Recognition of Obstacles
The first characteristic of the inspirational/motivational speech
is a recognition of obstacles. This serves, in a lot of ways, to give the
audience and the recipients of the speech a sense of accomplishment
regardless of the outcome of the game, test, etc. As I mentioned before,
the “speech” can occur throughout the film, and there are two kinds of
recognition of obstacles in a speech. If the speech occurs early in the
film, then this characteristic may manifest itself as an indication of
future struggles, but when the speech occurs later, this may be a
recognition of obstacles and struggles that the team/students
overcome.
In Miracle, there are few speeches given by the head coach Herb
Brooks, but the main speech comes just before the United States plays
the seemingly unbeatable Soviet Union in the semi-finals of the 1980
Olympic Games. Coach Brooks recognizes obstacles in his speech by
stating, “If we played them ten times, they might win nine.” This is a
more indirect recognition of obstacles, but the meaning is made clear;
the Soviet Union is an incredibly good hockey team, and they have
become the US’s obstacle to winning the gold medal.
In the famous Gettysburg battleground scene from Remember the
Titans, Coach Boone delivers an inspirational speech aimed at bringing
his divided team together. This scene occurs earlier in the movie than
the scene from Miracle, so the recognition of obstacles is aimed toward
future struggles that have not yet been overcome. In his speech, Coach
Boone says, “This is where they fought the Battle of Gettysburg. Fifty-
thousand men died right here on this field fighting the same fight that
we’re still fighting amongst ourselves today.” The recognition of the
racial tensions that are woven throughout the movie is a recognition
that there is a lot to overcome, especially in terms of racial tension,
before they can become a cohesive group. Different from the Miracle
speech, Coach Boone acknowledges that there is a struggle yet to be
overcome and implies that this struggle will not be easy nor quick to be
defeated.
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