How we got to Nike Headquarters in Portland as invited guests is a short story. I had 2 different Nike experiences during the Spring of 2016. Frankie was the hired entertainment at a conference in April, 2016 called “Disability Matters.” He sang Darius Rucker’s Wagon Wheel! This convention awarded Fortune 500 Companies for inclusion and diversity to the work place. Theme of the conference was “best practices”. Nike won an award for the Flyease shoe. During an acceptance speech, the designer said “If you have a body, you are an athlete”.
Second experience, Nike invited me to campus to serve on a panel with other Nike Athletes and Olympians at a conference called AWESOME in the Spring 2016. 250 female CEOs and VPs in the supply chain industry held a conference on Nike’s campus. One of the athletes, Sarah Reinertsen, a world-class Paralympian, during remarks, “If you have a body, you are an athlete” an internal slogan vs the external we know: “Just Do It” and “There Is No Finish Line”.
I returned home from the AWESOME conference at Nike Headquarters in Portland and share with Frank my experiences with Nike, a company I’ve played a very small role with in basketball since 2000. I experienced a Nike culture separate from basketball. Frank offers how cool it would to do a video of Frankie, playing multiple sports, not showing his face till the end. It hit me! I knew what to do and who to call.
Reilly Biller was a Wando High School Senior, Varsity Basketball player, my former camper, classmate with Frankie since 3rd grade and classmate in Tribe Talk, a broadcast journalism class. As I’m described the video concept to Reilly, I heard her excitement. She quickly jumped on the idea and got to work. We shot the video in one day including change of venues, change of clothes and Reilly takes her creativity to the edit room! Reilly shoots, produces and edits the video within weeks. I did not change her final cut. I shared the video with my long-time friend, Ilene Hauser with Nike Basketball. She shared it with several Nike employees.
We arrive in Portland on this special weekend to help Nike celebrate the 10th anniversary of their Special Olympics Youth Games Oregon. The video ran at two events: the employee rally with 500 Nike employees and Opening Ceremonies for the Games with 1000 people. It was well received and we were thankful Nike allowed us to be a part of their celebration!
I didn’t post or show many people the video at first because my instincts told me there was something “big” ahead for Frankie and Reilly. Nike was that “big” and there have been many “additional opportunities” from this experience. Here a few of them!
Mel O’Keefe, Frankie’s trainer, treats him like an athlete in the weight room. He sees ability, not disability. When Frankie started with Mel, he was 169 lbs. and 15 years old. Now, he is 20 and a 148-pound Freshman headed to the Clemson Life Program.
Special Olympics Oregon is using this video as a teaching tool in their educational plans to promote and grow Unified Sports in their state. We hope this video will inspire others to be active, make healthy choices and work to be physically fit whether you have special abilities or not!
Reilly used the video to help gain admission into the university of her choice. She chose South Carolina! Several Deans on college campus’ in charge of Broadcast Journalism called Reilly directly to recruit her because she is so talented.
On November 11, 2016 Frankie’s video played at the Special Olympics Gala in Charleston, SC prior to him singing “Fly Me to The Moon” by Frank Sinatra. This event required a “Frank Sinatra white tux”. The Gala is our area annual fund raiser for Special Olympics. We were thrilled to share his athleticism and his musical talents on the same night!
Frankie is an amazing athlete and Reilly captured his athletic versatility. Frankie works hard in the weight room. He loves to compete. As former Division I athletes with careers in sports, Frank and I value the role sports has played in our lives and use the lessons we learn in sport to raise Joey, Frankie and Patrick. We are proud of Frankie’s work ethic. Reilly provided a strong and powerful video. Hope you will watch.
I’m releasing this video now because Frankie will be featured in state-wide video and a billboard campaign for Special Olympics across South Carolina. If you are driving on an interstate in South Carolina and see his face on a billboard give him a shout out!! Please share this video to inspire others to get active! We are very proud of him! Please watch