July 5, 2014

On The Rebound: A little effort can make a big difference

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — I stumbled across an interesting story that involved Bruce Pearl and Charles Barkley. I find both Bruce and Chuck to be very intriguing people that seem to have a different style than most people. Both are funny and outspoken, but there is a bit of philosopher in both men.

So as the story goes, when Pearl was coaching at Tennessee he received a call from Barkley. When Pearl did not answer, Barkley left a voice mail.

He says, “Coach Pearl this is Charles Barkley, you don’t need to call me back. I’ve just been watching your teams play and I love the way you coach and I love the way your teams play.”

The whole transaction took less than 30 seconds on both ends, for Barkley to call and Pearl to listen. It might have made a huge difference for at least one of these men.

Pearl might have been the hottest college coach when he lied to the NCAA and ultimately lost his job at Tennessee. This is a man who achieved greatness and then lost it. Now he has a chance to regain some glory as head coach at Auburn. Yes Auburn, where Charles Barkley played his college basketball.

Maybe it is coincidence that Pearl ended up at Auburn, but maybe not. Pearl admitted that he still has the message from Barkley saved on his phone from seven years ago. If that doesn’t push Pearl toward Auburn, it at least gave him some of the confidence he needed to pursue another SEC job. If it wasn’t an influence, then the message would have been erased like a reminder from the dentist.

There are a couple of lessons I grabbed from this fluff news article. First it is O.K. to do something positive. That is a direct quote from Bill Carson in the story I did on his retirement after 33 years of teaching. It is a message he tried to instill in all of his students. I’m sure Barkley had a lot on his schedule more important than leaving a complimentary message to the coach of a rival team. He made the effort and did not do it for any gain on his own part. I’m sure there has been some payback for Barkley knowing that Pearl saved the message all this time. Or even satisfaction that Pearl is now at Auburn. Neither result was planned when he dialed the numbers.

The other thing interesting about the story is that these are still two human beings. Both have reached great heights of success professionally and financially. They both still realize that there is an element of connection that cannot be bought and cannot be ignored. It was one man reaching out in a positive way to another.

We seem to be building a society that is much more concerned with tearing each other down than building each other up. It might just take 30 seconds to have an impact on somebody’s life. If you hear a compliment or encouragement building inside of you, let it out. It is O.K. to do something positive.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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