I truly enjoy the social connections made possible by organized sports. We play hard and laugh with our friends and get excited when finding new ones. We share experiences on fields and courts that strengthen our relationships. I think about my baseball, basketball, volleyball and other sports friendships that not only shaped my growth, but also impacted my sense of team.

This is especially true for me since I have been a teammate since birth with my twin brother. He is remarkably strong, an aggressive athlete, and a great partner with whom I have shared thousands of sporting experiences. We were relentless with sports in our small town, which probably kept us out of trouble! Summer nights on the ballfield under the big lights playing homerun derby, imagining cheering fans as we announced our own plays. And many hours of great conversations while volleying a tennis ball. He even helped me win a tournament softball game at the base of Diamond Head crater on Oahu, Hawaii, in the 90s, though I didn’t have to twist his arm too hard to participate!

As the new board chair of the West Michigan Sports Commission, I look forward to helping improve the quality of life for our community, leveraging individual and team sports as the catalyst. West Michigan is strong, diverse, sustainable and growing, and none of this would be possible without a great plan. My goal is to add depth, accountability, and metrics to the WMSC’s master plan to better fulfill our mission of fostering economic development by attracting sporting events that improve quality of life and elevate our region. I want the sports commission to find the social benefits of health and wellness that define “team” both within our community as well as through league and tournament play. We will connect new friends and help reinforce definitions of strength. Our local friends and traveling competitors will carry those experiences and memories for the rest of their lives – and in that, we will increase our quality of life in West Michigan.

What is “quality of life?” What aspirational principles do we establish, and how do these intentionally increase “quality?” And since we are connecting on a sports platform, how does the West Michigan Sports Commission impact your quality of life? I’m fortunate to work with an amazing president in Mike Guswiler and team at the WMSC who have more than a decade of successes under their belts. Our team’s incredibly hard work results in thousands of sports competitors coming to West Michigan every year. They bring family, friends, teammates and coaches who stay in our hotels, dine in our restaurants and shop in our stores. They contribute to our economy and take a little of West Michigan home with them, and we are part of shaping those stories. The financial contributions increase our West Michigan quality of community, and the athletic activities feed our mental and physical growth.

I am grateful to be part of a community asset like the WMSC to help facilitate all things sports in West Michigan. We are going to dramatically increase our sports commission presence this year and will host significant club, league and tournament conversations. We are here for all amateur sports, and we are the go-to resource for anyone seeking connections related to sports infrastructure.

It’s going to be an exciting 2019 in youth and amateur sports in West Michigan, and I’m proud to help guide this esteemed organization. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about what we do or how to get involved.

Jim Horman
Guest Blogger
Jim Horman is the new board chair of the West Michigan Sports Commission, effective Jan. 1, 2019. He is a principal at Progressive AE, a national architecture and engineering firm.

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As we prepare for 2020, I’d like to take a moment to review 2019 – it was another great year for youth and amateur sports in West Michigan!