Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pep Talk: "Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad"

“It was one of those nights that just warms the heart,” flowed from my lips to an attentive mother during our usual Friday morning chat. This knucklehead was stuck in Denver’s growing traffic quagmire and reflecting on the night before. I had attended the University of Colorado athletic department’s annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

Eleven new inductees into the school’s highest-echelon of athletic achievement. I was blessed to have a special guest. A blue-eyed beauty of a daughter, a freshman in Boulder, came along for the ride and met many cool folks. It was a thrill for an old man to hang with his college-age offspring at a college event. Made me feel young again. I was marinating in the moment while stuck in traffic and chatting on the phone.

One thing that resonated powerfully was the warmth exuded toward the campus newcomer. She did tire of the constant “Rachel’s a freshman and studying journalism” introduction but did seem to enjoy the hearty “Welcome to the Buff family” salutations it triggered. Shoulder to shoulder, the 18-year-old was in the midst of a large herd of Buffs to the bone.

It was one of those moments: A Dad joyful for a healthy, beautiful and maturing child, many friends and the opportunity to exalt black and gold greatness. A wonderful night, and your scribe was telling his mom about it when not grumbling about horrible traffic congestion.

Another highlight shared with mom was the induction speech delivered by long-time CU athletic department employee Jon Burianek. In an emotional and heartfelt way, “JB," who always made sure the Buffs athletic events unfolded with as few hitches as possible, never mentioned himself.

This fabulous human being spent 38 years working for CU athletics and chose to use his acceptance speech to thank others. Wife, kids, grandkids, co-workers, subordinates, volunteers and many others were praised incessantly. Toward the end of his remarks, the father of two asked many in attendance to stand as he continued honoring them. 

In a lofty moment of individual achievement, a man stay focused on gratitude toward others. Impressive indeed. Standing in the back of the auditorium, next to precious daughter, tears began to well in my eyes in admiration for a friend who has always thought of others before himself. If the army of folks in attendance is any indicator, that philosophy has served the devoted husband, father and athletic administrator quite well.

The ol’ noggin raced to the importance, for us, of never growing weary of doing good for others. Burianek’s story was a powerful example to the truth that, if we embrace such a philosophy, nobody reaps the harvest more than us.

This week, let’s take a page from Jon’s journey and embrace the value of serving others. That game plan fueled a grateful man to CU’s highest athletic honor. That spirit will serve us well, too. It empowers others and soothes our souls, but does not do a darn thing about the Mile High City’s congestion problem. 

Two out of three ain’t bad.

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