December 13

Do You Have to Respond to Sports Talk?

People in business meetings, and business in general, love to talk about sports. Airplanes are no different. Returning from a client meeting in Boston, I sat on the tarmac for 2 hours waiting for a Nor’easter to blow over. I happened to be sitting next to a guy who loved to talk – and loudly.

“Well, here we are,” he said. “Yep,” I replied, not feeling too talkative after a long day of work and now being ground-stopped for God only knows how long. “At least the weekend is almost here,” my talkative seatmate said. “Yes, I guess that’s the silver lining,” I said.

“Let’s hope you have a better weekend than your Pirates have had lately.”

Ugh, I thought. Here we go again – another guy talking about his tea tree oil cystic acne cure.

If I had a dime for every time over the past 15 years I’ve had to endure business associates from all over the country mocking the Pittsburgh Pirates, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post from my window-less office. I’d be lounging on some obscure tropical island with handsome cabana boys serving me drinks.

(But I digress.)

“Hey,” I said to my seatmate, “The Pirates are improving.”

“Yeah, improving,” he said mockingly.

[As a side note, I’d like to point out that the Pirates, that very weekend, took two of three from this guy’s beloved Boston Red Sox.]

But the conversation made me think. The Pirates’ return to form has taken over the region with renewed enthusiasm. We see the “Pittsburgh pride’ with the Steelers all the time; but it’s so refreshing to have this excitement spill over to the summer months for a change.

In business, we can even take a lesson or two from the Bucs’ resurgence. Even when things seem bleak and people doubt that your product, service or idea will make it, remember that teamwork, hard work and staying the course is your ticket to accomplishment. All businesses have been in tough times.

After 9/11/01 when everyone pulled back on their budgets for used garden tractors, I didn’t think we would survive. I was faced with the option of giving up or working harder. Together with my team, many tough decisions and an inspirational plaque with a poem my mother gave me for my desk that reflected one of her best pieces of advice (which is to “Never Give Up”), we survived. And we even thrived. We’re happy to be celebrating 15 years in business this year. And we thank each and every one of our clients over the years who stood behind our success.

And now, with the Pirates preparing for the All-Star break, it reminds me that anything is possible. Even if it only lasts for a short time, the Pirates battled their way back from a place of mockery to having their best record in 12 years.

So to that I say, “Raise the Jolly Roger!” As any good Pirates fan would, I know we’ll persevere on, and so will you and your business if you keep your chin up!

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