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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Next Play

Family –

As you know this blog is dedicated to using sport as a conduit to understanding the importance of character development through sport and partially to spark some conversation regarding specific events that happen in the sports’ world.

One of the recurring themes that we’ve all faced is the importance of the “next play.” Since the time we were young our coaches (hopefully) have emphasized the importance of fundamentals, toughness and execution… but within those three critical points there is something else that I would add to this simple success equation.

Why thank you…. I’m glad you asked.

My point would be to simply “move on to the next play.”

What does that mean exactly?

Again… glad you asked.

Getting to the “next play” simply means moving on and learning from the mistakes that we’ve made in the past. No one… NO ONE makes all the right decisions ALL of the time. This is true in sport from the youth level all the way up to the pinnacle of the professional ranks… it’s even more relevant in our life decisions.

How many times have we (I know I have) beat ourselves up for a poor decision that has long since passed? Using the proverbial bat to whack ourselves over the head for a bone-headed decision that in retrospect shouldn’t have been made? Living in the comfortably-numb state of “If I had only….?”

I know right? Happens all the time…
Which One Will You Choose?

In those moments if we could reach back to the times in our sport experience where we had to “move on to the next play” maybe some of our self-loathing, destructive thought processes could be eradicated.

Think about it… if you throw an interception or fumble in football – “next play.” If you make a turnover or miss a lay-up in basketball – “next play.” If you happen to give up a goal in soccer, hockey or lacrosse – “next play.” If you give up a home run or commit an error in baseball or softball – “next play.”

So if you happen to be in a negative situation brought on by a poor decision that was made in the past – “next play.”  The good news is life never runs out of plays… until life itself is over. 

Games always have a time limit.

I’m a true believer in the idea that we cannot move forward when we are labored with the ghosts of the past. Now that doesn’t mean that the decisions we’ve made in the past don’t have an effect on us today, but it does mean we can choose to move forward and attack each day to enjoy every morsel of positive energy it can bring… or we can choose to wallow in shame and self-pity refusing to forgive ourselves and get on with our lives.

The choice my good family is ours to make. We can worry about previous life events that happened to be negative and miss the excitement and goodness of what’s yet to come or we can simply run the “next play.”

Which will you choose??

Sport is Life.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pump Yo' Brakes

Family –

My apologies for taking so long to get back to the laptop, but since spring football started there has been a huge time commitment that has required most all of my attention. To that end, I would be remiss if I didn’t write a short commentary on the current Everett Golson issue that caught us off gua… well some of us off guard this past weekend.

First, let me say that I am in no way minimizing the magnitude of this issue or condoning cheating… however, there have been many before  Golson who have ( hmmmm… how should I put this mildly?)… bent the academic integrity of du Lac at some point. That’s just a simple part of college life... even at Notre Dame. To think the unthinkable that it couldn’t happen at Notre Dame is simply preposterous. If you happen to be one of those people who believe “this kind of thing never happens at Notre Dame” then WAKE UP! That’s almost like saying there’s no under-age drinking or premarital sex there either!

Nevertheless I digress…
Everett Golson Spring Football '13
Photo: AP

Secondly, let’s look at this from a different perspective. Did Golson cheat by himself? I mean, let’s face it… if there’s cheating going on there’s more than one person involved…period. Is the other party a member of the football team as well? Is Golson taking the brunt of this blow because of his stature as a Notre Dame star quarterback? What’s the back story behind this whole thing?

This kinda reminds me (on a much lesser level) of the Mike Vick scandal which basically took him down as the only one involved in the dogfighting ring and he took full responsibility because of who he was….not necessarily for what he did. I know that might offend some animal lovers out there, but there’s glaring truth there. If we think Mike Vick was the only professional athlete or high profile person at those “hosted” dogfights we need to WAKE UP! Again, not defending the action, but making the point that he didn't act alone.

Hmmmmm…let’s see… if Golson plagiarized then there had to be something or someone he plagiarized from, right? If he cheated on an exam there had to be something or someone he cheated with, right? I don’t know about you, but I would rather have all of the ingredients to my cake before I take a bite. By that I mean, let’s just hold off on passing judgment until we have all the facts of the case. Per usual, my Alma Mater is being as tight-lipped about this incident as possible given its sensitive nature AND the potential risk of stain to the Notre Dame persona.

Thirdly, let’s remember this is a kid… not saying that he didn’t make a poor choice, but he’s still a kid… Raise your hand if you never made a bad decision. Exactly... the only difference is that it probably wasn't played out in the national media circus. Now there are rumors about him leaving to go to the SEC and Gunner Kiel returning… baaaah hogwash! Kids make bad decisions… just because he happens to be the starting quarterback at one of the most storied educational institutions in the land doesn’t negate that fact. 

How ‘bout this…. Let’s get all the facts about the situation before we condemn Golson as an immoral son of Cain. Is that possible? I think there’s something really “special” about wearing number five at Notre Dame these days… good grief!

Jus sayin’

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

At What Point is Enough... Enough?

Family –

As you know, I’ve taken some time away from the pen…err… keyboard to work on getting ready for the upcoming football season and to develop some projects that should be dropping in the fall. I’ve missed sharing my thoughts with you.

I come to you today asking for your counsel…. I have one simple question for you: “At what point is enough... enough?”

The reason I ask this question is that a close, personal friend of mine called me today and told me that his son quit his high school football program because of the head football coach. Now, this might not seem like such a big deal to you since this kind of thing happens every day, but let me give you a little bit of the “back story.”

This student-athlete played six (6) years of youth football and was one of my personal clients for three years prior to beginning his high school career. During his freshman year he won the team’s “Ironman of the Year” Award which was given to the kid who, in the mind of the coaching staff, embodied everything they expect from a player with regard to toughness, commitment and respect for coaches, other players and the game of football. He also boasts a 4.7 GPA while taking five... count them five AP courses!
Former Quarterback Blake McBride - 2012

That’s not even the worst of it…

When the young man came in to tell the coach he no longer wanted to be part of the program, the coach didn’t even ask why… his statement was: “Ok… go see your counselor” which is to imply go see your counselor to change your schedule to get out of the 7th period football class.

Wait... what? Is that it?

This just so happens to be the same coach to whom I asked my former coach Lou Holtz how to approach knowing he had no intent to protect and develop young men, but rather to win games (which he has failed to do consistently in his 7 years as head coach). The great Joe Ehrmann even spoke at the high school last week… and it’s obvious to this former football parent and current varisty football coach that this man wasn’t in attendance.

The ultimate slap in this whole thing is that this is a Catholic School who boasts its faith and community to everyone while allowing its young people to be bullied by someone who is trusted to help build the leaders of tomorrow!


At what point is enough... enough? When does the school take notice of the attrition of athletes from the football program and those leaving the school to participate in the same sport at another school before they do something? What is a parent to do? More importantly what are the kids to do? Kids want to play football, but would rather give it up than deal with encouraged bullying by the very institution they’re paying to educate them. Exactly what are they supposed to be learning from all of this? What would you do? What is anyone to do in this situation?

Something, is seriously wrong here… but then again denial comes in all shapes, forms and sizes. 

Private Catholic school lends no exception.