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LEARNING is everything and everything is learning. So what does embarking on a passion project tell you about those who choose to take that journey?

That question springs to mind when you ponder the romantic story of Hollywood A listers Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney completing the $2.5million takeover of Welsh soccer club Wrexham AFC. Take a pause by the metaphorical water-cooler and just think about that one for a moment.

Reynolds, born in Vancouver and one of Canada’s own and the star of the Deadpool movie franchise, with an estimated networth of $100million. McElhenney, who just had his brainchild sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia renewed for a record-breaking 15th season. So why do they want to invest a sizeable chunk of their hard-earned dollars in a Welsh club that operates in the fifth tier of English soccer?

The answer for me lies in what they will LEARN; about soccer, about how a club as historic as Wrexham is the heartbeat of the community in a way North Americans may struggle to grasp and, most importantly, what they will learn about THEMSELVES along the way.

Reynolds and McElhenney brokered the deal to take over the historic club, founded in 1864 and the world’s third oldest professional soccer franchise, with the Fans Trust who have run them sustainably for the last nine years. Once famous Wrexham, now exist outside of the top four pro divisions in England and play in the National League, a competition that has not even started yet this season, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, the two actors told the supporters openly that they have already started filming the story of their 'takeover' for the sort of fly-on-the-wall documentary that Netflix now gobbles up.

Think Last Chance U with Welsh accents.

As an eLearning guy, let’s storyboard this, shall we? Two handsome actors sweep into North Wales with a plan to awaken a sleeping soccer giant. It works right? The stuff of Hollywood magic. Last week an article on Bloomberg, speculated that Netflix might pay $400,000 per episode for a property like the Wrexham story. If a season runs for eight episodes, do the math. The dynamic duo’s investment is recouped (and more) in year 1.

With this in mind, it would be easy to be cynical and write this off as a beautifully-engineered publicity stunt. Then you take a step back and consider, these guys don’t need the publicity. They’re bona-fide superstars already. Dig deeper and you discover McElhenney personally picked up the $8,000 (US) tab to renovate the bathroom of a disabled fan. Then there's Reynolds, who recently partnered with Canada Goose apparel to outfit children in Arctic Bay who attend Inuujaq School. Still why do it? The answer lies in the fun, the process and the joy of giving and learning in an arena (like soccer) they freely admit (that right now) they know nothing about.

The ultimate passion project.

It made us sit back and think that Pathways has been our passion project for 15 years now. That's make us VERY lucky. During that decade and a half, we’ve been fortunate enough to work with partners who were truly passionate about their journey. For our clients, there is always something new to teach - something new to learn. We've worked on eLearning projects as dissimilar as, "Problem Bears in Northern Ontario" - with the Government, "Cooking Lessons for 9-11 yr. olds" - with Foodbanks Canada and "Mass Casualty First Aid Triage" with St. John Ambulance; but every step of the way, our passion project remained... delivering learning - even as we learned ourselves.

What you often realize from passion projects, is that sometimes the heart and soul within the investment, counts more than the dollars and cents required to fund it. After all, learning is everything and everything is learning.


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