By Jim Lutz
Happy wishes for a prosperous New Year to all. We (Michigan State University) survived our training trip
and 2001 holds unlimited possibilities to be a great year.
So much can be said about a name. Throughout the course of time certain individuals have transcended the
need to use two names whenever they had become the topic of conversation. Although athletes receive more recognition than those in public service or even the entertainment industry, equal name recognition can be applied.
If you mention the name "Babe", most think of George Herman Ruth with a few sports aficionados remembering fondly the athletic prowess of Babe Diedrickson. Other names that jump off the page are the likes of: Jim
"Catfish" Hunter, Stan "The Man" Musial, Reggie "Mr. October" Jackson, Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain, Walt "Clyde" Frazier, Ali, Pele, M.J. or simply, Michael for Michael Jordan.
In the entertainment industry you have; Elvis, Sting, Bono, Cher, Madonna and "Ole Blue Eyes" also known as the "Chairman of the Board" Sinatra. Each of the aforementioned names has distinguished and contributed
in his or her own own way to further advance their art in society. However, in the past three decades, a name has emerged not only from his art form but more importantly from his ability to increase awareness in society to the beauty of the ocean and the life it contains.
Part of our training trip in Hawai'i for me is to visit the Wyland Galleries on the Island of Oahu. Wyland has a distinct style and an unmistakable quality that few, if any, could duplicate. His works are not limited to just one discipline. He uses water colors, acrylics, sculptures and larger than life murals which are known as "Whaling Walls" which are
decorating the landscape in all corners of the earth.
These "Whaling Walls" which have now approached 100, are the pinnacle for awakening a conscious effort to protect and nurture the whales and dolphins which inhabit our oceans. His mural in Long Beach, California is in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for the largest painting. The dimensions are staggering: Wyland is able to take a concept or vision and expand it beyond a canvas to cover entire exterior walls that span hundreds of feet. Wyland has also implemented an art program that will eventually encompass over 120,000 schools.
The beauty and majesty of his works attack your eyes into an hypnotic state. But his gift of giving his "gift," is where he has truly distinguished himself from all other artists and that pulls you in as a fan of his works. Wyland gives of himself and his talents to help others, many who are not human, yet are still creatures of God. Each creature occupying space on this planet is a creature of God and entitled to exist. Wyland is trying to make this existence more enjoyable for all of those involved.
Each of you has a talent, a gift, or an art form to share. It is unique because you are the only person who has your exact skill or gift. No one can give with the same effect as you. It could be a simple as telling a joke that brings laughter or a smile to face of another person. Some people have a great skill for telling a joke; regardless of how weak the punchline
may be, they can tell the joke and make you laugh as if it were the funniest thing you had ever heard. While others can tell a great joke without the proper delivery and fail miserably to even get a chuckle from the audience.
Use your gifts. Share your gifts. And always give the gift of yourself to help others.
Have a great day…I know I will
Jim Lutz is Head Swimming Coach at Michigan State University.