Adventures in Tuscaloosa
We have always wanted to go to a “real” college football game so last weekend we trekked down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to watch the Crimson Tide take on the LSU Tigers. First things first, we had a great time. We got ourselves some sweet Crimson Tide gear to wear to the game, cheered enthusiastically for the players during the Walk of Champions, waved our Bama shakers non-stop, high-fived random people during the game, and sang Sweet Home Alabama alongside 100,000 of our new best friends. What’s not to love? It was the perfect collegiate football experience.
On the way home from our trip, we were curious to learn more about Nick Saban, the team’s head coach since 2007. For those unfamiliar, the iconic coach is considered by many to be the greatest coach in college football with seven national titles and a 288-70-1 career record. During our internet perusing, we stumbled across a 2010 ESPN article that piqued our interest.
Apparently, the evening after Alabama’s 37-21 victory over Texas in the BCS National Championship game, Saban declined to join in on the revelry as he was already focused on the next thing. From the article:
“They’re coming off the school’s first national championship in 17 years, a season that produced the first Heisman Trophy winner in school history and a season that produced a magical 14-0 run….Even in that moment of bliss, all Saban could think about was the future. Which players were having a little too much fun? Which players were on the brink of turning pro? Who would be the leaders on next season’s team? How motivated would that team be in the offseason?
‘That’s just how my mind is, always working toward the next game or the next play or the next problem… I’ve just seen so many people who were the coach of the year, and then two years later, they get fired. I know how this profession is. George Perles used to always say, ‘You’re only as good as your last play, if you’re a player. And as a coach, you’re only as good as your last game.’ For me, it’s an ongoing challenge that never lets up.’
Some might say it’s Saban’s curse. Others would tell you that it’s his gift. But this much is for certain: He’s never satisfied, which means this next decade for the Tide Nation may truly be one to remember.”
While we don’t have any National Championship rings to our name, this mentality sounds eerily familiar. When leading a small business, nobody cares what we did two years ago much less what we did last month. When you believe the scoreboard is a snapshot and not a final judgment, you also believe that wins can easily become losses without the right focus. We understand that we are only as good as our last meeting with an owner, our last presentation, our last deal, or our last interaction with an employee. We are here to perform and that means that we can never be satisfied with the status quo. Yes, sometimes this is tiring, but it is a naturally wired way of life rather than an active choice.
The reality is we’re pretty much always thinking about Chenmark. Even when in the middle of the Bama-LSU football game, a couple beers deep, with a hundred thousand screaming fans around us, if we’re honest, we were mostly just wondering about the approach of the leadership on the field, the mindset required to execute in high pressure situations, the fundraising strategy to build the the impressive stadium, the cost of the sound and lighting system, how big the merch business must be as a standalone entity, the design of the recruiting apparatus, what local vendor provides the tailgate set-up and tear down, the business dealings that must be going that very moment in the Ivory Club suites, whether the local pest control or power equipment company sponsoring the game would be a good acquisition target, if we could somehow get a list of suite owners to see if there are any interesting local small business owners we could reach out to, the impact football has had on university enrollment, whether or not this would be a good recruiting school for our GVP program, how the “Saban effect” has impacted Tuscaloosa real estate, what NPK ratio they used to get that turf to be so dang perfect…and if there’s something here we could use for the next Weekly Thoughts.
Some of our friends and relatives call this a curse. We could argue it’s a gift but check in with us in a couple of decades to see how we’re doing. In the meantime, Chase Better and Roll Tide!
Have a great week,
Your Chenmark Team