The Process LLC © 2019

For anyone involved in raising a child…or if you just might one day

Yesterday was a tough day for me. Not the entire day, but a good portion of it, as I truly struggled with being the father of two young girls. I am sharing this, not for any sympathy, but just in case anyone reading this has gone through the same thing at some point or another. Or perhaps you may experience something similar one day.

Without directly trying to do such a thing, I have been constantly comparing my two children. Their successes, their failures, their attitudes, and especially their effort. This is a dilemma that I have toiled with for about three years now. The girls are two years apart with quite different maturity levels and with their own unique talents and “perspectives.”

girls and pumpkins

What I have been doing is UNFAIR, and it is very bad parenting. Why I actually do it is beyond me. I always tell them (and myself) that I want to give them a better life than I had as a child. That I want to give them more opportunities. That I want them to have a real chance to experience some amazing things. But those are the easy answers. Anyone can use them as excuses.

I love them equally. I really do. I was fortunate to actually get to deliver both of them. Experiences I will never forget.

They are the TWO MAIN REASONS that drive me towards a life of value.

If I continue this trend of comparison, I will not only be hated, but my children are sure to grow apart — and for me — their friendship with one another is the most important. I know firsthand what it means to have a sibling that I have no CONNECTION with.

I preach being free of bias and to not judge others, yet I am doing it to my own children. To judge a child is a violent crime. I keep focusing on effort, discipline, control and many other things, yet these are just young children. Perhaps I am displacing my own failures in life upon them.

I worry about their futures and this thing known as “entitlement.” I am exposing them to music, sports, and other activities. I am trying to let them experience the great things in this world. But yet I critique their each and every move. There is no one to blame but me.

Many parents try to focus on what the schools and coaches are teaching their children. It is not the time at school and practice that matters most, it is the time with you and what you say to them and teach them that will leave the most profound impact.

I know I will not be able to completely change course overnight, but I am ready to start. It will definitely be a PROCESS. I want to be significant in their lives, not an OBSTACLE.

Positive talk. Love. Teaching. Supporting. Not breaking them down. Not pushing too hard. Letting them be children.

If you remember only one thing about my writing today, remember this:

“The destiny of a child lies in his or her parent’s hands.”

This can mean many things. It really means EVERYTHING.

Thanks for taking the time to listen today. I hope that my rude awakening with HUMILITY has added some perspective to your own life.

The Outskirts

I recently finished reading a book titled Concussion, which in its theatrical form stars actor Will Smith. I have not seen the film. I picked up the book for a single dollar at none other than “The Dollar Store.” Call me cheap. I won’t take any offense.

paperbackbook

I knew a little bit about the context of the book before I opened it. Something about concussions and the National Football League (NFL), and some doctor that made some findings that made a lot of people upset. Then I began to read the book, and I quickly learned about many former NFL players suffering from things like early onset Alzheimer’s disease, full-blown dementia, brain damage, and things like substance abuse and explosive tendencies.

There is this idea that too many hits to the head, even the most subtle ones experienced in day-to-day practice, may lead to changes in personality.

The man, the doctor, the immigrant — Bennet Omalu –who came from Nigeria and who deserves credit for the discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). His battle with the NFL would go on for years. Many things hidden from the public. It is a great story of a man’s purpose and passion to HELP. A story of people who want to hide the truth, primarily because of money. A story of many families broken because of an illness that no one wanted to talk about, or at the very least, believe was due to playing contact sports and taking repeated hits to the head.

bennet_omalu_concussion_forweb

He hardly gets any credit for his work, and he comes to realize that not getting the credit is okay — unfortunate — but okay.

Being on the “sidelines,” or the “outskirts” does not mean that you are not valued. If there is a way to make an impact while going unnoticed, then why not do it?

The important thing is the discovery, or the contribution we make, not the acclaim we receive. What those things can do for the world, and how it can help people. It is not about YOU or ME. We are just the messenger.

Dr. Omalu brought me back to this reality by what he did.

Once you do the right thing, let it go. That is enough of a reward, isn’t it?

Advantageous Disadvantage

Today I was reflecting on my friend M.H. and her cancer story. It all began for her in 2016 — and it is fair to say that it will never actually truly end — because in one way or another cancer stays with you forever. What does change is whether or not the cancer has an active or dormant role in your life.

As I have mentioned before — CANCER is often synonymous with CANCEL (as in to cancel one’s life) — but not always. And when its canceling effect is blocked, the diagnosis is a real “Advantageous Disadvantage.” (Thanks Pastor Knox!)

You may not have put those two words together before, but I know you have either witnessed such an idea within yourself or have seen it in others. It is just as it is written, or more simply: to have an advantage at some endeavor because of a disadvantage that is present.

This idea persists!

Beethoven and Mozart had issues with their hearing. Stevie Wonder is blind and plays the piano as good as anyone. Many prominent athletes grew up poor or in broken homes. President Franklin Roosevelt got around in a wheelchair. The list goes on. Cancer is on that list. It can propel its victim to new heights. And just the other day, my friend M.H. was contemplating her disease, and it’s possible return. Reminding herself of the toll it has had on her body and her mind.

IMG_1436

A friend of hers who has dealt with cancer herself shared a message (unedited below) with her, and I found it so beautifully written that I wanted to share it with you. You don’t have to have cancer to put it to work in your own life. You don’t even have to have a so called “disadvantage.” If you are alive and breathing, then chances are you can learn from it, and use it to invigorate and propel yourself towards the successes that you hope to achieve. Instead of hope, make it a reality.

“Cancer just consumes you to the core — the appointments, tests, scans, treatments, surgeries…it’s life altering. But, I can honestly tell you it does get better. You will never be the same…I will never, ever be able to 100% trust my body again, but I do have an amazing healthcare team that watches me closely. It’s just a new normal, that’s all. Try and think of it this way — you were given this life because you are strong enough to live it. And you are. One thing I will tell you (and it’s a hard lesson to learn — I’m still learning at 7.5 years out), you have to give yourself grace. By that, I mean you have to let yourself be tired, and scared, and mad, and frustrated because you don’t look or feel the same anymore. It’s okay. It’s okay to just get downright angry. But as time passes (and it will), and as you get stronger (and you will), you will look back at this year with a whole new view. I promise.”

I am not sure if this touched your heart like it did mine, but chances are you know someone (and it could be you) that could use some words of encouragement. If you think today’s BLOG, or any of the posts that you have read could make a small difference in the life of someone you know, then please direct them here. Encourage them to sign up to receive the BLOG in their email. All I am trying to do is help people chase a little FAITH. We all need some. Blessings to you!

More Responsibility

If you are like me, you thrive off of being given MORE RESPONSIBILITY. It makes us feel both wanted and valued. The first few seconds of a new obligation often feels overwhelming, but then you settle in. You clear your mind of all the rubbish, and then you get to work.

Well, a few days ago another responsibility got added to my list. I assumed the role of Godfather for the second child of a friend and colleague. Little Charles Meriwether, a mere 6-months old and already looking quite stoic.

Charles

It was back in May 2016, on Charles’ second day of life, in front of my wife and kids, that Charles’ father asked me to be his Godfather. I was extremely overwhelmed for many reasons. First and foremost, the idea of assuming such a role. Secondly, we were just stopping by the hospital to say congratulations on our way to soccer practice. Thirdly, Charles’ mother was trying to enjoy a few minutes of rest, less than 48-hours after delivery, and we were trying not to overstay our welcome. Overwhelmed I was, just a little.

My mind was racing, as I tried to answer such an important question, “Why me?” I wasn’t trying to shed responsibility, but rather I was excited to accept it. But I had only known Charles’ parents for 2-years. We had but a few meals together. But with our occupations and the robust schedules both at work and at home with children, I realized that even though we had spent a sparse amount of time together, perhaps it was in fact enough time.

These friends of mine were seeking someone to help their newest child grow in the faith of God. They were seeking someone to set the good example. As I began to ponder this over the next few months, my question transformed from “Why me?” to “Why not me?”

I have made many mistakes. I already made more than enough this morning. But now my purpose was invigorated. I was in fact always trying to get better. And now, I have just one more person to get better for. It was an obligation I would not take lightly.

And as we baptized Charles, at one of the most historic chapels in California, I felt a special sense of renewal and responsibility. I had been given Godparents that were not involved in my life at all. I had chosen Godparents for my oldest child that have followed that same mantra. Not good!

For me, it was yet another opportunity to commit myself to LIFE.

So I ask you, do you shun or accept the opportunities for responsibility presented to you? Odds are, you don’t have to look very far for these opportunities. They are likely staring at you. Waiting for you to get home from work. Eager for you to return that phone call. Saddened by the distance you have created.

Take just a single minute and perhaps one or two steps back. Now you are ready. Responsibility is nothing more than just being HUMAN.

winstonchurchill1

Harajuku Moment

I have now read about the “Harajuku Moment” twice this year. Both writers insisting that no change happens without it. It is the point at which those “nice to have” things in life become one with the “must haves.”

For each of us, that special moment is different. Looking back, I have had a few of those moments. Some stand out more than others. The first night living in my truck after leaving home. The day my first daughter was born. The moment I was told my second daughter was born with hearing loss. Or that day my physician told me the cancer had returned — or more precisely — that is had most likely never left. Some of these moments I have shared with very few. Even some of my closest friends are hearing about them for the first time. They are not moments I write about here to gain any sympathy. I share them because it may allow someone else to realize that all of us experience something along the way. That no path is clear of all obstacles. Gain comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

I bet each of you can think of your own Harajuku Moments. Those tipping points in your life when you realize that you must change. Some will do just that. Others will accept way less and won’t even bargain with themselves to change; they will settle for the mediocre. What makes things worse is when we convince ourselves that “Things are not that bad.” That is when real problems start to take hold. We end up reaching for another candy bar. We put off another workout. Complacency becomes part of our ROUTINE and our RHETORIC. Playing it safe is our primary concern.

We come to realize that we are in fact bored, but we are okay with it. But finally, we can no longer take it. Reality hits us between the eyes. We finally recognize something vastly important to our existsence. We are determined to fix our thoughts and actions.

Our new belief: MOVEMENT IS LIFE. Or the better sounding MOVIMENTIO ES VIDA.

We choose to no longer avoid FEAR, because to have FEAR is to miss out on life. To have the Harajuku Moment you must let go. Movement is what changes us. Be COMMITTED. Make that ONE DECISION that matters. Have that Harajuku Moment, and your regrets will be a thing of the past. .

To all the Veterans out there…whether you served for just a couple of years, retired or all still serving…thank you. I joined because of what so many of you did before me. God Bless!

Jacob Thompson

What a guy! Asking for nothing more than the loving touch of a personal card as he contemplates how to enjoy what will likely be his last Christmas. He is ONLY 9-years old. My oldest child turns 8 soon. A stark reality of what can happen in life. He has Stage-4 Neuroblastoma. It has already spread throughout his head, along with other parts of his body. But he continues to smile. He continues to value his life. The same cannot always be said for many of us.

christmas-03-as-ht-171103_4x3_992

Celebrities are reaching out. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger drew him a card. Anna Kendrick of Pitch Perfect fame was born in the same hospital under which he is receiving his care, and she sent him a note. Young children from schools across the country have written to him. It is great to see so many people reaching out to bring him some joy. My friend Andrew wrote him a note just minutes before running out on the field for a collegiate football game.

I penned him a letter yesterday while sitting in an airport. It was the least I could do.

If life has you down today, consider Jacob’s situation. I asked 41 of my closest colleagues to send him a note yesterday, and so I urge you to do the same.

If we can keep him smiling, then what are we waiting for?

Jacob Thompson 

C/O Maine Medical Center     

22 Bramhall St.   

Portland, ME 04102

How many times can we push the reset button?

I overheard my wife talking to her cousin (the only one she knows) on the phone the other day. Thanking her for a recent gift and discussing the chronic issues that my wife has had with her parents and siblings. My wife never talks about that stuff to anyone, except me, so I was quite surprised. Her cousin, an 80-year old retired Los Angeles Judge is essentially a hermit who no longer drives, hardly leaves the house except for the occasional movie theater visit, smokes at least a pack of cigarettes every day, and generally stays away from any conversation involving family. Someone even does the grocery shopping for her. She has not been married for many years and never had any children of her own, so keeping to herself is not too challenging in her view. She enjoys reading, movies, watching the stock market, and has found all three hobbies easy to do in her pajamas and in the comfort of her own home.

But what interested me on this day was something that came out of her mouth — a question she posed to my wife: “You can just push RESET with your family, can’t you?” My wife’s retort was simple: “But how many times do I have to do that?”

So that brief part of their conversation got me thinking. I asked myself a similar question and came up with the title of today’s blog.

FAMILYapril2015

I felt convicted to find an answer to the question, although I believe I am smart enough to know that a single answer does not exist. The answer to such a question appears to be related more to that of an “art” vice a “science.” There cannot be but a single answer because we are all different in our perspectives and our actions. We all accept judgment upon us differently. We shake off most criticism and try to maintain a positive attitude. But there comes a time for most of us when enough, is quite simply, enough.

My wife has reached that breaking point on a few occasions, but always had that “son or daughter” respect for one’s parents that is preached time and time again. Those with loving families, who spend time together and who try to have purposeful conversations may not understand.

Those who enjoy seeing their grandchildren grow-up definitely won’t understand (my in-laws have never met — by their choice of course — EIGHT of their grandchildren, and only met my children after the eldest turned 6 — and there were only a few meetings, even though we live less than 50 miles apart).

There are those who would never dare judge their child’s spouse and children based upon his or her skin color, religion, or occupation. For me, all THREE have been points of contemplation.

IMG_0878

I have tried to paint the picture of our situation without giving away too much. So, I ask you, when is enough, enough? When does the RESET button finally lose its function? We can forgive. We can accept. But we must also be fair to ourselves and not waste any more time around those people that only bring us down.

So think about your actions. Do those around you even need to think about pushing the RESET button or are you having a positive and loving impact on them?

It is your choice. Push yourself, discipline yourself, and hold yourself to a standard that causes those in your circle to push the RESET button as INFREQUENTLY as possible.

Have a great week. 2017 is almost over!

You see what you want to see!

We have the ability to make anything look good, appear positive, shine bright, and we can even turn mud into gold. It’s not about any sort of magic, but rather about perspective and attitude. What you see through the vision you have been granted is up to you. Put yourself in the shoes of a blind person, perhaps like current USC football player Jake Olson (whom I wrote about in a previous post). But then again, there are those born blind who have never seen at all, and those that have acquired their loss of vision after seeing what the world offers us.

No matter which category you find yourself in, you still get to see what you want to see. Close your eyes and see for yourself. Do it! For a just a few minutes. Put the cell phone away. Think about something, anything. Picture something that society, your own family, your education or anything that has had an influence on you, has conditioned you to see as poor, evil, and/or negative in some simple way.

Stop reading my blog and try this little exercise out for yourself.

Okay…your back…let’s keep going.

BE-CLEAR-ON-WHAT-YOU-WANT-AND-you_ll-see-how-opportunities-and-solutions-start-appearing-in-your-life.-It_s-not-magic.-It_s-just-that-we-see-what-we_re-looking-for.-2

Now I want you think about something positive that was wrapped up in the evil, or the failure, that you were picturing. You may surprise yourself and may not need to look too deep past the surface.

In everything there is something positive, influential, peaceful and loving that is yet to be discovered.

Your attitude is what determines what you find. You already know that you can turn bad situations into positive outcomes. You have done it with every failure you have ever turned into a success. You have realized that your perspective and attitude needed a little shift. Perhaps a pause and a reset.

You decided to see what you wanted to see. You turned off the news channel. You turned off your phone. You set aside Facebook for even just one day. You moved past the loss of the game. You went from “BEING CONCERNED” to “BEING THANKFUL.”

No one changed the lens you were looking through except for you.

Great job. Keep doing what you do and you will in fact surprise yourself.

And next time you see something while you are driving or walking down the street that you have been conditioned to see as “bad,” see if you can in fact make it good. And then, stop the car, or stop walking for a second and offer some help. Or at the very least, make some eye contact and simply smile. Your effort may in fact change someone’s attitude and their entire day or even week for the better.

The best choice is often not easy

Seth-Godin

Today’s post is not mine at all, but I feel compelled to share it with you, and more so to turn you on to someone’s work that I very much admire. I even gave him his own section in my RECOMMEND BOOKS area. His name is Seth Godin. If you simply type Seth into GOOGLE, you will likely go straight to his blog. His blog is incredible…at least that is my opinion. Sometimes short, sometimes long, but always intellectually stimulating. He posts something everyday, and I believe that is what makes his work so special. And if you think those are well written, you must check out one of his incredible books. If you do anything, don’t write Seth off as some sort of marketing guru…he is so much more than that. He just happens to be really good at marketing, business, etc.

I have known about Seth for a few years now. I had the privilege of meeting him earlier this year, and it was an incredible day when he actually commented on one of my own blog posts. Talk about someone motivating and inspiring me. For Seth to actually take the time to comment on something I had written meant everything to me and it’s one reason why I feel even more compelled to help as many people as possible on their own journey’s of personal growth.

For the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to influence nearly 100 college athletes, coaches and staff, and I have done so with nothing more than offering a few minutes of my time, my undivided attention, and a few words written on some paper. The feedback I received from all of those that I spoke with meant more than any material possession could ever mean. I was seeing change take place before my very eyes. That stuff that many people talk about in books, but that never gets realized. For me, it was happening day after day.

So check out the below post found on Seth’s site today…the best advice I can give you today is to consider signing up for his blog, it just might help you make a few better choices in your life.

All the best to you my friends!

Degrees of freedom

All you have to do is look around to realize just how many choices we still have. What to eat, who to speak to, what to do for a living, what to learn, what to say, who to contribute to, how we interact, what we stand for…

The safe and comfortable path is to pretend that we’re blocked at every turn.

But most of the turns, we don’t even see. We’ve trained ourselves to ignore them.

A habit is not the same as no choice. And a choice isn’t often easy. In fact, the best ones rarely are.

But we can still choose to make one.

Just a note

5709_235260875_swak2sg8_c

I am a big believer in what is now becoming the lost art of writing someone a personal note. The advent of the Internet and text messaging, while amazing in their own ways of instant communication, have overshadowed the simplicity of pen on paper. But I get it, not everyone enjoys writing, and many more believe they don’t have the time to do so when texting can be done in seconds with fewer words that don’t even have to be spelled correctly to make sense.

For me, writing has always been an avenue for stress relief. It has freed me from my own debilitating obsessions of constantly organizing, exercising, or shall we say “just doing something.” Writing allows me to stop and think. It allows me to reflect. It truly allows me to be grateful for all that I have been given. I believe that it has the power to free the mind from both obligation and stagnation.

Over the past few weeks I have witnessed a group of young men and their coaches desperately seeking small victories, to uplift their morale after losing three straight games. They had started their season with three wins, and they were only expected to win one of those games. Coined a rebuilding year, many did not think they would win more than three or four games out of their 12-game season. I felt honored to have a chance to be a part of the rebuilding. To see it from within, not just on a television or on my phone on Saturdays.

I had always been a believer and doer when it comes to sending out small notes of appreciation to people throughout my life. I only wish I would have done it many more times. There have surely been many many people deserving of a thank you note from me, or even just a simple message to uplift another persons’s soul or mood.

And this time, I wanted to do something a little different since the opportunity surely presented itself.

Since I had access that most people don’t, I decided to pick 10-players who I thought would benefit from a small, authentic and genuine note taped upon his locker before the start of the game. Many of them I had not even met, others brief interactions in the offices or on the field during practice, and just a few that I had truly connected with. I wanted to do my best to try and inspire them just a little.

A different note for each one, not just a generic quote or statement. Five to 10-sentences with some sort of substance. It took me a little while to complete my project, but oh it was worth it. For the first time in 4-weeks, the team posted a victory: 37 to 3 against a Top-10 ranked team that had 6 wins and ZERO losses going into the night. And the opponent was ranked #1 out of 130 teams in terms of number of points scored per game.

IMG_3580

While I believe I have enough self-awareness to realize that my notes did not win the game for us, the action I saw on the field was worth it. Players came up to me at the start of the game, during and after, and even sent me text messages thanking me for the notes they received. A few of them even proclaiming that I had done something for them that no one else ever had before.

Some of them admitted that they finally gave the game “all they had in them” and finally focused on their “brothers” vice themselves.

And if you watched the game and compared the list of players I wrote to, to those making the big plays, you would have been amazed. Maybe what I did had no bearing whatsoever, but I felt good about it and so did those involved. It was all about connecting.

This week I think I will write 50 or 60 notes before we go up against the University of Arizona next weekend. Good thing I already started writing some of them this morning. I just have to make sure I tape them to the correct locker.

Why don’t you start with just ONE? Let someone know how much you care about them. Or how grateful you are for having them in your life. Or perhaps you can just say hello.

Let me know how it goes. I would really love to hear about the results that you get from just a few words on paper.

The Little Things – The Details

wooden

It was another demoralizing loss, 38 to 7, for the Cal Bears of UC Berkeley the other night as they took on the University of Washington Huskies. The game was in Seattle, and the rain had come and gone all throughout the day. Another night game for the Bears, after a long day of sitting around in the hotel. I tried to remain aware as I walked through the hotel, sat in on team meetings, tended to a few players in the make-shift training room, and watched as they chose the foods that would ultimately give them energy for the game.

We had flown up the night before and arrived at the hotel around 600pm. That would mean we would be there for nearly 24-hours before getting on the bus and heading to the stadium. Lots and lots of time for little DETAILS to get sucked up into the void of stagnation.

How do you keep the DETAILS in the forefront of the brains’ of 70 young men who just want to go out and play a game? I don’t believe there is one easy answer.

Due to television contracts, the PAC-12 Conference had taken on the bulk of night games over the past few years, which often meant that players would not be back in their beds for sleep until the early morning hours of the next day leading to a compressed week of practice, schooling, recovery, and then another game. As you can see, there are many DETAILS involved. This makes you wonder if it even has anything to do with football and the student-athlete any longer. It is as if the game has turned solely into entertainment, advertising and ultimately the bottom-line of being a money generator for television networks.

The Bears had not claimed victory since September 16th when they pulled off a small, but surprising upset, over the University of Mississippi. That was 4-games ago. That win gave them a record of 3 wins, with ZERO losses. Not a bad start for a team with a new coaching staff. Deemed a rebuilding year with low expectations from anyone on the outside looking in.

Now with some key players injured and the season half-way over, the Bears find themselves at 3 and 3. 6-games remain in the regular season. The past few weeks have been quite sobering. The last two contests, not even close. The DETAILS, those little things that often lead to failure or success in life, have been overlooked. That sense of being able to fail, yet bounce back and overcome has not come to fruition.

There has not been a specific player who has taken the lead. That player that steps forward with a voice that ignites the rest of the men in the locker room. It is not that one has to be an extroverted leader, but if not, then the actions on the field must speak louder than words. A combination of both is quite important in this game. A void remains when it comes to the players taking what the coaches instill in them throughout the week, and then bringing that knowledge of the game to appropriate life once the whistle blows to start the contest.

Team Captains being assigned each week, rather than players taking charge and assuming the role themselves. Not necessarily the way battles are won. But that is just one small DETAIL.

We could talk nutrition. From sugary snacks to Chick-fil-A. We could consider uniforms, cold-weather gear, and those interactions between players and equipment staff. We could consider specific practice sessions not getting recorded on video because an intern is still learning how to read the practice script, or profane music being blasted during practice and players dancing vice being focused while going through game-like scenarios. DETAILS.

A player parking his car illegally before practice, not once but many times, or another mocking the school’s band during half-time of a game. The DETAILS.

Seeing another team not being that much better in terms of skill, yet being more disciplined and thus paying better attention to the DETAILS. Late hits (tackles) often equaling what is considered a “loss of control.” Players pulling themselves out of games due to confidence issues. Strong entitlement. Those little things.

Good men. Caring and loyal, but missing out on a few DETAILS.

These things do in fact matter. Whether to pick up trash in the locker room, or in the airplane. To stay up late playing video games and talking on the phone or to turn off the electronics to get some sleep and allow the body to heal. The DETAILS matter now, tomorrow, next week and beyond.

And it has hardly anything to do with football, it is really about the Game of LIFE.

 

Community

What a frustrating game it was the other night. 17 to “ZERO” at the end of the first quarter. Then within seven points at the beginning of the fourth quarter. And then, the implosion. Final score 45 to 24. The Cal Bears destroyed by the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. The scene was unbelievable. The Duck fans totally immersed in the moment known as a football game. Approximately 3-hours of total mayhem for those of us in the Bears uniforms: players, staff, and fans. And you don’t even have to like football, or sports for that matter, to appreciate the idea behind this blog post today.

Autzen Stadium 9-30-17

The Ducks fans completely “Present” for their team. Loud and annoying, but I could see the heartfelt compassion from the fans to the players.

A community that lives and dies over sports – football, track & field, and more. The home of the historic shoe and apparel company: NIKE. Home of success. A community in its simplest and purest form. People waiting all day in their yellow and green attire. The game not kicking off until 740 pm. My explanation of the scene does not do the atmosphere any justice. It was full of emotion. Super sensory stimulation. Visual, acoustic, and overall sensory overload. You could taste the camaraderie. The ground shaking. Arms waving. People dancing and eating all at the same time.

The Ducks were seeking to avenge a loss just one week earlier to Arizona State, and my Bears trying to do the same after a great battle with USC that was tied 13 to 13 at the end of three quarters. Both teams with new head coaches. Both teams with 3 wins and 1 loss.

It is always tough to win on the road. Even tougher at places like Autzen Stadium. Filled with a community of believers. From the the beginning these folks were determined to help their team win. They refused to back down. Almost like those at the Alamo. Nearly every fan stayed in his or her seat until the very end. I wish you could have been there with me. And as I said earlier, even if you dislike football, or sports in general. Even if you are an introvert and would rather eat mud then be in a crowd with people you don’t know.

This was an example of a community, and community is often something that many of us yearn for because we don’t have one in which we belong. Some of us don’t feel connected.

This is yet another example of how sports can build bridges vice break them down.

Go out and find a community to belong to. Whether it means starting a conversation with your neighbors that you have never met, joining a new church, signing up to play in a weekend sports league, or anything that allows you to join in fellowship with other human beings. It is powerful in more ways than you can imagine. And who knows, you may see your own community grow in incredible ways.

 

 

 

The journey has begun

Now available at: