Thursday, April 26, 2007

Heroism And Leadership


tuesday night's episode of "deadliest catch" was one of the most compelling hours of television i have ever seen (i didn't get around to watching it until last night). deadliest catch is REAL reality television in that the cameras record situations as they occur in real life, not like other "reality" shows that create a fake reality with a contrived set of rules and guidelines and boundaries. deadliest catch does none of this. it has no rules nor guidelines nor boundaries. its as real as it gets.

tuesday night's episode featured just how real deadliest catch can be. in it, we saw johnathan hillstrand, captain of the time bandit, save the life of a fisherman who had fallen overboard from another boat. despite having been awake for god knows how long, he reacted immediately when he saw the man go into the water by alerting his crew and positioning his boat in the best place to make a rescue. no one thought, it was automatic. every man knew his job and performed it as if he had done it a hundred times. it was truly something special to watch. you could see the adrenaline running through captain johnathan's body and the raw display of emotion he exhibited towards the man they saved was unforgettable. that was true leadership and heroism. i hope i will remember that for the rest of my life.

there was another, albeit less dramatic, exhibition of leadership on the show last night as well. there was a crewman of the farwest leader who kept on screwing up the hydraulic lift. once, he almost crushed his crew mates with a pot, then later on he snapped on of the lines that controlled the lift, which created a dangerous situation on deck. immediately, one of the more experienced deckhands stepped in and took control of the situation. he began barking orders at his fellow fisherman, but not out of need for ego, but for the necessity of safety. someone needed to step up, and he did. he filled the role perfectly. he did what needed to be done.

one of the most important lessons i learned at w*k was how to function in a group, both as a leader and as a member, and that the two roles are not mutually exclusive. now, some people in this world are better leaders than others. some prefer to stay in the group, rather than take the reigns. this lesson is not easily taught, but if you want to work on an alaskan king crab boat, you better have it.

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