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Foes in Unity

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Even foes can be in unity when it comes to being grateful for a safe game and for the opportunity to compete and grow in their sport.

Soccer, as a game. has some great traditions. One of them is the introduction time before the match. Both team’s starting players line up on the sidelines in front of their respective benches. They follow the three game officials out to mid field where they pair off on either side of the officials.  They are then individually announced, one team at a time. It is very formal and just the fact that it includes the officials is unique. 

My daughter Claire plays soccer for a NCAA division 3, state school, the University of Wisconsin Superior Yellowjackets. They compete in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference which include several public and a few private universities. A couple weeks ago we watched as UWS  took on North Central University, a private Christian school located in inner city Minneapolis.

As tradition with this school, the game started out with the customary march to mid field for the lineups. What they do at the end of every game is not so traditional. The North Central players circled up at mid field for a post game prayer.  What’s cool about this is that they always invite any from the opposing team who wish to join them – win, lose or draw. 

Arm in arm, these two teams, that just minutes before were fierce competitors, stood in unity as they prayed. 

Not all participate, but all are welcome. This is consistent with the faith they proclaim as followers of Jesus and a wonderful example of how foes can unite.

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an amateur photographer takes photos at a sporting event.

Photos with a Clear View: Using Sports Photos for Recognition

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Recognition is important at the end of a sports season. One key to a great awards presentation is having photos available to relive some of those memorable moments from the year.  

Why Photos?

A picture is worth a thousand words” is an English language adage. It refers to the notion that some complex ideas can be conveyed with just a single picture. This picture conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a description does. 

Using photos to create unique awards or gifts of recognition is a great way to show appreciation. In this case, a good picture, on a plaque is worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, the right picture can be hard to come by when it’s needed. Many times we end up with pictures that are just plain boring. Often, camera resolution settings are turned down in order to save precious memory space. These photos might do for social media, but aren’t good when you want to create that special plaque or award.

Five Tips for that Best Shot

If you are a coach or an event coordinator, be intentional about having quality pictures for recognition at the end of the season. These five things done early in the season can help you have the necessary resources to recognize well.

  1. Be intentional about seeking out and finding a parent(s), professional photographer, or person from the local media who will be attending games and can take pictures for you.
  2. Make sure they have their settings turned up on their camera to take large, high quality photos.
  3. If your photographer’s skills allow for it, ask them to take action shots with the photo burst setting on their camera.
  4. Have them look for shots that show emotion and that capture the highs and lows of a season. Team photos following a big win or final game are often more interesting than the early season team photo. 
  5. Determine a shareable location to upload photos so they are available to you when you need them. Places like Google Drive or Dropbox are popular locations, are easy to setup, and free up to a certain size. 

With great, high quality photos your memorable moments can be captured on a plaque that will be treasured and will make your end of the season awards banquet a huge success. 

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Choosing a Response

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I struggle with crafting a good response when my paradigm of the world is challenged. But, how I respond is an important factor when representing the organizations I help lead. The easiest “out” is to be silent and not engage in the conversation, especially publicly in places like social media. 

  • But staying silent does not help change the world, and it just makes me feel like a coward. 
  • Whenever I am faced with the temptation to respond harshly to an opposing world view, I like to do what I call a “heart check” of myself. These are the thought strategies I’ve found most helpful:
  • Play the devil’s advocate and seek to understand the other party. If I were in their shoes (had grown up where or when they did) would I see it differently? I remember often being very critical of my parent’s conservative handling of their possessions. But I did not grow up during one of our nation’s worst economic depressions. They did. 
  • Play the devil’s advocate and seek to understand the other party. If I were in their shoes (had grown up where or when they did) would I see it differently? I remember often being very critical of my parent’s conservitive handling of their possessions. But I did not grow up during one of our nation’s worst economic depressions. They did. 
  • Consider the end goal. Is my goal to change the other party’s mind or tear them down and make them look like a fool? When I do the latter I most always end up looking and feeling like the fool myself.
  • If I am honest, am I able to identify any good motives in the other person’s position? Knowing that there are good intentions does not always bring agreement. However, it sure opens the door to understanding and a civil debate of the issues.

If these measures bring no hope of understanding, or making the other person feel understood, then my wisest choice might be to not engage in the discussion. The engagement will possibly just make me angry and bitter, and I don’t want that spilling over into my other relationships. 

“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” Proverbs 17:28

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Hiring for the Right Skills

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“Your intelligence does not impress me, It’s how you speak, act and love others that impresses me. Especially with those that are not like you”.Dennis Smith of Apple Awards

Hiring new staff for a small business can always be a challenge, especially in a rural small town setting. Not many people are itching to put down roots in a small town.

In many industries, people skills can be the primary factor in a hire, as it is with us. Good people skills coupled with experience is ideal and can put you as a front runner for a position. Primarily we now hire based on a person’s ability to get along with co-workers and customers, closely coupled with their train-ability. 

Getting along with co-workers always comes first in my book. If employees cannot work well together, solving problems and creating or if there is a lack of trust and commitment, the likelihood of a good customer experience is small.

People skills can be taught, but usually the lack of these skills goes a lot deeper than what can be taught by an employer. The emotional health and intelligence of a candidate plays a huge factor in determining their success. If I see that a candidate has been in the past, or is currently working on improving their emotional health, or even knows what that phrase means, that gives me hope.  

  As an employer I need to set the example and continue to grow in my emotional health. There is an unlimited supply of free resources at our disposal, this is one that I am currently learning from, Your Not the Boss of Me

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