And now … The Rest of the Story

2014 Women's Final Four

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament

TRIVIA Question:  Who is the winningest Division 1 basketball coach of all time?  Clue → it is NOT in a men’s basketball program and it is NOT a man.

Answer:  Pat Summit, Head Coach Emeritus with the University of Tennessee “Lady Vols” basketball team.  “She kept her elite program in the winner’s circle for almost four decades, producing a mind-boggling record of 1,098-208 (.840) that included the most victories in NCAA basketball history. During her tenure, the Lady Vols won eight NCAA titles as well as a combined 32 Southeastern Conference tournament and regular season championships. Tennessee made an unprecedented 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament and produced 12 Olympians, 34 WNBA players, 21 WBCA/Kodak/State Farm All-Americans earning 36 honors, and 39 All-SEC players earning 82 recognitions. Along with the success on the court, Summitt’s student-athletes had tremendous productivity in the classroom. Coach Summitt held a 100 percent graduation rate for all Lady Vols who completed their eligibility at Tennessee.”[i]

The Lady Vols along with UConn (Connecticut), South Carolina and Notre Dame are again a number one seed in the 2014 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Basketball Tournament with 1st round games beginning this weekend.  Although Pat won’t be on the sideline for Tennessee (Holly Warlick now coaches the Lady Vols), other familiar coaching icons will be at tLadies Basketball Coach Iconshe tournament including Geno Auriemma from UConn, Tara VanDerveer with the Stanford Cardinal, and Kim Mulkey, coach of the Baylor Lady Bears.  These 4 coaches have produced over 3260 victories,  winning 20 national championships in a combined 115 years of coaching, and each has become an institution at their university.

In total, teams from 30 states will be participating in the women’s tournament with New York having the most teams (6), followed by California and Tennessee with 5 each.  Seven other states (Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia) have 2 schools in the tournament.  This should give you plenty of opportunity to generate competition for your residents – especially in those situations where you have both large (i.e. major conference) and smaller schools competing (e.g. Stanford vs Cal State – Northridge;  LSU vs Northwestern LA, or Texas vs Prairie View).

Women's Tournament by State

  • A special mention should be made for the “Black Knights” women’s basketball team of the U.S. Military Academy.  Although located (and counted as a NY school) at West Point, NY, this team is really a “national” team and should receive support from across the country.
  • Kudos to Connecticut and Notre Dame who are each undefeated in regular season and conference tournament play going into the NCAA tournament.
  • There are 5 additional states (Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, South Dakota and West Virginia) that were not included in the Men’s NCAA tournament.  {See “Forget the Activity Calendar. . . ACT NOW!” for suggestions about utilizing the NCAA tournament as the basis for an enriching resident activity program and marketing event}
  • Five schools — Akron, North Dakota, South Dakota, Winthrop and Wright State – are all making their first NCAA tournament appearance
  • 25 of the teams join their male counterparts at the Big Dance.  The Women’s Tournament adds post-season play for 39 additional teams and gives you 5 more states to build resident support around.

    How about a competition between the Men’s and Women’s teams for the 25 colleges with both teams in the SHOW?  Who will go farther in their tournament? 

The NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament offers some challenges, but many more opportunities for meaningful dialogue and interactive programs with the predominantly female population in today’s senior living communities.   One of the challenges is that the NCAA tournament has only been organized for women since 1982 so it’s unlikely any of your residents ever played in the tournament.

TRIVIA:  Kim Mulkey played on the first championship team from Louisiana Tech in 1982 and is the first person, man or woman, to win a basketball national championship as a player, assistant coach and head coach.[ii]

TRIVIA:  Tennessee and Connecticut have won almost 50% of the National Women’s Championships with 8 titles a piece.

On the other hand, most of the 1st and 2nd round games are played “on campus” with attendance a lot less than at the men’s games.  Therefore, if your community is near one of the 16 tournament sites you might have the chance to actually take a group of residents to see one or more of the games.

Los Angeles, CA Toledo, OH
Seattle, WA West Lafayette, IN
Ames, IA Knoxville, TN
Iowa City, IA Chapel Hill, NC
Waco, TX Durham, NC
College Station, TX College Park, MD
Baton Rouge, LA University Park, PA
Lexington, KY Storrs, CT

The Sweet 16 games will be played in Lincoln, NE; Stanford, CA;  Notre Dame (South Bend), IN and Louisville, KY with the Final Four in Nashville, TN.

One of the biggest opportunities is to create an inter-generational sharing experience for your residents, their adult daughters (bobby-soxers and baby boomers), grand-daughters and great grand-daughters.  The residents and their adult daughters lived through a cultural revolution started by the United States Congress’ passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.  This legislation changed the face of women’s athletics across all levels and 10 years later led to the first NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament.

  • In 1971, the year before Title IX became law, fewer than 300,000 girls participated in high school sports, about one in 27. In 2002, the number approached 3 million, or approximately one in 2½.[iii]
  • In 1972, fewer than 32,000 women competed in intercollegiate athletics.  Women received only 2 % of schools’ athletics budgets, and athletic scholarships for women were nonexistent.  In 2008-09, a record number of 182,503 women participated in competitive college athletics, accounting for 43% of college athletes nationwide.[iv]

Along with the increased participation, the game of “girls” basketball itself has also seen significant change.  Before Title IX (i.e. when all of the residents as well as the Bobby-soxers and many of the Baby Boomers were growing up), girls basketball was more a part of the Physical Education curriculum than a competitive sport.  Today’s young girls would hardly Ollie-Hoosiersrecognize the half-court game, uniforms of Bermuda shorts and white blouses, and all foul shots thrown under-hand like Ollie in the movie Hoosiers!  Fast breaks, rebounding “above the rim”, even dunks were foreign to the pre-1972 women’s game.   SO, set up an inter-generational discussion group and encourage your residents (and prospects) and their older adult children to share their remembrances of girls basketball in the “days of yore”.  Invite a local college or high school team to participate in the discussion and help them understand the legacy that they have inherited. Humphrey Bogart said, “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship in the movie Casablanca and you can build that same type of on-going relationship with a local school team throughout the coming year.

Finally, the Girl Scouts of America developed Girl Scout badgea new patch that members can earn with activities focused on the history, importance and media portrayal of women in sports.  It was developed in conjunction with the 2014 NCAA Final Four in Nashville, TN and offers a tremendous opportunity for your residents to interact with the young scouts.

You have all the ingredients for a dynamite activity program and customized marketing event that demonstrates appropriate respect for the life accomplishments of the residents.  The potential of getting multiple generations from the same family together in your building focused on a common interest – including participation in March Madness games as discussed in a prior article – is priceless.

 


“THAT’S GREAT … but my TEAM isn’t going to the SHOW!”

Dejected Basketball TeamLess than twenty per cent of the 351 Division I colleges and universities get invited to the NCAA tournament each year.  But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t proceed with the March Madness activities and events suggested in “Forget the Activity Calendar. . . ACT NOW!” [http://wp.me/pCemc-j8] if your favorite team wasn’t selected.  This article includes five additional methods to tie into the excitement created by college hoops at this time of year.

 

NIT Logo♥  If you live in West Virginia, you might want to switch your focus to the National Invitation Tournament (“NIT”), which includes 32 additional teams and concludes with the final games played at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi and Vermont join West Virginia as additional states represented in the NIT that were excluded from the original 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament.

 

Cinderella     There are 32 Conferences included in the NCAA Tournament.  Determine what conference that your local school belongs to and then your residents can cheer for (or against → in some cases fans will root for “my school or whoever plays ABC University!”) the Conference Champion who is at the Big Dance.  Frequently these teams from the smaller conference – who only get an automatic bid by winning their conference tournament – become the Cinderella team of the tournament.   Will their trip end after one game or will they go “deep into the tournament”?

Even if this doesn’t apply to your local team, let your residents pick a Cinderella team from one of the non-major conferences and support them in the tournament.

  There are 14 different sites where the tournament games will be played over the next 3 weeks, including Dayton, OH for the four “play-in” games on March 18 & 19.  Even though there are no Indiana schools in the tournament, Indianapolis will be the location of the Midwest Regional Finals on March 28 – 30.  If you are near one of these locations, there should be a lot of local press in newspapers, TV, etc. that you can tie into.  You don’t have to do a full “Bracketology”, but have fun by picking the winners in the local games.  Set up pools for a) largest margin of victory, b) total margin of victory (all games), c) number of overtime games, etc.  Vote for favorite coach and/or player.  If you’re into social media, sponsor that person online.

  If your local team’s season is over, contact the Athletic Department and request a visit from someone on the coaching staff and/or the Cheer Squad.  Explain what you are doing to involve your aging adult residents and ask them to participate in your “life-long-learning” series by presenting a 15 – 20 presentation on how the tournaments work, etc.   Tell them that you know how hard they work and that your residents want to recognize their achievements in this season as you wish them more success in the future.  Build the foundation for an on-going, inter-generational relationship with the school.  Consider the residents’ excitement to have the Cheer Squad do a couple of routines for them in your building and maybe have the mascot speak.

Cheer Squads

Star Difference If you really want to “think outside of the box”, work with the Athletic Department to create several special awards that could be presented in a ceremony at your community (e.g.  Above and Beyond, All-Around Excellence, Rising Star, Leadership/Citizenship, etc.→ contact me directly for more ideas and help in implementation).   This is another great way to generate “free press” and present your community in a very positive fashion.

♥  Finally, there are another 64 teams in the Women’s UT - UConn Ladies BasketballNCAA Basketball Tournament.  Because of the preponderance of females in our resident populations, this may offer a particularly attractive alternative for celebrating March Madness, which will be addressed in a subsequent article.

The important thing is to DO SOMETHING!  Don’t be a slave to your published activity calendar and miss this opportunity to improve the interactive lifestyle of your residents.

NCAA Basketballs

Forget the Activity Calendar . . . ACT NOW!

NCAA BasketballOne of the most publicized CURRENT EVENTS that involves millions of people in the workplace every year IS HAPPENING NOW→  the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  What are you doing to involve your residents in the excitement that permeates our entire society – aka “March Madness”?

  • There are 68 schools in the Tournament.
  • The schools represent 32 stat2014 March Madnesses plus the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.) {65% of states}.
  • Two-thirds of these States have more than one school in the tournament.
  • One-third have 3 or more schools participating.
  • 4 states:  California, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas have 4 schools included.

Can you identify a participating school from your state and generate interest and support from your resident population for that school(s)?  For multi-school states, you’ve got a perfect opportunity to create some friendly competition within your community to produce an additional level of excitement.

  • Set up your own March Madness Tournament as indicated in my prior blog articles: https://progressiveretirement.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/march-madness/
  • Contact me directly to discuss ways in which you might turn this into a Marketing Event.
  • Have a fundraiser by letting residents, employees and visitors deposit coins (pennies, dimes or quarters – depending upon your resident population) into different jars based upon the team that they expect to go the farthest in the tournament.  Donate the proceeds to a designated charity!

An interesting feature is that the tournament often features a school from a “smaller” conference, so that a State such as Georgia is represented by Mercer University from Macon, GA this year while the more well-known University of Georgia (SEC) and Georgia Tech (ACC) squads were not selected.2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament

  • Here is an opportunity for a “life-long learning” session to educate your residents about the history, culture and achievements of one of these smaller schools in your state.  Contact a local alumni association and/or the college or university Alumni office to find a potential speaker.
  • Stimulate conversation about why different schools in your area were selected over other more recognized schools.  For example:
    • TEXAS:  Stephen F. Austin and Texas Southern selected;  SMU, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, TCU not selected.
    • LOUISIANA:  Louisiana-Lafayette “in”; LSU “out”.
    • MARYLAND:  Mount St. Mary’s in the tournament; Maryland is not.
    • SOUTH CAROLINA:  Wofford and Coastal Carolina “in”; Clemson & South Carolina “out”.
    • Ohio should have great competition with Dayton playing Ohio State in a first round game and both Cincinnati and Xavier in “the Big Dance”.

Survey your residents (and prospects) to determine connections to the tournament participants:

  • Score a “hit” if you have anyone who graduated, attended or was married to someone from any of the schools in the tournament.
  • Make it a “home run” if they played basketball in college.
  • Call it a “grand slam” if you happen to be lucky enough to have someone who actually played in the NCAA tournament.
    • TRIVIA:  The tournament was organized in 1939 with the Oregon Ducks beating Ohio State to win the first championship.
    • UCLA leads all schools with 11 National Championships!

One of the nice things about this tournament is the number of games that are played and broadcast during the middle of the day.

  • Decorate your “TV rooms” with the big screen TVs with the local school colors.
  • Have a special meal appropriate to your region and school or that might be found at a tournament site (e.g. hot dogs & fries).  Serve popcorn during the game.
  • Show your Colors:  give prizes for best dressed in team colors, mascot look-a-likes, etc.
  • Show the movie “Hoosiers” (one of the Top Ten Sports movies of all-time) to stimulate excitement.  SORRY, INDIANA, NOTRE DAME and other Indiana colleges and universities – no one made “the show” this year!

Set up your own “bracketology” and let the residents project the winners.  I recommend that residents be given a gift/prize for participation and then for each correct projection.  PLEASE CONSULT WITH ME TO LEARN INNOVATIVE WAYS TO RECOGNIZE AND REWARD RESIDENTS.  NCAA-Tournament-Printable-Bracket-2014

  • Instead of predicting the entire “bracket”, it probably makes more sense for your residents to handle each round as a program unto itself.  There are 36 games this coming week and that is more than enough challenge for the residents.  Your objective should be to have as many continuing participants as possible over the next few weeks.   Therefore, you want as many “winners” as possible and no eliminations from the early rounds to keep them motivated to continue their participation.
  • As an alternative, you might get a panel of residents to predict a particular bracket and then challenge a panel from the staff to see who would get the most victories.   Potentially, this could involve a number of participants with 4 teams from both the residents and staff.
  • Another option is to get a Staff Prognosticator who will post their bracket (or bracket for each round) and then allow the residents to bet for or against the Prognosticator’s projection for each game.  In most cases, these would be penny or nickel bets.  Any “net” winnings by the prognosticator would be donated to charity (and/or activity supplies/equipment for the residents).

REMEMBER:  You are only limited by your imagination!

NCAA March Madness

March Madness!

Throughout the country, normally sane men and women, boys and girls go crazy over NCAA basketball in March each year.  65 men’s and 64 women’s teams compete in the annual tournaments to crown the year’s champions with millions of fans who haven’t attended a game all year tuned  to their TV sets.  “Bracketology” is THE buzzwordFinal Four 2013 for several weeks with folks who would never consider going to Las Vegas joining their local pools at work, in neighborhoods – even at church – to pick the winners at each level and cash in on the “big prize”.  EXCITEMENT abounds!

Yet, what about our senior citizens?  Did they retire from all this “hoopla” when they moved into a senior living community?  As a regional director for over 20 retirement centers, I learned that none of these buildings scheduled anything on their activities calendars related to these events.  Several factors potentially contribute to this omission:

  • Some senior living properties become so focused on providing for ALL of the needs of their residents internally, they tend to overlook the importance of keeping the residents aware of and involved in the mainstream activities of the broader community.
  • Some buildings still hold a “rest home” mentality with activity programs limited to the 3B’s:  Bible, Bingo and Birthday.
  • Many activity directors  consider sports related programming as only male-oriented activities and believe that they would not be well received by the majority of residents who are women.[1]
  • Finally, some may simply look at the tournament as something the individual can watch in their own apartment, overlooking the value of socialization in watching the game  with  friends.  It’s strange that we see the value in weekly movies in the TV rooms but don’t consider the benefit of watching and discussing other TV programs in a common setting.

     ACTIVITY CALENDAR TIP:

Because of the number of games in all time zones, there is an opportunity to schedule WEEKEND and EVENING events around the broadcast of these games on numerous days!

In keeping with the philosophy of enhancing marketability by improving the resident experience[2], I directed that March Madness be treated as a current event.

MARKETING TIP:

Identify “prospects” who are currently living alone and might be interested in seeing games.  Invite those individuals to watch a game on your big screen TV with your in-house residents.  Sell camaraderie and the value of their access to the large (and high definition if you have one) TV.

The following game was one of several activities initiated in my buildings.  [Please contact me directly to discuss other activity and marketing ideas that may be built around the March Madness concept.]

March Madness

(Seated Basketball Game)

OVERVIEW:

This is a TEAM sport with two 5-member teams.  This is an age-adapted, adult program designed as a low-impact physical activity suitable for all residents.  The game is played from a seated position to neutralize any height advantage and eliminate restrictions based on

Seated Basketball

Seated
Basketball

the ability to stand and/or walk without assistance.

It is based on the shoot-around game of “HORSE” with 5 chairs placed in front of the basket.  Each participant on each team will shoot from every seat with points scored for made baskets.

ACTIVITY OBJECTIVES:

  1. Promote independence in body and spirit.
  2. Help residents fulfill social & ego needs.  Several residents may achieve self-actualization by participating in their First basketball “game”.
  3. Create new Precious Memories as seniors get the opportunity to showcase their abilities to their families.

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

  1. An adjustable height basketball backboard and goal.    The goal works best at 6 feet for an 8 ft. or higher ceiling.  The model shown is manufactured by Little Tykes and may be purchased at Toys-R-Us for about $45.  Remove or cover any reference to the Little Tykes name, age group, etc. (e.g. Use a sticker with the community’s name or logo) to insure that the equipment does NOT convey a “juvenile” nature to the activity.

The manufacturer recommends that the base be filled with sand, but a) a staff member can hold the backboard with a foot on the base or b)  fill with water to make it easier to move / store when not in use.

2.  The set comes with a ball, but these are usually light weight and more of a playground ball than a true basketball.  More realism will be gained by purchasing several mini-basketballs which fit these goals.  These can usually be found on-line or at stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Several buildings found mini-basketballs with local school logos and purchased balls for competing schools (e.g. Florida & Florida State, or Tennessee, Kentucky & Vanderbilt).  They found that allowing their resident teams to use these balls gave their teams identity and heightened competition.  Ideally, the facility should have at least 3 balls for each team to speed up the game.

3.  Five straight-back chairs placed in a semi-circle in front of the goal, plus 10 chairs for the “bench” (players not currently shooting) and chairs for spectators.  The spread of the arc can be adjusted to fit the dimensions of the room, but the center seat should generally be placed no less than 5, nor more than 8, feet from the goal, with the others spread to the side accordingly.  At least initially, the “court” should be designed to facilitate scoring.  Creating a sense of accomplishment for the first contestants will encourage greater future participation.

4.  A flip chart on an easel with marker to keep score.  Both individual and team scores will need to be maintained.  A volunteer will be needed to serve as the Scorekeeper.

NOTE:  Tech-savvy communities may find it advantageous to use a laptop and flat-screen TV for keeping SCORE!

Preparation:

Set-up can be accomplished in about 15 minutes once the goal has been assembled.  The activity is suitable for on-going competition throughout the year, but initiating the program during the NCAA tournament adds the additional “spice” to encourage greater participation, selection of TEAM names, etc.  Some buildings may want to encourage residents to purchase TEAM t-shirts/jerseys for additional authenticity to the competition.

Tournament Play:

The style of the tournament will depend on the number of teams involved, recognizing that the principal objective is to generate as much resident participation as possible.  The following options may generate activity programming over several days and/or weeks:

  • Two Teams: Direct head-to-head competition.  This can follow the simple one-and-done philosophy of the NCAA OR utilize the series approach with the best out of 3 or 5 declared the overall winner.
  • Three Teams: Round-Robin competition with each team playing each other team.  If one team beats both the other teams, they will be declared the winner with the team winning the other game as the runner-up.  If each team wins one game, a final round will be held.  If there is no champion determined after that round, the three teams will compete in a sudden death Tie Breaker as outlined below.
  • Four or more Teams: Olympic style competition. Each team will play every other team in a preliminary round.  Then the two teams with the best records will play in a championship round for gold and silver medals.  If desired, the 3rd and 4th placed teams may play in a consolation round for a bronze medal.

ICE-BREAKER IDEA

Demonstration Event

5 Resident Volunteers

vs

THE STAFF

Beginning Play:

Each team will choose a Captain who will also be the first shooter.  After the ceremonial coin toss, the winner will take the middle seat and the first half will commence.

Play:

  1. The first player will shoot 3 balls from the center seat with 2 points scored for each basket made.
  2. The player will then move to the next seat to the right of the basket and the first player from the opposing team will take his/her place in the first seat.
  3. That player will take their 3 shots and then move to the next seat to the left of the basket.
  4. Play then returns to the first player who shoots 3 times and then moves to the chair on the far right.
  5. The first player from the opposing team does the same to the left of the basket.
  6. Then, the 2nd player from the first team moves to the center seat and takes their 3 shots.
  7. As they move to the second seat, the opposing team’s 2nd player takes over the center seat.
  8. Next, the 1st players take their shots from the far seats and then return to the Bench.
  9. This process continues until all 5 players from each TEAM have completed their 9 shots and the FIRST HALF concludes.
  10. After an intermission, the SECOND HALF continues in the same process, except that the first team moves to the left of the basket and the other team moves to the right.  At the end of the SECOND HALF, each player will have attempted 6 shots from the center seat and 3 from each of the other seats.
  11. At the end of the game, the TEAM with the most points (made baskets) is declared the winner.

Tie-Breaker:

In the event of a tie, the player from each TEAM with the highest personal score will be involved in a tie-breaker.  If more than one player on the same team has the same score, the team will choose which one will participate in the tie-breaker.

Beginning with the losing team of the original Coin Toss, the player will sit in the center seat (the “foul shot” position) and continue shooting until they miss.  The opposing team player must then beat the number of shots made by the first player to be declared the winner.

In the event of another tie, play will move to the 2nd highest scorer for each team and continue until a) a winner is chosen or b) all players have participated.

Should that happen, the foul shot line will be moved backwards in 1 foot increments until a winner is determined.

Advanced Play Options:

  1. A more complex scoring option is to record 1 point for baskets from the center seat (equating to a foul shot), 2 points from the middle seat and 3 points from the furthest chair.  It is generally best to begin with the simpler form of scoring until the participants become acquainted with the game and it becomes advantageous to increase the level of competition.
  2. Seats can be placed further away from the goal.
  3. Schedule an on-going competition or tournament with one or more nearby facilities.

    MARKETING TIP:

    • Contact a Senior Citizens Center, Church Group or other Seniors’ Organization and invite them to put together a team to challenge your in-house CHAMPS!

    • Add a social event, door prizes, etc. to tie in with the tournament and add participants and observers to your prospect list.

    Set up a home-and-away schedule with residents traveling to the opposing teams’ home court and vice versa.  Note: this is a great option when the same company has more than one property in the same geographical area – but may, in some instances, be also possible with competitor locations.


[1] These individuals should check out the popularity of women’s college basketball and Tennessee coach Pat Summitt who leads ALL COACHES in total career wins.

[2] Check out “Turning Residents into our Best Marketers” in the CATEGORIES drop-down box for additional thoughts on this philosophy.

Please leave a comment and share the March Madness activities you have implemented successfully in your building.