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Parallels: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

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This entry is part story, part puzzle. Are you up for it? Let’s hope so!

And puzzles are recreation, right? Leisure? Right on! Ok – so –

First the story, as it were, and/or puzzle piece number 1 –

People get on in this life in a variety of ways – and an increasingly popular way to handle the notion of transport is, as you may well know, Uber. Funny how someone can just say Uber, and people start to relax. Maybe not everybody, but. So – transport by Uber requires contacting Uber, and requesting a ride, along with providing for them important details such as your name and location. They (Uber) then do what they do – generally understood to be to dispense one of their employees, and very shortly after your first connect with Uber, someone will drive up to the curb beside you in a vehicle that will serve as your “taxi.” Interestingly, the driver is often, buy not always, the owner of the vehicle you’re about to be transported in…

Fees are arranged somewhere along the way, so – you get in, zip off, and the next thing you know – you arrive where you wanted to go. With the Uber app, this is a handy, relatively seamless exercise that can start with a mere tap of your phone screen. And, over the years, people have come to expect reliability, safety, convenience, and affordability out of this service. Not surprisingly, this is due at least in part to streamlining systems, transfer of costs, economical savings, and careful vetting of well, ok, no one. Imagine this – people trusting each other. Could be exciting, perhaps. Also – just for your reference – most of the cars being used are standard, basic, and relatively plain vehicles (that are being driven by people who likely own the cars they are driving, and are just trying to make some extra cash, yup! – as a taxi driver – as in…literally a…cash-mi-ow-side, how-bow-dat!?!)

Ok, only a tiny hehehe…

Still – all that, right there – that is, collectively, puzzle piece number 1.

Enter puzzle piece number 2…

There’s a group – dedicated to helping people who are battling and/or recovering from cancer. This is a not-for-profit organization called “Cancierge.” Kinda catchy, huh!?!

Boom! That’s it – there it is!!! – puzzle piece #2…perhaps it’s a small piece, no? Or, much bigger than one might think, yeah? Right – hmmmm, we’ll see in a minute…

Next is puzzle piece # 3…

Based on the notion of, and in the spirit of, random acts of kindness, someone who owns a Ferrari…decides to step up. This person donates the use of their fancy, powerful, sensational sports car…as a taxi – to be used to pick up people who’ve requested an Uber taxi. And, this is all unbeknownst to the people hailing the taxi, and – conveniently, there’s a TV show called “Random Acts,” to film their reactions. The show provides lights, camera, action – and, a driver – and then that driver pulls an Allen Iverson.

What!?! No. Well, sorta – but, at least not totally…

This show-provided-driver really does take some little practice time behind the wheel of the Ferrari (with the owner riding shotgun, and supervising). And, the show-provided-driver also gets a chauffer’s cap…and a coat, and some more practice. And so, can you see where this is going…Easy peasy? Go ahead – right now – put the puzzle pieces together and tell me what happens next, k?

No – you don’t wanna get it wrong, but you think you’ve got it figured out, yeah?

Round 1 – Picture it, in your mind, these ordinary people using Uber, and they order a taxi and give all their deets. Uber sends a message back explaining for them what to expect – some variation of a plain, mid-size car, and a picture of the face of the driver beside his name. Moments later, a gorgeous, late model Ferrari roars to the curb! The driver cheerfully pops his head out the top, and excitedly explains that this ride is for them!!! Shock! Utter – shock!!! And ohhhh, then that smile takes over – you know that smile – the one you get when someone gives you an unexpected gift? Yeah. That smile. It takes over the face of the person ordering the taxi!!

Then they are driven around town in the Ferrari – and oh, for that ride – oh how it makes them FEEEEEL!!! What a rush!!

Round 2 – Now imagine that that person ordering the Uber taxi doesn’t actually get out much, has not felt really very well in quite awhile, and every day wonders how bad it’s gonna get. They don’t get out much, and they feel sickly, and sad – because they are fighting cancer, and have been, for the past 6 months…so they have come to a place in their lives – where they have stopped trying to expect too much out of life

Now –

Imagine that Ferrari roaring right up to them! Imagine the look on their face. And when the driver takes them about – the wind blowing slipstreams through their clothes and over their face – the slim sight of the snap in the head-turns of passersby – oh, how they Feeeeeeeeeel! Then the driver declares – this is what all the practice was for…for a lil extra ridin, down a detour laneway or two…

The crazy, eyes-filling-with-tears joy of it! Riding in a Ferrari! What color is it? Why – should it be, say, Championship Yellow? {There is such a color} Or Fire Engine Red? {We’ve all heard of that color, yeah?} Perhaps, Ireland Green, or Caribbean Blue? Or Starling Silver (ok, I think I’m making those colors up now, but you get the picture, yeah?)…Imagine them sitting at a red light, with the deep, low, percolating rumble of the idling engine…that barks to full throttle when the light turns green and the driver stands on the gas…. The flash of delight they get, that quickly rises up their face, turns into full-force excitement rushing right on past the edge of thrill, and sparking right up into their eyes!! Imagine that! Imagine. That!

Sheer. Unvarnished. Happy. All the bad stuff – for a moment – stripped away, and we’re left with raw, uncontaminated happiness. Wow. Wow, wow, WOW!

On reflection, perhaps you realize – none of that could happen without the cooperation and teamwork of several varied groups and people. Random Acts – works with Uber – who then also works with Cancierge, and together they make a powerful moment. That’s a wow!! So cool!

To many of my readers, the parallels with the power of sports and recreation may seem open and obvious – but to others, they may be obscured, and isolated. Please consider registering your perspective on this important topic. Write me back – tell me what you think, or how you feel about this or other posts, yes? Correct me where I’m wrong – and help me fix my wagon. And thanks in advance for your perspective – for as you well know, teamwork makes the dream work!

By Dr. Rodney J. Blackman

Dr. Rodney J. Blackman is the Chair of Recreation Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at rblackman@ussa.edu.

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