Sunday, February 27, 2011

This week's Pep Talk: "Healthy and Productive Engagement"

It was one of those days to remember for its joy. Sunday morning of President’s Day weekend 2011. After restful sleep, up early for an hour’s drive northward to Greeley, Colorado to watch daughter and teammates on the improving Juggernaut 14-2 volleyball squad play in an important three-day holiday tournament.

The drive went smooth; daughter’s team won all three of its matches; drive home equally smooth; as was car wash owner showing real class in making sure I’m a repeat customer; and finally, a beer with my neighbor buddy while watching an exciting hockey game between visiting Pittsburgh and Chicago. It had been a great day, and it got even better.

My buddy and I talk about many subjects, family one of them. It gets around to my mom. I tell the Pueblo native, “Hey, I talked with my mom yesterday and she had to hang up, because she had something to do.” I went on to say Patsy Sue Perry – my firecracker of a mom - had later sent an email stating the visit with my sister – her daughter- Sister Sue’s boyfriend Eldon and a long-time neighbor from long ago had been “much fun.”

I’m just a simple dude from Missouri, but, I think “much fun” is a good place to hang, ain’t it? It makes me think of the power of engaging with others. It is so wonderful – my opinion - to connect with others of like-mind and spirit! Damn, life’s tough enough, I sure want the folks that I choose to hang with to be easy to get along with, fun and, as former CU football coach Bill McCartney would say, “fox-hole kinda guys.” In other words, when it’s time to charge the hill nobody’s worrying about 100% participation because we’re one heart beat.

But that’s where it gets tricky. There are times we’re certain it’s one heartbeat and everything but materializes. Yeah, we’ve been kicked around a bit. But if we want to truly turn life’s lemons into - heck with lemonade – sweet and savory margaritas we have to promise ourselves, and seek encouragement from others – to be smart about it.

Let’s vow to do our best in engaging with others, whenever possible, do so in ways – for each participant – that honor, nurture and add value to the communities we serve. My mom’s optimistic email reminded me of this great life lesson.

What a day. Part of it spent with you writing this Pep Talk. Thanks and please, tell me what you think, okay? Teamwork, it’s the key to success, right? It starts with healthy and productive engagement with one another – like you and me. It’s a truth of life at home, work and elsewhere.

Always has been, always will be.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

This week's Pep Talk: "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained"

Those of you who are regular readers/viewers of the weekly Pep Talk know recently I have begun co-hosting, along with my partner Jimmy Doogan, three hours of sports talk each weekday afternoon from 3-6 on Mile High Sports Radio, AM1510 and FM93.7, in Denver.

Well, recently we had a lot of fun with a Valentine’s Day promotion with one of our sponsors, Sonny’s Rocks, We encouraged listeners, and social media friends, to submit, in 200 words or less, their story about their favorite sports date ever. The winner each week received a nice pair of diamond stud earrings from Sonny’s, and a pair of tickets to a Colorado Avalanche hockey, from us.

We had many great entries. One really stood out, at least for me, for it’s example of the truth that sometimes in life, we gotta put fear aside and allow wonderment to win.

The contestant offered: “After having been divorced four years, I decided to ask my next door neighbor, a divorced mother of two, out on a date. We had lived next to each other for two years without really talking, except an occasional “hello” or wave.

One day in May, I was on my roof working on the swamp cooler while she was next door mowing her yard. I yelled to her, “Hey, would you like to go to a Rockies game with me?” She said, “sure.”

Heading to the game the following week, we were walking to the stadium and I kissed her for the first time on the corner of Park Avenue West. We had great seats, but after a few innings and an order of nachos, we decided to go for a walk. The Rockpile looked nearly empty, we spent the rest of the game talking and kissing and to this day, I still can’t remember who won the game!

I made the best catch of my life when we married six months later. That was seven years ago. I still love the Rockies, but I love my wife more. She doesn’t have an off-season.

This gentleman, he won a pair of earrings and tickets, while up on that roof, decided to put fear aside and allow wonderment to win. Turned out pretty well for him, didn’t it?

Where might it be time for you to take that leap of faith into the great unknown? Too often we allow past disappointments to hold us back. It makes me think of Shakespeare’s wise words: “Our doubts are traitors that make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

This week, let’s vow to make our rallying cry: “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Saturday, February 12, 2011

This week's Pep Talk: "The Power of Love"

It was a Friday night culminating a busy and productive week and Billy Joel is keeping me company. I had just finished having beers with neighbor buddy Lou while watching first-half action of an entertaining game between the visiting Utah Jazz and hometown Denver Nuggets.

I descend into my basement office, thoughts churning, and decided to share this Pep Talk, trapped in my brain, to a team I know, from our conversations - home, work and elsewhere - cares about this stuff

Somehow the chat with the Centennial State native, which ran the gamut, ended up with a discussion about parenting. In particular, parenting from different homes. I have experience in this area considering my two marriages have, each time, provided residence in this challenging arena.

My good buddy and I have many things we enthusiastically debate. But, the importance of parenting is not one. We’re in unequivocal support of, “Hey, we brought them into this world. It’s our responsibility to show them a path to success in ways that honor, nurture and add value to their lives.

They didn’t ask to be brought into this world. We brought them here and it’s our responsibility to mentor the children. Come on folks, it’s not that complicated. A simple truth but, as we all know, far easier said than done.

When it comes to parenting, after the heartbreak of divorce, one of the four most powerful things I have learned, and tried like heck to embrace, is the wisdom of forgiveness. We need more of what’s defined as “to cease to feel angry or bitter toward” in America today. We need parenting partnerships that, despite the challenges associated with divorce, remain committed to a healthy and productive partnership with our collaborator in creating life.

The Piano Man was singing, You’re My Home in the background as I realized what inspired me to plop down, enjoy one more beer and fire this off to teammates on this unit trying to play like champions – home, work and elsewhere:

We talk to the kids constantly about the wisdom of getting along with others wherever they roam. Let’s vow this week to walk our talk. Get along. It will show our kids the truth of that belief. While it offers no guarantee for success it just might work in sending a powerful message to our kids, “We are forever, despite the crap life throws our way, united in our love for you.”

The power of love benefits all. I know it’s real easy for me to suggest and far more difficult to execute. Try.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This week's Pep Talk: "Angels Among Us"

Many years ago, after undergraduate work at Mizzou, I moved to Dallas, Texas to work and, for a couple of reasons, leave the past behind.

Upon arriving in “Big D”, I connected with a long-time mentor Vance Morris. He and darling wife Paula lived in Sherman, Texas, about an hour north of Dallas. We met for dinner. The food and fellowship was fantastic. What transpired at evening’s end was truly transforming.

We had said our goodbyes and Coach Morris, now in his 51st year of coaching football at the collegiate and high school levels, was driving away. He suddenly slams on the brakes, jumps from the car, pops open the trunk and reaches into a duffel bag. He then hands me a torn, tattered and often-used Bible and says, “I want you to have this.”

Well, I was at a moment in life – new city, job and no social life – where, as Emerson would say, “the iron string within” encouraged me to spend time with this publication. Over the next few months, I read it from front cover to back, like a book. I discovered what an incredible book of wisdom it is.

One verse really resonated, Galatians 6:9. It says, “Never grow weary of doing good, for at the proper time you’ll reap the harvest if you just don’t give up.” Ever since embracing that belief, I’ve tried like heck to live it. I’m human and have fallen short many times but it’s a daily driving force in trying to, despite challenges, play like a champion – home, work and elsewhere.

Over the years there have been many times this truth has manifested itself. Another example just recently while reaching for my keys to gain entry into the Mile High Sports Radio studios for another day’s edition of my afternoon sports talk show. I had no keys. Earlier in the day, my radio co-host had picked me up, and I had walked off and left my house keys in a sitting area near the sidewalk in front of my home. Anybody walking the sidewalk could have grabbed those keys, walked to my front door, opened it and taken whatever they wanted, including the beloved and aging cat.

I called a neighbor and asked her to check if the keys were there or the house ransacked. A short while later, she responded: keys found and belongings secure. Apparently, I had an angel, disguised as a Federal Express employee, scoop up the keys and place them, and a package, on the front porch.

I believe the “never grow weary of doing good” philosophy manifested, at the proper time, reaping the harvest of a delivery person’s alertness and graciousness via the “law of circulation.” Never grow weary of doing good for others. Trust me, the rewards – angels among us – are worth the effort.
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