I hear what you’re saying: A strange thing for a grown son to send his dad!
But he knew I would like it.
Here in the US, my observation is that Nike is king of all things sporting goods. However, Ashley’s new shoes are classic Adidas Hamburgs.
My first ever football cleats (translation: soccer shoes) were Adidas, so maybe that’s why Adidas fills a sentimental place in my heart. They were named for Frans Anton Beckenbauer (“Der Kaiser”), the stylish German national captain of my youth. I was a goalkeeper then, like Tim Howard from Memphis, who now plays in the English Premier League and is the goalie for the United States men’s national soccer team. The similarity ends with our joint position; I was never nearly as good as Tim is.
Getting that Adidas picture from Ashley made me think of the story of the beginnings of Adidas. Adi Dassler and his brother Rudi started out making sports shoes together in their mother’s washroom in the 1920s and did fairly well. But by the time of World War II, they argued over politics. One night during an air raid, Adi’s family got to the bomb shelter first, and when Rudi’s family arrived, Adi muttered a term probably meant to describe the Allied bombers but which Rudi took as a personal insult.
The partnership split up as surely as if the Allied bombs had made a direct hit.
Adi started Adidas, and Rudi started Puma. They made shoes at opposite ends of the same Bavarian village, and fierce competition has colored both corporate climates for decades because of an old family grudge that was likely a misunderstanding.
The story made me think about the reasons people can’t work together. A strategy of competition and conquest may make sense in the market for sporting goods, but is it acceptable in health care?
I’m thinking it’s not.
I wonder if health care providers can give up on old reasons for not working together in order to create a better care system for everyone.
I’m not suggesting there shouldn’t be individual choice. With means comes choice. But for those without means, we need a system that’s local, focused on primary care access, and connected to specialists. Just as important, we need a system that includes those whose work promotes overall well-being: housing advice, education, legal support, financial planning, and so on.
Through partnership, health care could truly play its part in promoting a healthier community. What are the misunderstandings and grudges we need to let go of in order to make room for partnership that benefits everyone?
Let’s find those misunderstandings and remedy them. We can build a better shoe.