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What can Eddie teach us? July 1, 2006

Posted by Amanda in Business Tails.

There are a lot of good movies with inspirational coaches out there, everything from Coach Carter to Remember the Titans, but Eddie happens to be one that I’ve had on my shelves for years. Since it was a slow weekend for me, I put it in to provide a bit of background noise for my blogging, but then, I started thinking about all of the good lessons it has to offer.

For those of you who haven’t seen it before: Eddie, played by Whoopi Goldberg, is a New York limo driver and a fanatical follower of the New York Knicks professional basketball team. The team is struggling with a mediocre record when, in mid-season, “Wild Bill” Burgess, the new owner, as a public relations gimmick, stages an ‘honorary coach’ contest, which Eddie wins. The fans love it, so “Wild Bill” fires the coach and hires her. She takes the bunch of overpaid prima donnas that make up the team and turns them around. But the owner hopes to move the team, now the darling of the New York fans, to St. Louis. He may OWN the team, but it BELONGS to the city and the fans! (imdb.com)

Be Involved! – Whether you’re a parent, a coach, or a business owner, be involved in the lives of those around you. By understanding and expressing interest in their problems, they’ll be more interested in helping you with yours. Eddie tries to teach this to a parent of the peewee basketball team she coaches, but fails (at first) to apply it to the Knicks.

Eddie: You realize your son got a D in English?
Rae Jones: What’s that got to do with him playing ball?
Eddie: A lot, but your first question should have been, “Why did he get a D in English?” You need to start paying attention to him in school or you’re going to be watching him in court instead of on the court.

Big talent can have big egos – With professional athletes making millions and CEO’s getting raises while their employees are laid off there is a lot of inequity. One thing we can do well to remember is to celebrate those who got us where we are.

Eddie: I thought this was a professional basketball team. Obviously, I’m out of my mind. I’m in here with rap artists and pitchmen. Do you remember that people pay to come and see you guys? People spent $2,000 on season tickets up in the nosebleed sections because they think you guys are worthwhile. And what about the little kids? Oh, forget about them, huh? The little kids who actually think you guys are heroes — stupid them! (Eddie walks out of the locker room.)

Trust is earned, not given. – Eddie struggles at first to gain the respect of the Knicks players, but as she proves her willingness to work hard and ‘rock the boat’ they begin to see the strength of her character and are willing to back her up.

Coach John Bailey: (now as coach of the Charlotte Hornets) Hey, Zimmer, where’s your coach — still in the ladies’ room?
Carl Zimmer: I don’t know where she is.
Coach John Bailey: Well, if she doesn’t show up here pretty quick, you’re going to have awfully big shoes to fill, even if they are high heels.
Carl Zimmer: Uh, John, I’ve been around for a lot of years. I learned from the best.
Coach John Bailey: Well, thanks, Carl. I appreciate that, really. Thank you.
Carl Zimmer: I wasn’t talking about you.
Coach John Bailey: Chump.

There are many more lessons in this film, but I wouldn’t want to give them all away 😉 If you haven’t seen it, check it out for yourself. And for those of you in the US, have a happy holiday weekend!

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