Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Man Up

This phrase has filled our lexicon for the past 15 years. What does it really mean? When I was growing up and getting in trouble with my friends, it usually was followed by "... and tell the truth." In sports it was usually an encouraging phrase for someone to step forward and take on the tough task, whatever it may have been. More recently I've heard it used as a forceful backhanded comment, or often a command. "Man up and do it." Where the "it" is usually something that the person delivering the message wouldn't be willing to do himself.

It is this most recent harsh use of the phrase that had me hesitate to use it for the project, no, movement that I will tell you about later. In a well needed, boot-to-the-pants, get-your-head-on-straight pep talk from one of my coaches, I realized that I was pulling my punches in an attempt to make everyone happy and not turn people off. In actuality I was pandering to the bleak middle and not really resonating well with anyone in particular. Now, I know I haven't fully described what this Man Up movement is all about. That will come soon enough. What is important right now is being strong in your convictions and, as the country song by Aaron Tippin (which coincidentally I heard twice this morning as I was landscaping our backyard) puts it "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.".

I'm not suggesting a stubbornness so blind that you turn 'compromise' into a four letter word. I am suggesting, just as much to you as myself (and Audrey when she gets around to reading this), to take notice of what you passionately believe in and what you do well (don't sell yourself short either). How can you take that combination and change this world for the better. (Lord knows it won't be coming anytime soon from the government! :)  Not all changes have to be earth-shattering. In fact all ideas start small. You never know what ripple effect you may have.

Let me interject a bit of inspiration I recently took from one of my players. She is a very small town gal, who is attending a small private college. This summer she took the huge jump to an internship for the nonprofit World Vision in downtown Chicago where she is working on publications and marketing for a huge fundraiser and running a half marathon this fall. All this from a gal who never voluntarily ran a mile in small town Iowa just a couple years ago.

Many may ask "Why me?" or "Why should I care?" The change in perspective Audrey has brought to Tracey and my's life has been indescribable (for all the parents out there, perhaps you can relate to the instant change of feeling you felt when your children were born. It was a big wow factor!).  I have been focusing more internally by spending time with her at home, yet at the same time so much more externally about how I can shape the world so that she has the best future possible.

I am serious about the charge I made earlier about changing your world.  Of the people I have been blessed to grow up with, to meet at school, to work with, to coach and many that choose to read my blog I have been impressed with the different types of great potential in most all of them (you).  I don't doubt the huge significant betterment our communities would see if we would "Man Up" and be the change we wish to see in the world.  If you are so inclined, I would like to hear, in the comment section or via email, what change you would like to see in this world".

Man Up.

Coach Campbell

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Shoot the gaps!

After a short blog hiatus and much loved family vacation (pictures below) I have compiled so many thoughts that I'm bursting to share.  One fire was initially sparked by a great run/talk that my sister, Leah, and I had across and up the sand dunes in Michigan, and she reminded me today with a forward from Martha Beck, a particularly dynamic coach of hers.

"Shoot the gaps" - it is all too familiar to me from my days on the defensive line for the Rockford Warriors football team. Coach would line us up and "Strong side cross" would be called.  Now, you have to understand that as an underclassman I was an especially 'lean' high school boy trying desperately to pack on the pounds (you could say 'lanky' or even the cruel 'skinny', but I preferred 'lean') My task was to take my tall and 'lean' 150 pound frame and cut through the thick 220+ pound senior offensive end and tackles as my defense tackle buddy crossed behind me. 

While this is from my 8th grade year, I know what you are thinking.  "How can someone so tough and fearsome looking have trouble tearing up the offensive line?" I often wondered the same thing. 

"Campbell. What the hell! Why didn't you get through the gap!" To me it sure sounded like he asked me a question. I replied that I simply couldn't fit. 

As I was subsequently running laps around the field I suppose he either didn't want a reply or maybe he saw a gap that I didn't. Maybe it was both. I continued to run, which wasn't helping my 'lanky' predicament.

Maybe Coach did see a gap. I sure didn't, but then again, I was focusing on the daunting figures of Koeningsfeld and Larson across from me. Looking back, I now know that I was my problem. I wasn't looking at the gap, I was looking at the two big reasons why I didn't have a cricket's chance in a chicken coop to make it through. 

Now here is the lesson for all my ballers out there. Next time you play pick-up, whether it's 1-on-1, 21, or a full blown 5-on-5, drive, but don't focus on your opponent. After you glance at their feet to see which is the best way to drive them (attack the front foot!), look to the gap just beyond their hip. That is where you want, scratch that, where you need to be. You won't get there by looking at and speculating about how big, talented or quick your opponent is. 

"Energy flows where attention goes"

Same goes for everyone, baller or not.  Focus on the reasons why you are qualified, the best candidate or have an idea that can be turned into a success. You'll never get off the ground if you look elsewhere. Remember what Gretzky said about missing 100% of the shots you never take.  

It also never hurts to have a great friend/coach/mentor/partner to remind you of all this along the way when the offensive lineman of the world seem a bit too daunting. Thanks big sis!

Our smiles have started to turn into laughs. Completely contagious laughs.

Not only are their pouts similar, they sleep the same too.

Yep. Naps have been a big part of our summer. 

If you haven't noticed, everyone loves taking naps with Baby Audrey. 
Here is a video from our family vacation.