Hollywood fantasy or inspirational reality? Inside the locker room speech.
The speech starts with silence.
Players huddled in the locker room with blank stares on their faces. Waiting. Maybe it’s moments before the game. It could be halftime.
Legacies are on the line in whatever happens next.
The door opens and in walks Herb Brooks, letting the 1980 U.S. Olympic Men’s Hockey team know that “great moments are born from great opportunity.” Norman Dale tells the Hickory boys basketball team to “forget about the crowds, the size of the school, their fancy uniforms, and remember what got you here.”
Tony D’Amato uses his personal demons to tell the Miami Sharks that “life is a game of inches,” while Gary Gaines tells the 1988 Permian Panthers that his heart is full while he challenges them to “be perfect.”
Whether the locker room is filled with high school kids, college players or professional athletes, the speeches aren’t meant for them. They’re meant for the movie screen, for the viewer who navigated Netflix, YouTube or an old DVD player to watch “Miracle,” “Hoosiers,” “Any Given Sunday,” “Friday Night Lights” or a host of other fiction and non-fiction sports movies designed to tug on the heartstrings with a motivational speech.
Do these moments exist in reality, or are these speeches pure Hollywood fantasy? Do coaches actually spend time crafting out inspirational messages? Do they actually work?
Landon Fox thinks so.