Different StrokesЙ

Last night, after tucking the kids into bed, my wife and I sat down in the family room to see what stations our antenna over the garage was pulling in that night - and, yes, you read that right, there’s no cable/dish connection in our house. We discovered we could watch American Idol or American Idol.

We chose American Idol.

I was hooked, immediately. There on the screen was Randy Travis, one of my favorite singers, working with the various contestants to perfect the songs they had chosen to sing that week.

I was blown away by how positive Travis was with each and every contestant. He was an amazing role model – encouraging each contestant to sing songs he had written in their own unique way. There was no need to try and be Randy Travis. Instead, they were supposed to be themselves. Show the world their gifts.

It’s a great message. One I am constantly trying to impart to my kids, the players I coach in various sports throughout the year and to myself – study yourself, understand yourself, recognize your strengths, be honest about your weaknesses and don’t be afraid to try your absolute hardest at whatever you do.

It’s a message that simple in expression, but hard, very hard, to put into practice. Sometimes, when I deliver this message to a new ballplayer, I watch him go through a phase where he’s being different, just for the sake of being different. Eventually, he learns that there’s a difference between working to your own unique strengths and craving attention. They’re not the same thing – though they might seem so initially.

We apply this same mentality to our little business here at Northstar. We attempt to focus very, very hard on working to our strengths (and shoring up our weaknesses – hence the new Web site). We believe our strengths are developing great content, showcasing great design, delivering the content to you efficiently, delivering it to you where, how and when you want it, and, most important, trying not to take ourselves too seriously. This may be our job, but it’s also supposed to be fun.

This month, result of our effort is our best Annual Aquatics issue ever.

We cover water chemistry issues, complying with the still-confusing Virginia Graeme Baker Act, tactics for beating RWIs, spray park features, lifesaving and emergency equipment and the usual goodies from Ron Ciancutti and Randy Gaddo.

We used a few different strokes, but I think we were true to our mission. Let me know what you think.

Till next month…

Rodney J. Auth