Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pep Talk: "Three Wise Men"

Darling wife had waded into the sea of shoppers on the final Sunday before Christmas. NFL football’s in the background, crooner Aaron Neville’s singing and this knucklehead starts thinking about three men.

Each has bored into my marrow with their passion for team. They come from different walks of life but share a similar spirit. They understand the importance of being on the same page with others. One Heart Beat. Yoked. United. Call if whatever the heck you wanna call it. There are exceptions to every rule, but most of the time when speaking of successful teams from athletics, business, non-profit, civic or wherever, folks talk about a bond. A cord that is not easily broken. These three men exude that belief. It’s infectious. Just my opinion, but, admirable. Wise to emulate. From baseball, when talking about these dudes, the announcer might suggest, “Here’s the batting order.”

Leading off? John Ware. What a guy. He’s a chaplain at the Denver Rescue Mission. He works with the same guys as the “A Stronger Cord” project works with. Fellow knuckleheads trying to overcome life’s challenges. A graduate of the Mission’s New Life Program (NLP), the 63-year-old dove right into ASC’s warm up, workout and hang out philosophy. Good dude. Makes things happen. The kind of guy buddy Billy Mac from Hackensack likes to bellow, “Would charge from the fox hole with ya!” Got your back.

Batting second is Lester Fisher. Not surprisingly, I was introduced to the church deacon through Ware. A fellow NLP graduate encouraged Denver’s oldest African-American church to throw open its gym for ASC. The workouts at the Crossing, a nearby Mission facility where Ware works, had outgrown space reserved for indoor exercise during cold weather. Union Baptist said, “Come on over, boys.” 

Next year, in partnership with the church, ASC is launching a neighborhood outreach campaign targeted at isolated men and fatherless boys. There are plenty of each. Les Fisher is yoked in trying to reduce their numbers. A valued comrade.

Batting third is Denver Police Chief Robert White. Along with a fellow knucklehead, your scribe attended the city of Denver’s recent gathering on race. It was held at the Colorado History Museum. It was productive. Obviously, residents of the Mile High City - I’m one of them - have room for improvement. We all do, right? There’s always room for improvement. Every time I’ve heard Chief White speak the message has focused on the importance of community and police force being yoked. It requires everybody to check egos and agendas at the door and work for something greater than ourselves. Simple, not easy. Home. Work. Elsewhere. The three-year chief gets that and, at least when I’ve been present, implores others, “We gotta work together.”

All these men get that elusive quest. Right on.

It’s amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares who gets the credit. The question becomes, will we believe it? Three wise men do. I hope you do, too.

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