Friday, February 8, 2019

The So What of Sports

Let's briefly talk about the "so what" of sports.

Image result for so what

What am I talking about you ask?

Fair question. Let me explain.

You see, I'm writing this post from the Kansas City airport on my way back to Colorado from a remarkable experience attending the WIN for KC Annual Women's Sports Awards Celebration. I was invited to attend by my dear friend and mentor (or as she calls it "truth teller"), Kathy Nelson, and I'm so glad I accepted the invitation because aside from the frigid cold of the Midwest, my short stay in town (slightly more than 24 hours) also reminded me about the essence of sport...the "so what".

Kathy's team hosted a packed house of more than 2,000 attendees to see a handful of KC community members receive awards. Yes, Holly Rowe emcee'd the event and Simone Biles participated in a pure, and lovely discussion, but there was so much more.

Photo: WIN for KC

In the sports world there is big money, big risk, big reward, plenty of self-aggrandizing, and an ever-increasing drive for commercialization resulting in sport being perceived as rather (or completely) elitist. Only enough room for the cream of the crop. Not on the "A" travel team? Sorry, you shouldn't be playing at all. No college scholarship? Out of luck. You had to watch the boring Super Bowl from home since you couldn't afford the $3k per ticket price tag? How embarrassing. News flash: the Super Bowl was boring, you didn't miss anything!

Image result for boring super bowl 2019
See, even the players and coaches were bored. Photo:
These may be exaggerations to some extent, but I'd argue elitism is becoming an epidemic in sports.

In my simple mind, this mentality is the complete antithesis of what sport should be in our society.

The WIN for KC event provided a refreshing reprieve from sport as big business, and a 2 hour window into the "so what".

Does the KC Sports Commission recruit huge events for economic impact and brand perception? You bet. As most sport tourism entities do.

Image result for usa gymnastics 2019 nationals

It's all well-and-good that these marquee events, such as the 2019 USA Gymnastics Championships come to town, those are great and have a purpose, but it's what the sports commission does for the community - taking their impact beyond economic and brand and into the community that they work, live and play - that makes the difference.

In my dissertation research, I found that just shy of 50% of sport commission mission statements indicated a desired outcome related to socio-cutural leverage, or building a better community/quality of life, 66% reported desire for economic impact and about 53% concerned with brand awareness of their community.

This statistic shows that the impact of sports on the community through non-economic and branding efforts is imperative to these entities. It may be important enough to make it into the mission statement, but that doesn't necessarily mean communities succeed on making it a reality.

The team in KC has it right.

A young African American swimmer, an elite soccer player turned coach giving back to refugees, a legendary female pole vault coach who changed the standard in a sport, an amputee who got her life back with prosthetic running legs, and the legacy of women who perpetuated the vision for WIN for KC through serving as volunteer board chairs for the organization. These are the "so whats" that today's event recognized...the faces behind the mission.

Image result for win for kc camp
WIN for KC Camp, Photo: Kansas City Pitch
And you know what? The goodwill and value built in the community through these efforts more than likely drives the success of the economic and branding efforts KC also does so well. They are building ambassadors, funders, and culture. These efforts go hand-in-hand, they are not mutually exclusive.

The point here is, as sport event and tourism professionals we often stop at what we think is the goal line: driving economic impact and brand for our destination. But I'd encourage you to take a page out of KC's book, to look up, and consider the "so what" in your destination's efforts. You have to give to get. And the good work of bettering your community will not go unaccounted for in the other aspects of your business. After all, you live in your town too, so you might as well make the impact of your organization set the tone of community for your family and your kids' kids.

The essence of sport is not elitist. It's inclusive. It's a common bond. It's overcoming. It's uniting. It's confidence inducing. It's life changing. And it's for all.

Not surprisingly, the team in KC hit it out of the park today. Thank you for reminding me that sport, in its purest form, is about the "so what".

As JFK said, "One person can make a difference, and everyone should try." This is Stoll on Sports.

Image result for make a difference quote


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. 토토사이트,안전놀이터,토토,토토사이트추천,먹튀검증,사설토토사이트,메이저사이트,안전한곳만 추천해드리고 있는 토토닷컴입니다.여러분께 신뢰로 다가가겠습니다 여기를 클릭하십시오 내 블로그

  3. I am extremely delighted in for this web journal. Its a useful subject. It help me all that much to take care of a few issues. Its chance are so awesome and working style so rapid. 파워레인저 먹튀

  4. This is truly a decent and useful, containing all data furthermore greatly affects the new innovation. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing it  รูเล็ต

  5. DREAMY-메이저사이트인 토토사이트와 안전놀이터 배팅사이트 추천 안전함이 최우선으로 보장되고 있는 토토사이트의 메이저사이트를 드리미가 추천합니다 강한 토토사이트를 사설토토사이트에서 메이저놀이터로 즐기실 수 있는 최고의 안전놀이터 추천을 경험하십시오 메이저 사이트.

  6. Extraordinary review, I am a major devotee to remarking on websites to illuminate the blog authors realize that they've added something advantageous to the internet!.. 해외배팅사이트

  7. Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more home cleaning new york 안전토토

  8. This is a wonderful product, taking into account all the information about it, this type of product that prevents user interest in the site, and you will share more ... good luck.  영앤리치 먹튀

  9. I am glad to locate your recognized method for composing the post. Presently you make it simple for me to comprehend and actualize the idea. Much obliged to you for the post.  dg casino

  10. I was impressed with the site that you created, so memotipasi many people to be more advanced, there also kunjugi me, as a comparison casino

  11. In this article, I will provide a little background on the Sports Betting Champ, John Morrison, and review some of his products. visit us

  12. Uzman bir psikolog daha iyi öz farkındalık, öz denetim (alışkanlıkla tutulan stres) hissetmenizi sağlar ve hayal kırıklığınızı ve üzüntünüzü azaltmanıza yol açar. online terapi

  13. There are many review sites on the Internet that provide unbiased write ups about the different casinos online. 안전놀이터

  14. This is a wonderful article, Given so much info in it, These type of articles keeps the users interest in the website, and keep on sharing more ... good luck. website

  15. An obligation of appreciation is all together for the critical information and encounters you have so given here... 먹튀

  16. Valuing the perseverance you put into your blog and itemized data you give. I've bookmarked your site and I'm adding your RSS channels to my Google account. 먹튀사이트

  17. I was surfing net and fortunately came across this site and found very interesting stuff here. Its really fun to read. I enjoyed a lot. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information. Judi Online 24 Jam Terpercaya

  18. Like for teenagers or people who like to play casino games very much because this method of placing bets on this online baccarat game is easy and hassle-free, even if you have never played casino games. บาคาร่าออนไลน์

  19. Much thanks to you again for all the learning you distribute,Good post. I was keen on the article, it's very moving I ought to concede. I like visiting you site since I generally go over fascinating articles like this one.Great Job, I extraordinarily acknowledge that.Do Keep sharing! Respects, Blackout Window Cover

  20. Thanks for your post. I’ve been thinking about writing a very comparable post over the last couple of weeks. I’ll probably keep it short and sweet and link to this instead if thats cool. Thanks. 메이저놀이터

  21. Amazing article, thanks for putting this together! Obviously this is a great post. Thank you for the valuable information and insight provided here. If you need a visa to enter Turkey, you can apply for a Turkish Visit Visa and fill out the visa application form e Visa Turkey. It is easy and quick to get a Turkey e-Visa by following three simple steps.

  22. Thank you so much for the post you do. I like your post and all you share with us is up to date and quite informative, Slot roma