Good morning from New York City. I love this town. Laura and I have made the trip out here a handful of times and we find each trip a new adventure. There are so many things to do, places to see, and there is so much to learn about. This trip is specifically for the National Pest Management Association Commercial Pest Control Summit that takes place Monday and Tuesday. Two days of classes, lectures, and networking with the other companies, vendors, and academics from our industry that specialize in the very thing that Sprague does best. Should be a great couple of days. Yet I am carrying a tremendous amount of stress.
Tonight my Gonzaga Bulldogs play for the National Championship in College Basketball. They play the feared and equally great Tar Heels of North Carolina. This stress and pressure is something that I am manufacturing on my own. I am completely responsible for the burden that I am self-imposing. My emotions are something that I can control. Nobody is making me care about this game, nothing I can do today will affect the outcome, and I don’t have to watch. But I will. I will for the same reasons that we route for our favorite teams or pursue our favorite hobbies – I’m invested.
Gonzaga was a great school for me. My academic career was much less impressive than the friends I made, the lessons I learned, and career that I launched (I loved being a technician for the Spokane office so much that I’m still here). My four years in the Gonzaga bubble had as much effect on my life as any other span. Many of those friends I still count on and a few tried to convince me to cancel this trip and join them in Phoenix for the Final Four. I did consider it. The basketball team represents an extension of that school that I can be proud of. The team is run on the same solid ethical foundation that the school is based, the players are good people, and I am a big fan of Head Coach Mark Few. Few has found a way to balance getting most out of a diverse group of players while maintaining the highest standards. I respect his ability to harness his emotions on the sideline staying stoic in the face of bad calls. I enjoy his ability to connect and celebrate with his team after big wins and I love that despite all of the trappings of fame that he could indulge, he’s a reclusive family man who has remained in Spokane. The players come for four years but Few is constant. Tonight he gets his first chance to coach in the national championship.
Win or lose tonight Mark Few will be there next year to carry on, the school will continue to educate and guide young people, and the stress that I am carrying around will be released. Tonight will be fun.