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Monday, December 29, 2014

Appreciate the Past!

Having now been in Gahanna for the past 12 years, I've had the fortunate blessing of getting to spend time with those that have been a part of the Gahanna traditions many more years than I.  Individuals like Phil Koppel, Ed Rarey, Neil Billman, Forest Lines, the Strait Family, Gary Kitsmiller, Jack Schmidt, Jerry McIntosh and certainly I cannot forget John Hickman.

I just returned to the office this afternoon after spending time with Mr. Hickman, Coach Hickman, John Hickman - in ICU at the hospital.  Along with his wife Janet, I sat and listened as John talked for 45 minutes about his great passion.  Sports!  According to Janet, this was the most Mr. Hickman spoke in several days and it was just great to hear him sharing his stories.  He spoke, somewhat at random jumping from topic to topic, team to team, school to school and even era to era.  Yet, he spoke!  As I stood next to his bed listening and adding when I could as the era turned to a more recent time, it was quite evident that these stories are and will forever be in his memory.

From Gahanna to OSU, to officiating the Olympics as a track and field official, John has great memories of his passion for sports.  Now I'm sure there are memories of family and friends that would've spurred different conversations had someone else been standing next to him today, but today it was me, and his mind was full of stories he seemed excited to share.

The good, no great news is Mr. Hickman seems like he's recovering and / or on his way to getting healthier.  The bad news...I'm not sure he's going to catch that charter to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl...maybe the National Championship.  Nevertheless, the news that I took away was there were news worthy stories that he likes to spread.  And they involve a lot of former coaches, athletes, families and teams from Gahanna's past.  So as I pulled away, said a prayer for Coach Hickman, I vowed to continue to appreciate those in the past, the past itself and the memories that many store with them as they extend their journey here in this life! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sharpen the Blade

It's hard to believe that we are entering the first week of October in the coming days.  This means a number of things;

1) We are midway through the 2014 Football Season
2) Many sports are finishing up their regular season and preparing for those final home games as  
     seniors on their respective teams
3) Golf and Tennis are getting set for post-season play as it begins this week

So, it's a realization of sorts of where we were - just a few short months ago, where we are - whether you're entering the post-season, midway through or approaching the final stretch of the regular season and where we're going - how is it that you choose to be remembered!

Regardless of what phase of the fall season you're in, we can all appreciate the importance of making certain that the values and standards that you stressed so heavily in the beginning of this season are continuing to be of emphasis.  Those values and standards were communicated with coaching staffs, players and parents.  They were discussed, instituted and implemented early on, making sure that everyone understood what is and will be expected. 
But just like the blades of your mower, it's always important for the efficiency and effectiveness of the product - that we take the time to
Sharpen the Blade


Over the course of the season, we often take for granted or simply forget that in order for your yard to have such a pristine cut - the blade must be sharp! 
Over the course of the season, there have been mows that were unobstructed - no twigs mowed over, no rocks that had surfaced to get in our way, yet there have also been mows that proved a bit more of a challenging environment.  That wind storm that blew through and left countless twigs in your yard; the new obstacles that somehow found their way into your yard (black walnuts or rocks); rain that springs new life and requires the yard to be maintained more often than you had planned.  Nevertheless, it is the overall use of  the mower - obstructed or unobstructed, that we must remind ourselves to take the time and Sharpen the Blade - for our yard to continue to look pristine when we're finished.

Athletics, business, education and life, is reflected in this very same manner.  Over time, we must remind ourselves that we have to Sharpen the Blade!  Don't let your blade get dull, because we simply neglect to pay it attention.  Your yard, your business, your life and your team will look much better in the end!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

BUILDING the Legacy

I think when you get a chance to remove yourself from your everyday environment and then return, it provides an opportunity to reflect and in my case, appreciate where you spend your days...nights...weekends...well the vast majority of your time.

Not only where, but with whom and the legacy in which they're defining.

A nice summer vacation in San Diego was a great experience with my family and possibly a blog for another day, but in regards to a reflection on Gahanna Lincoln...boy are we blessed!

As we returned from Port Columbus and heading home, it was simply natural that we circled the stadium to gauge the progress of the stadium construction while away.  It's coming along and due for completion in the coming weeks.  However, that's just a small piece of the blessings that we enjoy in Gahanna Athletics.  A significantly small that an oxymoron...significantly small?  Anyway my point.

Since we began our Athletic Facility Improvement project, all through private donations, partnership and sponsorships - I have seen firsthand the many blessings that individuals, families and Gahanna businesses have done in support of the $2 million in privately funded improvements for our athletic facilities.  They have unselfishly, sacrificially paid it forward for the athletes and programs today and those to come.  The Bleacher Project is yet another piece.

I think, without offending anyone that has given to our projects...seriously, without the slightest intention of minimizing anything of what you've given...a much greater blessing that we enjoy in the Gahanna Lincoln Athletic programs is not the dollar amounts given, but the legacy that so many are leaving and building.  Those are the legacy of coaches leading our programs, the student-athletes working and competing everyday, the parents and boosters helping to support them, and of course the partnerships I speak of.

We have great people guiding, leading and supporting our programs!

That's a fact!

The accomplishments both in titles and facilities is a direct result!

So in reflection, Thank You!  Thank to the coaches, parents, businesses, families, alumni, individuals, and friends of our programs...Thank You!
You're providing an example for every student-athlete in Gahanna what it means to be supportive, generous, blessed and sacrificial in the blessings that have been bestowed upon you!

Go Lions!  All of you!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Make Your Bed and Don't Ever Ring the bell!

There is absolutely nothing more that needs to be added once you watch and listen to this speech!

Monday, March 31, 2014

"Do Today What Others Won't; Do Tomorrow What Others Can't" - Smoke Jumpers Creed

There's a Chinese proverb that says; "When it's obvious a goal cannot be reached, don't adjust the goal, adjust the action steps."

As much as I would like you to believe that I'm very philosophic and regularly read that of the ancient Chinese proverbs, I'm not.  However, what I do enjoy is a great leadership book and stealing nuggets of information that can better serve out student-athletes, coaches and athletic programs at Gahanna Lincoln.  "The Way of the Seal" by Mark Divine, is a great read and one that would recommend.  Although I'd love to devote this blog to my thoughts on the WOS, I'd much rather share about what's happening now at Gahanna Lincoln Athletics.

It has been my drive to create an environment at Gahanna where our athletic programs and facilities are on par with, or even elevated above those in our conference.

It should certainly be expected! 

Why wouldn't it? 

We hold those very same expectations upon our coaches and programs! 

To get better...To compete...and to win! 

To my amazement throughout my 11 years at Gahanna, our coaches have done just that and beyond, with resources far fewer and lesser than our competing schools in our conference, let alone the state.

So I will assume this latest endeavor of building new home bleachers in our stadium, will not come as a surprise to you. 

I expect that it won't! 

So please don't act surprised when I come to you asking for a donation!  Lol

Do today what others won't!

Since 2003, we...You, have stood shoulder to shoulder together in tackling every initiative, every project - driven to enhance the experience, the competitiveness and the expectations that we have on our athletic programs.  You've risen to meet every challenge...$1,391,000 million worth of privately funded athletic projects for Gahanna Lincoln. 

ALL completed through donations, partnerships and business sponsors.

* Wilbur C. Strait Sr Field

* Dubbs Roush Press Box

* Heartland Bank Baseball Press Box and bleachers

* Ed Rarey Track & Field Complex

* New Gymnasium Bleachers and Auxilliary Gym Flooring

* Upgraded; Weight room, tennis court fencing, softball backstops, baseball field renovations, scoreboards, scorers tables - just to name a few!

That's an impressive list!  You did that...when others wouldn't.

So here we are again...New Home Bleachers in our Stadium.

There were three major components that went into this as I contemplated the decision of finding the funding to make this project happen.

1)    Safety!  Look at that picture.  The foundation is shifted and we've gotten our 40 plus years out of these bleachers.

2) Our programs deserve better!

3) If you're going to do this, do it right the first time!  More than likely, it will be here long after my time at Gahanna is through!

So here we are! Doing today what others won't! 

I have the greatest of confidence that you will embrace this initiative and join myself and countless others that will make this....
A reality!  For our school, community, and our athletic programs.

We've never been one to back down from a challenge, even when that challenge is to the tune of $700,000 to upgrade this facility.  The demolition of our existing visitors bleachers has begun, soon you will see a new foundation being set and by summers end, a new bleacher structure that will seat our Gahanna "Home" spectators on the west side of here more staring into the sun for you!

How can you help? 

Email me.  Call me. Flag me down at any of our sporting events and I will be happy to give you a brochure on how you can make your commitment. This is a project a long time coming and I can't wait for you to see it!  Pay it forward for the good of the programs today, tomorrow, forty years from now and for the safety of all! 

And let's face it, won't it be less awkward if you reach out to me before I come calling on you for a commitment?

Thank you in advance!

And Go Lions!