The summer of 2023 was one of extremes. Record heat waves, torrential rains, wildfires and drought (depending on where you are located) plagued much of the nation. The athletics, fitness and recreation industries were all impacted in different ways. Whether you were a high school football coach adapting or outright cancelling practices due to 110-degree temperatures, or a rec center manager budgeting for abnormally high facility cooling bills, the challenges were real and widespread.
Regardless of whether our whacky weather is the new normal, having emerged on the other side of what was the hottest summer on record, it feels, in retrospect, like an oddly unifying experience. Regardless of your political views or any differences you might have with others (you’re not a Bears fan, are you?), if you endured weeks of unrelenting and uninhabitable heat, you did it alongside many of your peers.
As we head to AB Show 2023 in Baltimore, Md. (Nov. 1-4), it’s worth taking stock in our shared challenges and struggles, as well as the value in comparing notes with those in the same boat. In his column on page 20 of this issue, Chris Stevenson highlights the value of “strategic networking,” noting that connecting with others at events such as AB Show has led to relationships that have “transformed” both his personal and professional lives.
Whether it’s a macro concern, such as wild weather, or a micro concern, such as dealing with a personnel issue, if we are open to the idea that we are not alone — there are others out there who have faced and overcome similar situations — our chances of success only increase. Connecting with those who have been there, done that, can change everything. A quote by the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards that hangs in the AB Headquarters sums up my point perfectly, “When you find the right bunch, miracles happen. You are far greater together than you are individually.”
Which is to say, we again look forward to seeing the right bunch in Baltimore at AB Show 2023, and the miracles that happen there and beyond.