I went to see No No : Dockumentary tonight. Our CEO knew the film-maker, so he bought tickets for everyone that wanted to go. As the director's first feature-length film, he knocked it out of the park.
I had never heard of Dock Ellis before our CEO gave us an opening to watch this film. I was quite struck with how charming and full of life the man was, as a character. Throughout the movie, and the stories that are told about him, we're told who he was, as a man. He's alive, he's irreligious, he's a gifted ball player. He was well loved, and his loss was a great one. Watching Dock, we not only get an into his personal life, but also an rare peephole view to the culture that was the Major Leagues in the 70's. The drugs, the management structure, the racial tensions, the 70's were a time of big changes to a classic American pasttime. Dock Ellis was at the forefront of those changes.
Most of the film was constructed from footage of Dock from games, photos, and a long interview he did with HBO from 2005. We see his life reconstructed through interviews with those closest to him - his ex-wives, his sister, his teammates.
Watching them reminisce I couldn't help but wonder about memories. They're fleeting things. Does pulling them back up into the present, as each interviewer did, re-write them not just as that moment in time that happened, but also forever defining the moment that was spent in remembering? Those few seconds that you spent reliving the past, in a way, redefined the past by bringing it into the future, or your present, with you. How much of future rememberings will, in some way, be influenced by the time that you spent remembering it now? Pieces of experience that get mosaiced one, on top of the other, like tie die washes on the same heavy canvas.
When these people who knew Dock Ellis are gone, what will be left of him?
In a way, memories are temporal. But the outcomes of those memories are what we live with. The trajectory that we find ourselves on is in some way an outcome of the memories that we carry with us -- in a way our day to day is a reflection of the compounding of the moments that we have lived up until this very one.
Dock may be gone, but the lives that he has touched, they go on. Forever with his memory built into the fabric of them.
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