The Texas Longhorns football team got an unexpected surprise last week while preparing for its game against Kansas: Hollywood superstar Matthew McConaughey.
McConaughey is a noted Longhorns fan, and visited practice to give the team a pep talk. And he nailed it.
"I just wanted to come, not come preach anything, not come tell ya anything, just wanted to kinda have conversation with you men, see how y'all are doing, look some of you in the eye," he began in his staple East Texas drawl. He quickly broke that promise after he asked the players one simple question.
"Last night I was thinking about what I do and I was thinking about what y'all do," he continued. "And I was asking myself this question all the time: 'Why do I do what I do? Why am I an actor?' And I was going to ask y'all, 'Why do you play football?' And again, no right answer. Ask yourself, man, when you look in the mirror tonight, just say, 'Why do I play this game? Why am I doing this? Why do I come out and practice? Why am I out here busting my ass in the middle of the heat everyday?'"
He then challenged the players to push themselves through hard work:
I've found that when I do my best work as an actor, it was only when I pushed myself to be better than I even thought I could be, and I have a pretty high ida of what I can be. I'm pretty self-confident with how good I can be. But I didn't do my best work -- and I still don't think I've done my best work -- until I push myself further then even I think I can be.
But It's amazing how easy the mind can go up and down, man. So I guess what I'm saying is you have to ask yourself, 'Why you playing the game?' And in there you're going to find the answer why you play it whether you win or whether you lose.
At the end of the day, every single one of you is really only got to be playing for one person. I'll tell you what it does get then: It gets a whole lot more fun. 'Cause when you do well you feel it and you can look in the mirror and you go, 'That's right, I earned that. I did that.' And you lay your head down on the pillow at night and you gave it your all and you busted your ass [...] .
And if everybody's thinking that, if everyone's looked themselves in the mirror at the end of the night, if everyone's laid their head down on their pillow at the end of the night and said, 'I did everything I could today,' it's a lot easier to play for the guy next to you. It's a whole lot easier to play for the University of Texas Longhorns. ... And it's more fun.
"Anyway," he concluded, "I did start preaching."
Watch the inspiring speech below (and listen after for what he says his favorite movie to act in was and how his famous chest-pounding in "The Wolf of Wall Street" was never in the original script):
By the way, Texas went on to win the game against Kansas 23-0.