Sunday, September 24, 2017

Pep Talk: "When It Comes To Teamwork"

For long-suffering Rocky Mountain baseball fans, this year’s edition of the Colorado Rockies has been a blessing. With a week left in the regular season, a strong finish earns the Nolan Arenado-led squad its first post-season appearance in almost a decade. I wear my purple Rockies’ golf shirt often. Darling wife cracks, “When was the last time you washed that thing?” Haha.

Come on Rockies, hang on! Teamwork. The key to success wherever we roam. The venues certainly vary but the vision cannot. Whether it’s baseball, family, business, church, school, non-profit or whatever endeavor brings a group of individuals together, a belief in something more important than self is critical.

That was the conversation topic recently as your knucklehead scribe visited with dudes currently living in a Denver halfway house. Incarcerated men on the comeback trail and re-entering society. Like all of us, in need of a team around them for any chance of success. Self-reliance is important but, life is too difficult to navigate on our own.

Those were the wise words from King Solomon about 3,000 years ago. From what I understand, at the time of writing the Old Testament’s Ecclesiastes, Solomon was a grumpy old man venting about life, especially traveling through it. Times were barbaric then with lots of wild people and animals. Danger lurked everywhere. About roaming too far from home, Solomon offered in the fourth chapter, “One will be overpowered; two can defend themselves, but a cord of three strands is not easily broken.”

Name your team. It might be an elderly-care facility like where my mom lives; a community outreach wellness movement like A Stronger Cord or any collection of humans offering a collective spirit for a common cause. When it works? The sense of accomplishment is magical. It was more than 40 years ago but it seems like yesterday. The Ray-South Cardinals won every regular season game and advanced to the Missouri state playoffs for the first time in school history. This ol’ jock was the southpaw quarterback of that selfless group. That season of football and life forever burrowed within us the power of believing in something bigger than self. One heartbeat.

A desire to surrender ourselves for the greater good? Does that exist? Sure. In these times, does America need more? Maybe. I must admit to having many halfway house buddies look at me kinda crazy-like when it was offered, “Practice random acts of kindness toward one another.” It’s not how most are wired. These days, sadly, it’s not how most of America is wired. We need to build a stronger cord to one another.

Time with the dudes ended with us bellowing in unison, “Good, better, best; never let it rest. Till our good is better and our better is our best!” That’s how, I hope, the Rockies’ season ends and your future goes. This week, when it comes to teamwork, let’s make our good better and our better our best!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pep Talk: "Be Somebody's Coincidence"

A dear friend grew up religiously roughed up. At nearly 60, that experience sours the Colorado native’s belief in a higher power. We have interesting conversations about what he considers “coincidences” versus what your scribe would call, “God things.” I look forward to our next debate and sharing the latest example that, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

Here goes. It was a Sunday. I was driving back from the mountains and looking forward to coordinating a moving crew for a beloved couple downsizing to a smaller place. I needed to make two stops to fetch three A Stronger Cord dudes. Also on the calendar, attending an early evening meeting for blood cancer research funding. The schedule was tight with no margin for unexpected detours.
First a whine, then a wobble and finally, the smell of burning rubber. My car’s right-rear tire had shredded. For a weekend day on Denver’s west side, traffic was busy on east-bound Sixth Avenue between Wadsworth and Sheridan. It took a while to steer the disabled vehicle from the far left-hand lane to the narrow and litter-strewn shoulder on the right side.

This was not in the plans. Changing a tire along the shoulder of a busy highway is a pain. Especially when unable to remove lug nuts from the blown tire. Greasy, sweaty and angry, after 45 minutes of trying, I gave up. What next? I called a buddy who owns a repair shop, Elder Auto. He was out of town visiting family but advised, “Call Dick's Towing. But considering it’s a Sunday, don’t expect them to get there too quickly.”

He was right, sorta. The dispatcher said, “It’s gonna be at least 90 minutes.” After a good round of cursing fate and making calls to secure someone else to transport the other movers, I settled in to wait for the tow truck. With the noon-time sun warming considerably, vehicles whizzed by at high speed, kicking up dust and grime. I slumped against the tall sound barrier separating a nearby neighborhood from the noisy arterial into the Mile High City from western suburbs. I was stuck and, seemingly, out of luck.

What to do? I had time to kill. I grabbed a Bible from the car. I’m a big fan of the 29th chapter of Jeremiah and, paraphrasing, “God having a plan for us; to prosper and not harm us; if we seek him wholeheartedly.” Here’s where it got interesting. Not two or three minutes into reading those passages, the loud blare of a horn startled me. The tow truck had arrived!

“I live right around the corner,” said driver Robert, when asked, “How’d you get here so fast?” The day had no more glitches. Thanks to the help of many, duties and responsibilities were kept. Was it luck? Or something else? This knucklehead would call it a “God Thing.” For anybody, even my skeptical buddy, it’s a good thing.

This week, let’s eagerly serve others and be somebody’s coincidence. The benefits are out of this world.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Pep Talk: "Storm Surge of Compassion"

“Mother Nature is trying to wake us up,” stated a buddy as we departed a morning workout at Kinetics Fitness. It's hard to argue considering the hurricanes, fires and earthquakes dominating headlines and wreaking havoc around the globe.

Often we are helpless against powerful forces changing landscape, claiming lives and forever altering the status quo. Pondering this, the ol’ noggin marinates on pressing societal issues of our times. Unlike Mother Nature, things WE have some control over. Are we waking up?

Bessie's Hope is sure sounding an alarm about the growing number of isolated and neglected American seniors dwelling in assisted-living facilities. For more than two decades the Denver-based non profit has encouraged others to realize the importance of lovingly engaging and interacting with those unable to care for themselves. 60% of our nation’s assisted-living elderly NEVER have visitors. Each month, on the second and fourth Saturdays, A Stronger Cord's Knuckleheads volunteer. We listen, laugh, sing, dance and play games with wonderful seniors starving, not for food, but for attention. Bessie’s Hope is a powerful force changing the landscape.

The same for the Denver Dream Center. One of America’s big challenges in major metropolitan areas? The absence of a healthy family atmosphere for kids/moms living in public housing. Gangs and their destructive forces lure children into a culture providing a sense of identity, protection and financial reward. It’s a charade. The Denver Dream Center, with its “Adopt A Block” program pours love and attention toward the problem. On the first and third Saturdays of each month, ASC loves to support DDC’s infectious “Show up, smile and serve” spirit. We must wake up to the fact we’re losing too many kids to the gangs. We have to give them competition for the kids’ attention!

How can we, collectively, become a powerful force changing the societal landscape of too many marginalized and disconnected folks? How can we re-claim lives and forever alter the status quo? Just one man’s opinion but the answer lies, not in more money, but something more finite: Our time.

“The government needs help from the faith-based community in mentoring those in need,” was the clarion call at a recent meeting focused on lessening the impact of too many isolated, vulnerable and displaced humans in our midst. The smart woman is correct. It’s interesting to watch the generosity offered in relief of natural disasters. Houston Texans’ standout defensive lineman J.J. Watt has personally led a charge of raising millions of dollars for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. Awesome stuff.

How can we wake up American communities, regardless of race, religion or socio-economic status, to the importance of building a stronger cord to one another and offering relief from our societal disasters? How to create a storm surge of compassion? To become a powerful force forever altering the landscape through, Denver Dream Center words, “Rescuing people, rebuilding lives and restoring dreams?”

Money is not the answer. We are. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Pep Talk: "Three Options"

Those following these weekly ramblings with regularity know your knucklehead scribe is immersed to the eyeballs in an outreach program trying to unite communities with wellness.

A Stronger Cord enters its fourth year trying to accomplish that important task. I know because Facebook keeps reminding me of moments from “three years ago.” A good argument could be made, given the nation’s tumultuous state, we urgently need fresh ideas concerning building a stronger cord to one another. Why not wellness? Why not encourage others to embrace the value, individually and collectively, in becoming more fit, connected and giving? Healthier in body, mind and spirt? Win. Win. Win.

It’s a simple concept. It just ain’t easy.

Without question, the societal issues are complex. Could it be that progress in successfully addressing challenges of, to name only three, racial strife, dysfunctional families and an addiction epidemic, might have simple solutions? Maybe three options are embracing a spirit of fitness, relationship building and community service? Keep it simple stupid. Three decades after earning a master’s degree in journalism from the best darn J-school ever, Mizzou, it has stuck like glue. Too often, we overcomplicate matters.

Denver Dream Center and Bessie's Hope sure keep it simple. It’s why ASC’s Knuckleheads, through “Service Saturdays,” love working with each. We keep it real simple. Denver, all of America, has too many marginalized and disconnected kids, moms and elders. I’m a big fan of a Jewish carpenter who encouraged us to “Care for the orphans, widows and strangers.” Well, just one dude’s opinion, but the kids and moms living in public housing and the elderly dwelling in assisted living are the modern-day orphans, widows and strangers.

As a society, we need to care for them. We’re losing too many beautiful and talented kids to the gangs. We need to give the gangs competition for kids’ attention! Our nation’s elderly? My goodness, far too many rarely have visitors.

Denver Dream Center with its “Show up, smile and serve” spirit simplifies engaging the marginalized living in Denver’s public-housing communities. Volunteers have a blast playing games with the kids and assisting moms however possible. Show up, smile and serve. Simple, loving and effective.

Inspired, more than 20 years ago, by visiting her grandmother housed in a west-Texas assisted living facility, an amazing woman founded Bessie’s Hope. Linda Holloway saw the lack of a loving touch. The professional singer/musician recruited a dear friend and they started entertaining Holloway’s grandma and others. Bingo. A wonderful nonprofit was born in simplicity: Engage the elderly by saying hi, stating our names, asking theirs and giving a sincere compliment. Then converse, dance a little jig and sing. Have fun. It’s magical and good for the giver as much as the receiver.

Folks, this week let’s keep it simple. Say hi, introduce yourself and give a compliment. If that doesn’t enthuse you? Show up, smile and serve. Or commit to becoming more fit, connected and giving.

Three options wonderfully benefiting you, us and others. A cord of three strands not easily broken!

facebook metwitter
linkd in

Hey Comeback Coach Copyright© 2009

About The Comeback Coach | Contact Us | Links | Privacy Statement