Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

February 27, 2014

VALLEY:

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Life is about perspective. Not a huge revelation, but a starting point for this column. 

Several weeks ago I watched the 1940 semi-classic movie “Knute Rockne: All American.” Irishman Pat O’Brien played Notre Dame’s legendary “Fighting Irish” coach, Rockne (who was actually Norwegian).

I’d seen the movie several times before, but it’s been awhile. Noteworthy is a scene I’d paid little attention to in the past, but now, it seemed absolutely absurd. My perspective was different.

Explanation: Near the end of the film, Rockne is on the sidelines coaching … somewhat. The audience is made aware that time and health had taken their toll. He’s portrayed as a pitiful caricature of himself, slumped in an old-time wheelchair, replete with plaid blanket around his legs. And draped in a heavy wool coat, with hat and scarf, the picture paints a once robust coach reduced to a decrepit old geezer with the end close at hand.

He’s surrounded by a throng of overly concerned sycophants, and as he tries valiantly to spur his team on (I think he said “Let’s go, you guys”) one of them reacts in horror at the supposed stress he was bringing upon himself.

Reminding Knute that his youth was a thing of the past, the alarmist chastises him: “Knute, Knute! You’ve got to stop! Remember … you’re going to be ... (get ready for this) … 42 years old on your next birthday!”

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I kid you not. The speaker wasn’t being facetious, it was meant as a serious warning. Rockne wasn’t even 42 years old, and yet, they were ready to put him in storage alongside dinosaur bones and the Dead Sea Scrolls. For God’s sake, I’ve got leftovers in the refrigerator older than that.

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