Huge apologies to all the great readers and fans of this blog. I wouldn’t be sending apologies (since there likely wouldn’t have been anyone to apologize to) if not for the great support I’ve received from you over this crazy year.
As many of you know, I’ve recently started a new job as “A Better World Marketing Manager” for Herman Miller, Inc., (www.hermanmiller.com) the fabled furniture and design company based in Western Michigan. I’m completely thrilled to be joining this great company and continue to help sustain their leadership in corporate citizenship. And not surprisingly, due to their history of encouraging the passions of their employees, Herman Miller has agreed to allow me to maintain my travels to the World Cup in South Africa and investigate CSR efforts around the games!
So…I started the new job just before the holidays and with leaving my previous job, I haven’t had time to write. I promise, especially as we march closer to the 2010 games, the posts and discussion will continue to come. I promise.
So thanks to a great conclusion to 2009 and here’s to an even better 2010!
But before I go, I would like to share some thoughts on the movie Invictus, that was recently released. If you’re reading this blog, you likely know the premise of the story: Rugby was the sport of white, Apartheid-era South Africa. South Africa, experiencing a run of poor form, was hosting the Rugby World Cup in 1995, right after the official end of Apartheid. Also in 1994, Nelson Mandela had been elected President of the “new South Africa” as it began it’s re-entry to the world community. However at this stage, the country was still racked by uneasiness of the still fresh past, and fear of the what the future would bring. Mandela, in his wisdom and grace, seized this opportunity to unite the divided country around the Springboks, the South African national rugby team. Mandela enlisted Francois Pienaar, captain of the team, to inspire his teammates to greatness. Reluctantly at first, the team took on the responsibility and placed the hopes of the country on their shoulders, and took the team, and their country mates, to greatness. Beyond all expectations, the Springboks won the 1995 World Cup, only one year after the official end of Apartheid.
Now, this is a compelling story. And with the venerable, Clint Eastwood directing actors such as Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, you would think this would be a recipe for success. And you would be disappointed. In my opinion, the movie was poorly made, cliched, and did little to capture the emotion and gravity of the event. But what do I know, I’m not a movie critic.
The timing of the movie was apropos in the lead up to the World Cup. It’s just a shame it was poorly executed. (Again, in my own opinion).
However, the movie, with all the scenes of South Africa and the excitement around sport, did get my wife and I extremely excited for the upcoming World Cup. And it was a great representation of an example of when sport is larger and more powerful than just a game. In this case, it served to truly unite a country. I truly think this event was catalytic in setting the country on the right track after Apartheid. And I believe the 2010 World Cup could serve as another catalytic event to lead South Africa, and the region, into their next stage of growth.