Tag Archives: Wisdom

No Biting

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no-biting

I never thought I’d have a reason to write a post titled “No Biting” but I was wrong. Luis Suarez of Uruguay was recently suspended for nine matches and four months for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in their World Cup match. That is quite the hefty suspension, but considering Suarez was suspended twice before for biting an opponent I’m not surprised at the length of this suspension. You know, that bears repeating. This individual has bitten opposing players more than once before! Wow.

What I find worse than the bite is the foolish defense his coach gave after the game. “Óscar Tabárez, the Uruguayan coach, also said he had not seen the incident (nor any video or photographs of it afterward), but he leapt to Suárez’s defense anyway, vehemently attacking journalists for, in his opinion, unfairly targeting Suárez. Tabárez added: ‘This is a football World Cup, not about morality, cheap morality‘ (www.nytimes.com).” That last line is telling. This coach, in defending his star player, wants us all to believe that the ends justify the means at the World Cup. This blithe comments does a lot of damage because it implies that winning a game or being a remarkably good player is more important than the manner in which the game is won.

Lacrosse has a long history of honoring the game, but those of us in lacrosse do not have a monopoly on honor in sports. Every team and individual sport I’ve participated in reinforced the ideals of:

  • Modesty
  • Courtesy
  • Integrity
  • Compassion
  • Gratitude
  • Perseverance
  • Self Control
  • Indomitable Spirit

Those are the words I recited before and after every youth kickboxing class at Tiger Academy, and every other sport I played growing up helped instill those words to my core. Biting his opponent means Suarez had zero self-control, no courtesy, very little compassion, and a complete lack of integrity.

As someone who coaches and interacts with youth players on a regular basis I cannot tell you how much damage the win at all costs mentality does to young players. If we as the adults do not strongly condemn the public actions of players like Suarez and then sit the kids down to explain that poor behavior and actions leads to severe consequences, we will see more players acting poorly on the grandest stages.

I remember a practice from my high school days where a few of my teammates got detention for not tucking their shirts into their pants during the school day as per the dress code. After detention these players came to the field, got dressed, and joined us late. Our coach put us through our paces as usual, and then the last fifteen minutes of practice were spent running Sprints with Wisdom.

My teammates and I sprinted the full length of the field down and back. We were provided a short rest after each sprint during which our coach espoused the hidden meaning behind the dress code:

“You are men! You are not supposed to care what you look like! If you are supposed to wear a belt you wear a belt! If you are supposed to tuck in your shirt then you tuck in your shirt!”

whistle

“You do not give a teacher attitude when you get called out for ignoring the rule!”

whistle

“You don’t get detention for dressing like a fool when you have a job. You get fired!”

whistle

“You are wasting practice time because you cannot tuck in your shirts! You are men, you do not care what you look like. Tuck in your shirt, wear a belt, and un-pop the collar!”

Those are Sprints with Wisdom. The violation was small. Not tucking in your shirt is not on the same level as biting someone, but tucking in your shirt demonstrates Modesty and Self-Control. When young players are given the opportunity to screw up on little things the adults around them are responsible for correcting them until the lesson sticks. That way players learn to demonstrate attitudes and attributes that are valued in society before they start biting people because they got bumped into on the lacrosse field.

Featured Image Credit – http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/28023882

Cheers,
Gordon

Personal Best

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Yesterday a truly astonishing moment happened to me. I ran one mile faster than I ever had before.

At 9:30 in the morning I had the cardiorespiratory test for Strength Training at Kennesaw State University. The test was simple. Run 1.5 miles as fast as you can. I slipped my Vibram Five-Fingers onto my feet and prepared for some pain. Breathing deeply at the start I took off at a modest pace as my body acclimated to the physical stress. After 7 1/2 laps around the Campus Green I clocked in with a time of 11:55. A fairly respectable time but I did not feel tired. In fact I was pissed off at myself because I felt I could have pushed harder on the last two or three laps. Fortunately this disappointment would not last for long.

Right after the cardio test I walked to my second class Walk/Jog for Fitness. I know, you are as astonished as I am that walking and jogging is a college class. Personally I cannot wait for Eating/Sleeping for Fitness next year. Everyone checked in at the classroom and we headed out to the Campus Green for yet another cardiorespiratory test! This time we were only running a timed mile of 4.25 laps around the green. This was a truly unique opportunity for me. My legs were still warm from the earlier test and I knew I could push myself harder, but there was a problem.

As I walked to the green my feet started hurting. Two well developed blisters on each of my feet threatened to put an end to my run that day. So instead of suffering I took off my Vibram’s and decided to run the mile completely barefoot. Toes on the cool concrete I slammed my hand against my watch and I was off.

Lap one and two were getting into the groove. Stuck behind a track guy and an ROTC guy in full workout gear I used them to keep my pace as high as I could for two laps. Crossing into lap three I kicked into another gear. I passed by the ROTC runner and settled in behind the track guy. Halfway through lap three I still had not tapped into my reserves so I drove harder. Passing the track guy I saw the start of lap four coming up. I told myself I was going to sprint the last lap as hard as I could. Once my foot crossed the line I started pumping my arms and breathing deep. Staying on the balls of my feet I charged forward dodging around people on the green. With a half lap to go I was hurting but I still had more to give. I dug a little deeper and found untapped energy in my legs. That carried me through to a quarter lap away from the finish. At this point my breath was ragged, my legs on fire, and my face contorted in agony. I wanted to leave all of myself on that last quarter lap. I ran harder than I thought I ever could and crossed the line with a time of 5 minutes and 40 seconds. My new personal best.

Here is the problem. Now that I have a new personal best I have to strive to beat it again. It may be next week, next month, or next year but I now have to strive each day to get past that best. With that in mind ask yourself what are your personal bests right now and how can you exceed them? Do you want to lift more weight? Do you want to get and A on the next test instead of an 88? Do you want to spend more time with your children or your spouse? Well the only way that will happen is if you commit yourself to doing it. Write down what you want to do better. It does not have to be a big thing it only has to be big to you. Then, once you reach it try and to go further. Who knows you might even surprise yourself at how good you can be.

Cheers,
Gordon

Featured Image Credit – http://www.oregonlive.com

What Sports Are Really About

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Sport is where an entire life can be compressed into a few hours, where the emotions of a lifetime can be felt on an acre or two of ground, where a person can suffer and die and rise again on six miles of trails through a New York City park.  Sport is a theater where sinner can turn saint and a common man become an uncommon hero, where the past and the future can fuse with the present.  Sport is singularly able to give us peak experiences where we feel completely one with the world and transcend all conflicts as we finally become our own potential.” ~ George A. Sheehan