Category Archives: Sports

Second Chances

Millions of people were glued to their televisions on Sunday watching what can be considered one of the greatest “comebacks” in sports history. (Personally, I was busy helping package 10,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger with the Rotaract Club of Appalachian State University, but I would have like to have watched The Masters live.)

second-chance_24146876964_oThe story is one you either love or hate. Let me tell you why I love it. Tiger Woods’ fall from grace and popularity was easily one any of us could have experienced. Except his was more public. When he was making headlines for one scandal after another, we (the collective “we”) pointed fingers and blamed him for his transgressions. What we (again, the collective “we”) failed to recognize was that he was no different than everyone of us. Human. Prone to mistakes. And available to be forgiven.

I recognize many of my friends will disagree with this, but I was happy to watch Tiger Woods’ celebration of another major golf tournament because I was reminded that I have a second chance too. Certainly my mistakes and health issues and disappointments haven’t been as prominent in the media as his, yet they exist. I haven’t lost millions in endorsements. I haven’t watched family members turn away from me in disgust. I haven’t had friends give up on me when I have made bad choices. But my issues, in my life, have been just as difficult to face and handle, they are just on a smaller scale and more private. Thank goodness.

So my happiness for Tiger Woods is really happiness for forgiveness and second chances. And what better lesson for us all to be reminded of during this Easter season than that?

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Filed under Professional Development, Sports

Walk This Way…

With Major League Baseball All-Star game coming up next week, I thought this was a good time to look at an area of the game that is often overlooked, but so important to individual players…the “walk up song.”

Maybe you never realized every player selects their own piece of music to blast over the loudspeaker as they make their way to the plate, but it’s true – each player selects their own “theme song,” if you will. Over the years, there have been many memorable ones. Us Southerners (i.e. Braves fans), we will always associate Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne with Chipper Jones. And for years, we thought the unmistakeable sound of “Welcome to the Jungle” blasting through the stadium was what was “pumping up” Mark McGwire.  Metallica is a perennial favorite for many players, as is Twisted Sister, Led Zeppelin, Eminem, and…ok wait – are you seeing a pattern yet? Heavy metal and hard rock seem to be the norm. (Although I’m not sure anyone has selected “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith?)

I recently began thinking about what I would choose as MY walk-up song – something inspirational perhaps (2001 so I could enter just like Cocky does at USC?) or old-school (who didn’t grow up in the 80s and still do the “Thriller” dance moves every time it comes on the radio?). Or maybe I should choose based on the lyrics rather than the music (Kelly Clarkson’s newest hit does have a great line – “just because I’m alone doesn’t mean I’m lonely!”). And I’ve always been a fan of  ’70s disco hits (and I AM “looking for some Hot Stuff” just like Donna Summer).

There are so many choices, how does a player choose just one? In asking my baseball fan friends what they would choose for THEIR walk-up song, I was surprised by the variety of answers I got. Tom, who owns a sports bar, was quick to select “The Rising” – or anything for that matter – by Bruce Springsteen. My friend Glenn wanted Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue or Panama by Van Halen. Matt, a talk-show host on a sports radio station, preferred Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top. He also noted he really likes Tupac (really?), but wouldn’t mind any song as long as it wasn’t country! And Chris, who works for a minor-league baseball team, said he’d come to the plate to the sounds of “My Hero” by The Foo Fighters.

Lesson learned? Everyone agrees a walk-up song should be upbeat and exciting, and if it has a personal meaning or message, even better. (What Gamecock fan doesn’t remember singing along to “Bad” by Michael Jackson when Jackie Bradley, Jr., came up to bat?) Players put a lot of thought into their walk-up song selections with hopes of starting new traditions, continuing streaks or even ending slumps. If only I could convince my producer to play a theme song for me each week on “Friday Night Lights…” what would I choose? I’d have to go with “Brown Eyed Girl!”

What about you? Have a favorite you’ll never forget? What would YOU choose if given the chance?


Filed under Sports