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Becoming a True Champion Chat

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jaylin Fleming: The Nation's Finest 10-Year-Old Basketball Player - WOW!!!

(Photo from
Chicago Tribume)
In today's Chicago Tribune, Anne Stein highlights the exceptional talents of a very young and rising basketball star (can you be a rising star at 10?) in her article The Best 10-Year-Old Basketball Player in America. On the current online version of this story, they have a video demonstrating Jaylin's basketball prowess, along with comments from his father regarding how he is being raised and where Jaylin's and his family's priorities are.

What I find most interesting as I watched the video clip, and read through the commentary in the article, is how much of what Jaylin is doing and dedicating himself to resembles what I went through as an athlete my last year of high school, only, for me, at a much older age. His passion for mastering the skills of his sport, at least at this point, is very evident, and the solid foundational upbringing of placing family, school, and religion as important pieces in his life is also obvious.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Inspirational Sports Speaking Presentation: Achieving the Impossible

Ever wonder how certain athletes, certain people, are able to accomplish objectives (goals) through adverse conditions or circumstances that look, from the outside, to be insurmountable?

I mean, how is it that people like Jim Abbott (former one-handed pitcher), Wilma Rudolph (polio survivor who was never expected to walk again, yet won 3 gold medals in track), or the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team (who went on to win gold after defeating the best hockey team on the planet, the Russians, in the semis) are able to "beat the odds." Examples like this exist at all levels of competition, and in all types of sports. Even though few in number, they are there representing a pinnacle of performance not many seem to be able to reach - or that is what most believe.

NCAA March Madness: Low Graduation Rates For Some - Why?

There has been a swirl of articles floating around on the internet pertaining to the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's statement that teams with a graduation rate below 40% should not be allowed in the NCAA tournament, something that the Chicago Sun-Times expanded on in its article, Low grad rate should bench NCAA teams, this past Sunday.

Much of the information currently presented centers its focus on basketball and March Madness stating that there are 12 teams in the men's tournament below this 40% level, some of which are as low as 8%. Sure had to scratch my head on that one. Do they go to class at the University of Maryland?

Tim Tebow: Can He Make It In The NFL?

In perusing the internet looking for various sports stories of interest, I came across several conversations about Tim Tebow and what others think he can and can't accomplish. This young quarterback from Florida is currently facing the daunting task of silencing his critics and becoming a premiere NFL quarterback, something I believe to be a goal of his based on what I have read.

Now, I certainly do not claim myself to be an expert on football (especially quarterbacks), something I am sure my colleagues where I teach, and coached, would be quick to point out given half the chance. However, I do believe I have some insight into what it takes to overcome adversity in athletics (Becoming a True Champion). Tim's story, still at its beginning, just hits home with me.

MLB Union Opposed To Blood Test for HGH: Go Figure!!!

In today's NY Daily News, it is reported that the World Anti-Doping Agency is encouraging Major League Baseball to take a stand and start testing for use of HGH (Human Growth Hormone), something the MLB players union has not been in favor of. Yea, what a surprise!

The article World Anti-Doping Agency calls on Major League Baseball to implement HGH testing by Christian Red and Nathaniel Vinton delves into the idea that the players union feels it "inappropriate" for blood testing to be done. They are much more inclined to approve a urine test but seem to be opposed to a blood test for this or any other performance-enhancing drugs (PED).

Do Not Miss: "The Long Green Line"

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to watch the award winning film, The Long Green Line by LGL Productions. A colleague of mine, a fellow teacher and coach, strongly suggested that I see it. He felt the film would help support and confirm all the positive things sports should be encouraging in others.

Now traditionally, I am a sucker for true-to-life stories that motivate; however, documentary-type films are not necessarily the kind that jumps to the top of my list. That particular point is what made this film such a nice surprise (it most certainly did not disappoint) as it details Joe Newton's incredibly successful coaching career at York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, and the rest: Are They Truly Hall of Fame Material?

In this Sunday's PARADE section of the Chicago Tribune, the article Do Steroid Users Have a Place in the Hall of Fame? raises a question that holds some heated debate within a variety of sports venues, something it will do for some time to come. even has an online poll, asked from a different slant than their article title (be careful of this), for individuals to vote one way or the other. And the current statistical trend seems to be weighing heavily on the YES they should NOT be allowed into the Hall of Fame side of the equation.

For me, the answer is simple, and, aside from what some who read my posts might guess, has no direct relevance to the poor character choices these athletes have made and examples they have set.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A Tribute to John Wooden: A Role Model For Us All

The first time I ever heard the name John Wooden was during a master's course I was taking for a post-graduate degree in administration. One of my assignments was to write a synopsis on a video of Coach Wooden's principles, relating his beliefs to information being taught in the course. Before then, I really had no idea who John Wooden was - let alone his coaching accomplishments. He was not someone I had ever come across. Boy, what a small world I lived in, right?

Pushing the video into my VCR, I sat back on my couch, with a pad of paper and pencil to jot down some notes, and proceeded to watch what I thought would be a mundane lecture on success, leadership, or something else along those lines. However, what I got was so much more.

Monday, March 01, 2010

College Recruits Getting Younger and Younger: Kindergarten the next great recruiting venue!!!

Ok, let me make sure I have this right. According to ESPN Los Angeles, Sills, 13, commits to USC, and MaxPreps, Delaware seventh-grader is a USC commit, we now have 13-year-old student athletes making college commitments. Is this for real? Do 13-year-olds even know what size underwear their mom buys them, let alone what college will be the best fit five years into their future?

Look, I am all about dedication, commitment, setting high goals, and becoming the best one can be; however, adding to that the challenge of college decision-making at such a young age? Not so sure about that one.


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