This question is, has been and always will be a hot topic for debate. We are a product of what we hear, what we see, what we eat, what we read. Inevitably, our existence is determined by how we interpret and make use of said stimuli. That being said, here's a little collection of titles, shows, ideas and people that might 'ring a bell' and serve to open your eyes. Our addiction to 'bread and circuses' is not only ignorant; but tired ............
The extinction of the “made in the USA” label, Bling, Range Rovers, Hummers, tic tac Prozac, the paparazzi , payday loans, Bruce Jenner, outsourcing, FICO scores, the Dollar menu, The Donald, derivatives, Nancy Grace, Google, late fees, hedge funds, the tempting short-cut wisdom of the school of 'he said/she said/PhD's/MD's, Celebrity Rehab, OctoMom, Jerry Springer, Nancy Grace, the myth of 'cheatin’ ain’t tryin’ and it's source, Glenn Beck, 'free' checking, executive bonuses, credit default swaps, fake boobs, Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Joey Buttafuoco, Howie Mandell, the outbreak of Tattoos and Dreadlocks, TO, Ocho Cinco, Sham Wow, The Snuggie, 'Set it and Forget it', our beloved bounty hunter 'Dog', Cops, Nancy Grace, Joe Buck, P. Diddy, Paris Hilton, Lane Kiffin, American Idol, Wall St., Visa, MasterCard, Sub prime loans, FHA, Medicare/Medicaid, Nancy Grace, Kim Kardashian, Subway's Jared, The Neckie, The Hills, Flavour of Love, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Millionaire Matchmaker, The Housewives of Orange County, and Jersey Shore .…….... nuff said
Let's get back to basics, America...........
Fix Your Mind, Fix Your Life
My battle with bipolar disorder while playing with the Baltimore Ravens in 1997 has recently sparked interest in the media. Dave Douglas, the senior producer at NFL Films, just so happened to stumble upon the article 'Hang Em High'(http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1164005/1/index.htm), which appeared in the December 21 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated . The article takes a look into the 'art of punting' - The history of the position, the pressure to perform and the importance of the NFL punter in the 21st century. The author, John Ed Bradley, called me in August of 2009 and asked me if I would contribute to his piece. I agreed.
After an animated 2.5 hour interview, I was convinced that 'my story' was finally going to be told - The injuring of my lower back in high school.....the painful transition from linebacker/tight end on the football team and defense-man on the ice hockey team to 'just a punter'.......at the age of 16 vowing to become a 'professional specialist in the NFL in the year 1988' ......three-time All-Big Ten, two-time All American at Michigan St.......drafted in the 3rd round by the Houston Oilers(72nd pick) ...... becoming the best in the NFL(1990,1992,1992)... the hours of rehabilitation.....the hundreds of massages and injections.......and finally, the way I personally dealt with the anxiety of playing my whole career with the pain - a broken vertebrae(L4), torn labrum in my hip(plant leg) and torn quadriceps(kicking leg). And it was this anxiety, my personal pressure to be the best on the planet , that manifested into bipolar disorder.
A long story short. In the Sports Illustrated article, my career was summed up as 'having a panic attack before a game' and a mis-quote from 'Days of Thunder'. The oversight was most likely due to editing, word count and/or time constraints. But that being said, it still didn't sit very well with me, my family and friends.
Thank God For Editing
After reading the article, Dave Douglas, the senior producer at NFL Films, called me to ask if I would be interested in telling my story. He told me that 'his gut told him' there was more to my story. Still a little 'gun shy' from the Sports Illustrated debacle, I was apprehensive. We had a 20 minute conversation where I expressed my concerns. The only way I would agree to do the piece was if he could guarantee it would be accurate. Not some 'kooky kicker' or 'punting in the NFL caused a panic attack' bullshit. He then shared with me his own personal experience of dealing with friends and family that suffered from depression. He knew what it felt like to lose a loved one that was depressed. He said he wanted to help me break the stigma that comes with depression and bipolar disorder. He said he wanted to make a difference. He was sincere. He gained my trust. So I agreed.
It's so ironic how the disappointment of one story can lead to the telling of the 'real story'. And for it to be produced by such a classy company such NFL Films. I'm looking forward to seeing the final product.
The moral to this story? Patience and staying positive. Working hard and doing 'good works'.
No matter how hard it gets, believing that good things are on the horizon.....................
Believe IT and IT will Be
I'm sitting in my hotel room contemplating the word 'destiny'. How do I share my message of hope? How do I get kids to take action? Do I need to package it in a way that kids can digest it? I know my Rise Up Detroit project is noble. I'm working out the details w/ founder Michael Corbin for the everyminute.org relaunch. I'm coaching aspiring punters across the nation. I'm trying to 'help'.
This week I'm at the University of Alabama, helping the coaches learn how teach my 'Set & Pull' technique. Seeing the droves of kids coming in for workouts, it takes me back to my first days in college......wanting success so bad I could taste it. My heart would pound when it was my turn to 'show my wears'. To punt the football. It's taken many years of deep reflection to answer this question "Why was I so stressed out when it came to performance?" The answer lies in the work.
The science of punting was in it's early development in the '80's. With the evolution of film analysis and integration of bio-mechanics, I've finally realized how the punting motion works. The elusive 'why' I'd been looking for all these years. When I was playing, I had no concept of the word 'relax'. My 'repeater swing' needed to be meticulously practiced. Even though I had to re-learn it every day, I would eventually 'find my groove'. I can remember going in after practice and watching film. I focused on my body angle, leg extension and foot position at impact. I made sure to finish each kick with my leg high in the air.If I wasn't doing it to my satisfaction on film, I would go back out and fix it. That's what I 'saw' in pictures while growing up in New Jersey. Legendary punters Ray Guy and Dave Jennings would always finish with their leg high up into the air. I did my best to imitate this technique my entire career. But in the depths of my subconscious mind, I knew there was an easier way.
My 'Set & Pull' punting epiphany came to me in the spring of 2000. Three(3) years removed from the game, I finally understood the concept of 'letting go in order to gain control'. I realized why I had such a tough time having fun playing the game of football. Undiagnosed torn ligaments in my hip and a broken back didn't help things much, but I knew there was an easier way to create leg(foot) speed. I didn't have the patience(or bio-mechanic) knowledge to relax and allow my leg to release. My negative mental 'chatter' caused me to drift. I focused on 'results' versus 'process'. I knew I could do better. I wanted to be perfect.
The game of life has a strange way of teaching us lessons. After all the years of work. The countless hours of frustrating trial and error. The lesson was this .... All I had to do was "let go".
This is why I teach................GM