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


October 29th, 2014 | Comments Off on Hopeless

The Department of Education estimates that 1.2 million students are homeless.

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Let that sink in.

This is the highest figure in the history of the United States.  Of those 1.2 million, Sports Illustrated extrapolates that 100,000 of those students are student athletes.


“By age 12, 83% of homeless students have been exposed to at least one serious violent event”

“A 2011 study of homeless youth in Salt Lake City found that 84% had experienced physical and/or sexual abuse as minors”

“Homeless children go hungry twice as often as other children and are five times more likely suffer gastrointestinal problems”

“Only 51% of homeless high school students tested nationwide met or exceeded state proficiency standards in math [and only] 49% met or exceeded proficiency in reading [in 2012-13]”  ::Sports Illustrated, 2014::


If that does not motivate you to do something, stop reading.

High school and college athletics are a genuine passion of mine, but they are just games. For The Lead Block, it is really about the student athletes.

Mentoring, challenging, and paving the way for the homeless, hopeless, under performing, abused and hungry student athletes to leverage their gifts on and off the field to create a future they will want to live in.

We work with players whose fathers, uncles, and brothers are serving terms in prison. Players whose breakfast mentoring appointments will provide the only breakfast the player will eat all week. Players who, only until recently, had no aspirations of attending college.

We are making a difference.

One player at a time.

We are looking to add 5 more players in January of 2015.  And we are asking for you to join us and sponsor a player today.


Call (865-896-9666) or email ( us today and make a difference in the life of a student.

:: Sponsors receive monthly player updates, a Lead Block Nike Dri-fit shirt, and a chance for 2 sideline passes to the TSSAA Football State Championships ::





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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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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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Best Red – In Search of Honor

October 14th, 2011 | Comments Off on Best Red – In Search of Honor

Every Friday, Best Red will list the best sports articles (or videos) of the week.

1. Woman of Honor
Courtesy of Jonathan Wall and Yahoo! Sports

Ignoring the storm this story creates, Mina Johnson deserves a moment of honor for putting her team before herself, regardless the circumstances.  Well done, Mina!

2. Philly Fans Strike Again
Courtesy of Greg Wyshynski and Yahoo! Sports

Snowballs at Santa, cheering injured players, and now booing a cancer ad? Demonstrating humility and honoring your opponent never seemed so smart.

3. Meanest Player in the NFL
Courtesy of Chris Chase and Yahoo! Sports

These are just for fun, but Sports Illustrated seems extra proud of their results for dirtiest player and meanest player. Why not ask who is the most respected player?


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Best Red – Best of the Best

July 15th, 2011 | Comments Off on Best Red – Best of the Best

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

1. Best Dressed at the ESPYs
Courtesy of David Brown and Yahoo! Sports

As fans, let us never forget that all sports are for our entertainment.  Leaving the only question… are you not entertained?!  I am, Mr. Wilson.  I am.

2. Best Sports Twitter Users
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Regardless your location or favorite sport, you would be hard-pressed to scroll down this list and not find someone worth adding to your twitter feed.

3. Best Futbol Match Ever
Courtesy of YouTube and ESPN

U.S. Women’s Soccer will play for another World Cup.  But before booting France on Wednesday, came the greatest come-from-behind victory in the history of futbol.

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Best Red – Best First Pitch Ever

July 1st, 2011 | Comments Off on Best Red – Best First Pitch Ever

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

1. Top 10 Revelations from SI’s oral history of ‘Major League’
By Rob Iracane

What baseball fan does not enjoy this classic?  The article had everything, a Jeremy Piven mention, Charlie Sheen using drugs, and a real Pedro Cerrano homerun.

2. Higher Education: Burn Rate for Cornerbacks
By Doug Farrar

We all know about Revis’ Island, but this is a very interesting article analyzing the coverage ability of the NFL’s best and worst cornerbacks in 2010.

3. Cirque du Soleil Throws First Pitch at San Diego Padres game
Courtesy of

Best first pitch, ever.  The Chicago Cubs should consider signing him.  Seriously.

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