Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Successful Titans

The Writer Review Contest was a tie. This is the first piece on the new website, We are fortunate to hear from both Coach B.J. and John Anderson.  See how these pieces connect this week.  Thanks to all the great writers so far.  Their content is also on the new site.  Thanks to all the great viewers as well.  Check below or in the monthly archives for all your favorite pieces.  Thank you to Elliot Trotter at Skyd Magazine for building this site.

Coach B.J.'s piece:

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.
John Anderson's piece:

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.

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