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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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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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 – A Tribute

September 7th, 2011 | 1 comment

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)

Stallings is not the only PGA rookie vying for a spot in the FedEx Cup chase and he shared some thoughts on why this has been the year of the rookie in the PGA.

2. Chicago Cubs (61-81)(5th in NL Central)

Looking at the Cubs roster only increases the frustration of another lost season, due to poor management.  Mike Quade is clearly not a long term solution in Chicago.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Josh, freaking, Selby)

So, it looks like Josh Selby might be for real.  Whether this summer demonstration translates onto the floor remains to be seen.  Just like the NBA season.

4. Tennessee Titans (Waking a Sleeping Titan)

Although, it is popular to sleep on the Titans winning the AFC South.  Let us not forget the Texans are automatically disqualified and the Jaguars just gave up.

5. Final Block (10 Years Later)

This Sunday, the NFL will kick off the 2011 season on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.  Although this tragic event in American history is one of the darkest moments of our generation, it has also revealed some of the best parts of humanity.

Honor.  Courage.  Community.

I just wanted to stop and thank all those who serve in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world.  Thank you for your service and for your sacrifice to protect our freedom.

And while stories like this put a game like football into perspective, you can just feel that Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL are going to honor this somber anniversary with the highest respect and thoughtful preparation.

It may be just a game, but Sunday will have a little more significance than usual.

Be sure to drop by tomorrow for predictions of all this weekend’s NFL games.

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Weekly Block – Meet John Lackey

July 20th, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Meet John Lackey

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

1. Scott Stallings (Next: RBC Canadian Open)(91st on the PGA Tour money list)

Although, Scott is one of the best PGA Tour rookies this year, that doesn’t prevent him from setting higher goals.  Look for Stallings on a major leaderboard very soon.

2. Chicago Cubs (39-59)(5th in NL Central)

The Cubs are 20 games below .500.  But, they did manage to defeat arguably the best pitcher in the National League in Roy Halladay, with a little heat help.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (SPACE AVAILABLE FOR LEASE)

The weekly Grizz Nation update has been cancelled on account of sickening greed and a wholly corrupt business model.  Nashville Predator updates, anyone?

4. Tennessee Titans (Britt-ney Spears)

Randy Moss is out and Kenny Britt will likely be the first cuffed by a Roger Goddell post-lockout suspension.  Sitting Jake Locker in 2011 just became obligatory.

5. Final Block (Meet John Lackey)

Have you heard the story of Boston Red Sox pitcher, John Lackey?  Catch up here.

So, how should a professional, collegiate, or competitive team handle a player that is struggling on-the-field because of personal issues off-the-field?

Grant a furlough? Cut him? Start him? Bench him?

Complicating this issue is the factor affecting Lackey’s performance (his wife’s battle with breast cancer) is outside of his or the team’s control.  There are no guidelines, little precedent, and very divisive opinions on the topic.

The game of life is not always a thoughtfully scheduled, fairly officiated, or understandably scored.  Yet, some of life’s greatest analogies derive from athletic competitions.

This story is no different.  If, the Red Sox seize the opportunity.

Lackey needs the support of his team and franchise in this difficult time.  Should he start?  Maybe not.  But, what if the Red Sox considered temporary assignment.

What about using him for relief work?

Or taking this distracting opportunity to spend time improving his delivery?

Or theme a Breast Cancer Awareness night at Fenway Park in his wife’s honor?

The options are as limitless as Boston’s imagination for addressing their needs and the needs of one of their starting pitchers.  Do the right thing, BoSox Nation and make this happen.

Even Yankee fans could get behind something like this…

 

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Best Red – Field of Dreams 2

July 8th, 2011 | Comments Off on Best Red – Field of Dreams 2

Every Friday, Best Red will be the best sports articles (or videos) I found this week.

1. Carl on The Big Break at Indian Wells
Courtesy of the GolfChannel.com

If you are a casual golfer and are not watching The Big Break Indian Wells, shame on you.  This and Hard Knocks are the only reality shows on TV worth watching.

2. Human Homerun
Courtesy of YouTube

Back, back, back, back, back, back… gone in the head. 

3. Field of Dreams 2: NFL Lockout
Courtesy of FunnyOrDie.com

I never thought something could bring together Twilight and NFL fans and yet this is it.  Sadly, Ray Lewis out-acts Taylor Laughter… but what else is new?


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