The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Compassion Creates Legends …
June 17, 2013, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

I’m back and what a couple of weeks its been.

I know you won’t believe me, but I’ve genuinely been working hard. Well, working hard by my standards anyway.

Travel … presentations … pitches … birthdays … visitors … holidays … meetings … campaigns … do you feel sorry for me?

No, I didn’t think so. Dammit.

Well, I’m certainly not going to bore you with what I did. Instead, I’ll bore you about a football match.

From 1990.

Hey, it makes a change from Brits banging on about winning the World Cup in 1966 doesn’t it?

The football match I’m talking about is the one between England and Germany in the 1990 World Cup finals.

In all honesty, the 1990 World Cup was my favourite World Cup of all.

Not only was it in Italy – my Mum’s home country – but it also had the best theme song for any World Cup, Pavarotti’s version of Nesunn Dorma … a piece by Puccini that seems to have been written specifically for the drama and flamboyance of the World Cup in Italy, despite being written in the early 1920’s.

But there is another reason why that World Cup – more than any other – captured my imagination, and that is because it was the first World Cup where I was now old enough to watch the games in my local pub – a place where the atmosphere of each match was only second to actually being there.

The reason I’m saying this is because I recently watched the magnificent documentary One Night In Turin and it not only brought back all those wonderful feelings and emotions [as well as remind me of some stuff I had literally forgotten about], but it reminded me what legends are made of.

Mr Colman wrote something about sporting legends on his blog a while back.

It’s a wonderful piece … highlighting the difference between people who have a natural talent for sport and those whose abilities are driven by their heart rather than their body.

Anyway, as I was watching the documentary, I saw something I had forgotten.

This was it …

No, it’s not Chris Waddle missing his penalty – I certainly remember that – it was how the German captain, Lothar Matthaus, didn’t join his team mates as they celebrated winning the match that meant they were in the final, but instead went over to Waddle to console him and didn’t leave his side until he had been placed in the care of his fellow England team mates.

What a fucking legend.

With sports stars constantly being showered with compliments and praise, Lothar Matthaus’ simple act of compassion reminded me the difference between talent and legend and reaffirmed why I believe empathy trumps curiosity in terms of what is the most important trait you can have in a planner.


25 Comments so far
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If you’re going to write posts celebrating Germany beating England, you can piss of on another holiday then Rob. You probably will anyway. Probably this week.

Comment by DH

Actually you’re wrong Dave, it’s next week. But it’s still work – it’s just work in a lovely hotel in another country.

Does that make you feel better? No? Excellent …

Comment by Rob

And you managed to link a post on a 1990 football match to planning. I’m not sure if that’s genius or pathetic.

Comment by DH

But it’s a better lesson about planning than talking about a grown man hugging another grown man after missing a penalty. Again.

Comment by DH

To be fair, it’s probably pathetic, but when have my posts been anything else?

Comment by Rob

I’ve never seen the limeys or the krauts in a football game. Oh you mean soccer, that game for pansies. Who cares.

Comment by Billy Whizz

How long are you back till the next holiday Rob? Just need to know how many prozac pills I have to ask the doc for.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Welcome back Rob. Great post, not quite as great as Paul Colman’s, but great all the same.

Love that clip.

Comment by Pete

What’s happened to you Pete? You’ve turned nasty! OK, so Paul’s post is better, but you have a reputation [admittedly with Niko] of being the nicest guy alive. Is this your attempt to sex up your image? Who do you think you are … Miley Cyrus?

Comment by Rob

he twerked all of this post..

Comment by niko

That’s what happens when you go away for so long.

Comment by Pete

Welcome back Rob. Most post rationalized planning post ever written.

Comment by Bazza

Welcome back Robert. Thank you for reminding me what a great tournament that was. I hope Brazil will be as memorable next year. I take it you will be going, but this time on Nike’s dime?
Your point about empathy is very important. You’ve said this many times but I still hear planners talk about curiosity as if it is the most important weapon in a planners toolbox. Everyone is curious, not everyone is empathetic.

Comment by George

Tool box?
Is that the collective name for planners in a room?

Comment by DH

I think the correct terminology is ‘ a flock of cocks’ Dave.

Comment by Rob

Sounds about right.

Comment by DH

I’m with you George. I get fed up of planners saying “they’re curious” as if that separates them from every other person on the planet. And the ridiculous thing is that as curious as they may – or may not – be, they’re still not as curious as the average scientist, police detective or lawyer.

That is not meant to undermine the importance of curiosity, but simply to remind people that ‘saying it’ is different to actually ‘proving it’ and empathy is far more valuable in our industry than it is ever credited with.

Comment by Rob

I’ve been tweeting this:

Don’t like thinking too much? Have you considered this excellent solution? pic.twitter.com/pixnhSsVpg

The reason I tweet it is because NATO are arming Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria and fighting them in Mali. We’re slowly getting into a regional war with Lebanon and Iran and Russia getting sucked int.

Most people don’t know that because they’re discussing spectator sports. It’s why it’s mandatory in news broadcasts. Many of us appreciate it as much as we do flowers and gardening and spirituality. All good topics I might add. They just don’t serve a purpose for programming.

Comment by Charles Edward Frith (@charlesfrith)

Homer Simpson on planning: “Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand.”

Comment by Ian Gee

Funny you should say that, I was in a meeting last week and literally said to the client, “just because I’m laughing doesn’t mean I’m not taking your challenge seriously. In fact, I’m laughing because I feel you are focusing entirely on the wrong things.”

We’ll find out how badly that went down later this week.

Comment by Rob

Good luck with that.

I once had to present to an insurance outfit. The CEO came into our boardroom and took off his jacket to sit down, revealing that he was wearing both belt and braces.

Talk about fully comprehensive cover – no way were his trousers ever going to fall down!

I absolutely choked with laughter, and had to fake a coughing fit and leave the room to recover.

Funnily enough, we didn’t win that one …

Comment by Ian Gee

England always lose on penalties.

Comment by David Lu

I had the good fortune to be at that game

Comment by Lee Hill

I don’t know what occurred but my comment posted prior to me finishing. I was saying that I had the good fortune to be at the England/ Germany game at Italia ’90 and while the score did not go England’s way, that match, and the exploits of a certain German captain, restored my faith and love in the beautiful game.

I have not seen the documentary you talk about but that will be my task for the day. An excellent post Robert. Not just for the nostalgia, but the importance of empathy and sportsmanship.

Comment by Lee Hill

Great post. On another tack, I firmly believe that agency folks ultimately succeed more by being nice and caring about others.
I watched that game in a UK pub, my best friend’s nickname is Muller, and I mistake of shouting for him accross the bar after the result.
Matteus may have generous in victory, but the British football fan is not so kind in defeat.

Comment by northern




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