Changed it up a bit & invited some of the attendees at the UPenn to come up on stage & take the #SameHere picture with us.
I try to share at least one new key learning at each of these culture-changing events, that really stick out to me as different than the others we’ve had. Here was the big one for me this time:
Jim Dowd talked about growing up in an Irish Catholic family in NJ, where “you didn’t talk about these things.” Penn Running Backs Coach Steven Downs, the long-tenured Coach for the Quakers talked about growing up in a black family in the city of Philadelphia where “you didn’t talk about these things.”
That said, Jim began finally talking after 49 years – only when for him it go so bad, that he HAD to open up & talk. Steve didn’t think there was anything TO talk about, until he saw the pain in one of his former players, Kyle Ambrogi, in 2005, who “had it all,” & all of the sudden, instead, seem lost.
Both men came from family backgrounds where “it” was never discussed. Both realized the need to discuss “it” in different ways. But BOTH are now huge advocates about being open.
Jim talked about how the last seven months after opening up it’s been like a 20k lb gorilla has been taken off his back. Coach Downs talked about how he calls & asks his student athletes now “what’s up in your life”…& even phones his siblings & says, “hey, just want you to know I love you.”
Maybe that type of perspective change comes from experience – Jim from his own experience struggling, Coach Downs from his own experience losing a student who “had it all” in Kyle Ambrogi.
But, the lesson can be – to not allow it to take a difficult experience for us all to get “there.” Let’s instead be proactive & share & listen to the wisdom of two individuals like this, who have realized how healthy & special sharing is!
Big thanks to all of the panelists including Adam Davenport, Penn Senior Swimmer Nancy Hu, Donna & Greg Ambrogi, & Dr. Britton Davis.