Another attempt to revive the Dedman Talking column/blog. This thing has had more comeback tours than Wilson Phillips…with similar fanfare.

A quick word of caution (or perhaps something that might excite you): I checked the smart-assyness at the door and went a little sappy with this one. My sarcastic viewpoint on the world of sports will return the next time you visit this site.

Last week, I did something pretty cool. I attended the St.Vincent Sports Performance Spirit of Sports Awards at Clowes Hall on the Butler campus. In terms of sporting events and award shows, I’ve seen a lot of cool ones. But, this one was different. Different in that it celebrated those often away from the limelight: coaches, athletic trainers and student managers.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re looking to leave an event feeling bad about your lackluster high school athletic career, this was the event for you. There was an all-state football player who scored a perfect 36 on the math portion of the ACT. He’s going to Harvard. He’s thinking about law school, but keeping his options open. I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t escorting several blind nuns to morning Mass as I type this. But in addition to the scholar-athlete and the kid who has come back from two torn ACLs, the Spirit of Sports Awards highlighted something we don’t recognize often: those individuals whose happiness comes from the success of others and those whose success is found in the happiness of others.

Let me also say here that the event was emceed by Clark Kellogg. There is no one better than the CBS Basketball analyst and Pacers Vice President of Player Development. He could commentate my work day from my office and make it sound exciting. “Dedman working the keyboard like a Juilliard-trained pianist. Some would merely slap a period there and call it a day, but not Dedman. Throw in an exclamation point, Big Fella.”

At some point, CBS will realize that Kellogg would be the perfect remedy to its sagging nightly news ratings. Imagine Clarkbringing you the nightly news: “Police confiscated $100,000 of drugs. The two suspects remain at large, but I really like the investigatability of the detectives on the case. Look for authorities to come out strong in the next 24 hours and take care of this.” Who wouldn’t watch that?

The stories that resonated with me were those student managers and student athletic trainers who have sacrificed personally to be part of others’ success, of team success. The 31-year-old me who has been a father for just more than four months appreciated this more than the 17-year-old me would.

Even at the age of 31, I love the spotlight. The 31-year-old me is selfish in many ways. For these individuals to find true happiness in the success of others and work tirelessly (and in many cases, quietly) to assist in that is commendable. To do it at the age of 17, well, that’s just remarkable. That’s probably why there is a good chance the 31-year-old version of me will end up working for the 17-year-old version of them at some point down the road.

As I was driving home, in between bobbing my head to “Call Me Maybe” as it mysteriously and repeatedly played on seven of my 10 pre-set radio stations, I realized that I have always been surrounded by these special people. My lovely wife is the definition of selfless. For the last four months, she’s lived and breathed our daughter Brynn. She’s a natural. Her happiness comes in Brynn’s smiles and successful burps. And that makes sense. She comes from a family of teachers and coaches, those who find their joy in putting others in situations where they can succeed.

Growing up, there was no bigger fan I had than my Mom. She drove to some of the most rural locations throughout Kentucky on Friday nights and Saturday mornings to watch me run cross country meets in 30-degree weather and play three minutes in varsity basketball games. Her happiness came in the success of me and my sister. (As a side note, my sister Amy was much more successful than I was growing up, and while she was doing things better than I had, she was doing it about 21 months behind me, so she got fewer high-fives.)

My dad is a doctor…and a damn good one. His success is measured in the happiness others are able to experience over lives that he helps to extend. It’s a profession where all you do is help people. And often, they get mad at you for trying to help and for having their best interests in mind because those are not easy conversations.

Four months into parenthood, you start to realize that no one impacts their child’s success more than parents, most of it done without the appropriate gratitude from your kids for 18 years, 31 years, maybe even 80 years. Sometimes it takes seeing a bunch of outsiders to understand the impact of those close to you.

I hope that Brynn is surrounded by caring individuals such as this throughout her life. I really hope that Brynn is one of these caring individuals who selflessly makes an impact on others.  

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