Boys of Fall

 

I was a boy of fall once. Meant the world to me to play football on Friday nights under the lights. Then on Saturday afternoons… and even a few times on Sunday. There’s a place for a boy and a man to come together and be one in the same. And it’s on a football field. It’s a man’s game, that’s played with a boy’s spirit.

If there is any advice I could ever give to anyone playing this game it’s to have fun doing it and enjoy every moment of it. Every play; play as if it’s your last. The coach in the video breaks his huddle with ‘last play’ – and it gave me goosebumps. (My arm hair is still raised as I type). The love of something bigger than yourself is an emotional scenerio for a high school kid to be in, and even bigger as a collegiate and grown man. But it’s maybe the most gratifying and rewarding accomplishment to look back upon, at the end of a day, realize that being a part of something bigger than myself was worth the sacrifice.

There is so much to learn from the game of football that doesn’t take place between the lines, but happens off the field in conversations on a Thursday night driving your high school clunker around with your best friend. Sharing life stories and being best friends… When you play this game you give your heart to it… at least you should. We play this game with emotion and with the understanding that every play could in fact be our last. But, it doesn’t stop us. It drives us. It drives us to be our best. And football has gotten that from so many young men. Young men who believed in something bigger than themselves. They were more than the boys of fall, they were the men of fall.

Time for a Cure


It feels good to know that your time at work and your efforts are going to a good cause and that you are appreciated right? – Ever get overwhelmed with responsibility at work, deadlines, todo lists??? As a working society we are naturally competitive and eager to win the rat race. We get so tied up in our our busy schedules that sometimes we lose sight of helping others; Not because we are disengaged from people or because we do not care for others, but because we forget that we can achieve our greatest personal goals by spending a few hours of our weekend impacting others in ways far greater than we could ever spend our time or our dollars on ourselves.

By volunteering our time for the greater good of our community we are not only making a priority statement, we are making a positive difference in the lives of others who at no fault of thier own, need a little help. We’ve all found ourselves in trying times and in need of a little help, and thankfully we have supportive friends and family members to lend us that hand. Without a doubt one of the defining elements that make a friend a friend and a brother a brother is knowing that person will answer when you call. Having someone there to lean on in times of struggle is priceless. There’s no value for true friendship that we can place on our friend who is always there to listen to us, to pick us up when we are down, or when we are in a bad situation. Friendship is love, unconditionally and all the time.

When we volunteer for charities like the Race for the Cure, we are not just helping our friends who have experienced pain and unfortunate circumstances due to Breast Cancer, but we are helping strangers as well. Complete strangers who have courageously lost thier battles and live on in spirit and memories, through their friends and their families. By volunteering and taking part in events like the Komen Race, we help those who continue to battle everyday by showing support and encouragement for their cause and we give them something so precious that it brings many of the racers to tears… we give our time.

Time is so precious to those who do not know how much they have left, and too often I feel myself taking time for granted or wishing that it were Friday. In the end, we have so little time here to do all the things we aspire, dream, and plan to do for ourselves. Our long term goals and aspirations seem so large in the sense that one day I will be… or Someday I will have… or Someday I hope to… I will be the first to speak to the importance of setting goals and working feverishly to accomplish them, but every once in a while, its important to ask ourselves if there are others who could use a little of our time as well.

Experience of a Lifetime

Have you ever recognized there are these intangible characteristics about special people who enter our lives that make it impossible to forget them? We all probably have someone in mind right now who fits into that “special” category. Could be someone we know personally or someone we’ve heard speak on television or in person; regardless, we agree there are special people who enter our lives at various times for various reasons. These people are for whatever reason timely and purposeful in our lives, and often they encourage us or perhaps just influence us to spend time in personal reflection. They spark internal thought processes we may not have been inclined to reach on our own and coincidentally, as a result of these thoughts we attain a rejuvenated view of ourselves.

One of those people in my opinion is Randy Pausch. If you have never seen his ‘Final Lecture’ I strongly encourage setting an hour aside and to give it a go. The man is an inspiration to many and he strived to help people become better at whatever it was they wanted to do. And he did it with a purpose, and a certian will to live that I can only describe as admirable.

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted” – Randy Pausch

This quote sums up plenty of experiences in my life and as a result, I am better equipped as a person, as an employee, and as a leader. I think its almost humorous that employers post some job postings and list “x” number of years as a requirement for a certain position and then disqualify candidates because of a lack of what they think experience is. Experience is not quantifiable in a sense of placing value on the number of years someone has been doing a job. Real experience is qualitative. It’s not what you do in those 5-7 years of work, it’s how you do it that tells the true story. I may not have 10 years of management experience but I’m the oldest of four siblings and my first job was watching my baby sister during the summers when my parents were working. I sacrificed many of bike rides with my friends, trips to the swimming pool, and neighborhood basketball games when everyone else was on summer vacation. But experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. Yea I wanted to do those things at the time, but I got something even better instead. So here’s a tip to my colleagues in human resources and hiring managers; Don’t think you know someone’s value based on their age and how many years they have been doing a job; they are obviously trying to advance themself from that position… Dig a little deeper and be creative in your approach. Not sure about you, but I would rather work with someone young and passionate about people and change, than someone with 15 years of leadership experience who is set in their ways. But that’s just me.

4 tips to Listening in the Huddle


Twenty-One! Twenty-one!! Ok here we go: Explode to I-Buster right, lucy trade, 161 Y-shallow cross half back Ralfie, check, I-buster right, middle 27 bob-scissors on two…

Imagine you are in the huddle, it’s 3rd and goal with four seconds left to go in a tied playoff game and your team is down five points… Do you know what to do if the defense lines up in cover 1 but rolls to a cover 2 zone? What if they stay in Man? What if the Mike Linebacker blitzes? What if the strong safety blitzes? Do either of these plays have a built in “hot” route? – As you approach the line of scrimage and get into your stance you hear the quarterback make an “Omaha” call, what do you do now? – If you were an NFL tight-end, you would be required to process all of the previous information in less than six seconds. As an added variable, your team is the visitor and the home crowd is making so much noise you can actually feel the vibrations ringing in your helmet from the crowd.

– Plays called by NFL quarterbacks can be up to twenty words long. So as you might guess, it’s important to listen in the huddle. In business, like football, listening is a skill that requires some cognizant adherence in order to be great. We sometimes forget to listen or do a poor job of listening and the resulting outcome is undesirable. In comparison, if we would have done an exceptional job of listening, not only would our outcome have been favorable, but our ability to lead would be exemplified by creating an opportunity to help others understand. When you are in a huddle with time running off the game-clock you don’t have the luxury of asking questions or requesting the quarterback to recap what he just said; you do however, have to be prepared number one, and number two, you have to listen and have total concentration and focus in this situation.

Listening is a skill that separates many of us, and ultimately makes a leader special. As a manager, there are few actions you can demonstrate to your employees that will impact them personally more than being proactive in helping them accomplish their personal goals. Not only will your emplyees be impressed that you are willing to help them, but recalling the conversation in which you discussed goals with an employee will also show them you care. And if you show your employees that you care about them… Assuming you hired morally sound people, you can expect them to give you the same level of respect and do the extra little things it takes to be great. — At the end of the day, listening is about caring. If you care about people, you will listen to them and value what they have to say.

However, if you have a hard time paying attention and have a touch of Attention Deficeit Disorder like I do, a few tips I picked up along the way that might help you out include:

1) Make Eye Contact-
Looking at the person talking while simultaneously reading their lips will help you retain information. Using your sense of sight and hearing together will also help improve information retention. (especially if you are playing on the road)

2) Recap confusing or uncertain lessons-
Restating what someone tells you allows you to process the information, restate the information in your own words, and open the dialogue back up in case you missed an element of what you were told. Also, hearing the information a second or third time will help you recall the information when you need it.

3) Ask Questions-
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Please. First of all, there are very few places in business for shyness. Be accountable and ask questions in regard to information you are unclear about. It’s your responsibility to know what you need to know. It’s much more embarrassing to be the person on film running the wrong route or the person who brought the wrong presentation to the meeting.

4) Knock the chip off your shoulder-
Listening is about caring. Value the people around you and seek to learn from them at all cost. If you walk through your day believing you are too busy to talk to your employees then you are missing out on an invaluable education and almost guaranteeing that later when you are actually paying attention to a conversation, a previous topic will come up and you will be the one left in the dark. All because you didn’t think it important enough the first time… It’s hard to redeem yourself after this happens – It’s far better as well as utilitarian to simply care about your people and listen to what they have to say.

Does Sport Breed Entrepreneurs?


The game of football has taught me to be a leader, a teammate, a critical thinker, a problem solver and most of all to be accountable for my actions. It has also given me the confidence to know that I can do anything I set my mind to. I played the game of football competitively for sixteen years (Starting at age nine and retiring from the NFL at age 24). In all those years of playing this game, I have adopted a few themes as part of my life’s DNA which I believe define me as a man as well as an entrepreneur and member of society. Characteristics such as integrity, character, commitment, work ethic, leadership, and being a community ambassador have become the essence of what the game of football has taught me to replicate as I create my legacy.

I learned a long time ago, on a football field, that your team was the most important ingredient in the formula for success. Without others, one’s individual success is impossible; and so people should be every organization’s number one resource. On the football field, it’s imperative to have a talented quarterback, because that is generally the most important position on every team. However, without the entire team working for the same goal and respecting the quarterback, the likelihood of failure is high. The same holds true in business. Constructing a solid team is vital to an organization’s success. It’s essential to find a solid leader, someone the rest of the team will respect and follow to that end. The supporting team may be a variety of personalities and plethora of different skills and individual characteristics, but ultimately, a team needs a captain to lead that team to success.

Vince Lombardi, a legendary NFL coach said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” When building a business, it’s foolish to think one can do it alone. Employing the right people is essential to your team’s success. Also, the reward is much greater when a goal is accomplished as a group rather than alone. Having someone beside you to celebrate with is certainly more enjoyable than solitude. Togetherness is crucial when accomplishing, as well as celebrating. A football team requires eleven players on every play to be together to have success. If one player does not do their job, the play usually fails. Too many failures ultimately equal defeat. It’s really that simple at the end of the fourth quarter. A coach can evaluate a game by simply pointing out the times a team did not work together as one unit and find reason for a loss. The same holds true for success. A coach can evaluate a team’s win by pointing out the consistency of togetherness and number of times a team carried out what they had planned to do throughout its preparation period. Business is much like winning a football game. You prepare for a test by doing research, scouting the competition, preparing a strategy, implementing that strategy and measuring your success so that you can replicate it and understand through statistics where your team is inefficient, and where to focus your strengths and resources to capitalize on future opportunities.

It’s in this preparation time that I believe the sport of football teaches and prepares those that play the sport to be leaders and future successful entrepreneurs. The first reason is due to the amount of time required to be successful. Work ethic is of optimal necessity for an athlete wishing to play in the NFL. The competition is ruthless and the process to make a NFL team is at times, dare I say barbaric. The process is so incredibly demanding that many fail due to the lack of mental toughness. This defining element however, prepares players for future success by engraining a sense of work ethic that is incomparable to most industries. Training camp in the NFL is six weeks of fifteen-hour-days; and completion of that is just to earn consideration for a final position with their organization. Making it to the end of camp doesn’t mean you made the team, it means you made it through another round of interviews.

The executive staff and coaches will make the final decision for your future employment with their organization. Often times your salary requirements will not be in line with what the organization is proposing, or your experience may not be exactly what they are looking for. It may have absolutely nothing to do with your ability or potential; the timing may just not be right.

Football has prepared me for life in business though a multitude of successes as well as defeats. As an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to risk failure to attain your dreams and accomplish your goals. That’s what makes the reward so great!
I was told countless times upon college graduation I was wasting my time working out and preparing to play another football game. – And, after signing a contract but being cut before even having the opportunity to go to training camp my first year in the NFL, I thought maybe they were right… For about day.

I flew back to my hometown, woke up the next morning, and went to my high school practice field and ran gassers and sprints until all my frustrations of being fired were expelled… and that day I started to prepare for my next opportunity.

The game of football teaches resiliency and fortitude in a way no other sport can teach. The game of football takes so incredibly much physical strength and ability, but it also takes a unique mental composition to be the best of the best. Due to some very special people and an internal desire to succeed, I was more than ready for my next NFL opportunity, which came six months later in the form of a workout with the New York Giants… And later in the form of standing on the 50 yard line in Foxboro, Massachusetts while the National Anthem played over the loud speakers. A nationally televised game on ESPN and F-16 fighter jets buzzed the stadium as goose bumps and a tear formed on my skin; I overcame the odds of playing professional football and proved to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to.

High School Hoop Dreams

This weekend Value City Arena will host the OHSAA boys basketball state tournament. Just down Lane Avenue over the bridge, the Varsity Club will host high school basketball fans. You can join the conversation between games and enjoy a cold beverage before walking back to the Schott for the next game; or you can stay there all day and watch the games on STO. Whether you watch them live or on the big screen at the VC, its sure to be a good time. There will be a few groups of storytellers sure to be in attendance. Count on that.
Let the stories begin… When I was a junior at Ottawa-Glandorf High School, we played in the state championship title game and lost by one point. We had an unbelievable season and nearly pulled off an amazing 21-point-comeback championship victory, but it wasn’t meant to be. Coincidentally the school that beat us in 1996 won the semi-final game this afternoon and will play Saturday for another chance at a title. Orrville High School. If they win on Saturday, as part of my work’s partnership with the OHSAA, I will deliver a congratulatory speech to their team. – I am hoping Lima Central Catholic wins that game; but the kicker is that Lima beat Ottawa-Glandorf in this year’s regional tournament to get to the state tournament… Either way, O-G lost. And that finally is the point of this post… To the winner go the spoils, and no one remembers the losers. (Except maybe the story-telling patrons at the Varsity Club)
I will always remember the one-point loss to Orrville as a heartbreaker, but I will remember the emotional distraught of our seniors, coaches, and fans more than the loss.
I use this example of community comradery because its relevant to the curent events of the weekend for one, but also because it represents the essence of high school sports. For the past month, I have watched high school athletes win and lose in the state tournament of their respective winter sport. Wrestling, Swimming, and most recently girl’s and boy’s basketball tournaments have built character and taught lessons of sportmanship, integrity, and class to the athletes competing through the elation of winning and agony of defeat. I’m a firm believer we learn more about our personal fortitude through defeat than we do in winning, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept, especially at 17 years old.
I have been fortunate to watch many high school sporting events here of late due in part to the Refuel with Chocolate Milk campaign; and the one lasting image that stays with me is the image of an athlete brought to tears at the realization of their final game/match/event as a high school athlete resulting in a loss. To have come so far, but not far enough. I have to say, as an athlete who has been in those shoes, it’s a difficult situation to find yourself in; and managing those emotions can be impossible for the kid who literally invested his/her entire personal commitment to that team. For many, it’s their first true love. It may be overwhelming. Numbing. Maybe even sickening. But at the end of that bus trip home is a welcome reception… A community proud of their team. They may not have won first place, but even the consolation prize of a state tournament deserves respect from a community who have reaped so many exciting memories as a result of those 15-17 year old kids. The second place team may not have won gold, but they became stronger young men and women through the process; which reassures my belief that sport creates a greater good in our communities… A utilitarian greater-good that brings forth teamwork, commitment, and trust among young people. I hope all the teams competing this weekend as well as those communities enjoy the experience of a state tournament as much as I did fourteen years ago… even the kids from Orrville.

3 Tips to Solidify your Pro Athlete Endorsement

Finding the right athlete who stands above all the rest to endorse your product or brand can be a circuitous challenge if you do not have a proper strategy for aligning the right personality with the role. It’s important to have a clear outcome and goals defined first, before aligning an athlete with your brand. By creating a plan for your promotion strategy based on specific goals, a brand manager can use the Invizzible Ink Selection Model for choosing an athlete and be confident their project will produce a favorable return on investment. Setting goals may seem like an obvious statement, however marketers are sometimes captivated by the opportunity to work with an A-lister, that they miss their target audience. When this occurs, not only does the project result in an unfavorable outcome from an investment standpoint, but your brand suffers a set-back in a volatile economy. It makes far greater sense to understand your entire project and choose representation based on a desired outcome, not a desired athlete.

The Invizzible Ink Selection Model is a personalized and multifaceted marketing tool used by brands to ensure their goals are met. The foundation of the selection model was built on a number of essential marketing elements that have proven to increase brand awareness, resonance, and revenue. The formula itself is complex in its entirety, however many of the weights assigned to each variable are simply common sense understandings of the sports world and market. While experience has proven to be a leading variable for our brand, it’s not the only element with which we have to base our decisions. What we can share today are tips to consider when choosing the right athlete to be the ambassador of your brand. Remember: No strategy is aligned for success without a plan and specified goals…

1. Background Check… Not with the DMV either. Depending on your project, your brand may have a need for a grassroots ambassador, or a major Public Relations identity. In either case, its vital to the success of the campaign to have the right person in place. One way to ensure your brand has the right person in place is to do your homework. Researching candidate’s backgrounds, i.e. – college course of study, family, interests outside of sports are just a few criteria I research before recommending an athlete. For example, if your firm is looking for a sports figure to be the spokesperson for a national PR campaign, you probably don’t want someone uncomfortable in a public speaking role. Going to a search engine and doing some light stalking will produce a plethora of information valuable to gaining insight to a sports figure. An athlete with a communications degree, a broadcast journalism degree, or a similar course of study will position your brand with an interested and qualified athlete. When this happens, the believability of the athlete’s message is increased and brand resonance is attained. By putting the right people in the right places, as Jim Collins expalins in his book, Good to Great, a win-win scenerio is accomplished for both athlete and brand.

2. Does your Brand align with a foundation or charity? Many athletes today have their own foundation, 501 c3, or preferred charity and will align their interests or even passions with brands that support the same programs. Particularly to those brands or organizations looking to hire sports figures in your smaller markets, this bit of information may be a gold mine. If your organization can align itself with this type of athlete while being savvy and strategic, you may find yourself a partner as opposed to paying for a speaker.

3. Who are you getting? — A good teammate? Good in the locker room? Have they worked with other brands? — Brand managers in the sports industry need to know the answers to these questions before signing a deal. I’ve seen far too many examples of athletes showing up late or not showing up at all for an appearance on behalf of an organization or brand, that it literally ruined the event. Disappointed students at a school, fans holding jerseys to be signed at the mall, teams waiting in the locker room before taking the field… Seen it all and felt for all of them. At the end of the day, if your organization is going to align with an athletic figure… Remember, there is a person behind that figure. All-Pro linebackers do not equate to all-pro people. The kids at your local middle school would much rather meet a pro football player and hear his story of what it’s like to be a back-up and play special teams in the NFL, rather than be big-timed by the star and promised a reschedule.

Individual Sports Hit Home


Over the course of the past two weekends I have spent time supporting high school sports in Ohio at the OHSAA state swimming and wrestling championship tournaments. Working in these sports have been a relatively new experience for me as I have always participated in team sports. My cousin Aaron was pretty much a stud swimmer in high school and went on to a successful career at Rutgers University, and many of my college football teammates at the University of Findlay were successful high school wrestlers, but was as close I really came to individual sports at the high school level besides my average showing each year as a member of the OGHS Track team.

What I’ve learned in the past few weeks is that there is something fundamentally different between team and individual sports at the high school level when it comes to competing at the state tournament. While I will always believe the greatest accomplishment one can achieve is a team championship title, at the end of the competitive day, it takes a group of individuals to contribute to that effort to accomplish that goal. There is certainly a crowned team award for first place in high school swimming and wrestling, but ultimately in sports such as swimming and wrestling, the attention is placed on the state champion. There is only one athlete atop the standings board in individual sports and I have been fortunate to experience some state champions in Ohio be crowned over the past two weeks.

Without a doubt the highlight of the past two weekends has been enjoying the all-access pass for the tournaments granted by the OHSAA. With the American Dairy Association’s involvement in high school sports and partnership negotiated with the OHSAA, we have been afforded access to the personal sights and emotions the athletes competing in the tournaments experience. As the relationship manager with the OHSAA, I have been quite fortunate to be in the action first hand. It’s wonderful to see up close and personal the emotion on a state champion’s face as they beat their opponent and realize they are number one.

Maybe the best feeling I’ve experienced in recent weeks came after experiencing the first state championship wrestling match of my life. The 103 lb match yielded a champion from Lakewood St. Edwards, Dean Heil. The kid is only a freshman but stood like a man in the circle of the Jerome Schottenstein Center platform as a champion. The excitemet on his face and abundance of emotion as the referee raised his arm as state champion caught me off guard. As the reality set in for Dean Heil that he was number one in the state of Ohio, reality set in with me that I was incredibly happy for him… Not so much that he had just earned points for his team, but because he was the best in the state of Ohio at what he does. It was a new feeling for me to experience, and I greatly appreciated the opportunity.

Heil was a gracious champ; shaking hands with his opponent and his opponet’s coaches. Then feeling the excitement take him over, he jumped into the arms of his awaiting coaches; embracing in a heart-felt bear hug. Soon after feeling the love from his coaches, Heil was grabbing his warm-up and off in a fast jog for the bleachers… At the end of his jog was his father; waiting for his son with a proud tear and open arms ready to embrace his state champ. It gave me goosebumps as I watched son and father share that moment. Overwhelming joy and pride radiating from a hug between father and son… It was a beautiful moment that only sport could have provided. As I approached hour 12 of that particular work day, I became overwhelmed with a sence of fulfillment and reward; and realized that sharing that particular moment with Dean Heil and his father was the reason that I do what I do… It wasn’t about the long workday any longer, it was about the brief moment that only a long day could have offered.

Invizzible Ink was created to highlight the positive aspects and rewards that sport offers our communities. Experiencing first hand a freshman in high school take the Division I honor of best of the best was a beautiful and very rewarding opportunity. It reminded me that sports marketing and working in sport is more than a business, it’s an opportunity to make a difference.

Holy Cow! A Formula for Brand Resonance and a Birthday


On March 1, 1914 Harry Christopher Carabina was born to Italian-French-Romanian immigrants in St. Louis, MO. I’m a few days late in wishing the voice of my childhood a happy birthday, but I got a feeling he heard the toast I offered to his memory this past Monday in his restaurant. – “To Harry!”
As a Cub fan and a Bud man, Harry Cary has been there since the beginning of my love for the Chicago Cubs. I went to Wrigley for the first time in 1998; four months after Harry passed. The entire team wore the above patch on their uniforms that season and the new tradition of guest singers of the seventh inning stretch began. The day game I attended with my father and our friend Tim and his son Matt, was against the rival Cardinals. Barry Alvarez, then head football coach at the University of Wisconsin, sang Take Me Out to the Ball Game. I can rememebr the entire day like it was yesterday and to this day, consider that day one of the best of my life. As cliche as it sounds, at that point in my life, I had never seen a more beautiful sight than Wrigley Field; the green of the grass, the sounds of the stadium, the sight of the bleachers, and the colors of the uniforms all just blended into one of those perfect moments we are sometimes lucky enough to experience. When I walked into the Friendly Confines for the first time, after thinking about what it would be like for the 5 hour train ride from Ohio… It was perfect.

I’m not sure what it is about baseball that fosters that emotion, but the relationship I have with the Chicago Cubs is similar to the relationship marketers need aim to resonate with consumers of their brands. It’s one thing to be a fan of baseball, but it’s entirely different to be a Cub Fan and a Bud Man in the bleachers on a shirtless summer day in Chicago singing Go Cubs Go. (Hey Chicago, what do ya say, Cubs are gonna win today!!)

Brand Resonance is the measurement of the emotional connection with core consumers, driven by consistent branding of a product… This definition sounds much like being a passionate sports fan rooting for their team through the good and the bad times, right? A consumer of a sports team follows essentially the same purchasing process as consumers of other tangible products. I imagine most of us enjoy an adult beverage from time to time and this past Monday, I enjoyed a Budweiser in honor of Harry Cary. I was with a fellow Cub fan having dinner and to demonstrate our appreciation for Harry Cary’s birthday, I purchased a Budweiser; Harry’s favorite brew. I chose Budweiser not because it’s my favorite, but because it was Harry’s favorite. Cary was a marketing genius, but doubt he ever cared about that title… But make no mistake about it, Harry Cary established brand resonance with Cub fans everywhere while he was in the booth. His love for the game and excitement for his job made watching the Cubs on WGN an event Cub fans everywhere could relate to, and look forward to.

Establishing resonance can be a difficult task for marketers, but a sure way to establish it, is to follow Harry Cary’s formula…
Be passionate. Be honest. Have fun. Be authentic. If you can replicate these four objectives, your brand has a chance to win the hearts of consumers; but if you’re selling Cardinals memorbillia, I don’t care how pasisonate, honest, fun or authentic you are… We’re not buying it.

Commitment Issues???

Recently friend and colleague Dr. Chris Stankovich wrote about athletic transferable skills an athlete learns from sports, and how those skills can be used in situations such as a classroom, a future career, and in life. Dr. Stankovich gave a few examples of these skills including: discipline, being a team player, motivation, goal setting, and I’d like to add commitment.

We’ve all been on some type of team in our life whether it be a sports team, a work team, a family, or just a group of friends. Think back to that team you were a part of and recall if there was a true sense of commitment not only to the team, but also to team excellence. Vince Lombardi said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of thier chosen field of endeavor.” Lombardi had a way with words that still echoes in every football coaches office in this country. Football coaches are notorious for one-liners and repeating slogans handed down from the generations… It’s not necessarily that current coaches do not have creativity or originality, rather the slogans and beliefs of the Vince Lombardi’s of the world were simple and believable, and maybe best described as motivational. I think Lombardi’s messages and certainly this particular quote resonates deeper than simply the locker room. The commitment that Lombardi is referring to is the same transferable skill Dr. Stankovich tells us we can learn from sports and use in other aspects of our lives.

After watching this video and listening to the greatest football coach of all time describe the game of football in his own words, I think we can relate to what Dr. Stankovich meant by a transferable skill. It doesn’t matter what field one is in, if you go about your work with the passion and conviction that Vince Lombardi did, you’re a winner. Vince Lombardi breathed, lived, and died football. Football was more than a part of him; football was in his soul. His voice still gives me goosebumps when I hear him talk about the game of football because for a long time, that was how I felt. Luckily I found another passion after football because I don’t know how a person can stop something they feel that strongly about.

Lombardi mentions twice in his speech the importance of having a commitment to excellence… He mentions this because it’s the right way to represent your family, the right way to coach and play sports, and it’s the right way to do our jobs. While I don’t believe I’m as good at sports marketing as Lombardi was at coaching football… (yet) I do believe having a commitment to excellence is a sure way of becoming the best at whatever it is any of us aspire to be. Whether it be a football coach, a marketer, a ditch digger, or a parent; listen to Coach Lombardi talk about the fulfillment and reward of working as a team to accomplish a goal and try to incorporate that same sense of unity in what it is that you do… Individual accomplishment is great, but “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi (1913-1970)