Making Something Out Of Nothing
Back in 2015, which is only a couple years ago but to me it seems so much longer ago, that year I am still such a huge sports fan but that was the year that kind of broke me. I’ve been a fan forever, and I always watch games on TV almost every night. There was some type of game it was on that I was paying attention to and it fainted for a couple of years and it was getting less and less. But 2015 was different because two of my favorite team, the New York Rangers and the New York Mets were both on the cusp of winning a world championship and later in the year the Mets lost the World Series to the City Royals and is really after that series that I said I give up. I’m not spending more time being a devoted fan to these teams who take so much time off and so much money and so much emotional energy of staying up and rooting for these teams I have no impact on the outcome.
I think for years sports was an escape. For me, it gave me something to attach to as I look back on it but that’s the year that I really stopped caring and ironically enough, we have more business success. I have more mental clarity and breakthroughs and more quality family time intentionally than ever before. So, I guess that’s the conclusion that came from doing that. But early in the year, the New York Rangers were also chasing a championship. And the year before, they made all the way the Stanley Cup finals. They lost to Los Angeles Kings and I was already kind of burnt out from watching somebody postseason games and being so emotionally caught up with it. and they made it back to the conference finals. We wouldn’t watch the games live. We would record the games and we watch the next morning while we ate breakfast together and I’d fast-forward through commercials. So that is a little bit better use of our time. If I want to justify it that way.
But it turns out that Nolan who was seven years old at time, for some reason took a liking to the Tampa Bay Lightning. I don’t know why but I think it was their logo. We also didn’t even watch hockey on TV as much as we would just watch the highlights but the lightning became his team. So, at the beginning of the playoffs he asked me, is there any chance the lightning can play the Rangers in the playoffs? We looked at him and say yeah if they win their next two series and the Rangers win their next series, they will play each other in the conference finals. And I said to Nolan if the Rangers play the lightning in the conference finals, we will go to a game.
So, it was kind of fun, we wake up in the morning. We watch the highlights and the Rangers kept winning and the Lightning kept winning. all the sudden we woke up one morning and the Rangers and Lightning both won and there they were both going to the Eastern conference finals. So now I am scrambling trying to find a ticket to Madison Square Garden for the two of us and I tell you, it was not cheap. This wasn’t even in the Stanley Cup yet the tickets were no cheaper than $750 a ticket at Madison Square Garden. But I said to myself that I grew up in New York and I have been there a million times and Nolan’s been there a couple of time visiting my family, what do tickets in Tampa look like? I couldn’t believe how cheap the tickets in Tampa were compared to New York. Before I know it, we have two tickets for the Rangers-Lightning game six playoff game in Tampa, two airline tickets and hotel booked right across the arena. But the interesting part of the story today is this has nothing to do with sports what I am going to talk about. This is about constantly trying to make something out of nothing. Because as excited as I was going to be game with Nolan, Nolan was so excited to go to Tampa which he has never been before and go fishing.
We got in two days early so we get a full day to do whatever we wanted with before the next day’s game. And even as we were flying and we’re looking down the water, he kept talking about if we can go fishing there. And I said I don’t know but it’s possible and we’ll find out. So, we got in and we’ll have such a good time walking around Tampa. The day before the game was Memorial Day and we had it free to do whatever we wanted. And the only thing he want to do was fish. So, we’re staying at the Marriott downtown and we set out to explore and find a good fishing spot for us to go and little did I know that downtown Tampa is not a hotspot for fishing. We’re in the bay and nobody really was fishing down there. They told us that if we will go fishing, we want to go to Clearwater beach or somewhere out there and Nolan wants to stay local. He wasn’t sure about it. So, let’s try to figure it out here. So, he was getting kind of frustrated because we couldn’t even rent fishing rods, there’s really not many places to rent them and being that it is Memorial Day, some of the shops were not even open.
So, we asked the people in the front desk and they felt bad because there really was nowhere for them to even recommend us to go to. So, I am scrambling to figure how can we get this to and how can we get rods and just get out of here to fish a little bit. So, I talked back with the guy in the front desk and asked him one more question and he said we might have a hard time finding bait and nothing’s really open but hang on a second. He went to the restaurant and got some frozen shrimp for us. We put them in a container and he say, listen, this can help you out so if you get a rod, at least you have some bait that you could use. So that kind of energized us to go on an adventure.
So, armed with nothing but frozen bait and energy to make this work, we started walking all around by the pier and the little shops around the hotel to figure out a way somehow to get some fishing done. We walked back and forth across the bridge and we found a little ice cream place, stop and got a little treat to talk it over. Then we walked down by the pier, still holding his container of almost frozen shrimp and it was there that Nolan found a little hook from a fishing rod. It was just a hook with a little bit of string attached but it was the next piece of the puzzle. Making that discovery got him excited. So now we got shrimp and we got a hook. I was like okay let’s go.
So, we just kept walking and in late May at Tampa, it starts getting hot. So, we we’re really warm walking all around ourselves but it was really this fun adventure we had no idea what was going to happen. We’re the only ones walking around, a hot day downtown on a holiday, we pretty much owned the place. There was a one shop that was open that sells T-shirts and flip-flops, all things like that so we thought maybe we could find a rod there. And as usual, they did not sell fishing rods. Nobody else seemed to. The guy looked at Nolan as he saw his face and saw his disappointment and Nolan told him that he got a bait and got a hook. He just needs some string and needs a rod. The guy said, well I can’t get you a rod but hang on one second. And we’re waiting and about three minutes later he comes back out with a half-smile and a roll of fishing line. He looked at Nolan and said how much do you need? Nolan smiled and shrugged his shoulders and the guy said I’ll get you enough. So, he unrolled the fishing line to a generous amount, he cut it off and gave it to Nolan. We walked out that shop and like this is starting to come together. We got the hook, got the line and we got some kind of bait. We just need the rod. We kept going back and forth same areas looking for something that could be a fishing rod. Maybe a stick, maybe a pole. He was so determined to get this done. We didn’t even stop for lunch. I was so hungry. He just wanted to keep going.
Now it is getting to be late afternoon and we’re underneath the bridge where all the debris washes up and he scream of excitement. He said dad I think I got it. There was a long piece of wood that washed ashore. A strong piece of wood and we bend it and it seemed sturdy. We found some shade and we try to put all of it together. We have our rod, have a fishing line. We attached that and we attached the hook. We had our bait. We looked at each other and we’re ready to go. We kind of sneak around because there’s no place that was open just for public fishing. Who knew? But we went off the pier by this restaurant and we started to fish. There was this one fish, he just kept coming up to his line, coming so close but it would never bite. We went up naming him Mr. Pesky because he was bothering us the entire time but he would never bite. Then finally, eventually one little fish bit and Nolan got his fish and he was just ecstatic. We threw him back in quickly and we used up all the bait and we walked back to the hotel. We got cleaned up because we smell like fish and bay water and the rest of the trip was filled with chasing lizards and the Rangers demolishing the Lightning 7-2. Even though the Lightning did wind up winning the series but Nolan always remembers about that trip and mentions it is not the game or flight or the meals or even the fish that he caught, he remembers how much fun it was going around and figuring out how to put together that fishing rod. It is an example that he brought to more than once when he’s been frustrated with the progress on what he is working on. Because we need those experiences to teach us how to do it in the future. And what he learned was you can make something out of nothing and if you could do it then, why can’t you do it now.
There’s a resilience that comes with making something from nothing. From taking a business or just an idea and turning it to something that makes profit and helps people. There’s something powerful that comes to that because once you do it once, you undoubtedly can do it again. It’s just we stop ourselves because we don’t believe. So, if you don’t think you can make something out of nothing, go do it even in the smallest way. Go make a fishing rod for yourself. Go create something to prove that you can do it so you can do it again on a bigger scale and keep doing that until you never doubted again. I will talk to you tomorrow.