Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Proud to Be... One Shirt, One Body

My brother once had a blog entitled "In Front of Your Nose." A likely question would inquire about the name, but if you're familiar with the writing of George Orwell, you know that expression. Another might wonder WHAT is in front my noise? And the answer, according to Orwell and to Stricherz, is simple. It's the truth. The truth is in front of your nose but sometimes it's just not easy to see. No wonder Orwell added  “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

It's funny, sometimes we are more adept at understanding the truth. Often the right decision is in clear sight. And then there are times where it truly is a struggle, so great that it might keep us up at night. But their belief is that the truth is right there; it's pronounced, it's imminent. I've often felt that way about a good idea. 

I can think of at least three tremendously successful companies that provide a service that (before it was marketed) sat in front my nose and yours. It took someone to find it, massage it, systematize it and market it and voila! today we have hotel rooms without a hotel: Air BNB. We have shuttle service without a single taxi: Uber, Lyft and Sidecar and a global news source with little paid staff: Twitter.

I write about this in the context of Sports and Spirituality because those ideas resonated with a new one which is the project of (a literal genius) junior wide receiver: Corey Robinson, I thought he . If his name is familiar, it should be. One, I've written about him two times before, two, his father David Robinson enjoyed a highly decorated in the NBA after graduating from the Naval Academy three, Corey has had his own success on the grid iron, and four—my favorite—word has it that he's running for Student Body president.

Corey founded a project called "One Shirt, One Body." It's not that revolutionary; it's far from complex, but it's something I am proud to be associated with through Notre Dame. Robinson wrote
The idea started by accident last May. My Notre Dame football teammate Cole Luke had some extra Under Armour cleats and didn't know what to do with them. So his roommate, Andrew Helmin, offered to take them back home to Frankfort, Ill., and give them to the kids in the neighborhood. Not surprisingly, the kids were overwhelmed with excitement at the chance to wear the game-used cleats of one of Notre Dame's starting cornerbacks. 
Like a sudden light illuminating a dark room, an idea emerged. What if more student-athletes gave their extra gear and clothing to those in need? That simple notion gave birth to a nonprofit organization now known as One Shirt One Body, a student-athlete led initiative to donate athletic apparel to local communities. 
An epiphany helped bring the idea to life, but then came the hard part: How do you build a working model that could be implemented on campuses across the country? 
I hope you will read the rest of his article to learn how they achieved their mission.
I left encouraged, intrigued and inspired by Robinson's story for a number of reasons.
  • Robinson's story demonstrates the truth in the principle: for every action, there is a reaction.
    Action: roommate gives away his extra, lightly used cool ND gear.
    Reaction: kids were overwhelmingly excited to sport cool—albeit slightly used—ND gear. Good stuff.
  • Realistically, the story could have come to a good ending with the gift from Cole Luke. But no, Robinson noticed those neighborhood kids and it stirred up something inside of him. In Matthew's Gospel, we read that Jesus saw the crowd and was moved with compassion. His feelings led to action that touched and affected the lives of thousands. This story isn't that much different.
  • Recently, one of my co-workers has given a lot of thought to how the music we listen to affects us.  He is convinced that lyrics and the message of each song has more power than we know. He admitted that he doesn't like the way he feels when he allows certain food, specifically junk food into his body, so why should music be different?  
    Robinson writes, "playlists from Majestic Casual and Bon Iver blared until 3 a.m. (as they were brainstorming a plan for One Shirt, One Body). When I encountered the names of two artists I had no heard before, I thought I would check it out. Would it spark creativity? I'm not surprised it did. See for yourself.
  • The power of SAAC. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, a group supported by the NCAA at numerous schools, isn't a group that is not to be underestimated. This isn't the first idea that they have rallied behind and supported. Last year when I attended the Notre Dame women's basketball game vs. UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, behind the basket I saw a team of female athletes cheering on the Bruins. It was the UCLA swim team and that's because of the efforts of SAAC. They have found multiple ways to leverage change, inspire student-athletes beyond their sport 
The University of Notre Dame does not stop at helping others to understand its mission and values. And one of those tag lines is a response to those efforts: Proud to be ND, or actually #ProudtoBeND. 

Reading about the efforts of a very public student like Corey Robinson, I am. 
Photo Credits
Twitter Profile pic for One Shirt...
Proud to Be: ND

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