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Two San Diego State Universities: The Power of Winning

I’m new to State. I moved into the College Area in 2008 and quickly adopted them. I’m not an alumni. I didn’t grow up in San Diego. They are just the school that’s near my house and I enjoy going to football and basketball games.

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San Diego State

Tim Shelton Uses His Influence for Good

When my family moved into the College Area 3+ years ago we had no idea how much impact San Diego State would have on us. We just knew that we were going to embrace SDSU because it was the neighborhood we live in and we always have hopes of being Good News wherever we live. (Yes, being season ticket holders is being Good News… right?)

What we didn’t know is that in these 3 years the entire university has begun a transformation no one could have anticipated.

In 2009, the major news story on campus was about a campus-wide, one semester ban, on the consumption of alcohol. (Including on campus fraternities and sororities.) There was concern about how this rule would impact the school’s Playboy’s Top Party Schools ranking and the economics that went with it.

SDSU was a party school and defined by it.

Truth be told SDSU is still a party school. It’s a fun place to be a student. But partying is not the first thing people think about anymore when they hear SDSU anymore.

Winning Changes Everything

Tim's knees have become a mascot, of sorts.

San Diego State is currently the most winning college in major sports. Football had back-to-back 8-4 seasons. Basketball was 34-3 in 2011 and is currently 20-3.

Winning has redefined campus. 3+ years ago you saw far more frat/sorority t-shirts than SDSU gear. Now, most students rock SDSU gear multiple times per week. Each home game 12,414 pack into Viejas Arena to cheer on the basketball team. Last year saw a huge increase in student involvement at football games. Students aren’t just coming to campus to party anymore. Now they want to be part of The Show.

Increased interest has created a groundswell of students trying to get into SDSU as their first choice. Consequently, the admissions standards have gone up, making SDSU more and more of an academic school beating it’s “fall back school” reputation.

As the video shows, winning also transformed the type of student-athlete SDSU attracts. Tim Shelton has been on campus long enough to see this transformation first hand. It’s obvious to point out that this transformation is part of his legacy. Steve Fisher, SDSU’s Hall of Fame-bound coach, sometimes refers to Tim in press conferences as “coach.” Tim has lots of talents and lots of influence on campus and with his teammates. (Case in point, Tim wrote and produced Aztec Motto, the video played during pre-game introductions at home games.)

So what is he doing with his talents and influence? 

Raising money for kids after school programs. $26 at a time, one t-shirt at a time, Tim is helping to fund an after school program to keep kids in school. $15,000 so far. He’s aiming at $26,000– enough to fund the program for 100 kids for 1 year.

Winning attracts winners and Tim Shelton is a winner.

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San Diego Living Sports

Kawhi Leonard’s back story

It’s one thing to know about this young man’s power on the basketball court. It’s another thing to examine Kawhi Leonard’s story behind the drive, talent, and desire to succeed.

One amazing byproduct of this amazing season for SDSU is that stories like Kawhi’s get told. As the video above shows, he’s more than just a phenomenal NCAA basketball player. He’s a young man with a developing story of overcoming major life obstacles to now be just steps away from the pinnacle of college sports.

Bring on March Madness!

Bonus– Here’s a pre-game video of the student section:

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hmm... thoughts illustrations

The Double Edged Sword of Awe

geiserWe are all born with a desire for religious experience. God made us this way. Each of us has had experiences in which the only description of our emotions is awe. These are intimate moments between you and God, a person, or a even location or event. While God intended for this awe to be for Him, our humanity doesn’t reserve them to Him exclusively. It’s a human response of deep connectedness. Most often there is a build-up and anticipation to the experience. You want it to happen so bad, it finally does, and the experience overwhelms you because it is better than you’d imagined.

Here are some awe experiences people mention as the highlights of their lives.

– Seeing a bear in the wild.

– Liftoff of the space shuttle.

– Sexual intimacy

tiger_17_425x600– Hitting the winning basket, scoring the winning touchdown, nailing the winning putt.

– Exploring a beautiful coastline in Ireland.

– Worshipping with thousands of believers at a conference.

– Meeting God for the first time at a retreat.

– Starting your own business and earning your first dollar.

Most often, these are intensely personal moments of awe. The experience defies description and is often too intimate to even talk about. Even during the moment your emotions run high.

This is the first edge to the sword. It’s a good edge. The pursuit of this high and the after effects/remembrance of this high produce tremendous energy for people. This religious experience forms a deep bond between that individual and that event, object, or person. It is something they shared that was intimate and powerful.

Industries exist to help people pursue this experience, don’t they? We seek the awe-inspiring moment and wise capitalists provide tours of Ireland and Yellowstone. Religious events build anticipation for these moments knowing that they will draw thousands of seekers. How many clubs, bars, and dance clubs exist for the sole purpose of a common meeting ground for people seeking a sexual experience? On and on.

But that sword has a second, more dangerous edge to it, doesn’t it? Once you have this religious experience you seek to have it again. I mean, if the high of that moment… seeing the bear… crossing the rope bridge to a tiny island… having a killer day with a new business… sinking the putt to win the big tournament… it will never be the same as the first time.

In fact, many industries sustain because they know there will always be people who are seeking the second experience. They are in the exhilaration/disappointment business. They know that a weery businessman will lay down tens of thousands of dollars to go on tours of Ireland again. And then when he doesn’t find what he is looking for he will go to Scotland, Iceland, and the Gallapogos. The sex industry exists because people are seeking a more amazing sexual experience than “that amazing time.” Parents will relentlessly drive their children into sports in hopes that one day their kid will have the amazing experience they did of scoring a touchdown to win the big game. Certainly, many youth groups thrive because teenagers are seeking to repeat an intense religious experience they had at a retreat.  Get-rich-quick schemes work because people remember that one time when they made easy money and they want it to happen again.

The truth is this. The secret is this. The learning point is this. Once you have that amazing moment, don’t try to repeat it. It will never be the same the second time. When you take someone back to that spot… it’ll be awesome for them… but a let-down for you. If you can’t handle that let-down, just let that awesome one-time experience live in your memory.