As a member of our international sales and customer service division I’ve always enjoyed meeting people from different cultures and learning more about them. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a large trade show in Europe that drew attendees from all over the world. As the visitors strolled by our exhibit space, their attention was drawn to the many banners and pictures highlighting basketball floors we’ve provided for the NBA, and large international venues like the Asian and Pan Am games. Even though there were significant language barriers at times, you could see the dawn of recognition in their eyes and the smiles on their faces as they connected famous international sports venues, NBA teams and Robbins as the provider. Then came the inevitable exclamations of “Robbins – USA – NBA – AHHHH”. Cultural barriers immediately came down as we found a common connection through sports.
In fact, one gentleman from Bahrain was so excited to learn that we had supplied the sports floor in a well-known venue in his country, that he had us take a photo of him using the banner of his floor as the backdrop so that he could share it with his friends and family at home. I was proud and humbled at the same time to see the impact our business had on him and the many others who stopped by to talk about sports floors.
Equally exciting was the opportunity to work with customers and to meet designers, architects, and builders that had specified and installed Robbins sports floors. To work with those individuals that brought a sporting venue from start to finish, using Robbins products, transported a feeling of nothing more than satisfaction. A process much like birth; from log, to lumber, to a finished stick of hard maple floor, to a project, an installation, a venue. As a result of life, I found that the satisfaction with each project was larger than me, that the entire team, shared in it, enveloped it, and was gratified by the results.
Whether it’s the Little League World Series, The World Cup, or The Olympics, sports have the ability to transcend cultural differences. On the court, the pitch, or the ball diamond, political and cultural differences seem to take a back seat, at least for a little while as teams and individuals compete for the pure joy of the game. I know that I came back to the U.S. with a deeper appreciation that what I do every day makes a difference in the lives of others and helps them achieve their dreams – whether it’s for a world-class venue, or for a local school it’s a good feeling. And hey, with over 7 billion people on earth in 196 countries, there’s plenty of people to meet and plenty of work to do – I can’t be more excited!