The Jacket

While I’m on the subject of how things have changed (see March 24th blog)…

I speak often to high schools and colleges about careers in sports marketing and I always, always, always tell my students to follow their passion.  I tell them that in sports we spend an awful lot of time working so why not work at something you LOVE?  “Choose a career you love!”  But here’s what I’m beginning to realize…’re working even when you think you’re not.  The culture is changing and the lines are continually blurring, especially for us in sports.

I recently went to watch one of my sons play hockey in a junior hockey weekend tournament.  So on a Saturday morning I woke up threw on some clothes and my Trenton Titans rink jacket and drove the two hours to the game.  I stood with a hot tea and watched the team that was on the ice while I waited for our game to start.  I saw a few guys watching me, which I thought was strange, and then they moved closer to where I was standing.   After a few more minutes, I notice a couple of other guys do the same thing.  I thought maybe I knew them so I tried to look at their jackets, hoping it might ring a bell.  And then it dawned on me.  As I was looking at their jackets to find out where they were from, they had already seen MY jacket and thought that I might be a good person to get to know.  A guy watching a game wearing a professional hockey team jacket – he’s probably a scout.  To them, I’d be a good person to get to know.

We all look at the jacket.  If you’re looking to make a connection for your kid to play college hockey and you see two guys – one wearing a Lawrence Little League jacket and one wearing a Boston College jacket, who ya gonna stand next to?  The same holds true for me.  I’ve done business at the deli counter, while at the park with the dog, at my kid’s school functions all because of my jacket – whether it’s my hockey jacket, my lacrosse jacket, baseball or even my well-worn Arena Football jacket.  The jacket is now a serious tool in the sports marketing toolkit.  It starts a conversation.  The guy at the deli counter is a personal trainer on the side, the kid running in the park is looking for his break, the mother of one of my child’s classmates sells advertising.  We’re all working.

There are no business hours.  You don’t even need to pack your business cards, just throw on your jacket.  I can tell you I certainly am passionate about my work, but do I love it that much?  Sure I can be more conscience of what jacket I put on when I leave the house, “Hmm ticket sales are down for the next two home games….better wear my Titan’s jacket.”    But who wants to live like that?

I have no answers, but I know that the proverbial office is open 24/7 and the new working philosophy is to always be on.  It’s the new way to do business and as Dylan says, “Better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone.”  And I will.

But for now, I have a bunch of winter jackets that I’m hanging up for the warm weather.

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1 comment for “The Jacket

  1. Scott
    March 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Great post Rich, no matter whether it’s a sports related or business related The Jacket sets the tone across the board.

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