The act of quoting a speaker is a difficult process. Often times, a brilliant observation can fall victim to a person's struggles to express himself clearly through the spoken word. It is why writers are charged not just with relaying what a subject says, but what he means, regardless of the manner in which the sentiment flows from his vocal chords. Imagine if everything you said was recorded and transcribed verbatim. You feel like Winston Churchill, but you sound like Elmer Fudd (Trust me - I listen to myself ask questions on tape).
It is the single most challenging task a writer faces: using a two-dimensional surface to capture a three-dimensional reality that includes body language, voice inflection, context and circumstance.
Every now and then, though, a speaker nails it. These are your Bill-Pullman-addressing-the-air-force-before-the-Alien-battle moments, when a John Williams composition plays through your head as you transfer the words from tape to paper.
Charlie Manuel delivered one of these moments today. And while it really does not fit anything that I am writing for tomorrow's paper, I feel compelled to share it here in the limitless space that is this blog.
Manuel was asked about the expectations facing his team, about the metaphorical target that rests on the Phillies backs.
Here is what he said:
Sometimes people forget how hard it is to win. Sometimes they forget everything about it. I'm talking about fans, media, organizational people, players, managers, coaches. The other day I was just sitting there thinking about winning. Winning is hard. The Yankees won 27 World Series. How long have they been in existence? 128 years. That means over 100 years they lost. The Chicago Cubs haven't won a pennant in how long? 103 years? The Atlanta Braves won all those division titles and they won one World Series. Winning is tough. Winning is hard. And you've got to stay at it. When people say they are competitive, well that's what we get back to: excellence over success -- you go out and try to master your trade and you play hard every day and you play every day in the moment.
I've heard people say when they get to the World Series or a big game or a playoff game that we've got to go play in the moment. No, the moment is every day. 162 games is the moment. It's like Ted Williams said: every at-bat is an adventure. Well everytime we take the field has to be an adventure then, doesn't it? That's kind of how I look at it. . .Winning is something that you have to stay at.
Winning is team. It's we. It's us. It's playing together. But mostly, in our case, it's playing just like we always have.
Kick the tires and light the fires!