Monday Night’s Last Call

If you’re reading this then you probably have some opinion on the last call of the Monday Night Football game between Seattle and Green Bay.

Here are some interesting tidbits I’ve been able to dig up from around the web:

  • The official who signaled the touchdown has three days training experience at a referee academy in Utah and has, until now, only refereed high school and junior college games.
  • The Packers were favored by four and a half points. As a result of the call they lost, had it gone the other way they would have won by five points. The estimated swing in betting revenues on that one call was $300 MILLION dollars.
  • The NFL’s statement defending the call has a six paragraph introduction and cites three different rules that come in to play.
  • And this provocative bit: The Lingerie Football League, yes there is such a thing, has issued a statement that some of the referees they have fired as being unfit to officiate their games are now officiating in the NFL as replacements.

Crazy eh? Outrageous! Something HAS to be done doesn’t it?

But why?

The National Football League is in the entertainment business and I can tell you that from the perspective of a vociferous Seattle Seahawks fan, my wife, there was nothing more entertaining than that last minute win. (I was pulling for Green Bay)

Doesn’t it make it more fun having go guess when your team will pull the whammy card and get an incredibly ridiculous call that changes the game? Ok, well what about if the opponent gets whammied?

Isn’t it entertaining to listen to the announcers fumble all over themselves to be incredulous, and professional, and confused all at the same time?

Isn’t it entertaining to wonder what is going on in those guys heads when they make such horrific calls?


Ok, I know all about “the integrity of the game” and “player safety” and all that. I realize you could start to lose part of the fan base if the officiating becomes too farcical, not to mention the potential for corruption creeping in to officiating…if you get really bad calls every game it is easier to hide a corrupt official making them on purpose…but really it is about entertainment…and I’m still chuckling about the Monday night game two days later.

The bottom line is that the league, and in particular the commissioners office, are starting to look quite foolish no matter how you slice it. We have to place some blame on the owners too who have control over the purse strings.

But we’re the fans. In truth we hold the power.

What if, in every NFL stadium this coming Sunday, the seats were empty when the game started?  I’m not suggesting people kiss off the money they’ve spent on tickets, just that across the league people boycott the opening kickoff. Can you imagine the coverage?

  • Empty stadiums for the national anthem and probably most of the first series of plays.
  • HUGE crowds outside the stadium standing around waiting to to enter.
  • Fans filtering in throughout almost the entire first quarter.

My quick web research seems to indicate that NFL stadiums bring in about 1.2 million dollars in concession revenue per game. Divide that by four and you potentially impact a quarter of a million dollars per stadium. There are 13 Sunday games this week so you get close to three and a half million dollars in impacted concession revenues.

That ought to get someones attention don’t ya think?

Let’s see if we can get Mr. Hochuli and the rest of ’em back by flexing our power as consumers. Let’s boycott the opening kickoff!

What do you think? Would an opening kickoff boycott get the attention of the league? Perhaps more importantly…could it be pulled off?




Three Possible Reactions to “Those Moments”

For the last four years or so I have been a satisfied iPhone 3gs user. I skipped over the 4 series and have been patiently awaiting the arrival of the 5…supposedly only about a month away now.

This morning, after driving my daughter to school and negotiating a couple of emails on behalf of my son, I hurried off to the gym. I got in a pretty decent mile swim and headed to the hot tub for a bit of a warm down.

It was then that I discovered my iPhone had been in my pocket for the entire swim.

This was one of “those moments”.

You think a hundred thoughts all at once.: “I wonder if…”, “Maybe it will…”, “Perhaps I can…”, “Man, why did I…”, “If only they hadn’t…”, “I need to…”

In the end you have three options. You can rant, you can weep, or you can laugh. Of course the option you choose has a lot to do with the seriousness of the moment and the degree of loss but those are just influences.

This morning I chose to laugh.

At the moment my iPhone is sitting, sealed in a bag of rice, in hopes that I might be able to salvage something from it. I’m not quite sure how much is synched to the cloud…I’ll work on discovering that later this morning. I know I can’t go a full month without a phone though so my waiting for the 5 may turn out to have been in vain.

I hope that if you have one of “those moments” today you’ll be able to laugh at it too.

What happened the last time you had one of those moments?

Post Olympic Depression: 3 Lessons to be Learned

Do you feel that empty space today? That sense that something has gone missing?

It’s not that I watched every minute of the coverage. Shoot, I even missed some of the events I really wanted to see. But it was just good to know I could check in throughout the day, or even have the games running in the background.

And now the that Olympics are over many of us are feeling that post Olympic depression.

So what is it about the Olympics that captivate us to the point where we miss them when they’re gone?

  • Is it the guys like Oscar Pistorius, the South African who made it to the semi-finals of the 400M as a double amputee?
  • Or perhaps you like the story of Sherab Zam the Bhutanese archer, yes, Bhutan is a country, who was just happy to be competing as one of the two Olympians from her country?
  • Maybe you’re more a fan of the history makers like Phelps or Bolt.

I love it all. While I also have to confess I feel a similar sense of loss at the end of the World Cup every four years…it isn’t exactly the same. So what can we learn from our post Olympic depression? I’d like to share three lessons.

1. We like friendly competition.
There is a different spirit in Olympic competition, a sense from the athletes that this is one big friendly stage. Sure there are rivalries, even intense ones, but the sheer number of smiles, handshakes, and high fives that happen between medalists and non-medalists is, I think, unique to the Olympics.

There is a joy in this competition that goes beyond monetary value. Sure there are competitors there who are looking to gain recognition that turns into endorsements, some that even admit that, but those examples are overwhelmed by the number of athletes thrilled to be there representing their countries.

Even if we don’t always agree with the rules, there ARE rules and a world stage upon which they are, typically, equitably applied. Not just within the competitions themselves but rules regarding who can compete. There seems to be a sense of something bigger there.
Of course the antithesis of this is political campaigning…maybe that’s why we dislike election commercials so much?

2. We get a bigger world view
Now be honest how many of us even knew Bhutan was a country? How many of us knew that they were listed by the UN as the happiest nation on earth, so much so that the UK, France, and the US are studying them as a nation?

The Olympics give us a chance to look at the people of the world as people, not as political allies or enemies. We recognize effort and excellence beyond economic or socio-political borders. Do I still find myself lugging around an old bias, hoping the US beats the Russians? Sure I do. But if the Russians put in a good effort and beat us I’m cool with that too.

The window of the Olympics allows us to look at the world through a different lens, perhaps a more relevant one, certainly a friendlier one.

3. We like the emotion of it.
I’m convinced that part of the allure of the games is the emotion that goes into four years, if not a lifetime, of effort compressed into a few moments of intense competition. This isn’t one of 162 baseball games in a season or one of 16 football games. For many of these athletes it is their one shot. The ups the emotional ante HUGELY.

Most days we don’t tap into our world at that level of emotion. We’re just trying to keep our noses above water and keep things on an even keel. The Olympics become emotionally cathartic as we share in the feelings of agony or ecstasy with the athletes.

So what if our regular lives were more like that?

What is we looked to make an competitive situation a friendly competition? What if we made time to regularly broaden our world view? What if we allowed ourselves to feel emotion more deeply more regularly and still had to pick ourselves up off the track for the post event interview? What if our “goal” wasn’t just “winning” but was, instead, competing with honor, side by side with people of different backgrounds, in the spirit of friendship?

Maybe life would be a little more like the Olympics and we’d all be a little less depressed when the games themselves are over.


What was your favorite Olympic moment from London 2012?

The Olympics and The Silliness of Judged Sports

Spoiler alert: If you’ve not yet watched the coverage of women’s gymnastics from the Olympics you may not want to continue.

If you HAVE seen the coverage, or at least the results, then you already know that reigning world champion Jordan Wieber failed to qualify for the all-around individual championship. Although her score was fourth best amongst all competitors she was third best on the US team and ran afoul of a rule that says that only the top two from any country can advance to the individual competition.


So, you’re telling me that it isn’t about pitting the top gymnasts in the world against each other, it’s about putting on some sort of global ratings show?
Some sort of  “let’s be fair to those countries whose athletes made it here but aren’t as good” or “wouldn’t want one country to dominate” kind of thing?

I really don’t have a problem with it if Wieber gets beat in the semis on the track or in the pool, measured on a objective scale where the tape or the clock doesn’t lie. But to miss out by less that .3 because some judge decided, even subconsciously, that “as world champion I expect more from her” is kind of sad.

Yeah, yeah, they all know the rules going in but that doesn’t make the rules intelligent. Especially the whole, lets be fair to everyone, thing. I’m starting to wonder if the same folks who created the BCS weren’t somehow connected to this approach to gymnastics.

That’s why I am in favor of eliminating all judged sports from the Olympics. Granted we’d lose a good source of humor fodder by not being able to refer to the scores from the Russian judge but I’m willing to sacrifice.

Or…if you’re really in love with gymnastics…and figure skating…then let’s use some advanced technology. It would be simple matter to include small sensors in costumes and uniforms that would allow a digitized assessment of an athletes movement. In fact you could eliminate name and country this way allowing “judges” to assess without prejudice.

Eliminating one of the worlds best from competing because some shriveled bint decided to tick off a tenth of a point based on the position of her toes is ridiculous. It moves sports into the realm of beauty pageant. I think that’s plain silly.

What are your thoughts on judged sports in the Olympics?

And Now a Word from Our Founding Fathers

I generally try to stay away from political topics as a rule but I thought I might have some fun with the Fourth of July. Please take this as tongue in cheek and have a GREAT fourth!

James Madison, our fourth President and “Father of the Constitution”, might have had a little something to say about the whole notion of affordable health care… Of course he was a rich Virginia aristocrat so he could afford it.

Not to be outdone Thomas Jefferson, our third President and slightly more radical thinker…who was known to cavort with the French from time to time…probably would have made a more all encompassing observation. Love how their expressions seem to fit the quote…

Ol’ Ben Franklin would probably have let that whole hot issue go but he certainly couldn’t ignore the spectacle of the Occupy Movement could he?

Or was he talking about Tea Parties? At least perhaps those not in Boston?

George Washington, our first President, may have taken the high ground on the political conversation and chosen instead to provide his two cents on the spiritual state of the union.

What do you think of his choice in rouge? I’d say he’s more of a winter really..

John Adams, our second President, would have followed suit with George I suppose. No need to rock the boat too early on.

Of course we might never agree on what “moral and religious” means so we’d have to enlist the aid of one last patriot…

Samuel Adams, who was NOT President but who made quite a name for himself in beer would probably have chosen to make comment on a much more comical period in our recent political history…assuming of course he had read Bill’s quote:

“It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the—if he—if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement”
-Bill Clinton

Ahhh…don’t you just love politics?

Enjoy the day, don’t take politics too seriously, speak up for what you believe in but not at the expense of the other person in the conversation, and  celebrate this great country in which we get to live.

To my friends in other countries, feel free to have a chuckle at our expense. We probably deserve it!

Three More Ways to Make Work More Like Sports

Euro 2012 concluded yesterday. For those not into soccer that’s the European championship. It happens every four years, kind of like the Olympics or the World Cup.

Spain won as predicted and although Italy lost, they showed up in the finals as a complete surprise to most folks. They made a fantastic run and came up just short when all the luck, ans skill of the Spaniards, seemed to turn against them.

During their run to the finals I was captivated by Gigi Buffon, the Italian goalkeeper and captain. This guy has been around for quite awhile and is still considered one of the top keepers in the game but what impressed me most was the man beyond the play.

  • Camera’s couldn’t stay off him during the Italian national anthem and commentators kept coming back to the passion with which he sang his countries song.
  • During their semi-0final penalty shoot-out against England he could be seen slapping hands with Joe Hart, England’s keeper, between penalties.
  • After the loss in the finals the cameras followed him as he comforted his teammates and even his coach.

Back in January I posted “What’s the Difference Between Life and Sports?” where I explored some of the ways in which our work environments often conspire to make life a whole lot less exciting than following sports. As this summer wends its way though Euro 2012 and the Olympics more and more Gigi Buffon’s are going to come across our radar screen.

So what can we learn from Buffon’s example?

1. We like to play for something bigger.
That’s why Buffon belting out his national anthem is impressive. He gets that, he connects to it, he’s proud of his country. How often in our work places to we as managers try to instill in our people a sense of something bigger than just a paycheck?

The opposite is true in sports as well…we don’t care for the selfish player who is just in it for the money. How much heat, pun intended, has Lebron gotten for that?

2. We like a class act.
Even in the tension packed moment of a penalty shoot out Buffon makes the effort to connect with the opposing keeper, a guy who he openly respects as an up and comer. That’s class.

How do we create an atmosphere of class even in the midst of competitive tensions in the work place? How do we reward “class”? Typically I find we don’t. We like it, we applaud it, but we hope it doesn’t get in the way.

3. We like team guys who lead.
I watched this world class athlete who had just loss put aside his own grief long enough to comfort guys who may well get a second and even third chance at this tournament. This was a captain leading his men even after the battle was finished.

How many leaders in business have you seen take that approach? We more often see them focused on responsibility and blame for the loss. How do we instill not only this level of teamwork, but leadership in our people?

I wonder who we’ll see emerge from the Olympic games in a few weeks time. I wonder what lessons we’ll be able to take away from these games about how to create more passion, more life, in our work environments.

How much of this connection to class, leadership, and a connection to something bigger is cultural? Do you think it is the same for people outside the US?

You Are What You “Eat”

The events of the week here in Colorado Springs have been traumatic for a lot of people. The impact on the area will be felt for quite a long time. Of these things there is no doubt.

Having spent the last few days OUT of the area though I think I have experienced some immediate, tangible evidence of what we probably all already know. Our daily attitude can be, and for many IS, drastically shaped by the media we ingest.

Between our social media connections, email, texts, 24 hour news channels, tweets, grams, pins and pokes we’re bombarded by information and if we don’t turn it off from time to time it works like a hammer and chisel slowly shaping us into some sculpted form we may or may not have chose on our own.

Being in Southern California the last couple days took me out of the direct of influence of media about the fires here in Colorado.  Sure, CA has it’s own problems, but I was on a limited diet of media due to my schedule.

The mood that had pervasively taken over my psyche while I was here at home was decidedly lifted, even though circumstances at home hadn’t changed, my perspective was given a moments rest from the constant barrage of images and messages and I began to emerge from the funk I had been in.

As I watch our nation become more or more polarized around issues of politics, religion, and money I wonder if the constant hum of media in the background isn’t largely responsible. After all isn’t it the job of every new producer to turn molehills into mountains?

I’d like to suggest three practices, habits I’m going to try to build for myself, that I believe will help us take a few steps back from the brink that is eroding at our feet through constant media bombardment.

1. Disconnect from media inputs
Easy to say, harder to do. In this case though I don’t mean some sort of media fast for a few days. I mean regular scheduled intervals during the day where you just disconnect from media input for a minimum of three hours.

I choose that amount of time because I find that if I take a 3 hour flight somewhere my brain starts to think creatively on issues OTHER than what I’ve been hit with in media. It also cracks me up how fast people dive for their cell phones when a 3 hour flight hits the tarmac.

2. Develop a hobby
Yeah, sounds trite I know. What I strongly believe though is that when we engage in acts of creativity we turn on different parts of our brain. Rather than just analyzing information, chewing media stories down to the grisly bone, thumping away with the analytical side of our brains we need to engage the rest.

Developing a hobby that results in something tangible, a picture, a song, a poem, a cross-stitch, a doodle, a wood carving of a toothpick…leaves you with a reminder of the creative process. Sure, hobbies like running, biking, hiking etc are good but I’m after something that leaves me with that tangible evidence, that shareable fruit of my labors.

3. Dialogue with someone
This doesn’t mean argue and it doesn’t mean commiserate it means honest discussion about topics that interest you. Dialoguing broadens our perspective and opens up the possibility for new points of view. It also build relational bridges, far too many of which are being burned daily from what I can tell.

I really believe this combination can work as a prescription for changing moods and finding some relief from media created stress. I’ve gotten somewhat regular at 1 and 2 above. I need to practice 3 more often…any takers?

How much do you think media inputs effect your daily mood?

Thanks to all those who’ve been praying for Colorado. The last few days have brought some stability, we’ll see how we go from here.


Colorado is Burning

It’s hard to think of much else this evening.

There are currently 10 or 11 wild fires burning in Colorado. This one has already forced 32000 people out of their homes.

We’ve got friends on their way to stay with us here. At the moment their home is alright but just a 1/4 mile away from their house homes are burning. We’re a safe distance away from the flames here at our house but it’s hard to imagine what life will be like the next few weeks, even months, here in Colorado Springs.

With temperatures in the triple digits and winds gusting above 50 mph this fire has been burning for several days and the last report it was only 5% contained…tough to say how they calculate that.

Please pray for the fire fighters and decision makers.

Please pray for the folks whose home’s are threatened but still ok.

Please pray for the folks who’ve lost everything.

Please pray for rain.

There seems to be some possibility that this fire was started by arson. What would even be a suitable punishment if the person were caught?

Three Guidelines for Carpe Diem

My soon-to-be-college-freshman son Nathan had a job interview this past week with a major retailer. From his perspective this was ok, from his parents perspective this was crucial!

He cleaned up nicely, made it to the store on time and was asked to wait in one of the back rooms for his turn. Following the directions he was given lead him to a room empty of people. He found this odd but didn’t panic. He simply waited.

While he was waiting he noticed a sign on the wall, an acronym that described in this particular retailers approach to selling. He memorized it.

Some fifteen or twenty minutes later someone came looking for him and explained that he’d been given the wrong directions, he needed to go to a different room. No worries, we went and waited with the other candidates.

When his turn came the interview went as most do, standard questions about background, hobbies, why he wanted to work there etc. until the interviewer asked how Nate might approach selling to a customer. In his own words:

“Dad, I did a quick mind thesaurus, changed up a couple of words, made sure I didn’t use the exact acronym and basically told him what it said on the poster.”

Twenty minutes after he got home they called and offered him the job.

Other than just having a major proud dad moment I was struck by a couple things that Nate did that we can learn from when it comes to seizing opportunities that present themselves everyday.

1. Relax
He could have easily panicked at being in what was obviously the wrong room. He didn’t. Instead he looked around and found the opportunity, in this case the poster.

It is often that moment when things seem to be going the most stray that we need to relax, look around and see what opportunities our sidetrack off of the beaten path might provide. When we get off course we see things we wouldn’t have seen had we stayed on course. Relax.

2. Observe
He didn’t just sit, hands folded, and wait for someone to come looking. He didn’t scurry back out of the room and go in search of some more direction. He looked around…and found a gold mine.

Even when we’re off into the deep weeds if we can relax we then get the chance to look around in detail. Not a rushing blur as we race back to our intended path but a slow, deep breathed, survey of what is around us.

3. Capture
Nate didn’t panic and rush out, he didn’t just notice the poster and make mental note, he captured the information and that made the difference.

When we find ourselves outside the normal course and we relax, we observe we then need to make the effort to capture the opportunities that present themselves. How many of us would have gotten to the point in the interview where we WISHED we had looked more closely at that stinking sign?

Opportunity presents itself everyday, especially when we’re off the beaten path. Don’t panic. Relax, Observe and Carpe Diem.

What opportunities might be around you right now? What opportunities have you missed by not relaxing, observing, or capturing?


Book Review: Platform by Michael Hyatt

I am, by my own admission, a bit of a bibliophile. I have shelves and shelves of books many of which I have read cover to cover multiple times.

THIS book, however, will not be amongst them.

… yet it essential that you own it.

Curious? Good.


  • If you have a message to get out to the masses
  • If you’re an artist with a passion for creative expression
  • If you’re a fledgling politician
  • If you’re a pastor, a speaker, or just someone with an opinion you want heard on a global scale

You need this book.

So, why my statement above?
Because this book isn’t a cover to cover read.
This book is a start-in-the-spot-you-need-most, find-the next-important-bit-and-apply-it book.

You’ll probably find much you agree with, some things you’ve tried, some bits you’ve failed at, and some concepts you never even considered.

Michael makes it easy to understand how to build the platform that will allow you to more easily and readily connect with your audience, even if you have no idea who or how many they are, where they exist, or how to get to them today.

Whether you’re starting from scratch, struggling to get your blog to the next level, or trying to work out how to take your already decently successful game into the big leagues this book is chock full of practical instruction on how to build a platform that attracts and keeps a loyal following.

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World gives you the keys to understanding how to think about creating a successful product, how to get the word out in a a focused, targeted manner, and how to create fans out of mere contacts.

You’ll learn how to effectively leverage social media to create visibility for your product, amplification for your message, and connection to your audience.

With all that being said this book won’t find a home amongst my shelves of well read favorites.

Instead it will find itself on my desk, oft consulted, dog eared, highlighted, spine bent and flipped through. This is NOT a book to read, digest, and set aside. This book is a day to day reference tool you’ll want to keep within easy reach.

Check back 6 months, maybe a year from now, and we’ll see how well I’ve been able to apply it.

If you have a message to share, a product or idea to promote, or an audience to reach this book will become indispensable. Don’t let another day go by without having this on your shelf.

(Of course, what good is an endorsement without a link?)

What message do you have that is burning to get out? What product, or work of artistic expression do you want to share with the world? What are you waiting for?