Sunday, October 16, 2011

This week's Pep Talk: "Unwavering Support"

The lighting for writing on the porch was not ideal but the moment was when the following crashes into cranium: the importance of unwavering support.

The thought blasted through whatever brain matter remains after tugging on my McIntosh Open Golf Tournament cap. That act brings forth the spirit of a wonderful father. Taking the cap off for a second to throw on a Louisiana College comfy shirt brings forth the spirit of a wonderful mentor. I then march to a favored spot to share some thoughts: a converted kids’ playhouse where when this musing - call it a Pep Talk - emerges from yours truly and he remembers to realize this is special ground: be careful to honor that when trying to inspire others to play like champions wherever they roam.

Father and coach who gave, and with Vance still give, me unwavering support; son and daughter who until my final breath, will have mine. It’s a beautiful Centennial State day, trees beautifully turning gold, brown, burgundy and other wonderful colors in the Mile High City’s Congress Park neighborhood. I’m sitting here sharing the idea of the importance of unwavering support. Thanks for caring.

I’m thinking of the music playing behind me. Old time greats, ironically, and I promise this is the truth, Percy Sledge’s 1966 mega-hit “When a Man Loves a Woman” booms through the box and it takes me to darling girlfriend. That’s my love song to Kathy Gans. Now and forever.

Anyway, back to the point, of unwavering support. This wonderful collection of enjoyable songs arrived in my life thanks to a buddy at the gym. He’s been challenged of late. I have been subbing for the delightful CSU Rams' fan as instructor of an old-farts spin class. He gave me the cd long ago but now I get to play it during the Monday morning class. I get to honor his spirit. We talked the other day and I hope he believes my support is unwavering - bless ya buddy.

The cranium is tracking other recent examples of unwavering support in action. Dink! It makes me think of Thursday night’s in Boulder, Colorado. There, thanks to friends like Pasta Jay’s, Gebhardt BMW and others, coach Bill McCartney, I help a bit, leads a huddle of CU football fanatics unwavering support of beloved son Jon Embree’s attempt to restore pride and tradition at the University of Colorado - it’s been absent for a bit. This group of fun and committed folks meets once a week during the football season believing its unwavering support will make a difference. Hey, why not try?

There’s a chill in the air so I went inside as the music moved to Neal Diamonds' 1966 debut single “Solitary Man.” Off the hook of “favored weekend pullovers” emerges one from buddy John Wristen. He’s the head football coach at undefeated CSU-Pueblo, long-time friend and good dude who gave it to me a few years ago as a gift for speaking to his team. The Thunderwolves just knocked off fourth-ranked Nebraska-Kearney, on the road, and moving up in the polls - “Go Johnny Go!”

It makes me think of McCartney. Long ago, back in his CU head coaching days, he gave unwavering support in overcoming the disappointing loss of my first marriage. He continues to challenge me these days too, thanks CW. It makes me think of each and every one of us. Through the years there have been many who stood behind us with unwavering support. Now, that doesn’t mean there weren’t unexpected and unwanted challenges along the way, but it does mean, as coach Mac likes to say, “You can’t make it tough enough for me to complain.”

Unwavering support. Shoulder to shoulder in ways honoring, nurturing and adding value to unity of spirt in pursuit of a worthy endeavor. I wanna play on that team forever, you? Even in the most challenging moments and regardless of venue - home, work and elsewhere - the strategy never wavers: We’re ready to charge, in healthy and productive ways, from the foxhole wherever we roam. It can be a powerful force.

It’s made a huge difference - thanks Dad, Vance, Jerry, Mac and others - in my life. I would suspect you could rattle off more than a few too. This week let’s promise each other to be such a person to others. Unwavering support can change a person’s life.

It’s time to quit boring you and close with this. Again, I promise it’s the truth. The music is now Jackie DeShannon’s 1965 classic “What the World Needs Now” and she sings beautifully, “What the world needs now is love sweet love. No, not for some, but for everyone.”

Amen to that. But here’s, my opinion, the tough part: It’s tough to give unwavering support without love in your heart. I’ve been called a lot of things in life, smart rarely one, but, for this simple dude from Missouri, it seems love, sometimes tough love, has to be part of unwavering support’s foundation, right?

Have a great week!

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