Athletic Business held its 35th conference and trade show this past November in Orlando. For attendees, it's a chance to learn, to network and to see the latest tools to improve their programs and facilities. For me, the experience offers a renewed outlook on why I do what I do.
This year's keynote featured bestselling sportswriter Don Yaeger discussing what makes great teams great. In particular, he singled out the U.S. Olympic men's basketball program, tracing it from the "Dream Team" zenith of 1992 through its gradual decline. The teams that followed — the entire USA Basketball organization — had a culture problem, Yaeger explained. They had gone blind to their initial vision. They had forgotten their "Why."
USA Basketball brought the Why back with a series of "feel-it moments." Players lived and trained with soldiers. They exchanged dog tags. They were reminded that they weren't just athletes playing a game, but Americans representing a country. "You have to make them feel like something bigger than themselves," Yaeger said. You have to remind them of their Why.
This wasn't the first time a speaker had brought up the Why during the show, nor would it be the last. In an architectural roundtable, Jack Patton of RDG Planning & Design said he is reminded of his Why every time he sees his alma mater's football stadium at the University of Arizona. There's a feeling of team spirit that is undeniable, no matter how far removed he is from his undergrad years. His Why is "to fully impact the lives of individuals for decades to come." Every Arizona home game is a feel-it moment for him.
The AB Show happens to be one of my feel-it moments. The majority of my year is spent in an office, calling people on the phone, exchanging emails, sifting through news articles and combing the web to find the details I need to write a great article. Why do I do it? Because I love helping people. But I'm not just helping 40,000 subscribers; by sharing ideas with them, I'm helping multiple generations live happier and healthier lives.
My Why is expressed in every page of this magazine. But my feel-it moments come from our readers. The AB Show is an opportunity to not only get their feedback on the magazine and know that I have served them, but also to hear their success stories and know that I have helped them express their own Why.
This article originally appeared in the January | February 2017 issue of Athletic Business with the title "The AB Show: My "feel-it moment"" Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.