By November 2, 2012 7 Comments

Well it’s that time of year again for cold and flu season. The contagious colds are no fun, especially with a young child. Colds are not the only thing that is contagious. Recently our family went to a pumpkin patch and heard a Bluegrass folk band playing, George Portz & His Friends of Bluegrass. This past Saturday we heard them again at a Trunk or Treat event in Lake St. Louis. The leader of the group, George Portz, had energy and is the inspiration for this week’s post.

Have you ever heard Gus Johnson call a sporting event? If so, you know what I am talking about. If not, the man could make paint drying sound like David Freese’s game 6 triple off the wall. People love listening to Gus Johnson call a game because he always makes the game sound exciting. It makes the experience for the listener or viewer much more enjoyable. I love listening to him call NCAA Basketball Tournament games. The man has it. What is it? It is energy and enthusiasm. When listening to the George Portz & His Friends of Bluegrass, I could not help but enjoy their music. I know what you’re thinking; man Elmendorf is old and boring. Now, I do not own any bluegrass music; however I do enjoy a mean banjo, fiddle, and guitar. If you enjoy country music with Bluegrass roots, I strongly recommend checking out [amazon-product text=”Old Crow Medicine Show” type=”text”]B001DXF9MM[/amazon-product], they’re great! What I enjoyed the most when I heard this group was the seeing the fun they were having. The leader of the group, Mr. Portz, would tell jokes and interact with the audience between songs. The rest of the band followed suit. The audience participated, and that is why people go to watch them. The audience had fun watching the group have a great time on stage. It didn’t matter if you were a fan of Bluegrass music or not, you just enjoyed being there.  My wife and I sat and listened to them while our son danced. We could’ve listened to them for hours if our son didn’t have a two-minute attention span!

If one does not appear to enjoy what they’re doing, how can anyone else buy into them? We all need to remember that energy and enthusiasm are contagious. If you have an audience, have fun! Make them feel important by interacting with them. Share your joy, passion, and energy with the audience.

A couple of years ago I took classes to further my education as a teacher. The classes I took were from Richard Overfelt, one of the nicest people you will ever meet. People love him and his classes because of how he makes you feel. Richard would tell us, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” In my years of teaching and coaching, I have come to find this true. My best days in the classroom and at practice are when I am happy. They are when I attack the day with a positive attitude and project that onto my students and athletes. My bad days (few & far between) occur when I feel sluggish and sorry for myself for some stupid, mundane reason.  Richard always shares his energy and enthusiasm for learning with his students, and we love him for it. A favorite quote of mine says, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” I have used this many times with my basketball team. In fact it was the quote we put on the back our camp shirts this year. If we do not approach our next day with energy and enthusiasm, how are we any good? If we don’t give every drill or scrimmage in practice with maximum effort, how will it translate in a game? For our team to become what it can be, we must be focused on improvement and give 100% effort, 100% of the time. The great ones know that success lies in details. In order to truly reach our full potential, we need to live this way. We need to act like everything we do is important and makes a difference, because it does. We don’t know when our break will come. However, if we approach life like the quote says to, we won’t have to look for the opportunity, the opportunity will find us. That kind of attitude is contagious!

You may be thinking, “Having and creating energy sounds great, but how do I do it?” At our basketball practices I will stop and ask the team what is wrong. We could be doing the drill to perfection but we’ll stop if it’s too quiet. In an attempt to create an energetic atmosphere I’ll make the players stop and give five of their teammates a high-five or fist bump. We’ll do this repeatedly, but it’s amazing how much the energy level picks up at practice. Energy is contagious. Last night as I was watching a drill, I noticed our players giving each other high fives after each player shot the ball. I was very proud to see my girls taking initiative to have that energy, and our practice was great. I’ve realized that in order to be great, you must have fun. You have to project your passion for what you’re doing onto others. How can my students be excited about the subject if I’m not? How will my players have energy and effort at practice if I’m not giving them my best? Coaches need to get out and go through drills with their teams. Now you don’t necessarily have to run through them, but at least be an active participant at practice. Do not just stand from the sidelines with a clipboard and bark out orders. C’mon man, this isn’t the 70’s, players need to see that you care, that you have energy, and that you’re willing to do the same things as them. You will get a much greater buy-in from your team if you do. The best in their field are able to get people to want to join them. They are able to make what they’re doing seem like it’s the best thing in the world.

The challenge for all of us is to have passion for what we do. When we find that passion, we must live it out loud. We must have energy and enthusiasm. It’s contagious.

Thanks for reading! Have a great week and be an RGP!





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