As our wonderful summer reaches its midpoint, our preeminent county has welcomed back the black and gold faithful to support the Pittsburgh Steelers and their return to St. Vincent College for another grueling training camp. As we watch, enjoy, and offer hope of good things to come, the players plan, learn, execute, and repeat ad nauseum. The constant attention to detail in Latrobe – we hope – will pave the way to success in Minneapolis come February 4, 2018.
Football great Herschel Walker always underscored the need to hone his natural talent and once said, “My God given talent is my ability to stick with training longer than anybody else.” After all, hard work and perseverance is “talent” we can all perform every day – and this attitude no doubt caused Walker to be coveted by many other NFL teams. But, what does this have to do with our beloved Latrobe? Well, Walker’s talent placed him as the centerpiece of the 1989 blockbuster 18 player/pick trade by Dallas to Minnesota, which paved the way for the Cowboys’ great teams of the 1990s. Dallas had entertained but rejected a competing offer from Cleveland. The very next year, Dallas traded the 1990 first round pick (#21) acquired from Minnesota in the Walker trade and its third round pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers first round (pick #17), and Dallas used this pick to select a player that later became the NFL’s all-time leading rusher - Emmitt Smith. Smith’s stock fell in the draft because some thought he was too small and too slow.
This brings in my story of training and perseverance. Many of you are aware of my problem of being a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan -even after 4 consecutive Super Bowl defeats (SBXXVII and XXVIII at the hands of Emmitt Smith) and a playoff drought now rivalling the all-time worst. Although my mind tells me our best season is the offseason, my heart tells me that each year is “the year.” I have remained loyal in my dedication and consistent in my off-season dedication to my hometown team. Still, as fans we prepare for the success in our role as fan. We buy new hats, shirts, and other paraphernalia. We scour the newsfeeds. We plan tailgates. We sit in our lucky seats. The list goes on. We simply get ready.
Just like NFL teams use training camps to get better, our businesses have the same need to plan, learn, execute, and repeat. Our repetition makes us better. We also need to think whether our teams need some added training (in house or formal) to get even better. I am sure there is another Chamber member that can help improve your team’s IT, sales, or customer service skillsets. Your team will appreciate it. In the meantime, I’ll always wonder what would have been had Cleveland acquired Walker and if the Steelers did not trade down with Dallas.
- Jim Creenan, Chairman of the Board