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Clear eyes, full heart – a lesson for us all

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On Super Bowl Sunday morning, my mentor, BizPac Review President Jack Furnari, posted two videos from “Friday Night Lights” on Facebook. He did it to get us all in the mood for the evening’s game. The first was titled, “Coming Out of the Tunnel.” It depicted two high school football teams running from their respective locker rooms, through the tunnels, and emerging onto the gridiron. It was accompanied by the deafening, driving beat of alternative rock group Refused playing (appropriately enough) “New Noise.” Jack’s intent was clear: to raise our testosterone levels and heighten pre-game excitement. It worked.

A few minutes later, he posted a second video, “Clear Eyes, Full Heart.” I didn’t bother reading its description. From the image, it was clearly a locker room scene. I expected a fist-pumping, rabble-rousing “rah-rah” speech reminiscent of the greats like Vince Lombardi, Pop Warner or Knute Rockne, delivered with all the fervor of an Elmer Gantry sermon. Boy, was I wrong!

The speech instead was subdued, and its words were careful and measured. Its power wasn’t in the intensity of its delivery, but rather lay in the simple, irrefutable truth of its message. I was spellbound.

I played the video a couple more times before leaving the house. During the few hours I was gone, I continued to replay it in my head. That’s when I decided to write this piece.

I called Jack when I returned. If he was planning to do the same, I didn’t want to step on his toes. After receiving his blessing, we talked a bit about the video’s message and correlated it to what we’re all doing here at BizPac Review. He then told me something I hadn’t heard before.

Ten years earlier, he was in the midst of moving his family to Rome, Italy. He figured a few years in a foreign locale to recharge sounded attractive enough to at least give it a try. Then Sept. 11 happened, and all thoughts of pasta on the banks of the Tiber vanished right along with the Twin Towers. He had to stay. On a personal level, he knew that no matter what our country’s future, the day may eventually come when his own son would seek answers. If and when it comes, he would need the right to look his son in the eye without hesitation or reservation but with conscience clear and say he did the best he could, when he could, to help turn around the country close to his heart.

Then Jack compared the video’s speech to everyday life. He said that its beauty lay in its applicability to any team effort, any group endeavor, whether starting a business, waging a political campaign, or yes, even playing a high school championship football game.

“Clear eyes, full heart” means that no matter what the endeavor’s outcome, its participants can look at one another with their heads held high and say, “We gave it our all and left no stone unturned.” Nothing different could have been done to change the outcome, and the following day, the Monday morning quarterbacks would be left without a script.

Another lesson is that truth needn’t be shouted from a rooftop to be memorable. It requires no grand gestures or swelling music to accompany it. Whether the truth is fundamental or profound, it need only be softly whispered, and it will fill hearts, move mountains and open minds.

Jack mentioned that “Clear Eyes, Full Heart” was his favorite locker room speech. After having viewed it 20 times or so, it’s quickly becoming mine.
See for yourself what the magic is all about:

(Video clips from from the Universal Studios movie,  “Friday Night Lights”.)

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