An Honest Lesson From The Broadcast Booth
Aug 02, 2017Posted by james

A few weeks ago, we lost a sports broadcasting legend. Bob Wolff’s career spanned almost 80 years. He called Don Larsen’s perfect World Series game, the greatest football game ever played—the 1958 National Football League championship game—and the two titles for the New York Knicks.

Bob was cited by the Guinness World Records as having the longest career of any sports broadcaster. He started during 1939 while a student and former baseball player at Duke University. He continued until early this year with our News 12 Long Island. During this span of time, Bob preserved a large amount of tape—about 1,000 hours of video and audio recordings—that included interviews with Jim Thorpe, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Joe Louis. He donated the tapes to the Library of Congress.

Throughout Bob’s life both on and off the air, he touched and helped many people along the way. The tributes shared during his life and since his passing indicate that he always carried himself with class and honesty.

Bob once broadcast a professional basketball game when he was not even in the arena. Bad weather prevented him from flying to Cincinnati for a Knicks game that was to be telecast on Channel 9. So, he worked the game from a television monitor while sitting in the station’s studio on the 83rd floor in Manhattan. As he told the story years later, Bob said that he did not want to make a public confession that he was not at the game, but “journalistic honesty compelled me to make an acknowledgement that circumstances were different.” He told the television audience that while the game was coming from Cincinnati the audio was transmitted from the WOR-TV studios high up in the Empire State Building.

Striving for honesty and integrity is an important lesson that requires the full attention of today’s journalists and broadcasters. For those of us in business, we, too, regularly must remind ourselves about these attributes. Without honesty and integrity, who would want to work with and for any of us?

Attitude Changer: Positive Thinking Raises Her Game
Jul 17, 2017Posted by james

When times get tough, a tennis player has been known to fire a coach. It is rare, though, that a coach fires a player. But, that was the case earlier this year when Simona Halep’s coach stepped away from the Romanian player.

The coach, Australian Darren Cahill, has an outstanding reputation. He coached Andre Agassi. When he agreed to coach Halep, Cahill was not aware of her complex personality.

Halep’s game did not cause any issues. It was her mental attitude. Yes, she is passionate, intense and downright demanding of herself. All of this, however, is a bad mix for tennis.

About 15 months into their partnership, Halep’s pessimism became too much for Cahill. At one competition, she called Cahill to the court for a pep talk, but she spent much of the time belittling herself.

Halep lost. Cahill pulled out, claiming her bad attitude was unacceptable and he needed to take a break from their coaching arrangement. The tough-love strategy changed the dynamic.

Halep realized she needed to reform. She pushed out the negativity and rushed in the positive thoughts. Cahill watched from afar. When, on her own with her new attitude, Halep reached the semifinals in a tournament, she placed a call to Cahill to ask him to return.

Working together again with Cahill, Halep defended her Madrid title and became a finalist in the Italian Open. She claims she now is confident and composed, indicating that her new attitude helps her see the game better. She plays relaxed and with a positive outlook.

Similar to a tennis player, each of us in business must perform, at times, a personal mental evaluation. We must shake off any negative attitude and rework our game plan. Whenever we do this, our foresight becomes a bit clearer, we become more relaxed and we are able to approach each day, each meeting and each roadblock with a positive outlook.

Celebrating Local Lacrosse
Jul 02, 2017Posted by james

The end of May and early June was an exciting time for me and for local lacrosse players from grade school to high school.

The Section VIII Nassau County high school boys’ lacrosse championships were held at Hofstra University again this year. Following each of the three matches, I presented my Leadership Award to six young men who have been identified as leaders on and off the field.

Each award recipient reflects the tenacity, honesty, commitment and positive attitude required in Nassau lacrosse. Each player also possesses the ability to inspire teammates and others in the classroom and their communities.

I was proud to present the 2017 James C. Metzger Leadership Award to the following student-athletes:

· Cold Spring Harbor High School junior defender Aidan Hinphy.

· Garden City High School senior attacker Sean Couglin.

· Farmingdale High School senior attacker Kyle Tucker.

· Lynbrook High School senior goalie Ian Proefriedt

· Manhasset High School senior goalie Brendan Haggerty.

· Massaspequa High School senior attacker/midfielder Brendan Nichtern.

These young men are on their way to bigger and better successes in lacrosse, in school and in life.

Soon after these games concluded, my alma mater, Half Hollows High School East, announced that senior attacker Sean Lulley was honored with the school’s seventh annual Outstanding Player Award named in my honor for a boys’ lacrosse player. During his high school lacrosse career, Lulley netted 50 goals and gathered 41 assists as a four-year varsity starter. He served as team captain and was named most valuable player during his senior year. Lulley was named All-County during his sophomore year.

Finally, during mid-June, awards were presented to the Hempstead PAL team that I have supported as a leading benefactor for a number of years. Congratulations for a fun season go out to Coach Alan Hodish, his assistant coaches and the PAL folks, and to the 26 kids on the team. My special congratulations go to Ja’mir Andrews, who received the team award named in my honor for “his strong work ethic and improvement made throughout the lacrosse season.”

Another great lacrosse season on Long Island is in the books!

On The Way Up Mondo Reaches New Heights
Jun 16, 2017Posted by james

Armand Duplantis is the only high school vaulter to clear 19 feet, and he has done it twice this year. Known as Mondo, he is 17 and a junior at a Louisiana high school. His chosen sport is one in which athletes reach their prime during their late 20s.

Mondo already has outgrown his home training facility. He jumps so high that the padding on the wall near the landing pit does not provide sufficient protection. He now trains at the high school.

Mondo comes from good sports stock. His father was an all-American pole-vaulter who cleared 19 feet as a professional. His mother, a native of Sweden, was a heptathlon athlete and volleyball player. Two older brothers have been a pole-vaulter and a Little League World Series veteran, respectively.

The boys have spent summers in Sweden, where they enjoyed a comfort level with that country’s youth sports program. They hold dual citizenships, and when Mondo competes internationally he represents Sweden.

It all started for Mondo when he climbed a neighbor’s tree while still in diapers. He then used a skateboard to veer off the roof. At a young age, he began vaulting with a broomstick in the living room, using an ottoman for his landing. He was a world age-group champion by seven and he preferred to jump barefoot until he was required to wear spikes. Last year, he vaulted 10 feet in the backyard while launching himself from a hoverboard.

Mondo hopes to vault 19.8 feet-plus later this year, which would be shy of the world record by six inches. He plans to become the best in the world and compete for the gold medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

His head, and the rest of his body, may be up in the clouds, but Mondo remains close to home base. His father indicated that Mondo is not ready to travel the world to compete in the sport. He may be a fabulous pole-vaulter, but even Mondo knows he still needs a little more formal and life education.

The bar continues to rise for Mondo, but he prefers to keep his feet planted firmly on the ground. That sounds familiar to each of us as we strive to achieve lofty goals in business.

A Sailor’s Olympic Hero
Jun 02, 2017Posted by james

Few have heard about Adolph Kiefer. He passed away last month but he left a considerable mark in competitive swimming and with the U.S. Navy.

Adolph was a celebrated swimming champion who won gold with a world-record time as a teenager at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He reached his peak several years later, and he could have been one of America’s greatest Olympic swimmers. But, World War II took over the world and canceled the 1940 and 1944 Olympics. The war, though, provided Adolph with his greatest satisfaction. His work saved the lives of many U.S. sailors.

Adolph entered the service during 1942 as a naval officer specialist in the physical fitness and swimming division. He quickly was appalled at the number of sailors whose deaths were attributed to drowning. More men died by drowning than gunfire.

With the approval of superiors, Adolph organized swimming and lifesaving instruction for every sailor. No one was permitted to board a ship without taking the 21-hour course. Adolph also helped design lifesaving equipment and created the victory backstroke—with arms extended over the head to form a “V”—that many sailors adopted when they found themselves in the water.

Ironically, Adolph’s career began with a near-drowning accident. He fell into an ice-cold Chicago drainage canal as a child. He did not swim, so he rolled on his back and began kicking his feet until he reached land. Immediately, he enrolled for swimming lessons at the Y.M.C.A. He became devoted to the sport and a champion backstroke swimmer.

A newspaper reporter at the Berlin Olympics wrote that no one who saw him swim could deny that Adolph was the greatest backstroke swimmer. About a decade ago, another sportswriter indicated that Adolph was to the backstroke what Pablo Casals was to the cello.

The cello, as far as I know, never saved a person’s life. The dedication of Adolph Kiefer, however, saved the lives of many American sailors. He faced a challenge as a child and learned from it. His path to fame was blocked by war, but he turned that obstacle into what he cconsidered his “greatest thrill.”

Congratulations To NYC ‘s High School Football Standouts
May 16, 2017Posted by james

The New York City high school football player of the year is….Isaiah Wilson!

Isaiah is from Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn. At six-foot-seven, many of us literally look up to him. His shoulders are about as wide.

Isaiah is an offensive tackle. He received the 2016 New York City Player of the Year presented by the New York City Chapter of the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame. My company, The Whitmore Group, sponsored the award, and I had the honor to introduce this fine young man and to present him with the award. He’s a fabulous scholar-athlete, soft-spoken and humble, and he immediately thanked his mother for all he has been able to accomplish during his early years.

Coached by Kevin Fountaine, Isaiah is headed to the University of Georgia to play for the Bulldogs. He was the second ranked prospect nationally in the ESPN Top 300.

Other accolades for Isaiah include the American Family Insurance 2016 USA Today All-USA second team and the 2016 New York State Player of the Year. He also was a first team All New York State selection by the New York State Sports Writers Association during his junior and senior years.

Along with Isaiah, 11 other outstanding New York City high school football players were honored at the 2016 “Elite Eleven” Scholar-Athlete Award Banquet presented by the local chapter of the NFF. The awards acknowledge the top high school football players from the five boroughs, recognizing them for their performance on the field, in the classroom and as leaders in their communities. The award criteria is 40 percent based on GPA and academic achievement, 40 percent based on football ability and achievement, and 20 percent based on leadership, school and community involvement.

When I introduced Isaiah as New York City’s high school football player of the year, I invited him, along with the 11 other honorees, to visit with me whenever they end their football careers. I am always scouting for new talent, and these athletes represent the young people I want on my business team in the future.

Congratulations to the “Elite Eleven” scholar-athletes:

The Bronx

  • Christian Anderson – Cardinal Hayes High School, Coach C.J. O’Neill
  • Matt Conlon – Fordham Prep High School, Coach Peter Gorynski

Brooklyn

  • Robert Deleon-Kollmer – Poly Prep Country Day, Coach Kevin Fountaine
  • Seba Nekhet – Fort Hamilton High School, Coach Daniel Perez
  • Jerell Gray – New Utrecht High School, Coach Alan Balkan
  • John Hemminger – Brooklyn Tech High School, Coach Kyle McKenna

Staten Island

  • Dominick Anderson – St. Joseph by the Sea High School, Coach Michael Corona
  • Damian Ostaszewski – Curtis High School, Coach Peter Gambardella
  • A.J. Mistler – St. Peter’s Boys High School, Coach Mark DeCristoforo
  • Dustin Rubenstein, McKee Staten Island Technical High School, Coach Anthony Ciadella
  • Adley Raboy – Monsignor Farrell High School, Coach Tony Garolfalo

Her Motto: “Live Victorious, Loved and Free”
May 03, 2017Posted by james

Karen Newsman is a world-class triathlete, dietitian, wife and mother of three boys. When the secrets of her eating disorders again controlled her and filled her with shame, she gravitated into a career as a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition.

Soon after, she begged God to end it all. As she continued to battle the eating issues, Karen was diagnosed with advanced, aggressive, stage-3 breast cancer. Despite the diagnosis, she finished the World Triathlon Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia, just days after receiving her fourth chemotherapy treatment.

Karen went on to become a seven-time All-American Triathlete and Team USA World Competitor. She won a silver medal at the 2012 Triathlon Age Group World Championships in New Zealand. A year later, Karen won four gold medals and broke the Huntsman Senior Games World Triathlon record. She has become a triathlon coach, and she has educated and encouraged people in health matters and on the track. While facing grueling treatment for the cancer, Karen has inspired thousands, drawing more than 25,000 to her “caring” blog.

Karen has received the USA Triathlon’s Most Inspirational Comeback Award, the Connecticut Sportswriters Association’s Courage Award and she was named American Cancer Society’s Determination Champion for her tireless charitable contributions.

Karen still competes and she has found another career as a motivational speaker. Her mission is to inspire others to find opportunity through their own trials, and to help people realize that they are loved, worthy, vital and never too far away or two broken to be healed.

A remarkable athlete, wife, mother and career woman!

A Lifetime Of Track And Youth Achievements
Apr 15, 2017Posted by james

Anyone from the New York City area who ran track in high school during the 1960s through the early 1980s will remember the old armory facility in northern Manhattan. It was located in a rough neighborhood that continued to decline along with the building. Before the armory closed during 1984, as runners and others continued to compete, the building also was used for housing homeless men.

During 1993, with the interior of the armory unusable, Dr. Norbert Sander, a runner, took over the building from the city. Through his non-profit Armory Foundation, he developed a modern sports mecca that now draws about 150,000 athletes a year. The participants include grade school runners to professionals. Most Section 1 high school winter track meets now are held at the armory. High school and collegiate championships also are held at the building, which also has hosted the Millrose Games.

Dr. Sander graduated from Fordham Prep during 1960. He ran on the school’s city champion cross-country team. He also went to Fordham University, where he was part of the relay team that broke the Penn Relays’ 4X100 relay record. A graduate of Albert Einstein School of Medicine, Dr. Sander was an internist with a specialty in sports medicine.

The work of Dr. Sander goes beyond the meets that continue to run within the old armory building.  About a dozen years ago, he started Armory Prep, a youth education service that serves disadvantaged kids in the building’s Washington Heights neighborhood and elsewhere. About 150 children are in the program today and thousands have passed through it over the years. Almost 40 of the children have attended college.

Dr. Sander passed away last month. As the news spread, the tributes for his passion and accomplishments also ran through the world of track and field and all local youth athletics. One area coach and track official summed up Dr. Sander’s commitment to the sport and to youth – “No one could ever have dreamed what he did. What an influence. What a man.”

A Team Chaplain Who Stands Tall With Everyone
Apr 01, 2017Posted by james

She has been the men’s basketball team chaplain at Loyola University for almost 25 years. Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt now is the latest member of Loyola’s sports hall of fame.

Sister Jean is a campus celebrity. She keeps an office in the student center where her door always is open for students and faculty. She lives in a dorm with 400 under-graduate students. Sister Jean recently enjoyed her own bobblehead day, and she was honored for her contributions to the team and the school.

Sister Jean attends every home game for the men’s team. She dons the school gear and also wears the trademark Loyola colors on her feet—maroon Nike tennis shoes with gold laces. “Sister” is stitched onto the back of her left shoe and “Jean” is stitched on the back of the right shoe.

At the games, students and alumni always stop to say hello and chat. Referees come over and hug her. She cheers at the good moments during each game and winces noticeably at the bad plays.

From San Francisco, Sister Jean played six-on-six girls’ basketball in high school. She became a nun at age 18. She then taught elementary school and volunteered as a coach in Los Angeles public schools. She coached just about every girls team—basketball, volleyball, softball, ping-pong and the yo-yo. She also made sure that her teams played against the boys during practice to “toughen” her girls.

At Loyola, Sister Jean leads the men’s basketball team in a prayer before each home game. Actually, her contribution is a combination of prayer, scouting report and motivational speech. Sister Jean sums it up as simply talking about the game and then playing it. After games, she emails each player to point out the positives and the areas of the game that need more work.

The basketball nun also communicates regularly with the coach. When Coach Porter Moser (Sister Jean’s fifth Loyola coach) came on board during 2011, she provided him with a scouting report of all his players.

The Loyola basketball players—and everyone associated with the university—all look up to her, though she is just five feet tall. She also is 97 years young.

As Sister Jean has shown, you never are age or height challenged to run with the big dogs!

It’s All In The Family – Well, Almost
Mar 16, 2017Posted by james

Colleen, Rieley and Kelsey play high school basketball and share a last name – Walsh. Since they bond so well on and off the court, you would think that they were sisters, or, at least related in some way. Instead, they are just three girls who happen to share a team, passion for life and a surname.

Colleen and Rieley are seniors with similar features. They are brunettes and soft-spoken. They like bacon, egg and cheese bagel sandwiches (one goes for the sesame seed and the other likes plain) with hash browns. Kelsey, meanwhile, is a sophomore with a bubbly personality that accents her blond hair.  She prefers a toasted sesame seed bagel with butter.

Despite their culinary and other differences, the girls have formed a tight-knit relationship outside of basketball. They just happened to click.

Colleen and Rieley were CYO basketball teammates during third grade. They have been classmates since middle school. They added Kelsey to the “family” when she joined the varsity team last season.

When Colleen and Rieley were younger, people often would mistake them for sisters, or cousins. Sometimes, they played along for a bit of fun. Now, with Kelsey added to the mix, all three can play a few head games with people. Their coach loves them but warns others that the girls can be “nuts and psycho,” yet, down deep, she knows they are best friends and, yes, in a way, they also are “sisters.”

They are fun, fun to be around and they really connect with each other, which proves that you don’t have to be “blood” to be good teammates, good friends, or even family.