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 -

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Importance of Being Virtuous & Tim Tebow

Here is a note and some parental feedback from one of the Coaches in our Association, Tommy Hagey, from Nashville TN. Tommy will be one of our speakers at our Character Builds Coaches and Captains Clinic February 24-25 in Cincinnati.

Also included is a related article about Tim Tebow that two coaches emailed me (Thanks John and Jeff).
Attached is a picture of me and a painting done for me by one of our parents.  It hangs in my office.  I have also attached a letter sent to our principal and Pastor from a different parent whose son I coached.


During the recent football season at St. Henry my son L. was introduced to the Sports Leader Program.  This program is designed to teach the boys, through a coach mentoring program, the importance of being a virtuous person.  The focus were the virtues of Charity, Humility, and Courage.  L. came home after every small group mentoring session with nothing but positive things to say.  Needless to say, it had a big affect on him.  The importance of this program was emphasized even more to me by the story at the attached link below.  I'm not a Florida Gator fan or a Denver Broncos fan but I have become a big fan of Tim Tebow.  He holds true to his convictions for all the virtues that L. learned about during the Sports Leader Program; characteristics that should be admired, not ridiculed.  I'm proud to say that L. looks up to Tim Tebow as a role model, one of the few professional athletes today that deserve this honor.

All that said, I'd like to express how important and valuable, I feel, the Sports Leader Program is to our young athletes and that I think it should definitely be continued and rolled out to all St Henry athletes, both boys and girls.  I am so grateful that L. was able to participate in the program.

Thank you for including this program as part of the football season.

Best Regards, A.B.
"Reflect the Son"


Tim Tebow, an emerging American folk hero answering a cultural need
By Hampton Stevens - Special to The Washington Times

 In every era, there are athletes who transcend athletics, rising above the level of mere entertainment to express something essential about the national mood, to answer a need in the collective psyche. In the 1920s, Babe Ruth personified America’s explosive new power on the world stage. The comeuppance that Jesse Owens administered to Nazism at the Berlin Olympics cheered a nation deep in the Great Depression. Muhammad Ali encapsulated the volatile 1960s.

A beleaguered, balkanized and self-doubting America needs a different kind of signature athlete, a different kind of hero. And we might have found him.

Last week, he did the same thing to the New York Jets and in front of the New York media that he did the week before to the Kansas City Chiefs, and for years while winning a national championship and Heisman Trophy at Florida.

Last week, America got Tebowed.

Tim Tebow is unpredictable and improbable — symbolizing the triumph of will over skill. The values he embodies are an almost perfect counter to the nation’s sour and defeatist mood. He is relentlessly polite and optimistic, ferociously hardworking, and committed beyond all else to the idea of team over self. (Check out if you can his postgame interview on ESPN after leading the Broncos' wild comeback against the Jets: The rookie quarterback explains to Hall of FamerMichael Irvin — in the nicest possible way — that not all wide receivers are as selfish as he was.)

NFL purists gasp in horror at Tim Tebow’s ugly mechanics. They cringe at his toe-tied, ankle-crossing footwork, painfully slow windup and floppy release. His success despite those bad fundamentals offends the league’s elect. His clunky, raw game is the very antithesis of the sleek, high-powered, micromanaged precision beloved by the 21st-century NFL. He is the anti-Peyton Manning — an affront to the high priests of the pocket passer and their Church of the Infallible Playbook.

Unfortunately, some people detest Tebow for reasons that go far beyond football. He is an evangelical Christian who takes the “evangelical” part seriously. The home-schooled child of missionaries, he mentions Christ at every opportunity. In college, he famously wrote Bible verses on the black tape under his eyes, and the NCAA made a rule against it.

Tebow is the embodiment of everything that the cultural left hates. That’s not to say that all liberals hate him. Of course not. There must be millions of liberal Gator and Bronco fans who adore him. Team loyalty will trump politics every time. Tebow nevertheless personifies the patriarchy — straight, white, big, strong, clean cut, square-jawed, preternaturally confident, radiating exceptionalism and utterly convinced that God is on his side.

He appeared in a pro-life commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. Like Strap, the character in “Hoosiers,” Tebow will kneel and pray at any given moment, something he does so frequently and publicly that copying the motion by “Tebowing” has become a Web meme.

Some — the Bill Mahers of the world — hate the religious right so much that they’ll rag on Tebow simply because he’s Christian. Not very many, though. Most Americans, being American, couldn’t care less what the guy believes. They just bristle at him being so in-your-face about it.

The most common complaint about Tebow seems to be that he’s simply too good, too pure. He drinks milk. He claims to be saving himself for marriage. He does summer missionary work at the orphanage his parents built in the Philippines. The guy is such a goody-goody, right?

Well, duh. That’s the point. He’s Christian. You know, that whole “do unto others” and “turn the other cheek” thing. So he doesn’t go to nightclubs, get in fights, drive drunk and smoke weed. That’s a bad thing, apparently. Sure. Because the country already has far, far too many unselfish, clean-cut, relentlessly cheerful pro athletes who believe their life can serve a higher purpose. What we need are more hard-partying, self-glorifying anti-heroes. Sheesh.

But opinion, professional and popular, may have begun a kind of phase shift Thursday night, with a polarizing athletic fluke transforming before our eyes into an emerging American folk hero. Against the Jets, Tebow was atrocious for 55 minutes. (What else is new?) Then, yea, though he stood in the valley of the shadow of his own end zone, he rumbled, chucked, juked, ducked, shoveled and heaved himself during a 95-yard drive for the winning touchdown and his fourth win in five games as a starter this season for the no-longer-lowly Broncos.

Mr. Tebow is a throwback, recalling a kind of can-do American that sometimes seems like an endangered species. Tiger Woods turned out to be sleazy. Ditto Brett Favre. Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds turned out to be cheaters. The country is still reeling from horrible events at Penn State and Syracuse. Over on the sports page, they will tell you that no quarterback can rush as often as Tebow does and last in the league. They will tell you he can’t pass well enough to win a Super Bowl. Maybe.

Whether Tebow-mania will last is still in doubt. What he symbolizes to the country couldn’t be more clear.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Finishing Strong

As the fall sports seasons are coming to an end ... hopefully a distant end with the teams still in the championship hunt (smile) ...

Remember to do something special at your awards banquet and to get some feedback from your players and parents ... maybe the Season-Ending Essay.

1. Hand out the folders with the virtue themes and comments.
2. Write a letter to your players.
3. If you give out individual awards, consider giving an award(s) for virtue.

Coach Mike Bickerman of Rushville Industry HS in IL is planning on giving his players their virtue theme folders and a photo from Father-Son jersey night as a Christmas present.

Coach Doug Martin of East Peoris HS in IL took some artifacts from the year including their weekly sheets and wrote a letter to each kid. He had them binded by a local guy in town.

He also threw in a copy of Dr. Seuss' "Oh the places you'll go." Plus he shared, "In the end of season survey all of our kids said they enjoyed the program especially the text messages."

Here below is a letter that Coach Bob DeLong of Xenia HS in OH is giving to all of his players.

I know that to some, this may seem like "Another Thing added on" ... Remember, you might be the most influential person in a player's life!
Virtue = Strength, Lou


This will be your final letter for the 2011 season. For seniors, it is your final letter. Each week these letters have tried to prepare you for the upcoming contest. This one is no different. The contest that the seniors now face is in the game of life. I want to review the lessons we have learned so that you will be prepared when the time in the battle comes.

First, there are no short cuts to success. You will reap what you sow.

Second, no one wins until the team wins. Your team now may be your family, your comrades at work, your neighborhood, or your country. You must win as a team to make winning personally meaningful.

Third, failure is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently. You will likely get knocked down, and as you did here, you will need to get back up and continue to fight. Unfortunately, I can guarantee you that you will experience failure. I can also guarantee you that it will not define you. Your response to the failure will define you.

There is never a right time to do the wrong thing. Expect the best from yourself and you will surely get it. Think before you act, love before you hate, and do the right thing.

We have tried to provide you with a proving ground to practice for the inevitable challenges that lie before you. Know as you go that you will always be Bucs to us. We love you. We are cheering for you and expecting your best in all that you attempt. We hope that you will keep in touch by using our website and supporting the program as we try to build it.

God speed as you go.
Sincerely, Coach DeLong 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Volley for Life

Being a part of something bigger than ourselves is a great lesson that coaches can instill in the hearts of their players. Memories and experiences like the ones here shape who we are!

Congrats to Coach Stephanie Barrows and her team. In addition to these amazing achievements, they also had a lot of success on the court as well.

Virtue Inspires!

Has your team participated in a service project this year?

The Eminence High School Warrior Girls Volleyball team recently exhibited the excellence of character their student-athletes are known for by sponsoring two fundraisers in less than one month.

On September 7, the ladies dedicated their game against Western Hills High School to the memory of player Kara Capps’ mother who passed away five years ago from ovarian cancer.

Wearing teal – the color associated with awareness of ovarian cancer – the team raised over $1,200 which was contributed to Ovarian Awareness of Kentucky, an organization Kara’s mother was closely associated with during her battle with cancer.

Three weeks later, the team members led their community again in support of their beloved high school science teacher who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Decked out in all pink, the team repeated their fundraising success, presenting their teacher with over $1,200 to assist her with medical expenses.

Additionally, the team members decided to donate their entire gate proceeds to the cause.

The Warrior Volleyball team is truly a group of ladies who exemplify the qualities of true leadership.  We are proud to celebrate the selfless achievements of our Volleyball team.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When Our Players Make Really Bad Decisions

I am blessed to be in communication with many different coaches. At times I am a sounding board, an unbiased third party, a venting stand-in ...

As many of you can attest - you have been that for me as well. That is the beauty of SportsLeader and friendship.

One of the coaches in our association, and by now a great friend of mine, Coach Jim DeJoy, had a pretty difficult situation to plow through this year. How he handled it was truly virtuous and I wanted him to share some of the experience so that if you ever encounter something similar you will know you are not alone.


I wanted to share an incident that occurred with our football team a few weeks ago.  It was the night before our second to last game of the season right after practice.  We had nine players involved, eight of which were starters, make a bad decision that cost them playing in the last two games of the season and other consequences within our school. 

At the time our team was four and two and headed toward a six and two season.  Although we were very proud of the players who were not involved they too paid a heavy price by losing the last two games and their teammates.

As a coach I was embarrassed and upset.  How can they do this after all our virtue talks this season?  We talked about courage, sacrifice, positive decision making, and staying away from negative peer pressure.  What were those kids thinking?  I almost decided to quit coaching all together.   If players weren’t going to listen to me or the other coaches then it wasn’t worth the time or effort.

Finally, through prayer and the grace of God one by one the suspended players realized their wrong and took responsibility for their actions.  One player wrote a letter of apology to the coaches, administrators, and parents.  Another player stood up in a team meeting and apologized to both his teammates and coaches.  Others, over time, made sincere apologies to the coaches.  The coach’s walls that were built started to crumble.  Maybe these players did get it and just made a bad mistake.  Hopefully this will be a learning and life lesson.  From these moments I decided I am not going to quit, or be selfish, but grow, stay the course, and continue with the Sports leader program.   Without it I am convinced that these players would have moved on without much thought of growing or striving to be men of character.

I want to thank Lou for his support and encouragement throughout this time. One thing Lou urged me to do was right a letter to each player that was involved in the incident.  Below is a copy of that letter.  

Coaches, Again thank you for all that you do.  Coaching and mentoring can have many rewards but disappointment could also take place.  I encourage you to not give up but keep teaching and mentoring our young people.

Thank You and God Bless

Jim DeJoy


I know it’s been a rough week and mistakes were made.  As humans we all make mistakes but it’s what we take from these experiences that will define our true character.  Hopefully you have grown and become a better person.  This incident is over!  Let’s move on and continue to strive to be the best we can be, both on and off the field.

Also, we want you to know the coaches are here to support and help you anyway possible.  If you need to talk our doors are always open.  It was a pleasure coaching you this season and we look forward to watching your growth in the future.



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Learning from Captain America

Of course this is a comic movie ... fantasy ... there are still things we can glean from it.

In the movie Captain America, Steve Rogers, is a short, small, weak human being. 

There is a scientist who has created a serum that gives strength, speed, height, power ... enhances the physical qualities to create a stronger man.

Steve is chosen to be the man, the guinea pig to test this serum ... to create the more powerful soldier.

The night before the procedure he has a conversation with the scientist ... naturally he asks, "Why Me?"

Hitler hears of me. My work and he finds me. And he says, you will make us strong. Well I am not interested. So he sends the head of hydra, his research division. A brilliant scientist by the name of Johann Schmidt. Now Schmidt is a member of the inner circle and he is ambitious ...

So when he hears about my formula and what it can do, he cannot resist. Schmidt must become that superior man.

"Did it make him stronger?"

Yes. But there were other effects.

The serum wasn't ready but more important, THE MAN.

The serum amplifies everything that is inside, 

so good becomes great.

Bad becomes worse.

This is why you were chosen.

Because a strong man who has known power all his life may lose respect for that power,

But a weak man knows the value of strength.

And knows compassion.

"Thanks. I think."

Whatever happens tomorrow, you must promise me one thing.

That you will stay who you are.

Not a perfect soldier




Let's ask ourselves: Is that truly what WE want as coaches? Do we want the perfect athlete or the good man?