Moneyball: Taking time to enjoy the show

Through all of my viewings of this film, I more or less ignored the ending of the movie and it’s emotional sentiment. I focused mostly on the general theme of the movie – don’t be afraid to be different.

But, for some reason, I took an extra appreciation to the ending in my most recent viewing. From the meeting with the Red Sox to Peter Brand showing Jeremy Brown’s home run to Billy laying on the field to Billy’s daughter, Casey, singing to him at the end, everything comes together in a series of emotionally satisfying scenes.

Everything anchors to the song that Casey sings to Billy throughout the movie (which happens to be Lenka’s “The Show”).

“I’m just a little bit caught in the middle.
Life is a maze, and love is a riddle.
I don’t know where to go.
Can’t do it alone, I’ve tried.
And I don’t know why. I’m a little girl lost in the moment.
I’m so scared, but I don’t show it.
I can’t figure it out. It’s bringing me down I know.
I got to let it go.
And just enjoy the show.”

This combined with Peter Brand showing the Brown clip remind Billy one simple thing: sometimes you get so caught up in something that you don’t pay attention to the absolute moment. For example, in the Jeremy Brown clip, Jeremy Brown is so caught up with the idea that he needs to run to second base and go for the double that he slips and falls and seemingly embarrasses himself in front of players and fans. But the thing was, he never truly realized that he hit a home run because he was so focused on a singular goal.

Similarly, Billy, too, focus on winning the last game of the year caused him to develop tunnel vision. Instead of enjoying what was happening all around him (the Streak and the fact he was winning despite a low payroll), Billy was more focused on winning the World Series than winning 20 games – a new American League record – and the magnitude of accomplishment was lost on Billy. It’s only after seeing the Brown clip and taking a moment to lay out in centerfield of the stadium that Billy begins to realize what he accomplished.

The closing scene of the movie hammers home this point when Casey Beane on a record sings, “I got to let it go. And just enjoy the show.” His daughter, who throughout the movie expressed worry, reminds her father to enjoy the show and let go of the tunnel vision.

The past two years of teaching, I’ve gotten so caught up in teaching standards and content, stressing out about students not understanding what I’m teaching students, why students are not doing the work, all the paperwork, lesson planning, and everything else that goes with being a teacher. I focus so heavily on what I need to do more. It’s truly never enough for me. It’s why by April and May, I look completely worn down.

In my mind, if a kid does not achieve his or her goal, it’s not on them. It’s on me that I didn’t do what I could have done to help them get that far. It doesn’t matter how many kids or teachers tell me that it’s the students’ fault. I don’t pay attention to that or blame them for their shortcomings.

This is me getting caught in the moment.

Like Billy, I never truly appreciate the victories that I accomplish during the school year. Instead, I focus on the shortcomings. But once the school clears out, I’ll find a place to really take a seat in the middle of my empty classroom and enjoy the show that I just went through. I no longer remember the minutia of what percentages students received and data. I remember the memories of what we did accomplish. The growth in writing that each student makes – no matter how small. More importantly, I need to focus on how I impacted a life – even if it is only for 180 days. These things ultimately matter.

I watched “Moneyball” purely because I’m an A’s fan and that it’s a nice reminder to tell you that “It’s OK to shake up the paradigm and be a little different.” But now, the movie has a far bigger meaning and reminder to me: Enjoy the show.


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