Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Have you noticed the recurring theme?

Pointing fingers, making excuses, deflecting criticism, it’s all very much en vogue.

Call it the “LeBron Generation.” From the basketball player whom Scottie Pippen anointed “better than Jordan,” to Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, to our elected officials in Washington, everyone seems to have mastered the art of blaming their shortcomings on circumstance.

Evidently Ray Tanner’s South Carolina Gamecocks didn’t get the memo.

USC could have folded when two-thirds of their outfield went down within a week of each other this spring.

Left fielder Adam Matthews (a 23rd-round selection of the Baltimore Orioles) was lost on April 16 to what was described only as a “very serious hamstring injury.”

At the time of the injury, he was not expected to return this season.

On April 23, All-American center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (the 40th overall selection of the Boston Red Sox) tore tendons in his left wrist after landing awkwardly while diving for a fly ball.

The injury required surgery. Bradley’s season appeared to be finished.

“Win anyway,” demanded Tanner.

After losing to the sub-.500 Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC tournament, South Carolina—still without Bradley and Matthews—could have simply resigned to the notion that this just wasn’t their year.

“Battle,” insisted Tanner.

The Gamecocks could have thrown in the towel when Texas A&M jumped out to a four-run lead in their CWS opener.

Or, when Virginia loaded the bases vs. closer Matt Price in the 10th inning… or the 12th inning… or the 13th inning of Friday’s CWS semi-final. Or, when Florida loaded the bases with no outs vs. Price on Tuesday.

Instead, they “battled”—and won anyway.

So, when first baseman Christian Walker fractured his left wrist in his final at-bat during the Gamecocks’ win over Virginia Friday night, it should come as no surprise that “no one expected (him) to sit.”

Such was the explanation from Walker regarding his presence in the lineup on Wednesday.

Of course it was.

Jackie Bradley Jr. returned to the lineup in time for South Carolina’s Omaha opener vs. the Aggies.

Adam Matthews scored the winning run vs. Virginia on Friday.

Walker roped a double down the right field line in his first at-bat vs. the Gators on Monday.

Price and the Gamecocks escaped every single jam along the way, always coming up with the big pitch and the big play in the big moment.

South Carolina didn’t win their second consecutive national championship on Tuesday night because they were the most talented team in the country. They won because they refused to lose.

They won because they rejected any and all excuses. They won because they believed in the concept of team, and the old-school mantra of fighting for a championship.

In doing so, they have provided each of us with a battle cry worth rallying around.

“Win anyway.”


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Life lesson from Rocky

Jerry Rice Talks About "the Hill"


Friday, June 24, 2011

Attitude and upsets

"I think the final outcome of most football games is affected more by attitude then by talent. I once heard someone say that an upset is really in the mind of the favorite. If the favored team plays to the best of their ability, the underdog probably isn’t going to win. But if there’s an upset, it’s probably because the favorite didn’t have the right attitude. A team that has the right attitude and happens to be blessed with the greater talent and ability is not likely to be upset. As a football team, we have to understand that our thinking affects everything we do."

-From Jim Tressel's "Winners Manual"



" If you get caught up in things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect those things over which you have contol." - Advice to John Wooden from his father

You know it when you feel it. The momentum is shifting the other way. But remember -- that is just a thought. It does not have to be a self-fulfilling prophesy. Momentum is just a few poor actions that lead to a negative mental shift that in turn leads to more poor actions. You can turn it around because you can control your thoughts. If you want to stop momentum focus on positive thoughts, which will lead to positive actions. The old saying holds true that "the team that loses its poise, loses the game."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Being Perfect

Monday, June 13, 2011

TEAM sports

“Team Sports are really difficult things. Sometimes your team wins because of you, sometimes in spite of you, and sometimes its like you are not even there. That’s the reality of the team game. Then at one point in my career something wonderful happened I don’t know why or how but I came to understand what “team” meant. It meant that although I didn’t get a hit or make a great defensive play, I could impact the team in an incredible and consistent way. I learned I could impact my team by caring first and foremost about the team’s success and not my own. I don’t mean by rooting for us like a typical fan, fans are fickle. I mean care, really care about the team…about “us”. I became less selfish, less lazy, less sensitive to negative comments. When I gave up me, I became more. I became a captain, a leader, a better person and I came to understand that life is a team game…and you know what?…I’ve found most people aren’t team players. They don’t realize that life is the only game in town. Someone should tell them. It has made all the difference in the world to me. “ Don Mattingly/All Star first baseman


"You must be smart enough to be able to practice on your own."
-Coach Don Meyer

Pain of discipline vs pain of regret

“Most people want to avoid pain, and discipline is often painful. But we need to recognize that there are really two kinds of pain when it comes to our daily conduct. There’s the pain of self-discipline and the pain of regret. Many people avoid the pain of self-discipline because it’s the easy thing to do. What they may not realize is that the pain of self-discipline is momentary but the pay-off is long lasting.”-John Maxwell

Thursday, June 9, 2011

High Standards

"Set higher standards for you own performance than anyone around you, and it won't matter whether you have a tough boss or an easy one. It won't matter whether the competition is pushing you hard, because you'll be competing with yourself."
-Rick Pitino

Monday, June 6, 2011

I always want to get better

Five years ago, Tim Lincecum was on his way to earning Freshman of the Year honors at the University of Washington. Today, he's getting ready for his first season since winning the Cy Young Award in November of last year. Nicknamed "The Freak," the 5-foot-11, 174-pound Lincecum isn't resting on his laurels.

"I always want to get better," said Lincecum, who had a league-high 265 strikeouts last season for the Giants. "I come into this year, I'm not just sitting on my ass hoping everything's going to be all right because of last year. I've got to come out here and work and become better. That's what it takes to be a good major-league baseball player."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Forward Thinking

previously posted by Coach J.F. Cooley

Florida coach Billy Donovan is big on bringing in other players and coaches to talk to his team. A couple of years ago Bill Belicheck met with the team shortly before the SEC tournament. Florida was #1 in the country and Donovan wanted to make sure the team did not get full of themselves.

Belicheck showed them a video of the Breeders' Cup (which is a horse race) and paused the tape halfway through the race with the outcome still up in the air. He asked the team "Who will win? The horse with the most experienced jockey? The horse who has won the most money? The horse with the best odds prior to the race?" The team was puzzled, "No, it's the horse that runs the best race from here on out. You can't focus on prior accomplishments/failures, you must only foucs on the present and doing your best the next play."

Erstad's Respect for the Game- Intensity

Darin Erstad- New Husker head coach

There goes Darin Erstad, the roughest, toughest, grittiest player in the major leagues. Did you see what he did this time?

It's 2002. On a Tuesday night in April, Erstad runs face-first into an outfield wall chasing a fly ball. (He doesn't catch it.) The collision knocks him senseless, but he still gets the game-winning hit in the 10th inning.

Then, on Friday night, Erstad dives for a line drive. (He doesn't catch it.) His chin smacks the turf so hard that he spends the night in a hospital.

A teammate — an Anaheim Angels pitcher — walks into his hospital room late that night and scolds him. There isn't a player in baseball who, three nights after a potential concussion, would've dived head-first again.

“You don't need to be catching that ball,” Troy Percival recalls saying.

Erstad is woozy. His head throbs, but he rebuts.

“Uh-uh. Too much respect for the game. Too much respect for you. If I can catch it, I'm catching it.”