Thursday, May 1, 2008

O Captain! My Captain!

There is a quote from the 1996 film “Basquiat” that I have never been able to remove from my mind. It emerges in a scene where Benicio Del Toro, playing Jean-Michel Basquiat’s friend Benny, is describing to the young artist the effort required to become famous.

To paraphrase, “to get recognized you have to paint the same way every day, even if you don’t want to…”

The message behind the statement reveals a sort of practical profundity. That simple repetition, rather than complicated measures will lead to success. When embellished it is nearly a treatise on the effectiveness of passive resistance.

In this world there seem to be two types of leaders. There are those in the mold of Mark Messier. Magnetic Churchill types branded at birth to lead through action and powerful vocal inspiration. More often than not these are the leaders who are trumpeted and placed upon pillars as examples to all of what can be achieved when one possesses a strong personality.

Then there are the quiet leaders; those modest personas that gain respect through steadfast example. They paint the same way every day, even if they don’t want to…

In a career that suddenly seems too short, Joe Sakic has achieved everything that a hockey player can achieve. He has accomplished every task with which he has been charged, and in exchange he has quietly demanded reciprocation from his compatriots.

Joe Sakic is the personification of leadership by example.

Tonight may very well be Joe’s last professional game. His body has shown the effects of what is most easily rationalized as “old age” in hockey. Nobody would blame him if he walked away at age 38, his final accomplishment being that of scoring nearly a point per game during the playoffs.

If tonight is the last time we see Joe Sakic on the ice, then let us relish the moment as an example of what any of us with our God given talents can achieve if we simply apply effort to knowledge.

All you have to do is paint the same way every day.

Even if you don’t want to…

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