Thursday, 29 September 2016 03:37

President's Pen Sept 2016

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The Essence of Competition

September 2016

 

Just thinking about how amazing competition can be.

I intended for this to be a short one, but ya'll KNOW how I am when that spirit hits my heart and gets to my fingers.  Turned this one into a Presidents Pen because I think it is one of my most important posts.

As always, if you don't have time to read it all now, you can come back to it over time. Or if you are one that doesn't like to read my long posts, that is your choice. In my opinion, you will miss a blessing, but that is on you. I am going to share for all of the parents who appreciate it and see the benefit.

COMPETITION:

Sometimes it can bring out the worst in us as men. Sometimes it can bring out the worst in parents. Sometimes it can bring out the worst in coaches.

Winners have a burning desire to win. We get obsessed with winning and we get caught into believing that "winning is not everything, it is the only thing."

A great winner once said that named Vince Lombardi. I no longet believe that statement is true. But because so many people believe it, the desire to win drives some of us to allow relationships to be destroyed.

Is winning important? Can it change people's lives and make them better? Can winning alter destinies? The answer is yes to all of those questions and there are numerous reasons why winning is important.

But the sad part is that some of is are so focused on winning, that we miss out on what is MOST important, which is becoming the absolute best that we can possibly be at whatever we are.

Since we are talking football right now I will put it in that context. But it applies to every aspect of our lives.

Becoming the best football player that a young man can become is the only goal that he has control over and should be his #1 focus.

Becoming the best football team that a program can become is the only goal that the team has control over and should be their #1 focus.

It every individual player and Coach on a team focuses on being the best they can be, that team will be the best it can be and it maximizes it's chance to become a winner.

All we can do is maximize our full possible potential. It is not possible to do any more than that. So if a group of individuals get every ounce out of their talent that is humanly possible and the coaches get every ounce of their coaching potential and they become the best they can be, but they LOSE a game, are they losers?

Of course not.... they may not have won a game, but they are winners in my book because they left everything they had on the field and there is no more they had to give.

Will they cry and be devastated if they lose?

Will they feel the pain of losing and the heartache that it brings?

Will they 2nd guess themselves and wonder if it is worth all of the effort to suffer such agony?

The answer is Yes to all of those questions and many more.

But those kids and those coaches will NOT be losers. They will be winners, because they will have learned the lessons and instilled the principles that it will take to win in the Real game of life.

If our babies can learn to leave every ounce that they have on the field and be able to accept the results either good or bad, those traits will carry over to their schoolwork in HS and college. They will carry over into their careers after college, their marriages, the raising of their children, etc.

They will win the game of life if we can get them to understand that winning is important, because it gives us the goal to shoot for. It gives us the motivation and incentive to lift weights, study the play book, train hard and practice hard. The desire to win is the fuel for greatness.

But greatness ultimately comes as a result of 2 things I my humble opinion, work ethic and competition.

You see the beauty of sport rests in the competition, not just in winning.

We always seem to forget that, and that is why in GYFL my focus is NOT on winning.

I want our kids and coaches to be GREAT. Because they want to win, the are motivated to put in the work ethic part. But without the intense competition, they are NOT forced to take the game and intensity to another level.

Their is nothing like a worthy adversary to get the real Warriors to step up. True champions don't want to just win. They want to beat the absolute best.

Their is a big difference between being a winner and being a Champion.

True champions don't just want an easy win so they can beat their chest. They are not at the scale hoping that a kid is 1 pound overweight so they can disqualify him for the game.

True champions understand the need for rules, but they are not looking to be just black and white on every rule so they can disqualify another kid from playing on a technicality. A Champion will feel like it is a hollow victory to beat that team without that kid.

True Champions don't leave organizations and start there own because their kid won't get a guaranteed starting quarterback spot, or they don't believe their team has a real chance to win a league Championship.

Not to to single anyone out because I believe all of my current coaches are Champions, but a dude like Rusty Markland comes over the bridge every Fall undermanned knowing that he is the underdog every week.

So he may not have one a Varsity GYFL Championship yet, but he and the Eagles are champions because they KEEP coming over here and giving DC & Maryland hell every week.

His Eagles are Champions because they go into Loudoun County Public Schools battle tested by the COMPETITION and they kick ass as freshman and sophomores. The college scholarship offers of the Eagle alums is staggering and they respect they have earned from the Maryland/DC side is real.

The real point of this post is about taking the focus of of ONLY winning and learning to respect and admire beauty of COMPETITION.

Part of the motivation for Kevin Plank was the desire for Under Armour to compete against Adidas and Nike.

Although it took years for UA to overtake Adidas in sales, UA was not a loser while they were climbing the hill. They were winners when they were in 3rd place and they winners now as they have moved into 2nd place among the manufactures.

That competition with Nike will continue to drive UA, but they will NOT be losers if they don't overtake them.

But let's apply that to our babies guys.

I was prompted by these thoughts when I saw a great article by Chad Ricardo on GYFL Alum Blake Corum, who had 3 D1 offers as an 8th Grader and is now up to 6 offers.

I remembered the first time I saw him play in Feb of 2015 in the DMV Pro Bowl run by the great Coach Ty Johnson of the Dunbar Poets. Blake and his players from NoVa were coached by Jwan Banks, who has a sacrificial love and dedication to kids that is refreshing.

Loved what I saw. Went to FB and both Jwan and James Corum, Blake's dad hit me back and the relationship blossomed. He came into the GYFL family and we combines the machine with his talents and work ethic and a marvelous ride began. Elite Star Performance 8am workouts got him right and we put him on the grandest of stages.

He joined the Maryland Heat with Antwain Littleton, who is nationally known as one of the top backs in the country. They became teammates, but they also became competitors!!!

I absolutely loved it. You see when you are the only guy on top and you have no competition, you can coast if you want. It is natural for us as individuals. Nobody I know enjoys 2 a days, or training camp. We did it and kids still do it because we had to and they have to.

It is understood that it is a part of the process. But when you are top dog you don't work to maximize every Rep, every spring, and every gasser.

Aw..... but when a Blake Corum realizes he is battling for carries with an Antwain Littleton, and and Antwain Littleton realizes that this kid from VA can boogie and can take some of my shine, BOTH KIDS STEP THEIR GAME UP, and true Champions emerge.

Antwain did NOT coast before Blake arrived, but we All saw him take to a level that we had not seen before.

That is what I saw happen with Blake and Antwain. Both kids are significantly better backs, than they were prior to becoming teammates, pushing each other, and COMPETING WITH EACH OTHER.

In the Fall of 2015, we found another elite back from Delaware and the stakes rose even higher. Marshawn Lloyd was on a different team, so the 3 of them didn't get to compete together as teammates, but they sure took all 3 of their games to a different stratosphere.

At the end of the season we put all 3 in the same backfield together and I can assure you that you have never seen 3 backs compete against each other in practice and for each other in games than the winter of 2015.

Was it tough on them? Was it tough on the parents? Was it tough on us?

The answer is yes to all of those questions.

That is one of the things that inspired me to write this post. I want all parents, not just theirs, to UNDERSTAND that IF YOU WANT YOUR SON TO REACH HIS MAXIMUM POTENTIAL, COMPETITION IS THE ONLY WAY TO GET IT OUT OF HIM.

If it is easy for him, he won't be as good as he can be and he minimizes his chance to ever be great.

This is just one example. I bet the future of Grassroots on the premise that Blake Corum, Marshawn Lloyd, and Antwain Littleton will be 3 of the best backs to ever come out of the DMV.

I expect them to massacre HS Football and each have over 40 offers before they select a college, if not more. If there is a record for offers for DMV kids, they will compete for that too and will decimate it.

They will go to the colleges of there choice and dominate that level as well and God Willing, they will have a chance to reach their dreams of playing on Sundays one day.

Who will ultimately be the best?

Who knows and who cares?

I just look forward to watching the 3 of them COMPETE FOR IT. It will continue to drive them in the future as it has driven them in the past.

In order to reach the "pinnacles they plan to reach," (A little Drake to lighten the mood) they will be forced to leave every ounce of sweat, grit, and determination on that field and they will be GREAT.

When and if they play against each other, one will win and one will lose. One of the 3 may win a rushing title and 2 won't. One may be First Team all American and 2 may not. One may win a Heisman Trophy and 2 may not.

Only the future will tell who will win and who will lose, but trust and believe that ALL 3 will be great and they will be CHAMPIONS!!

I love those babies and I love their parents. We have had our ups and downs!! All 3 get mad at me sometimes (LOL)!!! I get mad at them too (LOL).

But whether the 3 of you love each other or not, at the very least please appreciate what your sons have done to make each other Great!!!!

And it is NOT going to stop!! Embrace it guys and use this post to keep in perspective and share with the boys.

For our babies still in middle school, please apply this. We have some competition going on at thee QB position for example like I have ever never, ever seen in my life.

The League of Extraordinary Quarterbacks was designed to APPLY PRESSURE ON YOUR SONS.

I know it is frustrating at times the you and the them. It was designed to be that way. Pressure bursts pipes, but it also creates diamonds.

Ben Cuellar, Austin Tutas, John Griffith, Trace Campbell, and Caleb Williams, you guys are the 2016 version of the Big 3 Backs.

It is your turn to compete and become great!! We love what we see. You will all emerge and take your places. But take it all in. Become super intense. Hit your playback. Immense yourselves in the film room. Practice hard. Get your game face on. Then fall into a state of relaxation as you begin to understand that you must get through this gauntlet to get to your destined.

All a part of the process to create diamonds.....

I love you guys and I love your parents too! We have had our Good Times and Bad times, but we are all still here.

We will see you Sunday at the Burning Sands. And any other Quarterbacks that want to come for the crown. Come one and come All!!

My last thought regarding the benefit of COMPETION was initiated by an article in the USA Today about the DeMatha vs St. Johns game Friday night at Sports and Learning.

The legendary DM program, which is my Alma Mater, takes on a rising SJC program that has the whole country talking.

DM is ranked #4 in the Country and SJC is ranked #22. Being billed as the game of the decade in The DMV.

I thought about how emotional last year's game was and how ugly it got at the end. It was truly dreadful and embarrassing to both schools, the WCAC and the DMV as a whole.

I hope and pray that nothing like that ever happens again. It is a product of the belief that winning isn't everything, it is the only thing. When we believe that, the emotions from the players, the coaches, and the fans, can easily get out of control.

The losers can't accept it, and the winners can't enjoy it because they are paranoid about losing one day. We can't be that way.

The winner of this game will NOT win a Noble Prize. Cancer will NOT be cured by the winner. They will win a regular season game that will at most effective playoff seeding.

I pray that we will all try our best to keep this amazing game in perspective. It is a very important game for both teams and I get it.

But the same concept of competition that makes individual kids great in the case of the Big 3 backs, holds true for individual teams, and conferences.

The emergence of SJC, combined with the greatness of DM, along with the history of GC, and Gonzaga, mixed with the ability of McNamara, has risen the WCAC to a national respect level that we have never witnessed.

As the teams in this great conference have emerged over the last 7 years, the competition has forced our coaches to take it to a different stratosphere. Combined with individual players just getting better and better, it is mind boggling to see where we are as the region.

When the WCAC was a 2 team conference for all those years, the DM vs GC game was the only tough game on the schedule. They didn't get battle tested, and when they went out of state to play, they would come back with losses, further cementing the stereotype that the DMV was a Basketball region.

Look at us NOW. SJC soundly beating top teams from Pittsburgh and Jersey. DM crushing top teams from 757 and PA. McNamara taking out All Star Teams from VA Beach. St. Francis taking out top teams from South Carolina.

We never did that before.....

Respect......

I say all of that to say this. Friday night some Warriors will clash.

The whole country will be watching because WE ARE RELEVANT NATIONALLY NOW!!!

We are relevant because we are not a 2 teams region anymore. We ALL BENEFIT FROM THE DMV RENAISANCE!!!

We are becoming an official Football Hotbed at the Youth and HS Level and with that comes a certain level of responsibility. All eyes are on us and we must conduct ourselves with class and dignity.

Because in the end there will be nothing but winners leaving that field Friday night no matter who is ahead on the scoreboard.

All the college coaches will be there.

All the reporters. All the Scouts. All the media. All the fans.

The whole DMV is coming to watch our babies put on a show. Our babies are going to college and getting degrees.

OUR KIDS ARE CHAMPIONS WHETHER WIN OR LOSE A FOOTBALL GAME!!!!!

And I can promise you that ALL of the Grassroots Babies will leave every ounce of blood, sweat and tears on that field.

That is what we groomed them for folks!!! This issue what we do.

Grassroots.......... What is your profession? AAAAAOOOOOO!!!!

COACH MIKE

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