Greg Smith Keynote Speaker

Leadership Expert on Resiliency and Inner Strength – Greg helps leaders and teams “Go Full-Strength!” for maximum productivity.

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Inner Strength insights from the world of sports, disability, entertainment, business, politics and everything else I’d like to share with you.

Happy Mondays Decided on Sundays?

by Greg Smith

Are your Monday moods decided by the performance of your team on Sundays?

Last night, in the “golden state,” the Chicago Bears were the warriors, battling back from devastating injuries and a 17 point deficit to ruin the San Francisco 49ers housewarming party in their new stadium. Today is Monday and I’m very happy!  The sky is a little more blue.  The coffee tastes better.  My goals for the day are clearly outlined and attainable.

Last Monday, I was very depressed after the Bears were upset by a much weaker Buffalo Bills team.  I didn’t want to open the blinds to even see how blue the sky was.  I didn’t want any coffee.  I just watched Sportscenter highlights and wondered why everything happened the way it did.

Why I love the Bears so much

The fluctuation in my Monday moods based on the Bears performance is nothing new.  This excerpt from my book will entertain you and might help you relate.  Should I be under a psychologists care over this or is my behavior within the bounds of sanity?  Are your autumn and winter Mondays decided on Sundays?

 


Excerpt from On A Roll: Reflections from America’s Wheelchair Dude with the Winning Attitude

While an ASU student, I spent most of my summers and Christmas vacations with my parents in Chicagoland. As a child growing up there, my moods on Mondays strictly depended on whether the Bears won or lost. No wonder I identified so strongly with that song, I Don’t Like Mondays, by the Boomtown Rats. But I knew every week that the Bears had a chance to win, no matter whom they played, because of one ingredient that nobody else could match: Walter Payton.

Greg Smith's memoir, On A Roll: Reflections from America's Wheelchair Dude with the Winning Attitude

Greg Smith’s memoir, On A Roll: Reflections from America’s Wheelchair Dude with the Winning Attitude

I identified with “Sweetness.” In his Bears uniform, he was greatness on a miserable team. In my wheelchair, I felt like I was greatness in a miserable body and a cold, physical world. Yet we both held onto our dreams. I grew up, went on to Arizona State and became the sports director of the campus radio station. His team grew up, became good and in 1985 hosted an NFC Divisional Playoff game against the New York Giants. I was home for the holiday break. I called the Bears office and was able to obtain a single locker room pass that would permit me entrance into the Bears locker room after the game. It would not permit me into Soldier Field or into the press box.

My parents and their friends had tickets and rented an RV for the game. The plan was for my cousin Ronald and me to watch the game from the parking lot and go directly to the Bears locker room afterwards to interview the players. Shortly after my parents left, Ron and I looked at each other with devilish grins and didn’t have to say a word. We bundled up on this subzero Chicago December afternoon. He pushed me in my manual wheelchair to one of the entrances and to our amazement, the locker room pass gained us entry into the stadium!

We found a temporary resting-place in the wheelchair section just above the field at about the 40-yard line, but on this painfully frigid day, I could only endure it for 30 minutes. It was just too cold. We decided to try the press box as a last ditch attempt to remain in the stadium before surrendering back to the RV. And whaddaya know? The security guard allowed us on the elevator. Before we knew it, we were being served hors d’oeuvres in a heated press box, receiving detailed statistics, and enjoying the Bears thrashing of the Giants. In all the excitement, I had to continue to remind my cousin that this was the press box. Cheering was not allowed, even when the Bears pressured Giants punter Sean Landetta so much that he took his eyes off the ball as he dropped it in the general direction of his foot, resulting in one of the NFL’s all-time funniest follies!

As time ticked off the fourth quarter clock, my greatest concern became how I would get from the press box to the Bears locker room after the game. The only wheelchair accessible path would have taken us completely outside Soldier Field and against the grain of the departing crowd. The Bears’ public relations director said not to worry. He instructed ushers to meet me at the bottom of the elevator and carry me on their shoulders in my wheelchair, down the bleachers to the locker room level. I felt like royalty.

They set me down gently. Right in front of me was The NFL Today’s Irv Cross and his camera crew about to enter the locker room in front of me! We wheeled through the door. Clusters of aggressive reporters so surrounded the most celebrated Bears that in some circles, I couldn’t even see the players. I felt intimidated, sheepishly scanning the room for the slightest possibility that I could get an interview with just one big-time player. From my wheelchair, I could read the names of the players above their lockers. Huge crowds surrounded Mike Singletary, Willie Gault, and Jim McMahon. I must have looked pretty dejected at the realization that I would have to wait for “seconds” instead of getting those first, passionate statements from players after a victory that moved them to within one game of the Super Bowl. I was able to conduct a short interview with Bears offensive lineman Tom Thayer since he was sitting alone and neglected by the media.

Ever the optimist, I continued to seek an interview opportunity, and through a crack in the crowd, his eyes met mine. Slowly and softly, he extended his arm forward and moved it to his right, brushing it up against the abdomen of a reporter, who took one step aside. He nodded his head, looking me dead in the eye. He didn’t pause from answering the question he was asked. He just moved his arm and created a space for me. I rolled forward and extended my microphone. I was so excited by the moment and so intimidated by my surroundings that I didn’t even ask a question. But my tape recorder captured the voice of Sweetness.

Order your copy of On A Roll – Reflections from America’s Wheelchair Dude with the Winning Attitude. A great read for yourself and a great choice as a gift!

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