Sunday, August 16, 2009

Because we can...

The other day, a friend directed my attention to an interesting tidbit of football trivia.

No doubt every reader will be familiar with John F. Kennedy's famous speech about putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. That speech was given at Rice University, in the football stadium, on September 12th 1962. The theme of the speech was the enterprising spirit of man and the quest for knowledge as an end in itself. Inspiring stuff. Below is a video of the best known part of the speech.

The part that gets cuts from the speech highlights is the sentence immediately preceding this passage (which is the reason everyone is cheering at the beginning of the clip). Immediately before the best known soundbite, the President said this:

"'Why,' some say, 'the moon? Why choose this as our goal?' And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, thirty-five years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?' (Crowd cheers) We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

What a fantastic analogy for the indomitable spirit of man. Rice's all time record against Texas is 21-69-1. (As it happens the one tie occurred a month after this speech in the same venue. Clearly the President motivated the Owls to get an unlikely half-win). Kudos to all schools out there who choose to play games not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

Whatever happened to the indomitable spirit of man?

(The full speech can be see here, Rice reference is at 8 minutes. Should you be interested).

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