Open Minded

Are you open-minded? 

Take your time on that answer. I’ll wait. 

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[tweet https://twitter.com/jdubs88/status/497008624636788736 align=’center’] [tweet https://twitter.com/jdubs88/status/497008854551773185 align=’center’]

Who is in your sphere of influence ( in real life or online)? Are you surrounded by “yes-men”? Or, do you include those who you have philosophical differences with?

These types of questions ran through my mind when I read tweets like those from John Walters above. Retweets may not equal endorsements in my book, but he is spot on in his assessment. Michelle Beadle was called a “hero” by some. Admirers sang her praises for standing up to Stephen A Smith’s misguided words. 

Problem is, many of those same people hate Stephen A Smith. They blast him and the shows he appears on at every turn. Hate the attention he gets. Hate the platform he has on ESPN. Hate that he can say whatever he wants, whenever he wants. 

Guess what? He can. And, Smith does have some points to make that are worth listening to.

And, guess what? Beadle can too. And, Beadle does come across as somewhat hypocritical in her tweets.

But, is anyone paying attention?

Only if you’re open-minded.

***

 

CadChica Sports

 

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

Seize the Mic

When you’ve got the mic, use it!

Over fifteen years ago, I heard those words uttered in church. That’s right…church. 

It’s hard to explain what I felt when I heard it. Maybe it was what Aeneas Williams was trying to describe in his speech last night when he said, “Pay attention to the signs God gives you”. I don’t know if it was necessarily a sign, but it was something that pierced my core. It pierced my soul. 

I’ve always taken that in the literal context. If the microphone is in your hand, use it for what its meant to be used for: to be spoken into and convey a message to others. 

Think about that concept for a minute. When someone is holding a microphone in their hand or it’s sitting in front of them on a desk or table, it’s there for them to speak into it. It’s as if the mic is saying, “SPEAK TO ME”. 

And, on the other end of that microphone is someone. Anyone with ears to hear will hear what the speaker has to say, right? You choose to speak. They choose to listen. 

But, nobody is listening if you ain’t even willing to use the mic you’ve been given. 

securedownload

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I thought about this again last night at the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and Florida State Seminole, Derrick Brooks was up first. Brooks’ speech lasted 24 minutes. The chuckling in the press box began some time around minute 15 or so. After all, there are deadlines to meet. An audible groan could be heard when he said, “When you go first, you can take your time.” Which prompted a terrific response from Keith McShea from Buffalo News:

[tweet https://twitter.com/KeithMcSheaBN/status/495720332893114368 align=’center’]

Funny as that was, I remembered that statement, When you’ve got the mic, use it. 

Brooks used it. He, and the other enshrinees, used the mic last night to share a piece of they are. Who they are now, came from who they were back then. Who they were as a kid, you found out through the stories and introductions of their families. 

From Brooks whose mom told him, Never let me hear you toot your own horn ’cause it only makes one sound.

From Claude Humphrey whose mom told him after he asked to go play football, Yeah, but if you don’t get back in time for dinner, you don’t eat.

From Aeneas Williams’ dad: The name Aeneas means He is worthy to be praised. And he (Aeneas) is worthy to be praised. 

From Walter Jones on his mama working hard for the family: We were never in the dark and we never went hungry.

From Ray Guy: We were taught to appreciate the things we had and to take care of what we’ve got.

These are just a few of the examples of how these men used the mic to share a piece of themselves. When placed in front of them, they used it. 

But, the more I think about the statement and its literal meaning, I think about it now in a broader sense. 

When you’ve got the mic, use it = When you’ve got the opportunity SEIZE IT!

How does one get to the Hall of Fame? Any Hall of Fame, not just the Pro Football Hall of Fame? It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears. On the part of the players, as well as their families. There is no possible way to do it alone. Families need their attention, love, affection and most of all, time. Coaches and teammates pushing them beyond their limits. They demand more day in and day out. Fans too have their own expectations of players. Numerous challenges both internally and externally were faced by the Hall of Famers along the way.

These players last night (which also included Michael Strahan and Andre Reed), had opportunities throughout their lives. And, they seized them. They didn’t shirk away. They didn’t run and hide. Sure, they may have been angry or upset at times. Even despondent or frustrated. But, to achieve the level they did last night, they had to SEIZE THE MIC.

They had the mic and the used it. They seized the opportunity to speak to us last night. They won’t get that opportunity again. However long it took, despite media groans, they had the mic and the weren’t afraid to use it.

They had the “mic” placed before them throughout their childhood, teenage and college years, their playing career and they SEIZED IT. 

So I have to ask myself and you, my reader, what’s your “mic”?

For players, during their playing days their mic is on the field (or whatever their respective playing surface may be). For written media, their mic is through websites, newspapers, magazines or books. For broadcast media, the mic is through the televison or computer screen or a speaker (radio or computer/mobile device). 

We all have a mic in some way, shape or form. Mine now is through both written and spoken word. But, I could have easily shied away from them. I’m not one for the spotlight or self-promotion. But, you have to do that to some degree or you’ll never make it in this business. The opportunities (the mic) have presented themselves and I SEIZED IT

It hasn’t been easy. Speaking is not comfortable for me. Putting myself out there to be criticized and ridiculed for what I do, speak and write…hmm…let’s see…that’s a risk in today’s social media world. 

But, the mic (opportunity) has been placed in front of me…

And I’m SEIZING it.

Are you?

***

CadChica Sports

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

Death in the Spotlight

Gwynn

How does one deal with death of a loved one? 

It’s an age-old question, really. 

When a loved one dies, be they family or friend, the rest are left to deal with the loss, the emptiness, the absence. How do they handle it? 

But, how does one deal with it in today’s social media age where every tweet, post, @ mention or image is scrutinized by media, fans and the general public? 

You handle it like a pro: 

With the death of his father today, Tony Gwynn Jr showed all of the attributes instilled in him by his parents with those tweets above. His dad just happens to be legendary Major League Baseball (MLB) great, Tony Gwynn Sr. Gwynn Sr died today of complications from his battle with cancer.

While others may share all of the tweets that rolled in today from media, athletes and fans, I wanted to highlight these tweets today. In sports, we (fans and media) sometimes lose sight of the human element. In our passion, we forget that athletes and coaches, who are the ones in the public eye most, are dealing with the same issues we deal with on a daily basis. Cancer is no respecter of person, race, gender, notoriety or bank account. It’s not just a one-game or match battle. Whether it’s through treatment or prayer, it’s a day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute, second-to-second war for those stricken and their families. Add that to the public life athletes and coaches have, well, it’s hard to imagine anyone handling it as well as Tony Gwynn Jr just did. 

If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend this Father’s Day story from yesterday by CSN Philly about the Gwynns:  http://goo.gl/qydlWl

Prayers and condolences to Gwynn Jr and his family. 

***

FINAL THOUGHT: Let’s let the San Diego Padres, Gwynn Sr’s MLB team, have the final say. 

***

CadChica Sports

Team Effort via Google+

© CadChica Sports

How many people are involved in a sports team?

Not in terms of the front office personnel, but the team itself. You have a coach, assistant coaches, trainers, scouts, and players. But, we can’t forget those who are behind the scenes. Players, coaches watch video of previous games or of their opponents, right?

The video folks are just as much a part of the team as anyone. Their job is to film, produce, edit, repackage or whatever else is needed to help the rest of the team prepare and do their job.

Funny thing about that. It works in the non-sports world too.

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One of the shows I do on Google+ is The 1st and 60 Show. My co-host, Russell S Baxter, and I host a bi-weekly show on Google+ centered around the NFL. On our last show, one of the guests we had was 15-year-old, Emily Gruver, a sports blogger covering Philadelphia sports teams. 

Her story struck a chord with our audience. So much so that one of the many creative people I’ve come across on Google+ created this:

That is called “The Scott Treatment”. Scott Scowcroft edited this video and repurposed it. He has the ability to take one segment or several segments of a show, edit it and come up with The Scott Treatment. Not everyone has time to invest in a 45 minute-hour show like 1st and 60. But, with content like TST, it helps open the doors to new viewers and, maybe, potential partnerships (sponsors). For more information, check out thescotttreatment.com/about.

It takes a team effort to be successful both on and off the field (court, rink, pitch). In this social media-sports business, it takes people like Scott to be successful there too.

Thanks, Scott.

***

CadChica Sports

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

Quick Motivation: Standard and Why

Stumbled across the above tweet from Baylor Head Coach, Art Briles, not too long ago. It wasn’t so much the main idea of the tweet, but more so the hashtag.

In what seems like an eternity ago, Charles Barkley came under fire for this simple Nike commercial:

Why am I bringing this up? When I read the hashtag in Coach Briles’ tweet (#BeTheStandard), that’s what I thought of – Be your own role model.

Whether discussing sports or business or social media, there is an over-abundance of articles out there telling you how to be or train like someone else. Or, the expert’s stories are your key to being successful.

I don’t know about you, but #BeTheStandard > How to be like (insert role model name here).

Then this tweet from the Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III came across my path today.

My thinking on the whole #BeTheStandard has been slightly altered. Can you #BeTheStandard if you don’t #KnowYourWhy yet? Why do you do what you do? 

Then again, maybe the standard and why can both be addressed in one question.

WHAT’S YOUR MOTIVATION?

If you’re motivated to be the best YOU you can be, then you’ll discover how to #BeTheStandard and #KnowYourWhy. There may be people you want to be your role models. Let them INSPIRE you to be the best you that you were meant to be.

Standard Why

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CadChica Sports

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

 

When Twitter Hits Real Life

For those who were on Twitter this morning, there were two earthquakes today. One, literally. One, figuratively.  The literal, of course, was the 4.7 earthquake in California. The figurative? Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was arrested for DUI. 

Irsay is quite the figure on Twitter. Last year, I wrote a piece entitled, “He’s Got a Twitter Handle and He’s Not Afraid To Use It“. In it I stated, 

Random song lyrics. Running engaging fan-contests. Providing injury updates on the Colts. As someone who prefers Twitter lists over Twitter following, I’m reluctant to say he’s a ‘must-follow’ since I don’t follow him myself. But, he is definitely a must-list.

Irsay gets Twitter. He gets the power of it as a communication tool with fans. Today, after his DUI arrest, its power came back to bite him. 

[tweet https://twitter.com/ScottJSander/status/445528077561368576 align=’center’] [tweet https://twitter.com/AnthonyDiMoro/status/445562698223595520 align=’center’] [tweet https://twitter.com/dkaplanSBJ/status/445555013964681217 align=’center’] [tweet https://twitter.com/StevePoliti/status/445574397265711104 align=’center’] [tweet https://twitter.com/TheDalyPlanet/status/445561107910905856 align=’center’]

That last one, given Irsay’s proficiency for Twitter, does bear repeating. Silly as it sounds, why didn’t he make a different choice? It’s easy for those of us on the outside to judge. Even as I would read his tweets, he just seemed out there at times. Maybe there was a reason to the madness.

[tweet https://twitter.com/bkravitz/status/445568343114649602 align=’center’]

Like many in sports today, when faced with a public relations nightmare such as this, sports figures who are on Twitter have a choice whether to shirk from the spotlight or face the PR problem head on. 

[tweet https://twitter.com/JimIrsay/status/445653760891576320 align=’center’]

When it comes to PR nightmares or crisis management, I defer to my friend and social media colleague, Chris Syme for guidance. In her post, “Coach Ricky Ray and the Model of a Public Apology. Chris lists five keys for addressing the incident, one of which is, 

When the behavior is seen in public, apologize to the public.

Irsay has done the first one on the public platform he knows best: Twitter. The rest of the story is yet to be decided. It’s clear from reading stories and tweets today that Irsay has been battling his demons for awhile. Maybe a look-back at this past tweets should have indicated as such. It’s hard to say. And, it’s easy to judge. 

I’m not letting him off easy. He was driving under the influence thereby putting the public in danger. Anyone who gets behind the wheel in that condition puts the public in danger. As a mom of three kids, two of whom drive, it angers me when people do it. But, there’s always more to what people do than just what you see on the surface. In my 2013 post I mentioned above, I said this: 

No idea of the type of person he is in real-life but he does understand the valuable tool that social media/Twitter can be, especially for an owner.

We don’t “know” anyone on social media. On Facebook and Twitter, it’s hard to know anyone in sports with mere words alone. You have to spend time with them face-to-face and have conversations to really know someone. Hard to do that through tweets.

For as entertaining as Irsay’s tweets could be, they only shrouded who he was on the inside. He understood the power of Twitter before. If he hasn’t yet, he’s understanding it even more now. 

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FINAL THOUGHTS: I hesitated to write anything on Jim Irsay today. Every sports outlet has covered it in some way, shape or form today. So, what do I have to say that will be anything different?

If nothing else, let this be a challenge to all of us. We don’t KNOW anyone who is on Twitter. We think we do, but we really don’t. Twitter does provide a peek into the lives of public sports figures. Beyond that, our knowledge of a person is minimal. Before we judge someone on Twitter, more knowledge is necessary. I hope that we all step back a bit before we judge someone based on who they show themselves to be on Twitter. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes 140 characters tells you a lot and sometimes, very little. 

Did I know Jim Irsay had a problem? Not really. You hear things or read them on Twitter, but you just don’t know. I hope this is his wake-up call. I hope this is a wake-up call for anyone else in this type of situation. 

I don’t just pray Jim Irsay gets the help he needs.

I pray he accepts and embraces it.

>>> RECOMMENDED READ: “Jim Irsay fighting for his life, needs help” from the Indy Star’s, Bob Kravitz

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CadChica Sports 

Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

Are Your Dreams Full of Dust?

CHICA’S NOTE: For some reason, I’ve felt the need to write more on career-oriented topics lately. Those looking for sports-social media stories, I apologize in advance. They’ll be back soon. Part of who I am, and the part I struggle with, is I am someone who challenges people to think. I don’t like to cause waves, but I know it is necessary in sports-social media conversation. Even if this advice helps only one person out looking to work/make it in sports, then I’ve done what I set out to do. 

***

Dreams are ideas in need of             (2)

After nearly 30 years, there was no reason to set the alarm.  

If it wasn’t for my youngest son, there would be no reason to get out of bed in the morning at all. 
 
Tossing and turning night after night for the past few weeks were taking a toll. Sleep was elusive. Rest came only in the form of work. Or, that’s what I told myself. No rest for the weary.
 
I had grown weary. Weary of the seven-day work weeks I had put myself through over the better part of the last decade. Work to make money. Money to pay the bills. Bills that seemed never ending until the house was paid off. A paid off house which opened the door to a dream. 
 
A dream that had seemingly died early in my life, dusted off and transformed into something unbelievable. 
 
Now, dead again. 
 
***
 
I grew up the youngest of four in a broken home. Born in Oakland, California (yes, I love the Raiders) but raised in the state that still has a piece of my heart: Arizona. I had dreams of first being a lawyer. That was a kid’s dream. As I grew older, Communications was my goal. I wanted to work in sports. I watched and played sports. Grew up in a very sports-passionate family. Sports was in my DNA.
Life choices forged a different path. Work became a major part of my life. College? Communications? Pushed into the corner of my mind. Married and raising a family was the focus of my life. Along with work, of course. Both of my parents worked. They needed to. They wanted to. Work to support the family. Work because it’s part of one’s DNA. It’s part of who they were (are) and who I am. 
 
I worked to support my family. Provide for my family. But, as the time approached to that one last payment on our house, my feelings about work changed. After more than 20 years at one company, I was drained. Drained of the routine of a “job” that I no longer felt challenged in – my work DNA requires challenge. I needed to do some re-thinking, some cleaning. Clean up my stinking thinking. I was ready for a change. 
 
With the house paid off, I set my sights on something new. My “clean-up” helped me dust off some dreams. Well, one dream to be exact. My dream to work in sports. 
 
Now, how does someone my age (sorry, not telling) try to work in sports without a degree, experience or seemingly nothing to offer? My DNA. 
 
I forged my way into the world of sports media. First, locally and then nationally, freelancing for ESPN. Those seven-day work weeks I had grown accustomed to at my long-time job, continued with a vengeance. Only this time, it had nothing to do with my work DNA. This had more to do with how I viewed myself in this business. 
 
I viewed myself as someone who almost didn’t belong. Like I was a pretender in a way. No degree, no internships, no formal job training in this field – who did I think I was? I was someone who felt I had to prove myself constantly. Age, education, sex, gender all play a role in this business. I was well aware of that fact. And yes, it’s very much a 
fact. I had to prove I belonged through work. It was the only way. 
 
The fragility of this business is also a fact. Written contracts come to an end. Verbal agreements, well, let’s just say, don’t ever enter into one – get everything in writing. After all of that, I was left with nothing. Nothing but my own thoughts and a broken dream. 
 
That can happen at any time though, right? A broken dream? 
 
Think of the high school athlete who dreams of going to college on a scholarship. Three games left to go in their junior season and they blow out their knee tearing two ligaments on a routine play. Or, the high school senior whose partying ways finally catch up to them and they find themselves in ICU right before graduation. Then there’s the promising sophomore who has already caught the eyes of area coaches until one night…one night…she makes a decision that will change her life forever. 
 
We all have dreams. Some broken, some realized, some, like mine, gathered (-ing) dust. 
 
Is my dream gathering dust again? 
 
HECK NO! 
 
I’m not about to let my dream stay broken. I’ve come too far to let it stay that way. Only someone with lack of confidence would let it go. I don’t want to let it go because it’s part of my DNA. It’s part of who I am. I love sports. I love social media. I’ve got the talent from both a media and fan perspective — I’m unique. Sports and social media don’t define me. But, they will open doors for me to ultimately do what I know I’m called to do. 
 
If it means a little more cleaning and dusting of the dream now and then, so be it. 
That’s in my DNA too.
 
***
FINAL THOUGHTS: What about you? Is there a dream that needs some dusting off? Does your dream need refining? Believe me, I’ve had to refine mine to some degree. Burn off the dross. Dreams are ideas in need of perfecting. Just because you have a dream doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Any dream worth realizing requires hard work. And, hard changes within us. 
 
But, it’s in your DNA. 
 
So how about it? What’s your dream?
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CadChica Sports