Negotiate on YOUR terms!

Like in sports, don’t let Life dictate to you. Live your life on YOUR terms!

“RIP 30s”. In other words, “Rest in Peace, 30s!” That’s what the sign read, the one that was on my door when I strolled into the office on my birthday—oops, 40th birthday– a few weeks ago. It was a loving gesture, to be sure, mostly from a group of coworkers whom I put through a battery of exercises twice a week in what they’ve come to call “Bobby Bootcamp.” Led by the ring leader, whose name has been omitted to protect the, umm, guilty, they also put together a gift basket of the most thoughtful items. Protein drinks. Nuts and other healthy snacks. Even some blue sports tape, the exact kind I put on my bad wrists when we train. Clearly, the group gave this gift a whole lot of thought. And I’ll never forget it.

And it may have been the best thing that’s happened to me in a while, even though it didn’t start out that way.

Let me explain.

I thought I was okay with it. Turning the big 4-0, that is. I even walked around bragging that I was the finest 40 year old in California, or at least in the top 10. I call it “play cocky”, only meant to make people laugh and smile as they wonder if anyone can really love himself that much. No, not really. I’d even given my brother a hard time weeks earlier when he turned 50. He felt similarly when he turned 40. I didn’t understand what the big deal was, this aging thing. I didn’t feel it when I turned 30, like many men and women do, and I was certain I would blow threw the 40-year mark just as easily. To be honest, I’d been saying I was 40 since I was about 39 years and one month old. That’s because, if anything, getting older strengthened the foundation on which my bragging rights are built when I playfully tease younger guys (and girls) who can’t hang with me and my often crazy workouts. “You can’t hang with a 40 year old?!?” has a certain ring to it. Read more of this post

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Life’s Monday Morning Game Review

Events in our lives are normally not as good, nor as bad as they first seem.

After the Dallas Cowboys’ opener, a 24-17 win over the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, I meant to go online and book my flights and hotel reservations for New Orleans, the site of this year’s Super Bowl.  But I was busy, like most Mondays, putting out fires and readying myself for the demands of the upcoming workweek.  So I forgot to do it.  And I was lucky, because after my ‘Boys got what many in the media called ‘bullied’ the following Sunday up in Seattle, I was convinced we’d (real fans always say ‘we’ right?) have the first pick in the 2013 College Draft.  So, I readied myself for a Saturday of college football, looking to see which stars might be the missing pieces for a return to the glory days.

But then reality hit, also known as another weekend of football.  Like is normally the case, the Dallas Cowboys proved to be neither as bad as they looked against Seattle nor as good as they looked against New York.  They struggled to a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their home opener and, as is the case more times than not, they were somewhere in between what they revealed the first two weeks.  Actually (and unfortunately), they were much closer to the team that flew up to the Northwest and got their lunch money taken than the one that traveled to the Northeast and ‘shocked the NFL world’, but let’s table that conversation for another week. Read more of this post

Our jobs as coaches, teachers, and parents

Our sole job as coaches, teachers, and parents is never easy and rarely appreciated. But as Allyson Felix and Bobby Kersee showed us in the 2012 Summer Olympics; it’s worth it!

Leave it up to the Olympics to help me get this writing thing back on track. And leave it to one of the darlings of the games- along with Gabby Douglas and the Golden Girls of Women’s Beach Volleyball, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh—to inspire me and this post.

I certainly enjoyed watching other sports and athletes during the Olympics. Watching the American hoops team bring home the gold was fun. Watching Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee from South Africa who advanced to the semifinals in the 400 meters, was nothing short of amazing. And watching a human being run as fast as Usain Bolt had the feeling of watching something that could, or at least should, not be possible. But Allyson Felix is the one who got me off my you-know-what, prompting me to pull out my laptop and write.

She did it for me. More importantly, she finally did it for herself. After finishing a close second in her signature race, the 200 meters, in both Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008), she grabbed the prize that had mercilessly alluded her, bringing home her first individual Gold Medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. The joy and jubilation on her face was almost as telling and transparent as the relief in her voice during the interview that immediately followed conquering what must have seemed like the most insurmountable of obstacles. You could tell she’d struggled with it, the disappointment of failure. You could almost feel it, the pain she had to overcome each time she fell short. And watching her, we all knew that she’d wanted to give up at least once or twice during the eight years that must have seemed like eighty between her first failure and her ultimate triumph. Read more of this post

When in Doubt, Hire Corporate “Athletes”

My nephew and I got into a discussion a few years ago about soccer and its popularity—or lack thereof—in the United States. I was teasing him, pretending I didn’t much care for soccer. It just so happens that I played “American” football my whole life, so like him in the other direction, I was biased toward the oblong-shaped pigskin rather than the perfectly round ball used in admittedly the most popular sport in the world. But while I respect all athletes and, truth be told, probably didn’t play much soccer growing up for the sole reason that it happened to be a fall sport just like football; I purposely poked and prodded, doing my best to annoy him. I am his uncle, after all, and that is at least part of my job.

The foundation of my argument was basic, though. I completely respect soccer players, who are as conditioned as they come and tougher than most casual fans give them credit. But the teams put together in America, I contended, would never be as good as their counterparts in other countries around the world. And for one simple reason: the best athletes in America don’t play soccer.

Read more of this post

As we get older…

I (left) had a tough time in the mud, but finished MudFactors’s 3.2 Mile Obstacle course. More importantly, with the help of my buddy and wonderful wife, I remembered what life should be about and had a blast!

As we get older, we lose a sense of what life is all about.  We’re born embracing all of the curiosity and fun that living brings.  But slowly over time, that innocent, untainted enthusiasm is chiseled away, often leaving no more inside of us than bitterness and skepticism.

Remember when you would come home from school or church and go straight outside?  I can still remember my mom yelling at me to change out of my “good clothes!”  Remember how excited you were when the boy down the street knocked on the door and asked if you could come out and play.  When we didn’t immediately weigh the request against all of the other obligations and responsibilities we had?  Remember when all that mattered is that you were outside in the sun and dirt, running around?  Remember when you weren’t worried about the report you had to finish for school the next day or the meeting you had at work on Monday morning or what you were going to make for dinner or the clothes that you still needed to wash, dry, and fold?

True, some of this is a product of just being young, naive perhaps.  And as you get older and have people dependent upon you instead of the other way around, you must naturally change your approach to life.

But a lot of us take it too far.  Most of us forget how much fun life should be, taking instead a much more serious, calculated, “responsible” approach.  Those who know me might argue I’m the poster boy for that way of thinking.  “Addicted to Improvement”, my self created tagline and brand, has often meant I take life–and myself–way, way too seriously. Read more of this post

Hunger and Fear- the Greatest Motivators

Whether you are a lion or a gazelle, you better wake up every morning RUNNING!
(image courtesy of PhotographersDirect.com)

There is a famous quote, captured so beautifully in wall-mounted, framed photos in offices across America. The Successories brand of motivational and inspirational products has made a fortune over it and similar products and while many people think they are corny and stupid, I find these phrases captured in artistic photography have a way of capturing the strength and promise within all of us and the methods, sometimes reasons, which bring out that potential. I have not purchased any of these products, but often find myself remembering the ones that I have seen and which have resonated with me. There is one phrase in particular that came to mind this week.

I am in the eye of what appears to be one those few storms that happen in all of our lives. You know, those moments that we feel deep in our stomachs may change the course of our lives and the lives of our loved ones. The proverbial forks in the road that keep us up at night, unable to eat, and overly irritable. These several words–and the images they conjure–are one of many sources of inspiration I will need to weather this storm. Far from the sole, or even main, source of confidence; they nonetheless help me understand an essential part of the human condition. Read more of this post

Junior Seau, THE MAN, will be missed

Junior Seau will be remembered by many for his hard-hitting style of play on the field. But his gentle, kind nature off of it is what will leave a lasting impression on many more.

I’m almost embarrassed to be writing this post so late. I was shocked and speechless when I first heard the news. To be honest, as numb as I was in the initial hours after the news, there was no way I could’ve written anything remotely coherent. Then I questioned if the fact that I didn’t personally know him meant I lacked the authority to write on the subject. But in driving to work yesterday, I heard Colin Cowherd (on his show, The Herd) replying to a tweet in which the writer stated something along the lines of “No extraordinary man commits suicide.” What?!? With the wounds still very much fresh in the heart of the thousands–not hundreds, thousands– of people, he had the audacity to say something like that!?!

So, even though I’m certain that I will fall well short of expressing what I and many others feel about Junior Seau, this is my humble and brief attempt to do so. Read more of this post