Whatever you do, DON’T go in there
“Hey Dave! Glad you are here tonight. I can’t wait to see you entertain our crowd. It is going to be fun for our staff, too. They will learn the importance of spontaneity when it comes to engaging our crowd. But, whatever you do, don’t go into section 345! They hate mascots and will tear you limb from limb!”
That input was given by the Director of Entertainment for a minor league hockey team in Richmond Virginia early in 1997. I had retired from my work as the original Phillie Phanatic a few years earlier and I continued to perform as my new character ‘Sport’. Sport was billed as a one night, “family fun” show and I performed in the U.S. and internationally in front of hundreds of thousands of fans. Prior to that I had successfully entertained over 30 million of the toughest fans in all of sports in the “friendly” confines of Veterans Stadium, home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The “Don’t Go In There” command, to me during my career, was like throwing a piece of raw meat in a lion’s den and yelling “Don’t eat it!”
This was my craft and I had over 10,000 hours of practice doing it. I knew how to entertain so like a lion attacking some meat, I got into costume, and headed right for section 345. Don’t tell me not to go in there!
My contact that night was frightened by Fun. He thought Fun would be a bad idea for those die hard hockey fans. He was afraid of the fun that he knew. Silly, goofy, life of the party stuff. Section 345 didn’t want that fun because it would distract them from their passion….hockey!
What I was preparing to deliver was Serious Fun. Fun that was designed over years of practice, trial and error and multiple iterations. I knew exactly the Fun they needed and when they needed it. In less than two minutes, the entire section was on their feet, chanting “We love Sport!” Not a single lion in sight trying to rip me limb from limb.
Be honest…you have been there too…right? We can’t have fun now. It won’t work here. It is going to distract us from the important stuff.
Most of us understand Fun. When you ask someone what they do for Fun they can quickly describe a number of “go to ” fun activities. Hanging with friends, partying, dancing and vacationing.
But what if I asked you, “How can fun save your life?”
The answers to that question moves Fun out of the realm of the known and into a “non-consensus” realm. That is where powerful fun is born. We have to believe that fun is a universal force capable of helping us solve our most difficult and scary challenges. Not just partying with friends. Until we become fearless enough to use fun in the non-consensus realm, we will not be able to tap into the force that serious fun can be for us. That is the secret to leveraging the Power of Fun. Treat it seriously and see how it can change and even save your life.
Here are three questions I want you to ask yourself today.
When was the last time that fun surprised you?
When you were in church, attending a solemn event or in a serious meeting, what made you smile or laugh?
What did you do for a friend during a difficult time to make them smile?
Those answers will start you on a path to understanding serious fun that will help you become happier, healthier and more productive.
If you are up for it please share your answers with me.