TEDxSanAntonio - Jose Angel Garcia - Slam Dunk - Sports Boosts the Economy & the Future for Children December 28, 2011
As Director of Operations, Grupo Garel and Founder of Huracanes Tampico, LNBP, Jose's talk is all about how it takes a village -"Slam Dunk - How Investing in Sports Boosts the Economy and the Future for Children in Tampico."In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
Hello. Hello, thank you a lot. Thank you to TEDx San Antonio. It’s very great to be here with you. I’m coming from Mexico, from a city called Tampico.
My passions as you can see from the brochure – I love my city and my family.
I’m going to talk to you about a situation that we are living with in our country and what we are trying to do to solve this situation. But I want to ask you first a question. How many of you – have you ever feel the scared sensation of hearing gunshots – not with pistols, but with guns like AK-47 or something like that – grenades. Some of you. You will understand me. I hope everybody of you will understand my English. I will try to do my best, but you will understand what I’ll try to tell you.
Three and a half years ago I got married. Three years ago I was with my wife about to go to sleep – it was a little bit early like 8:30 - 9:00 at night. But we started to hear some gunshots. Very, very hard (loud) gunshots. They were like a block away from our house. I grabbed her and I took her to the closet and I told her ‘be patient and let’s wait until the gunshots stop.’ We had to be there for about an hour. After that we went to sleep. We couldn’t realize what happened.
At the next day, at the next morning I was looking at the news – at the newspaper – that there were six teenagers shooting at the army forces for an hour. Six teenagers they were like from sixteen years old to twenty years old and they were fighting for an hour against the army forces of Mexico.
At that time I realized that that was not the city where I wanted to live; that is not the city where I want to grow up my family. So we started to think what we can do to solve this situation. We cannot go and grab an arm and fight against those people. That’s army’s business and I don’t like to fight with a gun; I like to fight with some actions. So we started to think what to do.
We noticed that a positive way to solve this situation was in sports. I love sports and sports is a very, very healthy and very positive example for kids and teenagers to grow as a person because with sports you can get the principles and values – like for example the teamwork; the respect for one another. And a lot of more things.
The people right now that are in the streets – they don’t know what a value or a principle is – they know what is a drug and is an addiction. So we start to think what to do. And in our city – in the slide that was behind this one – we live in a city that is a million people and we didn’t have any professional team in sports – neither football, neither basketball, neither baseball – anything. So we decided to bring together some friends and to bring professional basketball team from the national league.
So we thought of bringing the team, but with a very different way and a different philosophy from the other league – we thought not to bring the team to win a championship, but to bring the team to solve a big, big issue – a violence issue and obesity issue that I will tell you in a while that has expressed itself in our city.
We know that at school they teach us that we have to – in marketing – we have to go and ask the customers or the people what they need so that we can do what they need, but that’s not a rule. We know also that –for example Henry Ford – if Henry Ford were to ask the customers what they need, the customers would tell him that they need faster horses. And he didn’t went to do faster horses, but to do what we know right now – that is cars.
So we start to think about bringing this thing to focus on solution responsible. Not on championships. The championships are very good because that way you can get more fans that can get your philosophy but our focus is on helping kids and helping teenagers to be better persons in the complete way – in the very complete way of being persons - not only physically, but also mentally, spiritually – what makes you a real person.
So we have two big issues in Mexico. Mexico is the first country in the world with the worst index of child obesity. Well at least we are in first place in something, but that’s not something to be proud so it’s a very big issue. And the area in green is the state where is our city, and the spot in red is the city where we live. Tamaulipas is the state – is the region or the state – with the worst index of child obesity in Mexico. And Tampico is the city with the worst index of child obesity in the state. So if you look backwards we are the region in the world with the worst index of child obesity. And also we are having as I told you a very difficult time with violence. So with this idea of bringing a basketball team – a professional team - with a focus on social responsibleness – focused on creating people with principles and values that takes care of people in the city and not health problems that will cause very difficult diseases like.
And what I told you about the violence – personally I work in a family business; it’s a chain of gas stations – thinking personally if we join this effort, it will be good in several years for us, for our family, for our business, for our city. Why? Because if we work on these kids right now – these kids and these teenagers, in several years they will be good persons and we want good persons that come, for example for the gas stations and ask me for gasoline and pay me the gasoline. And I don’t want these teens or these teenagers to come to the gas station with a gun and telling me ‘give me the money, give me the gas station or I will kidnap you.’ So this is the reason why we are working very hard on this effort.
As I told you we have very clear our philosophy on the team and our philosophy is not to get the championship. It’s to promote the sports and the exercise of teens and kids so we can get three important things – good health, also to motivate the education to make them persons with principles and values and something very important – the union of the families. A society that has very, very hard union of their families is a society that will be going better and better every time. So that is our philosophy. The things that we are doing right now focus on those three issues.
For example, here are some pictures of the activities that we do. We go with the kids – we introduce them to make exercise. We give them the tools – we have a school for people with low incomes or people who cannot pay private school; and we encourage them to do exercises.
We go to every public and private school. We go to four schools every week with our players. The players go and play with the kids and have pictures with them and sign the shirts and everything, but they talk about two main issues – the importance of making exercise and of eating well.
We encourage kids also to go and help to the needed people – to old people, to people who need something to eat for example. There is a picture of all the kids joined food for example, last year there was a hurricane and they got some things for the poor people. Also we make some conferences for example for obesity for breast cancer for a lot of osteoporosis and a lot of health issues and we gather effort so that we can get the place for free – where we have the conferences. We get the marketing for free, and we get the studies and medicines for free too. So it was a synergy of
There is a big Mexican effort from an great organization - it is called Telaton. I’m not sure if some of you have heard about it – it’s for kids who don’t have mentally health or maybe they are disabled – special needs. And we take the team to talk with them. But our coach, our trainer, he was a player in Argentina. He was riding and he had a car accident. The car came over his feet; he couldn’t walk again. He’s in a wheelchair and whenever we go with them he talks with them about he has no legs, but he has wings. He can do whatever he wants, whatever his passion is. He talks with the kids and the next day is game day and we take the kids to the court and they see this coach moving and yelling the great players and these players are doing what he’s asking of them.
A month ago we just received an invitation from a great, great institution – Barcelona - to go and play with them. Barcelona was our example of making the good things in a basketball team. And it was our surprise a month ago when they invited us to play – we didn’t know why. When we arrived over there they explained us that they were searching for the teams and they really liked what we were doing with our society so that’s why they invite us. We had great experience over there. Don’t ask me about the score (laughs). Because uh, well actually, we got a trophy (laughs). When we went to the check-in booth at the airport the lady told me ‘congratulations you won a championship!’ and I told her ‘no, we just got second place, but thank you.’
I want to finish telling you something. The best memories I have from my childhood, with my Dad and my Mom is when we went together to the soccer and football games. There were not too many games; just a few games, but those were the greatest moments in my childhood with them. How we prepared to go to the game with the shirts; how we arrived to the stadium, how we see the field, how we yell and after that how we went to take dinner and everyone coming from the game. It was amazing. Those are the best memories that I have from my childhood.
Our dream is coming true. Now we can see those images in Tampico with those kids with their parents enjoying those games. We know that sometime those kids will grow and they will remember those times with their parents and they will make something for their society. So let’s have these kinds of dreams for our society; let’s work together for them and let’s slam dunk. Thank you so much and hope you can visit Tampico, Mexico.
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