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Author Archives: Lyn Medearis

About Lyn Medearis

I am a former financial services executive who now consults, coaches and speaks in public. I am a father of 3 wonderful children ages 19,9 and 4. I began to blog as a way to share my unique experiences in the world of corporate america from the perspective of a young black man. I know that my time climbing and getting just two rungs from the top of the ladder can benefit all. See for yourself.

Check Mate

Many of us grew up playing board games like Monopoly, Sorry and Scrabble and I was no different.  I loved to compete and would always take no prisoners when I played.  If I was going to take the time to set up the game, count out the money or spread out letters then I was going to do everything I could to beat you.  Some of those games actually come in handy later on in life.  They can help you spell, count or even draw.

The game that helps you think though is the age-old game of chess.  Chess takes strategy in order to best your opponent.  You have to be thinking several moves ahead in order to trap the king and ultimately win the game.  One of my favorite clichés is “Checkers vs. Chess” because it differentiates the thinkers.  I have played both games many times and one calls for thinking ahead, several moves ahead, and the other for simply one move at a time.

We hear in sports all of the time how the best players anticipate where the play is going while the average players are playing in the now or where the play is.  Knowing what your next move is going to be, or at the very least what your move options are, will serve you well in this game of life.

I am reminded of a story that I once heard about a very successful preacher in Southern California during the 80’s.  His congregation was growing by leaps and bounds every Sunday and the outside world was really starting to take notice.  One day after another huge Communion Sunday service the pastor was approached by a savvy marketing executive who was interested in purchasing the mailing list of all the church’s members.  Names, addresses and phone numbers were all given a handsome price of $500,000.

Without blinking the pastor told the executive that he had no interest in selling his church members’ personal information to his firm or any other no matter what the price.  This executive would not be denied so he decided to get on the agenda of the church’s next board meeting.  At the meeting the board was furious to learn that the pastor had turned down the rich financial offer without consulting with them first.  They were excited about all of the changes for the better that could be made at the church with that amount of money.  They were not very concerned with the privacy of their members as they were for the enrichment of their coffers.

Unfortunately the board was unable to accept the marketing executive’s offer without the agreement of the sitting pastor.  Some wise board members wrote that into board policy decades ago and now it was keeping the board from moving forward today.  The pastor knew the rules were on his side so he dug in and refused to move from his position.

The fact that the board did not want to share this information with the church membership really upset the pastor because he felt that they had a right to know their personal information was being sold to a third-party for a hefty sum.  The board now found themselves in an unwinnable position.  They could not get the pastor to budge and they certainly did not want the membership to know their plans.

With the board’s frustration mounting daily, a few of them decided to approach the pastor’s wife.  Surely she could convince him to see things their way and let the payoff go forward.  They argued nightly and the pastor shared his disappointment in his wife with her taking the board’s side against him.  She thought that they could benefit financially from the transaction and her greed got the best of her.  She was playing checkers.

The battle between the board and the pastor continued on for weeks until the board decided their only recourse was to have the pastor removed in favor of a sitting pastor that would okay their transaction with the marketing firm.  The entire church membership would participate in this historical vote and just like most elections not all of the members came out to support their pastor.  Most figured he would win in a landslide and then the board would go through a shake up of its own.

Well as luck would have it, the pastor’s detractors came out in full force but his backers were a little less motivated.  They figured he would be fine and he wasn’t.  The vote was very close and, believe it or not, the decision to oust the beloved pastor came down to just one vote…the one cast by his wife.  She sided with the church board and not her husband so now he was out.

What she did not realize immediately was that she was out as well.  There was no financial windfall realized by her betrayal.  In fact, the result was just the opposite.  The church sent someone to retrieve the couple’s beautiful Cadillac as it was paid for by the church.  The pastor’s wife was even more shocked when the sheriff came knocking at her door to inform her that she would have to vacate the premises in a timely manner.  The church paid the mortgage on their home and now that home was there for the new pastor and his family.

Now it all made sense to her that she was out too but it was too late.  Had she stood strong with her husband she would not have lost her home, her car and soon thereafter, her marriage.  The pastor was down for a few months but his faith sustained him while he founded a new church and soon went on to marry again.  He lived another twenty years of church and marital bliss before he died suddenly of a heart attack.

Thousands of people turned out to attend his funeral which was held in of all places, the very church that had ousted him decades ago.  You see, the membership declined under the leadership of the replacement pastor and some members got wind of the church board’s greedy manuever regarding their personal information and went to worship elsewhere.

Everyone lost in that transaction many years ago.  The church lost a charismatic leader and their membership growth.  The marketing firm never converted the data or sold the membership the products and services they had hoped so they lost.  The pastor’s traitorous wife lost most of all and then died alone.  The pastor did recover nicely because he was a pretty good chess player.  He didn’t see wis wife’s betrayal coming but because he knew it was an option her move didn’t sink him.

The pastor often spoke to his church members about strategic thinking with regards to their faith.  If they expected to one day end up in heaven they would have to stay a few moves ahead.  Ahead of the devil.  Ahead of the flesh.  Ahead of their futures sins.  Because if they died while playing checkers, their name was probably not going to be called at those pearly gates.  Think about it…a few moves ahead.

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The Village

When I reflect on my life soon after my birthday each year, I always come away feeling blessed beyond imagination.  I have been to great destinations like the Super Bowl, the Final Four and I have even been to war-torn countries all because of the relationships that I built in my former life as a financial advisor.  I won’t name names here just because this story will lose the point that I want to bring home but most of you will be able to figure out who the players are in this story.

It happened about five years ago as I was looking forward to taking a trip to Paris to witness a basketball game featuring NBA stars vs. France’s National team.  The game was being played to benefit my friend’s grand opening of his hospital in his village in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo).  The guaranteed donation from this event was $6,000,000.00 for the hospital but I was certain that the total would be closer to ten million dollars when the event was over.  I was even working on a seven-figure contribution from my own company since they were headquartered in Paris, France.  I had the chance to help a great cause and create greater name recognition for my own company so I was excited.

One day as I was attending an event for the benefit of the Martin Luther King,Jr. monument in DC, I ran into my friend and asked him where I should stay in Paris and a few more logistical questions when he hit me with a bombshell…the event had been canceled.  I couldn’t believe what he was telling me because he was so calm and matter-of-fact about it but it was true.  So of course I questioned him about what happened and he told me simply that France’s greatest basketball player was getting married the week before and would be on his honeymoon and would not be able to play in the game.  Without him France pulled the plug on the event and the guaranteed donation as well.

This unbelievable conversation takes place while we are in the VIP line to take a photo with the Secretary of State and I’m getting animated while he remains calm and cool as a cucumber.  A man standing behind us in line decides to throw in his two cents and, to my surprise, it is a former heavyweight boxing champion of the world.  He jumps in with both feet and can’t believe what he’s hearing.  All that money that wouldn’t go to my friends hospital was just unacceptable to him.

As we gathered more details we found out that the honeymoon was going to be in nearby Italy.  We wondered why this basketball star couldn’t just fly up for the event, dribble a basketball for 5 minutes and then return to his honeymoon.  Turned out he was willing to do it but his fiancée was not.  He begged her but she wouldn’t budge and so without her flexibility or willingness to compromise the charity basketball game was doomed.

By this time, we had all taken our photos with Mr. Secretary and were off in a corner trying to think of something and who joins in the conversation?  The Secretary of State for the US joins in on the barrage of whys and why nots.  I am sitting there just soaking all this in.  I’m friends with a very popular NBA star and we are joined by a former heavyweight champion and the Secretary of State working on this problem like it’s a world peace summit.  I was one of them.  Just a man with an opinion on how to reach an accord with this charity event.  It was awesome.

I was of the opinion that the fiancée, who is a famous actress on a highly rated TV show, was making a huge mistake right on the heels of her marriage.  I told the guys that even though the player was going along with her wishes, he would always resent her for forcing his hand at backing out of a commitment that effected so many people.  My friend took all of our advice and the ultimate reality of his situation in stride and just said he would get the money from some other sources.  Right then and there I told him “now that Paris is off I guess I will see you in the Congo!”  He smiled and gave me a huge hug for my support and the decision was set in stone.

If you are wondering what happened to the marriage, you guessed correctly.  They divorced after being married about three years.  I am not surprised because I knew the seed of “relationship destruction” was planted way back in May of 2007 when a bride-to-be had an awesome opportunity to be a hero in France and the Congo but instead chose to be selfish and, what some might call, a bridezilla.

In July of 2007, I journeyed to the Democratic Republic of Congo to be present when my buddy’s ribbon cutting ceremony for his hospital took place.  It was a crazy trip and I just cannot go into all the details in this post.  Did I mention that a civil war was ceased for a few weeks so that this event could take place?

I caught several planes after departing on Saturday and finally arriving at my hotel on Monday afternoon.  The ceremony took place the following morning and on Thursday I was back in the air headed for the good old US of A.  Only Tuesday and Wednesday were spent with me not being on an airplane…amazing huh?  Seven day trip and 5 of them I spent traveling to and from.

I enjoyed visiting my friend’s childhood village.  He always wanted to be a doctor and that’s why he came to the US.  Then a championship coach spotted him on campus and gave him a dream that could help another one come true; play basketball and make millions so that you can go home a hero and help those in your village in need of medical care.  He did just that and he’s my hero too.

Me and my buddy in the Congo, July 2007

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Life, Politics, Relationships, Sports

 

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Best Role Ever

In my 43 years of life (44 on June 20), I have been fortunate to serve in many roles.  I joined the Navy at age 18 in order to become an Officer and a Gentleman.  There I learned how to follow orders and then how to lead others in the military way of life.  I have started at the bottom rung in several areas of pursuit; clothing, financial services and energy just to name a few.  I also reached the lofty level of supervision in all of those endeavors because that’s the way I am wired.

No role has ever come close to that of being a father.  I remember the very first Father’s Day that my oldest child, Jessica, gave me which summoned tears to my eyes.  Please allow me to share that card here;

When does a girl need her dad?

She needs him when she’s little…to read the bedtime story (and do the voices)…to put her jammies on backward by accident (or maybe just to make her laugh)…

She needs her dad when she’s growing…to teach her to wait for a good pitch (and to be her biggest fan, hit or miss)…

A girl needs her dad when she’s finally ready to set out on her own…to change the oil and check the tires…to hug her and tell her he knows she’ll go far…

A girl needs her dad when she’s not really a girl anymore…to smile at her as they wait to walk down the aisle…to look up to, no matter how grown-up she gets…to read her kids a story (and do the voices)…

When does a girl need her dad?  Always

Thanks, Dad, for all you’ve done and still do for me.  Thanks for being the best dad a girl could ask for.

Happy Father’s Day with lots of love.

Love, Jessica

No card has ever had the effect on me that card manifests.  She knew that card would touch my heart so she stood right beside me as I read it aloud.  Holding back tears, I hugged her and thanked her for the best card I have ever received.  To this day that remains the case.  She’s my little girl, even as she approaches twenty, and I love her dearly.  She works hard, she gets excellent grades and she will graduate a year ahead of schedule from a very prestigious university in south Florida.

Because my daughter is on pace to graduate early, I missed seeing her this year as she takes classes down near South Beach but we had a great phone call.  In the background she could hear her two little brothers fighting to get me off the phone to play with them.

My namesake, Tre is really developing into a superior athlete.  I was able to take him in every game of one-on-one this past week but I can see the day when he will beat me as a rule and not an exception.  He is approaching 5 feet in height, is left-handed and takes full advantage of his physical attributes on the field of play.

His little brother Joshua has emerged as my little buddy.  He doesn’t like to share his daddy with anyone and I just love him for that.  He and I beat his brother and a few teammates in touch football yesterday.  Josh was awesome as a blocker and a decoy on offense and special teams.  He even got us a couple of sacks when we played defense.  I have never had so much fun with my boys than I did yesterday  Being a DAD is awesome and I highly recommend it to any man who wants to have the best, fulfilling life possible.  That’s just my opinion but I know many fathers feel the same way.

Best.  Role.  Ever!

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Life, Relationships, Sports

 

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Simplify Your Life

I week from now I will be one year older and I’m not sure how much wiser.  Here is what I do know that I have learned over my 44 years of life…people are simple.  You can put everyone that you encounter, everyone that you know into one of two categories, “Can’t Do or Won’t Do.”

This is something that I picked up in my former corporate life as a leader of people.  What I found is that everyone I interviewed, everyone that I worked with or who worked for me would fit into one of these two categories.  One is good to have in your circle and unfortunately one is bad for you and your life pursuits.

I will tell you about the “Can’t Do” person first because this is the type of individual that you will want to have on your team, as a friend and ultimately as a mate.  Of course the family members who don’t fall into the “Can’t Do” category you just have to find a way to limit the access that you give them to your life…sorry.  The “Can’t Do” person is simply someone who may or may not be capable of doing what you ask them to do but is more than willing to learn.  That person just needs to be told or shown what it is you need and then they magically transform into someone who can and will do what is required.

When you are a leader in your chosen profession you will need to build your team and or department with “Can’t Do” types of people because the more of them that you find the easier your job of leading them will be.  Just imagine how simple life can be when all you have to do is show your team how it’s done and then let them out into the world to be productive.

The benefits of having these same types of people as friends or as a mate or spouse is obvious.  Just imagine you had a friend who invited you over to their home for dinner.  Because of health concerns, you need some adjustments made to the food that will be served that evening.  The type of friend that you need in this instance is one where making a change to your entrée begins as a “Can’t Do” but ends as a can do/will do.

The person that you need to identify as quickly as possible is the “Won’t Do” person.  This individual knows exactly what you want done, exactly what is required and just refuses to do it.  Just imagine you were forming a basketball team at the gym or the office.  And right before you were going to pick a person they said, “hey, I’m not going to dribble, I’m not going to pass and I’m not going to shoot the basketball.”  Is there any way in hell you still go ahead and pick this person?  The truth is we do it all the time and then we suffer for it and then we ask ourselves how did this happen.

Take a moment right now to make an inventory of the relationships in your life and ask yourself how many “Won’t Do” people do I have there.  When you think about it, these individuals have no positive existence in your life and if you cannot eliminate them totally from your life you should, at the very least, limit their access to your everyday world.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Business, Life, Relationships, Sports

 

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The Train

The story comes in many varieties but it always ends the same way…with a missed opportunity.  If you’re lucky, I mean really lucky, your chance may come around again but the odds are not in your favor.  My favorite story that I like to tell others about missed opportunities is “The Girl on the Train.”

If you are a guy reading this, you have probably been in this situation at least once in your life and missed out.  You are on the train and a beautiful girl catches your eye.  You stare at her intensely until she glances your way and then you look away and play like you were not aware of her.  Your initial hope is that she gets off at the same stop you are so that you can win some sort of dating lottery.

This “staring and then look away” game goes on stop after stop as your prayers are repeatedly answered as she doesn’t rise from her seat to get off the train before you.  The knot in your throat tightens as your own stop is drawing closer and closer.  You wonder if she is really going to get off at your stop because, of course, that is when you plan to make your move.

Suddenly, your stop is next and she is making no preparations to get off of the train.  Now your mind starts to race with questions.  The biggest one is why you didn’t make your move several stops ago.  Now there is no time for a rushed introduction because the train will soon stop and your  momentum, should you gain any, will be lost as you exit.  And remember, you are still not even sure that there is any interest from her side.  Oh, what to do?

You decide to not take the chance and just rise to exit the train for your stop.  After you pass through the double doors and find yourself on the platform, you can’t help but take one more look.  You look at her, she looks at you for what seems like hours, and then she knowingly smiles to let you know that had you shown the courage you would have been rewarded.  Of course that smile comes as the doors close and the train is pulling away with you powerless to stop it.

This is where the accounts can and usually differ.  When that happened to me many moons ago, my next move was to look at my watch and note the time.  If I could be on that very same train at the very same time tomorrow I would be able to have my chance encounter, right?  Wrong. The truth is I will probably never see her again and another agonizing truth is that I don’t deserve to.  She’s thinking, “he had his shot and he didn’t take it.  Too bad…maybe the next one will have the cojones needed to ask me my name and number.”

Two summers ago, LeBron James was on the same train and he did the courageous thing.  He asked her for her name and number.  She said her name was Miami and gave him a number that started with area code 305.  For seven years LeBron had been taking the same train in Cleveland and ending his season without the championship he coveted.  The only way to break that cycle in his mind, and in my opinion, was to start taking a new train that had a different destination with different passengers.

LeBron James has already made it to the top of the mountain in one sense.  He has become like the teams and the players that everyone tunes in to see whenever they are on television.  The Dallas Cowboys, the New York Yankees, and the Los Angeles Lakers are 3 of the teams that everyone tunes in to see.  Most want to see them win but many want to see them lose.  Either way the games are almost always highly anticipated and highly rated to boot.

Tiger Woods was, is and will probably always be the golfer that everyone tunes in to see win or lose.  First because of his greatness but more recently because of his human failings.  Kobe Bryant sort of fits that same mold as Tiger but he managed to get new sponsors, get more rings and gain even more popularity since his legal troubles of a decade ago.

LeBron James is disliked for exercising the freedoms that we would all like to have.  He honored his contract and then he took another train.  We, not me necessarily, just didn’t like the “way” in which he chose to make and then announce his decision to the world.  He’s gone on record as admitting he would change  some parts of the process if he had it to do over again but I liked his decision to join his friends and go for it all in Miami.

The major hangup was, and will probably always be, the arrogance surrounding the “Decision” and then the “Promise.”  At the end of the day, people always want you to do things the way they would have done them if given the chance.  Those people just need to get over it.  LeBron James did not leave the Cavs with nothing like it is always reported.  He allowed the Cavs to sign him and then trade him to Miami for future draft picks.  He did not have to do that.  He could have been a jerk like his former team owner was very upset over the news he was losing his superstar.

It is not always easy to know when you are on that fateful train in life but ask yourself if you will have the courage to ask her “for her name and number” or will you let the train pull out of the station.  You only get one life so I say live the one with the least regret and the one that says you left everything you had out on the playing field of life.

 
 

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BE (Be Exceptional)

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” ~ Anonymous

One of my favorite quotes is stated above.  I love that quote because it lays out a truth that I believe lies in all of us.  We are all, in some form or fashion, exceptional at something.  What I find that most exceptional people do is hide from their exception in order to fit in with their surroundings.

This past week my soon-to-be 10-year-old son and I were talking about the upcoming NBA draft.  My son tells me all the time how much he wants to be drafted into the NBA right out of high school like Kobe and LeBron.  I tell him that the current rules won’t allow for that to happen.  He believes they will make an exception for him.  I will use his desire to his advantage.

My son Tre is an exceptional young man.  He has a name that he shares with only two other human beings.  He is left-handed and is learning every day that he has a definite advantage over his peers on the field of play.  He is smart as a whip and he has a great sense of humor but most of all he is a fierce competitor.  In fact, he is an exceptional competitor.

We introduced Tre to sports at a very young age.  He started his flag football career at age 4.  He was not allowed to play on the team in actual games until age 5 but he worked out with the team regularly until the season began.  Once the season started though, he couldn’t stand not being able to play in the actual competition so I ended his torture.  The following season he played cornerback in a league that doesn’t really throw the football.  They are just 5 and 6 after all.

So he was bored out of his mind in the defensive backfield most plays and really had an uneventful flag football season.  After the last game, the coach approached me and told me something shocking.  He wanted Tre to be the quarterback next season.  I knew that he would be great at the quarterback position because he would be forced be engaged in the game throughout.  The quarterback touches the ball every play so you can’t take any plays off.

Tre led his team to the Super Bowl that season.  In order to get there though he had to bring his team back from 5 points down with just a few minutes left in the fourth quarter.  With time winding down from the continuous running clock, Tre took the snap and then promptly fumbled the ball onto the turf.  Without a moment’s hesitation he scooped up the football and galloped sixty yards for the winning touchdown. To this day, everyone who watches the video clip wants to know how I managed to film his run while everyone around me was losing their minds.  I don’t know I just kept the camera locked on him until he stopped in the end zone and then strutted…my boy.

The only thing that would have made his score more dramatic is if the clock had gone to zero.  It didn’t so all Tre did was go out on defense and make another game saving stop to preserve the win.  He was so cool at six and the game announcer fell in love with his name that evening.  The feeling of being his father that night was amazing.  Hearing other fans yelling your child’s name at a competitive event is indescribable.  You tingle from head to toe and tears well up in your eyes.  Other dads give you a pat on the shoulder for a job well done and you just kind of take credit in stride.

The following season Tre moved up to tackle football from the flag level.  The coach’s son was the QB so Tre was back on defense and football kind of lost its shine with him.  “No problem,” said Tre, “I will just play basketball.”  We signed him up for a league at the Y in our neighborhood and it wasn’t long before our son was dominating his teammates as well as his opponents.  The problem with the Y was the structure was loose, the baskets were lowered and stealing the basketball was not allowed.

After watching Tre run all over the court doing everything but dunk the ball, we were starting to get looks from the other parents instead of praise.  Then one game Tre made up his mind he was going to score 20 points and he was well on his way when the coach yanked him from the game in the 3rd quarter.  The coach was starting to feel the heat from the other parents. Tre pouted on the bench for the remainder and then did not shake hands with his opponents, as is customary, at the final buzzer.  That day his AAU basketball career was born.

AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball was where Tre would hone his skills.  The competition is top flight and almost every weekend there is a tournament somewhere that involves a shiny trophy.  Tre was challenged at every turn in AAU because as a 2nd grader he was playing against 3rd, 4th and sometimes 5th graders in these tournaments.  The coaches often schedule against older kids so they can toughen their own teams up.  It works.  If you get beat by 4th and 5th graders on a regular basis then when you play kids your own age you have a definite confidence edge.

Tre had a good first season with his team until his coach defected to another AAU club due to politics.  Tre’s team was disbanded and he landed on a 4th grade team.  He worked hard in practice and during his very limited game time minutes until one day, in a tournament championship, the coach decided to start Tre.  They won the trophy that day and my son had his first taste of AAU victory.  He was hooked.

Tre put us on notice soon after that baseball was out (to the dismay of the little league coaches that wanted to draft him 1st) and football was on life support.  He moved up to a new grade level and with that a new coach.  It is always a good sign when the “team mom” is the spouse of the coach.  That demonstrates stability and the likelihood of a season without a lot of parental drama.  Of course the coach’s son is on the team as well whether he’s the best or the worst.  I love that dynamic.

Tre had an even better season with The Warriors that culminated in a national tournament at a huge sports complex in a North Dallas suburb.  His little brother and I drove the four plus hours to the event and it was huge and intimidating.  Tre saw first hand the big business that was competitive basketball.  The clocks, the refs, the structure was all at the highest level we had ever seen and it was exciting.

The team easily won their first few games on the first day and everything was fine as the Warriors were rolling to getting a high seed in the single elimination phase of the tournament.  Then the team ran up against a tough group from out-of-state and Tre found himself waiting at the scorer’s table to be subbed into the game.  The coach was down on the scoreboard and decided to stay with his starters.  For the first time in his young career, Tre didn’t play one minute of the game.

The Warriors lost their first non-elimination game and my boy had tears coming down his little cheeks.  “Coach said he was going to put me in but he didn’t,” he said.  I told him that the coach was more concerned with winning the game than giving him playing time.  I told Tre that he had to stay engaged in the game and especially when he was on the bench.  If he looks your way and sees you are not paying attention he may just leave you on the bench.  Tre swore that day he would never be left at the scorer’s table again.

His next few games he played like a man on fire and then I heard some of the parents calling for Tre to get back in the game to get more steals and more blocks.  See Tre is a tall kid who is an inconsistent shooter but his defense is the best.  He is the guy you can put on the best player and Tre will shut him down.  I told him the basket can be fickle sometimes but your defense always has to be present.  You notice when he leaves the game  and I told him that’s the mark of an exceptional player.

It was now Saturday night and the Warriors found themselves one win away from the Final 4.  The tournament took the Final 4 honor so seriously that you could only buy a  Final 4 t-shirt if your team made it…wow.  The Warriors were up against this team from Arkansas that was loaded with talent.  They had blown away everyone they played by at least 20 points and they had that look in their eye that the Warriors were next.

Unfortunately for us, our starting point guard and our starting shooting guard got stage fright.  The point guard was scared to dribble after getting stripped a couple of times and the shooting guard was scared to shoot after getting blocked a couple of times.  At the half we were only down by two points and the boys from Arkansas found themselves unable to blow us out.  The two guards never fully recovered and we lost the game by just 4 points.  Tre played well and didn’t express too much disappointment towards his frightened teammates.

He loved the experience and left the north Dallas suburb of Frisco knowing he could compete at the highest level.  He thanked me for taking him on the best trip of his life, we hugged and I kissed him on his forehead.  Of course I caught that one tear that ran out of my eye.  We celebrated our accomplishments that night and made the long drive back home to Houston the next morning.

Tre Medearis (left) and his teammates celebrating another AAU tournament victory…one of many.

I remember growing up in school and having to cover my test scores and other grades so that I wouldn’t feel like some kind of freak.  I was weird and a nerd until 5th grade.  That’s when I was identified as being gifted and was entered into the best magnet school in our public school system.  My life was different because I was now surrounded with kids that were just like me…exceptionally smart.

But now I had to function in two worlds.  I had to get up before the sun, catch a bus and two trains to arrive at school on time.  Then when I would come home in the afternoon the sun would be on its way down.  I would go out and play with my friends and hear the ridicule from at least one person on a pretty regular basis.  Luckily for me I was one of the better athletes on the block so even though I was a nerd I was one of the first guys picked.

No one could hit a baseball farther than I could and nobody had better hands when it came to catching the football.  Wasn’t the best shooter on the court but I could block shots and rebound better that anybody.  My exception was not my ability to play sports but the grey matter lodged between my two ears.  I knew that because I was born with asthma and my single parent mother was not interested in seeing her only child laying on a football field gasping for air and losing his life.

It took me a long time to figure out that I was an exceptional person.  I knew I was different and because of that I tried to fit in with my peer groups.  Being exceptional is better than being different.  It is a recognition of your God-given talents and maximizing them to their highest level.

I have tried so hard to bring others over to my different world not realizing that they were often times missing that much-needed ingredient of “being exceptional.”  Why build a team with average players that you have to coach up when you can coach a team with great players and actually just enjoy coaching?

Ever wonder why only one out of every 100 people finds a way to earn $100,000/year or more?  Is it because they are better?  No, it is because they are exceptional.  They make it because they believe that they can.  Ask yourself what have you ever accomplished without belief in your ability.  I believe that everyone has at least one exceptional ability and if they embraced it instead of running from it they could have the life that they really want to live instead of the life that they are “stuck with.”

Later this month, the NBA will add 60 players to their ranks.  These 60 players will come from all over the world, not just these United States.  The odds of making it to the highest level of exceptional basketball play are difficult to calculate but it is obvious that the 60 that get picked this month will believe in their exceptional abilities.

As long as my son Tre continues to embrace his exceptional talents and realizes that his dream to play at the NBA level is within his belief system, I am confident that I will one day hear his name called as a member of that very elite group of 60 exceptional athletes.  I won’t bet against him…that’s for sure.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Business, Life, Relationships, Sports

 

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Bronze Medalist

It is indeed my hope that you will find the information that I am going to share with you funny, informative and best of all sharable with your fellow-man or woman.  I have told this story to many more women than men because they always want to know why married men cheat.  The answer is one that I have subscribed to as making the most sense from a logical male perspective but first let me set the record straight.  Contrary to public opinion, all married men don’t cheat.  In fact, the percentages of married men and women who cheat are not that far apart.  Married men stray about 1 in 3 (33%) and married women fool around on their hubby 1 in 4 (25%).  I have joked that if I wrote a book entitled “66% of Married Men Will Never Cheat” no one would ever buy it.

There are a million different reasons why someone makes the decision to be unfaithful to their spouse and I’m only going to dive deeply into one that I have found to be quite common.  I would be willing to bet that if this common reason could be somehow eliminated, the male cheating percentage might even be cut in half.  I have named this cause of infidelity the Bronze Medal Effect for reasons based solely on logical male thinking patterns.

The Bronze Medal Effect is based on the sexual activity levels of four different types of men.  The men are described as Single Man, Divorced Man, Married Man and Man Living with Girlfriend.  Everyone that I have asked to order these men in their level of sexual activity from most to least has failed.  I always have to give several guesses just to get 2 out of 4 correct.  Ladies, you are the determining factor for the activity levels but you rarely come close to getting the order right.  Rather than have you guess incorrectly for the rest of this post I will give you the answers in order from most to least sexual activity.

*Man Living with Girlfriend

*Divorced Man

*Married Man

*Single Man

Before you get upset because the order is not the one that you guessed, I will give you the logical rationale behind the order of these four types of men.  I will give the rationale in order from least to most just for suspense purposes.

Single Man has the least amount of sexual activity of these four types because he has to spend a lot of time meeting a lady, taking her out on a few dates and then eventually closing the deal.  This can take a few weeks and there is no guarantee of a successful connection, meaning they both enjoy the encounter.  Without mutual satisfaction in this first encounter, he will probably find himself having to begin the cycle all over again.  That means going out to a club, even club internet, identifying a potential young suitor and then going out on a few dates to get to know one another.  As you can see, this can take a lot of time for Single Man without yielding a lot of activity.  I know that there are exceptions to this guy that I am describing but for most Single Man types this is the unfortunate cycle that occurs.  Lots of time, lots of money but not necessarily lots of action with the opposite sex.

Married Man is the guess that I get the most from women who humor me with this exercise.  They have normally broached the subject and of course believe that 99.9% of married men are running around on their wives.  They can’t believe that Married Man is not getting the most action of the four types.  They are shocked to learn that he comes in third place.  Well guess what?  Married Man is shocked to be in third place as well.  He is also pissed with his 3rd place status.  Why, because he is the one that took the plunge into the world of matrimony and he believed that his leap of faith would at least yield the most sexual activity of his other counterparts.  His disappointment will probably manifest itself later into one of a variety of different destructive behaviors and one could be infidelity.

Divorced Man is in the number two spot because he was probably in a marriage that did not end overnight. It was bad for one or a few years and it was no secret to those who knew him…both male and female.  He may have fooled around or wanted to fool around and now all of those temptations are up for grabs with his new-found status.  Just think, Divorced Man is now able to pursue once forbidden fruit, the mistress and he also gets to take a bite out of Single Man’s playground for his pleasure.  Want to take a guess who else may have crept onto his sexual activity roster?  That’s right.  His ex-wife may be a real possibility especially soon after the divorce is finalized.  Some divorced women don’t want to lose that familiarity they had with their former husband.  She may not like him but if he was decent in the bedroom there’s a good chance she’s still in the picture from a sexual activity standpoint.

And last but not least, we have our good buddy Man Living with Girlfriend.  He is living a charmed life from an activity standpoint.  He is shacked up with his lady and has the option to walk away from that deal whenever he chooses.  Now this is where the fun begins.  The girlfriend doesn’t like this setup one bit but it is a means to an end.  Because she wants to be married to this man she is doing a lot of things to get her man to pop the question.  They do it when they go to bed at night and first thing in the morning.  They fight like cats and dogs and then enjoy the collateral damage called make-up sex.  Eventually the girlfriend will wear down Man Living with Girlfriend and he will pop the question.  At that moment, he has convinced himself that the sexual activity that he is experiencing now is what he will have forever after.  If it is he can consider himself a very lucky man but when it isn’t he will find himself now coming in 3rd place and earning the unwanted “bronze medal.”

How did this happen to him he wonders?  One day he was fighting to get away from his horny girlfriend and just get in the shower and the next day he finds himself praying for “sports talk radio sex” with his wife (that’s once during the week and once on the weekends for you non-sports talk call-in fans).  Once he feels that he’s been played for a fool, he really starts to get pissed and considers doing destructive things such as getting back to the life he once enjoyed.  You remember the one that involved a girlfriend.  We love girlfriends.  Girlfriends are always ready to please.  Girlfriends play by our rules because if they don’t we can always walk away.  Once you become Married Man walking away becomes a difficult undertaking and if there are kids involved just forget about it.

So what just happened here?  Hopefully you saw how a man went from being a gold medalist (#1) when he was Man Living with Girlfriend to a bronze medalist (#3) after he marries that same girlfriend.  Logically it doesn’t make sense that when you make the highest level of commitment for a lifetime that you end up coming in third place.  Men want to win and if getting married means you’re going to get less loving then why would you ever make that choice?  You make the commitment not knowing that you’re making the choice of less activity.

Speaking from a man’s point of view, when we commit, or propose, we do so believing that things will remain at least the same but we are really pulling for better ever after.  When things don’t quite work out that way we get down and try to figure out a way to fix our problem.  Contrary to what you may think, I am not condoning or giving unfaithful men a pass.  I am just shedding light on just one possible root cause for why he may have made a choice that will possibly end his marriage one day.

I know that every man doesn’t live with his future wife before they marry.  I know that every divorced man doesn’t sleep with his ex-wife.  I know that every married man doesn’t suffer with a reduction in sexual activity and I know that there will be some single men who will read this and say “last place…please.”  This piece was based on surveys conducted using thousands of men that fit one of those four descriptions.  The logic of where they place is really quite sound when you process it as a rule and not as an exception which I know some readers will.  That’s just human nature.

I decided to post this topic because I believe that it might help one woman from letting her activity with her hubby fall off from its premarital level as well as letting one man avoid the pain of going from first to third.  If we were playing baseball that would be great but in the marital olympics no man is trading his gold medal for a bronze one.  Hope this one man’s opinion/perspective was enjoyable as planned.

 
 

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