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Pep talk

[ 2009-06-09 16:29]     字号 [] [] []  
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Pep talkReader question:

Please explain this news headline – Businesses get grim news with pep talk – and “pep talk” in particular.

My comments:

In this overall economic downturn or recession businesses big and small receive a lot of grim news – bad, bleak stories, no good news.

Grim news, that is, sprinkled with bits and pieces of encouragements, such as hopeful remarks made by political leaders as well as businesspeople themselves.

Pep talk is such encouraging speech aimed at giving hope and energy to people who find themselves in a tough situation.

Pep is the word to learn here. Pep is a colloquial term for vigor and energy. The common phrase is “pep up”. If you’re down in a gloomy day, for example, you may perhaps want to listen to some 1940s jazz, music of the swing era. This music will force you to have your toes tapping… and perhaps that’ll help “pep you up”!

“Pep talk” is most commonly used these days to describe a coach’s rallying speech to his players before a big game, especially against a formidable foe and when their team’s chances of winning are slim. The coach will try to have his players ignore the odds against them, and try to focus on information that’s more encouraging, or at least more consoling.

Take the ongoing NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic for example. The Lakers are heavy favorites. They are playing in the Finals for a second straight year. The Lakers have home court advantage – they get to play 4 of the seven games at home in front of their own audience. And they have Kobe Bryant, the closest thing to Michael Jordan the NBA has to offer right now. The Magic, on the other hand, are in their first finals since 1995….

And the Lakers have just won the first two games and now lead the series 2-0. That means the Magic have to win four out of the next five games to win the series.

History is against that happening – only three teams have come back from a 2-0 deficit to win the Finals, the most recent of which were the Miami Heat in 2006. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was an assistant on that team and he would undoubtedly cite that experience in one of his many pep talks to rally his troops, as he told the news conference after Game 2:

“I’ve seen series turn. I was still in Miami in 2006 when they lost both games in Dallas and then were way down in the third quarter in Game 3 at home, came back and won that one.

Pep talk

Dallasnever won another game. You know, series can change.”

It is my hope by the way that the Magic come back to win this thing (or at least win a couple games make it a series) because it’ll be good for humanity.

I’m serious ^-^.

I’m sincere. It’s great any time the underdogs have their day because in the mainstream society, the strong and powerful have it too easy. And it’s too easy, too, for us to support the big Goliaths whenever they’re matched up against the little Davids. Too easy, that is, to be any good fun.

Any time David wins, therefore, is a good day not just for David himself, but for society at large – it will pep up their collective human psyche.

I mean, let’s face it, we’re all Davids at least some times during different stages, under various circumstances, of our lives.

And we could win some matches against the Goliaths in our lives if we never take raising the white flag as the first option.

And you know what? David did win.

Well, that does very much sound like a pep talk, doesn’t it?

Have a nice day.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


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