>>JERRY FALWELL: Our speaker today is Brian
Kilmeade. He’s married to his wife; his wife is named Dawn. He has three children: Brian,
Kristin, and Kaitlyn- 19, 14, and 12. He’s co-host of Fox and Friends, the television
show, and he has a three-hour daily radio show. I don’t know how he fits all that into
his schedule, but it’s called Kilmeade and friends. He has written three books- two of
which were New York Times best sellers. One of his books is about Thomas Jefferson and
the Barbary Pirates. We’ve got $27 dollar books that we’re going to sell to Liberty
students for $5, right? But it’s only 300, so I don’t know how many we’ll be able to
accommodate. But I told him before we came out here that Thomas Jefferson was sort of
a local boy. His summer home is about 3 miles from here at Poplar Forest, and it’s fitting
that we’d sell this book this morning for Brian. But prior to Fox he was a stand-up
comedian for ten years. I’ve been accused of the same thing, Brian. He currently resides
in Massapequa, New York with his family, and he can’t stand to hear people chew gum. I
don’t know why that’s on his introduction, but that’s what it says. All right, but this
is his first time to speak in convocation at Liberty. Please welcome Brian Kilmeade.>>BRIAN KILMEADE: Don’t worry, I’m not going
to read my speech. I’m going to talk to you. And I’m going to talk to you a little bit
about where I’ve been, where I’m going, and hopefully it will help you out just a little
bit. And excuse me for a second, I’m used to bigger crowds. No, only kidding, this is
huge. It’s the biggest event I’ve ever addressed, and I’m privileged that you all came out today.
I understand the rules at Liberty. You can opt out of one of these things. Thank you
very much- a round of applause for you for showing up and not opting out. Now the other
thing to keep in mind too, is I called in sick today at Fox, so please don’t say a word,
all right? Show of hands? Do you promise? I started at Fox News Channel in 1997, extremely
lucky to get this job. Before that I was working at various sports opportunities. They had
hired me to be a sports guy, but after the the Bosnia war, the Iraq War, the election
mess, the Afghanistan war, the 9/11 attacks, everything that’s happened from today- to
be a sports guy at Fox you wouldn’t have been doing much. So I was able to make the transition
into the real world, into the news world, into the world in which I’m privileged to
be in right now. Now when I walked in the doors at Fox nobody
knew what it was. We were not on in New York in about 20 million homes. You needed about
120 million even to get a rating. So when I walked in I could tell I walked in to what
would add up to be Yankee’s stadium when they were the Highlanders, when no one knew who
they were, but anyone who understood the Bronx in New York and saw this stadium said this
franchise is going to be great. And that’s what I walked into. A guy named Roger Ailes
is in charge, and he is Bill Parcells. He is Mike Ditka in a business suit. He wants
to go out and win every day. He’s inspirational; he’ll get on you; he’ll be sarcastic, but
in the end he wins. The people at Liberty University, a Liberty Flame, when you leave
these doors you might not come in first every day, but you’re going to go out at 110%, and
you will win. That is why you guys watch Fox on a regular basis. Special thanks to President Jerry Falwell
Jr., and of course his wife, Becki, and Pastor David and his lovely wife, Jennifer. What
about a round of applause for your upper class, the guys in charge, the people who put this
all together? So I had a chance to write four books: “The Games Do Count,” “It’s How You
Play the Game,” “George Washington: Secret Six,” and now “Thomas Jefferson: The Tripoli
Pirates.” And the reason why I think the books were successful. One, because I’m cute, because
I am. Number two, and I’ll talk about the first two books later, but number two is because,
fundamentally, we are a very patriotic country. Fundamentally we know that when we were born
we hit the lotto. We know that America is an exceptional nation, but now these two stories
gave additional proof so when you’re at a cocktail party, when you’re hanging out
with your friends at a football game, you want to have an instance that America’s exceptional?
I’m going to give it to you. First, George Washington had a spy ring. We
win the revolution against the world’s number one super power. It makes no sense. Until
1930 it was top secret that George Washington, our brilliant, fearless general had a spy
ring planted in New York in the British headquarters- occupied New York at the time- in British
headquarters that was top secret until 1930. These guys, and one woman- five guys and one
woman- weren’t these special agents trained for years for this moment. They were longshoremen,
a farmer, a bartender, a printer, a grocery store owner, and a socialite. They decided,
and they knew if they were caught, they spied, they died. Want proof? Nathan Hale- caught,
a bad spy, hanged in a matter of three days at 66th and Third in Manhattan. And the British
said, “You really think you’re going to win this war?” Well these guys doubled down,
and for four years they run secretive rings. Together they put together things that today’s
CIA has said, they are lucky to teach their agents in the middle of a mission, after training,
what these guys learned in the middle of a war with no training. They used invisible
ink; they used encryption; they used dead drops. And the reason why the book sold is
because we put George Washington up here, and he should be- Thomas Jefferson up here,
and he should be, but what if I told you so-called average, everyday Americans, maybe I could
say like us, did extraordinary things for a country without a claim, and without getting
any fame. Certainly without money. They lived and died knowing they died for a cause, and
they lived for a cause, and we won. Things happened during that war were flat out miraculous-
they make no sense- that I went ahead and verified. For example, when we did well in the battle
of Bunker Hill, they came back to New York City, and they were going to wipe us out,
and Washington’s army tried to square off with the British, and guess what happened?
We were almost annihilated at Brooklyn Heights. Does anyone know where Brooklyn is? We’re
backed up against the river, the East River looking into Manhattan. What’s Washington
going to do? He’s got to get out. He wants to fight, but he’s got to leave, and what
does he do? The problem is he’s got nowhere to go, so he goes to summon all the ships,
civilian ships, all the boats, everyone come. Little by little he’s going to get us out.
The problem is, in the middle of the night the water’s too rough. He can’t move. Finally,
around 11:00 the water miraculously quieted down. All the ships came in. His guys, dozens
and dozens, and hundreds and thousands were getting out while the British slept. The problem
was the sun was coming up. When the sun came up the British would see they were leaving.
They were going to attack, and wipe us out. The war is over. We’re not here today. And
out of nowhere a fog rolled in, so thick you could not see two feet in front of your face.
It allowed the evacuation to continue. All our guys got out- including Washington who
was the last to leave- to fight another day. Four and a half years later we win the war. So I thought, man, that’s just one of these
things like Washington chopping down the Cherry Tree until I found a guy named Benjamin Tallmadge’s
biography that he wrote in 1820, and he stood by Washington’s side the entire war. And they
called it the “miracle in the mist.” We shouldn’t have won that war. We shouldn’t
have survived the 13 colonies, but for some reason, I believe there’s somebody else who
wanted to make sure America existed, thrived, and became the dominant super power we are
today. Pro-America over there- any over here? So the book for 18 weeks was a best seller.
People were talking about it, and they know Austin Roe is, Abraham Woodhull is. I felt
pretty good about it. There’s another story I want to tell you about.
It’s Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates. So here’s this book- sold about 800,000 copies
to people who cared about the country and wanted to learn more. I didn’t write it for
the historian; I wrote it for the everyday person who’s too busy in their life to spend
it in the library, but cared unbelievably about this country. And I wanted to answer
the question, are we an exceptional nation? Of course we are. We wouldn’t exist without
it. Next comes Thomas Jefferson: The Tripoli Pirates.
What if I told you we had our first war against Islam, radical Islam, and it happened in our
very existence? Let me flashback. The year is 1785. We’re two years into our existence.
We got freedom from the British, but we also lost their protection. We just wanted to work
away at our war debt. We took out loans to win that war, and the whole world wanted us
to fail as a country. So we had to work our way out of it like Americans do. We had great
products; we had great ingenuity, and everyone wanted our natural resources, so let’s get
to work. Well in 1785, this was sailing down the Mediterranean- first the Maria, then the
Dolphin get captured. Our crew is enslaved. Our ships are taken; the cargo is plundered. We went, “What’s the problem?” Well anytime
we got near Algiers (Algeria), Tunis (Tunisia), Morocco (it’s still Morocco today), and Tripoli
(now known as Libya), these Islamic pirates would get our ships. We’d say, “Hey, listen.
We don’t have a problem with you. We just want to get our commerce together. Your problem’s
with Europe. We just want to sell our goods.” They said, “No, we’re going to ransom you
off. We’re going to keep our guys.” We can’t pay for a ransom. We’re a brand new
country. We’re buried in war debt. It’s an emergency. We don’t have a constitution. We
don’t have a president, but we have our first enemy, and it it’s these four Islamic nations.
What are we going to do about it? So John Adams goes, knocks on the door of
the Ambassador to Tripoli, and Adam says, can we talk about this? He starts making some
progress. He calls up Jefferson. There were no phones back then, but there was text messaging,
so he was able to text him. So Jefferson comes over, and he starts dealing
with this ambassador, and he says this guy’s a pretty nice guy. I think he understands
that we’re not fighting a war against religion. I think he understands that we’re just a country
looking to get on its own two feet. We want to be a partner. Until all of the sudden he
said this: “All nations which had not acknowledged
the prophet, which is Allah, were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful
to plunder and enslave. Christian sailors were, plain and simple, fair game.” Really. And the ambassador went on to say,
“If you want to fight us, he who is slain in warfare was sure to go to paradise.”
Does that sound familiar? It’s the same thing we’re dealing with today. So Adams leaves, and he’s freaked out. “These
guys are crazy. You can’t rationalize with them. What are we going to do?” And Jefferson says, “We’ve got to fight
them.” And Adams says, “There’s a problem. We don’t
have a Navy.” And Jefferson says, “Well let’s go get a
coalition and let’s fight them.” Adams says, “My assessment is we can’t fight
them unless we want to fight them forever.” Man that was on the money, but was Jefferson
right in saying that if we don’t fight them what’s the world going to think? Now Thomas Jefferson, as you guys know, was
not a warmonger. This is not General Jefferson. He didn’t want to put a militia together to
fight in the Revolutionary War, but he says this to Monroe at the time: “I am of the
opinion that John Paul Jones and a half dozen frigates could totally destroy their commerce
by constantly cruising and cutting them to shreds. He went on to say this: “Weakness
provokes insulted injury. A condition to punish it often prevents it. I think it is in our
interest to punish the first insult, because insult unpunished is the parent of many others.” He’s saying essentially, “Guys, the world
is watching. We have to fight. We have to get our guys back. We have to find a way.”
Adams wins the fight. Congress says, let’s pay the money. The insurance gets jacked up.
Jefferson says they’re going to jack up the price. We’re not going to get our guys back.
We do it anyway. We’re charged four times as much as the rest of the world. Why? Because
the last thing the rest of the world wants to see is a representative democracy work,
because they have these things called absolute monarchs, kings, and queens. They’re not up
for election. We do- we want it to work. So Washington takes over, and Washington says,
“Hey, Thomas Jefferson, would you be my Secretary of State?” “Sounds good.” “Would you do an assessment on what the
heck is going on with these Mediterranean, these Tripoli pirates, these Islamic nations?” “Sure.” He gives a report- how to get
our guys back, how to deal with them. He doesn’t tell Washington what to do, but he says, “Listen.
George, we’ve got to fight these guys. The world is watching. We’re sitting there; we’re
capitulating to this Islamic extremist ideology, and it’s a bad message.” Washington says, “I’ll split the baby. I’ll
build a Navy, and I’ll cut a deal at the same time. By the time the Navy’s done we’ll enforce
the deal.” He does. We cut the deal, and of course they
start blowing up the deal, but we got ourselves our Navy, and soon we have ourselves a new
president: John Adams. And John Adams says, “Great Navy. Those guys are crazy. I don’t
want to fight them. I’m going to pay the money.” Jefferson says, “What kind of message is
that?” He becomes president after four years, as
you know, and that’s a whole different story, a whole different movie, a whole different
HBO mini-series. So he becomes president, and he stops making the payments. And he knows
exactly what’s going to happen. They’re going to declare war. And back then, you know what
they did? They chopped down your flagpole, and the flagpole meant you were at war. So Jefferson says, “All right; sounds good.
I’m going to send my ships over there, and I’m going to just go into the port, and I’m
going to strangle up their commerce.” The problem is he didn’t have congressional
approval. The constitution ink wasn’t even dry, and he’s worried about violating it even
though he didn’t write it. He thought, you know, it might be a good idea. It might be
a good idea not to violate it. But what is our problem? Rules of engagement.
What’s our problem today I argue? Rules of engagement. We don’t let our Army, Navy, and
Marines win wars. We tell them how to fight wars with no experience. We should give them
an objective, and let them achieve it. So Jefferson gets our ships there. The pirates
laugh. They’re knifing through. They’re harassing. They’re doing their normal thing. They go,
“You guys don’t know what the heck you’re doing!” And you know what? They were right.
We had to have the ships communicate with each other; they weren’t doing that effectively.
So Jefferson goes against congressional approval. He gets the right admiral in charge, and they
start going at it. They start having some success. Then he gets a guy named Edward Preble,
and he gives birth to a whole new generation of great leaders. And they’re called Preble’s
boys, and Preble is awesome. He’s catching up to these ships, these awesome ships that
only American manufacturers could make. They’d learned from the British, really went to school
on the pirate ships, were quick, sleek, and tough to blow up. So we’re winning, and then we start bombing
the coast, but they’re not giving in. We have this guy named- we have this one disaster,
and the disaster is the U.S.S Philadelphia. The U.S.S. Philadelphia is this brilliant
ship that’s brand new. It’s run by William Bainbridge. He runs aground, because we don’t
know the shores, and the depth finders were all broken- no batteries. And we get captured.
303 of our guys go into Tripoli. They say, “We’re winning. That’s Allah’s wish.”
So now they’ve got our best ship and our best guys. So Stephen Decatur’s got a mission.
Get the ship back or blow it up. So Decatur goes in with his “Navy Seals” of the day.
They dress like people of the time. They go inside; they mount the boat, and they blow
it up. These are Americans- first generation Americans, and this is what’s said of them.
Lord Nelson, the premier admiral of that day from Britain called it, “the most bold and
daring act of the age.” The U.S. Philadelphia wasn’t ours, but it wasn’t theirs. It was
blown up. We did it in the dark of night, and it showed we’re in for keeps. But the
Tripoli leader, the Bashaw, was not giving in. What do we do? What did I tell you about Washington? What
I liked about it is, I told you about a great bartender. I can relate to that. My dad was
a bartender. A longshoreman- most of my friends are in blue-collar jobs. A grocery store owner-
we see them every single day. And they were great Americans who got no publicity. Most
of us do great things on a daily basis and know people, but we’re not Michael Jordan.
We’re not LeBron James. We’re not Joe Montana. We don’t get praise. We’re not on ESPN or
HBO, but we do great things, and we don’t do it for the fame or the acclaim. So enter William Eaton. William Eaton was
a guy at 15 years old said, “I’m going to join the war. Dad, you can’t stop me.” Then
reenlisted at 20 years old as an officer. Oh, in between he found his way into Dartmouth.
He learned three or four Indian dialects. He was a brilliant tactician- military tactician.
Trained under a legend some of you may know: General Mad Anthony. And he couldn’t believe
that America was not standing up to this threat. So he said, “OK, why don’t you go up ahead
and be an ambassador in Tunisia.” So we sent over, essentially, General Patton
who was a little Andrew Dice Clay, and he went over there. And he was breaking some
windows. “What’s wrong with you people? Why are you doing this? Why are you oppressing
your own people?” See, and another theme of this book: these Muslim leaders were abusing
their own people. They gave them no sense of pride, worth, and self-esteem. Does that
sound familiar? So the ambassador came back to Eaton, came
back to Jefferson, and he said we’ve got to fight these guys. Here’s how he was described
to Eaton: “Firm in constitution as in resolution: industrious and indefatigable, determined
and persevering. When in danger he’s in his element and never shows to so good advantage
as when leading a charge.” He said, “Jefferson, I got an idea for you. Give me a handful of
Marines. Give me some money and some guns. I’ll stage a land war, and I’ll take it.” Jefferson says, “I think you’ve been drinking.
Leave me alone. Three and a half years into the war, with us doing well but not winning,
because like the air war of today, only a ground war, sadly, will give you the results
that you need. Jefferson said, “Wow. I’m losing. I’ve got
to buy Louisiana. I’m losing public opinion. William Eaton, we never had this conversation.
Go see Madison. You’re going to get your guns. You’re going to get your money. Make it happen.
If you get caught- you never talked to me.” So he lands in Egypt with a handful of Marines.
Presley O’Bannon is one of them. They get some Greeks; they get some Arabs; they get
some Muslims. They look at the, the find the deposed leader of Tripoli. They say I’m going
to put you back in power. And they get some Italians. Why? The sense of humor and the
ability to cook. I’m half Italian; I can say that. You don’t want the Irish cooking.
They make one thing: bread- badly. I’m Irish too; I can say that. 500 miles they go through the desert using
the stars. In the middle of this, there’s mutinies. The mercenaries in the middle said,
OK, if you don’t double my price I quit. So we had to get together Arabs, Christians,
Muslims, any other religion, and combine them together, form an Army, and take the standing
Tripoli Army. You think it’s possible? It’s possible if you’re William Eaton. You don’t
know William Eaton. I ask you this. If I could ask you to Google anybody at the end of this
speech- if it’s not Stephen Decatur I want it to be William Eaton, because he was an
extraordinary guy that lived and died without any acclaim. He said this: “If the congress
does not consent that the government shall send a force into the Mediterranean to check
the insolence of these scoundrels and to render the United States respectable, I hope they
will resolve at their next session to rest the quiver and arrows from the left talon
of the American Eagle and substitute a fiddle and bow or a cigar in lieu. What he’s trying
to say is grow a backbone. Take them on. Take some risks. We’re Americans. There was a sense
in this country in 1805 that we were losing the spirit of ’76. Do you believe that? So
those who feel bad about the effect of our country today, and think we’re losing our
axis, don’t worry about. We were always worried about it, and we always came back stronger. So this is what he said in the middle of the
march. “We find it almost impossible to inspire these wild bigots with confidence
in us, or to persuade them. Being Christians we can be otherwise than enemies to Muslimah,”
which was Muslims back then. But you know what he did do? He won them all over. He made
them into a fighting force. So good were his maps that Rommel use them in World War II
for an ugly reason, but a brilliant general, because Eaton did such a great job mapping
out the unmappable in the middle of the desert. So outnumbered 3 to 1, led by Marines, Presley
O’Bannon, we come on to Derne outside Tripoli. What do you think he did? He charged. And
what do you think happened? Two and half hours, America was engaged in their first international
ground war. And in two and a half hours we took the entire city. We put up the American
flag. We took Derne; we’re at the doorstep of Tripoli. Not England, not Spain, not France,
not Sweden, not Norway, Prussia, whatever then- nobody had the guts to do what America
was doing led by Decatur, led by Eaton. And most of you don’t know who Prebble’s boys
were, and I didn’t either. I write this book not as somebody smarter than you, but somebody
in awe of our country, unbelievably curious about our history, and wonder why everyone
tries to sneak in to get here. Everyone wants to be here, and everyone wants to be us. What
is it about us? Are we cheering for the home team, or are we on the best team? Ladies and gentlemen, the more you read, the
more you study, the more you learn we are on the best team. Nobody has this history. We do screw up though.
Tobias Lear had a goal too. Tobias Lear wanted to be a hero. He was Washington’s aid, and
he was an aid to Jefferson. They told Tobias Lear, go on a ship, cut a deal. They didn’t
want to cut a deal, but when you put William Eaton on the doorstep of Tripoli these spineless
leaders who oppress their people, who would die for an opportunity to be free, who were
free for three weeks under William Eaton- he said I’m not here to oppress you. Do your
thing. Really? What is our thing? All we used to do was live in fear of our leaders. No.
I met your new guy. I’m in charge. We’re not going to turn our guns on you. Every time
they tried to take Derne back the Americans didn’t have to fight. the people of Derne
were fighting. We’re all set to march to Tripoli, but Tobias
Lear cuts a deal. He gets our guys back, writes the check for $15,000, goes over to William
Eaton. “The war’s over; come with me.” Eaton’s like, “what? War’s over; come with
me? We have to take Tripoli. What kind of man-? I promised these people they’re going
to get some freedom. I promised Hamet he’s going to get his idiot brother out of power,
and he’s going to be in charge.” “Yeah, sorry about that. We never thought
you’d do this good. We just wanted to scare them. We didn’t know you’d conquer. You’ve
got one day to get in the boat.” Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.
The Battle Hymn of the- The Battle of the Marine Hymn. You understand it? This is what
it’s from, but we didn’t finish the job. We got in the boat. Eaton went in the boat, came
back. Tobias Lear originally was hailed as the hero. The real story came out. It took
Madison, they took advantage of the story in 1812. They started taking advantage of
our guys again. Madison said to Stephen Decatur, to William Bainbridge, stay in your outfits.
I’m sending you to Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Tripoli. Get our guys back, and let them
know they can never do this again. Not only do we get our guys back. We had to wait until
1815. We make them pay us for our inconvenience, and the world gets a message. America is a
superpower who does things, not to conquer, who does things to give other people an opportunity
for freedom- not to oppress. We still do that today. By the way, do we
have Iraq soil? Do we have any of the natural resources of Afghanistan? Did we strip Germany
and Japan? No, we built them up. And in modern day altercations we give them an opportunity
to succeed, but we can’t guarantee it. So in case you think Brian Kilmeade is just
patriotic because he’s from Fox and he loves America- guilty as charged. Here’s what Pope
Pius XII said, which blows me away. One named, Pius, would’ve been enough, but seven? It
says this of Decatur, “The American commanders with a small force and a sure space of time
has done more for the cause of Christianity then the most powerful nations of Christians
have done for ages.” People of Liberty, the Liberty Flames, I think
you know this, but let me for those who are in doubt. We were created in an unthinkable
way. We existed and thrived in an unthinkable fashion. We’re the only country out there
on a regular basis who, if we don’t achieve it we at least have the right objective, of
doing things for peace and democracy. We don’t force it. We give people an opportunity to
experience it. We don’t tell them they’re wrong, but when people are oppressed we stand
up and do it. We are witnessing a time in which we are pulling back and moving out.
America: “Don’t worry about it. You guys are on your own. The Middle East, I’m sorry
for meddling. In Europe you’ve got to don’t worry about Russia. We’re not going to get
in your way.” How’s that working out?
Sadly, our planet needs us- called Earth. Without us, they’re all screwed. We’d be fine,
but we know we hit lotto, and we want to give back. And anybody here at Liberty understands
it’s more about everybody else than it is about us. And that’s truly why we exist today. Do we still have some of the same problems?
What are we learning in Libya? Do a halfway job; have a lot of trouble. What are we learning
when it comes to in Iraq? Rules of engagement, not finishing the job leads to more trouble.
What are we learning in Eastern Europe? If America doesn’t stand up for its friends,
they’re going to get bulldozed. If we don’t stand up for our friends back comes the Eastern
Bloc, and, who knows, back comes even the Soviet Union. It’s not my opinion. We’re watching
it unfold. Seven years ago I couldn’t have told you that. Now we’re watching it. You
make the call. This is William Eaton’s book. He lived and
died. He never got over the fact that he couldn’t finish the job. I got it on eBay. It was written
in 1823. He gave his biography to his biographer- wasn’t published until after his death. I
got it for $109 on eBay. If you read about him, you’ll understand. This should be $109,000
on eBay. If you think I’m exaggerating, blowing things out of proportion, being too
red, white, and blue read the actual documents. Monticello’s not too far away. William Eaton’s
book’s obtainable. You might be able to get one of the few copies left. It’s an extraordinary
story of so-called average, everyday Americans doing extraordinary things, because that’s
what we do. And lastly, this: The Games do Count. I understand-
how many are students here? All of you? How many are sure they know what you’re going
to do when you get out? How many worry about not being successful? Welcome to the human
race. I wrote this book, The Games do Count: It’s How You Play the Game, not for Athletes,
but for people like me- average athletes that wanted to be great, but didn’t, and wondered
did I waste my time? But what do sports represent? A try being the best you can, even the best
Michael Jordan’s got to do something else at 33, 34 years old, but what do they do?
They put themselves out there. They try to be great. If you ride the bench and you gave
it your all, did you learn anything? The answer, believe it or not, I didn’t think so at 19,
20, 21, and 22, but at 32, 35, 40, 45 I knew it for sure, and I’ll give you an example.
I interviewed 73 people for the Games do Count. If you were a pro you didn’t make my list.
If you were successful in the second part of your life- not rich, but successful in
the second part of your life, something you did after sports- crediting sports, you’re
on my list. It’s how you play the game was 91 interviews. Did them all personally, taped
them all, of people that learned, had a moment in sports that shaped their life. Not that
it got them a million dollars, but were unbelievable, beneficial in giving them morals, work, work
ethic, and values. I’ll give you three examples. Tony Danza.
Tony Danza wanted to be a world champion boxer. Trained three times a day, the problem was
he started to lose. And when you lose, do you get a shot at the title? No. So he’s fighting,
trying to hold on to that dream. He’s thinking, what am I wasting my time for? One day he’s
at Gleason’s Gym, a casting director comes in and says we need a boxer for a TV series.
It’s called “Augie,” like a little like back in the 1970s. It was this great successful
series: Chico and the Man. They wanted to do it off a Brooklyn boxer. He’s like, I’m
not an actor. He goes, well let me go watch you fight. So he goes to fight, and he goes
good. I’m going to knock this guy out. I’m going to show him what I can do, but I’m not
going to act. So he fights the Connecticut champion. I don’t know many tough Connecticut
champions, but he thought he was going to run right through this guy. 30 seconds into
the fight he gets knocked down. In the audience are the producers of this TV series. He gets
up, gets knocked down again, but this time he can’t really understand where he is. He
holds on; he stays awake. All of a sudden his senses start coming back. With 15 seconds
left in the round, and I have the punch in the book, he holds off, sets his feet, right
hand, knocks the guy out. These non-athletes who were producing this boxing series were
in the audience. They were so moved; they were going crazy. They couldn’t believe their
guy did it. It wasn’t the magnitude of the fight. He wasn’t going to become champion,
but guess what happened? “Augie” didn’t work, but this other series called, “Taxi”
worked about a boxer/taxi driver they created after watching him box. He wanted to be a
great champion. He worked hard to be a great champion. He did not have the tools to be
a great champion, but now after two unbelievably successful series- Who’s the Boss- he’s got
a Broadway show, has his own talk show, because he tried and gave everything he had in boxing.
Did he fail? Technically, but won later. Anyone know a guy named Jim Caviezel? Jim
Caviezel’s an actor in the Thin Red Line. He also played a part called Jesus in The
Last Temptation of Christ. So he wanted to be a great basketball player, but his brother
was better. As a sophomore his brother was being recruited all over the place. Jim worked
twice as hard, put more time in, dreamed about it; it never happened. So he’s packed up,
didn’t get any scholarship offers. His sophomore brother had 111. Humiliating, he said, “I’m
going to go to Hollywood and try to act.” He walked in there with the same attitude
of trying too hard, trying to overproduce. He was not getting any auditions. Nothing
was working for him. He thinks, “Am I going to fail again?” He took a deep breath and
he stopped. He goes, “What was I doing wrong in basketball? I wanted it almost too much.
What was I not doing? Working on my weaknesses. Have I shown discipline off the stage? Not
really, so I’m going to stop going out. I’m going to start relaxing. I’m going to start
imaging.” He goes and auditions for a part called the,
“Thin Red Line.” He gets it, then he gets frequency, and he’s on a roll. But he gets
one other call from Mel Gibson, and Mel Gibson says, “Jim you’re the perfect guy to play
Jesus.” “Really, you want me to play Jesus? All
right, I’ll give it a shot.” In doing the part he separates his shoulder.
In doing the part he gets hit by lightning, but the problem is he hasn’t shot the crucifix
scene yet, and they’re running out of time. You know how big a movie is? They’re paying
thousands of people thousands of dollars, from the smallest part to the biggest part,
and if his separated shoulder and his hit by lightning is going to hold up everything,
it might destroy the movie. So essentially they do the cross scene, and he’s in so much
pain he has his fists like this. And they go, “Jim you’ve got to open up your hands.”
He opens up his hands, and the only thing that got him through it, he said, “it wasn’t
nearly as hard as John Wooden’s basketball camp when they made them run the gasses at
the end when I thought I had nothing left. I tapped into my basketball background, what
I put myself through physically, and I became part of, if not the most important part, of
the most successful movie ever, The Last Temptation of Christ.” And that’s Jim Caviezel’s story.
How did sports help him? Did he fail? Yeah. Might you not get the computer science job
you want; might you end up running a whole computer division. And lastly I bring you to the Rock, because
we have the same build. He wanted to- he was a nobody, getting into trouble, until these
coaches took him in. And they said I will not- Kahuku he works for the PBA. They go,
listen, you’ve been nothing but trouble. We’re going to run you in, send you to juvenile
hall unless you join the football team. He’s like, “I’m terrible at football.” He goes,
“We’ll teach you.” So for two years they work with him. They saw an interest in him.
They saw the potential we all see that he has now. They called the University of Miami.
They said, “You’ve got to check out this behemoth defensive lineman.” They check
him out- full ride. Russel Maryland, Ray Lewis- all these great players. He goes to the premier
college. He shows up, and he knows what his goal’s going to be. He’s going to be a pro.
For four years he played, he never starred. The last year he had a good final six games,
thought for sure everybody gets drafted at Miami. Mike Irvin to Jim Kelly. Doesn’t get
drafted. All his friends signing multi-million dollar deals; he doesn’t get anything. He
gets drafted to the CFL, the Canadian Football League. He’s like, “how humiliating.”
It gets worse. What is worse than getting drafted to the
CFL? Getting cut in the first two days in the CFL. He’s living in the basement of his
parents’ house with his fiancé wondering where has life gone wrong. His goal was to
be a football player, and he failed. Thought out, maybe he wasn’t as athletic as all these
guys. That’s probably the case. Maybe he didn’t try as hard. He hasn’t figured it out, but
he realized, “I can’t quit.” He called up his uncle who was doing some
wrestling. They said, “Listen, I can get you some jobs in some small stadiums for $75
a night.” He goes, “Anything to do with athletics.” The first time he did it, he
was hooked. Next thing you know he’s the best heel in the world- which is the bad guy. Then
he’s the best guy in the world. Next thing you know he is starring in football movies
as the quarterback while all his friends have played and retired. Did he fail at football? Technically, yes.
Did he succeed in life? I would say like nobody else on the planet. Did Jim Caviezel fail
at basketball? Technically, yes, but did it benefit him later? Yes. Same thing with Banta-
Tony Danza who became Banta- in boxing. So, I urge this: don’t be afraid to fail, and
don’t be surprised. As upsetting as it is and despairing as it is, it helps you more
than anything else in your life. There is glory in trying, and oftentimes your glory
is not denied; it is delayed. For me, I wanted to be great in soccer. Currently, I’m having
success. It’s not guaranteed tomorrow; I’m extremely lucky, but if I started and starred
I would not be nearly as hungry as I am today. And I challenge you. If you are challenged-
if you are sitting on the bench in your sport, in your club, in the theater, when you go
to your classes, whatever major you’re in- don’t worry about it. Learn from it. And say,
“I’m going to be stronger because of it, and I’m built to succeed eventually.” Unless
you quit, and nobody at Liberty quits. Am I right? I can’t thank you enough for my time. It’s
been- this is – I’ve had a chance to speak about this book for three months. It has sold
600,000 copies, but when I saw this on my calendar for April this is what I’ve been
pointing to. It’s been a thrill being here. I am honored you didn’t take this as your
day to miss. I’m honored you came out here today, and I really salute you in choosing
Liberty and to be a Liberty Flame. It will pay off forever. And I know on the path of
Shannon Bream, who’s awesome- works at Fox, I thank you so much for your time today. And
for the book- I’ll be signing them in the back. They’re all signed, but if you want
them personalized I’ll do it, and we’ll take a picture in the back. I’m honored to be here.
Thanks so much for your time. Watch and listen on Fox.>>NASSER: Put your hands together!