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on Leading the Next Generation


The Oklahoma Tornadoes: Finding the Silver Lining in the Clouds

oklahoma tornado

I decided to write a “feel good” blog today. It’s all true and the story starts with a horrific disaster. The “feel good” part is what’s happened in the aftermath.

We all heard about the tornado that wiped out a gigantic chunk of Moore, Oklahoma, just outside of Oklahoma City. Buildings, including elementary schools, were flattened killing both adults and children in the tragedy. Damage estimates were in the billions of dollars. Many assumed it would take forever to clean the mess up.

Enter young athletes.

In a day when it seems all we read about in the sports page is self-absorbed players whose agents are lobbying for bigger paychecks, who commit crimes or do drugs, and minimally who are only concerned about their own numbers and careers, there is a glimmer of hope.

Joe Castiglione, the Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Oklahoma, just sent me photos of OU athletes taking their precious free time and digging through the rubble in Moore. In fact, Joe was with them, serving the community, wearing OU colors. But the day wasn’t about them. It was about others.

You might think—well, it makes sense for OU athletes to chip in and help. Moore is geographically close to Norman. Then, how do you explain the Omaha Stormchasers, a minor league affiliate of the Kansas City Royals? Pitcher Everett Teaford texted me and said 90% of their team drove down from Nebraska to help with the clean up work. These guys are pros. They don’t have to do this; there are no NCAA demands, or extra-credits for class.

If you were to examine the effort in Moore, you’d also find athletes from Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Texas driving over to serve the victims in Moore. For each of these young athletes—life is more than about their sport. They see a bigger picture. In fact, for many of them, their sport is a platform to positively influence the world around them. My friend, Wes Yeary at Baylor University, takes multiple-teams of student athletes to developing nations to serve overseas each summer. He’s about building a complete package athlete—skillful on the field, serving off the field.

Just a reminder that some athletes aren’t in trouble. In fact, they’re fixing problems.

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The Oklahoma Tornadoes: Finding the Silver Lining in the Clouds