August 15th, 2016

Olympics History

rio-1512643_640Every two years, I get pumped for the Olympics. I put my American flag shirt on, put a viewing party together, and spend two weeks glued to the TV or my phone.

My favorite part is the opening ceremony, which always gives me goose bumps. It gets me to start wondering: what were the first Olympics like?

In 776 BC (over 2,700 years ago!), the Olympics were first created as a religious festival, in honor of Zeus, the king of the Gods. Just like the modern games, the ancient Olympic events happened every four years in at the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, a valley near the city of Elis. Olympia was named after Mt. Olympos, the highest mountain in mainland Greece, and where the great Greek gods and goddesses were to have resided, according to mythology. All city-states of Greece were to attend. The Olympics had a “sacred truce” where feuding was put on hold for a month to guarantee safe travel for the athletes.

The first Olympic Games wasn’t too exciting. It had only one event: a sprint. Throughout the centuries, more events began appearing at the Games, including long jump, discus, javelin throws, wrestling, boxing, and chariot racing. Winners were considered heroes of their city-states, similar to how we treat our Olympic winners. While they probably didn’t get a Nike contract, they were idolized by citizens, received free food and libations, and gained access to important parties and dinners.

Crowds up to 40,000 would flock to the Games in order to catch a glimpse of the athletes. These spectators consisted of only men and unmarried women; married women were not allowed to participate or watch. However, there was a separate, smaller event in honor of Hera, the wife of Zeus, where women could participate.

The Olympic Games lasted for nearly 12 centuries. During the mid-2nd century AD, the Roman Empire conquered Greece and while the games continued, they didn’t match up to the initial splendor of the first Olympic games. Eventually in 393 AD, Emperor Theodosis I, a Christian, banned all “pagan” festivals, including the Games.

For 1,503 years, there were no Olympic Games, until a Frenchman named Baron Pierre de Coubertin presented the idea in 1894. In 1896, the Games restarted again in Athens, with 14 countries participating. Now, over 13,000 athletes perform in the Olympic Games, with a new city acting as the host for the Games every two years.

If you want to learn more about the Olympics, be sure to check out what your local CCPL branch has to offer. There are books for kids of all age groups, such as “What are the Summer Olympics?”, “Ancient Greece and the Olympics”, and “G is for Gold Medal: an Olympic Alphabet”.

For adults, there’s the ever-popular “The Boys in the Boat”; “The Complete Book of the Olympics”; “Triumph: the untold story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics”. We also have the DVD “The Real Olympics: A history of the ancient & modern Olympic games” and a list of memoirs written by current and former Olympic athletes.

What’s your favorite Olympic sport, athlete, or anecdote?

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June 20th, 2016

If You Build It, They Will Come (Unless You Didn’t Have a Marketing Strategy)

My wife and I love to bring people together. This usually happens at the dinner table and for different reasons. For her, she loves to cook and cook well, and I’m not just saying that because she might read this. Adventurous artichoke and cheddar breads or chocolate-raspberry cupcakes always come out amazing. For me, I bring people to the table for games – party games, strategy games, card games, you name it. When we retire we see a potential business in our future. I would love to operate a family-friendly board game cafe and she would love to own a bakery. Somehow I think these could smash together into a hybrid, making great money and great memories. Half of the space would be filled with shelves of games and spacious tables and my wife would sell coffees, baked goods, and gourmet meals on the other half. But how would we ever get there? How do we pick a location? How do we take a passion and make it a reality? I recommend using the resources afforded to you the award-winning Small Business Information Center of CCPL.

CCPL offers marketing books, databases filled with useful regional statistics, free programs, plus one-on-one appointments with a professional librarian to discuss your ideas and goals. These are cost-free materials and services. You just bring optimism and a good work ethic.

Be your own catalyst for positive change and try some of the following titles:


Main Street Entrepreneur

Main Street Entrepreneur by Michael Glauser helps you understand how to grow and maintain a business with clear purpose. It explains how to build on what you know and do so tenaciously. We can’t all create the next Google or Facebook, but this 2016 book can help you with your approach to local business, and enrich the lives of your community.



Ultimate Guide to Local Business Marketing

Ultimate Guide to Local Business Marketing by Perry Marshal is exactly what it sounds like, but don’t let the boring name fool you. Entrepreneur Magazine put out this 2016 edition, and this is great to have next to your laptop for reference.



Get Scrappy

Get Scrappy is my favorite 2016 marketing book so far, and not just for its great title. This is the small book that packs a punch in the digital marketing department. If you are specifically looking to get an edge on your blogs, your videos, and your social media presence, this is the book to checkout. It’s hard to keep up with an online world that is constantly reinventing itself, but this new title should help you keep up.


The 10% Entrepreneur

And what about the people who want to start up a business and not quit their day job? I have a brand new book for them, too. The 10% Entrepreneur understands the reality that sometimes you can’t just quit your current job and put all of your eggs in one basket. First of all, you don’t know if that will work. Secondly, it’s scary. Written by Patrick McGinnis who has been there and done that, this slim little volume lays out a step-by-step plan to stay smart, stay secure, and make progress on your dream. (Plus, anybody who dedicates their book “to all my teachers – especially my parents” is alright if you ask me.)


To make an appointment with the SBIC to brainstorm business concepts, discuss your plans, look for specific business information, work on marketing, financial strategies and more, stop by the Elkton Central Library at 301 Newark Avenue in Elkton, or call us at 410-996-5600 ext. 128, or email us at .

Sign up for our newsletter, the LINK, right here so you always know about upcoming business programs and opportunities.

For a list of small business and marketing resources including the titles described in this blog, click here.

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