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. 

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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?

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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.

Hall of Fame Diary: Day 2

The moment.

There are moments that define us. And there are times where “we” define the moment.

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Last night, I had the privilege of attending the Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductees Dinner. A surreal experience to say the least. The moment was not lost on me. The entire evening was a series of momentsMoments for me. Moments for the inductees and their families. Moments for the rest of the audience and media gathered there.

The word moment kept coming to mind as I watched the evening unfold. From watching my friend and partner, Russell S Baxter, greet his good friend, Tom Jackson…

[tweet https://twitter.com/BaxFootballGuru/status/495339173126369280 align=’center’]

…to the joy of Buffalo Bills fans who made sure they got pictures of Andre Reed.IMG_1995Or maybe it was a series of moments watching Tom Jackson saying yes to everyone who asked for his autograph or wanted a picture with him.

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You know me as an Oakland Raiders fan there had to be at least one Ray Guy moment last night:

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It was all about the moment. 

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How does a kid go from __________ to __________? I could say that about any of the inductees last night. Swainsboro, GA or Aliceville, GA to the Hall of Fame (Ray Guy, Walter Jones, respectively). Or, I could say it about me. How does a kid born in Oakland, CA, raised in Phoenix, AZ, go from there to watching/covering a Pro Football Hall of Fame? It just doesn’t happen to people like me.

If I believed that, I would never have made it here. Not made it in an achievement sense, but “made it” as in just being here.

If the inductees didn’t believe it was possible, they never would have made it to the Hall of Fame. I’m sure there were many times when they had to confront their own negative thoughts along the way. Questioning why they should go in early to put in extra work. Dealing with naysayers in the form of teammates, coaches, scouts, or maybe within their own family-friends circle. Each moment along the way helped define them to become who they are today.

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Is there one particular moment in your life that you remember? Two moments? Dare I say three?

Whatever phase we are in in our lives, there are certain moments that define us. That unite us. Or, even remind us. Remind us of the sacrifices we made were all worth what we gave.

When it comes to professional athletes, what they give is in their time, effort and yes, their bodies. Their families made sacrifices as well. This moment is about them too. Everything they gave…rewarded in this moment.

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FINAL THOUGHT: Special shout-out #1 to my Twitter friend, Marc Ryan.

It was just by chance that I was checking Twitter yesterday while at TD’s Tailgate Grill in Akron, Ohio. Russ and I were checking the place out in anticipation for our show today. I saw that his station, 98.7 The Fan, was also there, but I didn’t think he was part of the broadcast here in Canton. Goes to show that sometimes you shouldn’t think too much, huh? 

[tweet https://twitter.com/CadChica/status/495283824327393280 align=’center’]

Marc does a terrific job on the radio. Knowledgeable and unafraid to state an unpopular, yet true, viewpoint. He’s a bright star in this business. 

It was a thrilling moment to finally meet him in person. I’m beyond excited for where he’s gone and where he’s going.

Special shout-out #2 to the folks from Canton that sat at our table last night. Patty, Cathy and the rest of the group were gracious and proud of their fine city. And, Canton McKinley high school, which is far superior to the well-known Massillon. Or, so I’m told. 

Thanks to them for their hospitality. 

***

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.

Hall of Fame Diary: Day 1

Author’s Note: Sunny Cadwallader is traveling to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. She will be logging her experiences, from a media and fan perspective along the way here. 

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We’re not in the Pacific Northwest anymore. 

shirts

No…I’m definitely not. 

After a long day of travel, I finally made it to LeBron James country. And to Hall of Fame City. 

IMG_1856

The day almost didn’t get started. Up before 4am, I had plenty of time to get ready. I was already packed and ready to go. Or, at least I thought I was packed. That early in the morning, it doesn’t take long to get to the airport. So, I took my time getting ready. Added a few things to my luggage. And, headed for the airport. 

Ever have that moment when you NEED to get somewhere and every…single…light…turns…RED!!????

That was the beginning of my travel day. Only 40 minutes before my flight was to leave, I arrived at the airport. 5 minutes to unload and get to the check-in desk. 10 minutes to check-in. 15 minutes of waiting in security. 

WHEW!!! I made it. 

The adventure to Canton began…

in the clouds

with a window seat. 

I used to love window seats. For as much as I love viewing scenery, the appeal of the window seat no longer holds me. Being able to stretch out in the aisle has much more appeal to me. That, and, getting off the plane right away. 

HA!

The adventure began with a window seat next to a lovely, older couple on their way to visit family in Washington D.C. As they moved on to their gate after landing, I stayed in Denver for a short layover. I found what looked like a decent place to eat lunch. Before ten in the morning (Denver time), I had lunch. 

I didn’t have to wait long, but it was funny to watch the host of the airport restaurant. Two guests in front of me, there was a young, blonde woman in a cute dress. The hosts eyes (young guy) lit up when he saw her. He couldn’t wipe the smile off of his face. As he chatted away with her, walking her to her seat, I wondered how long it would take for him to return to seat the rest of us. As the minutes passed, the couple in front of me were getting anxious. Fortunate for all of us, another host came to save the day. This host seated the couple in front of me and so I was left wondering how long Mr. Enamored Host would take to return.

Thankfully, not long. But, the smile was gone. 

Alas, I am not a young blonde. But, I got a table. And promptly asked for a better table. Which I got. (Never hurts to ask, kids.)

At the end of my layover, it was time to hop on the next plane. Finding an aisle seat in the second row, it was a SCORE!!! It didn’t matter that I was next to two kids flying alone. Some might balk at that, but I felt the mothering instinct kick in. No need for it, however. the young girl in the middle seat was an old pro at flying. Every few weeks, she’s on a plane between family. She still does her school work, but she travels more on a plane in a year than I probably have in my lifetime. 

But, oh, was she chatty. The young boy? Not so much. Until we landed in Chicago. 

The young girl departed in Chicago while the young boy and I remained for the final leg to Cleveland. We were joined by “golfing guy”. Golfing guy was a talker who had some great conversations with the young boy. Boy oh boy…young boy was chatty after that. 

Finally, the Day 1 adventure that began at 3:45am was over. I met with my partner, Russell S Baxter and the next phase of our Hall of Fame adventure was underway. 

I have high expectations for the weekend. Here’s hoping it lives up to them.

***

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.

We’re Going to Canton

The 1st and 60 Show HOFOn the road again

Just can’t wait to get on the road again

There’s something about that Willie Nelson song that makes me sing whenever I travel. Even if it’s only a short trip to Seattle, it still pops in my head. And, I’m just singing away. 

On the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We’re the best of friends
Insisting that the world keep turning our way and our way

We may not gypsies, but Russell S Baxter and I are heading down our respective highways (his = road highway, mine = flying highway) to Canton, OH. If you’re an NFL fan, you know exactly what that means. It means that it’s Pro Football Hall of Fame weekend. That’s right. Russ & I are taking our 1st and 60 Show on the road. We’ll be broadcasting live from TD’s Tailgate Grill in downtown Canton on Saturday, August 2, prior to the induction ceremony.

tds tailgate grill

This will be a first for me having never attended an event like this before. Russ, well, he’s an old pro at this sort of thing. (Emphasis on the word…pro) There will much to do. I’ll be covering the event for CadChica Sports, of course, seeking unique stories to tell via video or here on the blog. We’ll be doing a Google+ Hangout for our 1st and 60 Show. I’ll be making new connections and introducing people to the Sportsmanias app. And, I definitely will be looking for a story or two for The Sporting Nation

Needless to say, my plate will be full. I’m just hoping I’ll have time to get a full plate of great food at TD’s. 

And give away LOTS of swag!!!

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I’ll try to do things as I always do: bringing the fan perspective to the sports conversation. The fan perspective with a journalistic twist. So, stay in touch with me (us) on social media to find out the latest from Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Help spread the word and tell your friends to follow along & share too.

Appreciate your support and glad to take you along for the ride…

On the road again

ME

RUSSELL

SHOW

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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.

A Packers’ Tradition “Twist”

If you watched the World Cup, you no doubt saw images of world-class players walking out in the pre-game processional with young children. Spectacular moments in the lives of those kids. It’s a tradition in soccer. So much so that it became a SportsCenter commercial:

This Instagram picture from Clint Dempsey captured the perfect sentiment:

Just landed. Dope pic to remind us to see the world through the eyes of a kid. #liveyourdream

A post shared by Clint Dempsey (@clint_dempsey) on

Now that tradition has made its way to the NFL.

Packers

Why is this a twist? The Packers’ tradition of riding bikes like this one below (with kids alongside or on the bike) is a long one:

[tweet https://twitter.com/packers/status/493112350619090944 align=’center’]

So, while the sports Twitterverse continues the day’s dog days of Summer “hot topic”, I choose to celebrate the good in sports.

Well done, Packers. Well done.

h/t @pink_funk

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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.

Journalism Judgment In A Twitter World

Context.

In the world of 140-characters on Twitter, context can be a missing element.

Come on people. If you didn’t get the sarcasm that’s on you. 

I shouldn’t have to explain my sarcasm on Twitter. Get with it people.  

Can’t you people take a joke? 

Journalists, bloggers, and others working in media have made those statements on Twitter over the years.

Toward fans.

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Do you understand Twitter? Do you understand how people use it?

How I use Twitter is vastly different from the next person. Many in journalism circles use it as a news feed. Others use it as a communication tool as part of their business (brand) strategy. Some use it to simply connect with their friends. Still more use it to find those who have similar interests (i.e. shared favorite tv shows, team, etc…). I’m a collection of all of the above. Mostly sports news mixed in with a bit of non-sports news and minimal personal information. That’s not the same for everyone.

As Twitter has grown, so has the idea of journalist branding. Particularly in sports media. Twitter is a broadcasting tool for journalists. Broadcasting one’s own content or opinions can be the norm. Now more than ever it’s about the clicks.  The more popular you are (followers) on Twitter, the more traffic you drive to your publication’s site. Gain followers – generate clicks. Gain followers by sharing your opinion…especially controversial or sarcastic ones.  It’s as if the thought process for some media is, “I have an opinion or a joke about this story. I need to share it on Twitter. My followers need to know it.”

It’s along that line of thinking that this tweet resonated with me recently.

[tweet https://twitter.com/AlanShipnuck/status/491286070458216448 align=’center’]

Is this statement true? Is everything we do “judged the same” in the online world? Is what we post on Twitter judged the same way as a blog or a video post? Can you tell the same thing about someone in 140-characters as you can a 1,000 word article? Perhaps we should ask Chris Kluwe (reference: his Deadspin article).

  • Chris Kluwe can’t be moral crusader after Twitter rant – CBS Sports
  • Chris Kluwe is both a hero and a hypocrite – Bleacher Report

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gavelBy Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Are we judged the same on all outlets? Or, does Twitter, with its 140-character limit, have its own set of rules in today’s journalism? Needing perspective, I corresponded with a Twitter-friend who has worked in both media and social media. Tom Buchheim is the Lead Content Strategist for American Family Insurance. He was also involved in television broadcasting for several years. I asked Tom a series of questions on the topic of journalism and social media.

Can we be judged the same everywhere? Is it that black-and-white of an issue? 
 
“In this context, I think journalists seeking legitimacy should expect similar reactions across platforms and mediums. A reader is a reader. A fan is a fan. A hater is a hater. You can qualify opinions much easier in a column/blog post. It’s much more difficult and subjective in 140 characters (or less).
 
That being said, at some point, your personal brand becomes what people see, and if you’re consistently trying to be sarcastic or funny via social media, then people begin to expect it.”
 
Tom went on to say that there are certain sites he reads, not for their feature stories but for “their clever use of social media, their capture-the-moment-perfectly tweets and snarky approach to sports”. As Tom told me, “We have a superficial relationship, and I’m OK with that. “

On Whitlock’s tweet that SI’s Alan Shipnuck replied to

“To Whitlock’s credit, he’s being transparent enough in admitting his account is pure folly. My problem is it diminishes his serious writing/columns/reporting. It’s so “out there” that it’s off-brand for what I expect him to say, especially as someone whom I enjoyed hearing from weekly when he was on “Sports Reporters.””

Does personal branding supplant old-school journalism now? 

“I hope personal branding never supplants old-school journalism. There’s a place for personal branding — especially in sports — but we have enough loud-mouths out there. Earn your stripes through good reporting. I expect more — and I think others do, too — of journalists, no matter where they’re sharing opinions. To me, your work should be the showcase piece for your personal branding. But I understand how buzz and getting more readers, followers, etc. works.  know of friends in TV news who are under constant pressure to grow and engage more and more in social media. It’s harder to do that by just sharing really good content — unfortunately. We’re a headline-grabbing society with news cycles that last hours instead of days. That makes me sad for journalism. For old-school journalism.”

Context on Twitter

If you’re trying to be funny, someone will misinterpret the tweet. So then it’s probably not funny, right? Or you’re just not funny. Humor is hard. Big brands struggle — and usually fail miserably — with humor in social media, because it’s so subjective. We’re also a very skeptical society, even more so in social media. Twitter will see blood any time there’s a chance to knock someone down, especially sports writers or other journalists attempting humor. Or big brands.

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FINAL THOUGHTS: First, my thanks to Tom Buchheim for providing his perspective for this post. 

Second, Twitter is what you make of it. That’s been my belief for a long time. If you don’t like what someone tweets, don’t follow them. Simple, right?

There are very prominent media members, well-respected, that are quite popular on Twitter. Early on, I followed them. I found them to be arrogant, condescending and egotistical. They questioned fans who questioned them no matter how right the fans were. Now that I look back on it, to use a popular term, they “bullied” with words and dismissed fans who disagreed with them. I unfollowed them. I moved them to a Twitter List because they were great writers and I wanted to read their articles. Eventually, that wasn’t enough to keep me connected to them. I removed them from my Lists altogether.

Simple.

But, should I have to?

Well, that’s the beauty and curse of Twitter. Twitter allows you access to people who were not previously accessible. Depending on how much journalists filter themselves, Twitter allows for a peek into who they truly are. Personality, political and religious beliefs, even their favorite restaurants (think FourSquare check-ins and food pictures) can all be seen through the eyes of Twitter. That’s not always the case in their writing, unless they are a columnist. Columnists are paid to provide their opinion. 

In print, at least.

On Twitter, everyone can be a columnist, providing their 140-character opinions. Not always in proper context. It’s up to the user to decide how to interpret and convey their opinion to others. We’re all different in our personalities so why is that we should interpret one’s writing and tweets the same way. We don’t. And we won’t until someone creates that sarcasm font I keep calling for (sarcasm). 

As quickly as a tweet is written, that’s how quickly a judgment is made. With an article or blog post, the reader has time to fully grasp the context of what the writer is trying to say on a subject. I should say, “more words” not “more time”.  Like Tom said, “your work should be the showcase piece for your personal branding“. That doesn’t mean that comes through in only 140-characters. 

At least, that’s my “judgment” on the issue. 

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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.

TdF: A Social Reconnection

Social media connects us. 

And, in some cases, reconnects us. 

This story comes from my friend, Debi Davis. Debi is in Colorado, I’m in Washington. I despise talking on the phone. I prefer face-to-face. Maybe that’s why I like Google+. When your friend is in Colorado and you’re in Washington, you talk via Google+ Hangouts (video). 

We were discussing work when she mentioned something off-hand that opened my eyes even more to the power of social media. Here is Debi’s story, in her own words (used with her permission):

I was passively watching coverage of Day 2 of the Tour de France — i.e., checking my Google Plus notifications with the TV on in the background.  When I heard the name “Alex Howes” coming from television my attention was quickly diverted fully to the dark haired boy wearing black-rimmed glasses who was being interviewed on camera.  All I caught was something about calories required to sustain bike racers.  In less than 30 seconds, the interview was over. The name – Alex Howes – was still ringing in my ears.

“It can’t be. Can it? Is that THE Alex Howes from Colorado?” The only Alex Howes I know is the son of the first friend I made when I moved to Colorado 30 years ago.  I started doing the math.  Yes, the bike racer on the interview would be about the same age as the Alex Howes I know.  A quick Google search provided more proof that Alex Howes, the little boy I hadn’t seen since he was in diapers, was probably the young man who was now racing for the U.S. Garmin-Sharp bike team in the Tourde France!  The fact that Boulder, CO is his home base, and that he was born on January 1, 1988, was substantial evidence.  Excited that I knew the parents of a bike racing celebrity, I sent this tweet:

[tweet https://twitter.com/DebDrive/status/485873753000136704 align=’center’]

and this one:

[tweet  http://twitter.com/DebDrive/status/485873871191416833 align=’center’]

I was giddy at the thought of how proud Alex’s parents, Joel and Star, must be to see Alex take bike racing to this level. You see, Joel and I met at a bike race.  I was supporting another racer, and we were parked next to each other and unloading gear for a local amateur race.  We discovered that we lived near each other.  Over the next several years we became good friends, and took many bike rides together.  In fact, I was one of two people at their private wedding ceremony. I also remember the day I held their newborn son, Alex.

Life events took me off in another direction, and I lost touch with the Howes family.  Alex must have forwarded my tweets to his parents, though, because a few days later Joel contacted me on LinkedIn (apparently, he doesn’t use Twitter himself).  We will be getting together for coffee in the next couple weeks. I’m going to get to hear about the Tour de France from the parents who raised and trained a bike racer capable of riding competitively in an international 21-stage race over the course of 23 days, covering a total of 3,664 kilometers.  

I couldn’t be more proud.

Alex Howes

One brief mention on the television. A name. Triggering a memory.

How does Debi attempt to reconnect with that “memory”? Through the power of social media.

I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. Thank you for sharing it with me, Debi.

Oh, and one more thing: GO ALEX!

***

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.