Every so often I feel as if I should post something to my blog. Typically what happens is I sit down, type out what I want to say, and decide to scrap it during the editing process. This is silly, but that’s what happens, and I’m really not sure why which leads me to today’s thought. Before I get into the role of Saberfeet I want to make it clear that I’m not quitting, I’m just sharing what’s going through my head right now.
When I started Saberfeet, I think I thought that it would be easy to sell a simple concept. I can’t find anyone who says that people are better off if they are wearing footwear that does not fit. I also can’t find many who are willing to let me come into their school to measure various teams. The Athletic Director where I went to school told me that his coaches would be pissed if I took practice time away from the students, and turned me down flat when I offered to stop by after practice.
This coach admitted that he has several bone spurs and has to force himself to keep going past the first half mile of pretty severe pain when he runs. He wears his running shoes longer than he should, he wears two different inserts in each shoe with the idea that he’s giving himself more toebox room than he would if he had the same inserts in his shoes, but that isn’t really my point. A girl who goes to our church attends the same prep school that I did. That basketball player already has 1,000 points to her credit. She’s committed to a college out in Southern California, and I hope things go well for her.
Before I learned that she played basketball I saw her running around in the knock off Ugg type slippers that many teen girls favor. They were too short, and not wide enough, but I knew that her parents didn’t have a lot of money, and no one asked what I thought about her footwear. Two days ago that girl underwent ACL replacement surgery. I haven’t heard how the procedure went, but hopefully, no news is good news.
Since my youngest was a cheerleader this past year, I had an opportunity to attend several basketball games. I can say with a great deal of confidence that a company like Saberfeet is desperately needed, and I’m not here to prove anything, but if you want your athlete to perform well, you have to give him, or her, the right tools. Part of the toolbox that an athlete brings to their game is footwear, and what I really don’t understand is why people are so reluctant to take my offer of free advice.
Maybe I’m approaching busy people the wrong way. Maybe the idea really is too simple; the philosophy that people should be wearing shoes that fit is not complicated, but what I think is that people are lacking the exact kind of education I’m offering which is why they can’t perceive future value. I can’t say that the girl who now has a new ACL wouldn’t need that surgery had she worn better shoes, but I can’t say that she would either.
The only way to prove that Saberfeet works is for people to make changes because as my chiropractor said this morning, sometimes you don’t know how bad things are until they are no longer that way anymore. I remember taking my oldest daughter into the eye doctor when she was in second grade. I’ll never forget the excitement in her voice when she told me that she could see the letters on the wall. Her doctor told us that glasses were our decision, and I went ahead with them to add that clarity to her life.
Sometimes people just aren’t ready to hear what you have to say. You need to be a very patient person to radically change any current model, and even then you know that you’re not going to reach everyone. I am not patient. I’m very impatient, and since I have a tendency to be passionate about the things that I care about, it’s hard for me to step back and realize that seeds take time to grow.
A friend of mine on Twitter says that everyone has a theory on why so many people suddenly need Tommy John surgery. A lot of life is complicated because people make it that way. Food is complicated by those saying go vegan versus the crowd pushing the Paleo lifestyle. The truth is that your body needs a certain ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and it doesn’t really care what source they come from unless you happen to have food allergies or intolerances.
Wearing the wrong shoes is a bad idea. I don’t need a study to confirm that. Wearing shoes that fit is a smart idea. It isn’t any more difficult than that, and one of the fun parts of my job is helping people become more objective when it comes to selecting their footwear. It is amazing how illogical and irrational many are when they shop, and I include myself in this category because I know I have bad feet, yet I used to buy my shoes at Target.
Shoes that fit will be a better bargain than shoes that do not fit, yet many people I speak with are unwilling to shift the current paradigm. They think it’s a good idea, an athletic director I spoke with the other day said it sounded like a reasonable proposition when I asked if I could have a few minutes with each of his athletes, yet he still hasn’t called me back.
Any time you have a gift; to keep it to yourself is selfish, and unwise. Each athlete that has the wrong equipment is being denied the opportunity to perform optimally. Footwear is equipment, and now those two athletic directors are compromising the health and safety of however many students are in their program. They probably aren’t bad people, but they can’t see the value of me telling them how many athletes in their program are wearing shoes that do not fit.
For Saberfeet to work, people need to come to terms with the concept that their organization could be more efficient and safer than it is now. No one likes to think that their players are being compromised for any reason. It’s probably an ego blow to some to hear a middle aged woman stand up in the middle of a break out group and tell people that players are not being measured for cleats, but at the end of the day, I know something that will change lives, and I owe it to the world to share what I know because it is the right thing to be doing.
Saberfeet: Where do we go from here?