Alright so this is the world and there are five billion people on it. When I was a kid there were three. It’s hard to keep up. That’s better. That’s America. See, America still sets the tone for the world… In Indiana, Clark Hodd. 13. The best point guard in the country. Puberty hasn’t been easy. Becky Farling. You’ll see her in the next Olympics. Seattle, Washington. Dallas Malloy. Went to court to be allowed to box professionally. She’s 16. Art Stallings, Indio, California. Check out what pure joy looks like. In Odessa, Texas, the great Frank Cushman. Cush is 20. Quarterback, role model, my client. He’ll probably go number one in the draft this year. There’s genius everywhere, but until they turn pro, it’s like popcorn in the pan. Some pop… some don’t.
Now I’m the guy you don’t usually see. I’m the one behind the scenes. I’m the sports agent. You know those photos where the new player holds up the team jersey and poses with the owner? That’s me on the left. Inside that building, that’s where I work. Sports Management International. Thirty-three out of shape agents guiding the careers of 2,120 of the most finely-tuned athletes alive. In this economy, sometimes emotions run a little high. Lately, it’s gotten worse.
Who had I become? Just another shark in a suit? Two days later at our corporate conference in Miami, a breakthrough. Breakdown? Breakthrough. I couldn’t escape one simple thought: I hated myself. No, no, here’s what it was: I hated my place in the world. I had so much to say and no one to listen. And then it happened. It was the oddest, most unexpected thing. I began writing what they call a mission statement. Not a memo, a mission statement. You know, a suggestion for the future of our company. A night like this doesn’t come along very often. I seized it. What started out as one page became twenty-five. Suddenly, I was my father’s son again. I was remembering the simple pleasures of this job, how I ended up here out of law school, the way a stadium sounds when one of my players performs well on the field. The way we are meant to protect them in health and in injury. With so many clients, we had forgotten what was important. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and I’m not even a writer. I was even remembering the words of the original sports agent, my mentor, the late, great, Dickie Fox who said “The key to this business is personal relationships.” And suddenly, it was all pretty clear. The answer was fewer clients. Less money. Caring about them, caring about ourselves, and the games, too. Starting our lives, really. I’ll be the first to admit, what I was writing was somewhat touchy feely. I didn’t care. I had lost the ability to bullshit. It was the me I’d always wanted to be. I ran out in the middle of the night to find an all night fotomat before I could change my mind. It looked incredible. Even the cover looked like The Catcher in the Rye. I entitled it “The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business.”
Everybody got a copy. I was thirty-five. I had started my life.
Jerry Maguire, Jerry Maguire