I squinted, trying to make sense of the sign:
The words were emblazoned on a white canopy set up adjacent to the field where my son and hundreds of other kids played in a lacrosse tournament. I noticed it as I made my way through the line of vendors in search of liquid refreshment. Immediately, my curiosity got the best of me, which is exactly what Richard Alfaro was hoping would happen.
“How about some stickers?” he asked as I approached. I shrugged, said, "Sure," and he handed me several, including one with a sky-blue cartoon goat wearing sunglasses and a yellow crown above its bearded face. I couldn’t help but smile.
“What is this?” I asked. My eyes scanned a dozen t-shirts with variations of the same character.
“That’s Chuck,” Richard answered with a big smile. “The goat. You know, GOAT, like Michael Jordan and the other great athletes.”
He couldn't miss my glazed over look.
“The GOAT!” he beamed. “It’s an acronym. G-O-A-T. Greatest of all time.”
I nodded, finally getting it, which he interpreted as his cue to continue. The more he spoke, the more effervescent this guy in his early twenties became.
“Our philosophy is that being the GOAT doesn’t just apply to athletes. You could be the greatest mom of all time. Or the greatest teacher. Or friend.”
Now I smiled, understanding... and liking it. And I liked this young guy who's making it his mission to spread this wonderful message.
“We believe every person should strive to become the greatest of all time at whatever they do. And Chuck embodies that. He’s a little goat with a big heart.”
That belief led Richard and his college roommates to create GOAT U.S.A., a clothing company that encourages every single one of us to be our best. Richard’s passion is contagious. He greets people with a big smile and a high five, handing them Chuck stickers and spreading his positive message whether they buy GOAT-wear or not.
“We want to make the world a more positive place,” Richard says as he pivots toward new passers-by and grins, asking if they’d like sticker, too. They accept and return the smile. I stood nearby and watched dozens more do the same thing. When you’re with Richard and Chuck, you can’t help it.
“Everyone can be the best at something. Chuck reminds them of that,” Richard explained.
A reminder of the extraordinary… in you, in me, in those around us. Richard and Chuck... a man and a goat who won’t rest until we all know we can be the greatest of all time, too.
(You'll find Chuck and his GOAT-wear at www.goatusa.com. )