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

Aaron

July 30th, 2015 | Comments Off on Aaron

I will always remember the first time I met Aaron.

Aaron Catholic

It was the second week of an already promising season. And although his team was off to a rough start at 0-1 with another difficult opponent looming, they were still the prohibitive favorites to win another state title.

Winning is something that comes easy to Aaron, his charisma and intelligence are matched only by his ability to turn seemingly impossible plays into effortless displays of athleticism on the field.

Today was different. Today Aaron was going to lose.

Milling about practices is a regular activity as a mentor with The Lead Block, supporting a current player or discovering a student in search of their destiny.

Looking

Murmurs from the players and coaches are what I noticed first, then the reason came into view. A school administrator, still adorned in suit and tie, walked purposefully and solemnly towards the head coach.

The whispered gossip was enough to piece together that Aaron was in trouble.

After a quick exchange between administrator and coach, Aaron was motioned to join the impromptu meeting. A simple September practice faded to silence.

With a labored nod, Aaron turned and trotted towards the locker room.

His season was over.

The entire team had just witnessed Aaron’s expulsion from school.

A few weeks later, Aaron and I met briefly for lunch to discuss his future. And he agreed that mentoring was something he would be interested in trying out.

34 mentoring appointments, 8 tutoring sessions, a raised ACT score, and college scholarship offer later, Aaron changed his destiny.

Aaron told me over lunch today (the day I wrote this post) that he did not know what to think of a complete stranger calling him up, offering to meet for lunch, and talk about his future. He was not looking for a mentor.

But, we were looking for him.

BenDariusKevin

Partner with us (CLICK HERE) so The Lead Block can find 5 more Aarons on fields, courts, and in classrooms all over Knoxville.

By the way, Aaron did end up returning to play his senior year and led his team to what would ultimately be the first of three consecutive state titles.  That May, he graduated high school on-time and is currently working towards finishing his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Tennessee.

Aaron plans to start his own business later this year, purchasing homes in Knoxville, fixing them up, and renting them out to families that need affordable housing.

“Those breakfast talks are the best foundation I could have right now.” – Aaron

Remember, it is Aaron that deserves all the credit.  Because at The Lead Block, we will always be about the players scoring their destiny.

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Disappointing

October 7th, 2014 | Comments Off on Disappointing

University of Florida Head Coach Will Muschamp delivers a quote that reveals the ugly landscape in competitive collegiate sports.

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Just two Saturdays ago, University of Georgia head coach Mark Richt delivered this wise observation following an exciting win over the University of Tennessee.

Well said, Coach.

Sadly, the battle of mutual respect between players appears lost with examples like this and this. The next front appears to be coaches, after this emotionally-powered blast from University of Florida head coach Will Muschamp on Saturday just moments after Florida defeated Tennessee 10-9 in Neyland Stadium.

First off, it is worth mentioning that Muschamp is on the coaching hot seat and this win could go a long way in helping him keep his job through the end of the season.

Also, sometimes it seems baiting by media and the fans that consume it, to ram a microphone in the face of a player or coach immediately following a mentally and emotionally taxing marathon of physical competition.

Finally, as consumers of competitive collegiate sports, it is important to be honest with ourselves. If we expect collegiate sports to be about character, education, teamwork, and the molding of young minds, then we need to begin behaving as though values matter more than recruiting classes, wins, and championships.

Coaches and athletic directors are paid by you and I (with our cable subscriptions, tickets, and sports apparel) to win games and championships. Everything else is a peripheral luxury that we blindly hope happens, while fearfully suspecting it is not.

We cannot have it both ways.
We must choose one over the other.
That is how values work.

Just ask University of Texas football fans about their season.

Does Coach Muschamp deserve a pass for his disrespectful and immature snipe?

Not at all, but maybe the blame for a man like Will Muschamp being given an opportunity to influence so many and be heard on national television does not reside in Gainesville, but somewhere a bit closer to home.

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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Sex, Lies, and Coaching

January 3rd, 2012 | Comments Off on Sex, Lies, and Coaching

Like it not, coaches cannot prepare young players for life after the game is over.

A common mistake among those who work in sport is spending a disproportional amount of time on “X’s and O’s” as compared to time spent learning about people.” -Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski

This is not an indictment of the noble profession of coaching or an article meant to belittle the sacrifice of those that devote their lives to guiding young athletes.

Because I do believe the influence of good coaches frequently extends beyond the arena of sports and leaving lasting impressions on players entrusted to their care.

But at the end of the day, too few coaches are impacting too few players.

The scarcity of impacted players is further complicated by the crushing demands athletic programs and fan bases place on coaches. Lying, cheating, stealing, and predatory behavior are only symptoms of this ugly and insidious force at work.

Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” – John Wooden

Even the great Coach Wooden acknowledged that time on the court does little to prepare players for life off the court. Sadly, preparing a winning game plan and executing it on the court determines the legacy of a coach. Not moments like this

Coaches that do not win, will not be coaches for long. Little else matters.

Again, this is not an indictment of the marvel that is competitive sports. However, there is a serious problem if young players and experienced coaches alike are continuously victimized by this system without any hope of guidance or support.

This is for whom The Lead Block was founded.

Too many, for too long have profited from the exploitation of young players.

And innocent others have suffered in silence, while fearful coaches did nothing.

This is why The Lead Block exists.

Imagine a movement that paves the way for young players to score their destiny, through mentoring, secondary-education preparation, and career discovery to develop a plan that equips and empowers each player to succeed, on or off the field.

This is what The Lead Block can do this year.

Imagine an entire generation of young players equipped to become influential forces for good in their homes, their schools, and in their communities. Imagine a culture amongst coaches empowered to impact the character of their players.

You can be a part of The Lead Block. And HERE is how…

 

Happy New Year and see you on the field!
dreWells

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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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