Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Inspired to Make It Happen Sooner Rather than Later

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” It stared back at me from a blank greeting card this morning, a morning that was pretty normal. I had smacked the snooze button a couple extra times, tussled my hair into a “style,” dressed and found two close-to-matching socks. But that saying—by Eleanor Roosevelt, by the way—stayed with me.

For the last year and a half or so, the thing I’d thought I could not do was to make an overdue phone call to my favorite football coach. In late October 2011, I was fresh off of reading the autobiography of Barry Switzer, a man once charged with feeding what he called “the Oklahoma Football Monster” and former Dallas Cowboys head coach. Coming from a fanatic Oklahoma Sooner Football fan family and inspired from reading his book, Bootlegger’s Boy, I sat down and wrote a three-page letter to him.

I mentioned my role as a coach (at the time, I had just finished my second season as a head high school volleyball coach). And I included a story my dad likes to tell about hitting a home run in a baseball tournament game at Oklahoma University and the esteemed head football coach picking up the ball. Switzer was touring the new construction additions to the stadium at the time and stopped to toss the ball back into the outfield. I read the letter back to myself a handful of times, sealed it up, and sent it off with hesitant hope for a reply.
Much to my Sooner surprise, less than three weeks later I was staring down at a Barry Switzer return address from Norman, Oklahoma and a hand-written note complete with the line “Call me sometime.” Below it was a phone number jotted at the bottom of the page. My very favorite football coach had taken the time to read, respond, and send back a letter to me. That was the beginning.
Ever since I received his reply, I’d been thinking about what I’d say when I got the nerve to call that number.
“Hi coach, my name is Joanna Hensley. Maybe you remember getting a letter…”
"Coach Switzer, this may sound strange but…”
I even called once. The outgoing message was as friendly and laid-back in that Arkansas drawl as you could imagine. But I waited; I said I would do it later. And “later” turned to 19 months.  
Until today. Sleepy, messy-haired, and mismatched socks on my feet, I made that phone call. Voicemail. I left one.  And just as he had with that letter, the ol’ football coach responded promptly with a friendly greeting and invitation in his own voicemail. And after a game of phone tag and one actual conversation with him all the way from Las Vegas, I’ll be meeting him for coffee Friday morning in a cafe in Norman. One of my heroes, sharing a few words with a girl who woke up this morning not knowing how amazing today was going to be.

So whatever question you have, whatever chance you’ve left untaken, whatever leaf you’ve yet to turn over in your path to your dreams, do it today. “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Thanks Eleanor and Boomer Sooner.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Good is the Enemy of Great

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and
become more, you are a leader.  --- John Quincy Adams

Leaders often possess characteristics that set them apart from others; they are focused, determined,  passionate, educated, proactive, and risk-takers.  Leaders have the innate ability to play hard and work even harder to achieve their goals.  They live in a world in which good is the enemy of great

The Kinesiology graduate students at Tarleton State University would like to learn more about YOUR world. What is YOUR career goal?  What are the characteristics that YOU most admire in a leader?  Let's start a worldwide conversation between leaders in Kinesiology and Sport! 

Please leave a comment below...we value YOUR thoughts!