Goal-Free Athletes

October 17, 2006  

Sunday evening I had more fun than I have had in a long time. Let me explain.

A while back I stumbled across a wonderful company that does gift bags for VIP events like the Oscars. Goal-Free Living has been included in several gift bags over the past year. The most recent gift bag was for Billie Jean King’s Women’s Sports Foundation. One hundred female athletes and other VIPs were invited to a black tie event held last night (Monday) at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. On Sunday evening, an informal “swag room” was put together – a room where the dozen gift bag contributors could show there goodies and meet the athletes. The other tables had handmade jewelry, cool t-shirts, and high-end cosmetics. And they were giving away their goodies. I was there with my books. At first, I was concerned that no one would visit my table.

Here was my set-up.

Goal-Free Living Table

As you can see, in the back, I had a pink teddy bear wearing a pink “Goals Suck” T-shirt. This was my sister’s idea. A pink teddy bear? Ok, I’m man enough to do that. But I wasn’t sure how the athletes would respond to such a T-shirt; I assumed that most had goals to get to the Olympics, to win the LPGA tournament, or to be victorious at Wimbledon. I even joked with my dad that the hockey team would surely dislike the Goals Suck mantra.

At 8PM, the athletes started to flow in. The first ones to visit me? The US Women’s Olympic Hockey Team. And the first one to sign the bear? The goalie! She was thrilled when I gave her a Goals Suck T-Shirt. Here are some hockey players signing the teddy bear.

Goal-Free Goalie

As the night progressed, I met so many amazing people like:

- “Grandma Luge,” Anne Abernathy, who is in the Guinness World Book of Records as the oldest woman ever to compete in the Winter Olympics Games (she’s over 50) and is the first woman to participate in 6 Winter Games.

- Jean Discroll, the only person to win the Boston Marathon 8 times…in a wheelchair…and she still holds the course record.

- Mary Ellen Clark, who won two Olympic bronze medals diving.

And SO many more from every imaginable sport. I was inspired. I was in awe. And in the end, I had a teddy bear with 50 signatures from some of the most amazing people I ever met.

Goals Suck Bear

I was truly goal-free when I went. I had no idea what to expect. In fact, I was a bit hesitant. How could a book on not having goals compete with free jewelry and cosmetics? In the end, I found that people were intrigued by the goal-free concept. And that MANY of these top athletes said that there success came in unexpected ways. For me, it was an incredible night where I met many incredible people.

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