Keep the Prize in Your Eyes.

For as long as I can remember, my favorite part of any dramatic movie has always been that two minute montage that bridges the gap between what was and what will be. It is usually accompanied by motivating music. The best example I can think of is any kind of fighting/boxing movie. You know, where the protagonist finds himself with a conflict so (cue the montage) he trains and runs and gets yelled at by his coach, but also, he’s meeting new people, laughing, things are looking up. Before you know it, we’ve fast-fowarded to The Moment so often described as that once in a lifetime opportunity. And every single time, I’d be let down in some sort of way. Because this two minute montage in the movies is more like twenty years in real life. And when you’re living it, you are always wondering how they made it look so easy.

Regardless of the outcome, I’ve learned to love the process. It took me a long time to realize that despite whatever title people may give it (journey, cycle, path, route, etc) it really has only one name: LIFE. To think anything else will just send you on a tangent wild goose chase. Which is why it is so important tokeep the prize in your eyes.

That phrase was spoken in the opening night film Africa United, a story about a group of young kids journeying to Africa for the FIFA World Cup. There was no two-minute montage. It was more like 90 minutes. And it depicted a story of great courage. Sure, maybe the characters always somehow managed to finagle their way through their obstacles with an ease that may or may not have been realistic, but it required the audience to be imaginative in order to believe the story. This is not any different, and completely necessary, for our own life’s journey. If you have a passion, in this case it was futbol,then you are going to do whatever it is that you have to do to share that with as many people as possible. That is what That Moment is for.

For people like Graham Stanford, Jeff Vaclavik, and John Saraceno, their two minutes took them to the birth of the Southside Film Festival. Their moment began eight years ago, and it hasn’t stopped since. And that is the beauty of life: it always has potential. This makes the Beginning and the End synonymous. The credits don’t mean recognizing it’s over, applauding the work, thanks for your time, drive safely, Goodnight.  It means acknowledging something has just begun, inviting people to be a part of it, Hi, Welcome, Let’s Go.

Maybe Lehigh’s story and Bethlehem’s story are on two different pages. Perhaps in two completely different books. Their snippets of change are taking longer than expected, accompanied by a soundtrack that neither can understand. But if there ever comes a time where they both share the same prize in their eyes, they just might find themselves living out their moment. When that time comes, nobody will be thinking about the credit(s). Everyone will be wondering how they made it look so easy.

Hi. Welcome. Let’s Go.


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