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Altruism Challenge - Updated

Updated: Mar 17

Before I get into the heart of this post, allow me to share a bit of personal history with relevance to the objective. Over the last 8 years, I have only gotten two significant hair cuts, one of which was donated. Afterward, I didn't think that I would grow my hair that long again. Then, about a year ago, I changed my mind and I've been letting my locks get long enough again. It's nearly at the point that I can get the cut while keeping my preferred look but I've had an idea to take it to another level.

With NDSU now locked into a tournament spot, I've decided to turn my planned action into a challenge.


If the team gets to the round of 16 AND if at least 61 people commit by the start of the tournament to an act of altruism with the same amount of personal commitment as my own, I'll go from the minimum length needed, to having the cut down to my scalp. That may not seem like much but it's years in the growing and my style is emblematic of who I am as a person. How lightly would you give away part of your identity?

In this age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube & Snapchat, etc. social-media-based challenges are nothing new. Rarely do they require actual commitment though. I don't want to disparage the viral acts that raised money and awareness for certain causes but those are more the exception than not. On a smaller, more local scale, volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating items to a non-profit thrift store or food pantry might make a person feel good but the lasting impact is nil. Each organization benefits from the infusions and could use more of the like from everybody but I say that more can be done.

What I'm challenging for is more than isolated acts of kindness and generosity. Off-the-top-of-my-head ideas include volunteering with meals on wheels, the boys & girls club or big brother/big sister. As the white stuff continues to go liquid, putting in multiple days on water-resistance if necessary. If more snow comes before the temp's rise until next Winter maybe offer to help an elderly person in your neighborhood with their snow and then continue helping with the greens. I'm just spitballing some ideas of actions that can be done repeatedly. If you already use some of your time to such ends, bravo!

Could you do more? Can you do something similar in impact to giving a sick kid an easier time?

If you're running the soon-coming 26.2 miles for a charity, then I'll answer for you - no. But that's one of the more extreme examples of altruistic action. If you're planning on doing the 5k could you do the 10 as a fundraiser? If you volunteer 1 night a month could you do two? Give it some thought and if the answer is yes, terrific! If you have something you've been considering but have been procrastinating for whatever reason, maybe now is the time to reconsider. There are all sorts of directions you could go with it and now may be the time to embark.

As GH Day demonstrated this year, there are monumental amounts of fiscal generosity in our region. That is great! But while money keeps the lights on, there needs to be hands and feet to keep things running. That's the aim of this challenge

Once you make a decision if you're going to commit to being one of the at-least 61, please share. Anyone who decides to participate will be left to the honor system to follow through but you'll be counted if you communicate an idea or plan. 61 people and a sweet sixteen appearance are lofty clauses but achievable even without knowing who the team is going to play.

It's a wonderful time of the year but let's make some good come from it with our fellow man and woman!!

So, by now you've likely heard of the cancellation of the men's Basketball tournament, along with basically all other sports on every level except for the UFC, apparently. It's going to drastically slow down what is possible to be put out by every sports entity and this one is no different. There are already some ideas in motion to help bridge the gap, which will roll out in the coming days and weeks, but this one gets to lead off since it's related to the most crushing blow of all the sports casualties.

I firmly believe that NDSU would have had better than a coin-flips chance of advancing to the second weekend of the tournament. Whether the NCAA offers corrective options or not, it's a loss for those players and all the fans. But something dawned on me related to the Bison and it only applies to 13 teams this year. They made the tournament. More than that, they ended on a historic high note. I don't know if any of the 12 others can say that! Either way, NDSU will now and forevermore be 1 of 13.

Last time I checked, 13 is still fewer than 16 so I'm going to count it. It's a teaspoon of lemonade from all these lemons but that's better than nothing.

Which only leaves the commitments to act.

Increasing the number was considered but sticking to the original proposal was ultimately settled upon. So the ball is still in your court. What will you do with it? Hopefully respond, but if not, know that you are appreciated! I didn't see a more natural point to mention this but to avoid miscommunication, the new deadline is March 31.

Even as we collectively retreat to our shelters to ride out the pandemic, some are finding creative ways to aid their neighbors without risk. If that disturbs your sensibilities there are plenty of other options, like the ones mentioned originally, that can be taken up after things return to normal.

Be safe and be smart in these strange days.