Thoughts regarding sports and mentoring.
Caution: Severe Tennessee Titan, Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Cubs, and Scott Stallings bias.

Hustle – 10 Year Anniversary

May 7th, 2012 | Comments Off on Hustle – 10 Year Anniversary

In honor of the Allen Iverson rant 10 year anniversary…

Odds are someone, somewhere is working on becoming a better free-throw shooter, blocker, writer, painter, barber, teacher, analyst, husband, or mother.

Right this very instant.

And although some of these professions and callings do not have scheduled off-seasons, life provides down times that many will use to sharpen their skills.

But, how will we use those down times?

Whether it is the off-season, spring break, a night we cannot sleep, a Saturday afternoon, a long flight home, or all summer, those down times are all around us.

Weight rooms, books, blogs, conferences, and workshops are as abundant as they are affordable. Agreed, some are better than others, but using our down time to level the playing field through information and technology has never been easier.

So, where is the new frontier of competitive advantage?

This last season with The Lead Block, I interviewed dozens of coaches, players, and entrepreneurs from all over the country and many shared how hard work, grinding, giving yourself a chance through effort was the difference for them or their team.

Not a new driver.

Not a new prototype.

Not even a new method.

Just hustle.

Much to the chagrin of Allen Iverson, the punchline to the old adage of how to get to Carnegie Hall is as true today as it was the first time it was told.

Practice, practice, practice. Or in other words…

Hustle, hustle, hustle.

 

The Lead Block challenges players and coaches to use hustle to their advantage, on and off the field. To find out more about how you can become a part, click HERE.

 

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Weekly Block – For Starters

March 21st, 2012 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – For Starters

The Weekly Block covers what matters in sports to me. And maybe you too.

1. Scott Stallings (8:45am Tee Time on Thursday – Arnold Palmer Invitational)

Stallings missed the cut last Friday at the tournament that started it all (Transitions) last year. But, he did finish each round and looks to be on the road to recovery.

2. Memphis Grizzlies (25-19) (2nd in WC Southwest)

In a surprising and potentially exciting free agency move, the Grizzlies signed talented and troubled scoring guard Gilbert Arenas to back up Mike Conley.

3. Nashville Predators (42-23-7, 92 pts) (2nd in WC-Central)

Copy and paste the Grizz move for the Predators, who are looking to give a fresh start to Alex Radulov, who walked away from Nashville in 2008 for the KHL.

4. Tennessee Titans (Late Start)

The Manning Sweepstakes cost the Titans shots at Mario Williams, John Abraham, and an opportunity to resign Jason Jones. Still, a late start is better than no start.

5. Chicago Cubs (Rough Start)

The Cubs preseason is off to a rough start. The pitching rotation and top of the batting order are both unsettled and in a state of flux. Looks like a rebuild year.

 

The Lead Block added a new player this week and is looking for new mentor sponsors to join. To find out more and how you can become a part, click HERE.

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#100 – Manning vs. Tebow

March 14th, 2012 | Comments Off on #100 – Manning vs. Tebow

After ten months, The Lead Block mentoring movement is impacting the lives of players at the high school and college level with  6 athletic programs.

Here are the readers’ top picks from the 100 blog posts along the way.

10. More than a Handshake
The Lions and 49ers each had great seasons, but the most interesting occurrence for each team was this post-game exchange between their young head coaches.

9. Everything You Hate About Pro Athletes
Athletic stereotypes are difficult to overcome, especially for professional athletes. One of The Lead Block‘s goals is to help players overcome these misconceptions.

8. Sure Bet
Arian Foster (@ArianFoster) demonstrates good humor during the NFL Lockout, EA delivers a top-notch commercial, and Michael Jordan wins a golf bet with a fan.

7. Field of Dreams 2
Another Best Red in the Top 10 (should bring this back), complete with the most clutch golf shot I have ever seen, the human homerun, and the sports video of 2011.

6. Pursuit of Perfection
Nobody is perfect. However, one NFL quarterback achieved perfection in his career. Tom Brady’s career is a testimony to the rewards of a commitment to excellence.

5. Join The Lead Block
The Lead Block would not be possible without a community of supporters and partners. By the way, becoming a partner might be easier than you think.

4. Putter Slinging
Scott Stallings trot around the 18th hole at the Greenbrier Classic, leading to his putter fling in jubilation is one of the best live sports moments of 2011.

3. Lead Blocking
This updated and in-depth description of the personal mentoring offered by The Lead Block is the best page to share with friends and family who are interested.

2. Scott Stallings is a Champ
One of the best final round comebacks of 2011, Scott forever stamped his name on the Greenbrier Trophy. I am already looking forward to seeing him at The Masters.

1. The Thing About Tim Tebow
Tebow-mania may be so 2011, if John Elway and the Denver Broncos mange to land the biggest free agent signing in my lifetime. Only Peyton could unseat Tebow.

 

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Hustle #99

March 12th, 2012 | Comments Off on Hustle #99

Odds are someone, somewhere is working on becoming a better free-throw shooter, blocker, writer, painter, barber, teacher, analyst, husband, or mother.

Right this very instant.

And although some of these professions and callings do not have scheduled off-seasons, life provides down times that many will use to sharpen their skills.

But, how will we use those down times?

Whether it is the off-season, spring break, a night we cannot sleep, a Saturday afternoon, a long flight home, or all summer, those down times are all around us.

Weight rooms, books, blogs, conferences, and workshops are as abundant as they are affordable. Agreed, some are better than others, but using our down time to level the playing field through information and technology has never been easier.

So, where is the new frontier of competitive advantage?

This last season with The Lead Block, I interviewed dozens of coaches, players, and entrepreneurs from all over the country and many shared how hard work, grinding, giving yourself a chance through effort was the difference for them or their team.

Not a new driver.

Not a new prototype.

Not even a new method.

Just hustle.

Much to the chagrin of Allen Iverson, the punchline to the old adage of how to get to Carnegie Hall is as true today as it was the first time it was told.

Practice, practice, practice. Or in other words…

Hustle, hustle, hustle.

 

The Lead Block challenges players and coaches to use hustle to their advantage, on and off the field. To find out more about how you can become a part, click HERE.

:: BONUS TRACK ::

Looking for an entertaining, inspirational, and revolutionary read?
I highly recommend Jon Acuff’s book, Quitter.

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Weekly Block – Don’t Call it a Comeback

March 11th, 2012 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Don’t Call it a Comeback

The Weekly Block covers what matters in sports to me. And maybe you too.

1. Scott Stallings

Finally some good news for Stallings’ 2012 season.

Also, be sure to check out the new look on Scott’s website (click on his name).

2. Memphis Grizzlies (23-16) (2nd in WC Southwest)

It is hard to find a team in the NBA with a better comeback resume than the Grizzlies in 2012. Still, the Nuggets, Clippers, Rockets, and the Lakers (twice) await in March.

3. Nashville Predators (40-21-7, 87 pts) (3rd in WC-Central)

It is likely that few of the Predators’ trade deadline acquisitions will come back after this season. Regardless, Nashville is equipped for another deep playoff run into April.

4. Webb School Spartans (Boys Basketball) (19-15)

The Spartans come back fell short of the state semi-finals, falling 39-37 to Donelson Christian Academy. Knoxville News-Sentinel and PrepXtra writer Jesse Smithey believes next year’s team could be even better. And he is not the only one.

Congratulations are in order for the Lady Spartans, who captured their 3rd State Championship in school history, with guard Molly Melton claiming tournament MVP.

5. Oak Ridge Wildcats (Boys Basketball) (23-6)

West High School shocked the Wildcats with a late come back in the opening round, ousting the Wildcats, and ending their championship hopes before they ever started.

 

To find out more about The Lead Block and how you can become a part, click HERE.

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Destiny

March 6th, 2012 | Comments Off on Destiny

Watch your thoughts;
they become words.

Watch your words;
they become actions.

Watch your actions;
they become habits.

Watch your habits;
they become character.

Watch your character;
it becomes your destiny.

-Frank Outlaw

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Beginnings End

March 5th, 2012 | Comments Off on Beginnings End

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Dan Wilson

Like sports, life is a culmination of seasons.  Some are winning seasons – a birth, a wedding, a new job – worthy of celebrating and commemorating. Some are losing seasons – a funeral, a divorce, unemployment – of pain worthy of mourning.

Days, like games in these seasons are summed up in moments, decisions, and actions that ultimately determine our success or failure. Whether we win or lose.

Some of those pivotal moments are beyond our control, some of those critical decisions are not ours to make, and some of those actions are not our own.

Still. Each of us control how we respond to these moments, decisions, & actions.

Handling defeat is difficult.

Then again, so is handling victory.

However, I would argue that finishing well is the most challenging.

To me, finishing well is the disciplined commitment to a combination of humility, heart, and hustle that is unaffected by any predictable outcome. Simply put, finishing well is pure, neither blemished in defeat nor seduced by victory.

Too often athletes, entrepreneurs, artists, and students finish poorly for fear of failure. While others lose focus of the end, celebrating victories not yet earned.

Field goals are missed.

Putts lip out.

Upsets are possible.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.”      -Apostle Paul

Sometimes finishing well provides the opportunity to salvage or a steal a win.

And sometimes not.

But even in defeat, finishing well is never wasted. A game can never be replayed nor a day relived. Giving all that you have today is truly the only way to prepare for tomorrow. So finish well and leave the rest to destiny.

The Lead Block challenges players, coaches, and fans to always finish well. To find out how you can help us finish well this year in mentoring goals, click ABOUT.

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Weekly Block – Big Finish

February 20th, 2012 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Big Finish

The Weekly Block covers what matters in sports to me. And maybe you too.

1. Scott Stallings (Withdrew from the Northern Trust Open)

In an extremely short conversation with Stallings, he revealed that his recent injury is pesky and still affecting his play. Be patient, another big finish is lurking this year.

2. Memphis Grizzlies (18-14) (3rd in WC Southwest)

The Grizz have 4 narrow victories in a row and continue to impress with their ability to finish close games. The goal needs to be avoiding the 7 or 8 seed in the West.

3. Nashville Predators (34-19-6, 74pts) (3rd in WC-Central)

Nashville was only 5 seconds away from stealing another valuable point. The Boston and Detroit games reveal the Preds to be an elite team that just needs to finish.

4. Webb School Spartans (Boys Basketball) (18-14)

In district tourney play, the Spartans turned in one of the more heroic performances I have ever seen in high school athletics. Despite being a heavy underdog, Webb took the top-seeded Franklin Road Academy into double overtime in an away atmosphere.

And although the Spartans fell short on Friday, Coach Ricky Norris and his players deserve tremendous credit for providing the highlight of the tournament. Justin Jenkins and Burton Sampson each are game-changers with promising futures.

5. Oak Ridge Wildcats (Boys Basketball) (23-4)

The top-seeded Wildcats suffered a disappointing loss to Powell that ended Oak Ridge’s district campaign before it ever started. Simply put, Powell finished well.

 

A gameplan or a goal is only as good as its follow through. For this reason, The Lead Block encourages and challenges players to finish well. Find out how more HERE.

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Always Bittersweet

February 9th, 2012 | Comments Off on Always Bittersweet

How do you deal with a bitter loss suffered by you or your favorite team?

Quickly I brought the ball past half court and checked the clock one last time. Down a point with 10 seconds left, the time was now. Ducking into the lane, I scanned for an open teammate underneath the basket. No luck, only the lane was open.

The final shot of the game would be mine to make or miss.

As I jumped and released the ball, a nearby defender swept my arms down and the ball fell helplessly short as the buzzer and an official’s whistle sounded simultaneously. Clearly a foul occurred, but what happened next changed everything.

The foul was ruled a non-shooting foul.

So while our team was in the bonus, now I would only get a 1-and-1 instead of 2 guaranteed free throws. Despite my coach’s protestations, the official sent both teams to their respective benches and called for me to shoot my untimed free throw.

The fate of an entire game was my burden.

As I started my pre-shot routine, my mind filled with the 3 possible outcomes.
1. Make the first free throw, get a second free throw, make it and be the hero.
2. Make the first free throw, miss the second, and play overtime.
3. Miss the first free throw and be the goat.

As I released the ball, I knew the moment it left my hand that I had missed it and could only watch as it hit the left edge of the rim and ricocheted to the right.

Game over.

Watching the other team (our arch rivals) celebrate, I turned to face my teammates and felt shame. It is the only time in my entire sporting career that my emotions got the better of me. And to this day it is the most vivid loss I can remember.

Like death is a part of life.
Losing is a part of winning.
One cannot exist without the other.

So, how do you deal with a bitter loss?

Do you blame the officials for a missed call or two?
Second-guess the coach’s game plan or decisions?
Verbally berate or assault an opposing fan?

Our passions tempt us to forget that every loss is bittersweet.

In victory, no one struggles with this paradox. We celebrate together unashamedly, in the full knowledge that half the people present just experienced a crushing defeat.

No one needs a helpful guide in how to celebrate a championship or hallowed rivalry victory. We already know how to do that. What players, coaches, and fans need is a simple guide in how to handle a difficult loss. And it is easier than you might think.

The key to mourning a loss is the same as celebrating a victory.

You weep, embrace your teammates, and fans. And eventually, you move on.

Like winning, losing is always bittersweet…

The Lead Block encourages players, coaches, and fans to mourn losses like they celebrate wins. To find out how you can become an encourager, click ABOUT.

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Weekly Block – Back-to-Back

February 1st, 2012 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Back-to-Back

The Weekly Block covers what matters in sports to me. And maybe you too.

1. Scott Stallings (AT&T Pebble Beach National ProAm)

After a short break to rest up, look for Scott to get back on track this weekend. And for all those fantasy golfers out there, Stallings is the best B player in the PGA.

2. Memphis Grizzlies (11-10) (4th in WC Southwest)

The Grizz have cooled off in their last 6 games (2-4). The big question is not, when will Zach Randolph be back? But, how long will it take him to get back to form?

3. Nashville Predators (31-16-4, 66pts) (2nd in WC-Central)

No team gets back on defense better than the Predators. Nashville is dominating the ice (9-1 in last 10 games) with defense allowing only 24 goals in their last 14 games.

4. Webb School Spartans (Boys Basketball) (17-9)

Burton Sampson’s shooting stroke is back and although the Spartans have struggled offensively, the return of sophomore Todd Kelly should provide a spark just in time.

5. Oak Ridge Wildcats (Boys Basketball) (20-3)

Spencer Shoffner is finally back to his old self, finishing with 2 impressive dunks last night against Hardin Valley and Isaac Merian is a force on both sides of the court.

 

Although some players will be back this year, The Lead Block is looking to add 5-10 new players and a new school this year. Find out how you can become a part HERE.

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