In December, I had the opportunity to represent Springfield at the US Sports Congress in Fort Myers, Florida. Despite the record cold weather, yes it was cold in Florida with lows in the upper 20’s; Ft. Myers provided a great setting and environment for the US Sports Congress.
Highlights of the conference for me included the keynote address from former Olympian, Rowdy Gaines as well as a spirited and humorous presentation on the art of promotion from Mike Veeck.
The Veeck family name is synonymous with fun at baseball parks. His father, Bill Veeck’s was a Hall of Fame owner of several major & minor league baseball teams. Many of you recall Bill Veeck for sending 3 foot 6 inch Eddie Gaedel to the plate as well as signing Larry Doby, the first black man to play in the American League. Mike Veeck’s entertaining speech on PROMOTION was a favorite of mine at the show.
The show portion of the US Sports Congress provided a great opportunity to visit and meet with various national governing bodies and organizations. This included USA Fencing, USA Weightlifting, USA Roller Sports, USA Diving, Professional Disk Golf, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, AAU and TeenMasters Bowling, which is run and organized by Gary Beck, father of Springfield’s KY3 meteorologist Brandon Beck! As with any show, the goal is to make contact with these organizations, promote and showcase Springfield as a destination for sports.
The show concluded with a visit to the Art of the Olympians museum and Al Oerter Center of Excellence. The mission of the museum is to demonstrate the very real relationship between art and sport to the general public. All of the art in the museum is from former Olympians. I had the opportunity to meet Cathy Oerter, who like myself, comes from a small town in Iowa. She exhibited a great amount of passion for the museum and is currently on the board of the Art of the Olympians. The visit to the museum sparked awareness and provided me with insight and ideas on how to incorporate art into events.
Another benefit to attending these events is the opportunity to network as well as provide a forum for the exchange of ideas with our peers. Although, it is a competitive market, most if not all attendees are very willing to share ideas and past experiences to help.
The US Sports Congress provided a great forum and opportunity to market and showcase Springfield as a destination for sports!