It’s arguably the most uncomfortable seat ever. The metal sticks to my legs and the ridges are positioned just right as not to dig into my back. It’s ok, it’s not about the red folding chairs. Being at the stadium is about the people sitting next to me, the thousands of fans surrounding me, and the teams on the field. I’m a St. Louis Cardinals fan which is why my seats are red. As of late, I’m also a Colorado Broncos fan and a CU Buffs Basketball fan. Who knew?
Taking in a game while zoning out on the crowd’s overwhelming white noise transforms the stadium into a community made up of the thousands of people who’ve come together from different background, neighborhoods, religions, and political aisles to root for a common team. You don’t even have to be at the game to feel our collective buzz: Driving on Interstate 25 last weekend, I was heading home to watch the AFC playoff. Call me crazy but there was a tension in the air. It swept off the mountains as people passed one another unnecessarily and as the highway emptied of fans who poured into living rooms throughout the state. I was among them as I rushed onto my couch with friends crowding into our small home to eat and cheer. Just as we cheered the Broncos – we cheered each other. We caught up, took the kids outside to run laps, ate and toasted the pride we felt to be a part of something. There’s a similar feeling at a political rally and even a protest. Standing with people who believe in what you believe in. The power in sports isn’t that you’re united by party lines but by geography. Views and values aside, we are neighbors.
While I love watching my teams (new and old), I love sports analogies even more. There is much to learn from the leadership and sportsmanship that can occur on a winning team. I don’t know about you, but I’d love it if my teammates would high five me when I finish with a training, give me a subtle thumbs during a group facilitation or pump me up when I don’t want to go that last network meeting of the week. Camaraderie fuels me. So as my team sets a tone for Cultivation Center I often ask myself how we can infuse the culture of the dugout into our work. For the Cardinals, they’re handed a guidebook during orientation called The Cardinal Way. There’s a way they catch the ball, play the game, and act on – and off – the field. Their brand is clear and it’s reflected in the fans who are some of the kindest in the sport.
At Cultivation Center, we’re figuring out how to apply this winning strategy to business and doing good. I grew up learning that booing the other team wasn’t kind and that when you’re having a slump mid season, hard work and keeping your eye on the ball can make you a champion.
Who’s your favorite sports team? What have you learned by being a sports fan?