Friday, January 5, 2018

Spade Racing Films 6 for 6: An Offseason Documentary Series--Brian France: Softball, Hard Knocks (Part 1)

Part 1

(we open with an early-80’s song playing in the background, as a number of men in their mid-50’s are mic’d up and seated in a chair.  A University of Central Florida (UCF) logo is backlit behind them)

Voices, blending into each other: “We were a bunch of teenagers and twenty-somethings, so wanted to have some fun…how hard can it be to run a softball league…he wanted to run it, so we let him…we figured he’d know how to since he came from money…it got so confusing you couldn’t figure out what was going on…eventually it all just fell apart”

(title shot: “Softball, Hard Knocks appears on the screen, followed by a nameless player sliding across, revealing “Brian France” above it)
Nice to see the school recovered

Phil Brown, Electrical Engineer, UCF Class of 1983: “My freshman year, I got roped into playing intramural softball by my roommate.  I hadn’t played much of anything like that since Little League, but it turned out to be a great way to get some exercise, blow off some steam, and meet up with some great people once or twice a week.”

Jarrod Hampton, English Teacher, UCF Class of 1982: “Yeah, that softball league at Central Florida was fun.  Just a bunch of guys having a good time, chilling out, having a few beers afterwards.  Some of my best college memories comes form those days on the diamond.”

Mike Calloway, Restauranteur, UCF Class of 1981: “I played in the intramural league all four years.  The problem was always trying to find a guy to run the dang thing.  I mean, it wasn’t that hard to schedule half-a-dozen teams for three months, but it definitely got in the way of school work, or social work (laughs).”

Sean Treadwell, Personal Trainer, UCF Class of 1982: “I ran the softball league at UCF in ’80, but I really wanted to focus on my Kinesiology work for 1981—just play and have fun, you know?  Well, out of nowhere, my roommate tells me ‘There’s this guy in my marketing class who wants to run your league, his name is Brian France’.”

Calloway: “My dad lived in Daytona Beach at the time, so I recognized the ‘France’ name pretty quickly.  Sean asked me what I thought of him, and I was honest, I said, ‘I had a Psych 101 with him, and he seemed pretty cool’, and of course coming from a family like that didn’t hurt matters either.”

Brown: “So we show up for the annual sign-up meeting—remember, this is before Facebook and the Internet—and we find out this new guy, Brian France, is running the league that year.  Seemed strange to me, to have a non-player running a softball league, but hey—if he was willing to put the work in, more power to him.”

Treadwell: “He leaned on me pretty heavy to get through the annual draft and to figure out the scheduling part of things with reserving the fields, but pretty soon after that he wanted to do things his own way.  He kept talking about ‘shaking things up’, and I could never figure out why someone would want to change things on a league that’s already working fine.”

Hampton: “We’d always have a big get-together the night before the first weekend of games—it was mandatory to attend if you were playing.  Usually, it was just the guy running the league that year telling you when your games were going to be, reminding you of the mercy rule, and telling everyone to have fun.  But the year Brian took over?  Well, that was something else.”

Treadwell: “I introduced Brian to everybody at the inaugural meeting, told them all just to trust him.  Funny thing was, that was a JOKE—I mean, who wouldn’t trust a guy running a league you pay five bucks to join at a college?  Boy, things sure changed that night.”

Calloway: “The stuff that came out of his mouth, I mean, SO many changes…and what for?  I mean, wasn’t this really just changes for the sake of changes?  Who messes with success?”