Did you ever watch a video and feel your heart swell up, feel those tears start to prick your eyes, feel something bigger than yourself?
That happened to me this past Saturday. It was unexpected, and it was real. I “felt all the feels” as the kids say these days.
On Friday, I worked with some of my team to get an email out to our employees about weekend tune-in opportunities around recent work that the agency had done. This particular email focused on the Army-Navy football game as two of our employees Dan O’Sullivan and Anthony Cortese had worked on the Pre-Game Show and Game Opener for CBS Sports. I learned a few things (this would be the 118th Army-Navy game; we did a 5.1 surround sound audio mix; one of the Navy coaches has a son awaiting a heart transplant), but I didn’t really think too much about it as I was more focused on getting the email out to my colleagues.
Fast forward to Saturday. It was super cold in Atlanta (you may have heard that a few Southern states got some serious snow because seriously, that’s national news!), and I wasn’t feeling great, so I wasn’t going anywhere. I remembered that the Army-Navy Pre-Game Show and the Game Opener that we edited would be coming on soon. So, I turned on CBS thinking I’d just watch those couple things and move on to Netflix. I was wrong.
First, I saw most of the Pre-Game Show where they highlighted the story of Ivin Jasper, Navy’s Offensive Coordinator and his 14-year-old son Jarren, who is battling for his life at such an early age. That story got me a little bit. But then, we move over to live shots of Philadelphia where it’s snowing those same huge, pretty, wet flakes that Atlanta had gotten the day and night before. And all the men and women in uniform waiting for the game in the snow. It just looked so poetic. And next, the Game Opener aired. I was riveted. Clips of teenagers receiving their acceptance letters to the Army or Naval academies. Clips of parents talking about what it means when your kid chooses to serve his or her country. The parents were open, transparent and brave. And I’m feeling so proud of these kids, proud of these parents, proud to be an American. And then one of the fathers says, “The only game where everyone playing in it is willing to die for everyone watching it.” Wow. Emotion welled up, tears pricked, then tears fell. This sentiment walloped me. It was so true and so poignant and so heart-felt the way this father said those words.
I’m an Army kid, but my dad was finishing his service in the month I was born, so I didn’t live the Army family life like so many do. My grandmother served in the Army. Her husband served in the Army. Sure, I’d heard of or even watched some of the Army-Navy football game before, but I don’t think I ever really thought about the symbolism, until now. I sat in my chair in my living room, and I ended up watching that entire Army-Navy football game, sucked in by the power of that game opener and the visuals of our men and women in uniform, standing proudly in the snow, rooting their respective teams on. It was a great, close football game with ups and downs and last-minute points. And I was a proud American sitting in my living room, watching every move, sometimes thinking about how those players and those fans were willing to die so that I could live free.
And that right there demonstrates the power of content.