June 14, 2012

What does a bobsledder from Nebraska have to offer to the cattle industry?

By Curt Tomasevicz 

Last Friday I was invited to speak at the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Midyear Meeting, sponsored by the Nebraska Corn Board. Since the 2010 Olympics, I’ve given over a hundred and fifty talks and speeches. About two-thirds of my audiences have been students ranging from kindergarten to high school and even a few University and college students. I’ve been asked to vary my topics from things like Leadership to the negative effects of drugs to the positive effects of reading. I use my bobsled story to try and captivate the audience and then slip in my message to hopefully inspire and motivate people to make their lives better.

As I was driving to Atkinson, Nebraska for the Cattlemen’s meeting, I began to think about my presentation that I was going to give. I know it may sound like I was procrastinating if I was only planning my speech just hours beforehand, but have basically three talks in which I can vary the feel and direction of the speech depending on the audience. So like, a company would have a review meeting prior to a big presentation, I like to simply go over my topic and message just prior to the speech. But as I thought about my best approach, I had to ask myself, “What in the world does a bobsledder from Nebraska have to offer to the leaders of the cattle industry in the state?”

I pondered this question for the majority of the two and a half hour drive and as I drove through O’Neill, it hit me that I really don’t have to offer advice. I just wanted to express how proud I was to represent them as well as all Nebraskans and Americans as I compete internationally for the USA.

A few years ago when I spoke to an elementary school, I was asked by a kindergartener (which usually have the greatest questions!), “Why did your football jersey have your last name on the back, but your bobsled speed suit just says USA?” I know that may sound like a simple question, but to me it had a deep underlying meaning. When I played football I was able to represent myself and my family as Tomasevicz was written above #35 from shoulder to shoulder. But when I push a bobsled, I represent my country and that’s truly a great honor.

So, by sharing this story with the attendees of the Cattlemen’s Midyear meeting, I hope that I was able to inspire and motivate the farmers and businessmen to continue to do their job with pride, honor, and integrity even if they may not receive international attention because they’ve won an award. But I hope they took the message that doing the right with or without recognition is more important than winning a gold medal.

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