Be Someone’s Champion
The word “champion” can be a confusing term since in sports or the Olympics an athlete is a champion in their given field of skill. What I’m referring to in this week’s blog is where a person championed you or you have championed another. From my personal experience I have had many guitar teachers, college professors, friends and work-related managers that supported and pushed me when others did not. A champion usually sees something inside of us that we do not see or are too afraid to follow and act upon because of fear or failure or inadequacy. Some of my greatest fears over the years, faced thanks to the support of champions, included performing music on stage as a young teenager. Having played guitar since I was 5 years old is all well and good, but it is much different to stand on a stage and perform to a live audience when you’re a 14 or 15-year-old. Fortunately, the support of my mom and dad and Joe Lowes (my first guitar teacher) helped me overcome these fears and now I enjoy the opportunity to entertainment a crowd with music. The same was true of speaking in front of a video camera for television. Being on radio never gave me pause, but early on having the video camera and the lights pointed my direction made me fear failure that people would laugh – for the wrong reasons. My champions pushed me to keep trying and now it is very comfortable, and I try to make others at ease when they come on to be interviewed. Although for record if you are prepared with what you want to say (on tv, radio or podcast) and have researched and prepared information about the person you will speak with it is much easier to be relaxed. Virtually all the music artists I have had the pleasure to interview have had a champion that helped them get where they are today. On a recent chat, Larry Stewart from Restless Heart, had several champions including his father and mother in the early days with Gospel music and in Nashville with Jerry Crutchfield. Jerry was the one that pushed Stewart to start singing song demos around Nashville. When we are living the moments of our lives in real time it is sometimes hard to recognize when someone is being our champion. But further down the road it becomes very apparent who stood up for us, gave us a nudge or put in a good word on our behalf for no other reason but to help us. Sometimes the people who are being the champions don’t want to be known for it, because they don’t want or require praise for what they do. I have certainly hit my share of potholes on my journey, but I have also been given more blessings in life than I can count. In turn I try to be a champion for others whether it is the artists I bring on for interviews, introductions to music gear companies or album reviewers or simply positive words of encouragement. Most of us would not be where we are now without champions that guided us. Now it is our turn to return the favor and assist others. There is no medal involved and we won’t be standing on a big platform with thousands of people cheering our names, but the feeling of being someone’s champion is its own reward. And it won’t rust like a medal or fade like applause, but it feels warm inside and right to champion the ones that need it. I challenge each of us in this coming year to be someone’s champion. We can support another and make the world a better place just by being someone else’s champion - one person at a time!