Tuesday, October 19, 2010

All Blather No Results

I used to be a huge sports fan. Not anymore. These days I take a "bread and circuses" view of sports' role in our culture; sports are the circuses; corn-syrup laced processed food is the new bread.

I do follow the Twins throughout the summer, and to a lesser degree the trials and tribulations of my alma mater the University of Minnesota.  In a ten, now eleven, soon to be twelve team Big 10 Conference the Golden Gophers have not been to the Rose Bowl since something like 1962.  Nearly fifty years of football incompetence punctuated by moments of near mediocrity. 

This past Sunday marked a new low: they fired head coach Tim Brewster in the middle of the season.  I have felt sorry for most of the procession of coaches who have held that unenviable job (with the exception of Lou Holtz who will live in infamy for bringing the Gophers to the cusp of borderline respectability and then bolting when the Golden Dome of Notre Dame came calling; the letter I received from my best friend about Holtz's departure is a literary classic, with a single expletive laden sentence spanning more than two pages).  Some have started the job with great confidence and bombast.  Others have taken a more low key approach.  All have tried valiently.  All have failed.

Brewster now joins Holtz as the only other coach I don't have any sympathy for.  Others before him have been "full of it," but Brewster brought pompous pronouncements to a whole new level. He claimed the program was "light years" ahead of  where it had been under his predecessor (who once won 10 games in a season), and then proceded to lose to South Dakota and Northern Illinois.  He promised a trip to the Rose Bowl, but delivered 6 Big Ten victories in three seasons.  Or was it 5?  Does it matter?  According to him his 1 or 2 win teams were always a few plays away from being undefeated.

I am in sales.  I have learned something important in the 21 years I have been selling forestry and horticultural supplies.  The guy who is full of it, who talks (and talks and talks and talks) a big game is not the guy who sells the most (or who, in sports parlance, wins).  The quiet guy who concentrates on solving problems and getting things done is the guy who sells the most - the guy who wins.  Because he's the guy (or gal) people enjoy working with and is the guy (or gal) they can count on.

I'm blessed to be working with - employed by, employed with, and selling to - an amazing assortment of "anti-Brewsters" spanning a wide array of enterprises.  That includes all of you.  People who don't have to talk a lot, but spend their time doing amazing things that are literally changing the world while others spend their time on bread and circuses.

By the way, other than being completely full of it and in way over his head Tim Brewster seems like a decent guy (unlike many others of his ilk).  I don't wish him ill at all.  Now he has the absolute best job in the world: Fired College Coach.  All of the money, none of the work!

What does this have to do with oaks?  Nothing. And everything.  Oaks just perform, but without the showy bombast of other trees.  They grow faster than everyone thinks they do, and are simply, quietly waiting for their chance to feed the world. 

A strained (to the point of being tortored) analogy to be sure and a long way to go to make a very vague point, but I enjoyed it.

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