I was not born with a sports gene. I lived in Nashville for 2 years and was there when the Titan’s first came onboard. I got to go cover a country music artist singing the National Anthem, shooting it from the sidelines on the field, (that’s my media pass pictured above) and I just sort of yawned. I remember the excitement during the Music City Miracle but it took me leaving Nashville to become a Titan’s fan. But that’s the extent of me and sports.
Maybe it was because I was always the kid picked last, and only then because school required I get to play at all. I had/have no athletic ability, unless you count the ability to suck all sports equally or you count chess as a sport.
But, some years ago, they came around my newsroom with a pool on some college bowl games. Now, I don’t know my Sugar Bowl from my Cereal Bowl but I decided, what the hell, it’s a few bucks, and I literally filled out my sheet in less than a minute.
One by one, people got knocked out. There’s goes the sports fans in the building. There goes my News Director. There goes the Sports Anchors and reporters, til, wait…what…LEWIS WON???? WTF??The prize was a kid’s wrestling championship belt from Walmart but that faux gold and leather toy shined like a beacon to me. Best prize I have ever won!
My News Director had to present it to me in front of everyone in the newsroom and he demanded a recount and was going off about how could I, of all people, be the winner. I accepted it and said “This is for all the geeks out there. We are going to continue entering and winning your sports contests until you stop picking us last.” We all had a great laugh.
This mentality extends beyond the school yard and into business to this day. Picking someone last. Whether internally for a project; a new hire; or because they lack the pedigree you think they should have. Those folks have things to offer. Look deeper. Look beyond the surface, past the degree they don’t have, look at them as people. Human beings. See what they bring to the table in experience and knowledge. Make decisions on that.
Here’s the deal: they are going to keep invading your workplaces and surprising the hell out of you with what they can do until you stop picking them last. Give them a chance.