Lesson From a Lava Cave

This is the entrance to the Lava River Cave in Cocochino National Forest in Flagstaff, AZ. One of my friends decided this was something we must do over Labor Day weekend so I looked it up online and saw this photo to your left.

Seriously? My first thought was “how do you even get in that thing?”

Next to this photo were the following facts about the cave.

1. It is 40 degrees year round in the cave even in the height of summer so dress accordingly.

2. It is pitch black in the cave so make sure you bring a good flashlight.

3. Cave is a mile long. Half mile out and half mile back. There is only one way in and out so you can’t get lost (for the record I did NOT believe this when reading).

Anyway, a group of us got there and Ive got to tell you;  it was more daunting in person than this picture portrays. Mainly because you could not tell where it was going & it was very rocky. And it was like that the whole way. You could only see your one immediate step at a time. You could not see ahead at all.

It was icy. It was cold. It was kind of dangerous.

And it was one of the cooler things I’ve done.

Made me think about my life.

Often, I have no idea where I’m going. I just hope I’m moving in the right direction and keep taking steps forward even when I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have trust that it’s there and I’m not on the wrong path.

Sounds a little like faith to me.

It’s amazing the possibilites that open up that way that I never knew existed.

My friend Annie & I inside the Lava Cave


It’s not very often I write about work.

Mainly b/c when I blog my thoughts are my own. Which means this is not official thoughts from the team in any capacity (insert all disclaimers here. This is my own opinion).

That being said, I had to write about what’s been happening in Tampa Bay and specifically the Lightning b/c frankly, it’s just too amazing not to talk about.

The Lightning are in the Eastern Conference Finals. One of 4 teams remaining. No one thought we’d make the playoffs at the start of the year and here we sit. Tonight is Game 6 and it’s a must-win for us.

This blog isn’t about the team play though. I’ll leave that to the experts.  This blog is about the fans & the community & the overwhelming support I’ve witnessed. Recently, I wrote a blog Culture vs Strategy.

Interesting b/c I’m watching it play out here today.

Oh, we have had a strategy. From a marketing perspective, we have been very strategic in our approach and i’ve been proud of the team and it’s strategic planning. But no amount of planning would work if the fans & community didn’t create the culture.

There are many examples but my favorite is the human bolt. Sure, we planned it out and invited fans to come.

But our fans brought way more to the table than we knew to ask for.

The human bolt took on a life of it’s own. Over 700 people showed up to see the team off for Game 5. On a Sunday, in the Florida heat, standing on asphalt for hours, so the team could see them from their plane as they took off. Now, that’s a fan base people.

See the Human Bolt below.


And culture creates media. We got coverage on Fox, CBS, Yahoo & even made Sports Center.

Bottom line is our fans & this community have been nothing short of amazing. There support has made my job easy.

A long while back I wrote a blog on Creating a Groundswell. I wrote it over a year ago and while I do not take any credit for what’s going on here in Tampa Bay, I definitely think that thanks to the fans, we truly have created a Groundswell of Lightning support.

I’m honored to be a part of this team and this community.


It All started with a Chicken, Rabbi & Nun..

So, this weekend I ran in a 12k race called Bay to Breakers in San Francisco. Over 55,000 people ran. See the start line photo to the left.

Trust me, this is not the kind of race Iron Man athletes talk about.

It’s more of a social race. 7 1/2 miles of pure fun. Well, as much fun as you can have while running.

It’s a pretty normal race. Well, as normal as you can be with costumes & a few dozen naked people.

My first sign it was a different kind of race came at 7:30am when we were boarding the BART heading downtown San Fran. I turned to my friend Annie and said “Which way do we go?” To which she promptly responded “I think we should follow that chicken, rabbi and nun”. I looked up and saw these guys to the right.

Needless to say, the race is hilarious & tons of fun.

I couldn’t help but think while running how much this race is like my life.

Have you ever ran in a mass group of people? It’s frustrating, a little intimidating and requires alot of concentration. Not only do you have to watch where your feet are going at all times due to uneven pavement and in this case beer cans; you also need to literally weave in and out through the crowds of people all going at different paces. In this race, i also had to run while avoiding naked people, crazy costumes and walkers.

Here are a few of the best costumes:



Above is a video of me while actually running in the race.

As you can tell, it takes alot of navigating. In fact, it’s a constant stream of obstacles.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Practice – the more I run in races, the better I become at navigating the crowds. Practice really does help.

2. Focus – You really have to focus on your surroundings and the task at hand at all times.

3. Keep moving – Often, I want to quit. Sometimes, i have to walk. But, what’s important is to keep moving. And by moving I mean in a FORWARD direction.

4. Face Your Obstacles – when racing, there are tons of obstacles. You have to just pick the best opening/direction you see at the time. Sometimes, this leads to a dead end or worse; a Storm Trooper. But lately, like today, I began to see a clear path in the middle of all the obstacles.

I think that’s the lesson. With practice and determination to keep moving forward, you begin to see a clear path in the midst of all the obstacles. And when you hit that clear path and narrowly escape a Minute Man or two (or worse a Old Naked Guy), it feels pretty darn great 🙂

My Thoughts on Osama…

It’s still too fresh to fully comprehend and I watch the nations reaction with a sense of dull wonder like watching a show I can’t understand.

Because I lack my own words right now, I think these say it best.

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr