Monday, January 16, 2017

A case for being a fair-weather fan

The headline grabbed my eye. "Fair-Weather Fandom."

This headlined piece in the New York Time Sunday Magazine from yesterday, authored by Jeremy Gordon, started with the line "I'm a bandwagon sports fan, the lowest of the low" and subsequently sucked me in as I was intrigued by Gordon's admission of this personality disorder.

I've often discussed, and sometimes debated, with friends the tenets for being a true sports fan. The unwavering loyalty, attending games in good times and bad, standing up for your team - all of the things that my code of sports loyalty holds so dear. Not Gordon. He writes, "In fallow years, I'm happy to drift away. Sports should be fun, and bad sports - the clanged jumpers, the cheap interceptions - are like a C-Span marathon: lethargic and unending, the sparse upticks in action fooling you into sticking around for a little longer."

On this day after, I must admit that Gordon's words are striking a chord with me as I'm having trouble figuring out why I should "stick around for a little longer" with the Kansas City Chiefs. If you don't know, my Chiefs lost yet another NFL playoff game - this time at home last night to the Pittsburgh Steelers by the score of 18-16.

Am I a passionate Chiefs fan? My fandom certainly is not on the same level as my fan index for Kansas Jayhawk sports but I have long been one who watched every Chiefs game, start-to-finish, attended on occasion, and defended the sometimes average play of a guy like Alex Smith. So, here I sit again on the day after, reading the varying opinions about whether Erik Fisher's hold on James Harrison should have been called or whether Andy Reid under-utilized Tyreek Hill. And, once again, I'm also pondering whether I'm over-using my sports emotional capital by caring so much about a team like the Chiefs.

Gordon writes, "There is freedom in this bandwagoning...It allows you to compartmentalize, to lend sports the importance you feel they should have in our world, without being swept up too deeply in the blaming inanities of sports talk. The cultural insistence on being a 'real fan' begins to seem deeply silly - it isn't as though St. Peter judges your bona fides at the pearly gates."

When I read Gordon's words yesterday afternoon, I scoffed. Clearly this guy just doesn't get it, I thought. At 10:30 p.m. last night, I wasn't so sure - maybe he actually did have this figured out and I was the one who was out of touch. Maybe it is time for me to pull the plug on my emotional investment in the Chiefs.

By the way, training camp starts on July 27. I'll see you then.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

It's still a world of relationships

"It's a relationship business."

How often have you heard that phrase? And, in a world filled with alternate forms of communication, self-expression and interaction, doesn't that phrase sound a bit dated and trite?

Be careful, my business friends and colleagues - he or she who under-estimates the importance of relationships is doomed to fail.

I'm in the midst of a current consulting assignment with a service company where relationships are the reason why a client prospect selects an advisor. The one-on-one, trusting relationship between client and advisor is why my business client company succeeds or fails.

A recent report from Advertiser Perceptions highlighted that two-thirds of all leading U.S. advertisers are planning creative agency reviews in the next year. Do you think relationships aren't important in (a) maintaining a client relationship or (b) starting a new one?

Relationships aren't the only reason why businesses succeed or fail or why clients seek new agency partners. But, you're naive if you think that they may not be the tipping point one way or the other.

Look up, lean in and listen the next time your client, business colleague and/or vendor partner is talking to you - it may be the difference in what success looks like for you in 2017.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Eve playoff games 2.0

The two games weren't competitive. And, once again the College Football Playoff and ESPN telecast the group of four games on New Year's Eve, not noted as being the best day/night for television.

The good news, though, is that the ratings improved from 2015 according to ESPN. The Alabama-Washington game registered an 11.5 overnight rating when combining viewers of ESPN and ESPN2 and Clemson-Ohio State pulled a 10.5 rating.

Last year, Clemson and Oklahoma played in the early game and produced a 9.7 rating; the late game, between Alabama and Michigan State, had a 9.9 rating.

Look for ratings next season to rocket up as the two playoff games will again be played on January 1, as they were in the inaugural year on January 1, 2015. The two games will take place at the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl.

This season's national championship game between Alabama and Clemson will take place on Monday night, January 9 in Tampa, FL.