Monday, January 24, 2011

Ego(again), Movie Reviews

Ego is a simple three letter word that is used frequently through out any given day. It is used to describe people that are really all into themselves and then escalates to narcissism. I know, it sounds like a bad disease but really isn’t. I have talked about the misuse of ego before on this blog site but cannot recall everything I said so I was prompted to be reminded of this word again during the most recent inductee ceremonies of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame, in Colorado Springs. In 2004 when I was serving as the interim executive director of USA Triathlon I suggested to the board that USAT should have their own Hall of Fame and it should be done in a very professional basis. Even though the board drug their feet and moved it to a useless committee they finally moved it into the responsibility of a person that could get it done, and he did do that in a very professional way, using the good side of his ego. So, in 2008 the Hall of Fame did become a reality and it has been my pleasure to attend the inductee cermonies on all three occasions. As I listen to the introductions of the inductees and then I listen to their acceptance speeches the three letter word “ego” comes to mind. Now you say, “hey wait a minute bub these guys and gals are the best of the best that the sport has to offer, in both the athletic and non-athletic side, so where are you coming from. Well first of all the word ego is not a bad word, it is simply defined by our old Webster as, “the self”, “the rational part of the mind that controls actions.” Now when you start throwing out, “egotism, egocentric, ego trip,” it becomes another animal. So, what I experienced on this Hall of Fame inductee night is a lot of ego but not on the negative side. It has always been my strong belief that a happy ego makes for a happy person, and a self driven person, for the better. On the opposite side I see ego’s out of control that bring in the egotism, egocentric, and ego trip nature of the type of people who give the word a bad name. Through out the acceptance speeches I heard the message of extreme pride in what they were doing and the inner drive to do what they were doing with a desire to do it to the best of their ability. There was never the feeling that they were doing it all for themselves but shared the feeling of thanks and appreciation for all those who helped them achieve their successes. It reminds me of the first time I was accused of having a big ego I ask the person who said it to illustrate my egotism. After this person finished I ask, “are you still driving your Lexus and do you still live in the trendy part of town with the finest furniture money can buy, and oops I forgot do your designer cloths still fit real, good, etc., etc.?” Of course I knew the answers to these innocent questions were all yes, I humbly mentioned that my vehicle of choice was a 5 year old SUV with over 100,000 miles on it, my place of residence at that time was in a nice neighborhood but certainly not trendy, etc. So, who had the big ego here? In my opinion neither of us did, it was just a case of pointing out what ego is versus egotism, in a realistic comparison, and my point was well taken. It is so much fun to watch a healthy ego achieve so much in life. As I watch my professional friends achieve so much with their healthy ego’s, that lead to extreme successes and beyond reproach job satisfaction, it motivates me to do the same. So, I always encourage people to recognize this part of our personalities and use it to our best advantage, it works but can get out of control.

Movie Reviews: “The Dilemma”, ***, Nick(played by Kevin James) and Ronny(Vince Vaughn) co-star as a happily-married man and his unmarried best friend, respectively. The title’s dilemma refers to Ronny seeing his buddy’s wife(Winona Ryder) out with another man. He cannot decide when and how to break the news to his friend. More entertaining than I would have imagined. Worth seeing! Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements involving sexual content.

“The Green Hornet”, ***, Another action hero movie that is entertaining and fun to watch. A lttle story to it but you will not be over burdened by that. Seth Rogen stars as Britt Reid, who inherits his murdered father’s media empire and forms a friendship with an inventive employee(Jay Chou). Since Britt had never done anything his entire life but party and drink(his father was extremely rich) he decided that after his father died(he did not know it was murder at the time, so some real drama does exist in this fairy tale story) he would become a local hero and fight crime. Along with him was his trusted side kick Chou who was gifted in designing and building vehicles with great arsenals and speed. Lots of action and the new good guys do get their man and reveal the truth. Rated PG-13 for sequences of violent action, language, sensuality and drug content.

“Country Strong”, ***, Soon after a rising young musician(played by Garrett Hedlund)becomes involved with an emotionally unstable country music star(Gwyneth Paltrow), the pair are forced to embark on her career-resurrecting tour, controlled by her husband/manager (Tim McGraw). Oh yes, he also has hired a beauty-queen turned singer(Leighton Meester) as the opening act. Typical country drama sense the star is now out of re-hab for the umpteenth time and now trying to over come her ghosts. Even though her last show was her best the demons win. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements involving alcohol abuse and some sexual content.

Enjoy SH, EA, and ...:)


Monday, January 10, 2011

WTRC Thanks, Movie Reviews, Book Review

A little over 34 years ago I joined the West Texas Running Club and have been a member ever since. When I joined it I really didn’t know much about it other than they put on a monthly race for a bunch of crazies that preferred to run as a hobby. The first event I ran in I took son Mike(not a Jr.) and we both realized after the first mile of this 5 mile race, that these guys and gals were serious about their running. Since I had never run a road race and the furtherest distance I had even run in a race was 440 yards, when I was a track man in high school and college, the 5 miles looked very long. As we started out I noticed some started out real fast and others did not. As I looked in front of me and saw all the people ahead of me I told myself that they would burn out and I would reel them in. What a dreamer I was, these people were maintaining their distance from both of us. Not only were they maintaining their distance some of them were going out of sight, making me feel like I was dragging an anvil. So, as we crossed the line after 43 minutes we learned that this West Texas Running Club bunch were not only serious but they could put ‘em up and lay ‘em down and had a cardivascular capacity that were much differnt than mine. While I was breathing hard and gasping for every breath these dudes and dudettes were running along effortlessly and making me feel like a real novice, which I was. As the years went by I was able to bring my 5 mile time down a little bit, to something like 35-37 minutes but I still had the hard breathing, and gasping for air feeling as I ran. So, yesterday I entered the 5 mile road race at Buddy Holly park and chugged along at 53 minutes and felt great. Fact is I felt so great I thought I was running it in 37 minutes, funny how the mind can fool you when you least suspect it. As I came across the line there were a few comments about the “ole man finishing” and the useless chatter that goes with “age awareness month,” which is every month the planet exists and something I just made up for this blog. I also had some people who ask me how I felt and how the run was for me, my comment simply put, “I started out slow and tapered off.” That always seems to draw a few grins instead of pity, and we go on to how nice the weather was or is. Actually the weather was good even at 26 degrees and a slight wind, but plenty of sun so I know I got some vitamin D. Then after returning home I got to thinking about this bunch called the West Texas Running Club and started thinking about how great it is to have such a strong organization that has been serving the runners of this area for nearly 40 years. The leadership and organization of this totally volunteer non-proft club is beyond reproach. The club has had such a great succession in leadersip that it seems that no matter who is on the board or whoever is the president, the continuity of quality leadership is always there. As I look at other non-profits I have been involved in, and even served in the leadership of some of them, I feel that the West Texas Running Club sets the perfect example as to how a club of this nature should be. With all volunteers they put on 12 races per year, have great race support, great results, safe venues and great awards. Then they put the icing on the cake with a challenge series and then an annual awards get together. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Even though I have been a member since 1977 I have never served on the board, but I have done volunteer work for them, including race directing one of the annual races. Working side by side with them further illustrates how this club runs like a finely tuned piano. Since it would be hard to name everyone in the club who works so hard for its’ success, I would just say, “way to go WTRC club, keep setting the pace and doing the great job that you do!!! This member really appreciates it.

Movie Reviews: “Tron: Legacy”, ***, Not a bad sci fi flick. I generally have trouble getting into them, but did this one. It is still no more than 3 stars, but worth going to see. As the film opens, video game designer Kevin Flynn(played by Jeff Bridges) has been missing for 20 years, trapped inside the Grid(you will learn what that is when go see the movie). Garrett Hedlund is his son, Sam Flynn, drawn into the Grid and, once there, intent on rescuing the dad he lost when he was 7. Great action and visual affects, but still real plastic looking. Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language.

“Unstoppable”, ** This is not a terrible movie but I just couldn’t muster another star. The only thing that would tempt was the fact that Denzel Washington was the star choo choo veteran train engineer and Chris Pine plays the new rookie engineer. They are paired together this fateful day, when a couple of real bozos that work for the rail road, let a fully loaded freight train get loose and cause havoc through Northern Pennsylvania. Of course there is lots of action and destruction scenes, and of course the two stars prevail. It was a little comical to watch how the film makers developed the “Top Gun” type attitude of freight train engineers relative to the veterans attitude towards the rookie engineers. Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and peril, and some language.

Book Review: “Marathon FIT to Lead”, ****, This book is not about actually running the marathon but is an excellent analogy using the marathon distance of 26.2 miles compared to life time events. Mike Matte, The Marathon CEO, does a great job of illustrating how the comparison of training and running the marathon has close similarities. Chapter titles such as: The First Step, Visualize Your Success, Prepare, Be Present, The Abyss, Build Your Strengths, are just a few of the 26.2 chapters that await you to read.

For today, SH, EA, and .. :)