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I conceive and execute sports creative projects, play in bands, and like a lot of other stuff, too.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Museum of Dreams


This post originally appeared in the Blotch section of the Fort Worth Weekly's website. To consume it there : https://www.fwweekly.com/2018/01/10/sports-rush-museum-of-dreams/

I had a dream the other night and it inspired me to write this column. 

I actually have this dream every so often in various forms, and it involves the idea that the Rangers have scheduled a game back at old Arlington Stadium and I am going. Usually in this dream, I am just a fan at the game, navigating narrow concourses and acres of bleacher seats. Sometimes I am working, trying to remember where the press box entrance is. 

I have no idea why I have this dream (crowd-sourced psychoanalysis welcomed), but I do know I had a lot of fond memories of going there as a kid and watching Major League Baseball.

Of course, the team won’t be scheduling a throwback event at the old stadium because they tore it down when they built a new facility. The Rangers are about to construct their third ballpark, but this time the (tentative) plan involves repurposing the former home rather than demolishing it. 

If they’re going to trade on nostalgia, they should go all in and bring back one of Globe Life Park in Arlington’s former features. They should have a baseball museum.

The current facility would be a great place to house such a thing. How do we know? It already did.

When the place opened in 1994, the Legends of the Game Baseball Museum occupied a storefront facing Randol Mill on the ballpark’s south side. The downstairs portion housed exhibits on the game’s great players, its equipment, its uniforms, broadcasting and more. The displays included artifacts on loan from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York - not a small thing for a museum to possess.

The second floor told the story of the Texas Rangers and baseball in North Texas. On the third floor, one found interactive areas geared toward young people.

If you loved baseball, you couldn’t help but find the museum absorbing. Objects owned by Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb stood on view alongside videos of Nolan Ryan no-hitters and Mantle/Maris/McGwire/Sosa/Bonds home run chases. If one re-opened such a museum, it would become a must-see for hard-core baseball fans.

But the longtime fans aren’t why the museum should come back. The biggest reason is the need to create the next generation of such people. Those of us who fell for the game at a young age developed a curiosity about it and began to take the deeper dives into its rich heritage. For me, books on the game and stories from my father got me fascinated with the game’s colorful past. That depth of engagement ensured I would want to continue to interact with the game into the present day, and attend games in any ballpark available. 

Before the museum closed after the 2009 season, every school group that toured the ballpark visited it. Schools could justifiably consider it an educational experience and thousands of children had a chance to realize how much there is to the national pastime.

The Rangers need baseball fans. This is a football state, and sports like basketball, ice hockey, soccer, and many others compete for allegiance. No sport has a history as storied as baseball’s. The Rangers should use it to their advantage.

Of course, you’d want to update the presentation, and have a plan for continuing to do so. When you’re competing for loyalty with e-sports and cellphones, the technological setup has to resonate. One issue the previous incarnation had was lack of commitment to keeping the exhibits fresh. As a Rangers employee, it took me years to find the money just to update a few videos so kids wouldn’t think Roger Maris still held the home run record or Oddibe McDowell was the only Ranger to hit for the cycle.

Would a new museum work from a business standpoint? According to museum personnel I talked to before the front office repurposed the space, it was still profitable to the end. The way it made a lot of its money was through events (including my sister’s wedding reception), but the Rangers thought they could make more profit by taking out exhibits and creating a more open floor pattern. The current Rangers Hall of Fame is the result.

Between the new ballpark and whatever is left at the old one, though, the team will have plenty of event space to rent. They could easily retain plenty of short-term profits from parties and corporate functions while also investing in cultivating the long-term fan base. And you could still host the right kinds of happenings at the museum, like the Batty at the Ballpark Halloween event pictured in this post’s featured photo. Note the baseball displays behind my niece‘s cool balloon/flower headdress.


If you want kids to have big league dreams (sometimes literally), you have to help them envision such things. A shrine to baseball would put them in the right frame of mind.


Rush Olson has spent more than two decades directing creative efforts for sports teams and broadcasters. He currently creates ad campaigns, television programs, and related creative projects for sports entities through Rush Olson Creative & Sports, Mint Farm Films, and FourNine Productions.

RushOlson.com
Linkedin.com/company/rush-olson-creative-&-sports
Facebook.com/RushOlsonCreativeandSports

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Why the Bowl System Has Staying Power

This post originally appeared in the Blotch section of the Fort Worth Weekly's website. To consume it there : https://www.fwweekly.com/2018/01/03/sports-rush-college-bowl-system-is-for-geniuses/

The system that produced the Belk Bowl, the TaxSlayer Bowl, and the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl is genius. It always has been.

College football’s postseason system dates to roughly 1902, when Michigan crushed Stanford in the first “Tournament East–West football game” in Pasadena, California (it was yet not known as the “Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual”). It grew from that single contest to a collection more than forty games that annually add hundreds of millions of dollars to the coffers of participating schools.

Short-term revenue isn’t what makes this system brilliant, though. Where it has truly proven itself is in the long term. The sport has gone from being four years away from Theodore Roosevelt supposedly considering banning it to arguably the most popular sport in the country (duly noting the power of the NFL). It attracts tens of thousands of people into stadia every week during the fall and reliably delivers TV ratings when few properties do anymore.
 
Here’s how I think the bowl system helped make college football successful: However many bowl games are staged, that many teams end their season with a postseason win. No playoff or tournament system can provide that veneer of a successful season.
 
Only one team wins the NCAA Basketball Tournament. A few schools get to say they’re “Final Four” or “Elite Eight” teams, but not 40-plus squads like in football. Even the ones who lose got a trip somewhere and still get to call themselves “bowl teams.” Players are happy, and so are fans and staff.
The more people who can end a season happy, the more it builds long-term success. Season tickets get renewed and the programs’ brands get a boost. Because the bar is relatively low (win 6 games, basically), even non-traditional programs can get lucky every few years and provide the alums some sustainably good memories (example: “Remember that year we made it to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl? Me neither – must have been really fun!”).

I’ve always thought European professional leagues had some advantages on their U.S. counterparts in this area. If you’re an English soccer team, for instance, your team can leave you feeling good at the end of the season in several ways:
  • Win the league regular season
  • Win the Champions League
  • Win the Europa League
  • Win the FA Cup
  • Win the League Cup
  • Qualify for next season’s Champions League or Europe League
  • Win promotion from a lower league to a higher league
Because they stage knockout tournaments concurrent with their own regular seasons, it creates more chances for success for more clubs. Those teams enjoy some remarkably resilient supporter loyalty – loyalty that reminds me, frankly, of that of college football fans. Only one team gets to be happy if the mentality is “Super Bowl or Bust.”

Multiple competitions don’t work with the sport of American football because of its physical nature. But bowl games? They work and have for decades. Two things could threaten this success.
The College Football Playoff: For the moment, this has been a huge financial positive for the college football landscape. Short-term, everybody, including smaller schools, gets more TV money. The concern comes if, in the long term, the focus shifts so much to this group of four big schools that it results in less overall enthusiasm for the sport at its lower levels. That affects the audience for the entire slate of bowl games, including . . .

Television: A major part of the reason so many bowl games exist is that ESPN can operate them and use them as programming for its networks. Will they retain their value as the TV marketplace grows more fragmented? There’s a chance they will, because live sports seems to have some immunity to the viewership declines of other forms of programming, but trying to predict the future in this industry is at best a daunting challenge. ESPN has been rapidly redefining its business model, so you can be sure they’ll evaluate bowl games, too.

Whenever the powers that be do chart the future of postseason college football, one would think they’d do well to clue in to everything the likes of the IBM OS/2 Fiesta Bowl, uDrove Humanitarian Bowl, and Bacardi Bowl have done for them.

Rush Olson has spent more than two decades directing creative efforts for sports teams and broadcasters. He currently creates ad campaigns, television programs, and related creative projects for sports entities through Rush Olson Creative & Sports, Mint Farm Films, and FourNine Productions.

RushOlson.com
Linkedin.com/company/rush-olson-creative-&-sports
Facebook.com/RushOlsonCreativeandSports

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Hockey Home for the Holidays


This post originally appeared in the Blotch section of the Fort Worth Weekly's website. To consume it there : https://www.fwweekly.com/2017/12/27/sports-rush-dallas-stars-home-for-the-holidays/

 For Dallas Stars fans, December 31st is a night to party.

OK, yes, that’s true for the entire rest of the world, too. But adding ice hockey into the mix of sparklers and champagne has become a tradition in North Texas sports.

Since moving to Dallas, the Stars have played games on New Year’s Eve 19 times, all but one of them at home. They’ve won a dozen of those, so this bit of holiday scheduling has more often than not made for a happy new year.

Marty Turco was the winning goaltender in four of these matchups (and drew another). In this video interview, he explains why he liked the annual affair and reminds us of a couple of the more memorable contests.


Rush Olson has spent more than two decades directing creative efforts for sports teams and broadcasters. He currently creates ad campaigns, television programs, and related creative projects for sports entities through Rush Olson Creative & Sports, Mint Farm Films, and FourNine Productions.

RushOlson.com
Linkedin.com/company/rush-olson-creative-&-sports
Facebook.com/RushOlsonCreativeandSports

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 in Philanthropic Sports Events

This post originally appeared in the Blotch section of the Fort Worth Weekly's website. To consume it there : https://www.fwweekly.com/2017/12/19/sports-rush-sports-events-that-made-a-difference/

At charity events this year, I saw folks throw footballs or hit tennis balls to people. I heard wild stories about ballgames and boxing matches. And I witnessed some moments of generosity and respect worthy of the holiday season.

Regular readers of this blog may know that when I’m not lounging in the palatial Fort Worth Weekly office suite, I do other creative work. A good chunk of it involves adding to the presentation of events, and especially sports-related charitable ones. Read on for some detail on some event-related moments that left an impression.

Nancy Lieberman Charities Dream Ball
February, 2017
Nancy Lieberman Dream Ball Ali Forum
photo by Thomas Garza
From a sports content standpoint, it might not get better than this, especially if you’re a boxing fan. At the end of the evening, a roundtable discussion moderated by ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jay Harris featured Sugar Ray Leonard, George Foreman, and Lonnie Ali (Muhammad’s widow) talking about Muhammad Ali’s legacy. We streamed it via Facebook Live and you can watch the panel, plus Lonnie Ali receiving an award, here.

Taste of the Cowboys
May, 2017
photo by Lori Gunter French
This event raises funds for the North Texas Food Bank, and the Dallas Cowboys serve as the face of the event (especially the bearded face of Travis Frederick and his fellow offensive linemen). They held this year’s event at the team’s new practice facility, The Star. It features prominent local chefs serving samples of signature dishes, so the food is a highlight, but the most fun part might involve football.  After the live auction concludes, a bunch of current and former Cowboys players take the stage. The auctioneer requests additional donations to the food bank, and when an audience member raises his or her hand to contribute, a player throws him or her a football. The completion percentage isn’t terribly high, but you do see a few good catches interspersed. It’s a cool spectacle and no doubt drives donations.

Behind the Masque Gala
May, 2017

 

Former Stars goaltender Marty Turco runs a charity called C5 Youth Foundation of Texas, and they do amazing work helping kids from challenging backgrounds navigate their teenage years and get into college. They annually hold a masquerade ball as a fundraiser, and this year the featured entertainment involved an improvisational comedy troupe from the Hideout Theatre.

The comedians managed to lure the easygoing Turco on stage, where they quizzed him about his day, which included hot yoga, picking up spirits for the event, and playing nine holes of golf. They then made up a song about his activities. In the middle of the routine, Turco laughed so hard his chair broke. It couldn’t have been scripted any better.

 Talk of the Town
July, 2017
photo by Carrie Adams
Maybe the most poignant moment of my year came at the Talk of the Town event. I’ve written in detail about why, but the quick holiday summary involves a Skype appearance by Dallas Stars announcer Dave Strader. Strader’s fight against cancer had prevented him from being physically present at the event, but he wanted to participate. So he joined his counterparts from the Mavericks, Rangers, and Cowboys electronically and it lit up the room, especially the table full of his Stars co-workers.

The lead-up to the event was fun, too, with a series of promotional videos starring the likes of Eric Nadel, Brad Sham, John Rhadigan, Chuck Cooperstein, and Cooperstein’s co-star from Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, Micah Pinson.

Nancy Lieberman Charities Celebrity Golf Classic
September, 2017
image by Dave French
One reason golfers play this tournament is the opportunity to rub elbows and trade foot wedges with notables from the worlds of sports and entertainment. It was nice seeing the likes of Seth Curry, Tony Casillas, Jose Guzman, and others show up to the support the charity, but one of the highlights was talking to comic actor Burton Gilliam near the 10th tee. My work that day involved shooting video, and we got to talking about camera technology. When he first got into the business, there was no digital technology allowing you to see what you had just shot as soon as you’ve done it. One shot movies on actual film, and you didn’t know what you had until it had been developed. Burton told me they once had to completely reshoot a scene when he was making Paper Moon because of something they hadn’t seen the previous day. It gives one an appreciation for all the scenes moviemakers did get right back in the day.
The main reason this one made the list though, is the scene at the end of this video. You’ll note Mr. Gilliam still has his acting chops.

Dirk Nowitzki Foundation Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic
September, 2017
image by Dave French
Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki have put on a celebrity tennis event the last two falls at the SMU tennis center. The tennis was a lot of fun, with a mix of world-class players like Donald Young and celebs from other professions like Owen Wilson and J.J. Barea. The evening before, they hold an exclusive VIP dinner and a silent auction. My personal favorite moment came when a video we had edited elicited tears from some audience members, but the best overall moment came during the silent auction that followed. As bids rose for various package, celebrities started stepping up. Former Dallas Star Mike Modano offered to fly in for a dinner package that already included Dirk, and other celebs joined. There were a number of cool gestures made and a lot of generous bids made it a six-figure night for the children’s causes helped by the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation.

Those are just a few highlights of the year in sports charity events, and I could name many more great moments and events (and I do feel guilty for not mentioning every single event I worked or attended in 2017 – they were all fantastic). Sport can be a force in doing good things, and a lot of people contributed a lot of time, energy, and money to improving people’s lives this year. Here’s to more of that in 2018.



Rush Olson has spent two decades directing creative efforts for sports teams and broadcasters. He currently creates ad campaigns, television programs, and related creative projects for sports entities through Rush Olson Creative & Sports, Mint Farm Films, and FourNine Productions.

RushOlson.com
Linkedin.com/company/rush-olson-creative-&-sports
Facebook.com/RushOlsonCreativeandSports

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Watching Sports Has Never Been Simpler

This post originally appeared in the Blotch section of the Fort Worth Weekly's website. To consume it there : https://www.fwweekly.com/2017/12/14/sports-rush-a-simpler-time-for-sports/

So, how do you watch sports? This used to be a simple question, right? You either went to the game or you turned on the television (after checking the newspaper or the TV Guide to see if one of a handful of  television stations had scheduled it).

Has the sports viewing landscape has grown more complicated in the last 30-40 years? Instead of a few broadcast stations, you now have a multiplicity of outlets, and, consequently, a lot more games. And no longer do you just adjust the rabbit ears on the household’s only TV. You have a wide choice of devices on which to consume broadcasts.
You’ve still got the legacy broadcast networks, and they do still show some sports. They each own cable channels dedicated solely to sporting content, like ESPN and the Fox regional sports networks (RSNs). They’ve got joint ventures with other entities, like the SEC Network, the Longhorn Network, and the Big Ten Network. Other companies compete with them, too, as the likes of beIN Sports, the Tennis Channel, and AT&T-owned RSNs try to carve out market share.

And telecasts don’t actually require a television channel. The likes of Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, MLB Advanced Media, and others allow one to stream video feeds of athletic contests. The networks themselves, in fact, operate “over-the-top” services to enable streaming of events whose rights they control, like FOX Sports GO or WatchESPN.
So do all these choices make it more complicated to watch sports? I don’t think so, especially when you consider the entire process of game-watching.

If you just want to watch sport the way the casual fan did in the 1970s, you still can. Check the TV listings in the newspaper sports section that morning, watch a game or two on network affiliates on Saturdays and Sundays, and occasionally go to one of your local team’s matches.
What if you wanted to plan ahead a bit, though? Even just knowing when your team played required effort. You either had to have clipped the schedule out of the newspaper when it came out at the beginning of the season or you had to acquire a physical copy, often in the form of a pocket schedule. You would have acquired one of those by traveling to a local merchant, assuming you had been able to find out which ones sponsored the team, or the team offices. And you had to hope it hadn’t changed since the printing date. Game times, broadcast carrier changes, and rainouts could all invalidate a given date on an analog schedule.

Today, you simply pick up your phone on a whim and use a search engine (or a league or team app) to find the latest schedule in a minute.

And say you wanted to watch a game played in another city that didn’t involve your local team? If it didn’t happen to be the game of the week on TV, what would you do? How would you even know the game was being played? If you had purchased a season preview magazine at the beginning of the season and prevented your spouse from throwing it away, it might have schedules for all the teams. You could write a physical letter to the out-of-town team and include a self-addressed stamped envelope, or call the team long distance after first dialing directory assistance for the number. The newspaper might list games a day or two out. Once you decided you wanted to see the game, you had to drive or fly there, and you’d have had a lot fewer flight options before deregulation.

Isn’t it much simpler to just watch it via an ESPN network or one of those NHL Center Ice or NFL Sunday Ticket packages that permit you to access out-of-market contests (and you get a whole season for a less than most plane trips)?

And what about the ancillary parts of watching a game? If a player intrigued you and you wanted to find out more about him, you might have had access to some limited information in a game program. If you wanted to see the rest of his career statistics, you might have needed to buy packs of bubblegum cards until you can across his entry, or travel to the library or bookstore and hope they had the latest edition of the Baseball Encyclopedia or the like. And in terms of asking your buddy what he thought about the game? Well, you could go to a payphone at halftime and hope he was home, though if the game wasn’t on TV he wouldn’t know what you were talking about until he read the story in the paper the next morning or saw 20 seconds of highlights on the evening news. Now you ping him on an easy-to-use social media or messaging app.

For most women’s sports, and any minor league sports, you would have had to go to even greater lengths to find out the information you wanted or see a game played. Almost no television coverage existed, and all the rigmarole noted above for getting to games was extra challenging for non-mainstream sports.

Today, sources like StubHub let you attend even the sold-out games without the complications of resorting to black-market ticket scalpers, and the electronic means listed above let you find a way to watch them with minimal effort.

We often refer to the past as a simpler era. Maybe that’s true in some respects, but not the sports viewing world. It’s never been easier to watch what you want.


Rush Olson has spent two decades directing creative efforts for sports teams and broadcasters. He currently creates ad campaigns, television programs, and related creative projects for sports entities through Rush Olson Creative & Sports, Mint Farm Films, and FourNine Productions.

RushOlson.com
Linkedin.com/company/rush-olson-creative-&-sports
Facebook.com/RushOlsonCreativeandSports

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Big Picture at the Amon Carter Museum

This post originally appeared in the Blotch section of the Fort Worth Weekly's website. To consume it there : https://www.fwweekly.com/2017/12/07/sports-rush-showcasing-more-than-sport/

One could characterize Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art, on display at the Amon Carter Museum through January 7, as an exhibition about sport. The paintings and sculptures on display offer American artists’ depictions of a pair of prominent outdoor sports.
Gifford Reynolds Beal’s The Fisherman
Gifford Reynolds Beal’s The Fisherman
We think of sport as something one does for enjoyment, and many Americans hunt and fish to relax. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates the country’s population contains nearly 36 million anglers and some 11.5 million hunters. Some might enjoy solo recreation, as in Gifford Reynolds Beal’s The Fisherman. Others prefer a recreational experience with friends, often accompanied by a round of post-excursion disputation, as seen in John George Brown’s Claiming the Shot: After the Hunt in the Adirondacks.
DTR352683 Claiming the Shot: After the Hunt in the Adirondacks, 1865 (oil on canvas) by Brown, John George (1831-1913); 81.3x127 cm; Detroit Institute of Arts, USA; Founders Society Purchase, R.H. Tannahill Foundation fund; PERMISSION REQUIRED FOR NON EDITORIAL USAGE; American, out of copyright PLEASE NOTE: The Bridgeman Art Library works with the owner of this image to clear permission. If you wish to reproduce this image, please inform us so we can clear permission for you.
DTR352683 Claiming the Shot: After the Hunt in the Adirondacks, 1865 (oil on canvas) by Brown, John George (1831-1913); 81.3×127 cm; Detroit Institute of Arts, USA; Founders Society Purchase, R.H. Tannahill Foundation fund
Much of the exhibition’s art doesn’t depict what we might think of as sporting, though. A competitor engaged in a game involving knife-fighting a bear, as in Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait’s 1856 painting A Tight Fix – Bear Hunting, Early Winter, would have a short career.
 
In place of jolly hunting parties, we see men and women pursuing game for the reasons most humans would have up until the last century: survival. The tribesmen engaged in Charles Russell’s Buffalo Hunt (or those in Alfred Jacob Miller’s painting of the same name) no doubt risk their lives bringing down a great horned beast not for the thrill of the chase, but because hungry family members await their return. John Quincy Adams Ward’s The Indian Hunter bears the look of someone who knows he must brave danger to eat (as does his dog).
Charles M. Russell (1864-1926); The Buffalo Hunt [No. 39]; 1919; Oil on canvas; Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas; 1961.146
Charles M. Russell (1864-1926); The Buffalo Hunt [No. 39]; 1919; Oil on canvas; Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas; 1961.146
In pre-industrial times, hunters and fishers had to win at their contest with nature to eat. Only the upper classes hunted for sport. The well-to-do young man in John Singer Sargent’s Young salmon fisher, Alec McCulloch likely will not go hungry if nothing’s biting. The smiles in The Hunter’s Return by Thomas Cole would have no doubt been panicked frowns had the party returned to the wilderness cabin empty-handed.

During the 19th century, the American experiment had begun to set the stage for hunting and fishing to transition from subsistence occupations to widespread recreational pursuits. Agricultural innovations and the Industrial Revolution made it possible for the masses to move beyond spending long days at labor just to produce a day’s food supply themselves. They could now trade a shorter period of less taxing work for provender generated by a smaller number of more efficient agricultural producers. Fewer and fewer Americans needed to pick up their guns, bows, nets, or poles to feed themselves. When they did so, it was because they enjoyed it.

So if you think of Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art as an exhibition of sports art (fitting in well with other sporting elements in the Amon Carter’s collection, as documented here and here), that’s fine. While there are still many who work in the commercial fishing industry (and a few who hunt wild game for a living), most of us do have the luxury of viewing hunting and fishing as more pastime than profession.

It’s because we have more time – a lot more time – than our hunter/gatherer ancestors for fun, including sports (and visiting art museums). This exhibition thus shows more than just beautiful works by accomplished artists. It also shows progress.

Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art is on display at the Amon Carter Museum through January 7. Caught on Paper is a supplemental exhibition inspired by Wild Spaces, Open Seasons. It features 50+ outdoors-themed works on paper from the Amon Carter’s collection. It will remain on the walls through February 11.



Rush Olson has spent two decades directing creative efforts for sports teams and broadcasters. He currently creates ad campaigns, television programs, and related creative projects for sports entities through Rush Olson Creative & Sports, Mint Farm Films, and FourNine Productions.



RushOlson.com

Linkedin.com/company/rush-olson-creative-&-sports

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Pat and Emmitt Smith Show Some Heart

This post originally appeared in the Blotch section of the Fort Worth Weekly's website. To consume it there : https://www.fwweekly.com/2017/11/29/sports-rush-emmitt-and-pat-smiths-pitch/



High-profile athletes can help deserving causes in more ways than one. They can use their celebrity status and the platform sports provides to bring attention to a need or to generate revenue for charities. They can also get involved on a personal level contributing time, personal funds, or expertise.

Since his playing days ended, Emmitt Smith and his wife, Pat, have used their Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities organization to assist children in all the above ways. Tuesday night at Dallas’ House of Blues, the Heart of Dallas Fast Pitch event, presented by Lagardère Plus, recognized the Smiths for their work with a Community Excellence Award.

In this video interview, conducted red-carpet style at the event, Pat explains a bit about what their family’s charity does, and Emmitt provides a football player’s perspective. The latter seemed especially relevant since the $15,000 Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities received, as well as monies distributed to half dozen other nonprofits, come in large part from the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. That college football game, to be contested December 26 at the Cotton Bowl stadium between representatives of the Big 12 and Big Ten conferences, designates money for local causes and the Heart of Dallas Young Professionals organization disburses it annually at this event.
 
You notice Emmitt at the beginning and end of the interview pantomiming his own “pitch,” and the event got its name because six North Texas child-focused nonprofits must make a sales pitch about their missions. A panel of judges divides up available money among the groups, with the best presentations receiving the largest percentages. Tuesday’s finalists, culled from dozens of submissions, were Bryan’s House, Dallas CASA, Jubilee Park and Community Center, Rainbow Days, Rise Adaptive Sports, and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. All received at some funds, and no one took home less than $5,000.
 
During the event, the Smiths had an on-stage discussion with emcee Corby Davidson. The Hardline co-host asked them a little about football and a lot about charities. The subject of Emmitt’s fashion sense came up, too, with Pat labelling his formerly subpar selections as “BP” (“Before Pat”) and Emmitt designating them “BM” (“Before Money”). Mostly, the audience found out about how the couple uses both celebrity status and their laid-back but focused personalities to direct attention and funds toward endeavors they feel improve children’s lives.


Rush Olson has spent two decades directing creative efforts for sports teams and broadcasters. He currently creates ad campaigns, television programs, and related creative projects for sports entities through Rush Olson Creative & Sports, Mint Farm Films, and FourNine Productions.



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Linkedin.com/company/rush-olson-creative-&-sports

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