Do you ever scroll through Facebook and come across something that makes a huge difference in your life? I had one of those moments a few months ago. While coaching college football, I made some friendships that have continued 15 years later via social media. We tend to think of social media as being a negative influence, but there are some great benefits to being able to keep in touch with long distance friends. So back to my moment – I ran across a post from a fellow football coach in which he stated he would be coming to Birmingham to coach for the USFL.
The USFL (United States Football League) is a new football league owned by Fox and stationed here in Birmingham, Alabama. The League decided to host ALL games with ALL 8 teams in Birmingham with most games being held at Protective Stadium. All games are televised on Fox. Since the games are held in Birmingham, the coaching staff, players, and staff are staying in local hotels during the season.
When I found out my friend was coming to Birmingham I reached out to him to see if I could help out with anything while his team was staying in town. I offered to bring him and some of the coaching staff lunch at their hotel. I brought them some chicken breasts and a handful of cookies to give them a break from eating out all the time.
During the few minutes I was in the room with them, I created mutual connections with a couple of the other coaches from his team as well. We all rehashed old football moments – one in which my team had beat the other coach’s team several years ago and he remembered the details of that game! It was a great opportunity for me to create like-mindedness. You just have to look for those connections to bridge the gap.
After that lunch I offered to that staff to provide lunch for all of USFL for the rest of the week. The head coach said the league had already been connected with another caterer so there was no need for us to feed them. After they got started, the coach called me back and said they weren’t happy with the current caterer so I offered for Mealfit to provide lunch for the first two days. They loved it and asked us to come back and feed them the rest of the week, which turned into the entire Training Camp and some of the players continued to order meals from us throughout the season.
We have really loved the partnership and it’s been lots of fun for us! We are used to providing food for athletes so it was the perfect fit! One thing I learned in this is that it is important to be persistent and continue to cultivate relationships. Don’t come in with an attitude expecting something from someone, rather, have an attitude of service and reach out to see how you can help them. The other thing I learned in this experience is to build on relationships you have, even when location or circumstances change because you never know where it will lead you – it might just make you $100,000 fifteen years later!
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