Updated: Apr 11
If you’ve never seen the movie Couples Retreat, let me save you some time: it’s not that great. There are some classic Vince Vaughn moments here and there, but ultimately, he’s kinda like Joe Burrow in Super Bowl LVI: zero protection. Talent can only take you so far when you’re under siege from a lousy script.
As forgettable as the movie is (and honestly, I can’t even remember how it ends), there is one scene, that is burned into my imagination forever - partly because it was a joke between some of my friends in college, and partly because it’s one of the only funny scenes in the entire movie. In the scene, the four couples attend a yoga class instructed by the well-built, handsome, long-haired Frenchman Salvadore wearing nothing but a Speedo. Predictably, things start to get a little…provocative, shall we say?
As Salvadore casually sexually harasses some of the more unfortunate members of the group, he continually echoes the words, “Encouragement! Yes!” He even gives out little pats on the side when he says it. It’s really a bizarre scene, but also quite funny.
It’s been a little over a week since Opening Day, but even after the Cincinnati Reds fell to the Philadelphia Phillies today, the words “Encouragement! Yes!” have been running through my head non-stop. The Reds have a 3 - 3 record, folks. That might not seem like much, but through six games last year, the Reds were 2 - 4 and on their second of what was about to be an eleven-game losing-streak. The Reds were never above .500 at any point last year. The 2023 Reds, though, gave us six days! Encouragement! Yes!
There have been some ups and downs already, sure. Hunter Greene had another inconsistent performance, but he’s been downright unhittable in spurts. Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft have both impressed in their first starts, and Jason Vosler has come out of nowhere to lead the team in home runs and RBI while filling in for the injured Joey Votto. Jonathan India, T.J. Friedl, Jake Fraley, and Tyler Stephenson (the Reds’ 1 - 4 hitters today) are all batting above .300. Encouragement! Yes!
Am I setting the bar low? Absolutely. But let’s be fair here: it’s really the Reds who’ve set the bar this low. They were 3 - 22 at one point last year. That number will be burned into my brain to live alongside Salvadore and his uplifting words for the rest of my life.
I’m going to celebrate the Reds being at .500 through six games. Sue me (actually, please don’t). If the Reds are .500 at the start of November, I’ll do handstands on Pete Rose Way. .500 could mean a Wild Card spot is in play. After everything we went through last year, you’re telling me you wouldn't take that?!
There’s a lot of baseball left to be played, but man, it feels good - even for a week - to not suck. The young pitchers have pitched well, and the young hitters have hit well. You’ll get no complaints from me. Encouragement! Yes!