A Friendly Rivalry Can Be Right Up Your Alley
Oct 18, 2014Posted by james

Not many people bowl anymore. If you haven’t noticed, bowling alleys have closed across the country. We’ve lost a number of them over the years on Long Island, including one of the oldest that was located in Plainview. It is now a clothing store.

Once hugely popular, bowling mostly has become an occasional fun night out with friends or family. But you still can find organized bowling leagues where teams covet a trophy along with rivalries among college and high school bowling teams.

For several years, a bowling sibling rivalry in Putnam County has framed rather than split the love between Jeanna Brown and her brother, Dominick. Since they were kids, the two regularly have competed against each other during practice, in high school matches and during tour events. It has been a constant battle of one-upmanship, with the older brother challenging the younger sister.

Dominick shot a perfect game before Jeanna. But Jeanna has been to the states competition four times while Dominick only went twice. While Dominick was all-in with bowling, Jeanna initially wasn’t a fan. She actually hated bowling, claiming that it disrupted her social life.

Now, Jeanna is a full-fledged bowling junkie. She just started her last year of high school where she can continue to dominate the area’s Section 1 bowling. Dominick, meanwhile, graduated last June. He now bowls for Dutchess Community College and then will move on to New York Institute of Technology. He plans to study architecture, and just maybe he will design some interesting new lanes that will help reinvent the game.

Rivalries can be good, whether they are between siblings, friends, or business colleagues. The competition challenges each player, raises the bar of success and often strengthens relationships.

In business, fostering employee teamwork and comradery contributes to the success of an organization. Everyone benefits when business is humming along. So, I urge all company owners and leaders to champion friendly rivalries. When implemented correctly, you will see improvement in the confidence and contribution of each employee. Then, all of you, as a team, will participate in many celebrations as you continue to beat the competition.


Twirl Your Way To Success
Oct 02, 2014Posted by james

The baton is in the air one, two, three, four and up to seven seconds. The work involves tricks, dance and gymnastics, with every move requiring concentration and precision. At least two hours of practice are required each day for this sport.

We are talking about twirling. Yes, it is considered a sport, and it’s just not for the ladies.

Richie Terwilliger of Rockland County is a twirler. He’s 22 and he has competed in six world championships. About 20 countries actively participate. But twirling as a sport is virtually unknown here. As Richie often says, people think of college twirlers, parades and girls whenever twirling is mentioned.

The female-to-male twirling ratio is 40-to-one here. In some other countries, it is 50-50. Richie started twirling at age 12, but he stopped several times. As a youngster, he wasn’t quite comfortable with the ratio. Since then, his love for the sport, and its unlimited tricks, flips and rolls, has convinced him to continue to compete.

Richie was introduced to twirling by his kid sister, a champion herself, and they have appeared in pairs competitions. The increasing roles for guys and the growing difficulty of competition that can include one to three batons prompted Richie to up his game. He has taken martial arts to help him focus. Gymnastics and dance classes have improved his balance.

Richie’s coach has complimented the young man on his blend of strength, flexibility and natural artistic ability. He has mastered rolling a baton over his body without the use of hands, and he is the only competitor to juggle a baton with his elbows before it is knocked behind him with a knee to allow him to catch it.

Though focused now on his college classes of mechanical and aerospace engineering, Richie has continued to compete in twirling “because it’s cool, it’s fascinating, it’s fun.”

Learning about Richie and his passion for twirling provides us with some great lessons that we can adapt for business. We can incorporate these lessons into our daily routine and we can introduce them to the people who work with and for us.

What have we learned? First, let’s pursue unconventional ideas. Second, we must remember to properly study and train for any task. Third, let’s find ways to ensure that we never lose the passion for what we do each day.

Let’s be just like Richie, because what we do every day is cool, is fascinating and it is fun!