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Archive for November, 2009

What Big-Leaguers Talk About All the Time

This year’s baseball Hall of Fame ballot is on its way to the voters. No matter who gets voted in — if anyone — you can be sure he passed the test of consistency. No one gets in on a fluke. One or two great seasons aren’t enough. To even be eligible, a player must […]

Excellence from the Mundane

Remember the other day, when chef Thomas Keller was saying that the steps in cooking are not particularly difficult? Well, today we have legendary soccer coach Anson Dorrance saying the same thing in a different way. Dorrance, whose team plays in the NCAA quarterfinals today in pursuit of the program’s 21st national championship, discusses excellence […]

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving! Trouble is, when it comes to thanks, too many of us set aside only one day of the year. How about feeling and expressing gratitude on the other 364 days? “Attitudes of Gratitude” by M.J. Ryan explores the whole sense of being grateful from several angles. It begins with this poem by Lao […]

Making Excuses

Pity the poor Cleveland Browns. Not only did they lose to the Detroit Lions, but their coach is making excuses about it. After Sunday’s last-second loss to Detroit, Cleveland Coach Eric Mangini suggested that the Lions faked injuries to slow his team’s no-huddle offense. “There were multiple, multiple, multiple injuries throughout our no-huddle process,” Mangini […]

Two Cases of Madness

I’m reading two biographies at the moment, both of them hair-raising tales of superstar athletes who came from dysfunctional homes and found themselves with crushing addictions. Theo Fleury tells of walking home from his youth hockey games in minus-40 weather because his father, a drinker and gambler, never thought to pick him up. Fleury also […]

Making Greatness Manageable

When you eat your Thanksgiving feast later this week, think of the words of chef Thomas Keller: “One of the great things about cooking is that no single task is particularly difficult.” Keller’s words, which appeared a profile in Esquire Magazine, carry deep meaning for anyone who wants to become great. If Keller can create […]

The Lessons of Adversity

Today’s post comes courtesy of a friend whose daughter was injured early in her first college basketball season. She received a note of encouragement from a family friend, someone who also had a daughter suffer an injury. Note how this pep talk emphasizes not only basketball, but the wider issues of responding to adversity. It […]

A Life of Purpose

Our team has begun dealing with the loss of Valeria Reyes, the young woman we adopted through the Friends of Jaclyn program. Valeria died yesterday at age 12, four and a half years after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Among the things we discussed yesterday at our team meeting was the way you chose […]

An Angel Gets Her Wings

Today is a difficult day. Valeria Reyes, 12, a dear friend and teammate of ours, died of a brain tumor. We came to know Valeria through a program called “Friends of Jaclyn,” which connects sports teams with children with brain tumors. We met Valeria 14 months ago at an adoption ceremony. Since then our team […]

Having Big Dreams

Can someone be too committed to an athletic goal? That’s the question being asked by a young woman I know, a young woman who has won multiple national titles on the collegiate level. Recently I was surprised to see an email from her, saying two things. No. 1, she has a dream of going to […]