Super Bowl Shuffle

The game-winning drive engineered by Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the Super Bowl on Sunday night was reminiscent of the game-winning drive by Joe Montana in the Super Bowl 20 years ago. Speaking of "Super Joe," Montana is one of the featured speakers at next month's IHRSA show in San Francisco, where Montana's legend was cemented after winning four Super Bowls with the 49ers.

For the second year in a row, however, I will not get to see and hear a favorite sports icon at an IHRSA show. I didn't go to last year's show in San Diego, where Dick Vitale and Martina Navratilova spoke. Although I plan to be at the IHRSA show next month, I'll arrive the day after Montana speaks. Olympic swimmer Dara Torres will also speak at the show, but I'm due to leave the show before her presentation. So that will make me 0-for-4 at IHRSA the last two years.

Truth be told, though, you never know what you're going to get when a sports celebrity is a featured speaker. Just because they were great athletes doesn't mean they are great speakers. Emmitt Smith, the all-time leading running back from the Dallas Cowboys (and three-time Super Bowl champ), drew quite a crowd two months ago at the Athletic Business show in San Antonio. Emmitt was good, and he talked a lot about his life's story (most of which I already knew), from his time as a high school star, to his days as a star at the University of Florida, to his days playing with a star on his helmet in Dallas, to his winning the title on "Dancing with the Stars." Was his talk life-altering? Probably not, but it was still entertaining.

Interlude: This is the first blog post related to the December AB show that I've written. Normally, we blog like crazy after a show, but for one reason or another, I didn't get around to it. (Blame it on the economy—it gets blamed for everything anyway.)

While we're on the subject, here's a brief rundown of my AB show highlights:

• I attended a seminar presented by Rob Bishop and Barry Klein from the Elevations Health Club in Pennsylvania. Rob's one of those readers who gives us good feedback from time to time on our stories. I included some of their information about cutting towel service in our January cover story.

Kathleen Passanisi was the keynote speaker on the first day, a late sub for the scheduled speaker, Amanda Gore. Passanisi, who from a distance looked and sounded like comedienne/former TV star Roseanne Barr, offered a lot of good tips about how to live a balanced life. Here's a question that she posed that's appropriate for clubs and everyday life: What do you value?

• The next day, I attended a roundtable discussion about legal issues. The roundtable included Doyice Cotten, who we've featured in stories involving AEDs. Cotten says you're never too big or too small of a business to need insurance, even if you're a personal trainer. Cotten also said that a club is more likely to avoid a lawsuit if it has an AED.

• In the last seminar I attended at the show, I saw our good friends Michael Scott Scudder and Casey Conrad, but they weren't presenting—they were taking notes along with the rest of us in a jam-packed room. The seminar was about how technology will increasingly affect the fitness and wellness industries. Bryan O'Rourke was the speaker. He was also the second presenter (the first was Kathleen Passanisi) that I heard at the show reference the "frog in the pot" scenario. (Basically, if you put a frog in a boiling pot of water, it will jump out immediately, but if you put the frog in a pot of water, then heat it up, it won't have the sense to jump out.) Anyway, O'Rourke used a lot of cool images and videos in his presentation (always a must in seminars). He said that Apple has surpassed Blockbuster and other outlets in terms of video sales. That says a lot.

Finally, I attended the Emmitt Smith speech. To bring this post full circle, the day before Emmitt was to speak, I chatted with the guy in the booth next to ours named Tony Banks, who was a quarterback in the NFL and won a Super Bowl ring as a backup with Baltimore. Banks, who was at the show exhibiting an outfit called Learning Through Sports, was a little leery about how Emmitt would fare as a public speaker.

"But he's on TV every week on ESPN, right?" I said.

"Then you know what I'm talking about," Banks said, and we both had a laugh.

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