tell you that I’ve probably watched that movie close to 100 times, I mean c’mon it came out in 1993…I was 7! I can even remember watching it twice in the same day!
Now that I’m older, there’s something both special and surreal about watching the movies you loved as a kid with your own kid. Ava and I have the same sense of humor, and for the most part she likes all the movies I did growing up: Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Good Burger, Flubber, Jumanji, Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jack (yeah, she’s a big fan of Robin Williams), Heavyweights, Matilda, well you get the point. I’m not even that big of a baseball fan compared to some of my friends, but there’s nothing like watching Benny, Smalls, Squints, Yeah-Yeah, Ham, Timmy & Tommy, DeNunez, and Bertram.
The best thing about this movie is the amount of lessons we can learn as kids, and adults. The biggest takeaway I had, watching this for the umpteenth time, was how important it is to have someone in your corner. And no this isn’t a post about going around your office, whatever city you live in, or examining your LinkedIn connections to find some kind of mentor. I’m asking you to be the person in someone’s corner, to serve rather than find someone who can serve you.
If you haven’t seen the movie, go find it on some streaming device and watch it. Marques and Ava give it two thumbs up, which for the kids reading is equivalent to Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 91% (which sadly they didn’t, somehow it’s at a very offensive 57%).
For those who have seen it, hopefully you remember how Benny, a.k.a “The Jet”, took Scotty Smalls under his wing. Not only did he introduce him to the game of baseball and to the boys he would become best friends with over the next few years, but he didn’t let him quit. He wasn’t as quick to give up on him as the other boys were. And I get it, that’s kids being kids and more importantly, boys being boys. That’s something that won’t ever change (no matter how many motivational blogs are out there).
When I talk about being there for someone, understand I’m not saying it has to be this grandiose production. The feeling you get when someone outside of your circle (sorry moms and dads, this is tough to hear but we don’t always count) encourages you or helps you stick with it, that’s special and it can stay with you for a long time.
I’ve told this story a number of times, and actually shared it in a video I put out earlier this year called Deficit Thinking, but I had someone unexpectedly put themselves in my corner. When I was in high school we had a kicker on my team whose dad, Mr. O’Data, filmed games for WTAE (Pittsburgh’s ABC affiliate). When I was a junior our season ended up going in a different direction than we planned. After a game late in the season I was walking up the hill and Mr. O’Data happened to be walking up a little behind me and he said, “I’m gonna be lookin’ out for you next year Mr. Parks!” and mentioned how he thought I had big things in store for me.
He didn’t have to say that. He filmed tons of games over the course of the entire season and probably saw thousands of high school football players. Personally, I don’t think he just said it to me because I was a South Fayette kid that played with his son, either.
What Benny did for Smalls took a couple of days. What Mr. O’Data said to me took a couple of seconds. I know one’s fiction and one’s non-fiction, but there's no denying both actions ended up lasting a lifetime. It’s amazing when you receive compliments and encouragement, but as we head into the Holidays and close out the year, think about who we’ve been neglecting, or who we could have a conversation with and maybe offer some words that will change their life FOREVER!