Terry Lovekamp, CPA, CEBS
Chief Operating Officer
It is now official. I am old. This weekend I played in our 29th annual high school alumni basketball tournament (which started the year after our class graduated from high school; so you can do the math). In one of our games, we played against kids (alright – young adults) that were 27 years younger than us. In attempting to assemble our team, we agreed that we were really going to focus on “just playing for fun” – recognizing that we physically were at a great disadvantage. Many of our classmates were wise enough to turn down the chance to play (we ended up with only 6 guys on our roster), as they were more honest about their current physical conditioning and concerned for their health, and they likely knew that the team captain (me) could not “just play for fun”.
The first game was only about 15 seconds old when I collected my first pass, and just like old times, effortlessly dribbled my man off of a screen, only to have the defender fight through the pick and pop me in the eye with his hand. No whistle was blown. Adrenaline, that I no longer knew my body could create, rushed through my veins. “Just for fun” was immediately vanquished from my thoughts. It was “game-on”. Unfortunately, the will to compete and the spiked levels of testosterone were not enough to overcome the effects of aging.
At the start of the second half, I pulled up for a 3-point shot (keep in mind that I am so old that there was no such thing as a 3-point shot when I was in high school), and as I skied above my defender (at least 3 inches off the floor) someone rammed a knife into the back of my left calf muscle (or at least that is what it felt like). Toughness (or stupidity) did allow me to finish the game. And, a bottle of heat spray, several ibuprofen, and the fact that we only had 5 guys show up for the next day for game 2, allowed me to battle through our second loss, and final game of the weekend.
While this weekend may not sound like much fun to some, to a nostalgic, old basketball junkie it was a great reason to hang out with old friends and their families, and it was awesome to feel that competitive rush again. At the same time, it was a very humbling experience, knowing that my skills had continued to diminish and my body was incapable of doing what my mind still thought it could. Even though the lesson that I should probably learn from these events is, that I should hang up the high-tops, my immediate reaction is that I am going to work on my skills, conditioning and flexibility and this time next year bring my A-game to the Alumni Tourney.
At Consociate, as an administrator of numerous types of health plans, working with many different types of employers and consultants, and competing against large insurance carriers, it is crucial that we always bring our A-game. We hear from so many clients, prospects and consultants, that what they are most impressed with in dealing with Consociate is, our people, our exceptional and professional service, and our ability to be flexible. These are great qualities that I do believe Consociate brings to the game.
These qualities are a necessity in this very competitive market, and we do not take them for granted. As our company has aged, we have had to keep up with technological advances, an onslaught of government regulation, and local and national economic uncertainty. The secret has been not to become lethargic and not to become like the aging ex-athlete who returns to the court once a year and expects the results of his youth. We keep stretching ourselves, to be more flexible, more accurate, and more courteous. We test our systems and controls, to ensure accuracy and efficiency (including SOC I, Type 2 Annual Review). And, most importantly we take great pride in our people, their talents and their commitment to excellence.
With basketball’s March Madness upon us, and my calf muscle swollen to twice its normal size, it seems appropriate and timely to conclude with a quote from college basketball’s greatest coach. John Wooden once said, “The score will take care of itself, when you take care of the effort that precedes the score”.