Friday, December 20, 2013
The house is filled with the aroma of sugar cookies, evergreen and pumpkin pie. There is Scotch tape on the table and wrapping paper pieces fallen to the floor. In the living room, there’s a tree with lights blinking to the beat of a song as they reflect off the ornaments that have been hung. Stockings hang from the mantel like shelf waiting to be filled with small gifts and fruit. Soon there will be carefully wrapped presents placed gingerly under the tree only to be ripped open not so carefully nor so gingerly Christmas morning. As the day continues on into night, and with full stomachs from the Christmas feast, families will shuffle off to bed, knowing they have lovingly and stressfully placed another holiday in the books. Better yet, they have created yet another Christmas memory.
Each year, with great anticipation, I looked forward to Christmas Eve and the family Christmas party. Through the years Mom and Dad made sure my brother and I received a great Christmas. Although we were far from rich and Dad was often laid off in the winter, they still managed to get us a bike or record player. One year they even got us an Atari complete with Pong and Donkey Kong. I even recall receiving Star Trek Walkie Talkies one year. I know we received several gift each year but I only remember a few. However, what I do remember are the family parties.
Each year it was held at my Aunt’s house and was always chalk full of food. It was good food to. My aunts cooked, my grandmother cooked and my mom cooked. They were all wonderful cooks and none of us ever stopped with just one plate, nor, in some cases, did we stop with two. The desserts were out of this world. Cakes, pies, fudge, and cookies spread across the table with tiny hands being smacked as they reached for them before the regular food. If you ever left hungry it was because, well, I don’t know anyone that ever did cause we were always stuffed by the end of the night.
The biggest excitement, at least for me, was when all the cousins arrived. We all have our roots right there in Boyd County, Kentucky but as often happens, people move. As was the case for a few who had moved to Michigan, Ohio and Texas but this time of year it was rare if any of the prodigals didn’t return. When everyone arrived, the laughter reached epic proportions. The older cousins would slip away to do what they did, the younger ones would play throughout the house while those of us in-between bounced back and forth. There was so much fun and happiness there as our Grandparents looked upon us smiling but knowing it wouldn’t last forever.
Sadly, in a way they were right. Mamaw and Papaw are gone as are some of my aunts, uncles, cousins and my Mom. It’s not the same now but it isn’t gone forever. I still remember those times. I remember the drawing of names and the family gift exchanges. Most of all I remember the love and laughter filling my Aunt’s home. So, I guess, in a way, it will last forever because I still have my Christmas Memories. This year make some of your own.
Friday, December 6, 2013
November 11, 1939 the Texas Tech Red Riders come to Shreveport, LA to face the Centenary Gents in a rain soaked stadium resulting in one of the weirdest games in the history of college football. In the course of this game there were 77 punts, 67 of which occurred on the first down. During the second half, the teams punted 22 times in a row. However, there was one record set during this game that perhaps will never be broken. Texas Tech punter, Charlie Callihan, punted 36 times for 1,318 yards. Texas ran only 12 offensive plays that day resulting in a whopping -1 yard total. When all was said and done the final score was 0-0.
The teams decided they would play no risk football and it resulted in mediocrity. Maybe mediocrity is being kind since neither team did anything to gain success. They settled for just filling up the time clock which resulted in not making the most of the opportunity provided. They decided mediocrity was good enough. Worse than that, they perhaps never saw it as a failure to only hold the status quo.
In his book, Good To Great, author, Jim Collins, tackles this very subject when he opens with the words, “Good is the enemy of great.” In the course of this book he gives example after example of businesses settling for good enough ultimately resulting in failure. In contrast, he introduces his readers to organizations/businesses refusing to settle for mediocrity. He displays the results of their decision to be great and not simply good enough...to not stay within the safe status quo.
This is a struggle encountered by every person in most every endeavor. I was given a personal example of this the other day when I created a poster for a show. I was quite proud of my creation until I showed it to my daughter, who I must admit is far more creative than I. When I asked her opinion of my work her response was, “Eh, it’s good enough I suppose.” Good enough? I don’t want good enough, I want great! When she took what I had done into her capable hands it transformed into just that. I was amazed at what it had become. If I had settled then it would have simply been good but I didn’t and neither did my daughter so it went from good to great - took the risk and gained a reward.
Businesses, or anyone really, who become great this is their motto. They understood to gain the rewards desired they must be willing to take the risks needed to achieve it. The same is true for an entertainer. Legends are the ones who refuse to settle for ‘good enough’ they continually strive for greatness. Too many times when we settle it isn’t too long until what we once thought was “good enough” simply becomes “not good at all.” We deem the reward of great simply isn’t worth the risk, resulting in a score of 0-0.
No Risk….No Reward! Do not settle for good enough because when you look at it, there is nothing in it.