An Encore For Johnny Football
Feb 15, 2013Posted by james

On his 20th birthday, Johnny Manziel accepted the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top college quarterback. A couple of nights later, he again stepped into the spotlight to accept the 78th Heisman Trophy as college football’s top player.

Popularly known as “Johnny Football,” Manziel became the first freshman to win the award. His 4,600 total yards were more than the recent Heisman winners Cam Newton and Tim Tebow.

“Being able to break that barrier, it’s such an honor,” he said. “It’s so humbling for me to be the first freshman to win and really make history. I can’t explain it. It’s just truly so awesome, something I’m so pumped about.”

Manziel’s rise in stature in both football and life has been quick. He emerged just a few months ago after having struggled during spring practice. His coach called him careless with the football. His father called him immature. Then, he was arrested after a fight outside a bar when he provided the police with a doctored ID.

He matured quickly. He realized his mistakes on and off the field, and he learned from them to capture two highly-prized college sports awards. Manziel said the Heisman will serve as his motivation. He admits that he still has much to learn.

Thousands of eyes now are watching Johnny Manziel. People are wondering what he will do for an encore. Will he continue to impress as he builds upon his success? Or, will he fade quickly and possibly miss a lucrative professional football career?

For the rest of us, it does not matter if the path we have chosen involves sports, or business, or some other passion. We always have much to learn. Previous success should serve each of us as personal motivation to capture that next honor or win a new account.

While thousands of eyes won’t be watching us, we still must continue to impress others. With each personal encore, you and I will ensure that we remain in the spotlight.


Be Truthful To Yourself
Feb 01, 2013Posted by james

It’s not easy to be a fan of the New York Mets.  R.A. Dickey understands this, and he wrote about his appreciation for the fans in a column for the New York Daily News soon after he received the National League Cy Young Award.

“It’s not always easy being a loyal supporter when a team is going through a rough stretch,” he wrote. “But to all of you Mets fans, to be a recipient of your support and passion has been one of the greatest thrills of my baseball life.”

A lot of comments that are said or written by or about pro athletes usually are not genuine. But the words from Dickey always are straight forward and honest. He is a truth-teller about his team, his performance and his life. He also is committed to helping others and he is devoted to his Christian faith.

Dickey climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to help raise money and awareness for the Bombay Teen Challenge, which rescues young girls in Mumbai, India, from abuse and sexual exploitation. In his recent book, he revealed that he was sexually abused as a child and he explained his feelings of despair, loneliness and isolation. He also mentioned his mistakes, but he also wrote about redemption and hope, and his love for his mother, his wife (who stuck by him through a sputtering baseball career) and his God.

“I was tired of hiding,” he wrote in his book. “I needed for the public person and the private person to be the same. I needed to be authentic—to be completely honest before God.”

While it may not be easy to be a fan of the New York Mets right now, it is easy to understand why so many of them are personal fans of R.A. Dickey. He appreciates everything and everyone, and he repays the success he has enjoyed by supporting others.

This season, R.A. Dickey will not play for the Mets, having been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. We all wish him continued success and we thank him for sharing himself with New York.

We all know the line uttered by Hamlet, as written by William Shakespeare—“This above all: to thine own self be true; and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” More of our athletes need to follow in the steps of Hamlet and Dickey. So do more of our politicians and business leaders.