Somthing to Chew On!

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  Earlier this week I posted a question on my facebook page after listening to another golfer mention in jest the term “Fried Chicken” when talking about Tiger Woods.  The question I posed was this why is it  when some golfers want to attack Tiger there is always a reference of Fried Chicken as to offend his African American ancestry when Tiger himself does not claim to be just African American. Why not make stereotypical jokes about his Asian, Native American or Dutch heritage?  A few of the responses were “some choose to hate when they can’t relate” “they can’t beat him on the golf course so they use hurtful words to beat him” and “the world is letting him(Tiger) know who he is even if he doesn’t want to acknowledge and fully embrace his African roots.

I guess what troubles me about this latest incident with Sergio Garcia is that he too is a minority. What does it say about the lack of respect and compassion we are now experiencing when a member of one oppressed group demeans  someone from another with futile stereotypical humor in an arena where both are considered outsiders.   To Tiger’s credit he remained above the pettiness , yet the lasting impact of this exchange which was played up on social and mainstream media still continues.   Of course there are those who back Garcia such as Golfer and Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley People make mistakes and say things all the time that they regret and didn’t mean. Sergio was very remorseful about it and we move on”   Move on hmm, its always suggested that African Americans move on after being on the receiving end of either verbal, systematic, or physical abuse my question to those who suggest this course of action,  if we keep moving on then who will be left to deal with the issue?  I wonder if McGinley would be as quick to move on if Garcia told the joke about the red head drunken Irishman,the priest  and …    Myself along with many of you enjoy listening to our favorite comedians spout offensive racist remarks and pay good money to hear their diatribes within that context, however when these type of incidents continue to rear their ugly head is it really as simple as forgive and forget, How can me move on when we keep getting dragged back into the fray?

My hope is that Sergio learned a valuable and humbling lesson of sensitivity from this mishap and is truly remorseful and not apologizing out of fear of losing sponsors (surprisingly there was no real backlash)  and comes to realize that he  is not immune to such hurt just because he can drive a little white ball on a beautiful green golf course into a black hole.  If not I suggest Sergio do a little research of his beloved Spain’s  sordid history with slavery to realize why his joke didn’t leave of us rolling in the aisles.

The wonders of putting on a pair of old shoes

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            Jeremiah 10:24 O Lord correct me, but with justice; not in your anger lest you bring me to nothing.

        What happens to a person who is used to being at the forefront as a coach or teacher instructing others,when they take a step back and become the pupil again? I’ll tell you HUMILITY! That is exactly what has taken place with me as I write this article. A few months ago I made a conscious decision to enroll in a distance learning program to obtain a ministry diploma. Up to that point I have never been a proponent of taking on-line courses, I reasoned that I was from the old school and needed to attend a brick and mortar establishment so as to experience the human interactions of both my peers and the instructor. So I hesitantly registered for the class, I figured what’s the worst that could happen? I’ll try it for the semester and if I don’t like it, I am done.  I had no clear idea of what the school expected from me in terms of time, assignments, cyber classroom participation etc.  The answer to those questions appeared quickly with the assignment of the first homework. I soon discovered that the school was serious about preparing its students for ministry and not just another diploma mill out to make a quick buck. 

     I also realized another important factor; it has been almost two decades since I last sat in a classroom as a student.  A lot has changed since then including the various writing styles that are required.  That brings me to my main point of the article.  My peers and I are required to complete weekly readings along with the submission of written response papers on what we have read.  At first I thought no problem, what’s the big deal, (can you see the arrogance), that is until I got my first paper back, I didn’t fail in fact I received a B- however the paper was marked up so much I thought it was one of the pages out of my playbook complete with the X & O’s . Are my writing skills that rusty?  After all I recently published a book and people across the world visit my website to read my articles. This occurrence reminded of what it feels like to be on the receiving end of constructive criticism and how crushing it feels believing you’ve hit a home run only to learn that you missed the mark. My ego took a hit and I felt the air of false confidence I had entering the program slowly dissipate.  It was getting to the point that I did not want to look at my papers when the instructor returned them. I agonized opening the email with the paper attached, anticipating the worst.  To escape this trap of doubt and fear, I had to remind myself that correction and constructive feedback though not enjoyable are critical for improvement and growth and the Bible has dozens of scriptures that speak of the benefits of correction. 

This experience also helped to remind me of the range of emotions that some of the athlete’s that play for me go through on a daily basis. I have become keenly aware of the need to balance feedback, encourage, availability for one on one consultation or clarity and making sure that directions and expectations are clear and concise.  Another area that I glossed over the past few seasons was to remember that each of the athlete’s has a different learning style and one size does not fit all. Lastly I was reminded of how much students, athletes, and subordinates rely on those of us with more experience to guide and instruct them on how to be successful.  By placing my feet in a pair of old shoes as the student has made me a better prepared coach.



Unsung Sports Pioneers

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In keeping with the theme of “Black History” Month the shortest month of the year to acknowledge the important contributions of the Black Race. Over the next few weeks I will profile some “Unsung Sports Heroes” individuals that many of you may have forgotten or never heard of. Enjoy

Willie Thrower
Ht/Wt: 5-11/182,Team(s): Chicago Bears, Toronto Argonauts (CFL), and Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL) (Signed as F\A in 1952 by Chicago Bears)
College: Michigan State 

Chicago Bears QB Willie Thrower became the first African-American quarterback to solely play quarterback in an NFL game on October 18, 1953 against the San Francisco 49ers. He played under center and received the snap directly, making him the first African American QB since Pollard in 1923. Thrower a native of New Kensington, Pennsylvania had already been the first African American QB in the Big 10 conference, playing for Michigan State from 1950 to 1952, helping them win the National Championship in 1952. In his historical game, Thrower went 3 for 8 for 27 yards in a 35 to 28 loss. What was unfortunate about the game was George Blanda, who had struggled was reinserted into the game at the 5 yard line to complete a drive Thrower had started. After his debut against the 49ers, Thrower never appeared in another NFL game. Before the next season Thrower, who made the Bears team in 1953 as basically a “walk-on” was cut the following year in 1954. Thrower wanting to play QB and without any other takers in the NFL decided to go to the Canadian Football League, playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and semi pro in Toronto for four years before injuries shortened his career. He retired at age 27. His feat of a black man playing quarterback was considered such an oddity for the time that “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” featured him in a story. Thrower had a good outlook on his brief time at QB in the NFL and told The Valley News Dispatch of Tarentum, Pa., before he passed away in 2002. “I look at it like this: I was like the Jackie Robinson of football. A Black quarterback was unheard of before I hit the pros,”

 Photo and info Courtesy of  The African American Quaterback Website



Inspirational Book of the Year!

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Great Brothers of Soul Magazine (GBOS) names “An Unsung Coach” Inspirational book of the year for 2009. Author Tony Price to receive an award at the 40th Annual GBOS Image Awards on November 7, 2009 @ The John Hancock Hall, Boston, MA.


GBOS magazine is a New England based publication that recognizes the important contributions of Everyday people who are doing extraordinary things within the community.