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

Weekly Block – Hustle, Humility, Heart

November 30th, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Hustle, Humility, Heart

Every Wednesday, the Weekly Block will cover everything that matters in the world of sports. To me. And maybe you, too.

1. Tennessee Titans (6-5) (2nd in AFC South)

Chris Johnson played with plenty of hustle on Sunday and it showed. Also, Titan OC Chris Palmer is finally treating CJ like the unique runningback he is in his play calls.

2. Nashville Predators (11-9-4, 26pts) (4th in WC-Central)

This humbling road trip has bloodied Jordin Tootoo and the Preds, who are losers in 5 of their last 6 games. Preds keeper Pekka Rinne allowed 15 goals in those games.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Open Season)

With all signs pointing to the reality of a 2011-12 season, Memphis’ first priority is securing Marc Gasol to a long term contract. He is the heart of this Grizz roster.

4. Chicago Cubs (Prince or Pujols)

New Cub GM Theo Epstein has a plan for the Cubs roster. And although it is as protected as a J.J. Abrams script, everyone knows Pujols or Fielder are top targets.

5. Final Block (Scott Stallings)

This last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with PGA rookie sensation Scott Stallings in his home and catching up on his meteoric rookie season.

Throughout the conversation a few themes kept reappearing that speak to the character and future of my favorite professional golfer on the PGA tour.

1. The power of hustle
Although only home 32 days this year, he is spending his “time off” training and planning for next season. And while showing me around their home, the room he was proudest of was the weight room (which he used twice… on Thanksgiving day).

2. The joy of humility
He talks about the game of golf the way I do. And throughout his travels this year, Scott relished opportunities to sign autographs for young kids at PGA events and passionately spoke about his various opportunities to mentor young golfers.

3. The strength of heart
The life of a PGA rookie can be brutal, matching irons and wits with the worlds’ best can be intimidating. Still, after shooting 4-over on the front 9 at the Greenbrier Classic, he never panicked. He stayed the course. And gave himself a chance.
Scott is a great example of how character can pave the way to scoring your destiny.


The Lead Block
challenges all players to play with hustle, heart, and humility in all walks of their life. Find out how you can become a part and click ABOUT.

 

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An Arm and a Leg

November 28th, 2011 | Comments Off on An Arm and a Leg

This week in the NFL provided some of the best and worst examples of character.

Stomping an arm out of frustration shows pride and disrespect for all involved.

The stomp heard round the world left every football-watching American thankful they can watch Ndamukong Suh from the safety of their living rooms. And sadly, it also demonstrated yet again that Suh is an immature and self-absorbed hothead.

The only thing worse than young Suh’s inability to control himself (an action that cost his team valuable points and momentum in a pivotal moment during the biggest game of Detroit’s season), is his inability to take responsibility for his actions.

Players with character use frustration to fuel their motivation to succeed.

Pretending to shoot yourself in the leg to mock an opponent lacks wisdom.

In pretending to shoot himself in the leg during a touchdown celebration, Stevie Johnson actually shot himself squarely in the proverbial foot. Directed at Plaxico Burress, who foolishly did this in 2008, Johnson’s TD-celebration was a poor choice.

The only thing worse than young Johnson’s hurtful taunt (an action that cost his team a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct and valuable points before the end of the half), is his thoughtless pattern of wreckless actions and thoughtless comments.

Players with character use wisdom to create opportunities on and off the field.


Players with character share credit and create trust amongst their teammates.

Tim Tebow did it again on Sunday. This time to yet another division opponent on the road in the San Diego Chargers, who only a month ago were atop the AFC West. Tebowing is more than a pose and more than gimmick. It is a way of winning.

The only thing better than young Tebow’s success on the field (including a 5-1 record, 4 fourth quarter comebacks, and the support/belief of virtually every Denver Bronco player), is his capacity to give credit to everyone other than himself.

Playing with character may cost an arm and a leg, but its a bargain at any price.

 

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Titan Thursday – Week 12 Predictions

November 24th, 2011 | 1 comment

Every week, Titan Thursday will share predictions of each week’s NFL match-ups.

Overall Record: 99-59

Week 11 (Record: 10-4)

Shame of the Week: Denver Broncos over the New York Jets
This is the second week in a row Timmy made me pay for picking against him. And honestly, I could not be happier about it. There is little difference between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. The Broncos defense was better than the Jets on Thursday.

Pick ‘Em Again: Giants over Eagles
If the NFL played these games again this weekend, under the same conditions, I would pick the exact same way.  And I genuinely believe I would be right this time.

Shoulda’ Known Better: Seahawks over Rams
On any given Sunday… ah, this is the only way this game could ever end.


Week 12

Tennessee Titans over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Titans offensive line is depleted, the Bucs just turned in one of their more solid outings of the season, and LeGarrette Blount is relishing a chance against the team that cut him. Still, Tampa Bay is weak against the run which could be the difference.

Detroit Lions over the Green Bay Packers
The Packers are rolling and the Lions’ defense will present little resistance to Aaron Rodgers. But, I will not jump on the 16-0 bandwagon until after this game. Detroit circled this game weeks ago and it means far more to them than it does Green Bay.

Baltimore Ravens over the San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have plenty to prove to me against an elite team from the AFC, especially since 6 of their 9 wins came against teams with a losing record. Alex Smith must manage a better game than Joe Flacco, whoever wins that matchup wins the game.

 

Cowboys over Dolphins
The Fins slapped down 3 sinking opponents, unlike the Boys who are riding high.

Falcons over Vikings
No Adrian Peterson could actually make Ponder and the Vikes more dangerous.

Panthers over Colts
I cannot go back on a promise from a few weeks ago. I will not pick the Colts, again.

Texans over Jaguars
This game will reveal whether Houston can hold onto the AFC South without Schuab.

Cardinals over Rams
The Rams are a mess and the Cardinals are not much better. This game is a toss up.

Jets over Bills
Too much is at stake for Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan to drop this to the reeling Bills.

Bengals over Browns
Dalton and company need this game to keep pace in a heated AFC wildcard race.

Redskins over Seahawks
Throw out the Ravens win and the Seahawks are not as impressive as they look.

Raiders over Bears
A good rule of thumb is to go with the team whose QB is healthy and improving.

Patriots over Eagles
Vince Young never had much success against the Patriots defense in Tennessee.

Chargers over Broncos
At this point I just keep picking against Tim Tebow hoping it helps him win.

Steelers over Chiefs
If Tyler Palko thought the Patriots defense hit hard, he might want to call in sick.

Saints over Giants
These are the games the Giants typically win convincingly, just to confuse us all.

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Weekly Block – Destiny, Tradition, and Turkey

November 23rd, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Destiny, Tradition, and Turkey

Every Wednesday, the Weekly Block will cover everything that matters in the world of sports. To me. And maybe you, too.

1. Tennessee Titans (5-5) (2nd in AFC South)

The offensive line was a mess before injuries to David Stewart and Leroy Harris. Regardless, offensive line should be a priority in next year’s draft for the Titans.

2. Nashville Predators (10-5-4, 24pts) (2nd in WC-Central)

The Preds must get better in overtime, especially after dropping their 4th overtime game. Nashville is a perfect 4-4 in losing games that ended tied in regulation.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Bad Timing)

The bad timing of the NBA lockout is ruining all momentum the young Grizzlies built last season. Even worse, a Memphis tourism director shares bigger implications.

4. Chicago Cubs (Prince’s Price)

The Cubs new manager Dale Sveum made it clear who he wants playing first base next season at Wrigley Field. Either way, the Cubs look to be big spenders in 2012.

5. Final Block (Turkey Leg Bowl)

Thanks again to all the volunteers and players that took part in the 1st Annual Turkey Leg Bowl this past Saturday. Pictures from the event should be up next week.

For more information about The Lead Block mentoring, click on the ABOUT page to find out more about how you can change the destiny of a young athlete today.

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What a Weekend

November 21st, 2011 | Comments Off on What a Weekend

On Saturday, it was the best of times.

On Friday, it was the worst of times.

On Friday both of the football teams I mentor experienced excruciating losses that ended their 2011 seasons. However, I am proud to share that both the players I personally mentor and their teammates responded with heart, humility, and hustle.

Well done.

On Saturday morning, The Lead Block hosted its first charity event. And the Turkey Leg Bowl Charity Flag Football Tournament was as much as a success as it was a learning experience for its young founder. (photos are coming)

Here are five quick observations from this weekend:

1. Everyone needs a mentor.
Each of us need a wise ear, an experienced perspective, and encourager in our lives.

2. Mentoring is highly valued.
Throughout the event, person after person freely committed to The Lead Block.

3. Defeat is the best backdrop for testing character.
If you can muster heart, humility, and hustle in defeat, you can muster it anywhere.

4. This weekend also marked 2000 visits for TheLeadBlock.com.
Wow! Thanks for reading and sharing with your friends and family.

5. The Turkey Leg Bowl will be back.
Teams, players, and volunteers alike are all already looking forward to next year.

 

What a weekend!

 

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Titan Thursday – Week 11 Predictions

November 17th, 2011 | 1 comment

Every week, Titan Thursday will share predictions of each week’s NFL match-ups.

Overall Record: 89-55

Week 10 (Record: 8-8)

Shame of the Week: Denver Broncos over the Kansas City Chiefs
As someone who thinks Tim Tebow deserves a chance, it was difficult to pick against him in a game versus a depleted opponent. But, Matt Cassell’s injury coupled with the smothering Bronco defense left little room for Tebow to fail. Well done, Tim.

Pick ‘Em Again: Eagles over Cardinals, Ravens over Seahawks
If the NFL played these games again this weekend, under the same conditions, I would pick the exact same way.  And I genuinely believe I would be right this time.

Shoulda’ Known Better: Jaguars over Colts, Texans over Buccaneers
On any given Sunday… ah, this is the only way this game could ever end.


Week 11

Atlanta Falcons over the Tennessee Titans
This is only the second time in 2011 I have picked against the Titans. And like last time, the Titans can win this game if Matt Hasselbeck protects the football and this defense plays up to their potential. Chris Johnson needs to get loose to win.

Chicago Bears over the San Diego Chargers
Serious playoff implications are at stake, with the Chargers trying to halt their losing ways and stay competitive for the AFC West title and the Bears trying to stay in the hunt for an NFC Wild Card spot. Not to mention, Rivers vs. Cutler is must see TV.

Jets over Broncos
If Tebow had Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, and Dustin Keller, I would pick him.

Raiders over Vikings
Picking for Carson Palmer did not work. But, picking against him did not work either.

Bills over Dolphins
The Bills are done, but there is no way this Fins squad will string together 3 straight.

Ravens over Bengals
No A.J. Green and no Leon Hall might be irreplaceable losses for this young squad.

Browns over Jaguars
There is little confidence in this pick. The loss of Rashean Mathis might be too much.

Cowboys over Redskins
Possibly a trap game for Romo and the Boys, especially with Rex back in the saddle.

Packers over Buccaneers
Are there any two quarterbacks heading faster in different directions, this season?

Lions over Panthers
The Lions need to get back on track before a Thanksgiving showdown with the Pack.

49ers over Cardinals
Surely, John Skelton cannot pull off what Eli Manning, Stafford, and Vick could not.

Rams over Seahawks
On paper, Marshawn Lynch should just run over the Rams. But, a letdown is lurking.

Giants over Eagles
If Michael Vick plays, the Eagles can win this game. If not, it is doubtful they keep up.

Patriots over Chiefs
Mundane Night Football continues. So much for Matt Cassell’s triumphant return.

 

Byes: Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans

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Weekly Block – Turkey Leg Bowl

November 16th, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Turkey Leg Bowl

Every Wednesday, the Weekly Block will cover everything that matters in the world of sports. To me. And maybe you, too.

1. Tennessee Titans (5-4) (2nd in AFC South)

Chris Johnson needs another performance before I jump back on the bandwagon. The Damian Williams’ bandwagon on the other hand, needs to make room for me.

2. Nashville Predators (9-5-3, 21pts) (2nd in WC-Central)

The Predators were playing great hockey on the road before letting one slip away at home this weekend. But, a convincing win over a good Capitals team is a good sign.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (See You Next Year)

The NBA players turned down the owners proposal on Monday effectively cancelling games until December 15. It is time to face the reality of no basketball this season.

4. Chicago Cubs (New Boss)

Whether it is Pete Mackanin, Dale Sveum, Mike Maddux and Sandy Alomar Jr., one thing is for sure, they will have their work cut out for them with these departures.

5. Final Block (Turkey Leg Bowl)

The Lead Block is hosting a charity flag football tournament this Saturday, November 19 from 9:30am-3:30pm. All donations benefit the mentoring program.

For more information or to sign-up a team, check out www.TurkeyBowl.com or click on the ABOUT page to find out more about how you can take your Thanksgiving football tradition to the next level.

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Titan Thursday – Week 10 Predictions

November 11th, 2011 | 1 comment

Every week, Titan Thursday will share predictions of each week’s NFL match-ups.

Overall Record: 81-47

Week 9 (Record: 6-8)

Shame of the Week: Cincinnati Bengals over the Tennessee Titans
This is a disappointing loss for the Titans who were soundly beating a young and talented team. Andy Dalton is for real, but the Titans secondary must be more consistent in coverage to win. Finally, Chris Johnson is almost back to his old self.

Pick ‘Em Again: Patriots over Giants, Steelers over Ravens
If the NFL played these games again this weekend, under the same conditions, I would pick the exact same way.  And I genuinely believe I would be right this time.

Shoulda’ Known Better: Packers over Chargers, Jets over Bills
On any given Sunday… ah, this is the only way this game could ever end.


Week 10

Tennessee Titans over the Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton could have a field day against this Titans secondary and it is not difficult to see the Panthers running away with this game, but I think this is a game the Titans pull out another commanding performance (i.e. Ravens and Browns).

New York Giants over the San Francisco 49ers
Alright Mr. Manning, you have my attention. The 49ers are a team that an elite quarterback with a defense in support should defeat, even on the road. This is the biggest test for 49ers this season, who also have something to prove.

Chargers over Raiders
Is this the beginning of the end for the Bolts? Rivers vs. Palmer should be great.

Colts over Jaguars
This will probably be the last time I pick the Colts all season. Unless they win…

Saints over Falcons
First place and control of the NFC South is at stake. Are the Falcons back to form?

Buccaneers over Texans
The sneaky Bucs are playing good enough to sneak up on the coasting Texans.

Steelers over Bengals
Pittsburgh’s momentum came to a screeching halt. The Bengals are in trouble.

Eagles over Cardinals
Which defeat was more crushing? The Eagles NFC Wild Card chances or this?

Chiefs over Broncos
Tim Tebow fans need to brace themselves for more Tebow-Hater nation taunts.

Cowboys over Bills
The Bills are reeling and the Cowboys playoff hopes are at stake. It’s still a pick’em.

Rams over Browns
Sam Bradford and the Rams look eerily similar to Matt Stafford and the 2010 Lions.

Dolphins over Redskins
Yuck. Picking a tie would be the right move, but one will inevitably give this away.

Ravens over Seahawks
Joe Flacco is not an elite quarterback. Good thing it will not matter against Seattle.

Lions over Bears
Come on, this is easy Detroit. Hint: Build an early lead and punt out of bounds.

Patriots over Jets
Brady is playing the worst football of his life… which is still better than the Pats D.

Packers over Vikings
Catch up on your sleep cycle. Mercy Night Football should be over before halftime.

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Weekly Block – Turkey Leg Bowl

November 9th, 2011 | 1 comment

Every Wednesday, the Weekly Block will cover everything that matters in the world of sports.  To me.  And maybe you, too.

1. Tennessee Titans (4-4) (2nd in AFC South)

This Titans squad is playing above their heads. The offensive and defensive line play is weak and without a solid running game Matt Hasselbeck is an average passer.

2. Nashville Predators (7-5-2, 12pts) (2nd in WC-Central)

Losing leading scorer David Legwand will be a costly loss for the Preds. Hopefully, this will create a sense of urgency for Sergei Kostitsyn and Patric Hornqvist to return.

3. Scott Stallings (Finished 42nd in HSBC Champions)

Stallings turned in a consistent scorecard in one of his first international events half way around the world and will enjoy some well-deserved time off in his home state.

4. Chicago Cubs (Pujols Watch-Manager Hunt)

Step one in luring Albert Pujols to Wrigley Field is finding a manager that sends the message that the Cubs are moving in the direction of establishing a winning culture.

5. Final Block (Turkey Leg Bowl)

The Lead Block is hosting a charity flag football tournament on Saturday, November 19 from 9:30am-3:30pm. All donations will go towards the mentoring program.

For more information or to sign-up a team, check out www.TurkeyBowl.com or click on the ABOUT page to find out more about how you can take your Thanksgiving football tradition to the next level.

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Keeping Score

November 7th, 2011 | Comments Off on Keeping Score

In an era where performance-enhancing drugs, off-field legal issues, NCAA violations, and labor disputes dominate sports headlines, there is a simple solution.

As the NBA lockout approaches critical mass, there appears no end in sight. And despite NBA games evaporating, both sides continue to point fingers.

Fan loyalty and momentum from a great NBA postseason last winter slowly dwindles, while players and owners viciously compete over 2% in this labor impasse.

Keeping score is natural.

In an ESPN the Magazine article, Shaun Assael shared the story of a former alumni president of University of Memphis that sued Derrick Rose and John Calipari after the player and coach’s actions led to the Tigers being stripped of their 2007-08 season.

Both Rose and Calipari settled out of court and volunteered to return $332,000 in compensation to Memphis and one of their scholarship funds.

Keeping score is productive.

In the last few NFL seasons, Commissioner Roger Goodell instituted a policy for player behavior on and off the field. A policy that led to suspensions and fines for star players like Adam “Pacman” Jones, James Harrison, and Michael Vick.

Despite this controversial policy, the NFL is expected to generate 9 billion dollars this season and enjoy a level of fan devotion unprecedented in American sports history.

Keeping score is rewarding.

Keeping score in sports and in life is natural when we are winning. However, a more significant opportunity for reward and redemption is frequently found in acknowledging the score in a losing effort.

Michael Vick may never be completely forgiven, but even his critics cannot refute that he took responsibility for his actions. Nike and EA Sports each reconsidered their relationships following his acknowledging of his mistakes.

Alex Rodriguez may always be remembered for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but few fans or sports writers are demanding the use of asterisks next to his batting records and career statistics.

Vick and A-Rod each benefited from holding themselves accountable.

They kept score of their mistakes, took responsibility for their circumstances, and moved forward in their lives and sports careers. Sadly, sports history is littered with many who never kept score compounding their losses even further.

At The Lead Block, players are challenged to keep score even in losing efforts of life and sports, because those are the best opportunities for developing personal accountability in their lives.

Be sure to check out the ABOUT page and read about the Turkey Leg Bowl Charity Tournament coming up this month. Bring a team or become an event sponsor!

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