Thoughts From 30,000 Feet. Proud To Be One Of Sarah’s Soldiers
“There are energy givers and energy takers.”
I talk to businesses and associations about positive energy and use this quote from my broadcast colleague Rex Hudler when speaking about championship culture. It applies to any locker room or office place.
I’m writing this sometime after two in the morning, somewhere over central Missouri at 32-thousand feet. A rain delay of more than two hours means the Kansas City Royals traveling party, including our television broadcast crew, will arrive at the team hotel for a weekend series in Chicago a few hours before the sun rises over Lake Michigan.
I always try to reflect daily on the fortunes of living my dream. Can you believe someone pays me to travel the country and talk about baseball everyday? That’s my energy, but I’ve also found a new source for positive inspiration, aka “The Power of Sarah.”
I met Sarah Olsen when she appeared on our pregame show recently prior to throwing out the first pitch before a Royals game. I’ve got to be honest. I was worried about my emotions and “losing it” on the air during the interview. That never happened because Sarah was never going to allow it. Not this incredibly upbeat young woman.
Yes, the 29-year old Kansas City Police Department Officer recently received a devastating diagnosis of ALS. She says the average lifespan after diagnosis is three to five years. When I asked her during the interview how she was doing, she replied, “Day by day, new experience by new experience, it’s been a blast.”
She kept mentioning the word blast. Later on, one of Sarah’s friends suggested that my broadcast partner Jeff Montgomery and I looked smitten with Sarah on the air. How could we not be? Sarah just kept on smiling throughout the interview.
Fast forward a week later, and Montgomery, my producer Casey Carter and I decided to spend the long rain delay visiting with Sarah and her friends. She was attending the game one day after undergoing surgery to put a port in her chest. No complaints. Sarah just kept smiling.
We found out her nickname on the police force is “Smiley.” She just has this way of uplifting everyone around her. An infectious ball of energy capable of brightening any situation. Well, anything outside of Mother Nature on a temperamental night. “I can’t bring the sunshine all the time,” Sarah said during the delay.
I’ve watched this young, beautiful, energetic woman impact everyone she comes into contact with at the stadium. From Hall of Famer George Brett (he looks smitten with her, too) to Royals superstar Salvador Perez, to our television crew.
Even the elevator operator at the ballpark. When Sarah walked on to the elevator last night, she noticed Alisa, the elevator attendant, wearing a red bracelet with the words “Sarah’s Soldier’s” on it. She said to Alisa, “I really appreciate your support. I love your bracelet.” Alisa didn’t realize the inquiring passenger was actually Sarah. Tears from Alisa were followed by a hug. Yet another new friend of Sarah’s. This is how it goes with all of us, and like Alisa, we are all proudly wearing the red bracelet because we are Sarah’s Soldiers.
Positive energy from someone facing the gravest of outlooks, but don’t tell Sarah Olsen. As Hudler says, “There are energy givers and energy takers.” Sarah is the ultimate energy giver.
My only issue with her is the comment about not bringing the sunshine all the time because I can say that a long rain delay truly was a fun and memorable two hours, thanks to our good friend Sarah “Smiley” Olsen.
Check out Sarah’s blog: