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Hustle Series: Darren Meenan and The 7 Line

You’ve all heard a story that intimates that a successful business that once started in “the basement of their home.” In the case of Darren Meenan, this isn’t a stretch. It’s fact. What started with Darren, a huge New York Mets fan, wearing a simple t-shirt he made that stated “I Survived” in 2009, ended up becoming the wildly successful, “The 7 Line.”

Meenan didn’t just settle on the fact a number of people asked about that one shirt. He sensed an opportunity and created his hustle. It began with equipment he bought on eBay and he created a few shirts in his parent’s basement. Since Mets fans (myself included) haven’t had too much to cheer about since 2006, Darren used these t-shirts to echo fans sentiment. One design said, “I Was Born into This Mess.” What Mets fan doesn’t feel that way sometimes? As 2009 turned into 2010, his hustle and entrepreneurial spirit began to pay off.

Photo Courtesy-

Photo Courtesy-

By wearing newer designs to Citi Field, the word began to spread about The 7 Line and Darren’s quality of work. It also didn’t hurt that he worked hard to spread the word, as well. Darren held signs with his website around the ballpark, some of which showed up on TV. More shirts, more exposure equals needing more space. So, Darren moved into a warehouse not too far from the ballpark.

While Darren’s story sounds like it happened overnight, it didn’t. He needed to work hard to conceptualize, print, and distribute everything with little help. His hustle has been featured on, among others, CNN Money and in the New York Times. Oh, and a little show called “30 Rock” featured Darren’s shirts, by request from the producers.

Darren has even been able to get the support from Mets’ players. A few years back, he traveled to spring training a gave a bunch to hand out in the clubhouse. Now, that’s hustle (and smart marketing, too). Mets players loved them and can be seen wearing the shirts before and after games.

Despite the Mets struggles, you’ll never hear a negative word from Darren. While fans may be frustrated, his hustle has helped create a new faction of fans. He thought it would be a great idea for Mets diehards to sit together, cheer on and support the team. “The 7 Line Army” was born. That one game spawned into the army not just going to games at Citi Field, but Wrigley Field in Chicago, Marlins Park in Miami, and AT&T Park in San Francisco to name a few.

Darren’s ability to bring fans together with his infectious attitude and excitement is a testament to dedication, hard work, and a never-ending hustle. See, Darren loves what he does because he works hard at it. He doesn’t cut corners. No one who hustles the right way does that. The Mets even noticed and The 7 Line now has a kiosk at Citi Field and is a licensed Major League Baseball brand.

What’s next? Darren has mentioned in interviews and on Twitter that he wants to open a bar one day next to Citi Field. If his hustle with The 7 Line is any indication, the bar will be a huge hit.


When the cheering stops.

Over the last few days I’ve had some great conversations with Mike Schaffer (@MikeSchaffer), Matt LaCasse (@MattLaCasse) Matt Hannaford (@AXP112) and Colin Pennington (@ColinJP) about Tiger Woods and, now, former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber’s infidelities.  We also touched on whether Sandra Bullock knew about Jesse James’ lifestyle choices, but that’s another discussion for another blog (believe me, I wouldn’t have enough space to write).

A thought I’ve had since Tiger’s story hit the news was reinforced when I read about Barber’s alleged hook-up.  Think about this: At home athletes like Tiger and Tiki aren’t “champion golfer” Tiger Woods or “Giants great” Tiki Barber.  They are Dad, husband and “normal” person.  They aren’t being cheered by a course or stadium full of fans or told they are the greatest by autograph seekers at home.  They (hopefully) change the diapers, take the kids to school, and treat their wives with respect for the hard work they put in while they are at work.

This isn’t the case though.  For Tiger and Tiki, they apparently need the adulation of continuing to be known as golfing great and legendary New York Giant.  If Tiger was just another guy, there is no way he’s hooking up with a porn star.  He probably wouldn’t have been able to hide all the dalliances either.

Tiki Barber, if you read the reports in New York Post, has been doting on his gal pal for some time, allegedly lavishing her with gifts.  The young girl clearly sees his for what he is: a former football player-turned-television commentator who still makes a considerable amount of money.  He is viewed as a celebrity and his new gal is dating someone famous.

The bottom line? From my vantage point, these types of athletes need the spotlight 24-hours a day.  They apparently can’t slip back into the family life after the competition is over.  They need the rush of being cheered and lauded.  The endorsement money doesn’t hurt either. For these guys, though, they need the cheers and praise not received at home.  Why not get someone else to give them what they so deeply crave?

What do you think? Am I dead wrong or on to something?