Mr. Magorium's Soccer Emporium

The movie Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium was on TV several times this past week and is one of my favorite movies of all time. How does this movie relate to soccer?  The Congreve Cube, of course!

One might think the movie is about a magical toy store and it's rather quirky owner, the 242 year old Mr. Magorium. It is not! No, it is about his 23 year old assistant Molly Mahoney and her need for an
opportunity to prove to herself that she was something more than she believed. Enter the Congreve Cube, a block of wood.

Mahoney mistakenly thinks the block of wood has magical powers that will help unlock her creativity and enable her to finish her first concerto for the piano. She was a child prodigy, a musical genius,  who in her own mind never fully developed the talent she once displayed. 

Okay, now you might be beginning to relate this story to the world of soccer, but wait just a minute. Clear those thoughts from your mind, for while a worthy path to follow it may not be the path we will travel today.

After Mr. Magorium's death it appears the toy store has died as well.  The magic is gone. A once vibrant and very much alive toy store is now ordinary. Mahoney is depressed and has decided to sell the property.  That is until the Mutant accountant catches glimpse of a sparkle in Mahoney's eye.  The magic just might live! 

And so it is that Mahoney discovers the answer to her dilemma is not contained in a block of wood called a Congreve Cube, but in the relationship she has with that block of wood.  She need not do anything to the Congreve Cube except believe in it.  Once Mahoney lends her magic, her confidence, to the block of wood it begins to do wondrous things on its own. It moves of its own accord and begins flitting and flying about exploring both the toy store and itself.  The results are ... magical.

And slowly, with Mahoney directing as if in front of an orchestra, the toy store also comes back to life.  A magical and melodious cacophony of sight and sound is awakened and springs forth about her as each toy follows the same path of the Congreve Cube in coming to life and exploring its surroundings with child-like wonder and delight.  In doing so the toys, the toy store, the Wonder Emporium, re-ignites the sparkle in Mahoney she thought didn't exist or at last had been lost to her.

I have encountered coaches like Mahoney.

They have a roster full of wunderkinds who seem to plateau early.  The talent present is obvious yet it just doesn't seem to work for some reason.  The team and it's individual players underachieve and there exists a general feeling of unsatisfied expectations that permeates the team environment. 

It's not magic that is needed.

It is belief  that is required!

Just as Mahoney found belief in the Congreve Cube and empowered the block of wood to move of it's own accord and live its life with gusto and zest. Players need to be given their coaches confidence to play and explore the game of soccer to its fullest. 


Mahoney talking to the Congreve Cube:


( The Congreve Cube rolls onto its side)

Come on, you can do better than that. Move!

(The Congreve Cube moves about a counter top)
All right, don't worry. If you fall, I'll just pick you right back up. Move!

(And the Congreve Cube does! It falls from the counter top, but only to correct itself, to right its path and begin a magical tumbling flight around the Wonder Emporium!)


The players will give back to the game everything they find and so much more.  The Coach, in return for the confidence he has instilled in his players, receives more back than he could have ever dreamt of conjuring up on his own accord.  Good coaches understand that great teams are the ones free to explore the wonders of the game without fear of making mistakes. The great players are the ones who are not coached to stay in position or given rigidly defines roles they must adhere to - like a block of wood - that destroy confidence and limit potential, but are allowed to explore and discover all they might become! 

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