Sunday, June 16, 2013
Father’s Day 2013. My mind wanders to my old man, two children and a darling fiancee.
History of the day for dads, and other fatherly figures, is interesting. It started in 1910, at a YMCA in Spokane, Washington. Not surprisingly, it was a woman who found it appropriate to honor men a year after Anne Jarvis’ creation of Mother’s Day.
Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six kids raised by a single father, said, “What about the dads?” Father’s Day was born. The Arkansas native was raised by Civll War veteran, William Jackson Smart, and wanted to have the commemorative day on her father’s birthday, June 5. Somehow it was decided the third Sunday in June was best.
Happy Father’s Day to all stepping into the role. We had a caller to Afternoon Drive the other day who honored his single mother for taking on the role. He salutes her twice a year. Cool. Anyway, Father’s Day obviously makes me think of the late Marvin Walter McIntosh, Jr. My father, mentor and buddy.
I have written often, in Pep Talks past, of my father. He was 76 when lung cancer terminated life. The oldest boy in a family of six kids had to grow up fast, overcame poverty and built a successful business career. The sports fanatic always encouraged me to be the best I could be and had a profound impact on my life.
Despite physical, emotional and financial adversity along the way, rarely would you hear “Mac” ever complain. The father of four, step dad to three, grandpa to many, was a good man. He showed me the way. Thanks pops.
Fatherhood entered my world 23 years ago with the arrival of Kyle Martirez McIntosh.
His mother endured almost a full day of labor before Kyle’s head appeared from the birth canal. It was an odd site, a head protruding from a woman’s body. With big brown eyes, that looked like chocolate mints, Kyle turned noggin’ side to side, as if surveying the room. His head was on a swivel. I had a brief second before the medical team, using forceps, readied to pull him from a mother’s nurturing body. I whispered, “Come on out buddy. It’s safe.”
A prized possession is a ring from the 2001 Colorado Buffaloes football team. It won the Big 12 title that year beating Texas in Dallas. Then Buffs coach Gary Barnett surprised me the next season with my own personalized ring. It has “McIntosh” engraved into gold along diamonds and other fancy stuff. It’s nice.
Kyle covets it. He always declares, “Dad, when you croak, I get that ring!” In fact, the treasured artifact was on loan during his college days as a New York University film student. It was a reminder, while studying there, to “play like a champion.”
His little sister Rachel is trying like heck to play like a champion in the often turbulent world of being a teenage girl. 16 years young, driving, active in volleyball, too interested in boys for her father’s taste and a real wonderment. Talented. Beautiful. Funny.
I think of her daily and hope she has the courage and wisdom to protect her mind, body and soul. Yep. I pray daily the volleyball standout can resist temptations bombarding her and other kids at such a tender and vulnerable time of life. Being a kid ain’t easy these days.
I’m working with a man right now on developing a motivational keynote. At its core, the former University of Colorado football standout’s message is simple. He’s encouraging others to do three things: Believe in yourself, maintain a superior attitude and figure it out.
Father’s Day 2013, I hope Rachel and Kyle never forget those wise words!
A simple dude from Missouri thinks about a deceased father, two children and a darling fiancee. Funny how things unfold on this journey, isn’t it? Two painful divorces opened the door for the Chicago native to stroll in. She has my heart under lock and key. What a gift.
They are at ground zero. I would sacrifice my life for theirs. Father’s Day gifts. It makes me think of my dad, realizing he would have done the same for me. A cherished golfing buddy showed me the way.
It’s what Dad’s do. It’s what every human should do. Real simple to suggest, far more difficult to execute. Let’s try it this week.
Work hard, make healthy choices and respect one another. Show the way and allow actions to speak louder than words. Till Father’s Day 2014, let’s do it together!
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Quite often the source of inspiration for Pep Talk comes from the least expected moment. The latest? While settling in for the weekly gathering of a bunch of knuckleheads, men and women, comprising the Denver chapter of Business Network International.
This simple dude from Missouri loves to hang with these good folks. We meet each Wednesday morning. We also have social events. For instance, a bunch of BNI’ers showed up recently for First Friday at The Shack, a sponsor of my sports talk radio show, Afternoon Drive. We sang really bad karaoke and had a blast doing it. Bruce, as Elvis, was off the charts.
Anyway, we gather consistently in the morning for breakfast. While busting each others chops and fighting over the bacon, we also focus on never growing weary of doing good things for each other. Especially when it comes to referring business to one another. The power of a team. A buddy of mine, Billy Mac from Hackensack, would call that good mojo, “One Heart Beat.”
Anyway, part of the process involves an “educational moment” designed to encourage everybody to improve as entrepreneurs. Each year someone steps into the role of delivering the message. This year it’s Jeff Coverly. A graduate of Boston University, the good guy moved to Denver in the late 80‘s and runs a successful physical therapy practice. He focuses on out-patient orthopedic challenges with an emphasis on manual therapy.
But each Wednesday morning, the owner of Coverly Physical Therapy plays teacher to the gathered. He recently asked a simple question: “Have you ever been to Cape Canaveral and seen a Space Shuttle launch?”
Most in the crowd of about 40 folks had not experienced a launch. Too bad. It no longer exists. The program has been mothballed. Sounds like we missed something cool.
Coverly began: “The Space Shuttle is huge. About 15 stories tall. It weighs 4.5-million pounds. It’s designed to be shot 200 miles off the ground.” The affable man paused perfectly before concluding, “It all starts with a small human step. It takes a tremendous amount of power to get it off the ground and heading toward its destination,” Coverly described. “It all starts with one small human step.”
Five minutes before blasting toward the heavens a person pulls a manual-locking pin from each of the shuttle’s two side-booster rockets. The countdown has begun. Eight big bolts, 28 inches, that detonate on ignition, the only barrier keeping the marvelous flying-machine on the launch pad. Time clicks on.
Things begin to change dramatically in the final ten seconds. “10..9...8...7...Stop!” demands Coverly. “At 6.6 seconds the onboard computer starts three main engines.”
The launch is imminent. “6...5...4...Stop!” he continued. “Main engines achieve 90% thrust and ready to deliver 1.1 million pounds of thrust.”
Coverly had taken over the room.
“3....Stop!” We learn the computer issues three commands that pushes a capacitor to 40 volts, fires three main engines and kicks the boosters into high gear with the ability to deliver another 6.2 million pounds of thrust. The launch pad is a powder keg.
Side boosters ignite, the eight bolts explode and the shuttle is charging away from earth. 300,000 gallons of water are released to deaden the sound wave. The big flush causes the great plumes of white steam we observed trailing the shuttles.
Coverly then brought home the lesson. It applies to a billion-dollar government space mission, an opportunity before us professionally and, perhaps, something in our personal lives. It’s one of those, “The venues change but the strategies are the same,” kinda moments.
Getting off the launch pad of life quite often involves a simple step. In the case of the Shuttle, two simple pins removed. It’s the same with our lives. Maybe the challenge hails from a physical ailment, a soured relationship, the loss of a job. It really doesn’t matter.
What does matter is whether we’re able to muster the courage to take a small step. To have the guts to remove the stakes keeping us pinned to the ground, unable to soar.
It’s really easy to sit around and talk about effectively dealing with life’s challenges but, we all know, far more difficult to execute the necessary steps. It ain’t easy. There’s a tendency to believe we’re the only ones caught in the fray. We’re not. That’s why it’s important to seek others in similar spots and encourage one another to achieve our goals and overcome the challenges to whatever ails us - home, work and elsewhere.
Coverly, in concluding his remarks, brought a grin to my face with this gem: “Astronauts say the view is brilliant up there. Ours will be too.”
Blast off into the great unknown. No doubt, the air space ahead might become turbulent. Hang tough. Persevere. Make necessary mid-course corrections.
A simple step. Remove the pins.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Perhaps it’s time to see someone about the condition. Or, at least turn in the man card. Trust me, it’s been questioned before. An admission, I’ve reached a point in life where, the Food Network makes this aging jock cry.
Yep. Happened just the other day. While leaning on the kitchen counter and reading the Denver Post, I was saddened to learn accounts of another hellish weather day for Oklahomans. More killer tornadoes. People dying in their cars trying to escape the latest terrible twister. The heart grieved.
About a nano second later, the Food Network triggered a cascade of tears. Celebrating 20 years, reaching more than 90 million homes and always on at the house - darling fiancee is ADDICTED to it - a woman was singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
It wasn’t just any woman. It was Trish Yearwood. The country music artist has a show on the network Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. The Georgia native who, according to Wikipedia, is best known for “ballads about vulnerable women,” was wrapping up the show singing the song.
I’m reading about tragedy in the Sooner state and begin to hear a beautiful voice sing the following lyrics: Somewhere over the rainbow, Way up high, There's a land that I heard of, once in a lullaby. Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue....”
It really made me feel for the victims and families and praying that someday “skies will be blue,” not stormy for them. Yearwood continued her wonderful rendition of The Wizard of Oz song: “And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true. Someday I’ll wish upon a star and wake up where the clouds are far behind me....”
By now the tears were flowing big time thinking of the folks who can only wish upon a star for blue skies and the clouds behind them. Whether in our nation’s 48th state, your life, my life and everything in between.
Life has a way of throwing a monkey wrench into our best laid plans doesn’t it? Those “What the heck is going on around here?” moments leaving us yearning and praying for respite to what ails us - home, work and elsewhere. The elusive but enviable spot, as the Over the Rainbow lyrics offer, “Where troubles melt like lemon drops?”
That’s where they’ll find us? We wish.
There are exceptions to every rule, but rarely do troubles melt like lemon drops, right? Nope. Often it seems they’re locked in dry ice. We’re frozen. Numb. In other words, we get kicked around a bit. Good buddy Billy Mac from Hackensack often says at these moments, “It’s okay to lie there a bleed a little. Then rise and march on.” Amen buddy.
In acknowledging, rarely do “Troubles melt like lemon drops,” let’s give special kudos to Colorado Rockies’ manager Walt Weiss. The rookie skipper focuses on three strategies in dealing with the unwanted junk life throws our way. In baseball and beyond.
Let’s take Weiss’ advice: Adjust. Improvise. Overcome.
Yep. The Rockies skipper has those three words emblazoned in large white letters outside his office deep in the bowels of Coors Field. We talk about Weiss and the Rockies often on the Afternoon Drive with Mac and Goodman talk show on Mile High Sports Radio.
Personally, I have been impressed with how the team plays under the former Rockie shortstop known throughout his life and baseball career as a top-notch player and person. The Rockies’ team mentality has been strengthened by the former All-Star player’s presence. Usually when the New York native is involved, success is found. The devoted husband and father to three athletic sons is a winner. Always has been.
Anybody entering, including himself, Weiss’ office is reminded vividly of the philosophy oozing from the 1988 American League Rookie of the Year’s DNA: Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.
It’s a darn good philosophy for each of us too. The road ahead will probably require constant course correction. Like the pilot of an airplane or captain of a ship, we must constantly adapt and adjust our personal navigation system to the ever-changing world in which we live.
Often, in adapting, we must get creative and improvise. I have been honored to work with a single father in developing his inspirational keynote address. The former CU football standout tells a fabulous story about his young daughter rolling down the window with her foot. Now that’s improvising!
The third and final wise word from Weiss challenges Rockies’ players, coaches and staff to overcome. To learn from, not become a victim of, the experiences on the baseball diamond and away from it. That’s one of the impressive things about Weiss. What he’s asking his players to embrace is what has fueled his success. In baseball and life.
Somewhere over the rainbow, despite life’s storms, let’s try and muster the courage to face adversity with a game plan rooted in adapting, improvising and overcoming. In all likelihood, our troubles won’t melt like lemons drops, but I sure like our chances of winning a fair share of the tussles.
I’ve got one right now. Forgiving self for allowing a show on The Food Network to make me cry.