Monday, March 31, 2014

Reconnecting With Your Past Through Basketball

When you saw the title, Reconnecting With Your Past, you probably thought that we were recommending that you visit Classmates.com to look up old friends, or go to Ancestry.com to check out your family tree. Many people are checking out those great sites especially as they may now have more time or interest to do so, but that is not what we are talking about here. You might have noticed the words….Through Basketball in the title?  This is about a recent experience I had and relates to some of the topics we write about in our book, Don’t Retire, REWIRE!

 I’m a graduate of Michigan State University, and admit to having no real involvement with the university since graduation. With no family, and few friends left in Michigan, I haven’t walked the campus for many years. Yes, I would randomly support my college when they called for a donation but for whatever reason my heart really wasn’t in East Lansing; college was a point in time. Maybe some of you can relate to what I am saying; others may be shocked because you are strong alums. The point is everyone’s experience is unique, then and now.

During the last few years I had accepted a few invitations from MSU to attend events in New York City, but again my attendance didn’t result in any commitment. Maybe this is sounding familiar to some of you? All that changed last week however when I attended a pre-game MARCH MADNESS event prior to the MSU-Virginia match up at Madison Square Garden.

Surrounded by Spartans in green and white attire, I was treated to remarks by MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, a tremendously effective leader, and Basketball Coach, Tom Izzo, who inspires and entertains, and is one of the great human beings of college sports and a legend at the NCAA.  Was it cool to be there? Absolutely! Did I have a sense of belonging to something bigger than myself? For sure! Was I proud? Yes. And things took a very positive turn when I introduced myself to the man standing next to me who turned out to be very involved in the alumni program. His pride, his stories, and his enthusiasm for the new horizons that MSU plans to reach to inspire current and future generations in and outside of Michigan and the United States was infectious.

What I learned from my research on Don’t Retire, REWIRE! is that two of my personal Drivers or motivators, as identified in the book,  is to have new experiences, and to belong. Sometimes we don’t know what hidden treasures associated with our past can be found, until we start showing up at events, asking questions, listening to stories, making new acquaintances who may turn into friends.  The key here is to show up.  I asked a lot of questions that night and just joined the MSU Alumni group today.  I am looking forward to meeting the 7000 MSU alums in the New York area….well not all of them, and going back to East Lansing to see a campus that has become a beacon to the future in a state that is rising once again and headed back to greatness. 

As I always say, when the student is ready the teacher will appear.  Moral of the story?

When you Rewire make sure you show up at activities and ask questions! And know what your Drivers are!

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