Sunday, July 31, 2011

This week's Pep Talk: "Refined, Resolute & Fearless"

It’s a Sunday afternoon, the music is Oldies, the temperature is hot and the mood, mixed. A quick conversation with wonderful Los Angeles based-son about his sister’s pending visit is good, the breeze on Poor Man’s Porch is cooling but there’s sobering news to report: The local baseball team, the Colorado Rockies, are dead in the water and drifting away from land and the coveted island that is the baseball playoffs at season’s end.

They just lost 7-0 to the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was the club’s 14th-straight Sunday loss of the season. What? The Rockies’ best pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, since traded, was erratic, the hitters couldn’t solve a guy making his first start in two months and the will, to bounce back from a prior night’s shellacking, apparently on the disabled list and unavailable.

To put it another way. The 2011 version of the Jim Tracy-led Rockies have underachieved big time. Underachieving, wherever we roam, is a lousy place to dwell, ain’t it? You want to quickly shower the stench away, don’t ya? We all have been there at points in life, right? Where, despite best intentions, it’s a train wreck leaving us dazed and confused. What’s the saying, “Life gets in the way of our best laid plans?” The Rockies didn’t expect to be buried in a double-digit deficit to the world-champion San Francisco Giants; I didn’t expect to be divorced twice and you didn’t expect - fill in the blank. Life rarely goes as planned.

The question, when mired in underachievement, “What the heck are we doing to do about it?” We do have a choice, right? I’m just a simple dude from Missouri sitting here writing you from my backyard, but I think it’s this simple: We have to decide whether we’re going to be victims of underachievement or students of it. I believe that’s true whether talking baseball, love or whatever. We have to, when faced with the reality of underachievement, look inward and ask, “What could be done better to become superior to our former selves - home, work or elsewhere?”

But here’s where it get tricky. Accepting the truth of underachievement takes courage. First, to admit it and then, to explore a new path encouraging a better way. Simple, not easy. I think it starts with forgiving ourselves. I can only speak for myself, but it seems we’re usually our worst critics. In the Bible, in Colossians, it talks about “being gentle, forgiving and never holding a grudge against others.” I think it starts self.

When underachievement arrives at the most undesirable time, we have to muster the courage to dust ourselves off and move forward. Wiser from the experience, optimistic about the future and courageous despite the past. Refined, resolute and fearless from lessons learned in our quest to turn life’s lemons - heck with lemonade - into sweet and savory margaritas and play like champions down the road.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Thanks Zap"

I don’t think it’s being unreasonable to believe each of us has moments that brand our bones: those moments where elation or disappointment reign are snapshots from the journey defining our lives.

For me one of those moments was late in 1983. I was living in Denver, Colorado and drifting like a ship without sail or rudder. I didn’t like myself much that day while plopped on the couch of a modest apartment and watching rookie John Elway lead the Broncos to a thrilling win over the Baltimore Colts. A team that had drafted, but been spurned by Elway, being the first victim of the rifle-armed quarterback’s come-from-behind magic that is one of many attributes of his Hall-of-Fame career.

On that fateful day, I was on the couch watching a Denver sports anchor, after the rally, reporting live from a joyous Broncos’ locker room. I liked his style, passion and knowledge. I had an epiphany: “I wanna do what he’s doing. I wanna be a sportscaster like Ron Zappolo.”

That thought inspired me to take the necessary steps to return to my alma mater, Mizzou, for a master’s degree in journalism. The goal: become a sportscaster and return to my athletic roots.

More than a quarter century later, that goal, inspired by someone else’s example, is something remembered like yesterday. It takes my brain to this: how beautiful and beneficial it is to remember others who inspire us to be our best? To, as I like to say whenever blessed to encourage others with a Pep Talk, be “joyful for the blessings.”

Imagine - home, work and elsewhere – marinating in the physical, emotional and spiritual ingredients comprising those who inspire us to play like champions? Just me, and I know I’m just a simple dude from Missouri, but I like our odds of living a life that honors, nurtures and adds value wherever we roam.

The Boston native had that type of influence of my life. Occasionally I mention this to the man who set the standard for Denver sportscasters before transforming into an equally talented news anchor in the Mile High City. He smiles, shrugs and suggests, “Ah Mac, you’re too kind.”

No Zap, few in life have given me a greater gift than the encouragement that branded my bones that late-in-the-year 1983 date and changed my life, for the better. This week let’s, in thoughts, words and actions: “Be what Zap was for Mac.” Our example may help another become superior to their former self. Is there a greater honor?

Thanks, Zap.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Taste the Fruits"

Who remembers the song from the 1970’s named Disco Inferno? I would suspect most, considering our age, reading this Pep Talk can recall that vibrating and gyrating hit made hugely popular in the 1977 film, Saturday Night Fever.

Well, on a recent morning at the gym, the song, inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame a few years back, came blaring over the sound system and, not surprisingly, everyone’s energy increased dramatically. From my perch atop a StairMaster machine, I could see others, while putting their bodies through the paces too, moving and grooving to the upbeat rhythm.

There was an obvious surge of energy, sparked by the music, emanating from our bodies and the room. Most of us were singing along and when the lead singer from the Trammps belted out, “Satisfaction came with a chain reaction”, I felt like screaming, “Amen brother!”

There was a chain reaction, call it unity of spirit, pulsing through Kinetics Fitness Studio. It was fun to experience and made the “sweat a day keeps the doctor away” workout far more tolerable. The thought “satisfaction came with a chain reaction” stuck with me the rest of the day and led to this musing from Poor Man’s Porch.

I kept thinking about how it ties into the mission of the Faith, Life and Sports (FLS) Foundation and our goal to inspire others to play like champions wherever they roam. Through our programs, services and products we’re trying to create a chain reaction of satisfaction within others to successfully live in harmony with self and others.

A big part of the philosophy is embracing unity of spirit - a chain reaction - and respecting diversity of belief. What does “embracing unity of spirit” mean? Well, to me, much like what transpired within the gym that morning while listening to the music, unity of spirit is something easy to experience, but perhaps, hard to define. It’s like how Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, in 1964, when trying to define pornography, stated, “I know it when I see it.”

To be part of a group experiencing, or witnessing, unity of spirit energizes us with hope and confidence. The challenge is to make sure unity of spirit centers on thoughts, words and actions honoring us, nurturing those dependent upon us and adding value to the communities we serve - the terrific trio test, right?

Spirit, when used as a verb means: “to encourage; urge on or stir up, as to action.”
Everyone present in the gym that morning was certainly urged on and stirred up by the music that started a chain reaction of spirit.

How could we, perhaps, be part of a spirit chain reaction - home, work or elsewhere? How could we utilize our gifts for the betterment of self and others?

Galatians 5:22-23 suggests there is great benefit to unity of spirit: “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things, there is no law.”

Inside that gym, exposed by a great song, unity of spirit - satisfaction with a chain reaction - swept us away to a very good place. Try and allow the same to happen to you this week, wherever you roam.

And remember to taste the nine fruits. They’re always in season, readily available and there’s no law limiting your indulgence.

Monday, July 11, 2011

This week's Pep Talk: "What Goes Around...."

Beau Jo’s Pizza is a Colorado-based establishment that has, for a long time, been near and dear to my heart, for more than its mouth-watering pizza pies and the honey I love to pour onto their crust.

Many years ago, when my son was just a toddler, a dear friend and I were dining there, along with Kyle, when the fellow transplanted Missourian snapped a picture of your humble correspondent and son. It’s a cherished photo that still hangs on my bedroom wall, near the closet. Each day when preparing to dress, I see that picture, along with a similar shot of Kyle’s younger sister Rachel. The photos remind me of a few things: my love, devotion and responsibility to them and how darn cute they were before becoming teenagers and beyond. Today, I’m just their old man and that’s okay.

Anyway, back to Beau Jo’s Pizza, It was started 38 years ago in the small mountain town of Idaho Springs, nestled in the early stages of the Rocky Mountains just west of Denver. Recently, the famous apres ski hangout has returned to my life in a significant way because of its director of marketing Pam Friedentag. Earlier this year, while reading The Denver Business Journal, I happened across a story about Beau Jo’s partnership with the Autism Society of Colorado, The first Wednesday of each month, the restaurant hosts families afflicted with autism.

In reading the article I was struck by the empathy the company has toward autistic families often reluctant to dine out because of fear of the unknown - will my lovely child have a tough moment, perhaps act out and make things uncomfortable? Well, Beau Jo’s has taken an attitude, “Who cares!” The maker of delicious mountain pizza pies understands the value of connecting with like-minded people and drawing strength and encouragement from one another for our unique challenges - in this case, the journey autism brings into families’ lives.

We all have our challenges, right? Well, this story, and accompanying picture - especially Friedentag’s eyes - inspired me to call and arrange a meeting with her and Betty Lehman, executive director of the non profit. I wanted to discuss ways the sports radio show I co-host, Drive Time with Mac and Doog,, could help raise awareness of this wonderful partnership. I’ve been called a lot of things in life, smart never being one of them, but this was a smart call.

For it was from Beau Jo’s Arvada, Colorado location that I experienced a wonderful example of what we’re encouraged to remember in Galatians 6:9: “Never growing weary of doing good, for at the proper time you’ll reap the harvest if you just don’t give up.”

The store’s manager offered Doog and I, during our three-hour broadcast on the day Beau Jo’s was hosting the autism families, a complimentary pizza. Well, I was in the middle of a three-week dietary “cleanse” and pizza was taboo.

However, the manager quickly agreed to offering a Mac and Doog listener a free pizza if they came into the restaurant that evening. The phone lines lit up, the prize was given away and the winners, a lovely wife and husband, appeared before I departed later that evening.

Something I could not use - pizza because of a temporary diet - was offered to someone else who readily accepted and then, here’s where it became magical. The beautiful couple, upon completion of dinner, approached, gave thanks and offered, “Mark, we want to make a donation to the Autism Society of Colorado.”

Folks, the ol’ law of circulation was in effect that evening wasn’t it? A restaurant, a talk show host, a couple, guided by a belief of never growing weary of doing good things for each other. It really does work!

What goes around comes around. This week, let’s embrace that truth and most important, live it.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pep Talk: "The Power of Purpose"

The pre-dawn atmosphere on Poor Man’s Porch was peaceful. I heard sounds of a service truck backing up, that “beep, beep, beep” sound; the birds were chirping away and my cranium was focused on two things: First, Patsy Sue Perry’s 76th birthday. This firecracker female gave me life, nurtured my dreams and supports my endeavors, including the Faith, Life and Sports (FLS) Foundation - thanks Ma. Second, the Daily Dose of encouragement, offered to others the day before, occupied the mind: “A person without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder.”

Oxford American Dictionary defines purpose as: “An intended result, something for which effort is being made.” An intended result, and the effort to accomplish it, is the core of Buffs4Life,, an organization, founded in 2005, dedicated to helping former University of Colorado athletes in challenging times.

Back in the mid 80’s, when CU’s football fortunes began to turn under the tutelage of head coach Bill McCartney and the talented staff he assembled, Anthony Weatherspoon was a hard-nosed fullback and team leader. Later in life, “Spoon” was stricken with cancer. Medical bills piled up and teammates, including current CU head coach Jon Embree, decided to help. This group had a purpose: care for loved one’s in need.

1 Corinthians 14:8 encourages us to remember: “If the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who shall prepare for battle.” Well, former athletes, coaches, staff and others closely aligned with CU athletics are sounding a clear call: “Once a Buff, always a Buff.”

Each year the organization holds a golf tournament to raise money to continue its mission of serving Buffs in need. This year a former female golfer at CU was the designated benefactor. I was honored to play in a group that included McCartney, James, Derek, Mike and John: former coach, pastors and players respectively.

Standing on a tee box waiting to thunder some drives down the fairway, while chatting with the two pastors, I mentioned apprehension about a necessary upcoming chat with my son. James Ryle - watch video of CU’s post-game celebration of its national championship win over Notre Dame in the 1991 Orange Bowl and you’ll see Ryle right next to McCartney - looks me in the eye and says: “Mac, before you begin to speak about the challenge, ensure your son of three things.” I admire this man and could not wait to hear the suggestions. “First, tell him that you love him. Second, tell him that you believe in him; Third, tell him that you are committed to helping him become the best he can be.”

Amen brother. Can I encourage you to do the same? Home, work and elsewhere, where there’s someone close to you who needs a little encouragement, begin from that terrific trio?

Pre-dawn darkness on Poor Man’s Porch had given way to the rising sun. A new day beckoned and my prayer is this Pep Talk encourages us to embrace the power of purpose. This week, make the effort to love, believe and commit to others - home, work and elsewhere. It’s a formula for success wherever we roam, with or without Buffaloes.
facebook metwitter
linkd in

Hey Comeback Coach Copyright© 2009

About The Comeback Coach | Contact Us | Links | Privacy Statement