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

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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Best Red – Believe

May 26th, 2013 | Comments Off on Best Red – Believe

Best Red shares the best sports articles or inspiring videos of the week.


1. The Block
Courtesy of CBS Sports and Roy Hibbert

Defense in any sport is a precious and sadly fleeting commodity. In the NBA, a growing fear of posterization has led many players to not take the risk this Pacer did.

2. People are Awesome
Courtesy of YouTube and Andreas Norholt

Visual proof that anything is possible.

3. High School Training Ground
Courtesy of TED and Malcolm London

“Young poet, educator and talented activist Malcolm London performs his stirring poem about life on the front lines of high school.” Words cannot describe his words.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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