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Saturday, December 24, 2016

THE LAST DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS

This will be our last post until following Christmas -- and has become a tradition at Hoopthoughts. We come off of Christmas with three games in fives days so the next few days I will be breaking down tape and squeezing in some Christmas shopping. Below is a motivational passout that Coach Dale Brown would mail out each Christmas. It speaks to our ability to teach...not teaching subjects (or plays)...but teaching students (and players) -- and there is a big difference. Enjoy and may you all have a wonderful holiday season!
 

When Tony Campolo was in Chattanooga last week to speak at the annual “Gathering of Men” breakfast, the noted sociologist told a story that begs to be repeated, especially on this day:

It seems that there was a lady named Jean Thompson and when she stood in front of her fifth-grade class on the very first day of school in the fall, she told the children a lie.

Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same, that she would treat them all alike. And that was impossible because there in front of her, slumped in his seat on the third row, was a boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he didn’t play well with other children, that his clothes were unkept and that he constantly needed a bath. Add to it the fact Teddy was unpleasant.

It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold ‘X’s and then marking the ‘F’ at the top of the paper biggest of all.

Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, nobody else seemed to enjoy him, either.

Now at the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s records and--because of things--put Teddy’s off until last. But when she opened his file, she was in for a surprise.

His first-grade teacher had written, “Teddy is a bright, inquisitive child with a ready laugh. He does work neatly and has good manners … he is a joy to be around.”

His second-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student and is well-liked by his classmates--but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”

The third-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy continues to work hard but his mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class. His is tardy and could become a problem.”

By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem but Christmas was coming fast.

It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stoddard on that last day before the vacation would begin.

Her children brought her presents, all in gay ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy’s, which was clumsily wrapped in heavy, brown paper of scissored grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents and some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet, with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of cologne.

But she stifled the laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and she dabbed some of the perfume behind the other wrist.

At the end of the day, as the other children joyously raced from the room, Teddy Stoddard stayed behind, just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to.”

As soon as Teddy left, Mrs. Thompson knelt at her desk and there, after the last day of school before Christmas, she cried for at least an hour.

And, on that very day, she quit teaching reading and writing and spelling. Instead she began to teach children. And Jean Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called Teddy.

As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded and, on days that there would be an important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember the cologne.

By the end of the year he had become one of the smartest children in the class and … well, he had also become the “pet” of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.

A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he’d had in elementary school, she was his favorite.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. And then he wrote that as he finished high school, third in his class, she was still his favorite teacher of all time.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, that he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and graduated from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson she was still his favorite teacher.

Then four more years passed and another letter came.

This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. That she was still his favorite teacher but now that his name was a little longer. And the letter was signed, “Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.”

The story doesn’t end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said that… well, that he’d met his girl and was to be married.

He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering … well, if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not she wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing.

But I bet on that special day, Jean Thompson smelled just like … well, just like she smelled many years before on the last day of school before the Christmas Holidays begin.


QUOTES FROM DON YAEGER'S "GREAT TEAMS"

Here are just a few great quotes from Don Yaeger's book "Great Teams:"


"Motivation is short, but inspiration lasts a lifetime."
-Ganon Baker

"Great competitors focus on daily improvement, with the mind-set to win each and every day."
-Bruce Bowen

"I think every leader must have a heart of service."
-Aja Brown

"I believe in winning the day and looking for small victories for my players, whether a great play in practice, a passing grade on an exam, or a personal best in the weight room.  I use these opportunities to reinforce behavior that was consistent with the culture I wanted to build."
-Jim Calhoun

"Promising something like playing time, is setting up disappointment and a breakdown of trust."
-Jim Calipari

"How your team complements each other is just as important as their individual skill sets."
-Jerry Colangelo

"When communication breaks down, mistrust and bad attitudes begin to develop.  I remain in constant communication with my players and staff to ensure they are all on the same page."
-Tom Crean

"Great teams know how to listen in a meeting and understand when feedback is required."
-Randy Cross

"My practices are called the 'competitive cauldron' because of my focus on competition and punishing pace."
-Anson Dorrance

"A shared culture will quickly show the new team member how he is expected to act...Personal agendas are not tolerated within the standards of a strong organization."
-Kevin Eastman

"A talented team will gie its best work every day, no matter what."
-China Gorman


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

WHO CLEANS YOUR BUILDING?

I absolutely loved this passage from Coach John Calipari's latest book, "Succes Is The Only Option."
A business executive by the name of Walt Bettinger likes to tell the story of the only course in college in which he failed to get an A.  Bettinger, the president and CEO of the Charles Schwab Corporation, was in his senior year and really determined to keep his perfect 4.0 grade-point average.  He had spent hours studying and memorizing formulas for a different upper-level business course.
The professor handed out the final exam and it was on just one piece of paper, which surprised everyone because they had anticipated a test with dozens of questions, as Bettinger recalled in an interview with Adam Bryant, author of the Corner Office feature in the New York Times.  One side of the paper was blank and when students turned it over, so was the other side.  The professor then said to them, "I've taught you everything I can teach you about business in the last ten weeks, but the most important message, the most important question, is this:  What's the name of the lady who cleans this building?"
Bettinger did know the answer and receiver a B for the class but gained a valuable lesson. These were lessons I was taught working for Dale Brown and Sue Gunter.  It's not the X & O's -- it's about the people and how you treat them.