LETTER FROM A FAN
I have been getting amazing feedback on my book, The Winning Gameplan, which is available at Amazon.com. One note I received this morning from Allison Mintz (attached) was particularly interesting because I think I totally missed my target market. I had 30-40-year-old middle-managers/aspiring leaders in mind, but the book seems to appeal more to 18 – 24 year-olds. This letter is a little long but was so thoughtfully written. I felt compelled to share it. Consider getting the book as a stocking stuffer, if you have kids. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Here is the letter:
Happy Holidays, Mr. Rootes!
It has been a less than stellar season for the boys in Deep Steel, hasn’t it? Hopefully, there are greener pastures that lay ahead for 2021 for us. But that aside, I really wanted to reach out to you and tell you how excited I was to read your book once you told me about it. I immediately ordered it and dove headfirst into it. I first want to say congratulations on publishing this book. This was truly a great read for me personally. It really hit close to home for me based on both my preparation for life post-SFA graduation in May and especially in terms of the exciting new work I have been engaged in recently through the SFA Athletic Department. I have recently gotten the opportunity to move up from my student worker position at SFA to Interim Director of Marketing and Fan Engagement for SFA Athletics. Normally, this is a full-time, non-student position, but I have been given the unique opportunity to learn and function in this position as a still student-worker. It has been an amazing opportunity for an undergrad like me but it has also come part-and-parcel with a very steep learning curve. The transition from being the one who takes directives to being the person actually giving them and overseeing their execution did initially prove to be somewhat challenging. Your book was exactly what I needed for a little confidence boost in this new world I am embarking on.
I really felt compelled to share with you a couple of key points that as I was reading them, really made me feel as if you were speaking directly to me specifically. As I read the description you gave about the road trip that was supposed to be two days, that ended up being ten in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the phrase you used of “once a crisis begins its too late to prepare for it” and then further stated how “the true nature of your leadership is revealed in time of crisis” really stood out to me because although everyone has been preparing for what sports is going to look like with Covid-19 still a threat, I had not yet had to engage in any of that preparation myself. But once I began occupying this position of Director of Marketing and Fan Engagement at SFA, I had to start thinking about it, and fast. With SFA being in the handful of D-1 teams that are allowed to have fans in the stadiums and arenas, marketing suddenly became even more important than it already was. And within a matter of 3 weeks, I had done 16 covid-friendly Marketing Plans for the 16 teams SFA would have played in the spring. As I read your book, I could really sense those challenges faced in that sudden 2 day-turned 10-day road trip scenario.
As you talked about your time at Proctor & Gamble and as you spoke of your “rip off and do better” ideology, that passage really jumped off the page to me. As I am quickly learning in my short time being Interim Director of Marketing and Fan engagement, without even realizing it, I had already been operating off of the idea that most things you do, you see from other people and make it your own. While I had never realized or verbalized that this was what I was experiencing, reading the passages you had written on this subject really brought this concept to the fore for me. After I read those passages and then consciously realized that this was an acceptable pattern to follow, it really made it easier for me to openly embrace this approach and I think it really will help me not only in my current position but in all that I do post-graduation and beyond. For me, that was a hard lesson to learn because you want to be the one with all the good new ideas, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. New ideas are always great but if you can take something you’ve seen be successful and make it your own that is great too. It really took me reading it in the book for me to be able to openly embrace that concept.
Something I have taken from my internship with the Texans Battle Red Team and started to apply at SFA is the reward system. It is exciting knowing every shift I work for the Battle Red Team, I get closer to more Texans gear. After reading how you discuss the organizational benefits of these types of reward systems, I have begun to craft similar programs within the SFA Athletic Department. These programs are still in my developmental stages, but I will fess up and admit to “ripping them off” from some of the ideas you put forward in the book. I am trying to craft a program that equally balances rewards with tangible items as well as verbal and official recognition for work well done. In College athletics, it is easy to get so caught up in work and never be appreciated so I have started crafting this reward system initiative to hopefully let people know that they are appreciated.
In short, Mr. Rootes, I really took an awful lot from your book and I really don’t think I could have read it at a more appropriate time in my life, as the concepts you discuss I again truly felt apply directly to some of the experiences and challenges I am meeting head-on right now, in real-time. I truly will keep many of the lessons I read in the book with me for many years to come.
Just to close out, I wanted to again thank you for your time and interest in me and my future hopeful-career in sports. If there were ever an opportunity for me to meet with you again and ask that you sign my copy of the book, I would really love that.
Thank You again, Mr. Rootes.