Friday, January 31, 2014

Failure Coach XVIII

On to Canton

Tony Blank’s full size rental car came in handy on Saturday when he agreed to shuttle Alan to Canton along with Julie Chase and Grace the PR manager. The four of them were able to bond a bit, having lived through the mini tour kick off at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They laughed about the red carpet and search lights. The rest of the Ambrosia folks were back in their respective offices in New York City. Grace was on her smart phone trying to line up interviews with Crain’s Cleveland Business and a sports writer in Pittsburgh. She artfully finessed the pitch for each. She was hoping the business writer would be interested in the angle of Alan Edgewater webinars and growing popularity of his failure philosophy. Whereas, she hoped, the Pittsburgh sportswriter would be interested in the Hall of Famers who demonstrated the importance of failure in their lives either before or after their inductions. A fair number of athletes were among the growing number of failure fans online via twitter. She also pitched the Failure First Scholarship to be presented later in the month in St. Louis but that wasn’t news until someone was officially awarded the prize.   

Again, Alan was struck by the names of inductees to the Hall of Fame, this time for football greats. He knew as he scanned names of players from those recognized inductees from every generation of gridiron heroes that there were stories of sacrifice, setbacks and defeat more so than victory. He knew in his heart that a meticulous statistical review would show the scales tipping toward failure over triumph. These are the guys that are the legends of the game. Coaches like Vince Lombardi and Paul Brown and Players: Jim Thorpe, Otto Graham, Marion Motley, Y.A. Tittle, Jimmy Brown, Lou Groza, Dante Lavelli, Bart Starr, Frank Gifford, Jim Otto, Bob Lilly, George Blanda, Merlin Olsen, Sam Huff, Roger Staubach, O. J. Simpson, Joe Namath, Doak Walker, Joe Greene, Len Dawson, Larry Csonka, Terry Bradshaw, Bob Griese, Walter Payton, Leroy Kelly, Tony Dorsett, Lawrence Taylor, Joe Montana, Howie Long, Nick Buoniconti, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Michael Irvin, Bob Hayes, Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Cortez Kennedy, WarrenSapp. And on and on.

Coach Siena felt he had died and gone to heaven. He loved football and was at the Hall of Fame as soon as it opened and took time to read plaques and view videos and admire the enshrined uniforms from the early days of the game. “I’ll tell you what,” he said to himself, “these players, coaches, assistants made this game great. The never gave up.” He was mumbling an impromptu locker room pep talk. A part of him missed coaching. It seemed like a long time since he’d worried about the Xs and Os of the game plan for the next opponent. He realized what he missed wasn’t the competition as much as the feeling of belonging to a team. His fondest memories were not about big plays but a thousand little things. Things like running the team three-quarter speed the last practice before Friday night, the smell of fresh cut grass on the field, and sounds of parents rooting from the stands. He admired Lombardi, sure, but he knew in his own heart that winning was not everything. Not by a long shot. 

The Football Hall of Fame function went as planned. The coach was inspired. He was stirring in his remarks. Alan was first rate too. Julie made sure all the little things were in order in the event space under the tent-pavilion. It was football weather as on a mild Fall Saturday evening. Grace crossed her fingers, hoping the contacts she made and her notes on the local color of both Hall of Fame evenings would pay dividends in media placements in print, broadcast, social media and blogs she was cultivating.

It was safe to say the Cleveland and Canton events were productive for Ambrosia. Alan Edgewater, however was looking forward to some quiet time on Sunday before the circus moved to Detroit on Monday.  

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