Mascots…A Great Part of the Game

Posted on August 19, 2013 at 12:31 am

You don’t buy your tickets to see the mascots. You don’t wonder what the mascots are going to do when you walk into the stadium. You don’t talk about the mascots after the game on the way home. But, mascots are a big part of the tradition of great sporting events. Whether it is HokieBird from Virginia Tech or Big Al from Alabama, we LOVE our mascots.

The Birmingham Barons have a great tradition where 3 mascots-the Chef, the Hot Dog and The Taco-have a race each game and (spoiler alert), Hot Dog wins(almost always). We look forward to that part of the baseball game.

The point is when you are in the game, the mascot adds flavor to the fun. They have nothing to do with the win (or the loss), but they stand for the idea that it’s a game and it’s fun. In football, there are only about 12 to 14 games a year which means that the fun of being at a game only happens 12 to 14 times a year. That’s not very much in the scope of 365. So, next time you are at a game, look for the mascot and watch him for a few minutes (in between plays). They seem to mix it up with just about anyone at any time during the game.

So, come kick off time, whoever your mascot is, think about what they stand for and the joy they bring to the game for the kids and us adults too.

Less than 2 weeks ’til kick off,

Tom

Lessons Learned from Rocky Balboa…

Posted on August 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm

The other night, with 57 channels and nothing on, we ended up watching Rocky (the classic). I remembered who won and wondered to myself: “Would they ever make a movie today where the underdog loses?” What did victory mean to Rocky?

“Adrian, I just wanna go the distance, 15 rounds.” He didn’t have to win to be victorius, in his world. The fact that he was in the fight was part of it, but the real reward for Rocky was going the distance, being prepared and standing tall and tough, win or lose. And (spoiler alert), he did fight tough, and he did lose in a split decision.

What if a small Division 1 team like the Akron Zips took on a Top 10 powerhouse like Alabama at Alabama, in front of 100,000 avid fans? Would the underdog consider it a victory if they tied the game at the end of regulation time,
and then lost in overtime? I’d argue it is a victory, in every sense of the word.

Every Champion Was Once A Contender That Refused To Give Up.

Every Champion Was Once A Contender That Refused To Give Up.

Keepin’ it in perspective (or, at least, trying to),

Tom

 

Even in victory, there is defeat.

Posted on August 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Recently, a friend of mine told me that he took his son to an out-of-state tournament with his team. His son is under the age of 13. They left on Friday, drove many, many hours to get there, stayed for 2 nights(all on their own expense), woke up early each morning to get to the tournament(so it’s not like they got to see the sights of the city). By the end of the weekend, his team had played 5 games and their record was less than .500. His son played a total of 10 minutes.

In each of their losses, the team was blown out by the opponent. But to my friend’s amazement, his son still didn’t get it in.At this age level, it has to be about teaching the sport to all the kids. I am not a proponent of “participation regardless”. A player can earn his way to the bench. But, if you show up to practices, if you work hard in practice, if you fulfill all the commitments being asked of you, then, you should get a fair share of playing time, at this age level.

In the long run, as a coach, your team will be the better for it. If you are in a game where you are either way ahead or way behind, play ALL the kids. They are KIDS. That’s what they want is “to play.” And, by all means, if you are way ahead, your victory will only count on paper, because if you don’t pass along the beauty of sport, teamwork, participation, reward for hard work, then you have lost sight of the big picture.

‘Til then,

Tom

It’s All Good! Victory comes in many different ways.

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Mickelson in an unbelievable final round comeback to win the British Open.

Froome’s Tour de France win by more than 4 minutes over runner up Quintana.

MLB finally putting the clamps down on PEDs, better late than never(see Johnny Bench’s tweet).

Title IX…41 years old. Congratulations. It has really made a difference.

Murray holding off Djokovic to win Wimbledon.

And, last but not least, we have a new future king. By the end of this century, he will be king. But for today, he is in diapers.

It’s all good.

Tom

SEC Media Days…The Old Fashioned Way

Posted on July 18, 2013 at 10:48 pm

“I don’t even know how to text,” said Coach Saban at SEC Media Days 2013. By the looks of this picture, he doesn’t need to; he’s got plenty of assistants.

Coach Saban and the texters

In sports today, we get caught up in technology. For organizing, technology can be a life saver. I’ll take it any day. But, when it comes to coaching, nothing works better than the old fashioned way: A phone call or even better, a Face to Face meeting. To develop those meaningful, lasting relationships that make winners out of boys & girls, it’s about being there. And being there can mean picking up the phone, driving or even flying. Think of it this way: It may take you more time, but in the long run, it may save you a lot of time.

When you lay the right foundation, it paves the way for less problems down the road, better communications and at the end of the day, a great relationship. Combine all of those together and you may just realize that the best way to get ‘er done, may just be the old fashioned way.

Before victory, there is…

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Before victory, there is time and teaching.Time is never a given. You have to make the time. Think back just 20 years ago to 1993; heck just think back 10 years ago to 2003: Limited cellular coverage, Very little mobile internet access, No GPS, No Smarthphones, No “Apps” and No I-pads. How did we get everything done in a day without them? The answer is quite easy: If you want to make the time, you can.

First, you have to put the phone down! Second, commit to quality over quantity in your communications. Time then begins to appear. The real question is then: How do you use that time? Simple: Pay it forward.

Once you have found a way to “get that time back”, now comes the teaching. At some point, we all knew nothing about something. But, we ventured forward, learned “on the job” and pursued those things that we liked the most. Over time, we gain knowledge and use our own experiences to refine that knowledge. The challenge is to pass that knowledge along to the next generation. You don’t have to be an expert. Like you, they will figure out what they like the most and make their own decisions. But, what you have done is given someone an opportunity to be victorious. You have taken some of your time and some of your talent, and shared it.

You, and those with whom you share your time and teachings, now have victory in your life, win or lose.

Tom

Victory…alot of different meanings

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Victory…it’s a nice word. It brings positive connotations to most who see the word. Today, I start the Victory Fingers blog. My first subject to explore and delve into is youth athletics(15 and under). What does it mean to be victorious in youth athletics today? For many, it means winning. Many dads are falling into the trap of “play to win”. But really, for youth, especially the younger ages, it should be enough to just be able to play in a sport. If a kid is playing in a traditional sport, that means he/she is healthy, has a good understanding of directions and order, and whose parents have the time and financial ability to allow their son/daughter to play. That of itself used to be enough. But, not any longer. Learning to play is now just accepted as the base minimum. Kids are being pushed to learn in order to win. What happened to learning and developing under the tutelage of a mature, caring adult who seeks to be the kids’ mentor and teach concepts such as sportsmanship, dedication, support of fellow teammates?

I will never forget Mr. Roy and Mrs. Rafter. They were my first P.E. teachers and I never heard a scream or a derogatory statement from them to any of us out there. They lead us. Yes, they took corrective action, but in a firm and mature way.

Fast forward a few decades…I now see middle aged men screaming at 12 year old boys, in front of their peers, their opponents and all the fans. There is no doubt that will leave a lasting mark on that boy. We all need proper and timely discipline. The answer is there is a right way and a wrong way. I am a big supporter of the Positive Coaching Alliance. Check them out at www.positivecoach.org.

Until then,

Tom