Knoxville – University of Tennessee v University of Florida (Vawls v Gaturs) – Part I

I hate the Florida Gators.

I hate the Florida Gators. 

Hate is a bit much but it’s a strong disdain for this football program.

I don’t quite understand the extreme hatred of Alabama and their fearless leader (for those living under a rock – the infamous Nick Saban). At its core, I find that society hates repeated success of others. We hate Alabama, the Yankees, our rich neighbor, and anything that appears to be consistently successful. It’s a strange but notable dynamic in today’s era.

But back to Florida. I just cannot stand this program.

Gator football angst and all, I am currently in route to Knoxville, Tennessee to watch what might possibly be Tennessee’s biggest win in far too many years.

The EDGE Foundation

Believe it or not, the primary purpose of my trip is actually not all focused around Tennessee Football. I am fortunate enough to be a member of the Board of Directors for an awesome organization here in Knoxville: The EDGE Foundation.

(I’ll share my story on how Curt and I became friends in a later post but it’s certainly worth sharing with my new digital following…)

I can give the mission statement of The EDGE Foundation but you can find that yourself on our website (see above). In everyday terms, our goal is to provide a different perspective. 

A different perspective for young people living in a high-risk environment. Show them there is more to life than what your environment may present. Violence, drugs, single parent homes, and environmental dysfunction are a great formula for continuing generational degradation.

The collective goals of our leadership align very closely to foundational beliefs in my own life. Anyone who knows me knows my feelings on the ineffectiveness of government (no hold on and don’t get hostile on me).

Whether you support or stand against a national or local politician, the longterm results tend to always be the same. Government cannot (and I believe will never be) the agent of change needed to improve society.

“But Nick, I’m just a single person. How can I change my community??”

Thanks for asking!

You probably cannot do it yourself.
Encouraging, isn’t it? You alone cannot be the change agent.

I sometimes scoff at the current trend of labeling younger generations “world changers”. For me, it’s too ambiguous. Define “world changer” for me. What does this mean? Remember, I don’t like ambiguity.

I try to think of myself as a small tool in a toolbox full of items that can fix and repair environments needing change (yes, I identified myself as a tool).

In my overall network (and the mini-networks that encompass it) I am not the smartest, wealthiest, cleverest, strongest, or even possibly the best looking (debatable). But I have a useful and refined set of skills of my own that I regularly employ to make my own environment better.

Do I receive compensation for my efforts? In some yes, in others no.
But I’m willing to sacrifice and engage with those non-earning opportunities to ensure I am leaving footsteps of improvement wherever I walk.

It’s not enough to blindly throw money at something. I avoid donating to causes or organizations that only utilize a small percentage of my dollar. 

What can YOU do to contribute? 
You have a network. What can your network do to contribute?

My goal with each of these posts will be to share a useful resource or add a shameless plug for something that I’m involved with that I find useful.

Above (and now here!) you can find our website for The EDGE Foundation (developed by the author of this post). In all seriousness, check it out. And if you can, please donate. The money is well spent on our cause and not on trivial overhead expenses.

What’s gotten me so feisty and fired up about this topic? This book! 
Check out Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin.
Great read (or listen on Audible) with an applicable message.
Don’t worry… I’m not Jewish (but I am a Christ follower… ask me about it!) and I got plenty out the book.

Part II of this story will be more about the game.

Hopefully I tricked you a bit into thinking you would be reading a game report on the SEC game of the week; we will save that for my next dissertation.

I just got my airplane pretzels so I’ll enjoy those for now.

Until next time.

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