SlamDunk Success Blog

No Justice, No Change

This will be one of the most difficult posts I will ever write and probably the longest. It is about such a highly charged, emotional topic that is in our face every night, and I don't want to say the wrong thing. As I read and hear so many people weighing in on the George Floyd murder, the protests that followed it, and police brutality issues around our nation, I keep struggling to come up with my own take on it all.

The problem is I am so afraid I will do it wrong. I am so afraid I will anger people by saying something that I shouldn't, even though I didn't know it was something that shouldn't be said or said in the way I say it. I don't want to be insensitive to others' feelings and situations.

I have written and spoken a few times before about my fear of ever making someone mad. This has never had anything to do with any racially charged situation. It's just my own "wanting to please everyone" nature and my overly warped feeling of wanting everyone to like me.

Because of those...

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Apologies from a Former Member of the Grammar Police

Yesterday, I watched a video of a guy who I follow in the writing and online business world in which he blasted all of the people in "The Grammar Police” for taking aim at the trivial matters that they take aim at in other people’s writing. Numerous thoughts and responses came to my mind as I first read his email about it and then watched/listened to his video.

My first response was, “I’m sorry.” As an English teacher in various venues over the last 35 years, I have been a staunch member of what has come to be called, The Grammar Police. Whatever you call me or those who, like me, tend to point out mistakes in other people’s writing, I understand your frustration with us. Who the heck are we to point out your mistakes?

I get it. I get where those of you who struggle with us are coming from. It’s not easy finding out you’re not perfect as a writer. Nobody likes a critic. Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote comes to mind –

It is...

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2020 Graduation Address

So there I was on a walk with my dog, and I was listening to an audiobook version of a book that was written way back in the 1930s. In it, I heard a story about the author receiving a letter from someone who had heard the author give the Commencement Address at that young man's college graduation some 30 years before. The graduate told the author in his letter that the author's words were so powerful and so inspirational that they set the young man on a journey that led him to all the success that he achieved and caused him to have a great impact on many other people by becoming a United States congressman.

In the course of about two more steps, it hit me - "Oh my gosh. This year's graduating class won't have an opportunity like that. They won't be hearing messages like that this year."

And then I thought, "What the class of 2020 has lost this year is unfathomable." I also realized that the final words of encouragement and...

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Lucky to Have You?

I follow a variety of people on Twitter. Most are in the coaching and athletic world. It is the world that I have inhabited for the last 30+ years. It is a world I am passionate about.

But my passion in that world is about helping kids have the best experience possible. Sure, I want to win games and championships like everyone else. But I don’t get nearly as passionate about those things as I do about helping kids have the best athletic experience possible.

I read a lot of tweets and posts from people who seem to share those same ideas on school and youth athletics. They realize that, while we all want to win and that is our goal every time we step into our competitive arenas, we are here to provide so much more than that for our kids.

I don’t personally know most of the people that are writing these tweets and posts, so I don’t know for sure if their actions follow their words. And people who don’t know me don’t know if my actions follow my words...

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Better Days Ahead?

As we navigate uncharted waters unlike anything we have dealt with in our lifetimes, a variety of thoughts, feelings, and emotions continue to hit us all in various ways. For me, it seems like every day we hear stories that bring out these emotions. Some are downright scary, some gut-wrenching, and some filled with hope and joy.

“Hope and joy? What the heck are you talking about, Scott? People all over the world are dying from a disease that we have no cure for and no vaccine for. We are all stuck in our homes. When we do venture outside, we need to wear masks, stay 6 feet away from each other, and avoid touching things without first sanitizing them in some way and then sanitizing them again when we get home. I don’t see the hope and joy in any of that.”

To be honest, I don’t see hope and joy in any of those things either. Those are the downright scary and gut-wrenching things. Those are the things that are filling us all with fear and dread, not hope...

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Are You Ready for the New Reality of Coaching Kids from a Distance?

Check out that title again. I don't believe I just wrote that. I don't want to believe it. I hope it's not true. And yet, I fear that it may be our reality for some time as we move forward.

Now for those of you who know me personally, you know I am not a "gloom & doom" guy. I am upbeat, energized, enthusiastic, and excited for life. I am a "glass is half-full" person through and through.

So for me to write that title took some effort. 

But here's the deal. I really believe that this new reality that we are going through right now is with us for more than just a few weeks. As I sit here typing this, my wife is sitting 10 feet away from me online posting lessons and grading assignments from her high school Spanish students - on a Sunday afternoon. Many of you taught your classes this past week through your computers for the first time ever.  This is not what you had in mind when you decided you wanted to teach. 

This is CERTAINLY not what you had in mind...

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Are You Like I Was? This is for You

See if this isn't something similar to how things went for you in the early stages of your coaching career or if this isn't similar to where you are now on your coaching journey.

In my first teaching and coaching job, I was 21 years old. I was teaching high school English at an all-boys Catholic school in the suburbs of Chicago. I had 3 classes of seniors. They were 3 & 4 years younger than me.

I had to IMMEDIATELY create a positive, loving relationship with them while at the same time create distance between us, so they saw me as an adult who commanded their respect.

"YIKES!" I thought. "How the hell am I going to do that?! I'm only 21 frickin' years old!" 3 months before that I was a college senior doing what college seniors do. I was more like a big brother to them age-wise. There were no courses in college labeled "Create Distance from Your Kids When You're 3 or 4 Years Older than Them." 

While I was an athletic, fit man and a fairly big...

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Leap Before You Look

 

"Hey, Scott, I think you have that title backwards. I think you mean 'Look before you leap.' Because, you know, that's just good advice to always look before you jump into something.”

No, I didn't make a mistake. And yes, the phrase, "Look before you leap" is certainly good advice when thinking of someone literally leaping off of some type of ledge or platform onto a landing site of some sort. You definitely want to know what you are about to leap into in terms of the environment, surroundings, and dangers associated with them.

However, there is a problem with the statement, “Look before you leap.” The problem is too many of us (myself included all too often) take this line to an extreme and use it in far more situations than just literally jumping off of one spot onto another one. Too many of us apply this as a metaphor for all aspects of life. I have come to realize that sometimes it is better to do a version of the opposite – ...

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New Things to Love in 2020

Uncategorized Feb 14, 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day! I was all set to give today’s post a different title when I realized that it will actually go out to you on February 14th. So I wanted to find a way to work Valentine’s Day into the mix. And actually, it works really well because what I was intending to write about was how much I LOVE the direction I am starting to take things this year with Great Resources for Coaches. Okay, I’ll admit there is nothing all that romantic about the kind of love that I am talking about. But I have a whole lot of passion for the things you will hear about, so I guess in some strange way it is a fitting message for today.

If you didn’t watch my video on Wednesday, let me update you today on what is happening. In that video I said that I am going to be making some changes to my schedule with regards to these posts on Fridays and those videos on Wednesdays. Basically, I am just not going to be on such a tight schedule with them anymore.

There are a...

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We Need Coaches (and Athletes) in Government

No matter which side of the political aisle you sit on, I think you might agree with me on what I am about to propose. And if it’s not exactly a proposal, it certainly is an observation and a wish.

Now, I’m not trying to persuade you one way or the other. For my entire teaching and coaching career, I have always maintained a middle-of-the-road philosophy as much as possible. While I certainly lean one way politically, I have always tried to keep that out of my discussions with my students and athletes and their parents. I have always felt that it is not my place to espouse my political leanings too much.

Oh, I’m sure through the years I have let out a comment about how I thought something was and how it should be, or I have touched on an issue from my perspective. But for the most part I have tried to stay away from doing that. My main reason was that I didn’t want to alienate any of my kids. I didn’t want them to like me or not like me based on my...

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