The Beautiful Game, and Why it Matters

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I’m starting this week out with a quote I read a couple of weeks ago. It is credited to someone named C. Bukowski, but I simply read it on an email I got from the Nashville store Imogene+Willie. “Style is the answer to everything. A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous day. To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without style. To do a dangerous thing with style, is what I call art.”
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I’ve got soccer on my mind this week because, well, I always have soccer on my mind. But even more so this week because the EPL has started and my team Manchester United is flying. Wingate Soccer kicks off this week. I have been in Salt Lake City and was able to catch a Real Salt Lake game that my pal Luke (Wingate grad) played in. And lastly, I’m headed to Italy next week and trying to figure out which game I am going to see. I started playing soccer when I was 3 years old, and I was immediately hooked. I played all the other sports throughout my youth and still enjoy most today, but nothing even comes close to my love affair with soccer. It has a flair, a grace, and an art that is inimitable. The nuances, angles, and small details can make even a 0-0 draw enjoyable if you know what you are looking at. I have a tattoo on my left arm of a soccer ball on a bed of roses that reads “Style Passion Beauty”. Pretty much sums up how I think soccer should be played and life should be lived.
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I talked about numbers in last week’s blog, and they are important because we live in a results-based world now. I am on board with that. But here’s my argument this week: the “how” you do something is just as important as the result. There will be a lot of people that disagree with me on this, and that is fine, but think about it for a minute. Let’s start with soccer, or any sport for that matter. Ever watched a game that your team won, but it bored you to tears? On the other hand, ever watch a game that your team tied or maybe even lost that was super exciting? I remember a couple of United-Barcelona games years ago that ended 3-3. I could have watched them on repeat because of how the games were played, not the end result. Great goals. Excitement around every corner. It can be applied to so many things in life. There are people that I have worked with that I listen to how they talk to people. How they negotiate. The results usually come, but it is the how that I pay attention to. We are having a big party at our house on Saturday, and my wife goes all out. In her eyes, it is either “let’s do it right or not do it at all”. Usually ends up being a great party, and I very much admire that quality in her. It should extend to the other realms of life too. Either do it or don’t…no mediocrity.
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One other point on the end result versus the journey along the way. I’ve been doing a fair amount of travelling, and plan to continue that into the foreseeable future. I have no end goal, but I know some people do. Visit all 50 states. Visit every major league ballpark. So on. Cool goals, but it is really the “how you do them” that is the enjoyable part. Y’all know I’m running the NYC Marathon November 5th, and that is an end goal I suppose.  Fine. But along the way, here is what I decided. Run a 5k in Charlotte. A 10k in Nashville. A half marathon last weekend in Salt Lake City. Enjoy new places. Eat and drink locally. Visit friends. Try new things. Shop. Run hard. Test your limits. The end result is hopefully a strong finish time in NYC. But when I get my new tattoo soon thereafter on my chest (already designed) commemorating the journey, it will be the full experience I think about, not just what happens on November 5th.
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Right now, soccer stars along with NBA players and other athletes are some of the most stylish people in the world. Y’all know I love David Beckham. But google Andrea Pirlo real quick or check out his Instagram. You’ll never see these cats walking around in baggy khaki pants. Their clothes fit. They wear scarves and cool hats and cardigans for casualwear. When they need to get dressed up, they get dressed up. I know they have enough money to do whatever they please, but take a few cues. When I’m stumped for a night out, I will take a peek at these guys for inspiration, not the guy across the cube farm. I truly believe that your attitude takes on the same persona as the clothes you are wearing. Wear a cool pair of sunglasses, a perfectly tailored suit, anything with a little pizazz and you will get a little pep in your step. Walk around with ill-fitting items, a bland outfit, or looking like everyone else, well…
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This week, think about the quote above and the “how” you do life. No reason to be average. Dig in, and get after it. On the clothing side, check out some soccer players and Italian companies for some inspiration. I just opened my Instagram, and up popped Beckham, Pirlo, and the companies Kiton and Isaia. The stuff is crazy expensive, but just put your eyeballs on it. Style. Swagger. Flair. Then find your price range, and use their stuff as a guide to try something new. I wore a bandanna as a scarf all weekend in Utah…had never done it before…loved it.

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Have a great week.-Benj

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