Teamwork Can Help Us Achieve Our Dreams

By: Rob Cohen Issue: Sports Section: Opinion

There is a fairly famous story that has been circulating in the sales world for years, and it goes something like this…


The story is of a lawyer who argued a case for his guilty defendant, on trial for murder.

The one challenge in the prosecution’s case was that the body of the victim had never been found. However, the abundance of expertly presented circumstantial evidence was more than compelling. Everyone in the courtroom, jurors included, knew the man was guilty. So, in his closing argument, the clever defense attorney decides to go for broke.

He pointed grandly toward the courtroom doors and declared, “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, in exactly 60 seconds, the so-called corpse, the man you believe to be dead, is going to come walking in right through those very doors. We can begin counting now.”

The time ticked by: one second, two seconds, three seconds, ten seconds, 20 seconds, 45 seconds, 55 seconds, 56, 57, 58, 59… and then, at exactly the one minute mark, in walked…nobody at all. Certainly not the corpse.

The lawyer addressed the puzzled jury: “Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize. I told you something that obviously did not come true. However, the mere fact that you looked at the doors as you did showed me – and shows you – that you had some measure of doubt. And, of course, if you have any doubt – any doubt at all – you must return a verdict of not guilty.”

And with a triumphant flourish, he returned to his seat.

The jury went into deliberations, and just five minutes later came back out to render their verdict. The foreman stood up, faced the judge, and said they declared the defendant… guilty!

The defense attorney was enraged: “How could you?!” he demanded. “I saw all of you watching the door!”

The foreman replied, “Yes, sir, you are correct. We were in fact watching the door. But we were also watching you and your client, and you did not watch the door. Your client did not watch the door, not even for a moment, and that was because you both knew there was not a chance in the world that anyone would be walking through it."

The moral of the story is, “don’t expect anyone else to believe something you don’t believe yourself.” “don’t expect anyone else to believe something you don’t believe yourself.”

The Power of Dreams

What I want to explore in this article is the power of dreams, and more importantly the power of unwavering faith and belief that we can make dreams come true.

We all have dreams, but we know that the majority of people never act on their dreams, let alone have a chance to make them a reality.

I first began dreaming when I was in high school – I had a coach who pushed me harder than I thought I could be pushed. He told me, “If you have a dream, write it down, because if you write it down, it will become a goal. And if you have a goal, share it with others, because if you share it with others, it will become a passion.”

I have a passion for sport and the role that it plays in our community. This passion is shared by others who have come together to “Elevate Sport and Energize Lives” within the Denver community.

We are achieving that through teamwork and leadership, by bidding on and hosting events which will help create economic and social vitality for our community. This passion has led us to set lofty goals such as a desire to one day host the Winter Olympic Games in Denver. We have learned that in order to accomplish this dream, we need to build relationships and be patient because hosting the Olympics is a long-term worthy goal.

Some might ask, “Why should a community strive to host the Olympics?”

Clearly, hosting events – and especially the Olympic Games – have real economic impact. For instance, the 2006 NBA All-Star Game generated approximately $60 million in direct economic impact; and the Women’s Final Four, which Denver will host in 2012, is estimated to generate $30 million of economic impact. The Winter Olympic Games have been estimated by some to generate close to $1.5 billion in economic impact.

In addition, there is no value that can be attached to the number of times a city’s name is used in connection with the events they host. We see that clearly if we simply think about how many times we have heard Vancouver referenced in relation to the 2010 Games.

But the real reason to strive to host the Olympics is on the soft side of the issue, and that is what the Olympic Games stand for. It has been said that the Olympic Games hold a special place in our lives – that they lift us up and bind us together. They are the source of many memories that have become permanently etched in our collective thoughts –moments of a team’s shared glory – a moment we live again and again convincing us that we do indeed believe in miracles.

We find ourselves riveted by the Games because what we see in them are the simple truths of our common humanity, and that no matter who you are, where you are from, or what you look like, with hard work and dedication you can achieve your dreams.

People often ask our team how we set such lofty goals for our community, such as believing that we could actually do something such as bring the Olympics to Denver.

And we say to them – show us any Olympic Games – anywhere – that didn’t start with a small group of people within a city that they love who said, “Why not us? Why not our city, our state, or our country?”

It is indeed a lofty goal to want to do something like bring the Olympics to Denver. But like any lofty goal, it is achievable, if we don’t let ourselves get paralyzed by the magnitude of the goal; if we can break it down into bite-sized chunks, and if we can celebrate the achievement of each success, while at the same time beginning to reach for the next one.

When I was a young boy, my mom gave me a quote that I still carry with me to this day.

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? Yet if I am for myself alone, what good am I? If not now, when?"

So it is my hope that we all:

• Dare to dream, and that we will write our dreams down and make them goals. Then we will tell others of our goals so they become our passion.

• That we have unwavering faith that in the end we will succeed.

• And unlike the attorney and his client, we will indeed believe….

If not now, when?

Rob Cohen is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Metro Denver Sports Commission as well as Chairman and CEO of The IMA Financial Group, Inc. To learn more about the Metro Denver Sports Commission, visit