At the end of May, Nike welcomed the grand opening of their Nike Community Store on historic Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit. As a Community Store, the emphasis is on having employees that live in the area plus a Nike Community Ambassador Program — which is a volunteer aspect for Detroit youth. When I was asked to be part of the team to take a “road trip” and bring Nike Training to Detroit, my answer was HELL YES!
Chicago and Detroit have a long history together, aside from being Great Lakes neighbors. Their sports teams are fierce rivals. Bears vs. Lions; Blackhawks vs. Red Wings; Bulls vs. Pistons; and White Sox vs. Tigers are all match-ups fans love. From the Pistons refusing to shake the Bulls hands after the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals, to the Bears inability to tackle Barry Sanders and defend Calvin Johnson, to the Hawks/Wings Original Six rivalry, to the White Sox/Tigers winning back to back World Series in ’05-’06, Chicago and Detroit go back a long way. But, we have more in common than the stadium drunks chanting “Detroit Sucks!” would have you believe.
In 1871, Chicago burned to the ground. Chicagoans built it back. In 2013, Detroit filed for bankruptcy, the final dagger in a decades long die-a-slow-death process. In essence, Detroit too, has burned to the ground. Can Detroitians build it back? If anyone knows what it takes to rebuild a world-class city, it’s Chicago. That is why Nike Chicago teamed up with Nike Detroit to kick off their Nike Training Club and Nike Running Club experience. Bret Gornik, Kenna Sullivan, and I flew to the 313 in early June to lead the NTC portion.
We marched into downtown Detroit without seeing our work space; without knowing any of the community/people we would be training; and not knowing what kind of equipment we would have available. As much as we planned beforehand, we were ready to audible if the situation called for it. Cadillac Square Park was our host location and Detroit welcomed us with open arms. As is usual with Nike events, numerous people are on site, hustling to make sure the best possible consumer experience is provided.
Our job was to execute a Friday night NTC workout, followed by a Saturday morning NTC/Youth Athletes doubleheader. With NTC, we emphasized the importance of a progressive warmup as we wanted everyone’s body prepared to move. We then broke into groups for bodyweight/athletic-themed training. With Youth Athletes, our focus was on keeping the kids moving while following directions and controlling their body in space. Both Bret and Kenna were great at leading their group. They brought energy and discipline to their stations, while being able to make on-site adjustments. Great job Bret and Kenna!
Detroit was very gracious for our help. The consumers were constantly thanking us for our time, taking pictures, and enjoying the experience for as long as possible. There was a certain hustle to Cadillac Square Park, and it looked like Detroit was on the rebound. Hopefully Nike can lead the charge because Detroit Never Stops.
“You only get one shot / Do not miss your chance to blow / This opportunity comes once in a lifetime” — Eminem