Trying To Become One Of The World’s Best
Feb 16, 2015Posted by james

Joshua Colas is a neatly dressed skinny kid with glasses. Nothing flashy–he’s just a regular 16-year-old high school junior.

The family home, an apartment, is filled with scores of trophies of various shapes and sizes. Space is limited. Room now must be found as more trophies may be on the horizon since Joshua may be close to stardom. He doesn’t play sports nor does he have a singing, music, or acting talent. Joshua’s talent is found at the table with a board game.

Joshua is a chess whiz. No, he’s a chess champion. No, check that, he’s a prodigy whose ambition is to become one of the world’s best players.

Joshua learned to play from his father. It began when the boy was just seven years of age. In a few months, son was beating dad. He has a photographic memory and he memorizes the board.

Joshua compares his skill to finding his way home. Do it enough times and the route becomes second nature. No wonder his career highlights are longer than five pages. His chess rating has risen each year. At 10, he was third best in the nation in that age group. At 12, Joshua was the youngest African-American Chess Master (his family is from Haiti). At 13, he topped all players in that group.

Now, Joshua is ranked 231 out of more than 52,000 chess players of all ages who are registered with the United States Chess Federation. He has been selected to the 2015 All-American Chess Team.

For intense chess players, or should I say chess masters, the four-hour matches can become tiresome. Joshua, though, never gets too high or too low. He relaxes his brain before each match so as not to place too much pressure on himself.

Joshua’s goal is to become the first American-born black Grandmaster. To do this, he first must become an International Master. He will face that challenge during a European tour this coming summer. That goal is not cheap. Joshua is raising about $24,000 for travel, hotels and tournament entry fees.

With the help of family and friends, Joshua will be on that tour. Then, he just needs his second nature to kick in.



Friendships Trumped His Football Legacy
Feb 02, 2015Posted by james

Though Glenn “Dean” Loucks was born without the use of his right arm, he still led a storied life that centered on athletics. Through it all, he willed his way to success.

As a youngster, Dean had begged his father not to let others know about his arm. While he favored his left arm, which grew strong, with the help of doctors and specialists he eventually obtained the use of his right one. Years later, he became a quarterback who had the ability to throw accurately with both arms.

Dean was an All-American high school player who led his team to three consecutive undefeated seasons during the early 1950s. He went on to play at Yale University, where he earned All-Ivy League and All-East honors.

After graduation, Dean returned to his high school as a social studies teacher. He also coached his old football team from 1960 to 1968. He then coached at Fordham University and Iona College.

Many people who saw Dean on the football field claim that he was an innovator. That came from his ability to throw with both arms and his knack to understand the mental part of the game. Some have said he was way ahead of his time in quarterback intelligence, calling a lot of his plays at the line of scrimmage after looking over the defense.

At age 79, Dean passed away last October. Only then did many people learn that, with all his success, Dean most treasured all the friendships he had made along the way.

Innovation, the will to succeed and simply cherishing the people befriended during the journey is a wonderful philosophy to follow for a successful and happy life.