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

Weak or Wounded?

January 27th, 2012 | Comments Off on Weak or Wounded?

Athletes are at-risk for serious depression after their sporting careers end.
“… athletes of different races, different faiths, different ages, different troubles.”

-Pablo S. Torre

A recent string of athlete suicides is calling attention to a trend of depression and mental illness lurking beneath the waters of competitive sports. And the cost is high.

Kenny McKinley. Tom Cavanagh. Dave Duerson. Claudia Heill.

Thomas Emma. Hideki Irabu. Speedy Peterson.

And now, Phillip “Tookie” Stanford.

Each of their lives were tragically cut short and each by their own hand.

The true killer is a poor appreciation for humility in sports culture, which makes it difficult for struggling athletes to ask for help regarding non-physical wounds.

There’s a physical prejudice in sports. When it’s a broken bone, the teams will do everything in their power to make sure it’s OK. When it’s a broken soul, it’s like a weakness.” – Ricky Williams (NFL Runningback)

If you or an athlete you know is struggling with adapting to life after their sporting career, there is no need to walk though this transition by yourself.

Humility is not weakness. And asking for help could just save your life.

The Lead Block provides players with weekly support, encouragement, and can serve as an early detector for players suffering with depression. To find out how you or your organization can become a part or receive assistance, click ABOUT.

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Weekly Block – Prep Work

January 23rd, 2012 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Prep Work

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

1. Memphis Grizzlies (9-6) (1st in WC Southwest)

The Grizz sit atop the Spurs, Mavericks, and Rockets heading into this week. And while there is plenty of work to be done, this streak was without Zach Randolph.

2. Nashville Predators (28-16-4, 60pts) (4th in WC-Central)

The Predators seem prepared to make another deep postseason push this year, winning 7 of their last 8 and 10 of the last 12. Still, they have some work to do.

3. Scott Stallings (Withdrew from Humana Challenge)

Stallings suffered an early setback to 2012, when an intercostal muscle injury forced him to withdraw on Saturday. Fortunately, he spent the offseason preparing for this.

4. Webb School Spartans (Boys Basketball) (14-5)

Not even steady rain could chase away Webb students, parents and faculty from a cookout on Friday. The varsity squad will finally get some well earned home games.

5. Oak Ridge Wildcats (Boys Basketball) (17-3)

Despite a disappointing loss to Karns, the Wildcats are poised to be a favorite in the state tournament. But, execution and hustle will dictate how high this team will fly.

 

This year, the Weekly Block will add highlights of character and updates from partner schools of The Lead Block. Find out how you can become a part HERE.

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Bucking Bronco

January 16th, 2012 | Comments Off on Bucking Bronco

Maintaining composure and playing hard in a losing effort shows toughness.

The Denver Broncos were already off the map. Few expected them to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers the previous week, and even fewer considered them much of a threat to the seemingly invincible New England Patriots, led by Tom Brady.

After a quick start for the Pats, the Broncos appeared to weather Brady’s opening salvo in a game that again looked poised to live up to all the pregame hype.

One quarter and 28 unanswered points later, this rematch (like the first game) was once again out of reach for any Tebow Time heroics. Spurring tweets like…


and…

To be fair, no team needs to explain building a large lead in the first half of a playoff game. And to quote Herm Edwards… the Patriots were playing to win the game.

Winning and losing are guaranteed in competitive sports.

Fortunately, winning and losing has nothing to do with character or toughness.

But, what happens when the losses are by large margins?

This week I witnessed first hand a high school basketball team beating a rival by more than 50 points. It was an uncomfortable situation to experience as a fan.

Both coaches struggled to manage the passions of their players. The winning coach demanded humility – the losing coach, hustle and heart. The final minute of the game awkwardly ran down with a player standing with the ball on his hip unguarded.

At least football has the kneel down.

Unfortunately, the aggressiveness and passion required to play competitive sports with heart and hustle sometimes overwhelm humility and result in ugly displays.

On Saturday, rookie linebacker Von Miller allowed frustration to get the best him.

Come on, Von. You are the Defensive Rookie of the Year and already demand the respect of peers, experts, and fans with your toughness and quality of play.

Losing with humility shows toughness.

Don’t be that guy.

The Lead Block challenges players to play with humility, heart, and hustle regardless the score. To find out how you or your organization can become a part, click ABOUT.

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Just Admit It

January 9th, 2012 | 1 comment

Our response to Tim Tebow’s season reveals the character of us all.

We have all been wrong.

I thought The Matrix was going to be a bad movie.

I thought the iPhone was too expensive for a phone.

I thought shrimp was a slimy and undesirable appetizer.

And I thought all of Tim Tebow’s critics had an axe to grind.

I was wrong.

His critics (who include former NFL quarterbacks, scouts, and current general managers) have legitimate concerns about his potential and future in the NFL.

Tim Tebow is not an elite NFL passer-sometimes missing open receivers, sometimes too slowly looking over his progressions, or occasionally winding up a little too long to throw downfield. He is not the next Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Drew Brees.

I admit it.

For comparison, here are two quarterbacks’ regular season statistics:

courtesy of www.pro-football-reference.com

Each young passer led their team to the playoffs. Each quarterback was supported by a solid defense. Each quarterback did more damage on the ground than in the air.

The 24-year old quarterback is Tim Tebow, this year.

The 26-year old is former NFL MVP Steve McNair, who led his 1999 Titan team to a Super Bowl appearance with the help of a far more miraculous game-winning play.

Both won their first playoff games in an unconventional way.

So, in the face of one of the more memorable Denver playoff victories against a favored Pittsburgh team, how will those same critics respond the day after?

NFL gurus and fans alike that doubted or touted Tebow have to admit it. Even if this is his only season as the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos, it is a season worth remembering. A humbling contrition that both sides can admit after Sunday.

Faced with the same criticism and fandemonium, Tim chose humility. Why can’t we?

Humility is a difficult, but powerful, demonstration of character.

For this reason, The Lead Block challenges its players to play with humility on the field and live in humility off it. To find out how to become a part and click ABOUT.

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Weekly Block – New Season

January 4th, 2012 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – New Season

The Weekly Block covers anything that matters in sports to me. And maybe you, too.

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

More scary than a slow start, is the prospect of losing Zach Randolph for the season. With Darrell Arthur already gone, the Grizz added Hamed Haddadi to fill the void.

2. Nashville Predators (21-14-4, 46pts) (4th in WC-Central)

The Preds are 7-3 in the last 10 games, including winners of 3 straight. The recent loss of defenseman Shea Weber has apparently boosted offensive performance.

3. Scott Stallings (Hyundai Tournament of Champions)

This weekend officially kicks-off the 2012 PGA season in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii. I am genuinely looking forward to seeing what Scott will accomplish this season on tour.

4. Tennessee Titans (9-7) (Finished 2nd in AFC South)

This season is disappointing for several reasons. No playoff berth despite a weakened division, only a 20th overall pick to show for it, and looming uncertainty.

5. Final Block (New Season, Same Goal)

Last season, The Lead Block established mentoring relationships with 5 players. And so far, has invested more than 100 hours in these players and their futures.

Those players have received tutoring, discovered personal values, narrowed college choices, and identified scholarships or grants to pursue a secondary-education.

This year, The Lead Block will impact twice as many students through adding a second school. Find out how you can become a part and join HERE.

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Sex, Lies, and Coaching

January 3rd, 2012 | Comments Off on Sex, Lies, and Coaching

Like it not, coaches cannot prepare young players for life after the game is over.

A common mistake among those who work in sport is spending a disproportional amount of time on “X’s and O’s” as compared to time spent learning about people.” -Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski

This is not an indictment of the noble profession of coaching or an article meant to belittle the sacrifice of those that devote their lives to guiding young athletes.

Because I do believe the influence of good coaches frequently extends beyond the arena of sports and leaving lasting impressions on players entrusted to their care.

But at the end of the day, too few coaches are impacting too few players.

The scarcity of impacted players is further complicated by the crushing demands athletic programs and fan bases place on coaches. Lying, cheating, stealing, and predatory behavior are only symptoms of this ugly and insidious force at work.

Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” – John Wooden

Even the great Coach Wooden acknowledged that time on the court does little to prepare players for life off the court. Sadly, preparing a winning game plan and executing it on the court determines the legacy of a coach. Not moments like this

Coaches that do not win, will not be coaches for long. Little else matters.

Again, this is not an indictment of the marvel that is competitive sports. However, there is a serious problem if young players and experienced coaches alike are continuously victimized by this system without any hope of guidance or support.

This is for whom The Lead Block was founded.

Too many, for too long have profited from the exploitation of young players.

And innocent others have suffered in silence, while fearful coaches did nothing.

This is why The Lead Block exists.

Imagine a movement that paves the way for young players to score their destiny, through mentoring, secondary-education preparation, and career discovery to develop a plan that equips and empowers each player to succeed, on or off the field.

This is what The Lead Block can do this year.

Imagine an entire generation of young players equipped to become influential forces for good in their homes, their schools, and in their communities. Imagine a culture amongst coaches empowered to impact the character of their players.

You can be a part of The Lead Block. And HERE is how…

 

Happy New Year and see you on the field!
dreWells

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