Scott Norton, President of Chicago-based Norton Sports Management, has a unique business model.
“As I like to say, I don’t have the best client in terms of putting goals on the board or All Star Game appearances, but I think I have the best clients in terms of who they are,” said Norton. “The one common theme through all my clients hard-working, gritty players who really care on and off the ice.”
Norton’s clients include a number of prominent professional hockey players, including LA Kings captain Dustin Brown, St. Louis Blues enforcer Cam Janssen, and former Blackhawks (now Atlanta Thrashers) defenseman Brent Sopel.
While Norton admits that Brown is “the apex” of his client book – he was on the USA’s Olympic team in February and also serves as captain on a playoff team in Los Angeles – Norton looks for the person as much as the player.
This summer, many of Norton’s clients jumped onto Twitter. Brown (@DustinBrown23) and Janssen (@CamJanssen55) are regulars with the social media, and have developed a strong following of fans.
It was just three weeks ago, however, that Norton took the social media presence of his clients and his agency (@NortonSports) to a different level.
If you follow me on Twitter (@The1Tab), you may have noticed that among my countless, mind-numbing comments about sports in the world, on a few occasions I have tweeted something about a random act of kindess that is followed by the hashtag #MMDM. This is a small, grass roots initiative launched by Norton called “Make My Day Mondays” in which Norton, and his clients, tweet about something small they do to give back.
Here’s an example of a #MMDM tweet from Janssen:
This idea spawned from Norton, who says his family taught him the value of philanthropy. From there, he wanted to use his following on Twitter as a platform to give something back, starting with himself.
“[I said] let’s start in-house. Let’s start with me, myself at the agency and then through the culture of the agency,” said Norton. “Let’s do something that isn’t attached to one charity or another or isn’t about how much money you make or how much money you can give, but more the common theme of ‘work hard and be good people.’ ”
While some athletes receive minimal recognition for some of their good deeds, as Brown has with consecutive nominations for the NHL’s Foundation Award, it’s when someone like me, Tab, does something that this campaign truly begins the trickle down Norton was hoping to create.
A couple weeks ago, I was my pregnant wife’s chauffer to and from downtown Chicago for a meeting she had (we live in the burbs). Rather than driving back out of the city in traffic, and then turning right back around a couple hours later to pick her up, I parked and took my computer into a restaurant to work for the day while waiting for her.
As I walked to my parking spot to charge my phone, I was approached by a gentleman who asked for money. He looked like he had seen better days, and just asked for money to get something to drink. I had spent the morning writing and corresponding with folks (and abusing Twitter), and had seen a number of #MMDM tweets. There was a Walgreens across the street from my car, so I asked if he wanted to get something to drink with me. When he responded that he wasn’t allowed in that establishment, I asked what he wanted and purchased a couple large bottles of water for him.
That’s all it took for me to be part of the #MMDM revolution. In fact, in a stroke of beautiful irony, when the gentleman thanked me for the water he said “You made my day.”
I was taken back by his words, and have continued to look for ways to make someone’s day with a random act of kindness, whether it’s Monday or not.
Buying a couple bottles of water for someone in a tough position wasn’t a first for me, but the fact that this specific incident was sparked by something I saw on Twitter made me appreciate what Norton started and where it’s going. If you search the #MMDM hashtag, you’ll see media personalities, players, and average Americans making a difference through small, random acts of kindness.
What a fantastic remedy to the depressing headlines and awful choices made by a few athletes that crowd the front pages of tabloids and sites every day! And in a world where it’s so easy to be jaded by hypocricy, the fact that Norton started the movement by doing something himself is a wonderful example that everyone can make a difference by doing, not talking about or contemplating.
So next Monday, do something nice and tweet about it. Whether it’s buying water for someone in need or something in navy and orange for someone from Wisconsin, you’ll be shocked at how rewarding it is to make difference.