Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pep Talk: "Can Do Spirit"

“I’ve only got four Broncos’ shirts left!” exclaimed the exuberant woman while vigorously waving the brilliantly orange apparel above her head.

Broncomania had descended upon the Mile High City in the buildup to the big game between the Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. As a side note, it’s interesting to watch most media outlets promote their coverage of the Super Bowl. Based upon personal experience from my time at Mile High Sports Radio as a talk show host, the radio guys, in promoting coverage, cannot use the name “Super Bowl.” It’s copyrighted by the NFL. It’s amusing to hear the creativity used to describe the contest, “The Big Game!” Or, it might be “The Championship Game!” Anything but “Super Bowl.” Can’t use it.

Anyway, back to the story. The atmosphere in the city is electric. The woman mentioned above is a dear friend and fellow member of a Business Network International group I attend each Wednesday morning. We’ve become a tight-knit group that genuinely enjoys one another’s company. We try and promote each other’s businesses. Most in the audience are small business owners and word-of-mouth marketing is critical to our success.

Each week everybody stands and delivers a 30-40 second “commercial” about their business. On this morning, the BNI meeting right before the Super Bowl, the men and women seemed to pour extra energy into their pitches. The place was rocking with positive energy.

It’s usually what happens when folks rally behind a common goal. In this case, it’s Broncos’ fans hoping and praying that the team can bring a third NFL title to this wonderful community. Along the Front Range and beyond, leading up to the game, positive energy was flowing more abundantly than snow was falling. The latter was plentiful. The former, off the charts.

We all have been part of such times. A collective group of people united for a common cause. It’s exhilarating, ain’t it? I’m in the middle of one of those moments right now in Victory’s work with a school district in Missouri. We’re trying to re-ignite a passion and commitment to youth sports in Raytown, Missouri. It’s my hometown, where a community influenced my development tremendously, where character traits centered on hard work, healthy choices and respect for others were drilled into me constantly - home, school and community. Primarily through youth sports.

Times have changed in Raytown. There are far more single moms leading households than in my day. One thing hasn’t changed: The value of youth sports in the development of children. Think of all the positives our kids receive: Exercise, engagement with others, and mentors encouraging them to achieve goals and overcome challenges. They learn the value of fair play. They experience the thrill of victory and agony of defeat. They become prepared to effectively deal with the adversity life, most likely, is going to bring their way upon maturation into adulthood. It’s a roller coaster for sure, right?

Inspired by the vision of Raytown School’s Superintendent Dr. Allan Markley, an ever-growing band of supporters are getting behind Raytown’s “Youth Sports Initiative.” We have big dreams, understand the challenges are formidable but are determined to charge from the fox hole, united and committed to “stand in the gap” and make this project a success.

We hope our efforts inspire other communities around our nation that are experiencing significant demographic shift, to also come together - one heartbeat - and rally behind a common cause. In this case, it’s understanding the value youth sports bring to strengthening community ties. Kids, parents and community joining forces to create a vibrant youth sports community. What’s the ol’ saying? “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”

It starts with a collective spirit. Positive energy. The foe might be formidable, whether it’s, when talking about the Super Bowl, Seattle’s great defense, the NFL’s best in the regular season. It might be, in the case of Raytown, overcoming the challenges of single-parent homes, desertion by fathers and economic barriers.

Positive energy, a relentless commitment and a good game plan can overcome any obstacles. There’s that “cord with three strands” appearing again. A united spirit is not easily broken. Whether on the football field, with youth sports, in our homes and workplaces, and wherever else we roam and suck in oxygen.

Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking, written more than 60 years ago, continues to be a top-selling book in our land. A “Can Do” spirit does not guarantee success, but rarely does it hurt our chances. It sure energizes things.

Possess it this week!

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