To me, sports is not about trophies. It’s not about money. It’s not about saying you’re better than somebody else. The beauty of sports is who it makes you become. It’s about character. Watch the recent Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony with one of my favorite athletes, the great Andre Agassi. Enjoy.
My mother, the late, great Mary Tseng was, and is, one of my she-roes.
As an immigrant from Shanghai, China, my mother arrived in the United States without a great command of the English language, or a lot of money. In fact, she started out working at White Castle in the Bronx. Then, after my sisters and I got older, she worked an entry level job performing data entry. Even though she didn’t make a lot of money, she was able to save more than most people. Her goal was to raise a family to the best of her abilities. And I feel she did just that with my two sisters and myself. Unfortunately my mother passed away a few years ago after fighting cancer for nine years.
My mother was and is one of my she-roes.
She knew the secret.
It’s about OTHERS.
My mother was very generous to her family, friends, and co-workers. And during those nine difficult years, I never once heard her complain about anything. Even when she had people come to her house to take care of her or perform music therapy, my mother would always ask people, “Did you eat?”
It’s about OTHERS.
I think when we shift our focus from “what can you do for me?” to “what can I do for you?” our world changes. As a by-product, our results change—in relationships, in sports, in sales, and in school.
Everything mothers do comes from a place of love. But sometimes the message is lost because children hear that they need to get better grades, clean their room or can’t get that new cell phone. But there is always a good reason for that.
And that reason is to help make their child the best that they can possibly be.
As children, we need to realize this, be grateful and try to make our mothers proud, every day.
I know I try to.
Happy Mother’s Day.
I have a confession.
I like taking notes at movies.
The movies I like to watch are inspirational. They have a lot of great quotes. Recently, I went to see The Karate Kid, I knew it would have some good quotes. Here is my favorite…
There is no such thing as bad student only a bad teacher.
The “evil” kung fu instructor’s motto was “No fear, no mercy.”
Mr. Han’s (good kung fu instructor) motto was “Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. Fight hard, earn respect…Kung Fu is about making peace.”
I know coaches that tell their players to call the ball out when it is close. They teach them to be jerks on the court. They think winning is everything.
When I work with athletes and business professionals, I ask them, “At the end of your life, what do you want to be known for?”
The answer is never, I want to be #1 in the world, or I want to be a millionaire with five homes and a boat.
The answer is always something like, “I want to have been a role model; someone who made a difference and led by example. I want to be known as someone who went all-out, regardless of the situation.”
We may not all be coaches, but we are all teachers. We may be teaching our children, our friends, our parents, our fans, our employees or a stranger on the street. But what are we teaching them?
Roger Federer said, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice.”
People say, nice guys finish last.
I say, nice guys are winners before the game begins.
How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or a loser.
Do you play to get a lot of trophies?
Do you work to make a lot of money?
Do you study to get a lot of A’s?
Don’t get me wrong, trophies, money and A’s are desirable things to have, but they should not be the ultimate goal.
I think that what really matters is what kind of person you become.
Trophies, money and A’s will not last forever. But your character will.
Training yourself to go all-out, striving for constant improvement and enjoying the process is success to me.
What do you think?
I have seen some amazing things in sports. I was at David Cone’s Perfect Game, Joe DiMaggio Day at Yankee Stadium, several World Series games, the US Open, Australian Open and countless other events on television. But yesterday I saw the MOST amazing thing.
Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game for the Detroit Tigers…but umpire Jim Joyce took it away from him.
On what should have been the last play of the game, a ground ball was hit to first baseman, Miguel Cabrera, who threw it to Galarraga covering first. That should have been the final out. Game over. History made. But the runner was called safe.
To be honest, at normal speed, I could not tell if the runner was out or if he was safe. But on replay he was clearly out and Galarraga clearly should have had a perfect game. Joyce blew the call.
After the game, Joyce asked to see the replay and saw that he was wrong. He then went to find Galarraga and apologized.
That’s a class act.
I respect Jim Joyce for that.
But the best play in the whole game was Galarraga. After the blown save, Armando was surprised, but just laughed and then got the final out.
Galarraga could have given Joyce a piece of his mind and told him where to go, but he didn’t.
After the game, Galarraga said, “Nobody’s perfect, everybody’s human.”
That’s mental toughness at it’s best.
Here’s an excerpt from Tom Verducci’s article in SI.com:
There is no polite way to say this: Joyce blew the call. Galarraga caught the ball in plenty of time, even if it wedged precariously in the webbing of his glove, and scraped the base, even if inelegantly, with his foot. Immortal fame was his.
Jim Joyce took it away. He called Donald safe. No sign that Galarraga juggled the ball. No sign that he missed the base. Just safe. Pure and simple safe.
Umpires miss calls. It happens. Nobody feels worse when an umpire misses a call than the umpire himself. They are proud men who strive for a 100 percent success rate and are bound to be disappointed. Upon seeing a replay, Joyce was crushed.
“I just cost that kid a perfect game,” the umpired admitted afterward. “I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.”
It was a classy move by Joyce, who also apologized to Galarraga personally. The pitcher told a Venezuelan reporter that Joyce was crying when he offered him his apology.
“He really feel bad. He probably feel more bad than me,” Galarraga told Fox Sports Detroit. “Nobody’s perfect, everybody’s human. I understand. I give a lot of credit to the guy saying, ‘Hey, I need to talk to you because I really say I’m sorry.’ That don’t happen. You don’t see an umpire after the game say ‘I’m sorry.'”
Yes, Galarraga’s perfecto would have been impressive, but to be honest with you, his reaction to the missed call was the most impressive thing I have ever seen in sports.
Well, I think Tiger Woods definitely said the right things in his recent public statement, but communication is only 7 percent the actual words. 38 percent is the tone, and 55 percent is body language.
I respect Tiger for admitting the truth, unlike some celebrities, but I wanted to see some emotion. I wanted to hear him speak from the heart. His tone (38 percent) and his body language (55 percent) were just like his golf game, unemotional. Many say that he didn’t get emotional because he’s not an emotional guy. I suppose that’s true, but I’m still not convinced – did he REALLY need to read word-for-word? Did he really need to be that monotone? Perhaps it was part of his poker-face and he didn’t want to show any weakness.
I asked my friend, Tom Jolly, Sports Editor, New York Times what he thought about Tiger’s statement.
“It was certainly a forthright apology, none of that, ‘if i offended anyone …’ stuff ; it seemed straight out of a 12-step program.”
Nobody knows how heart-felt Tiger’s statement was, only Tiger knows that. But I do think that he will be back and his game will be stronger than ever. And I hope that one of Tiger’s goals is to turn this whole fiasco into something that everyone can learn from, including Tiger. That would be the only way he could win my respect back.
For the full transcript of Tiger Woods’s statement, click HERE:
What are YOUR thoughts on Tiger Woods?
Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Michael Sachs, PhD at Temple University.
“I miss the relationships. I miss my peers. I miss the fans being up close and personal and being able to impact their day for a couple hours. But I’ve also chosen to look at my life as a canvas to impact people for a lot longer than that. You don’t get the immediate feedback, but your life’s work truly has a bigger relevance than just a break from their day when they come out to watch you. This is about real change and real impact.”
The quote above was from a recent New York Times article.
Andre Agassi was always my favorite tennis player. I remember when he first came up and had that long hair and wore those denim Nike shorts. All he had was that big forehand.
He’s come a long way since the 80s. He went from punk to professional. He turned into a class act. I really liked Andre as a player, but I like him even more now that he’s retired.
He has started a charter school in Las Vegas in a rough neighborhood so that underprivileged children could attend college and have a brighter future. He’s making a difference and seeing how the rewards are greater than all the money and trophies he won on the tour.
Very few of my students will go on and be as successful as Andre on the tennis court, but ALL of my students can go on and become as successful as Andre off the court. The lessons you learn and the challenges you face in sports will help you in all areas of life. And remember, it’s about others.
Beginning Sunday, I will be in New York City, speaking at the USTA Tennis Teachers Conference on Monday, August 31st at the Grand Hyatt and then I will be doing a book signing at the US Open on September 1st (I will be Billie Jean King’s opening act). Monday evening they will be honoring Andre Agassi and others for their philanthropic work after retiring. Hopefully I will get a chance to see him.
To read the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/28/sports/tennis/28agassi.html?emc=eta1
Thanks for reading.
“In like the fourth inning I kind of knew…then I just tried to keep doing what I was doing and not try to mess it up.”
Recently, Mackenzie Brown became the only girl to throw a perfect game in Bayonne Little League history. Read the article below for more details.
There are any number of boys today who wish they could throw like a girl.
That is, they would like to throw like Mackenzie Brown.
Mackenzie, 12, pitched a perfect game in the Bayonne Little League. She retired all 18 boys. It’s a rare achievement for a baseball player of any age or gender in any kind of league.
“In like the fourth inning I kind of knew,” she said, sounding like her male pro counterparts in the Bronx or Queens. “Then I just tried to keep doing what I was doing and not try to mess it up.”
Her feat has drawn national attention, including TV appearances, a highlight reel of her performance on ESPN — and today she is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Mets and Washington Nationals game at Citi Field.
Glenn Regan, commissioner of the Bayonne Little League, said Mackenzie has kept her feet on the ground as the spotlight raised her profile around the country.
It’s always nice when sometime takes success in stride. It’s also a pleasure when someone turns conventional wisdom on its head. In this case, a playground taunt has been upended.
Throwing like a girl never looked so good.
(The Star Ledger, April 25, 2009)
Congratulations Mackenzie Brown. Not only did she throw a perfect game, but she didn’t let it get to her head. I would like to make an adjustment in her quote though. She said she tried to keep doing what she was doing – I like that. But she also said she was trying not to mess up. Remember, the brain doesn’t know the word don’t. If I said, don’t think about a pink elephant, don’t you think about a pink elephant? So instead of thinking don’t mess up, think about what you do want to accomplish. Focus on your strategy, targets, attitude, effort, and energy.
Thanks for reading.
Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Derek Jeter.
Many people ask me what it takes to be a winner.
Most people think winning is the result you get, whether it’s money, a trophy, grades or a raise.
I call those things by-products.
Winning, in my mind, is your effort.
If you do your best…how can you do any better?
If you have the right attitude, you can overcome any obstacle or condition.
And if you have character, well then you’ve got it all.
Last night I watched the final game at Yankee Stadium. I enjoyed the game, the re-caps, the tributes and my own personal memories of the House that Ruth Built. It was hard to choose one thing to blog about, but after the game, I knew instantly…
After the final out and some celebration, the New York Yankees and their captain, Derek Jeter, took the microphone at the pitcher’s mound.
Jeter spoke on behalf of the team and he didn’t talk about how great they were, or their 26 World Championships.
He talked about what an honor it was to put on the pinstripes. And talked about how it was a team effort from players present and past. And most importantly, they thanked their fans…and they meant it. That’s class.
Many people hate the Yankees because they have won so much and they have such a big payroll. I can see that. But I’m a Yankee for life because they have class. They are professionals. And last night confirmed it.
Yankee Stadium…thanks for the memories.
Thanks for reading.
Hope to see you tonight at the first book signing of “Game. Set. Life.” at Amalfi’s Restaurant in Lawrenceville, 7-9 PM.