What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
This movie is not on my list of essential films.
NOTE: For a change, this installment of Sports Analogies Hidden In Classic Movies is not being done as part of a blog-a-thon. Instead, this is a monthly event hosted by MovieRob called of something called Genre Grandeur. The way it works is every month MovieRob chooses a film blogger to pick a topic and a movie to write about, then also picks a movie for MovieRob to review. At the end of the month, MovieRob posts the reviews of all the participants.
For May of 2019, I was given the honor of being the “guest picker.” For my month, the topic is “Royalty.” The movie I am doing is 2010’s “The King’s Speech;” the film I selected for MovieRob is 1988’s “The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen.”
At the beginning of this film, Prince Albert, Duke of York, is the second son of King George V. As such, he is second in line to the throne, and doesn’t expect ever become king. This is why he never really dealt with the strong stammer he had. There have been “off-and-on” efforts to treat it. Despite this, Albert’s wife Elizabeth convinces him to see Lionel Logue, an Australian-born Harley Street speech defects therapist.
After Albert’s father broadcasts his 1934 Royal Christmas Message, he explains to Albert the radio will be a major factor in the role of the royal family, allowing them to enter the homes of the people. He also warns Albert that his older brother David is neglecting his duties as the crown prince, which in a bit of foreshadowing means Albert had best be prepared for some things he wasn’t previously expecting.
This helps change Albert’s attitude toward Logue’s treatment. At first, he was skeptical and somewhat frustrated by Logue’s approach. Logue’s has Albert recite Hamlet’s “To Be Or Not To Be” soliloquy while listening to classical music played through headphones. Logue gives Albert the recording; he listens to it later that night and is shocked it reveals a lack of stutter. This convinces him to return to Logue and continue with his course of treatment.
King George V dies in 1936; as the crown prince, David is coronated King Edward VIII. The problem is this results is a constitutional crisis arises with the new king over a prospective marriage with a twice-divorced American. Since the king is also the head of the Church of England, he is forbidden to marry her since both her previous husbands are still alive. After the usual twist, turns, and political machinations, Edward decides to abdicate in order to marry the American.
As Edward VII is the first English monarch to abdicate, there are more twist, turns, and political machinations. The most notable of which is when the Archbishop of Canterbury, the de facto “pope” of the Church of England, raises objections to Logue’s relationship with Albert. This leads to a climatic show-down between Logue and Albert in which Albert launches a stutter-free tirade at Logue. It is at this point Albert realizes he has just expressed himself without impediment and is able to complete his coronation ceremony.
Albert takes the throne as King George VI as the British Empire is on the verge of the Second World War. As the monarch, George VI is tasked with the title moment of this film; he is tasked with addressing the entirety of the British Empire concerning the declaration of war on Germany in 1939.
The Hidden Sports Analogy:
This past week saw the golf world anoint a new crown prince. By winning his fourth major tournament before the age of 30, Brooks Koepka officially laid claim to the title of “crown prince” of the links. But with his capture of his fifth Masters title, and doing so after a fourteen-year gap between “Green Jackets,” the golf world still has a monarch…King Tiger Woods.
Unlike Prince Albert, Tiger Woods knew he was going to ascend to golf’s royal throne at some point. The signs were pointing to that from very early on.
Born Eldrick Tont Woods, the man we would come to know as “Tiger” was destined for golf greatness, and was being groomed for ascent to that sport’s throne from his earliest days. By tthe time we get to today, Woods has posted a resume which puts him firmly amongst golf’s greatest; he’s won 15 majors, including his fifth Masters earlier this year. Woods has been the face of golf for two generations now, but there was one thing that needed to be addresses along the way.
Like Prince Albert/King George VI, Tiger Woods was afflicted with a stutter.
About this time last year, Woods shared his struggle via a letter written to a high-school aged boy who was being bullied for his stutter. Golf Magazine published a story about Sophie Gustafson, a former professional golfer who had contacted Woods asking for help. Gustafson was also a stutterer and had been mentoring a boy who with the same affliction.
According to Gustafson, the bullying reached the point the boy made a suicide attempt.
In response, Woods sent this letter to the boy.
Someone told me that you like watching me play golf. I really appreciate that, and I also want to say how proud I am of you.
I know what it’s like to be different and to sometimes not fit in. I also stuttered as a child and I would talk to my dog and he would sit there and listen until he fell asleep. I also took a class for two years to help me, and I finally learned to stop.
I was younger than most of the kids I competed against and often I was the only minority player in the field. But, I didn’t let that stop me, and I think it’s even inspired me to work harder. I know you can do that too.
You have a great family, and big fans like me on your side.
Be well and keep fighting. I’m certain you’ll be great at anything you do.”
As a result, “Dillon” sent the following email to Gustafson.
“On Saturday, I got a letter from Tiger! He told me that he used to stutter too. We are going to frame the letter. We have never seen a golf tournament in person, only on TV. I told my mom that when my leg gets better (Dillon fractured his leg during the suicide attempt) I think that would be a fun thing to do.”
“I hope that maybe one other person out there that is also having struggles, will hear my story and realize suicide is not the answer and maybe it can help them. I just acted on impulse and now wish that I hadn’t. I was just tired of feeling small and like I didn’t matter. I know that I do matter with the help of my family and friends like you to support me…”
What impressed me the most about this was at this time, Woods was in the middle of his climb back to the top from a host of issues on and off the golf course. One would think this is the exact moment Woods would have been laser-focused in on his own issues; don’t forget Woods was making noise in major tournaments last year, so what happened this year shouldn’t have come as come as a complete surprise to anybody who was paying attention.
On top of that, you know Woods has somebody who manages all of his public relations/social media stuff; he could have easily sent this kid the standard autographed photo and a form letter. Yet, during what arguably was the most crucial point of his comeback, he took time to reach out to help another stutterer.
The Moral of The Story:
Communication matters. How much better would the world be if more people worked at being good at it…then did something positive with it?
P.S. King George VI occasionally appears as a guest columnist here on Dubsism.
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