Time to Challenge myself again.

It’s been quite awhile since I was engaged in this blog or my social media in general.  The reason is….. boredom….. After the T-Birds Hockey season ended with a loss on the last day of the season, I was bored, and wondering what new adventure lay ahead.  I felt pretty good about how I’d stepped in after the season started and put some ” butts in the seats” for them, being the team representative to the Bellevue Chamber, and generally talking up the sport and getting people interested in it on the Eastside in general and Bellevue in particular.  My workout routine got pretty messed up during the weird hours I worked and I really needed to get back into moving my body on a regular basis.  I know that I’m sharper mentally if I’m working out and needed a new shot in the arm so to speak.

So, after going to 36 Hockey games this year, and watching these young guys excite 5,000 people a night with a losing club, I wondered….. is it possible for a 55 year old dude, who has only skated about 3 times in his life to learn to skate and play hockey? So I started sniffing around and found learn to skate classes, and saw that there were beginner hockey lessons and leagues for beginners of all ages.  My word….. do I dare?    First I had to break it to the wife…. 10 years ago it was that I was going to go learn to ride a horse and learn the ways of a Cavalryman.  That experience taught me very valuable lessons on leadership, camaraderie and friendship that I hold dear to this day, and I wouldn’t trade that in for anything in the world. 

The highlight of that experience was participating and leading a company of Cavalry on the Little Bighorn battlefield back in 2009.  I retired from that hobby shortly after that trip knowing in my soul that that was

highlight of my Cavalry experience and there was no way could ever top that feeling in that hobby.

So, back to breaking it to the wife… her reaction was very similar to the horse thing… ” What?  Good god… haven’t you gotten over this mid life crisis yet?”  I politely pointed out to her that this was a mild form of a mid life crisis and one far less damaging than a motorcycle, chasing vodka and young women, or tens of other things that I could do that would be crazier.  But she knew… she knew… I wanted to learn to skate, and if I could, then by Gawd,  I was going to go try to play hockey.   The biggest question for me was could I learn to skate and could my old body take the beating, could the legs take it?

I signed up for a 7 week learn to skate session at one of our local Ice Skating Arenas, bought a cheap pair of Hockey Skates and went for it.  I must say the day of the first lessons, I had the jitters cause I really didn’t know if I could stand on the damn things much less point and move in an intended direction.  But, with most things in life, the mind wondering what the worst case scenario will be is much worse than what happens and I started in on this new journey.  The people in the lessons were pretty much like me beginners.  I wasn’t the worst, wasn’t the best… somewhere in the middle.  My two years of working out with P90X sure helped my in the Core strength and leg department however and I pretty quickly started picking up the little things and muscle memory actions needed to skate, turn, stop, etc.  I committed to twice a week for 15 weeks, one lesson, and once a week free skate, where I could play, challenge and work out.  Hard work, people with much experience skating would give me tips and encourage me to try new things and I started to get comfortable. One of those guys who encouraged me to try it was my friend and dentist, Vidas Cemarka, who’s been playing hockey most of his adult life.   I’m sitting in his chair one day and I mention that I’m considering this, he tells me if I ever get serious to let him know because he can outfit me with most of the gear I’ll need to get started.  A HUGE obstacle out of the way.

Because hockey gear aint cheap. So, for a case of Fat Tire Beer, he sets me up with everything but a helmet and skates. Talk a bout a great deal!!!

So, I see this flyer… ( that is usually the start of most of our problems huh guys?)  and it’s an 4 week beginners hockey course for adults. twice a week for  a month, and the flyer claims this beauty…” no previous skating experience needed.”

Well I knew whoever signs up with no skating experience would be in a hell of a lot worse shape than me, so I went for it.

I’ll tell ya it’s a hell of a lot harder to skate and try to hold onto a rubber puck with people chasing and hacking at you like you were a rat on the dining room floor than it looks.  All the while the instructors are yelling  ” KEEP YOUR HEAD UP!!”  And then every time you put your head up to locate a team mate to pass it to, you lose the puck because you weren’t looking at it.  But each and every lesson and time you take the ice, you get juuuuussssttt a little better. This class covers all aspects of the game, but it flys by you quickly, and with two instructors to 43 guys and gals in this class, you don’t get much personal time. So it’s important to do a lot of learning on your own time, like most things, the more you put into it the better you will be.

And after half the class was over, a rep from the Greater Seattle Hockey League came by at the end of the class and told us that they’d like to form up 3 teams from this class for their beginners league that starts up in mid May. Most of us realized that were having a great time and took the paperwork and sent it in to play in an organized league.

One of my passions is taking something that is disorganized, or broken and organizing it or putting the things in place to make it better.  So, when I got the email telling me that I’m on a team, and our first game is a few days away, and that I wasn’t going to be able to practice with them or even know them b4 the first game, I communicated with everyone and set up a team website and just tried to at least communicate with everyone prior to the first game.  And that first game as an eye opener. We didn’t have positions, and if we did, we didn’t know our responsibilities, had no clue where or when we were supposed to do what.  I took over the Captains duties, and knew one guys from the class who’d played before, ( he played goalie, but now was a skater)  I asked him if he’d coach us, and he agreed.  We’ve played two games, lost the first 12 – 2,  believe it or not, we all started getting better the second game, we played smarter, better and still lost 10 – 0.

We have the only team without one single experienced player and it shows.  We’re practicing now, and have set lines, this will allow each of us to know our roles, and even though were the worst team in the lowest division, were having fun, and it’s quite a challenge ahead of us.  We had to find a team name, logo, learn each other’s names and faces and THEN get on the ice and compete with established teams.  It’s going to be a work in progress, but one worth working at.

Check in on our Blue Yetis Division 8 Hockey Team from time to time and see if indeed we can meet the challenge of improvement, we’re sure going to work hard at it.



Down to the wire ~ Seattle vs Everett St. Pattys day 2012

So it’s almost over…  after 70 games, after our second half collapse that sent us to the gutter of the WHL. After it appeared that we couldn’t beat anybody.

Looking at the last week of the schedule and the way this team has struggled in 2012 it looked like a foregone conclusion.  A third straight year missing the playoffs, disappointed fans, staff, players and coaches.

Then a beautiful thing happened last week.  After yet another drubbing by the Portland Winterhawks sent this team to the brink of elimination.  We took the ice against our rivals from Everett and beat em.  Good game, good effort, the kids played with passion and a purpose.  The real test would be the next game, a Tuesday nite home game vs Spokane.  The Chiefs have some great players who seemed to out hustle, skate and generally pound us pretty well the last few times we’ve played them.  And as soon as the T-Birds took the ice against Spokane on Tuesday, you could just see something different.  A little swagger?  We started hitting them from the  opening horn..  and it was like this was a different team.  THIS team was playing for their playoff lives and was not going to beat themselves. It was going to be up to the Spokane Chiefs to beat them.  After a few months of lackadaisical play, of seemingly disinterested line play….. this team was now playing it’s best hockey.  The result on Tuesday was another victory and another notch on the confidence belt for the Seattle Thunderbirds.

And let me say this…… all season long, despite the long losing streaks, despite getting hammered for game after game after the start of the new year, these Seattle fans have kept cheering.  They haven’t had that much to cheer about, but they keep coming, they keep cheering for their favorite players and they’re loyalty and commitment to our team is very impressive to me.  Because it’s all about the experience, the end to end action.  Seeing a young kid like Connor Honey get called up midseason and watch his play and confidence improve each and every game.  Watch him take on a tougher demeanor, and seeing him score goals and do the dirty work in the corners.   And seeing how Seth Swenson has come along as the ” throw in ” when Portland dangled two first round draft picks to us for Marcel Nobels.  A deal we just couldn’t pass up,  nobody gives two first round draft picks for a player they’ll have for just 15 games or so.  Nobody.  Nobody but Portland that is,  They’re serious about this season.

And after beating Everett and Spokane in back to back home games, it appears as if the T-Birds are serious too.

So last night, Friday March 16, 2012, our Seattle Thunderbirds roll into Spokane to take on those pesky Chiefs again, but this time we’ll be in their building and another hurdle and test is before us.  The game was televised on Root Sports, the last game of a nifty little broadcast package put together to help showcase the US division teams during this second half of the season.

I won’t go into the details of the game, but the swagger and ” something special is happening” feeling continued as we beat em again…. took the early lead, and then when they’d answer, we’d answer.  And just as so many times this season we’ve either lost the lead or the game with a later third period goal.  It’s our turn, as an errant shot reflects of the skate of a Thunderbird into the net at around the 17:00 minute mark….. We now have the lead and despite a furious rush by Spokane pulling their goaltender with two minutes to go… we hold on for a GREAT road win and yet another confidence point.

Mixed with Everett’s loss to Tri-Cities last night, and the fact that Everett comes to OUR house tonight and the fact that were both TIED for the 8th, and last playoff spot remaining… it just doesn’t get any better.

Expect a full house, full of both Everett and Seattle fans, full of fast, furious hard-hitting action @ the ShoWare Center tonight  as a Seattle victory will claim that elusive playoff spot we’ve been playing for the last three years. And in addition, a Seattle victory will kick the Everett Silvertips out of the playoffs for the first time in their short history as a franchise.

And the way the Seattle team has peaked now, at the right time, vs the right opponents….   It’s our time.   Log on to www.whl.ca  tomorrow morning to see if we indeed have pulled it out.

Either way, it’s playoff hockey atmosphere.  It’s a do or die game pretty much for both teams.

If we lose, we go to Portland tomorrow and must win that one to stay alive.  But we’ll win tonight, and claim our prize..

And that prize is the final playoff spot for the WHL’s US Division.

Puck drops @ 7:05 at the ShoWare Center in Kent, WA

1st Half of my1st Season selling Hockey in Seattle…..

I’ve been working for the Thunderbirds now for 2 months, I feel like a very lucky guy at this point of my sales career.  What more could a guy ask for at the twilight of his career than to be selling one of his passions?  After all, isn’t that what sales and life is all about?  Most of us get to go to work and then AFTER hours concentrate on what we love to do and only dream about getting paid for it.   I accepted this job knowing full well I was starting from scratch again and would need to build it slowly and be very patient… and that’s where one my major weakness’ comes in.  I’m not the best in the patience department. It’s difficult for me to not see quick results.  However I’m making the calls, and making the calls, inviting friends, family and business owners out to see our product.  And our product is worth a look.  The more I learn about the WHL ( Western Hockey League) the more impressed I am.  A first class developmental league that gives young men who aspire to be NHL players the tools and knowledge to be not only great Hockey players, but great human beings as well..

Quick recap:  The players who play for the Seattle Thunderbirds and the WHL range in age from 16 – 20 years old.  These players are no strangers to travel as they’ve rode buses and cars all over Canada and the US in order to live their passion. The are not professionals , this is a Major Junior Hockey League.  The WHL is the # 1 feeder league into the NHL. So that fact alone speaks volumes on the quality of this league and why it’s an honor to play in it.  These players live with billet families who take them in as their own, feed them, house them, and become their surregate parents for 6 months during the season.  Most of the players still attend high school and then every day after school, they go to practise, then it’s homework time, etc.  just like a normal kid.  The difference is that they get to play in front of 5,000 screaming fans on game nights.  Which is a test of wills and maturity in its own right.

The league consists of 22 teams, with 17 of those based in Canada and one division of 5 US teams.

Seattle Thunderbirds, Everett Silvertips, Portland Winterhawks, Spokane Chiefs and the Tri-City Americans.

Each teams General Manager must scout and draft young hockey talent throughout North America in order to put a competetive team on the ice.  When they do find a diamond in the rough, that player is quickly drafted into the NHL and gone.  This process is very much like a college program in that the best of the best go pro quicker and the absolute need to keep filling the pipeline of players and young talent into the ranks is everything.  The fans of this league are die hard.  They realize ( for the most part) that these young men are working hard, trying to be discovered by that NHL scout.  However the fact is that our attendance is ( like the pros) driven by wins and losses.  And just like the pro’s our fans take ownership and hurt when we hurt, and celebrate when we celebrate.

There has not been too much celebration in Seattle the last few years. The wins have not come to regular, and the team decided to bring in a new Head Coach this season to turn the Thunderbird ship around.  Enter Steve Konowalchuck a former NHL player and assistant coach.   He played parts of 15 seasons in the NHL with the Washington Capitols and Colorado Avalanche starting in 1992 until his retirement in 2006.  After his retirement, Konowalchuk remained within the Avalanche organization and served as an assistant coach to Joe Sacco during the 2009–10 and 2010–11 season.[1] In 2011, he was named head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League.

It’s been an up and down first half of the season for us.  As of today, 1/7/12 our record is 16 – 20 – 0 – 1 . The zero represents overtime losses, and the 1 is for a shoot out loss.

They are all good teams in this league, and like baseball, any of them can beat another on a given day.  The talent is rich, exciting fast and able.  The really good teams in our division, Tri City, Kamloops, Portland, Vancouver, Spokane…. all have had recent success in the wins and loss category.  They seem to play with more confidence during crunch time and have figured out how to tie the mental and physical part together and win consistantly.   8 teams per division qualify for the post season and we currently hold the 7th position in the western conference, 3 points ahead of the Victoria Royals.

When a young team like Seattle is rebuilding, like any franchise the patience meter must remain high.  There is no doubt we have talented young players, just like the rest of the league does.  The difference is the confidence and belief that they can win every night.  Night in and night out consistancy is what seperates the men from the boys.  We have great nights when we can play with anyone, one of my first games as a employee of the team saw us shut out the Tri-City Americans behind the brilliance of Calvin Pickard, our goalie.  We were outshot but played a smart, hard game.  It was a sight to behold.  Then there’s games like last Wed’s game in Everett.  Everett comes into that contest winners of 6 of their first 36 games of the season.  They are in a major re-building project themselves.  And after scoring the first goal in the first period, we get smoked by them. Going down 5 – 2 to the worst team in the league was a big confidence stealer and you could see it again last night.

The last two seasons saw Seattle fold up after the Holidays and it cost them the playoffs. We are in for a tough test of wills for the second half of the season.

Last night we lost to Tri-City for the 19th straight time in their arena. This was our first Televised game in the big time this season, and we  were horribly outplayed, outhustled, outskated, outshot… well you get the picture.  It wasn’t pretty.  They were clearly better in ALL areas of the game. A chance to show the Seattle sports community that were back and that we CAN compete with anyone. ( Queue the sound of a car getting into a head on )

And tonite we try to bounce back at home vs the Spokane Chiefs another Divisional rival after dropping our 3rd straight game.  But there’s also the beauty.  New game… at home…. hope springs eternal, right?!?!?  Another pretty big test for the team and the learning continues.

And regardless of what happens tonight, tomorrow or for the rest of the season, I get to go out and talk Hockey all over town.  Because I don’t sell Wins and Losses.. I sell the experience, the drama, the crowd, the League….  well…. you get the picture.

Here’s a great clip of the youngsters as they are starting their careers.  Go to the 1:50 point of this clip to see it.

Goals, Ramblings and Thoughts

So…… here we are……. each and every day.    We have our careers, we have our lives.  We do whatever it is WE do, and strive to be better at it.  We battle to deflect the bad, and attract the good.  Well, at least that’s the plan.

Lets not beat around the bush , it isn’t easy out here.  We all face the reality of getting our collective asses up each and every day and react to whatever the hell is happening around us.

Those of us in sales and even those not in sales, have their daily goals and chores that is needed to catch the carrot.  Be it numbers, projects, what ever the task, there is always a set plan on how to get the damn thing.

In every sales seminar, tape, video, class etc. all say make a plan and work it. It’s true that you need a basic plan on how you’re going to achieve your goal…. any goal..

It doesn’t have to be sales, it can be financial, physical, personal and family goals as well.  If you want to get anyware in this life, you can’t just wake up each and every day and react…. 

Hear this again…. IF YOU WANT TO GET ANYWHERE IN THIS LIFE, YOU CAN’T JUST WAKE UP EACH AND EVERY DAY AND REACT!!! You need to think a little on a plan fergawdsakes..

The plan doesn’t need to be long term, or that detailed.  In fact … and here where your reacting skills come in…..  the plan changes because the priority changes.   What gets thrown at you today can put yesterday’s priority to second place.

so, make your plan, and change the damn thing as often as you need to to keep on track.

And here’s where your organization skills are the KEY.

I’ve been in sales for 35 years, and my number one skill during that time is organization.  Coming up with my plan, working that plan, and figuring out a way to not waste that plan by being disorganized or lame in it’s execution.  For example, in sales, you make the calls, and it can take 10 – 50 attempts at contacting a qualified lead before you reach them.  How you keep them on your radar is the key in working this plan.  The same goes on in any job.  How do you organize it all?

There is no perfect system only what works for you, but….it has to be something..  Stop the damn post it notes all around your computer monitor.  Gather up all the pieces of paper that litter your desk and make a spreadsheet on your things to do, things to remember, things NOT to forget… Save it on your desktop and ……most importantly…… don’t FORGET to check it every day.

Now this ramble is not intended to teach you the best way to organize.. there are thousands of programs available for that, and the spreadsheet idea above is just for making a point, and the point is… you can’t focus on you and your goals if you can’t find anything on your desk, closet, briefcase, car…  It makes you friggin crazy.. or should I say it makes ME crazy when I’m disorganized.

I can’t do a damn thing properly when I’m not taking care of ME.  When I eat like crap, I feel like crap, when I feel like crap, I AM CRAP.

So…….. 2011 is GONE…. You and only you are driving your 2012 bus… It’s up to you and you alone how you’re going to navigate the new waters you find you’re riding on each and every morning.

Stop eating crap, stop sitting on your ass, and start managing your life like you know you can.  Because you can…. you can….. you can…….. and you must.

Do it because it’s hard, do it because you think you can’t, then analize how you feel about what you’ve done.

There is NO other option.

OH… one last thing…. don’t forget to laugh…. it drives the whole mess.

Branding… Marketing…… Hockey in Seattle… the first month.

After 30 years in sales, selling everything from Hand Knitting yarns, Baseball gloves, Branded clothing, promotional products and awards and finally working in the Daily Deal industry, I now find myself selling a product that I wish I’d been selling all along.

And I want to thank the Seattle Thunderbirds Hockey Club for taking a chance on an old vet like me and letting me be a part of a very exciting and entertaining industry. It just feels right and natural for me to be here and I’m grateful for the experience.

I’ve been a sports fan my entire life, mostly baseball.  As a kid my dad brought me to see the Oakland Seals way back in 1969.  I’d never been to a Hockey game before, and after the 3rd period when everyone was getting up to leave, I asked my dad what they were doing, wasn’t there another period to go?  He smiled and explained to me it wasn’t quarters.. it was periods and there were only 3.  It was the beginning of a new sports experience for Tim Shaw, then 13 years old.  I prodded and begged, and I think we went to about 3 more games that season.  I quickly became a huge fan of not only the game, but of the team.  I started following them on the road, watching the box scores and as the team struggled and eventually were sold and moved to Cleveland, I struggled with them and mourned when they left.  However the game had a grip on me. After the team moved, I did not attend another Hockey game of any kind until last year.
I was working @ Living Social, and my job at the time was to launch the new Snohomish County territory for them.  My first order of business was to find the best entertainment, places to go, things to see, eat, see or hear in that area.  And my old Hockey roots came back and I set my sights on the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League.

I was a bulldog with them,  I called at least ten times and finally, I’m sure the business manager was sick and tired of listening to my voice mails and called me back for a meeting.  To make a long story short, I signed them up with Living Social, attended about 4 games that season and my love for the sport was back. It was very exciting how the small town of Everett had bonded with their team, and how they branded their team within the community and how that community embraced them.  When my contract ended and the territory was launched, I found my attention kept creeping towards the WHL and their marketing, attendance figures, transactions, etc.  I was a huge fan again.  But I was also a veteran Sales and Marketing professional who at this stage in his career, was going to keep working but wanted to something he’s always wanted to do.  I live about 40 miles from Everett, so I called the Seattle Thunderbirds, who reside in Kent, WA and play at the brand new ShoWare Center.  And I offered my services to them and after a few meetings.. here I am. Trying to spread the word about this very affordable, quick and exciting entertainment venue, that many in my home town of Bellevue, WA don’t know about.

I have no rose-colored glasses on the task at hand.  This team has a great staff, sales force, PR and Marketing dept.  But selling Major Junior hockey in this town, or any town takes patience, consistency and care.

Most of my early calls were to contacts I’ve made through out my career, and ask each time when the last time ( if ever ) they’ve been out to see our team.  Some have, once or twice, but most have not.  So my first job is getting them out here for the first time to witness for themselves what goes on.   I have so much to learn here about the psychology of selling this experience. A casual observer will tell you it’s all about the W’s and L’s. However I am NOT selling Wins and Losses.  I am a Hockey Entertainment Consultant, and I work in the Fan relationship management center.  Specifically my job is to call on Corporations, clubs, schools, etc and be a pied piper of our brand.  Suite sales, group ticket offers, etc.

let me ask this:

In today’s economy, is it more important or less important to spend quality time with your best clients and prospects?

Is it more important, or less important today to really recognize your top employees.

How valuable is it to your business to get your top clients and prospects into a neutral environment in a relaxed atmosphere where you can spend quality time with them outside of their offices?

This type of entertainment is a 3 hour window where your competitors are NOT there, and their spam filters are really down.  The excitement of the crowd, the energy in the building, sharing and bonding with them, a moment in time where you both can remember the experience later. Hmm…..  good stuff.

Plus one of the major things I like about this challenge is that I’m not asking my clients and friends to go spend $200.00 a person to attend  a sporting event.  You can rent a 12 person suite from me on a Tuesday night watching world class Hockey for as little as $ 360.00.   And let me say that in sales and life, success is based on perception.  perceived value of a corporate suite at one of the arena’s or stadiums in this town is worth two to four times that amount.  My point is, you don’t have to have the big bucks to look like you have the big bucks and KNOW how to get the job done.

So my first month on the job, is like the first month in any job.  learning, listening, asking questions.   Seeing what works, what doesn’t and why.

When the horn sounds, and the lights are turned way down…. and when the announcer says ”  GET READY FOR SOME HOCKEY!!!”   And these young men take the ice to the sounds of 5,000 people cheering for them, it STILL gives me a chill down my spine.  And if gives me a chill down my spine, imagine what it must do for them down on the ice.

This is a worthwhile cause worthy of my 110% each and every day.  I want to make a difference here, and help put more fannies in these seats.

If you live in the Seattle area, and have NOT attended a game, you owe it to yourself to do so.  There is no better sporting venue in town that gives you what we can give you.

email me for information on how we can make your next corporate event of group outing one to remember with the Seattle Thunderbirds.


next post will have our team hit the half way mark of the season, we’ll discuss the team, league and team attendance, and I’ll get deeper into my observations of my new challenge

The following video is showing our yearly teddy bear toss for charity, once a season, after the T-Birds score their first goal of the game, fans have brought teddy bears to toss on the ice to be given to local charities.  It’s a great fun, feel good evening and a great experience.   This year’s sponsor is Fred Meyer, and this season’s Teddy Bear toss is scheduled for Jan 28, 2012 vs the Portland Winterhawks.

Career and Life Cycles

 It’s been some time since my last blog post.

Job, life, things to do had made me busier than a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest. And as the job and the things that were getting thrown at me kept coming at an ever-increasing pace, I had to step back and think this crap over.

I turned 55 this year… ( My GAWD)  and this sneaks up on you, I’ll tell ya.  It was yesterday that I was smoking weed in the grove at Del Valle High School in California as a clueless kid.  The clueless kid part is still around, however the rest of the stuff has gone through some big changes.  However I’m proud to say I’ve been able to maintain my immaturity to a sophomoric level that would amaze most people. Now most birthday’s have come and gone without much thought or reflection, but 55… (My GAWD) is not one of them. 55 is ….. well, let’s put it this way.  Remember when we were in High School?  How old 30 seemed? We just couldn’t imagine what things would be like when we were that … well….. OLD. So, 30, 40, and yes even 50 passed me by with not much of a whimper….. But 55…. (My GAWD),  that’s the year my mind and body is trying to tell me that I should be done.  Retire, travel, be wise, be comforting…. be a mentor or some crap…  Then I look at the bank account and say ”  not enough dude, not enough.”  And wonder how the hell I’m going to make that 5 -10 million it now takes to retire in S T Y L E…

And when my mind goes there, and the daily crap of having a J.O.B. comes up you wonder really….”How the hell am I going to do this?”  Well, stop wondering, because the blueprint is not that hard.  Maybe the 5 – 10 mil is out of reach, maybe not.  Now part of being 55 ( My GAWD)…. years old is that by now I’ve developed quite an intolerance for BS and what just doesn’t work for me.

I’ve made a huge life decision… that I will NOT do something that I cannot find the passion for.  I will NOT spend the better part of my life doing something I do not LOVE.

And heres the rub….  Passion is a fleeting bird.   It’s easy to dive into something only to have the momentum die a quick and unnoticed death.  In today’s business world things change so fast, policy changes, and rightfully so, if you can’t keep up, you get left behind.  You have to adapt and keep the fire baby, easy to say, not so easy to do.

So, along that line I made the decision about 3 months ago to change my career, I left my job at Living Social to contemplate being…. here it comes… get ready..  55 (My GAWD)…

So, I found myself really wondering what the hell I was going to get into at this point in my sales and marketing career.  I know what I WANTED to do, I’ve always wanted to work in sports somehow.  I scanned everything I could find in that area, and it seemed way out of touch, out of reality. I called one of my previous contacts in my last job without any success.  I posted my resume on Monster.com and other sites.

I got job offers from Insurance companies, car dealers, manufacturing companies.  Various things that would earn OK, but when I thought of doing the job, It was a long and huge  Y A W N…. which made me think that I may be in trouble here.  Is there anything that is within reach for me at this age that I’ll go into with the passion and drive and commitment that I personally HAVE to have to perform at the level I’m used to performing at?   And I kept coming back to the sports thing. So I took a chance.

Before I tell you about that chance, let me say that when I was a kid, my dad took me to my first Ice Hockey game in Oakland, CA.  As a lifelong baseball fan, baseball was the all and end all for me as far as sports goes.  I couldn’t imagine any other sport getting that grip on me. Until my first Seals game in 1971…  Holy Crap… I was hooked, fast, furious, action.  Hard hitting aggressive athletes.. As I grew up I went to a few games, but my teenage years became a blur, I went into the service and stopped following hockey.  The Seals were sold and moved to… Cleveland  fergawdsakes!!  And I lost the sport for quite a long time.  Then last year I did some business with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL.  I went to about 5 games and, WOW… the passion was back.  I’d forgotten how fun, what entertainment, how exciting watching Ice Hockey can be.  My winter sport had been the NBA, but when the Sonics were stolen from us, my passion for Pro Sports and their ways and the pattern I’d been seeing just was a turn off.  But this was different, this was Major Jr. Hockey, the last step towards turning pro for 16 – 20-year-old NHL wanna be’s. And it’s good hockey, these are the best of the best at their ages who have left home, for many, for the first time, and experience what this life is about.  Long bus rides, going to High School in a strange town, living with people they do not know.  Not an easy life for these boys.  But, they’re living their dreams, and there is something very magical about that concept, something that is very appealing to us all.  So you have to admire them, you have to support them.  And by god, I wanted to support them somehow and get in on that passion that they have when they take the ice in front of 5,000 screaming Ice Hockey fans.

And after a career in sales, in advertising, and in marketing, I just told myself that I have to go for what I want and do my best to make it happen.  If it doesn’t work out… fine, but I owed it to myself to go down swinging and not sitting on the damn bench. So I asked myself once again… ” what do YOU want to do?”  If you had ONE job opportunity today, right now, what would you jump on?

And I kept coming back to the WHL and the local Team, the Seattle Thunderbirds. I started paying attention to both of them, watching the attendance figures, watching the local coverage, the W’s and the L’s.  Wondering the whole time, where I might fit in, how could I posture my years of experience to help and do something I’d always wanted to do. So, one day, after scanning Craig’s list for…. J.O.B.S… yawn……   I just grabbed the phone, called down there and one thing led to another and by GAWD….. I’m now working for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL, selling Season tickets, Group tickets and being the Sales and Marketing guy for a sports team that I’ve really wanted to do for some time.  Ice Hockey is a great sport and I’m going to be the damn pied piper of Hockey in the Puget Sound.  It’s not going to get me to that 5 Mil I was talking about anytime soon, however, it will put a huge smile on my face that’s worth 5 million to me.  And I’m going to be the BEST damn rep they’ve ever laid their eyes on, and you can’t put a price tag on any of that.

Facing the daily Challenges ~ Head on !

I’ve been absent from my blog for a while, new challenges, new focus.  It’s easy for us humans to get stuck into a groove of the daily grind. We do the same things day in and day out and really forget to challenge ourselves to go for more.  We justify it by telling ourselves, ” I’m fine, I don’t need more, I’ve been doing the same thing for years and I’m OK with it.”  And if you tell yourself that and it’s TRUE…. that’s great.  But for me after 25  years of the same job, the same daily routine, I’d had enough. 

 My journey for change really started with me deciding that the last 25 years or so of my life were NOT going to be lived unhealthy.  I was tired all the time, overweight, soft and vournable to too many things . By that I mean, I was letting the influences of the world define me.  Watching the daily news in it’s depressing dramatization of the daily horror that surrounds us gave me the feeling of ” who gives a crap? It doesn’t matter what I do, this stuff is going on all around me, and I give up.”   I WAS HANGING ON WAITING TO DIE!!   I turned 51 and decided that enough was enough.  I had to TRY to find passion, energy and focus to the mundane existence I had created for myself.

People handle stress and challenges in many different ways.  Some blow up with temper, ( A symptom that we are seeing more and more these days )  and if you talk to anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you that this was me, a very short fuse  a trait that I’ve never been proud of, but one that I could not totally control.   In some ways it may have saved me from a heart attack, as I’d release my stress with outbursts of anger and get it out, then I’d move on.   Meanwhile leaving cringing people and animals in my wake.  I was fine, but people around me were terrified at this lunatic and his ability to go off on a moments notice.  So I just started moving my body, each day, 6 days a week for about an hour. And things just started getting better.

I was handling the stress better, I was happier and even though it’s tough, I soon realized that I really didn’t have a choice.  This had to be my new life. It was no longer an option. 

But like most things I do, I started to over do it a bit.  It wasn’t enough for me to finish off P90X three times, I had to go and buy Insanity, the triple kick ass program from Shaun T.  It’s fantastic!!  But took a toll on these 54-year-old knees and legs to the point that I had to stop it and take about a month off of my daily workouts.  Well I’m back after my first week back on P90X, and I have to say, I already feel better, stronger and mentally better to take on life’s daily… struggles.

It’s hard out here friends, and taking care of your mind, body and soul by working out your bod…. keeps me one step ahead of father time.