Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Attitude Reflects Leadership

Remember the Titans has become a Luther Ultimate staple prior to national tournament qualifications over the last 5 years. In years past Luther has had too many leaders and not enough leaders, emotional leaders and athletic leaders, loud leaders and silent leaders. As you can see, there are lots of ways to show leadership (on and off the field).

To be a truly effective leader one has to lead with actions and attitude. Ultimate (like everyday in your life) is a fickle sport and because of all the variables that can change the outcome of a game, it can be emotionally draining. However, the worst thing you can do as a teammate is give up. Whether it is after a tough loss and you come out flat the next game, or if you start blowing a big lead and implode, you can never give up.  Are you a teammate, boss, or a leader?  Yes?  Do not give up. 

This particular story is from a club ultimate game where I first witnessed the 'TITAN' phenomenon. We were down 4-8 at half in the game to move on. We were receiving out of half with some optimism, but after going down 4-9 a lot of people's heads were hung. Take a mental note of this, because that is the attitude that loses games. The game continued and eventually it was 6-11 and a majority of the team did not want to play, so the captains began asking, "who wants to go out there?" This is where the turn around begins: by putting competitive attitudes out there that are either too proud or too stubborn or too competitive to accept defeat, it allowed for a huge swing in momentum as the game's momentum began to turn. The team's attitude picked up because of these 7 Titans playing as a competitive, cohesive team again. The team ended up victorious, 16-14. This was the first of numerous games that came down to the wire because the Titans that stood together refused to give up. The fascinating part was, these so-called Titans were different people every game, it was just a matter of someone stepping up and bringing up the team's morale.

So, never hang your head, never count yourself out, and never give up. Negativity is infectious, but optimism is too. Be the leader the team needs - play with fire - and always remember to be a great example on the field, in school, or at the office.

John Anderson
Luther '11
B.A. Nursing

p.s. always remember to aggress.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Green (St. Patty's) Week: Join the Pursuit

If I knew now that “green” is only the color that you wear on St. Patrick’s Day, I would have felt self-conscious less often.

“Going green.”  “Being sustainable.”  Nope.  Sustainability is social, economic, and environmental health.  Pursuing sustainability is an all-inclusive opportunity.

Sustainability starts with you, your opportunity to shape and your health to build.  Pursue it, bit by bit, mistake by mistake, habit by habit, and learn.

I have a car.  Driving to work takes 5 minutes.  Biking took 8.  I biked.  Then I learned that one of my favorite professors walks to work everyday.  Now, I walk to work.  25 minutes.  I listen to the radio and learn.  Biking was my “gateway” transportation.  I don’t even bike for recreation.

Making food from scratch is good.  Sitting is bad.  Extended sitting takes years off your life.  Good:  I walk to work, and I take time to stand and cook my meals! 

I’m more capable as a cook now.  I eat less meat because of it.  When I do, I vote with my dollar and buy from cooperatives when possible, businesses that exemplify sustainability. 

I talk about sustainability, its complexities, simplicities, and parodies.  I talk to students about it because I know that any student, no matter what they study, can be passionate about sustainability in their careers.  That’s good, because what makes for a happy professional?  Being passionate.  Here’s your chance.

When I walk to work, I say “Hello” to people.  I smile.  I gain social skills and friends.  We are creatures that mimic what we see, and when we see aesthetics, attitudes, and actions around us that say, “Sustainability is important,” our behaviors change.  We all change, bit by bit, and the pursuit gains speed! 

Join the pursuit:  Try something new, and be well!

Eric Holthaus
Energy and Waste Steward
Luther College
U of Iowa '09 BA Geography
U of Illinois '11 MA Urban Planning

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Conversation With Myself: Success helping Success

Sometimes looking back at my life up to this point, I sometimes think if I could have a conversation with the me of 15 years ago what would I say. Would I try to help myself avoid a mistake or failure? However now reflecting, I think the me of today would need to do more of the listening rather than speaking. I have had the privilege to go after many of my goals and reach them. I was very passionate and energetic, feeling that with God nothing was impossible for me. I wouldn’t accept no or failure, and always sought to separate myself by doing the things that everyone else was unwilling to do.
I chose to not fit in with the crowd, and decided that I would “pay now, and play later.” This approach helped me to walk –on to the Villanova University basketball team even after getting cut twice (I eventually earned a scholarship and significant playing time). I have lived out my dreams working at USA Basketball ; traveling the world with the best players and coaches in the game, and being a part of numerous gold medal winning teams even at the Olympics and World Championships.
Sometimes the biggest hindrance to success is success. It is tempting to relax a bit once you have reached certain goals or obtained things that you have really desired. However, while it is good to be able to slow down enough to enjoy your accomplishments, it is not good to rest on them.
Therefore, as I’m listening to myself I hear the BJ of yesterday telling me today: Never stop dreaming, never stop reaching. Your success is not for yourself, but serves to inspire those who are coming up behind you.

Coach B.J. Johnson
USA Basketball
Assistant Men's National Team Director
More fun things about B.J.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Accountability Ripple

“Exhausted on the field of battle – victorious”

When trying to find a way to explain my thoughts to share, I kept coming back to quotes of a great leader in history. Vince Lombardi, Hall of Fame coach for the Green Bay Packers knew what he was talking about. Packers fan or not, his thoughts can be used on the field and in life.   I only thought it appropriate to chat with you about the meaning I take from a few of them and pass it on.  I ask you to see the analogies and metaphors between sport and your every day life.

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”

It seems simple, everyone gives what they can, and you will succeed as a team. In sports, everyone has to be into it for the team to be successful. Each individual has to do what they can, play their role, and give it everything they have. Technically speaking, you can only account for yourself, and make sure you are doing what you can to commit to the team. What about others around you? Maybe someone isn’t giving it their all, what can you do? I suggest being a teammate, a friend. You can only do so much, but you never know what may help another person.  The boost you can give another person might change their attitude and outlook, which in turn creates a ripple. Whether you are on the field or in life, always remember that you can take care of yourself, but if you lend a hand to another, they will be there to help you when you are down. If everyone on your team has a sense of place and knows they are important, they are going to be more willing to give everything they have. Help to maximize the effort that each individual can give and you will see results.

Once you have accomplished commitment to the group effort, think about this:

“….I firmly believe that any man’s finest hours – his greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear – is that moment when he has worked his heart out in good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”

Your team, coaches, professors, parents, and alumni are all here to help you where we can so that when you are at the end of your battle (sports, college, every day, etc), you can look back and consider yourself victorious.

Adam “Lougan” Tlougan
Luther ‘06