Big Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Ah what a Man!
His speech centered on respect. Not respect from opponents, or from teammates, both of which he considered fleeting. But self-respect, earned only by potential realized.
Ryan ended with the story of Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador who went to Mexico in 1519 and, despite being outnumbered, ordered his charges to burn the boats they had arrived on. As Ryan reached the climax of the story, his voice boomed.
“They burned their boats!” he shouted. “I’m only asking you to give me seven weeks!”
There is something very powerful about great oratory. I can imagine myself being moved if I was amongst the audience. Amongst the acutal audience many reportedly could not sleep that night, and the Jets went on to score a tremendous win.
But what gives these words their power? Is it merely the play on emotions and words?
All the separate elements of Ryan’s speeches are augmented by what players called his most important speaking quality: authenticity. Pryce described that as the main difference between Ryan and other coaches. After 14 seasons, Pryce said: “All you need is to hear a coach once to know he’s a fraud, to know he’s never been in a fistfight in his life. I heard Rex once, and I knew he would fight for me, that day.”
Words worth their weight in gold. And a true hallmark of a leader.