We’re all state champs at the beach



I’m not sure what you are doing, but right now I’m writing this column on the lanai of a house we rented for the week in Sandestin, Fla. At home in Roswell I have a back porch. Here I have a lanai.

If it makes you feel better, I can see a storm rolling in from the Gulf. It won’t damper my day that much though, really. We did the beach yesterday, we’ll do it again tomorrow. Guess I’ll have to rough it inside today playing Uno with Brenda and the boys, or maybe Clue, or watch a move or two. Maybe we’ll go out to a theater? Hard to say.

I’m typically a pretty focused worker. I put in a lot of hours at work, in the community and with projects at home. If you are fully involved in what you do for work or anything else, it’s a treat to unplug from it for a bit. Damian Cook, one of the managing partners at our branch here in Atlanta, just got back from a two-week trip to Israel with his wife. It looked like an incredible trip and he looked pretty incredible himself upon return.

I’m sure most of you would say this about your jobs, but being a mortgage banker is a very intensive and high-maintenance job. But I guess anything can be high-maintenance if you care a lot about the quality of each end result.

My wife, Brenda, is the coach of my son Samuel’s Odyssey of the Mind team at Queen of Angels. If you are not familiar with that program, it’s a competition where schools are given specific tasks that they have to perform in the way of a dramatic skit. They work together in teams of seven and spend several months creating the sets, writing and practicing the skits and creating objects that will perform the tasks. There is also a ‘spontaneous’ portion of the competition where they go into a room and are immediately asked to figure something out. They are judged and allotted points.

Our team won region last month, and then we had the state competition in Columbus, Ga., last Saturday. Their team had largely been together for three years. They got fifth in the state last year and the year before. After last year, these fourth and fifth graders decided that they were going to win state this year. They started early January meeting every Sunday and Tuesday getting their set together, writing their skit, creating vehicles with their own unique propulsion systems and then practicing their skits.

Well folks, I’m here to tell you that they are your state champs! They will be heading to the world competitions in East Lansing, Mich., next month. They really worked so hard – especially for children that young. I can’t tell you how happy they are – well, I kind of can. Two days after the competition, three of the seven team members still wear their medals around their necks (one I saw on Facebook is still wearing his team-shirt). It has been so much fun to watch.

As adults, we don’t get that kind of exhilaration after our wins. As we get older, our tasks get longer and our exhilaration turns to more of a satisfaction. A win for me is having a big month, a big quarter and a big year. But after each win, in our business, you have a short amount of time that you can celebrate before realizing it’s time to start working on next year.

That said, getting to step away and enjoy time here with my family in Sandestin, is kind of my victory celebration. There were some missed opportunities and things that could have been done better, but this week I’m going to enjoy the successes. And I’ll start by riding the coat-tails of my wife and son and their team. Congratulations Queen of Angels’ State Champs Team!

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