The Why

In one of the most watched TED Talks of all time, world renown author/consultant/speaker Simon Sinek offered up the theory of “Why”. Why do we do what we do? That is the foundation to our day to day lives, and the “Why” is also the main reason others follow us in our pursuits (and also the reason we choose to join other tribes along the journey). In essence, WHY we do things is even more important as WHAT we do.

(If you have not seen Simon’s TED Talk you can join the 45 million people who have at this link -

While on vacation with my family last week, I got an outside glimpse into the “Why”. A great example of why we all do what we do for sports tourism. Here is what I experienced…..

Our vacation destination was a beautiful area of northern Wisconsin. On our way we stayed overnight at an airport hotel in Milwaukee. The hotel was a Home 2 Suites with all inclusive breakfast. On this particular Sunday morning the breakfast area was bustling as the hotel was completely sold out. This is where the “why” comes into view.

As I sat with my son Brock at breakfast, I took a few moments to scan the room. There was a group of baseball moms from New York gathered around one table. Another group was in town for the Cubs-Brewers series. The annual beer festival was going on so there were naturally several people in Octoberfest style garb. A small group of Harley enthusiasts were gathered in the corner. There was also one table of young cheerleaders with their mothers, one lacrosse family with grandparents along for the trip, and the final table was occupied by an ice hockey contingent. At the end of the day, nearly the entire hotel was occupied by someone attending a sporting or special event that weekend. Sports tourism and events at its finest.

The hotel that morning was a great example of our industry’s “why”. That busy hotel lobby illustrated exactly why we work to promote our destinations and why organizers put on quality competitions and special events. Milwaukee is an awesome town to start with as there are always things to do there and the downtown area is vibrant. On this particular day, there were no less than seven different groups in the hotel lobby that were there for some sports or events related purpose. It’s also likely that hotels across our great country experienced a similar scene that day, packed with families traveling to participate in a competition or to experience an event or festival.

At the end of the day, you don’t have to be a big metropolitan area like Milwaukee to make a big impact. Each of us plays an important role in enhancing our communities through sport. Sports is important to the health and wellness of our nation, and the experiences families gain by traveling together strengthen relationships and forge long-lasting memories for parents and kids alike. That is the “why” we all do what we do.

So keep up the good work out there and know that your efforts mean something to a lot of people even if they don’t tell you. Continue putting the “why” to work and the rest will take care of itself.