The Hard Is What Makes It Great

Back in 1991, before I ever stepped foot in Evansville, IN (a town I would later have printed on my nametag as my hometown), a great film was being produced at the local baseball field.  A League of Their Own, a film that my sister and I have decided is quoted most often in our daily conversations, teaches us a lot of life lessons; friends are forever, family is more powerful than anything, and there’s no crying in baseball.  (And I don’t care what Modern Family says, Madonna did a great job in that movie). 

Recently, I’ve started to revisit the lessons taught to us in this movie when my friend and cohort, Nicole, described my directing style as that of Jimmy Dugan, (Tom Hanks), during the World Series final game.  I still have not decided if this is a compliment or a criticism but either way, I agree with her 100%.  It is funny to me how many movies I grew up with where I could recite any line from memory, I will watch again as an adult and finally understand what that movie is actually about.  There are many films and TV shows we enjoy when we first see them and then when we finally get to a certain age, they will take on a whole new meaning. 

When re-watching A League of Their Own, I watched a scene, which I had seen probably 100 times before, but suddenly it felt like the first time.  When Dotti, (Gina Davis),  decides to move home and quit the baseball league because, “It just got too hard.”  Jimmy, (Tom Hanks), replies with a quote that I’ve been saying at our board meetings ever since.  “It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it.  The hard is what makes it great.” 

I started applying this philosophy to STAGE and theatre in general.  I remind my team that this is important to remember.  Many times when we get close to show time, I hear from actors and directors, “I don’t know how this got so hard.”  Theatre is a craft that only a certain percent of people have the talent to pull off successfully and to do so with the special constraints that we have here at WDW, it can be more than hard.  Sometimes it can seem nearly impossible.  Though Walt Disney has been quoted to say, “It’s fun to do the impossible,” I quote Jimmy Dugan from this movie.  I think we forget sometimes how much special talent it takes to do what we do in STAGE and though our projects seem sometimes impossible with sporadic schedules, lack of time, and venues that are difficult to find and sometimes look nothing like a theatre at all, we know that the fact that we make something out of nothing is pretty special.  In fact, what we do is really hard.  And that is what makes us great.