Lance Kettering

Put on by Covey Communications and Sports Events Magazine, the S.P.O.R.T.S. Conference is an annual meeting and symposium for sports executives. I attended this year’s event, representing Springfield.

The 2011, self-described, Relationship Conference was in LA…. That’s Lower Alabama (Orange Beach)! The event was in the middle of hurricane season in the middle of hurricane territory. The natives treat hurricanes like we treat normal Midwest weather occurrences. However, the weather was perfect and very enjoyable and despite my concerns, there was not any weather or water issues for this Midwesterner!

Highlights of the event included the opportunity to meet with sports events right holders. I was able to meet with representatives from the following: USA Table Tennis, Continental Events & Sports Management (running events), USA Team Handball, USA Fencing, the NAIA, Net Lynx Sports, NASC regional sports meetings, Game Day USA Baseball/Softball, AAU and JAM (dance). It is our hope that these meetings will result in sports travel to Springfield in the future.

While in LA, we did partake in what is called a mullet-toss! 50,000 folks converge to the area for the event annually. Essentially, this is a fish tossing contest! Google it!

Other highlights included a very moving and inspirational guest speaker – John O’Leary. John is a native of St. Louis and provided our group with a very moving testimonial on his life and how he has overcome a childhood accident with fire that caused 100% of his body to be burned. Words cannot do justice to the impact John’s speech had on our group. It was truly an inspirational moment. You can check him out at I was also able to meet some great folks from across the country, where we shared ideas and learned about the challenges each other faces. My fellow Missouri colleagues and I even convinced a new friend from a destination in Florida to make his own Missouri adventure. Complete with stops in Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Branson, Rolla, Kansas City, St. Louis and St. Joseph!

The 2012 S.P.O.R.T.S. Conference will be in Oklahoma City. I’m looking forward to representing Springfield there next year.