If you live in Bloomington-Normal, you have seen the hat in the picture above. If you attended Normal Community High School, then you know a large number of students and family members own this hat.
My brother and I created the orange stocking cap as a cross country spirit wear item for our senior season. The hats ended up being the hottest item in school because we sold out of our initial 90-item inventory in a few hours. When hundreds of faculty and students were asking for hats that we did not have, the spirit store got in touch with the manufacturer and ordered a huge batch to meet the demand.
This hat is seen at every cold outdoor NCHS sporting event, worn by students on their way to school in the winter, and was even given a shoutout at the state soccer tournament back in the day. Nowadays, I do not make it back to Bloomington-Normal very often, but every time I travel home I see someone I have never met wearing the Ironmen orange stocking cap.
My brother and I smile at the thousands of people wearing hats we made. What was just a cool hat for our cross country team turned into a lasting school icon six years later. My dad always says that it is a great legacy that is still carrying on.
This Ironmen stocking cap is more than a hat; it is a reminder of our legacy.
Your impact remains long after you leave a school, job, or group of people. Your attitude, passion, and work set the stage for hundreds or thousands of people coming behind. If you are still in school, any club you start is laying a foundation for students coming behind you. For student-athletes, any team tradition or approach to a game/meet is laying a foundation for the athletes behind you. In sports, school, and the workplace, when you elevate your effort and technique, you lay a foundation for those coming after. Just because you may not see the total benefits of your work does not mean you cannot work to make your company, school, or team better for the next group.
Every week, you are changing the lives of people who may not follow in your footsteps for another 5-10 years. The idea for the hat came from a similar stocking cap that my grandparents gave me from the time my parents were in high school. It may not be as tangible as a hat, but you will be surprised at how something great you have created will come back around to positively impact others. Your legacy will turn into the legacy of others.
How can you lay a foundation for those coming behind you?
I appreciate you.