SportsLeader is a virtue-based mentoring and motivation program for coaches. This blog shares stories from coaches all over the country transforming lives. For more information contact Lou Judd -

Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day - A Man of Resolve

Happy Memorial Day!

Thank you to everyone who has served our country with virtue. We appreciate everything you have done for us.

Here is a 1 minute video of Coach Dan Duddy thanking his father, WW II vet Francis Xavier Duddy may he rest in peace, for being a servant and a man of resolve.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Prayers for my Mom

My Mom, Angela Judd, was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Please remember her in your prayers and sacrifices.

Thank you so much. 

From todays Mass reading, Romans 5: 1-5

Affliction produces endurance,

and endurance, proven character,

and proven character, hope,

and hope does not disappoint, 

because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.

God bless you, Lou

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The 13 Most Powerful Superfoods

Good nutrition is necessary for all of us but especially the serious athlete. Here are "The Super 13".

Fish and Fish Oil
Red Wine - 1 drink a day
Dark Chocolate

If you would like more information on the Super 13 click on the link below.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Father to the Fatherless?

By Chris Willertz, Winton Woods Wrestling, OH
There was a time when coaching a sport was all about coaching a sport.  Teaching specific sport skills, emphasizing teamwork, having fun and enjoying young people were the prime elements of the life of a youth coach.  As so many of us realize, coaching is so much more now.  The emphasis on winning, developing talent, getting kids into college or the best schools has become the priority; like what your  sports involvement can do for you! 
At Winton Woods, our wrestling program is about all of the things mentioned above, in various degrees.  But, I would argue, our program is most about trying to train boys into men.  Sadly, we have a lot of absentee fathers in our community.  There are many single mothers trying to raise children and make ends meet.  I think God asks everyone of us to father our own children but to help the orphans and the widows as well.  Since this is the majority of our boys at Winton Woods, I feel it would be an injustice NOT to try to father our fatherless.
Fathering the fatherless is hard work!  This is true especially in the spring when school is about to let out.  If you’ve ever really tried to train teenage boys you know what I mean.  So many want an adult fighting for them and against them!  So many crave the attention and the discipline.  
Don’t throw up your arms and say I can’t do it.  Get smart.  Use your brain, your wisdom.  Figure out rewards for good behavior, figure out consequences for bad behavior, expect to fight the same fight over homework, effort, respect, day after day after day after day.  
I can’t remember the number of times my dad told me to do my homework and the punishments I received for not doing it.  But he did it for me and my older brother, and countless students he taught at Saginaw Valley State University. Convince yourself that you can do it too and that you are not going to give up.
Our work at Winton Woods is difficult.  I see forty or fifty teenage boys a day that need fathering.  And I am supposed to teach them history and wrestling too!?  It’s a daunting task.  I can’t do it by myself.  We can’t do it by ourselves.  We need you!  We need you to pray for us.  We need you to help us financially (so many of the boys don’t experience real initiations provided by their own families, we have to provide them for them).  
We need you to father fatherless teenage boys.  We need you to tell friends and family about the plight so many boys are facing, NO INITIATIONS INTO MANHOOD BY ADULTS WHO REALLY CARE ABOUT THEM!  We need our society to see how weak uninitiated men are harmful to the women they love, the children they create, the communities which they live and ultimately to themselves.
It is clear God wants all of us to do our part, to help Him.  Are you willing to do your part, to fight for the soul of a young person?  Christ did it for you, why not return the favor?
“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.  He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.”
Deuteronomy 10: 17-19
“Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice.”
Deuteronomy 24: 17
“Do not withhold discipline from a child.”
Proverbs 23: 13

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yeardley Love's Funeral

By Joe Ehrmann

I went to Yeardley Love's funeral with my twenty two year old son.  The University of Virginia lacrosse player was appearently murdered at the hands of a former boyfriend. My son, a college lacrosse player, was friends with Yeardley, her accused murderer, and many of the men and women on the UVA lacrosse teams.   Sitting next to him, I could feel and see him trying to process the conflicted emotions surrounding the enormity of this tragedy, compounded by knowing both the victim and the victimizer.  The young men sitting around me sobbed and sniffled. At one point in the ceremony I turned to an emotionally distraught young man and asked him if I could give him a hug. I was surprised at the strength and endurance of his hug as he held onto me seeking comfort and, I suspect, affirmation of his emotions and manhood. As he let go he said "thank you" without ever looking at me. Here lies part of the problem and a solution to the epidemic of violence women experience every day in Maryland and America.

At an early age, boys are fitted with emotional straightjackets tailored by a restricted code of behavior that falsely defines masculinity. In the context of "stop crying," "stop those emotions," and "don't be a sissy," we define what it means to "Be a Man!" Adherence to this "boy code" leaves many men dissociated from their feelings and incapable of accessing, naming, sharing, or accepting many of their emotions. 

When men don't understand their own emotions it becomes impossible to understand the feelings of another.This creates an "empathy-deficit disorder" that is foundational to America's epidemic of bullying, dating abuse and gender violence.  Boys are taught to be tough, independent, distrusting of other males, and at all cost to avoid anything considered feminine for fear of being associated with women. This leads many men to renounce their common humanity with women so as to experience an emotional disconnect from them. Women often become objects, used to either validate masculine insecurity or satisfy physical needs. When the validation and satisfaction ends, or is infused with anger, control or alcohol, gender violence is often the result.  

Violence against women is often thought of as a women's issue; but it is a mistake to call men's violence a women's issue. Since men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of this violence, this men's issue calls to question the cultural values that produce men who hurt women. Sadly, Yeardley Love was only one of four women murdered by intimate partners that day. Who knows how many others were raped, battered, sexually abused, harassed or exploited by men that day and every day in America?
Since Yeardley's funeral was packed with athletes, coaches, parents of athletes and sports fans, we need to look at the role sports could play in preventing future tragedies. Athletic Directors, coaches and educators have an almost unparalleled platform to bring together youth, families, and community partners to break the silence of gender violence and then design, implement and create preventive programs and activities. Educating boys and men in prevention programs is critical to reducing all forms of violence.  

Coaches can and should teach their players to challenge the attitudes and assumptions that dehumanize women. Players need to be taught how to confront abusive peers and how stand up and speak out on behalf of their mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, aunts and female friends. Since so many boys no longer have a mentoring network of fathers, uncles, elders, and other males to initiate, train and guide them into manhood, coaches should and must assume part of this responsibility.
I'd like to think Athletic Directors and coaches all over  America brought their male and female teams together to help process Yeardley's death and to implement prevention strategies within their schools and communities. Yet as someone involved nationally in the sports world, I know that did not happen. A teachable moment was overlooked in the name of business, schedules, tournaments and the reality that men often choose apathy and indifference when confronting the conditions that foster abusive male behavior. Two weeks after Yeardley's death I watched the UVA male and female teams take field under the banner of ONE TEAM-ONE HEART-ONE LOVE.  In the name of the world I want my sons and daughters to live in; I can only hope Yeardley Love's murder sparks ONE MOVEMENT to eradicate gender violence.  

Robert Kennedy said,"Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills, against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence....Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of our generation."  Each man and every coach must start challenging the social norms that define manhood and hold other men and players accountable for their behavior toward women.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Making the front page of ESPN - for the right reason

Remember that story from a few weeks back about the girls softball team that forfeited the game to help the other team?

Well it has now made the front page of ESPN - Rick Reilly's column. The article is here below. 

When sports are ABOUT virtue - amazing things happen and many lives can be changed.

Here is a quote I found inspiring:

"Roncalli wasn't done. Traylor asked all the parents of his players and anybody else he knew for more help for Marshall -- used bats, gloves, helmets, money for cleats, gloves, sliders, socks and team shirts. They came up with $2,500 and worked with Marshall on the best way to help the program with that money. Roncalli also connected Marshall with former Bishop Chatard coach Kim Wright, who will advise the program.

"We probably got to some things 10 years quicker than we would have had without Roncalli," says Marshall principal Michael Sullivan.

And that was just the appetizer. A rep from Reebok called Sullivan and said, "What do you need? We'll get it for you." A man who owns an indoor batting cage facility has offered free time in the winter. The Cincinnati Reds are donating good dirt for the new field Marshall will play on."

For love of the game

By Rick ReillyWe live in a world where Peyton Manning walks off the Super Bowl field without shaking anybody's hand. Where Tiger Woods leaves the Masters without a word of thanks to the fans or congratulations to the winner. Where NFL lineman Albert Haynesworth kicks a man's helmetless head without a thought.
So if you think sportsmanship is toast, this next story is an all-you-can-eat buffet to a starving man.
It happened at a junior varsity girls' softball game in Indianapolis this spring. After an inning and a half, Roncalli was womanhandling inner-city Marshall Community. Marshall pitchers had already walked nine Roncalli batters. The game could've been 50-0 with no problem.

Yes, a team that hadn't lost a game in 2½ years, a team that was going to win in a landslide purposely offered to declare defeat. Why? Because Roncalli wanted to spend the two hours teaching the Marshall girls how to get better, not how to get humiliated.

It's no wonder. This was the first softball game in Marshall history. A middle school trying to move up to include grades 6 through 12, Marshall showed up to the game with five balls, two bats, no helmets, no sliding pads, no cleats, 16 players who'd never played before, and a coach who'd never even seen a game.
One Marshall player asked, "Which one is first base?" Another: "How do I hold this bat?" They didn't know where to stand in the batter's box. Their coaches had to be shown where the first- and third-base coaching boxes were.
That's when Roncalli did something crazy. They offered to forfeit.
Yes, a team that hadn't lost a game in 2½ years, a team that was going to win in a landslide purposely offered to declare defeat. Why? Because Roncalli wanted to spend the two hours teaching the Marshall girls how to get better, not how to get humiliated.
"The Marshall players did NOT want to quit," wrote Roncalli JV coach Jeff Traylor, in recalling the incident. "They were willing to lose 100 to 0 if it meant they finished their first game." But the Marshall players finally decided if Roncalli was willing to forfeit for them, they should do it for themselves. They decided that maybe -- this one time -- losing was actually winning.
That's about when the weirdest scene broke out all over the field: Roncalli kids teaching Marshall kids the right batting stance, throwing them soft-toss in the outfield, teaching them how to play catch. They showed them how to put on catching gear, how to pitch, and how to run the bases. Even the umps stuck around to watch.
"One at a time the Marshall girls would come in to hit off of the [Roncalli] pitchers," Traylor recalled. "As they hit the ball their faces LIT UP! They were high fiving and hugging the girls from Roncalli, thanking them for teaching to them the game."
This is the kind of thing that can backfire with teenagers -- the rich kids taking pity on the inner-city kids kind of thing. Traylor was afraid of it, too.
"One wrong attitude, one babying approach from our players would shut down the Marshall team, who already were down," wrote Traylor. "But our girls made me as proud as I have ever been. ... [By the end], you could tell they were having a blast. The change from the beginning of the game to the end of the practice was amazing."
Roncalli wasn't done. Traylor asked all the parents of his players and anybody else he knew for more help for Marshall -- used bats, gloves, helmets, money for cleats, gloves, sliders, socks and team shirts. They came up with $2,500 and worked with Marshall on the best way to help the program with that money. Roncalli also connected Marshall with former Bishop Chatard coach Kim Wright, who will advise the program.
"We probably got to some things 10 years quicker than we would have had without Roncalli," says Marshall principal Michael Sullivan.
And that was just the appetizer. A rep from Reebok called Sullivan and said, "What do you need? We'll get it for you." A man who owns an indoor batting cage facility has offered free time in the winter. The Cincinnati Reds are donating good dirt for the new field Marshall will play on.
"This could've been a thing where our kids had too much pride," says Sullivan. "You know, 'I'm not going to listen to anybody.' But our kids are really thirsty to learn."
And they are. Marshall never won a game, but they actually had leads in their last three games. In fact, it went so well, the players and their parents asked if they could extend the season, so they're looking to play AAU summer softball.
Just a thought: Major League Baseball is pulling hamstrings trying to figure out how to bring baseball back to the inner city. Maybe they should put the Roncalli and Marshall girls in charge?
Anyway, it's not an important story, just one that squirts apple juice right in your face. And who knows? Maybe someday, Marshall will be beating Roncalli in the final inning, realize how far they've come, and forfeit again, just as a thank you.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Father's Legacy

By Dan Duddy
Head Football Coach New Jersey

I lost my father May 10th. He died peacefully with a quiet last breath; mind you “Quiet” was never an adjective that described him. He was a “man of few words” perhaps, but those words were strong and audible for sure.

Pop’s slow and steady breathing became erratic and was punctuated with a faint “whoosh”, the very sound that I imagine an angel’s wings would make as they landed next to his bed to scoop him up and take him to our Lord. With his eyes already closed, he seemed to relax and sink slightly as all pain left him.

How invasive his personality and love for me was! I didn’t realize it though until he was gone. Pop wasn’t one to say “I love you”, but he worked his tail off for us, his five children, with an incredible relentless effort that persevered some very difficult times, but his greatest challenge was his very own history with a father that left him and his mother alone and cold.

He and his mom suffered through post depression times together. He lied about his age to join the navy, and almost lost his leg in WWII. He then met my mother and nurtured a fine love with her 40 years of marriage before she passed away, all the while giving his home to his mother so she could live a long life in comfort and love with us, her grandchildren.

My father gave his mother, his wife, and all of his children more leadership, protection, and provisions then his father could even imagine, and he did it without a father’s example.

In fact his father’s example gave him an excuse to walk out on us. But he loved God, and he knew Christ. 
His mother prayed the rosary every single day. I saw Christ in my dad. Jesus Christ, through the intercession of his Blessed Mother Mary, saved my father’s family as a son, as a father, and as a grandfather.
I will miss him dearly, but I pray the rosary far more often now as I lead, protect and provide for my lovely wife and eight children with the example of a very good man in my heart and the collective hearts of my children and everyone that was blessed to know him.
God is great.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Free Will

To: The Sportsleader Family
From: Steve Frommeyer, principal & Head Football Coach, Eminence, KY
During this time of primary elections and political debate that seems to go on forever, I have to wonder “what would Jesus do?” The Jewish people of his time were expecting a Savior that would come as a political leader to overthrow the Roman empire. Many of them totally missed his message because they were looking for a new “governing” authority. Jesus did not come to put in place a new political system. As Father John Bartunek often states in his book, “The Better Part”, God does not force us to do anything. He gave us a free will to choose. Government control is the opposite of how God deals with us. 
So, what’s all this got to do with athletics? Are not the best, most committed players those that choose to work hard and get with the program instead of only doing what they are told to do out of compliance. A coach that gets players to make the right choices versus one that dictates demands that players don’t believe in is always going to win out in the end.
Something to think about.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Philosophy of Coaching

By Mike Gims
Head Football Coach Potomac Falls High School, Virginia

As a transformational leader my vision is to develop an atmosphere where athletes can grow as leaders with character while focusing on academics, and developing, physically and socially. This team will be characterized by certain values such as charity, humility and courage. Football is a tough sport and we must work efficiently, and effectively to be successful. We need to have great communication skills and be willing to hold each other accountable. Overall we will strive to become diligent men who will work together to accomplish our goals.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Make the Most of It!

Life presents us with thousands of opportunities to keep up our fitness. We can look for them in them smallest or grandest of places. Whether you’re going on a two hour run in the mountains, riding your bike through town or carrying the dog food all the way to the dog house in the alley instead of driving it, there are just simply ample opportunities each day to maintain our fitness.

A couple of my favorite places to catch a quick strength workout are in the garden or around the house. Raking and sweeping constitute two great ways to work your core muscles if done correctly. Pulling towards yourself is the most effective. Hauling and stacking the firewood is another great place to flex some muscle.

Among jewels in the home that I can think of are the em’, skip steps, or even go up and down a couple times. Carry laundry up and down. Vacuuming can be good too. If you have young children at home, they love to run from the vacuum and dodge it. Play with your coordination and switch it out of your dominant hand for a greater challenge. In the kitchen you can stir the bread dough, cookies or muffins especially if you’re planning on eating them. Remember to load them with wholesome goodness!

When you are out an about see if you can take a more physical mode of transport. Dust off that town bike or break out those sneakers to run those close errands. You’ll also put more fresh air in your day which does the body good. Swing by the church on the way home and say hello to Jesus. Maybe this evening when you plunk down in front of the T.V. you’ll sit on the floor and stretch for the duration of the show. You never know who’s watching and might like to join in.

Take small steps when possible to keep up on your strength and cardio fitness, especially if you have a desk job or an inactive lifestyle. Enjoy manual labor in a whole new way this week.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So You want to be a Christian AND a Navy SEAL? Get ready for troubles and injustice!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16: 33

"One time during INDOC while we were out on a night run, one of the instructors actually climbed up the outside of a building, came through an open window, and trashed a guy’s room, threw everything everywhere, emptied detergent over his bed gear. He went back out the way he’d come in, waited for us to return, and then tapped the guy’s door and demanded a room inspection. The guy couldn’t work out whether to be furious or heartbroken, but he spent most of the night cleaning up and still had to be in the showers at 0430 with the rest of us.

I asked our drill sergeant, Reno, about this, weeks later and he said, “Marcus, the body can take near anything. It’s the mind that needs training. The question that guy was being asked involved mental strength. Can you handle such injustice? Can you cope with that kind of unfairness, that much of a setback? And still come back with your jaw set, still determined, swearing to God you will never quit? That’ what we’re looking for.” Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell (excerpt on the two week boot camp Navy SEALS must complete before official training starts.)

I was a victim of injustice today. Another coach gave one of my athletes a hard time for being a wrestler, really messed with his mind(although I really don’t think the coach realized how much of an impact he had on the kid, do any of us really understand our impact?) I was pissed, felt betrayed, felt terrible for the kid, and was ready to give that guy a piece of mind. Sound familiar?? How many times have you been a victim of injustice? You get fired or don’t get the job. You lose your position to another guy. The coach is playing favorites! You get a bad grade or evaluation. You are overlooked on a daily basis. You don’t get the credit for making the play or making the right call. According to Christ and the little excerpt on the Navy Seals, welcome to life as a Christian, a Navy Seal….in short a man.

We have been warned that our lives on earth will be filled with troubles, trials, injustice, unfairness, rejection, misunderstanding, etc… Why does it surprise us when it happens? I want everything to go according to plan, everything organized, on time, in the right place. But the devil loves messing with our plans, loves messing with our minds.

I’ve decided today, that I need to get ready for my plans to go amiss. I have to plan for injustices and troubles. I have to prepare for mishaps to occur because these are signals that I’m not incompetent, but that I’m doing exactly what God wants me to do….my mission from God is being attacked. What an honor! What is more, I need to prepare my wrestlers for this reality as well. My guys, will be persecuted for being brutal on the mat, will be persecuted for “being gay” wearing tights and rolling around on a mat with another guy, will be persecuted for dieting and not eating whatever they want, whenever they want it (like so many Americans these days), persecuted for giving their time and devotion to a minor sport, persecuted for doing the right thing in the classroom and in the community, persecuted for helping others when it’s not cool for teens to think of others. I told my wrestler this today and I think he understands better. What was best, I told him I loved him and cared about him whether he wrestled or not. I know after today, that he came one more step closer to being a man. And it would have never happened if my mission hadn’t been attacked today.

Isn’t that like Christ, to take an injustice and turn it around so it becomes a blessing? I witnessed the power of God today, what an honor! I hope you have the grace to suffer through injustices as well, try to control your anger, ask God for guidance and then hold on for the ride, of Christ making it all good. Believe and have faith!

Coach Willertz
Winton Woods Wrestling: Fighting the Good Fight!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Least of These

As coaches, it goes without saying that a primary aspect of the job is to win. Not figuratively or in the metaphorical sense, but to literally win. That's why coaches and athletes put in the long hours, mastering their sport and sacrificing so much.

In this pursuit of a larger "W" column, there is an obvious tendency to devote more time to those athletes on the team who are going to win for the team. While understandable and probably necessary to some extent, this often leaves the "runts" of the team on the sideline. I notice this in my own coaching and can't help but think it happens elsewhere.

The "runts," the players who might never even see a varsity line-up, they can still find meaning and purpose being part of a greater team. But for them to realize this, we must not further isolate them because of their lack of athletic ability. Honestly, in my wrestling career, both as a competitor and a coach, I have seen some terrible wrestlers. Yet, these guys with 0-15 records were absolutely vital to our team. They made the room fun. They made me a better man.

When you see the runt on the field and think to yourself, "This just isn't going to happen for this kid," remember that Jesus came and spent His time among "the least of these." We are reminded of the order of the Kingdom of God and that the last shall be first. While medals and trophies and titles are all great rewards for dedication, don't forget to love "the least of these."

"Fighting is the best thing a man can have in his soul." -Renzo Gracie

Mike Baria - Moeller Wrestling
Harvard University '06
Wright State Boonshoft School Of Medicine '11
Wright State Raj Soin College of Business '11

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Greatest Win

By Dan Duddy
Head Football Coach New Jersey

In comparison to many football coaches on the high school level I have been blessed with many wins. I am also truly amazed at how many victories other coaches have accumulated, well above my count, some with fewer years in. My high school head coach is 82 years of age, has over 350 wins and is still coaching. I have been coaching for 31 years; head coach for 16 years and am closing in on my first 100. I plan on surpassing my head coach, but the challenge is that I will be 106 years old when it happens.

I have lots of great memories, a few cold ice-buckets over the head, and once I was carried off the field on the shoulders of a bunch of great kids. Now, that was cool.

My greatest win of all though happened on the weekend of Friday January 22nd through Sunday the 24th. I write this to you as my plane taxis for take-off from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Atlanta, Georgia. When I arrive, with my wife Maura, we will meet Avery Renee for the first time. She's a beautiful little girl of 4 months. I have seen her photos. Now I will hold her in my arms. I will be her Godfather on Saturday at her Christening. I am flying to my biggest win ever.

Her dad, Louis C. Brown III has a huge place in my heart as an ex-player, but more so as the man he is today. He is family to me. He will be thirty years old on the 31st, next weekend. I want my sons to know him more. I want him to be their big brother, I love my sons more than anything and I want Louis in my family. To me he is a son as well, and will always have his place in my home amongst my five sons.

Lou came to my football program in his sophomore year. I knew immediately that he was a football player because of the thunderous thud his pads made when he collided with another football player. The new young kid had something to prove, and he proved it quickly, and he did so among a bunch of very tough kids.

I didn't know much about him personally except that he was being raised by his mother, and that he kept a vigilant eye on his younger sister Virginia. It was a family built on faith and love. Mom, who I have come to call Vanessa, had laid down some tremendous character prerequisites for football. I asked her one day, "What's your secret?” She said "Just Keep loving him".

Well, I do love Louis Brown. As he was that very first day, although in a much deeper way today, fifteen years later, he is a confident, strong and clean living man of great virtue; a humble and loving man-servant, yet a proud and tough father with great memories of his football days. Those memories include the span of the triumphs of a great "scoop and score" of a fumble recovery in his senior year of high school, to the scars on both his knees from the multiple surgeries while at Lehigh University, where he gained fame once more for his signature collisions.

Louis stands stoically as protector, provider and leader of his family with his beautiful wife Renee. When Louis asked me to serve as Godfather of his little girl it was powerful, not only because of his deep love for her, but faith is important to him. This was no social courtesy. Coaching football had now brought a victory to my life that was far greater than any before. This immediately presented a perspective to coaching that is life changing and will consequently change the lives of future football players in my program.

My wife Maura shared this moment with me entirely and unselfishly, a revelation that made me feel tremendously blessed and lifted us to a higher level of intimacy. After all, she was the catalyst for my new-born faith and all my works within this vocation. Maura told me "I am so proud of you", and I will never forget that.

Every man fundamentally wants to be a woman's hero. Both want his heroism to stem from conquests. Every woman innately wants a man to scoop her up on his horse, proclaim her as his prize, and ride off into the sunset to begin a life together, to lead her and her children, provide for all, and protect them from evil and harm.

A man who can't do this hasn't healed from his adolescent wounds or was just never mentored or led by another man, and a woman who denies this and claims a proud independence of it suffers as well, either from wounds, or a plain lack of manly example in her past.

I have been blessed to be in Louis' family and I know he feels the same. We both have been blessed with great women, and I believe they too feel the same about their men.

In Proverbs you will find the verse that says "As Iron Sharpens Iron, So does One Man Sharpen Another". I am a stronger and sharper servant because of the verb, my title, “Coach", which Avery will call me as Louis and Renee continue to do so, and I love that. But now completely intermingled in that word for the first time in my life is "GODFATHER" of Louis' and Renee's precious baby girl and my wife, Maura, completely indulged herself , and...It made her proud.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

Dads, did you know that your daughter most likely craves physical affection from you? And if you don't give her hugs and kisses on the cheek every day and tell her you love her, she'll most likely get it from another guy her age? It's a bit unsettling, isn't it? But it's true. A study from Dr. Meg Meeker shows that girls who have that kind of affection connection with their fathers are far more likely to stay away from drugs, pre-marital sex, do better in school and be happier. So even if it feels a little weird, give her the hugs and kisses.

You'll definitely want to give her a hug and kiss after you watch this!

Father of the Bride - The Wedding from Family First on Vimeo.

Here is a sampling. If you would like to read the whole interview click on the link above.
Q&A: Dr. Meg Meeker on 'Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters'

by Ivy J. Sellers

Having spent more than 20 years in the medical profession practicing pediatric and adolescent medicine and counseling teens and parents, Dr. Meg Meeker has learned a thing or two about the impact fathers can have on their daughters—whether for good or for bad.

In her latest book, “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know” (published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS' sister company), Meeker explains the important role fathers play in the lives of their daughters and how they can best utilize that role to instill strong moral values and healthy self-images in their daughters.

Will a daughter’s relationship with her father really affect her future relationships?
Dr. Meeker: Absolutely. Unfortunately, most research identifies what’s wrong in a girl’s life when she doesn’t have a good father, rather than what’s right when she does. So to encourage men, I tried to show them what can go well in their lives. We know that girls wait longer to initiate sex, are less likely to suffer from depression, and are less likely to take drugs, drink alcohol, and have eating disorders if their fathers are involved in their lives. Any and all of these affect a girl’s future because they keep her from maturing and from excelling both academically and emotionally.

Why are fathers the most important men in their daughters’ lives?
Dr. Meeker: Fathers are their daughters’ first experience of male love, compassion, kindness, anger, and cruelty. These early experiences are imprinted on a girl’s brain and heart. For the rest of her life, every experience she has with a male is filtered through her experiences with her father. So if she trusts her father at an early age, she is more likely to trust men. If she has been hurt by her father, she will shy away from men.

In your book you mention that girls can come to view their fathers as their heroes. How does that happen?
Dr. Meeker: Girls very naturally assign the role of hero to their fathers, usually without the father knowing it. A girl believes that her father is the strongest, smartest, and most capable man on earth. All he has to do is live a life of integrity, truthfulness, and moral clarity and he will be her hero forever. Girls don’t need their fathers to rescue people or make a lot of money or live in a big house. They define heroism as a dad who has stronger character than their friends’ dads. If a girl’s dad stays married to her critically ill mother, he is his daughter’s hero. If he leaves her, he fails as a hero. This is what girls are looking for. Is that essential? Yes and no. She gives him the role of hero, so if he fails, she is disappointed. However, if he fails and recognizes that he disappointed his daughter, he redeems himself.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Brief History of Moral Education in America

By Randy Traeger
Head Football Coach Oregon

We are compelled, we are called, to address the problem of rebuilding the moral foundation of America's youth. Our society struggles with finding solutions to our current moral crisis. How can we teach morality and virtue to our youth when today’s society tells us that no morality or virtue set can be validated? How in the world did we end up where we are at today? We believe that in order to fight today’s moral battle, it’s important to know where we have been, and how we got here.

To that end, we offer the following history of moral education in America.

1650 Colonial Morality: Puritan morality is taught in the American Colonies.

1700 Revolutionary Christian Morality: Children are taught moral living from the Bible. Emphasis was placed on afterlife, sin, and salvation through Jesus Christ.

1750 Industrial Morality: The Christian virtues of colonial America are replaced with bourgeois virtues of industrial America. A new virtue set is emphasized of industry, hard work, loyalty, thrift, and individualism. We go from teaching that the benefits of living a life of virtue will be realized in heaven, to teaching that the benefits of these new “industrial virtues” will be material rewards in this present world.

1850 Second Great Awakening Morality: America falls back on Christian Virtues as the basis of morality. A time of great religious revival in America.

1900 Pre-Progressive Morality: Fueled by a collectivist-democratic spirit, this morality was based on ethical tentativeness. The beginning of moral relativity. Virtues cannot be given fixed meanings because they are relative to the particular habits of the individual. Their habits define their character. Child rearing was not about exercising authority and teaching virtue, but about nurturing the “natural” development of the child.

1950 Progressive Morality: Highly impacted by Benjamin Spock’s Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care published in 1946. If you want your child to do what you want him to do when you want him to do it, then you must first learn to do for your child what he wants you to do when he wants you to do it. If you conform to the child’s wishes, he will conform to yours. Morality is relative to what the child wants.

1966 Great Society and Values Clarification Morality: America's youth rebels against education because the curriculum doesn’t acknowledge their needs and interests. This rebellion is a backlash of “Progressive Morality” as the youth had grown up in homes where parental conformity to childish wishes was a pre condition for the child’s conforming to parental wisdom. Morality becomes, “If it feels good, do it.” There are no right and wrong answers. “Values Clarification” rejects any morality as conformity to an external code or set of values that are established by social institutions (the man), religion, science, reason, or tradition.

1980 Self Esteem Morality: It was inevitable that the Great Society morality would fall out of favor with parents because it was too subjective and the effects were obvious moral decay. Enter Self Esteem morality which was based on helping young peoples psychological well being by building up (even if only artificially) their self esteem. It was believed that by building up self esteem, that moral conduct and achievement would follow. Self Esteem Morality was largely practiced by creating unearned pride about oneself as a person, such as one might experience after repeating the mantra “I am a good person” or “I am smart”, and never confronting the reality if it was true of not. This movement also contributed vastly to the creation of the “me-generation” and the entitlement thatmany of today’s young people feel.

1990 Objective Values Morality: The Self Esteem movement eventually lost steam because in reality there is no association between psychological well-being and moral conduct. Enter the Objective Values Morality.

2008 Socially Objective Morality: This is the current movement that we believe we are a part of. This movement is a hybrid combination of all three forms of Objective Values Morality (Neo-Classical, Communitarian, and Psychological). The foundation of Socially Objective Morality is the creation and teaching of a set of “Social Virtues” as a means of achieving the long term goals of ones life.

These Social Virtues are:
• Objective, Concrete, Extensive, Precise, and Consistent.
• Historically, philosophically, and culturally relevant to our civilization.
• Easy to understand, hard to evade or misinterpret.
• Socially agreed upon by the community at large.
• Sensitive to judgmental sub-communities and their peaceful coexistence.
• Psychologically rewarding.
• Address basic human decency and human rights.
• Easily integrated and adapted into practical action oriented lessons.
• Inclusive with no specific religious or political agenda.

We live in a time when our youth have been robbed of their moral foundations and all we have left is relativism and the moral decadence it breeds. It’s time for a change. While Americans might disagree about a lot of things, including religion and morality, it seems that we are united by a basic set of “Social Virtues”. What Mother doesn’t want her son to be respectful? What Father doesn’t want his son to be courageous? Let’s use this common ground to help our youth re-construct their moral foundations.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Band of Brothers

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.  Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Matthew 3 33-35
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.  Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.”
1 John 2 9-10
I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again, we are in this together!  We are a band of brothers. (and sisters and mothers as Christ says in the first excerpt)  I have so many brothers, so many guys I’ve shared experiences with, so many guys I’ve broken bread with, so many guys I have loved and have loved me back.  Guys like Steve and Jerry who taught me so much as a young man and athlete in high school and college.  My best friends, C.J. and Beek, we grew up so much in college and maybe not so much in Saugatuck right after college.  Tim was another who befriended me and mentored me as a young coach and continues to mentor me.  Joe, Bob and Lou who have helped me take my coaching to another level.  And who can forget Hurricane Kelly and how he taught me loving God was a manly thing to do.  All these guys (and hundreds more!) alive and dead (Dad, DBK, Ron Hughes, Ranear, Jordan) and I have been in this thing together.
As I get older, I wonder more and more what this brotherhood means.  What does it really mean?  If I don’t spend much time with these guys, how many shared experiences are we really having?  Is it more nostalgic and less real?  Just tonight as I was getting ready to write, it dawned on me that the brotherhood is alive and strong.  It is real.  How so you might ask.
Christ says, anybody doing God’s will is your brother, sister or mother. (so applicable with Mother’s Day on Sunday!)  I know so many of my friends, former players, fellow coaches, Warrior wrestling donors, family members are trying to do God’s will.  Some may not know it but they are building God’s Kingdom.  I thought to myself, anybody that does something for somebody else, gives their time, money and energy to help somebody else out is doing God’s will.  He/She is loving, and since God is love, he/she is doing God’s will.  People we have so much to have joy about!  We are helping other people.  
Whether it’s me and the donors at Winton Woods helping young men discover their strength through wrestling, or C.J. loving that beautiful wife and daughter of his, or Greg and Gordo giving Spartan fans something to cheer about or John putting his heart and soul into teaching young men and women how to throw the discus for a school record, all are examples of men and women loving people.  We ARE building the Kingdom of God.
I am proud that you are my brothers!  We have to remind ourselves that we are all on the same team…every day.  My successes are your successes.  Your failures are my failures.  My crisis is your crisis and your prayers are my prayers.  I have your back, brothers, sisters and mothers.  And I know you have mine.  What an honor it is to serve God my Father with you at my side.  
Let’s recruit more to the fight.  Let’s get it done.  Let’s love the people that God has put in our life…to the fullest.  And by doing so add another one to our ranks!  It’s the only way we can really live this brotherhood.  And it’s the only way that we can repay the people that chose to love us instead of themselves;  that did it for us.
Have a great week!
Coach Willertz
Winton Woods Wrestling where we separate the men from the boys!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

WIN – What’s It All About?

We live in a world that promotes instant gratification.  Everything from television, to the internet, to fast food restaurants are designed to meet our immediate needs.  Our young people are continually bombarded with messages counter to those promoted by our Christian faith.  As adults, we have a responsibility to shed light on what should be the important priorities in our children’s lives.

As a high school football coach I am well aware that our society measures much of our team’s success by what gets done on the football field.  In short, many people expect us to win and to win now!  As coaches, we must be the best we can be in order to give our athletes the opportunity to be successful on game day.  However, we have been blessed with a mission that goes far beyond the field.
At Covington Catholic High School we talk about winning all the time.  For us, WIN means focusing on What’s Important Now.  This often used acronym has great value in our program.  Our message as coaches is that “the process” is the key to our success.  We hammer home the concept of taking one day, one play, and one game at a time, helping to promote a sense of focus for our kids.  As coaches, our desire is for our players to be their very best each day.   
We want our kids to be great players, but more importantly, we want them to be outstanding Christian young men.  When our athletes focus on getting a WIN in the classroom, a WIN in their prayer life, a WIN with their family , and a WIN on the field, the process takes shape.  A series of WINs in a person’s daily life helps to put priorities in their proper order.  At Covington Catholic we want to win all of our games, but we don’t want our athletes to use a football scoreboard to determine their level of success in life.
As scripture says, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)  Our athletes can win game after game, and not be on the right track in their personal lives.  As coaches we have a profound impact on the message that our young people receive.  Take time this day to explain to your kids the value of “the process” and the risks of short term gratification.  When our players take care of what is truly important, the WIN will take care of itself.
God Bless,
Todd Naumann