Making Short Work of a Long Road

CoolHandLukeThe Academy Awards were last Sunday, so I am a little behind with this, my “movie” post.  One of my all time favorite movies was Cool Hand Luke.  It was released in 1967 and at the 40th Academy Awards, Cool Hand Luke won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (George Kennedy), and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Paul Newman), Best Music, Original Music Score and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

My favorite scene from the movie is called “Making short work of a long road“, and it illustrates perfectly how attitude is everything.  Even though the quality is not great, I hope you view the clip of this scene here… it is a classic!

Luke (Paul Newman) is in prison, and nearly every day his chain gang goes out and puts in a long, hard days work.  In this scene, Luke and the rest of the chain gang, are given the task of tarring a long road.  As one member of the chain gang comments, “man, you think you’ve been workin’  hard …, this mothers gonna break your back”.  Another hard days work in a string of hard days work.

But something happens.  Luke’s attitude changes, “They want speed, I’ll give them speed” he comments. Soon everyone else in the chain gang is following Luke’s lead.  All of a sudden, they are running, smiling, laughing, and working harder than they ever had before.  And before long, they beat it…. “Where’d the road go?” They make short work of a long road. In the words of Vince Lombardi (although he is probably rolling over in his grave for me using his quote referencing a movie… and a prison movie yet)

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”

It is all about attitude.  Nothing else changed… they were still in prison, working on a chain gang under miserable conditions.  They were given a task harder than any they had been given before.  But, because their mindset had changed they attacked and beat the job…. And had fun doing it.  Sometimes it’s more than not believing your “lying brain”… it is changing how and what your brain is thinking.


How many times can you remember you and your friends laughing, regaling and remembering how hard, hot, and exhausting a particular practice or workout was?  You get together and share stories, commiserating about the pain you all suffered together.  You bond… it is a shared experience that makes you stronger individually and as a team.

We all have our “long roads”… make short work of yours!

  • The road was not Luke’s enemy
  • The “grind” is not your enemy
  • Summer practice is not your enemy
  • The weight room is not your enemy
  • The heat and pressure are not your enemies

All of these things are making you better… smelting you… turning you into steel.

Tomorrow, data about pound for pound ratios in our athletes.

Jeff Floyd –

3 thoughts on “Making Short Work of a Long Road

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