Orlando — Football wasn't far from the minds of the attendees and keynote speakers at the Athletic Business Conference and Expo held Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at the Orange County Convention Center.

Keynote speaker Joe Theismann, former quarterback of the NFL's Washington Redskins and a former analyst for ESPN, spoke in place of originally scheduled keynote speaker Rick Reilly, whose last day as a writer for Sports Illustrated before moving to ESPN conflicted with the conference. In his “Game Plan for Success” address,Theismann recounted stories of his playing days with the Redskins, and in particular a game on Nov. 18, 1985, when his career ended after he broke his leg on “Monday Night Football.”

“I understand change,” Theismann told the audience. “I've never had a failure in my life, only educational experiences.”

Theismann went on to encourage the audience to write down their goals and not be afraid to try something different in their lives.

Tom Morris, a philosopher and author, also discussed the importance of writing down goals in his keynote address. Morris, a former philosophy professor at the University of Notre Dame, told a story about how former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once wrote down 107 goals after he was fired from an assistant coaching position. Of those 107 goals, 97 became true.

Morris outlined what he says are the seven Cs of success: conception, confidence, concentration, consistency, commitment, character and a capacity to enjoy. To stress the commitment aspect of success, Morris told a story about how 26 of the 29 freshmen on the Notre Dame football team who took his class flunked his first exam. After Morris spent extra time with the students on Thursday nights, they all passed the class with flying colors.

The welcome reception at Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios CityWalk featured the cover band 2 A.M.

In all, there were more than 3,400 attendees and 356 companies in 705 booths at the show. One of those companies was ProSpot Fitness, which is owned by former Atlanta Falcons football players Travis Hall and Jamal Anderson.

Several fitness facilities were honored at the 27thannual Athletic Business Facilities of Merit awards reception. The recipients were: Boll Family YMCA, Detroit; Firstenburg Community Center, Vancouver, WA; Kenyon Athletic Center, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH; Killarney Community Pool, Vancouver, B.C.; Legends Community Centre, Oshawa, Ont.; The Ohio State University Recreation and Physical Activity Center, Columbus, OH; Koeppel Community Sports Center, Trinity College, Hartford, CT; University of California, Santa Barbara Recreation Center Expansion, Santa Barbara, CA; and the John Paul Jones Arena, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

“We're certainly very proud of that honor,” says Dave Miletich, the Vancouver, WA, parks and recreation assistant director.

The show was held in conjunction with the International Council on Active Aging Conference, among others.

The next Athletic Business Conference and Expo will be held Dec. 4-6, 2008, in San Antonio.