Day 53: Ellen's message
The return to the Sports Product Management program was everything you would have expected it to be. Second year students made presentations to first year students: youngers teaching youngers, not the usual schooling of elders teaching youngers. Short presentations were clipped with attention to experiences from a summer of internships with companies as far flung as the geography of their location. The culture of a company nestled in a culture of a work force within a community of people.
The product of sports designed for function and, well, design itself. Sunglasses. Skateboards. Water bottles. Clothes. Packs. Shoes. More shoes. Every possible thought put into a product. The roles played by the interns: immersion into the work force. Spreadsheets to forecast numbers. Sales and supply chains. Focus groups to glimpse into perspectives. Customers and markets. Sustainability with questions of the future. Outcomes and impact.
The companies and numbers were so vast and so vastly different. Small companies down the road with a staff fewer than a score striving for a foothold. Conglomerates with thousands of workers and global reach connected with exclusives for supplies and distribution. This network reinforced by people who knew people. Each intern ended with lessons learned. How to break in? What to take out? Be present. Say yes. Think big. Reach out. Immerse. Pay attention.
But the meaning of the day came when Ellen spoke. She focused on your presence in the program. How important it was for the students to not let your death divide the group. Avoid going inward in different degrees of grief with walls of silence separating each other. Avoid questions of purpose, vacating functions of the day. What’s the use? Why are we in this game? What’s important any more? Losing focus. Not being in the game.
Ellen’s message was about coming together. Growing more connected with you as part of this life. Our life. Have you in our heart. Learn through you as a lens into work, function, and eventually purpose. Move forward and learn. Heed your attributes of listening, including, and accepting. Be kind and helpful. When needed. The grief of your death needs to be brought into our souls as a group, a team, a family with a common bond together for a purpose.
Buddy, your reach is everywhere. Otherwise, none of this makes sense. But we need to go on, so it will be with you as part of all of us. We love you. All of us.