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

Respectworthy

January 21st, 2014 | Comments Off on Respectworthy

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman ruffled a few feathers with the post game press conference screamed round the world.

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Is there anything wrong with Sherman’s passion?

Not really. Players that make big plays on big stages in big moments should be allowed to celebrate those moments appropriately with their teammates and fans.

Still, it would be wise for the NFL and every sporting league to consider adding a buffering time after competition for players and coaches to reflect before responding to questions. Fans and media alike can still drink in the raw emotions, after the adrenaline is drained.

Is Sherman ‘classless’, ‘a thug’, or ‘a human piece of garbage’?

Not exactly. Hardly. And obviously not, although I do enjoy the quite ironic description.

Apparently, the high road is closed in more places than just Seattle.

Did Sherman miss an opportunity?

Sure.

It is clear after watching, reading, and observing Sherman on the football field that respect is a hot button issue for him. Respect for his game, his character, his education, his accomplishments. Disrespect him and be prepared for the business end of his bravado.

For the record, I do respect all of the above. He is a first team Pro Bowl talent who passionately volunteers and generously gives to charities in his community, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Stanford University, and is what I consider a genuine success story.

Still, Richard missed an opportunity to demonstrate transcendent character on Sunday. Showing others the respect they have refused you is both noble and inspiring. Any observer would recognize that posture of humility and grace as a position held by someone of power, worthy of emulation and respect.

The fundamental misunderstanding of respect is its origins. The giver creates respect, as the result of observing someone worthy of the gift.

Unlike a Kaepernick pass fluttering back to earth, respect is not something to be snatched out of air in a show of superior strength, intelligence, or chest thumping.

Respect can only be given.

So, the real question is…

Is Sherman worthy? And are you?

Encouraging coaches and players to give and earn respect is what The Lead Block is all about. To find out more about how you can become a part, click HERE.

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Carry On

July 8th, 2013 | Comments Off on Carry On

ESPN aired a remarkable story of two young men forever changed by the care and continued interest of former ESPN producer, Lisa Fenn.

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 12.06.25 AM(watch video here courtesy of ESPN and ESPN.com)

This is just another example of how organizations like U.S. Paralympics provide opportunities that change lives. And how the care of people like Lisa Fenn can change a destiny.

“I did it, Lisa.”
          -Dartanyon Crockett, 2012 London Judoka Bronze Medalist

Stories like Dartanyon’s and Leroy Sutton are why The Lead Block exists. If you would like to be a part of changing the destiny of a young athlete click HERE.

 

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Weekly Block – For Goodness Sake

December 14th, 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 (7-6) (2nd in AFC South)

In the twinkle of an eye the Titans could find themselves with the gift of the playoffs. Thanks to this year’s draft stocking-stuffers Locker, McCarthy, Klug, and Casey.

2. Nashville Predators (15-11-4, 34pts) (4th in WC-Central)

The Preds deserve a lump of coal for their lack of consistency. But, Tootoo’s scoring streak is a great present that is coming just in the nick of time to wrap up the year.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Busy Little Elves)

The NBA released the regular season schedule and it promises to be busier than Santa’s workshop. The Grizz are fortunate, with only one back-to-back-to-back.

4. Chicago Cubs (Christmas List)

New Cubs GM Theo Epstein failed to bag Albert Pujols, despite having the Cards slugger on his list. Prince Fielder is really the only hitter left on the Nice List.

5. Final Block (Be Good for Goodness Sake)

Uh oh.

Add Ryan Braun to the Naughty List next to Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark McGwire.

Besides some backlash and reactions ranging from stripping Braun of the MVP trophy to a tweet-sized joke from Arizona senator John McCain, what’s the big deal?

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

When a player cheats to win. He reveals he values winning over integrity.
When a player taunts an opponent. He reveals he values himself over others.
When a player quits on his team. He values the easy way more than the right way.

Sports are about more than winning or losing. In sports, we have an opportunity to see a teammate hit a sacrifice fly ball to drive home the winning run and selflessly block downfield for a game-changing run. Each a revelation of selfless character.

So when a player, coach, or team chooses winning, themselves, or the easy way over character, we are all robbed of victories with any meaning. [Insert BCS rant here]

A victory not earned, shared, or sacrificed for is hardly worth remembering.

Braun’s MVP trophy, like the 2005 Heisman, the All-time Home Run record, and 5 Golds from the 2000 Sydney Games are hollow victories destined to be forgotten.

The Lead Block values character in its players above all else, so they can reveal it on the field and in their life. Find out how you can become a part and click ABOUT.

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Weekly Block – Exceeding Expectations

December 7th, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Exceeding Expectations

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

1. Tennessee Titans (7-5) (2nd in AFC South)

As expected, a healthy Chris Johnson looks to finish as a top 10 rusher for the fourth straight season. Of the 13 rushers ahead of him, 2 are done for the season.

2. Nashville Predators (12-11-4, 28pts) (4th in WC-Central)

The Predators unexpected losing streak is troubling. Even with a significant home stand coming up, keeping pace in the West will be difficult from so far behind.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Great Expectations)

No need to lower your expectations for the Grizzlies this season. The roster is better by default than last season, especially if Josh Selby is as good as advertised.

4. Chicago Cubs (What Did You Expect?!)

Expecting Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder to fall in your lap this offseason would be foolish. The Miami Marlins are making it rain in the free agent market, right now.

5. Final Block (Managing Expectations)

This year I had the pleasure of spending time on the sidelines of two playoff caliber football programs, Webb School of Knoxville and Oak Ridge High School. Each program has a rich tradition, quality coaching staffs, and talented young athletes.

Sadly, each team fell short of their goal to compete for a state title. So while the championship games were played this last weekend and the remaining teams battled for the right to hoist the golden football, they could only sit at home and watch.

They expected more.

One more week of practice. One more day. One more game. One more chance.

What happens when your expectations are not met?

Like in sports, life sometimes does not meet our expectations. Sometimes we lose. Our response in these moments defines our character, not the score or circumstance.

What happens when you fail? 

First, give your opponent the proper respect. Chances are you lost to a better foe or needed more preparation. Either way, humility will better prepare you for next time.

Next, develop a plan for improvement. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Have a destination in mind. Do not hustle in vain.

Finally, never expect failure. Managing expectations is like a surgical procedure that removes hope and dissects dreams. Always play and live with all your heart.

Expectations are not meant to be managed. They are meant to be exceeded.

The Lead Block challenges all players to exceed their expectations for life through hustle, heart, and humility. Find out how you can become a part and click ABOUT.

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Tough to Understand

October 24th, 2011 | 1 comment

[cue heavy sigh] Ndamukong Suh is one of a growing number of young players in professional sports that does not understand the true meaning of toughness.

On Sunday, Suh along with a Detroit Lion teammate, mocked injured Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan as he writhed on the ground after suffering an ankle injury.

This was not a display of toughness.

 

Toughness IS NOT

mindlessly breaking rules designed to increase player safety.

insulting your opponent, fool-hearty fans, or any NFL authority.

allowing your frustration or emotions get the best of you.

instigating a physical altercation to “motivate” your teammates or coaches.

 

For players like Suh and James Harrison toughness and respect are apparently earned through brutal or excessive penalties and chest thumping in interviews and on-field antics. In reality, demonstrating true toughness is far more challenging.

 

Toughness IS

finishing a game injured.

showing restraint following a late hit or opponent’s taunt.

believing in yourself and your team when no one else does.

finishing games that are lost causes.

 

Toughness is an inner-strength that is outwardly apparent.

Hopefully, this is just a phase for Suh, who is both a gifted and dominant young NFL defensive star that could set a great example of true toughness for years to come.


At The Lead Block, we encourage and expect toughness from our players and create opportunities for those players to use that toughness in pursuit of their destiny.

Be sure to check out the ABOUT page to find out more about how you can join a mentoring movement that changes the world.  One destiny at a time.

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Weekly Block – Titan Thursday

September 1st, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Titan Thursday

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

1. Scott Stallings (38th in FedEx Cup Points)(33rd on the Money List)

It is nice to see Scott finally getting some coverage. Way to be ESPN, you truly are the worldwide leader in sports. Attention is not the only thing he snagged this week.

2. Chicago Cubs (59-78)(5th in NL Central)

I am still intrigued at the possibility of the Cubs courting Albert Pujols this offseason, but this is hardly a character highlight. Come on, Albert.  You are better than this.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (On Point)

So, you want to be a professional athlete? (Warning: graphic video) Watch this before you answer. One thing is for sure, the Grizz will be glad to get Rudy Gay back.

4. Tennessee Titans (Twi-tastrophy)

Add Chris Johnson to the long list of professional athletes, celebrities, politicians, and human beings that underestimate the scorn social media can draw from fans.

5. Final Block (Titan Thursday)

Tommie Campbell – (55%) (Competition: Frank Walker, Rennie Curran)
A 90-yard interception return for a touchdown is a nice way to get the attention of the coaching staff, Titan fan base, and “expert” bloggers. Well done, young man.

Justin Gage – (45%) (Competition: Kevin Curtis, Lavelle Hawkins)
Gage is an aging veteran wide receiver, one of the harder jobs in the NFL to hold when skills begin to diminish. But, the same can be said for Curtis’ at this point.

Rennie Curran – (33%) (Competition: Patrick Bailey, Tommie Campbell)
Curran still has a chance to make the Titan roster to start the season, but only because injuries at DE will allow the Titans to manipulate the roster early.

Stafon Johnson – (25%) (Competition: Jamie Harper)
Like Curran, Stafon Johnson could make the Titan roster for opening day, if Chris Johnson’s holdout lasts. When CJ2K returns, Stafon will join the practice squad.

Byron Stingily – (15%) (Competition: Troy Kropog)
The Titans’ recent offensive struggles and the need to ensure Jake Locker’s protection have left Stingily with precious little snaps to make an impression.

Lavelle Hawkins – (10%) (Competition: Justin Gage, Stafon Johnson)
Hawkins’ outcome has taken a turn for the worst, with Justin Gage jumping him on the Titan depth chart and the signing of Kevin Curtis. His days are numbered.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN ON OFFENSE:
Yamon Figurs, Michael Preston, James Kirkendoll, Herb Donaldson, Kestahn Moore, Joe Tronzo, Riar Geer, Cameron Graham, Pat McQuistan, Kevin Matthews, Adam Terry

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN ON DEFENSE:
Hall Davis, Pannel Egboh, Zac Clayton, Julian Hartsell, Chris Hawkins, Peter Ittersagen, LeQuan Lewis, Myron Rolle, Robert Johnson, Anthony Smith

 

Rookie grades vs. Chicago Bears

Rookie grades vs. St. Louis Rams

Rookie grades vs. Minnesota Vikings


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Weekly Block – Titan Tuesday

August 10th, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Titan Tuesday

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

1. Scott Stallings (29th at the Bridgestone Invitational)(26th in FedExCup Points)

Scott followed up his win at Greenbrier with another solid weekend.  Look for him this weekend at the PGA Championship, as he competes in his first PGA major.

2. Chicago Cubs (49-67)(5th in NL Central)

Although not explicitly Cubs news, Stephen Colbert apparently won a bet last week that landed him control of MLB’s twitter account.  And yes, he told a Cubs joke

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Shout to the Heart)

Bad news: If possible, the outlook for the 2011-12 NBA season is worse.  Good news: If the Grizzlies ever take the court again, Zach Randolph will remain the heart.

4. Tennessee Titans (Finnegan Fiasco)

First, reports of Cortland Finnegan walking out of camp were confusing.  Then, they were false.  Next, they were viciously confirmed.  Finally, Finnegan apologized.

5. Final Block (Titan Tuesday)

Starting next week and throughout the 2011 NFL season, The Lead Blog will add another weekly post, simply called Titan Tuesday.  Are you ready for some football?

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Weekly Block – App Assessment

July 13th, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – App Assessment

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

1. Scott Stallings (22nd at John Deere Classic) (90th on the PGA Tour money list)

Scott turned in a solid performance this weekend, notching 18 birdies and only 5 bogeys. Besides quietly turning in one of the most consistent rookie seasons, he is also one of the biggest-hitters on tour right now. 

2. Chicago Cubs (37-55)(5th in NL Central)

You heard it here first (okay you probably already knew).  The Chicago Cubs have a 0% of winning the division or making the playoffs (according to Accuscore).  Let the Albert Pujols countdown begin.  But should the Cubs also consider a new manager?

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Shoot for Next Year)

It is no secret the Grizzlies are in desperate need of outside shooting.  But with Rudy Gay coming back next season, head coach Lionel Hollins is confident that last year’s first round pick and Gay will be enough to solve their lack of outside shooting.

4. Tennessee Titans (QB or not QB, that is the question)

Speculation is so rampant about the next starting QB for the Titans, that Vince Young is actually coming up.  Although, there is no chance of that, Matt Hasselbeck is the front-runner to follow his ward Jake Locker to Tennessee.

Can Marshawn come, too?  We could use a power(-ed up) runningback.

5. Final Block (An App Assessment of MLB)

Do you think baseball games are too long?  Does your your mind wander between the velcroing and unvelcroing of batting gloves between each pitch?  Are the shenanigans of zany mascots more entertaining than the action in most innings?

Join the club.  And buy the MLB.com app At Bat 11.

The app offers you key play highlights, At the Ballpark check-in (with venue maps and social media functions), customizable home screens, the ability to watch out-of-market games, and the ability to listen to radio broadcasts of home or away games.

[End cheesy infomercial.  Begin Final Block rant.]

The most startling feature of this magical MLB app?  The Condensed Game feature.

That’s right, you can watch only the plays where something happened (groundout, base hit, third strike, fourth ball, etc.) in a particular game.  Quite the time-saving feature considering the average length of a game is around 3 hours.

This could save you, what?
30 minutes?
An hour?
Surely, not two hours…

Actually, the app (on average) will shave a major league baseball game down to under 10 minutes!  This is not a Sportscenter highlight clip we are talking about, but the entirety of action from a 3 hour sporting event.

To Bud Selig and MLB –
Shorten the season (99 games) and shorten the length of games, for the love of baseball.  Less is more (see NFL).

To MLB.com and the creators of At Bat 11 –
Thanks for incontrovertible evidence that baseball games are as devoid of action as soccer matches.

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