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Pep talks from totally unexpected sources

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by forever_town, May 16, 2012.

  1. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    Many of us have written about pep talks we've received, whether they're from a veteran beat writer showing a cub reporter the ropes, a veteran TV producer offering a wake up call to an effin' stud, or a cantankerous editor who says something that sticks.

    However, two of the most memorable change-of-attitude speeches I've gotten have come from two of the last people I would have expected.

    When I had just turned 16, I was going to this sleepaway summer camp in Central Bumfuck, Maryland. Since this was 23 years ago, this was long before the popularization of mobile phones. Toward the end of this particular session, we had a pseudo Olympics involving each of the age categories.

    Since I was about as clumsy an athlete as you can get (sportschick and others can attest to my general clumsiness), I decided not to take part in most of the competitions, knowing that if I did compete, I wouldn't win, and I might cost the team some valuable points.

    My awkwardness wasn't just on the field of athletic competition. My social skills were worse than those of the prototypical IT guy or Milton Waddams in Office Space. I was actually thin back then. Hell, I was downright scrawny. This one kid who was three years my junior was one of the ones who took notice and, long story short, he didn't let me forget it. Needless to say, we weren't exactly buddies.

    Anyway, he noticed that I didn't enter into most of the competitions, but he did something I never expected. In fact, when he began talking, I almost thought he was talking to someone else. A few beats later, however, I realized he was talking to me. Most of the commercial-length speech I don't remember, but the part I do remember has never left me in 23 years. "Don't worry if you aren't any good. You'll get good."

    I don't remember the words that preceded them, but I do remember what he was talking about and the point he was making. It's a point that I would glean years later from a line in a Stevie Nicks outtake: "If you do not run the race, then you cannot win it."

    Earlier this year, I was at the spot I usually go to for karaoke. When I'm at karaoke, I'm there to sing, not dance. Let's put it this way: No one would ever say I got any moves from Tina Turner. I might occasionally do something barely resembling dancing when I sing. Occasionally, I'd join in when there's some kind of group dancing. But for the most part, I don't dance very often.

    One guy who came on this particular night was an outstanding dancer. His stage name is Dancing Dan, and he was one of those people who becomes an instant legend when he makes his first appearance. He danced during one particular song, and it drew the attention of many of the people there. Perhaps one or two people danced a little bit, but for the most part, when Dancing Dan did his thing, people watched.

    However, he seems to get more joy out of spurring people on to dance, whether they're great dancers or not. He and I were talking, and I quickly learned that. We did a mini-dance off outside. Little did anyone know, that would mark just the first time that he would get me to shed my inhibitions about dancing and cut it loose.

    A couple of nights later, I remarked about this to a guy who carries off a vibe as a big-time asshole. He and I are friendly, but our conversations have mostly been about sports or some of the people we both know. There's been very little conversation about anything personal between us. The guy then started telling me to be true to myself and just do what I do without giving a fuck what others think. The speech itself wasn't something I hadn't heard before. The source of the speech caused me to do a double-take.

    Any pep talks you remember that caught you off guard because of who gave them?
  2. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    There was this guy at Faber who told me when the going gets tough.... ..... ..... ..... the tough get going.
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