Fast Forward from Football Days


Trying to find a place to stay in North Dakota was proving difficult. A friend and former coworker have connections in South Dakota and just a couple in North Dakota, but the ones for ND were out of town and unavailable. I wasn’t so sure what to do. I then started to message some breweries for potential meetings and then I saw a friend of mine liked the brewery. I instantly realized I had a slippage of mind that he lived in ND!

He wasn’t on Facebook as much these days as can happen, so he wasn’t sure I’d be coming to his town. My route online didn’t show that was the case. The truth is, the route is a loose, general guideline. I just go to whichever place I have a connection and then try to find owners to speak with that are within a few hours radius.

My friend said he had in-laws for the night, but after that, I could stay for as long as I wanted. It was a big relief, especially on a Sunday, and the 4th of July holiday coming up. I thought it may delay my meeting making ability.

I then got another message from him inquiring about my purpose for the trip. I told him my goal of meeting 2 gym owners and 2 brewery owners per state to inquire about the entrepreneurial process. He said him and his wife had contacts and they would try to set meetings up for me. Wow! I was blown away by the kindness! By the way, I hadn’t actually seen my friend since 2004. We played football together and were both fond of getting after the weights. To put it in a cheesy way, some bonds are like us, strong (granted it’s debatable how strong we are, but it’s my blog and I’m counting it!).

Coming into Bismarck, I had a meeting with Chris at Big Muddy CrossFit. They were wrapping up a class, doing some mobility and Chris and I had some small talk. We were about to meet, then Chris suggested going to a local brewery to help facilitate my meeting the owner, and to make sure I tried their IPA, which Chris said was a favorite. Before we headed out, I got the video in, which Chris was a good sport. He then offered up a shirt and I proudly wore it the remainder of the day.

The beer was enjoyable and smooth for an IPA. Listening to Chris it was evident the importance he placed on his coaches being engaged and a willingness to check in with his athletes. He shared a story where he had a chat with an athlete that helped to redirect his focus to some of his most loyal and long-term members. I was short on time due to another meeting and time was moving too fast, as can happen. Chris made sure to introduce me to Mike, the owner of Laughing Sun Brewery prior to my departure.

I raced over to my next meeting, but a bit after chatting realized there had been a misunderstanding. I was talking with a manager, rather than the owner of a gym. I felt bad for the mix-up and having to rush the ending of my prior meeting. I suppose this is a downside of playing the connections of connections game. It reminds me of telephone; the game played as children. One message is whispered along a line of kids until the last kid. Usually, the message is different, or a complete mix up of the original. Lesson learned was I need to verify the person I’m about to meet with is an owner, both with them and my connections.

After leaving that brief meeting, I met up with my friends as they shared a bit of downtown with me. It was great to see my buddy and meet his wife. That night we returned to their beautiful home and had some good talks by the fire. It was nice taking moments to soak it in. Sitting by the fire, having laughs, inquisitive talks, and especially reconnecting with an old friend. Another great experience for this journey.

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