Sports As The Unifier…Again.

Maybe in another life, 40 years ago, a political pundit like James Carville and a Super Bowl winning coach like Brian Billick would not have a lot in common. However these days, through the world of satellite radio, digital TV and social media, they now only can share ideas but can share the same stage. Carville, who engineered many a political campaign both in the U.S. and abroad, including President Clinton's White House run of course. and Billick, who now is doing his work behind a microphone after an uber successful NFL and college coaching career, shared some quality time and thoughts this week in Orlando, Florida as guest speakers at the Global Options Executive Forum, a two day summit for the leaders of the risk management field. And although some may have scratched their heads in seeing how these two and others could relate their experiences to those from industries ranging from the transportation to the insurances industries, there was common thread…the love of what athletics can do as a unifier for people in good times and bad. Carville talked glowingly of what the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints meant for the downtrodden and oft-beaten people of his current home, and how the team has become the true shining symbol for what can be accomplished and overcome with hard work and attention to detail. Billick talked endlessly and fluidly about the leadership principals and the amount of risk involved in the coaching world, and how that work can apply to top level business management. Carville equated the way political races are won and lost to the way recruiting takes place in both the business and sports world, showing time and time again how successful leadership has its clear threads that run from top to bottom regardless of the industry, and how the value of team always has to come through. is much of it rhetoric and is it overblown a bit, these sports analogie.? Perhaps. Howver one thing again came clear. The ability for the brand and business of sports to unify a people, be a rallying point for a coproration, or help different and competing peoples to find a common bond is still very clear and extremely relevant, especially in the most challenging of times. It is a language that people can speak together whether that language of sport is soccer or football, baseball or curling. It can unify and rally, inspire and heal, enrage and fuel debate. Sport gives the common ground and marks a starting point for conversations and speeches, even in some of what may be seen as the most rudimentary or complex of industries, and that showed true again this week.? That common ground, especially played out across the vast real time media platforms that we have today, is why brands use sports as the way to help tell th story, and why billions continue to watch, play and enjoy the games from the grassroots to the professional. Was that true 100 years ag.? Maybe. But today as the world shrinks and we all have the ability to “know” one another a little more, it is truer more than ever.

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