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

Best Red – No Love Lost

April 28th, 2015 | Comments Off on Best Red – No Love Lost

Short takes on relevant sports and character issues.

scuffleThe NBA playoffs are here and not disappointing, delivering highlights and some of the best basketball from most of the best teams. Unfortunately, in two of the more lopsided playoff series, physicality is getting out of hand.

 

1. No Love Lost

love
Thankfully the the Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets series only experienced small, chippy moments from its Game 4 – Boston vs. Cleveland, on the other hand, was completely out of control. One ejection, two technical fouls, two unnecessary and unwarranted injuries, and three games lost to suspension.

NBA officials on and off the court are not to blame. The lowered standards of coaches and players are the real culprit. When respect for each other and the game take a backseat to “competitiveness,” “pride,” and other sports lingo masking players and coaches’ poor sportsmanship in losing efforts, the results are as ridiculous as burning down a CVS.

 

2. Riot Mom

riot mom
The tragic story of Freddie Gray and the subsequent Baltimore riots created an unexpected and interesting twist on Monday, when a mother of a young, masked rioter publicly reprimanded her son in front of the entire nation.

Mentors, coaches, teachers, and community leaders can never take the place of an involved parent.  If you are a contributing member of society, call your mother or father today and thank them. If you are not, you better hope your mother does not find out and humiliate you on national television.

 

3. Respect and Authority

Suspect Dies Baltimore
The increasing public displays of disrespect for officials in sports is a prophetic warning for a culture moving in the same direction. Consider how the world’s diminishing respect for authority will culminate in more and larger displays of violence like Ferguson to Baltimore.

It starts with a parent at the ballpark screaming obscenities at a little league umpire or dressing down a teacher for grading too harshly at a parent-teacher conference.

It continues with professional athletes using homophobic slurs towards the commissioner of their league and a congressmen shouting disrespectfully at the office of the President of the United States.

We can choose respect for each other and the authorities placed over us – especially when they make mistakes. Only then will we be in any position to affect change over the true injustices that are happening all around us.

 

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Shake It Off

June 14th, 2012 | Comments Off on Shake It Off

There is a growing trend of athletes not shaking hands or congratulating an opponent following a tough loss.

Bill Belichick walked off the field before Super Bowl XLII was officially over.

A young Lebron James exited the 2009 NBA Eastern Finals sans fist bumps.

The British Olympic Association is encouraging its athletes to not shake hands in the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics.

And now Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo are joining in on an ugly fad of not acknowledging an opponent following a tough loss.

Following one particular game (during the ceremonial sportsmanlike handshake line), I childishly told each player that they were bags of garbage and played like garbage.

Inevitably, word got back to my father (one of my coaches), who made himself very clear. Not only was I going to apologize to the opposing team, but if ever did something like that again, my sporting career would be over.

When you fail to honor an opponent, you fail to honor the game itself. And a game without honor is a game not worth playing, much less winning.

Aside from accidentally motivating your opponent to play better, risking further humiliation during the post-game handshake was a great deterrent to trash talking an opponent before or during a game. Who would risk eating their prideful banter in the grinning face of their victorious opponent?

If this petulant behavior continues, expect severe insults to increase, on-court confrontations to escalate, and respect amongst competitors to diminish.

Don’t believe me?  Ask Mr. Garnett how his peers feel about him.

The easiest way to practice for honoring your opponent at the end of the game, is to honor your opponent throughout the game.

The Lead Block challenges players and coaches to honor their opponents, on and off the court. To find out more about how you can become a part, click HERE.

 

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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 – Moving On

December 21st, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Moving On

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

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

With the playoffs all but out of reach and Matt Hasselbeck’s underwhelming season, Mike Munchak must consider the possibility of making the move to Jake Locker.

2. Nashville Predators (17-12-4, 38pts) (4th in WC-Central)

The Predators were on the move until having their 5-game winning streak broken by Alexander Ovechkin. Nashville’s inconsistency is mirrored by goalie, Pekka Rinne.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Moving Forward)

Shane Battier took his talents to South Beach and now the Grizzlies will need to move on without the services of forward Darrell Arthur. At least Marc Gasol was resigned.

4. Chicago Cubs (zzzz… Moves)

The new regime seems content to build slowly and from the inside out. Ian Stewart is hardly a replacement for Aramis Ramirez, but Carlos Zambrano might not move out.

5. Final Block (Moving On)

The Lead Block specializes in preparing players for life after school and after a sporting career at any level. Find out how you can become a part and click ABOUT.

 

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Perfectly Imperfect

December 19th, 2011 | Comments Off on Perfectly Imperfect

The Colts and Packers each had their pursuits of perfection halted on Sunday.

Indianapolis’ season has been a case study of a practice in futility, as the Manning-less Colts invented new ways to lose week after week, to the tune of 0-13.

When perfection is lost, a void remains to be filled.

On Sunday, the Colts hosted the playoff-hungry Tennessee Titans and provided yet another reminder that humility, heart, and hustle give any team a chance to win.

The result? The Colts handed the depleted Titans their worst defeat of the season and all but ended this young team’s lofty hopes of a playoff berth.

All season the Colts allowed the void to be filled by other teams and media experts. But not today. Today, they filled the void with big plays, confidence, and calm poise.

Character is not measure of a perfection, but of your handling of imperfection.

The Green Bay Packers’ season has been a case study in the practice of dominance, as Aaron Rodgers’ record-shattering performances led the Pack to a 13-0 start.

Perfection can motivate towards excellence.

The Packers traveled to Kansas City atop an undefeated season and fell prey to a team that brought plenty of heart and hustle to the field for their interim head coach.

The result? A humbling first loss of the season. Now Green Bay must regroup and battle for home field advantage in the final weeks against two division rivals.

All season the Pack used perfection to fuel their pursuit of excellence. Their first true test of the season is not the Chiefs, Bears, or Lions. It is their response to failing.

Character does not require perfection, but a humble appreciation of it.

Sometimes we chase perfection at the expense of character. And most of the time, we either fall short and justify our failure or succeed at the cost of our integrity.

It is rarely if ever perfect, but playing and living with character is the only attainable and meaningful victory worth achieving anyway.

The Lead Block values character in its players above perfection, so win or lose they are better prepared for life. Find out how you can become a part and click ABOUT.

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Weekly Block – Pursuit of Perfection

September 14th, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Pursuit of Perfection

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

1. Scott Stallings (46th in FedEx Cup Points)(34th on the Money List)

The BMW Championship is up next. Best of luck, Mr. Stallings.  Also, if you are in the Knoxville area on October 7th, get a free lesson from Scott at D1-Knoxville.

2. Chicago Cubs (65-83)(5th in NL Central)

Starlin Castro is far from perfect, but this year makes it clear he is the future of the Cubs organization. In sad personal news, this year’s trip to Wrigley is cancelled.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Taking a Charge)

Shane Battier, the master of taking charges, shares who is the best at avoiding him.  But, it may surprise you who he avoids taking a charge from the most in the NBA.

4. Tennessee Titans (New Team, Same Story)

Without previous punching bags Jeff Fisher and Vince Young for fans to bemoan, Matt Hasselbeck jumped out to early lead as the Titan’s Sunday scapegoat.

5. Final Block (Pursuit of Perfection)

Is it just me, or is Tom Brady getting better every season?

He started his NFL career with 3 Super Bowl championships in 4 seasons.

A couple of years ago, I was sure he was a better quarterback than Peyton Manning (the only other active NFL quarterback that belongs in a conversation with Brady).  Then, Manning won a Super Bowl of his own AND rolled over Brady’s Patriots to do it.

I admit, I reconsidered the Brady vs. Manning debate after that game.

Then, Brady threw more touchdowns (50) than any quarterback in a season. Ever.
Simultaneously, he led the Pats to the first undefeated regular season in 30+ years.
Last year, he threw 36 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions. Are you kidding me?!

Now this.

In the last 10 seasons, the Pats only missed the playoffs twice (one of which, Brady was injured), while posting an astounding regular season record in games Brady started.

Tom Brady: 126-29 (.812)
Peyton Manning: 125-45 (.735)

Ben Roethlisberger: 70-30 (.700)
Aaron Rodgers: 21-11 (.656)
Drew Brees: 80-44 (.645)

Peyton Manning may be the most valuable player to his team.
Aaron Rodgers may be the current defending champ.
Ben Roethlisberger may have 2 Super Bowl rings.
Drew Brees and Philip Rivers may be amazing.

But, Tom Brady stands alone among active passers in the NFL.

Previous coaches rave about him, almost as much as splashy new players.

Most importantly, the ball is not the only thing Brady spreads around the field. Do not take for granted Tom Terrific’s humility and willingness to share the credit. Winners face temptations as frequently as losers.

Tom Brady is not perfect. But, maybe his pursuit of perfection is the next best thing.

 

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