Tuesday, September 24, 2013

RG3: It's Not Just About The Knee

            Robert Griffin III and Washington have gotten off to a rough 0-3 start.  The defense has give up the most yards the first three weeks of the season than any team in NFL history.  What the media, fans, and pundits want to focus on are the struggles of RG3.  The fact that he is not playing up to the standard he established in his rookie season should not be surprising.  Coming off a major knee injury it will take time for him to physically and mentally return to that level.  If any of us in our respective professions were not able to work for several months regardless of the circumstances it would take time to get reacquainted.  His offseason was focused on rehabilitation before he could begin preparing to play football.  It is not like riding a bicycle.   RG3 did not help himself the entire offseason with the way he handled discussing his injury and rehabilitation.  He did not give himself room to go through that process with his comments and attention drawn to it.
            What Griffin needs to learn is to have a filter and say no sometimes!  From the initial time of his injury there was too much finger pointing regards to who was at fault for his injury.  He stated after the game that he was not going to pull himself out.  Having previous history with tearing an ACL in college he knew how vulnerable he was and ultimately needed to take responsibility for leaving himself in the playoff game vs. Seattle.  The coaching and medical staff should have protected him from himself especially after seeing him limp to the sideline on a scramble in the first half.  The entire offseason Adidas had an ad campaign about his recovery, “All In For Week 1.”, Sports Illustrated and GQ magazine covers. He had cameras following him for a documentary.  The entire franchise was inundated with questions about his recovery and process and not about the entire team.  Did Griffin do all these things for selfish reasons?  Probably not, he was working hard to get healthy to help his team win.  He is a charismatic figure and was voted as a team captain as a rookie.  All of this doesn’t mean that there is not something to learn from this process.
            Griffin needs to be himself, but keep in mind that is interaction with the media, use of social media, and any comments will impact himself and the team.  Santana Moss and Pierre Garcon have already made comments about how everyone around Redskins Park is used to fielding questions about Griffin.  What a NFL QB has to be is Presidential and CEOish.  Two of his 2012 draft counterparts Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck get that.  We never hear anything from them that causes a distraction to the team.  They do interviews and have commercials, but conduct their business in a way that they are not the hot button topic all the time for their franchise.  Other quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Eli and Peyton Manning, and Matt Ryan get that as well.  Former Washington CB Fred Smoot recently stated on the 106.7 FM , “Sometimes RGIII can be a brat, alright? Because I’m watching these other quarterbacks and I’m watching how they compose themselves and the things they do. With Luck and Wilson, and it’s a different vibe. Sometimes I’m starting to think that RGIII is really really buying into the attention. But I tell anybody this. The NFL will humble you. And I think he’s going through that humbling process right now as we speak.” 
            Calling him a brat is probably extreme. The observation of how he handles himself should not be lost.  Griffin has the potential to be a transcendent player in the NFL.  He is smart, hard worker, and has all the tangible skills.  Hopefully the process of handling his injury and struggles early in the season of the team will be a learning experience of the intangibles that will take him to greater levels.  As a fan, I am rooting for him.  Growing in the Washington, DC area we have not had an athlete to gain such national attention outside of Michael Jordan joining the Wizards past his prime.  Griffin broke records in jersey sales in 2012 and was the buzz of the league.  It is easy for anyone especially at his age to get caught up in the hype and expectations. 
            This season has the potential to be a long one for Washington.  Outside of the Raiders in the coming week the remaining 12 games are against teams at this point have very realistic playoff expectations.  Several have legitimate Super Bowl expectations such as the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons.  With a potential single digit win season ahead and coach that will be in the final year of his contract in 2014 in Mike Shanahan, Griffin being the face of the franchise needs to be prepared for what is to come and handle his business in a way to be the steady force with many questions looming about the franchise’s future and his performance.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Healthy Lifestyle: Do It For Yourself While Influencing Others

           An observation I have made the last several years with clients is the challenge of changing their eating and exercising habits when the rest of their household, family, friends, and/or co-workers are not doing the same.  Many fall off the wagon due to their family and friends eating habits and discouragement.  It can become a logistical and financial headache of purchasing and preparing different foods in the same household or not wanting to partake in certain foods at a corporate lunch.  Time at the gym can take away from time that others are used to you having available.  We are all creatures of habits and get entrenched in our routines.  So you have to remind yourself that you are doing this for yourself and that it will serve as an inspiration to others.  Don’t allow your approach in communicating it take way from your progress.
            First and foremost the most critical aspect is nutrition.   You can exercise until you pass out, without proper nutrition you will not reap the full benefits of the process.  Many studies have quantified that nutrition is 70-80% of weight management.  Exercise builds strength and endurance.  Other benefits of exercise are alertness, energy, and productivity. The simplest task of picking up groceries, walking up and down stairs requires strength and endurance.  Exercise is required to increase strength and endurance and the proper foods to fuel workouts.  If they are not willing to change set the example as you continue on your journey for a healthy lifestyle.
            If you are having difficulty convincing others to adopt a healthy lifestyle here are a few suggestions to assist with your approach:


            Don’t make an announcement about your changes.   Just start doing it!  Long discussions or brow beating those around you about what they should be doing since you are making changes will not be beneficial.  Set the example by being consistent in your nutrition and exercise.  They will see the changes and be inspired to do the same.  If they ask questions, answer them so they can be informed.   What comes from being the person to breakthrough that barrier is it forces your friends and family to think for themselves about the food they are so offended you wouldn't eat.   When you begin to turn away foods you once indulged in questions will come about why you are making different food choices now.  Casual conversations can lead to a powerful transformation to others.


            Without them realizing it prepare a meal for them including foods you know they already enjoy.  If your family likes chicken and vegetables prepare them without the additional ingredients that take away from their nutrients such as salt, oil, and sauces.  Grill or bake the fish and season appropriately.  Be careful of the marinades used to season your meats.  Christina Dimacali, personal chef, cooking guru and owner of the NoLibs-based cooking school Clean Your Plate, says you shouldn’t marinate chicken for more than 24 hours, especially if your marinade contains an acid (lemon or lime juice, or vinegar). “Just like with seafood, the acid can actually cook the chicken, so you have to be careful about that.”  Many recipes to season and prepare meats are low in calories and sodium.
            Research recipes of healthy meals and snacks and even low calorie and sugar desserts.  Eating healthy can taste good!  It just has to be introduced.


            From my experiences there is an emotional and psychological aspect to choosing or not choosing a healthy lifestyle.  Eating and exercising generates various emotions.  For example, when people are happy they indulge in their favorite food or beverage to celebrate or will not eat because of stress.  People are hooked on their habits and do not want to let go of the comfort zone their current lifestyle has.  The light bulb goes off for people at different times.  There is not a way to predict what will serve as inspiration.  It can be a doctor's report, television or movies, the mirror, or YOU.  Whenever it does happen be a support system for them and realize that most go through up and downs during the process just you may be doing through now.  Once you make the decision to change your life for the better, the people around you will want a piece of it, especially when they see it working for you.  That is how the cycle works!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What We All Can Learn From Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow was recently released from the New England Patriots.  In his short career this is the third NFL team that made a decision that is services are no longer needed.  Tebow is one of the most polarizing athletes in recent memory.  It can be traced to his very successful college career, which included two National Championships and a Heisman Trophy and his unapologetic proclamation of his faith.  In his second season with Denver Broncos there were memorable moments after filling in for a struggling Kyle Orton that even included a playoff overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on an 80 yard touchdown pass.  After being traded to the New York Jets for the 2012 season they had very little use for him and released him after the season.  When the New England Patriots signed Tebow owner Bob Kraft was interviewed by ESPN regarding the signing, he stated, “If you want to win in this league, you need quality depth management, in the age of the salary cap. Whenever you can get a competitive, first-grade person to join your team, you never know what happens. But for me personally, having Tim Tebow on this team, he’s someone who believes in spirituality, he’s very competitive and works hard, and has a great attitude, and he’s a winner. So having him as part of our franchise is great, but he has to compete just like anyone else. We’re blessed to have a lot of people like that, but the fact that spirituality is very important to him is very appealing to me.” 
The intangibles of his character, faith, and confidence make him intriguing.  What made him expendable was his lack of competence to effectively play his position at the professional level.  Sports are not different from any other position being filled in an organization, attitude, confidence, and intangibles cannot substitute for competence.  Former NBA Head Coach and current ESPN TV analyst was recently quoted in reference to recently retired player Tracy McGrady stating, "Either your best player has to cover up the non-strengths of the others or the others have to cover up the non-strengths of the stars," and ideally, you'd want both things happening at once.  Tebow’s non-strengths on the football field became a detriment to the strengths of his teammates.  Their strengths could not overcome what he lacked physically. In college at the University of Florida Tebow was surrounded by superior talent and his intangibles of maturity and leadership were able to make a major contribution to the team.  In the cut throat business of professional sports potential and upside have an expiration date.  And for Tebow this may be the end of the line for him.
Some Tebow supporters view the criticism of his ability as a personal attack.  Detractors are frustrated with the constant media attention to someone who has struggled with delivery, reading defenses, accuracy.   Tebow’s recent release will force him to make a decision regarding how he wants to pursue his future.  It is a question many of us face.  If there is a particular career and/or skill set we desire, is our level competence high enough to be successful at it?  Life is about seizing opportunities when presented.  Very talented people never are presented with right set of circumstances.  For Tebow he wanted to do something that only 75 people or less get to do and that is  an NFL quarterback.  Only 32 get to start, and if he is fortunate at some point in his mid to late 30’s his career would be over and the next phase of his life would begin.  That is the struggle for a professional athlete.  The window of opportunity is small and new prospects are entering the league every year.  Dreams and passions should be pursued.  What we all must face is do we have potential mastery of our passions.  Once that is determined it has be nurtured properly with instruction, practice, coaching/mentoring, and discipline.  It is the natural ability/genetics vs. nurturing debate.  
With hours of practice and instruction that Tim Tebow has received over the years his ceiling was lower at NFL quarterback than many of his counterparts.  What has been surprising is that his physical mechanics were not corrected in his high school or college career.  The infatuation former Denver Broncos Head Coach and current New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator had with him did not help the public perception of Tebow.  McDaniels felt he could “coach” him up and the other 31 teams did not view him as a starting quarterback.   His brief success was probably the worse thing to happen to him.   The most likely scenario is that the phone does not ring again from an NFL team and he can be Tim Tebow full time, speaking engagements, autograph sessions, television, etc.  He appears to be intelligent and will have options to do something else.  Just happened a lot sooner than he expected.