Monday, April 11, 2016

Envisioning a Multi-Athletic & Cultural Training Center Scalzi Park @cityofstamford #Connecticut #positivedisruption




After Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill toured the bombed-out quarters in which Adolf Hitler was finally stopped he found a chair to sit down and catch his breath. Something nagged him. As if the battle was just beginning again. At the time, Stalin and his troops had raced to finish off Berlin ahead of the allied forces. Churchill had put all he had into the war and after that was spent had gone into overdrive to bring about victory. London had come within inches of obliteration by Hitler's forces and now the Prime Minister anticipated an 'iron curtain' falling across all Soviet captured European countries. He focused on reaching a peace deal in Potsdam with Stalin and Truman cogitating day and night how he would leverage the Soviets to a peaceful accord. This was before he knew the full extent of the nuclear bomb test in New Mexico which the Americans were keeping 'under wraps.'  Churchill and Stalin were both 'night owls' and would dine together looking to figure each other out and what each man's best position was given the state of the other's forces and position. Truman was the rookie that Roosevelt had 'left in the dark' and was highly susceptible (in Churchill's estimation) to the influence of coaches and advisors as he was 'brought up to speed.' Both the American and English leaders had a nascent relationship that did not bear the historicity of a traversing through a world war. Churchill felt alone here. 


Then it happened... 

With the full details of the atomic bomb test Churchill felt ready to change his stance with Stalin, feeling that he had great leverage to push for what he foresaw as a descending curtain of iron (secrecy and absolute Soviet domination in Russian controlled territories without Western influence). Churchill was ready to play a strong hand in the Potsdam conferences to decide on the balance of power and how the fruits and spoils of war were divided. But then he was called back to London and in a remarkable turn of events, his political party was voted out of office and 'Winnie' lost the premiership. It was not a referendum on his leadership as much as a vote to be done with the 'war' and have a fresh start for the country. Winston was devastated. Stalin was beside himself and did not want to begin negotiations with a new delegation. He wanted Churchill. A man he could look eye to eye with. Truman and the Americans had the bomb, yet at the time did not appreciate what the cards were showing regarding the start of a 'cold war.' 

In the immediate aftermath, Churchill had taken the unwise decision personally and felt like a huge mistake had been made just as the major powers were at the negotiating tables. The Western world was not listening to him. They were tired of war and were not willing to entertain the thought that matters were far from settled. Churchill, an aged man, stood alone, yet defiant in his position. Over the course of six years, this master chess player on the world stage fought his way back to the position of Prime Minister of England once again. He rose above the calls of him being a 'has-been,' 'too old' and not in touch with the pulse of the time. Churchill stood defiant and felt he understood the chess board better than any at the time given his long-standing position and experience on it. 

To get back on top he had to become like a 'Bruce Lee,' deftly maneuvering himself, moving forward, stopping, resting, allowing onslaught on himself, making lateral shifts and finally crushing opponents in what seemed like a rapid advance back to the top. Over a loudspeaker as the 'Queen Elizabeth' steamed to a Florida port, Churchill voiced timeless words and the crux of his strategy to returning American and Canadian soldiers who were about to start their new post-war lives:

'Churchill promised them the the future was in their hands and that their lives would be what they chose to make them. The trick, he told them, was to have a purpose and to stick to it. He recalled that the previous day he had been standing on the bridge "watching the mountainous waves, and this ship-which is no pup-cutting through them and mocking their anger." He asked himself why it was that the ship beat the waves, when the waves were so many and the ship was one. The reason, he went on, was that the ship has a purpose while the waves have none.. "They just flop around, innumerable, tireless, but ineffective. The ship with the purpose takes us where we want to go. Let us therefore have a purpose, both in our national..policy..and in our private lives."

(Leaving, Barbara- p. 51-52, Churchill Defiant, Fighting On 1945-1955)


Knowing yourself, your game and having a clear, worthwhile purpose that we adhere to spells success in most of our endeavors, especially if we do not give up. I take license from Churchill's resolute steadfastness to see important matters through and co-envision the growth of the Scalzi Originals going beyond just being a skateboarding school (starting 4/30/16) to branch out and serve the community even better by widening its aim for youth on the autism spectrum, with down syndrome, special needs or executive function skill deficits. A vision with a purpose to be a world-class, multi-athletic and cultural training destination.

In talks with a fellow parent, a vision to bring and unite different ethnicities and cultures of the community through athleticism is underway. It will take time, effort and community-wide backing. Athletic activities, such as little league soccer, gymnastics and the peculiar dance-martial art of Capoeira (Brazil) bring in a new perspective on what exercise and staying youthful can be. Moreover, Parkour, a military-obstacle training course based on movement, whereby participants get from one point to another without the use of equipment would buttress Scalzi Park's appeal to families and individuals looking for a more rigorous workout. 
modern and cultural dance instruction along with Coach Bill's very own autism-breakthrough 'story dancing' would individually address the diversity of our community. The inception of musical instruction, including drum-making (Africa) would be community-uniters that systematically display multiple cultures in one place. In addition, introducing what is known as 

The original cornerstone, the skate park and the Scalzi Originals skateboard school for youth on the autism spectrum, with down syndrome and attentional deficits would rise as a premier skating destination that would bring in interest to the athletic offerings described herein. The growth of a skateboard 'street course' including an inverted ramp for skateboarders and an initial open-air steel covering for the ramp and main athletic training area would solidify the first phases of the vision. 

Each of these activities pull from different cultures, are executive function skill development engines and allow themselves to be intensive and flexible enough to suit the needs of the youth, the middle-aged and our beloved senior citizens. As a Special Educator and Executive Function Skills coach, I see that all these training activities develop cognitive-physical synchronicity, are engaging, and remain novel and fun enough that they can be done repetitively and consistently. 

Lastly, I also believe that a center of this caliber would be unique across the world and bring a diverse crowd of all ages and skills to Stamford, Connecticut's Scalzi Park as a 'destination' to go to. In the interim, I will be brainstorming and looking to network and form relationships to see this fun vision through.



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