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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#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 – 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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Best RedBig Make a Difference

August 26th, 2011 | Comments Off on Best RedBig Make a Difference

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

1. Trouble in Paradise
Courtesy of Mike Silver and Yahoo! Sports

Whether trouble lurks under the calm surface of the NFL labor agreement, remains to be seen. But, I disagree with defending the immature and unappreciative.

2. Come Fly with Duke
Courtesy of Jeff Eisenberg

Frequently, I defend athletes and the athletic system.  The money and platform athletics generate are an opportunity to change the world, not circumnavigate it.

3. Cool Contest
Courtesy of Arian Foster and Twitter

Like him or not, Foster is agreat example of what athletes are capable of doing when given influence and a platform. Way to be, Arian!                       -Signed a Titans fan

 

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Weekly Block – Locked-In

July 27th, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Locked-In

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 RBC Canadian Open)(88th in FedExCup Points)

Holding strong in the top 100, Stallings added another strong finish to his rookie season.  He also shared this interesting article about the PGA’s labor situation.

2. Chicago Cubs (42-61)(5th in NL Central)

One of the most difficult skills to learn in baseball is locking in on a ball in the milliseconds it takes to cross the plate. And Starlin Castro is a perfect example.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Lockout Love Letter)

From Shane Battier: Dear @NBA, the @NFL makeup has inspired us all. How’s this sound? You, me, a house at the shore, some Asti, and that mixtape you made me?

4. Tennessee Titans (Locker Era Begins)

As expected, Baptist Sports Park was open to Titan players who flocked to the facility from all parts of the country.  Jake Locker made the biggest statement, arriving first.

5. Final Block (Locked-In)

Unless you live under a rock, you heard that the NFL Lockout officially ended yesterday morning.  With that highly anticipated settlement will come a flurry of activity not seen in the modern era of professional football.

But, what does this mean to the average NFL fan?

First, your favorite team will probably make some significant roster changes.  The player salary cap (shared NFL revenue allotted for players’ salaries) is lower than 2010.  More importantly, the NFL will now impose a salary spending floor.

This means that several teams will reduce their star-studded rosters (Cowboys, Giants, Raiders, and Steelers), while others will be required to expand (Buccaneers, Seahawks, Bengals, Bills, and Bears).

Second, your favorite team will probably under-perform early in the season.  Off-season training activities were missed league-wide and even though training camps will start this week, most are already way behind schedule.

This is good news if your team has a difficult schedule early, because it is likely the opponents will not be at their best.  Then again, perennial powers (i.e. Patriots, Steelers, Colts) will be ready from running consistent systems.

Finally, if your favorite team is in a transition, prepare for a tougher season than usual.  The lockout wasted critical introduction and installation months for new front offices, coaches, coordinators, and players.

Look for the Titans, 49ers, Panthers, Cardinals, and Vikings to struggle early and often as they scramble to make up for lost time from this off-season.  Keep an eye on the Cards though, because they have the best opportunity to prove me wrong.

At the end of the day, the resolution to the NFL Lockout really only means one thing… football is back.  Amen.

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Multiply and Conquer

July 25th, 2011 | Comments Off on Multiply and Conquer

When it comes to investing time or money, multiplication is a good thing.

You invest in retirement (hopefully) and keep money in a bank instead of between your mattresses (bold assumption).

Why?  Because it multiplies your money.  The same is true with time.

You schedule a business meeting over lunch and text/e-mail/tweet/facebook (sometimes simultaneously) while you drive.

Why?  Because it multiplies your time.  You get more value for your minutes.

Next week, The Lead Block will officially launch and begin mentoring four student athletes at three high schools.  Besides development services and mentoring appointments, each player will be equipped to become a multiplying force in their community and any future community they call home.

Cortland Finnegan (Ark31 Foundation)
Ryan Dempster (Dempster Family Foundation)
Shane Battier (The Battier Take Charge Foundation)

Like these professional athletes, each Lead Block player will be challenged to not only make a plan for their destiny, but to plan to positively affect the destiny of their community.

This increases the positive influence throughout East Tennessee and multiples the return on investment for sponsors and donors.  Each dollar and every minute given to a player will multiply in its ability to build and restore individuals and communities.

The end-goal for The Lead Block becomes simple.  To multiply and conquer.

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Best Red – Sure Bet

July 22nd, 2011 | Comments Off on Best Red – Sure Bet

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

1. Arian Foster signs CBA
Courtesy of Arian Foster (@ArianFoster) and Twitter

The former University of Tennessee and current Houston Texan running back posted this last night on his twitter feed.  Apparently, the NFL Lockout is still on…

2. NCAA12 Gator Chomp
Courtesy of YouTube and EA Sports

I may be a closet Florida Gator fan (in post-Tebow depression), but this is still a hilarious spot by EA promoting one of their perennial, powerhouse video games.

3. Sure Bet
Courtesy of Yahoo! Sports and Jay Busbee

If I were taking a sure bet on someone making a clutch shot, the last person on the planet I would bet against would be #23.  Besides, who heckles Michael Jordan?

 

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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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Weekly Block – Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

June 29th, 2011 | 2 comments

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

1. Scott Stallings (81st on the PGA Tour money list)

If you have not heard about this rising star, it is probably because PGA tournament coverage is in serious need of an overhaul.  With Tiger Woods in the clubhouse, the Tour has never been more in need of a fresh spark to maintain their high viewer ratings. Solution?  Take the cameras off those pricey towers and put more cameras in groups. Check Scott out on Bnet.com or follow him on twitter @stallingsgolf.

2. Chicago Cubs (32-47)(4th NL Central)

Yes, I am one of the tortured fans of everyone’s lovable losers.  Although the future looks bright with rumors of the Cubs bringing big-time slugger Albert Pujols to the Windy City, losing 2 out of 3 to the Kansas City Royals is unbearable.  Face it Wrigley faithful, the 2011 season is over.  Starting pitching is abysmal (average ERA above 4.00) and the Cubs are on pace for 100 losses.  (Sigh).

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Draft Josh Selby 49th overall in NBA Draft)

The good news is Selby was once considered a top overall recruit.  The bad news is that Selby was once considered a top overall recruit.  The NCAA suspension is not necessarily a bad omen, especially considering Memphis’ most recent turnaround success story, Zach Randolph.  But, the hasty departure from Kansas and troubling statistics from his lone season mean his work will be cut out for him to stay.

4. Tennessee Titans (Troubled Titans)

In news of the bizarre, Titans receiver Damian Williams successfully assisted police catch his alleged assault victim in an attempt to extort money from him.  Williams assault charge has been dropped and the woman extorting him has been charged.  In the public eye, professional athletes are often times guilty until proven innocent.  Which is exactly why they should always exhibit excessive caution.

5. Final Block (Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems)

The world of business and sports are in the midst of the biggest crisis in my lifetime.  Between the NFL labor dispute, a looming NBA lockout, the complete financial collapse of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and rampant money scandals rewriting sports history books, I have had enough.

Despite a floundering economy, the American sports industry generally (MLS and WNBA, aside) continues to explode with profit and interest.  So here is a quick message to all those involved in ridiculous and litigious lunacy.

To Owners / School Administrators: You are not the only ones who assume risk in this business.  Pay the players (yes, college players, too).  When they are happy and performing, you get richer and win trophies.  It is just good business.

To Players: Spend (and save) your money wisely and discreetly.  And do not be afraid to call out peers that do not!  Most of you work too hard to let this foolish few spoil a good thing.  Show owners and fans you respect their support.

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