Club Insider

Norm's Notes for January 2022

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Norm CatesNorm Cates

Hello Everybody! This is your Club Insider Founder and Tribal Leader Since 1993 checking in with our 337th monthly edition! We hope you had Peaceful Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Is America a GREAT Country, or what? HAPPY, HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!! Hmm... hmm... hmm!!! Yeah, I know, you’re probably sitting there reading these January, 2022 Norm’s Notes thinking and saying to yourself, “Hmm... I wonder if Norm will ever stop praising America!?” Here’s an answer to that question: NOT A CHANCE! I will be dead, cremated and collecting dust in a vase before I ever stop praising our United States of America, the single greatest country on this Earth that’s got just 4% of the world’s population, but AT THE SAME TIME, HAS DONE MORE GOOD THAN ANY COUNTRY ON EARTH EVER HAS! God Bless America! And, Happy New Year to you all! Now, for some news and other stuff...

Norm and Ilena Cates at the 2021 Great Characters/Legendary Ladies of Atlanta ReunionNorm and Ilena Cates at the 2021 Great Characters/Legendary Ladies of Atlanta Reunion

■Folks, this is a very special Norm’s Note, and it brings to my mind the need for me to express my most sincere Thanks and Appreciation to the Good LORD for the blessings that he’s bestowed on my family and me during our lives. The blessing I’m going to talk about in this Note is my lovely wife, ILENA, whom I married at IRSA’s 2nd Convention in Las Vegas. We were married at the Candlelight Chapel on January 20, 1982, so that means we are celebrating 40 years of marriage! Happy 40th Anniversary Sweetheart! Along the way, Ilena and I were blessed with one very fine son, the one and only, the master of many talents, JUSTIN CATES, a mighty fine young fellow who will turn 37 years old on January 18th (and I will turn 76 years old the day before on January 17th). I think all of you will agree with me when I write here that Justin is doing a magnificent job as our esteemed Publisher of Club Insider! So, I also want to take this opportunity to express my sincere Thanks and Appreciation to Justin for the really great job he’s done and will continue to do as Club Insider’s Publisher. Thank you very much, Justin Cates, and Happy Birthday! Folks... “Just-In-Case” you ever forget his name, just remember JUSTIN CATES!

RAY WILSON’s SON, PACKY WILSON, as well as ROBERT LINEBERGER, GEOFF DYER, PAUL SCHALLER and YOURS TRULY all want to start off this month with advance Happy 94th Birthday wishes to our long-time friend MR. RAY WILSON! Folks, we need your help. This month’s edition has arrived across the world electronically on January 1st, 2022, with printed editions to follow. I want to invite all of you to join us in helping Ray Wilson celebrate his 94th Birthday on February 19, 2022 by sending a “Happy 94th Birthday Ray!!!” message from you to Ray via a SPECIAL NORM’s NOTE in our upcoming February Edition. So, here’s what I need for you to do TODAY. Please send a brief birthday message for Ray (along with your name) to me at To be included in the print version of this birthday gift to Ray, we need these messages by Friday, January 21st. Anything sent after will still be sent to Ray digitally on his birthday, February 19, 2022. So, don’t delay, send those messages today!

■Welcome back to Sports and Fitness Insurance Corporation, as they rejoin the Club Insider Advertising Team. Now, linked with Liberty Mutual, they can provide the coverage you need and require, no matter the size of your health and fitness club organization. And, folks, if you haven’t already, NOW, the New Year, is the time to reassess your insurance needs. Check out the Sports and Fitness Insurance Ad on Page #8.

Kevin McHughKevin McHugh

CONGRATULATIONS to our friend, KEVIN McHUGH, COO of Pat Laus’ Atlantic Club, as the Medical Fitness Association has honored Kevin by making him the recipient of its 2021 Hank Boener Pioneer Award. This is the highest award given by MFA in memory of HANK BOERNER, a Founding Member of MFA, who passed away in 2012. Boerner was the Director of the North Mississippi Medical Wellness Center for 20 years. “Kevin has truly been a pioneer in the fitness industry, especially during the pandemic”, said DAVID FLENCH, CEO of the Medical Fitness Association. “We are honored to recognize Kevin’s accomplishments in raising the bar for the medical fitness industry and being out in the forefront to advocate for the importance of fitness in public health.” CONGRATULATIONS KEVIN!

Our Friend, Thomas Plummer, shared news of his semi-retirement with us. I say “semi,” because he will still be doing quite a bit! In recent correspondence, he wrote the following: “I formally retired last week, doing my farewell as a keynote for Perform Better. It was a good run, but I am tired of the travel, and after 45 years, it is time to stay home. As of today, I am almost through Graduate School again and am writing full-time. I will have the rewrite of one of my books out in the Spring as well as a new book of poetry by May. So, I will still be writing, just not doing anymore workshops. The exception is I am still going to teach a few speaker development schools in Providence, starting in the early Summer. I still love those.”

Thom, Congratulations, You Deserve It!!! Folks, be sure to check out Thom’s Article on Page #19.

Herb LipsmanHerb Lipsman

HERB LIPSMAN is a prominent and veteran club operator. Over many years, in addition to his roles as a general manager, he’s worn the hat of author. His role as an author began in 1986 when he wrote a book entitled: Caring, which was focused on the mindset needed to be an excellent club manager. Years passed and Herb has recently found his way back to being an author again. This time, it happened when he wrote: Caring, the Sequel. In recent conversations with Herb, I asked him to give us a little taste of what this new book was all about so you can decide to acquire and read the book. Herb shared a portion of his book, so folks, to whet your appetite, here’s a peek at some of his thoughts:

Be a Better Boss!

In this season of giving, I’m going to suggest a gift that each of us can give to our direct reports which will have a far more positive impact on company morale, employee retention and ultimately profitability, than any monetary or material gifts. And, this won’t cost you or your company a dime! This gift idea has several distinct yet equally important components:

  1. 1. Take a keen and sincere personal interest in each member of your team.
  2. 2. “Seek first to understand... then to be understood,” (Habit Five from Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). Commit to being a more empathetic listener.
  3. 3. Make it safe to disagree with the boss... and prove it by changing your mind when presented with a better idea.
  4. 4. Embrace the fact that we all have a different paradigm.
  5. 5. Earn your people’s trust by sharing the credit when things go well and accepting the blame when things go poorly.
  6. 6. Commit yourself to earning the admiration of your people, by modeling the behaviors you expect of those you lead.
  7. 7. Be kind AND courageous.
  8. 8. Don’t allow negativism to poison the work environment.
  9. 9. Inject some fun into every day at work!
  10. 10. Show your people that you sincerely appreciate what they do and for who they are.

During this period, which some are describing as the “Great Resignation,” millions are choosing to leave their jobs, YOU have the chance to stand above others by changing how you lead. This is not complicated, but it will take a deep commitment on your part to slowly and steadily prove to your people that this is “Your New Normal!”

Folks, a copy of Herb’s book is on the way to me, and I plan to dig into it. But, based upon what I’ve already seen, it will be a terrific tool for all of you. Get the book! Here’s how to order Caring, the Sequel directly from Herb for $19.95 each, and he will pick up the shipping and sales tax for a savings of $5 per book. To order directly from Herb, send an email to him at Alternatively, you can order by going to

An important legislative news update from IHRSA’s Jake Landry: Please tell Congress to keep their promise and reinstate the ERTC! Congress eliminated the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) for the fourth quarter of 2021 as part of the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. As a result, wages paid after September 30 became ineligible for the credit. The ERTC was originally scheduled to end on December 31, 2021, but Congress terminated it three months early to help offset some of the cost of the infrastructure bill. The GYMS Act and direct relief for gyms remains IHRSA’s top advocacy priority, and the Association will continue to fight for all forms of assistance for the industry. IHRSA has joined a coalition of organizations, including the National Restaurant Association, the International Franchise Association and others in strong support of this bill and the reinstatement of the ERTC for Q4 of 2021.

■The Genesis Foundation for Fitness and Tennis (GFFT) raised over $250,000 in funds to sponsor underserved children at the annual Rat Pack Gala & Casino Night. The proceeds raised will help children in need live a better life, by providing them with new shoes, quality sleeping essentials and athletic grants. RODNEY STEVEN II, Owner and President of Genesis Health Clubs and Chairman of the Board for GFFT was pleased by this year’s Gala and turnout of 280 attendees, stating how grateful he was to be a part of a team that gives back to the community. Way to go Rodney!

News from the American Council on Exercise: With the goal of giving individuals and communities access to health and fitness programming that positively impacts their lives, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) furthers its commitment to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion with two new courses on how fitness managers and business owners can build more inclusive environments within the fitness industry. These courses are part of ACE’s Taking Action with ACE series. Taking Action with ACE: Practicing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as a Fitness Business Owner and Taking Action with ACE: Practicing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as a Fitness Manager are the newest additions to the series. Go to to learn more.

JUSTIN and I want to say Thanks for reading Club Insider! Have a Happy, Healthy New Year, and may 2022 see a return to normal!

God bless our troops, airmen and sailors worldwide and keep them safe. Thank you, Congratulations and Welcome Home to all of our troops who have served around the world. God bless America’s Policemen and women and Firemen and women; keep them safe. Finally, God bless you, your family, your club(s) and your members. God Bless America! Laus Deo!

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