ALA! Why?

I began my librarian career and ALA membership in 1999. I ceased my ALA membership in 2010. It just didn’t seem worth the money.

As this year’s Annual ALA Conference began wrapping, I started seeing reports of Covid cases on Twitter. What lies beneath the surface is an organization that doesn’t care about its members. Thinking of the racism April Hathcock experienced at ALA, the both sides argument of the group space issue, the ALA is an organization not ready to lead in the new world. A new world of equity, diversity, and inclusion. A new world where white women don’t hold up progress like the 53% who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton. A new world where men and women are paid equally and move into leadership at a similar pace.

Other than spectrum scholarships, diversity grants, awarding my friend and colleague librarian of the year , it is rare that I ever hear of positives associated with the ALA. Technically the librarian of the year award is given by ACRL which I do hear positive things. In fact, it is the divisions and committees that most want to join. It is having to also join ALA, the parent organization that most have issue with. Why can’t these divisions go rogue and succeed ALA?

E. J. Josey

The customs that we cling too are hurting us. Because the democrats are holding on to the old customs of reaching across the aisle, not having the guts to end the filibuster, doing things because it’s how we’ve always done it, we do not have universal healthcare, body autonomy, sensible gun laws, student loan forgiveness, free childcare, etc. Republicans are playing chess and Democrats playing checkers. The majority of citizens are asking, begging for real change in our institutions of government. How can we expect the founding institutions of government to change if we aren’t ready to change our organizations?

Congressman John Lewis

Governments should reflect the society they govern. If ALA no longer serves “us,” then let’s start an organization that will. Take the best of ALA and start anew. Black librarians, aren’t we commanded by E.J. Josey’s legacy to do so? Native Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, Latinos, aren’t you similarly commanded by your giants? 

As the Honorable Congressman John Lewis stated, “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.” Let’s get into some good trouble.

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It’s Draft Day

In sports, draft day is a very exciting time at all levels. College athletes are drafted by teams from the WNBA, NBA, and NFL. Lives are financially changed by receiving one phone call. High schoolers commit to their D-1 university or HBCU. Encouraged by former First Lady, Michelle Obama, high-schoolers are now promoting where they have received an academic scholarship, i.e. the academic drafts and where they may take their brainy talents. It’s good to see education being celebrated in this way.

In the professional world, draft day is in the form of a job posting. Those submitting applications are potential draft picks. Who do you need to balance your team? What criteria are you using? Which skills would help your team make it to the playoffs and ultimately win it all? Maybe your team needs a big personality like a Deion “Primetime” Sanders. Or maybe your team needs a more reserved, focused individual like a Kareem Abdul Jabbar or Jerry Rice. An extrovert or introvert. I encourage hiring committees to look at the big picture for the end game. You can hire a superstar that’s perfect for the position, but disrupts the entire team like Antonio Brown of the NFL on any team he’s on. Turns a positive vibe into chaos. The wrong draft pick can turn a winning team into a losing team.

Take a look at the 2021-2022 Los Angeles Lakers, a team built with free agents. The lineup with potentially five future Hall of Famers – LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard – could not even make it to the playoffs. This was one of the worst seasons in franchise history. How could this happen with these many superstars? Any team endeavor requires a meshing of skills, talents, and personalities to be successful. Not everyone can be captain. Someone needs to run the offense while the rest do their particular specialty. That may require someone who can easily score 40 points a game to settle for 30. Someone else who could be a starter on any other team may have to now come off the bench.

The National Football League hosts the NFL Scouting Combine where players take physical and mental tests to show their strengths. That with hundreds of hours of film available shows coaches the strengths of a potential draftee. Teams that have adequately assessed their needs and drafted well very often are the teams that are most improved. Of course, in sports you have the added caveat of potential injuries that can undue the best assessment and draft decisions. That’s something that most workplaces do not have to contend. However, workplaces don’t have an easy trade option. Or, maybe we don’t exercise our trade options enough. 

In the workplace, internal transfers are our trade options, the free agents. As new needs develop, we don’t always have to look for new draft picks. If our professional development game is on point, our staff is continuously developing new skills. If one of those new skills meets a new need, that’s your free agent. This doesn’t mean add new responsibilities to the old. This requires keeping track of your staff interests and evolving needs of your unit.

Having the right draft choices and free agents does not guarantee success. The coach, i.e. manager, is the last piece of that personnel puzzle. Unfortunately, we know that libraries do not always have the best people in management and leadership positions. Mainly because those in positions of power only have them for a higher salary and not because they actually want to coach their former peers. How important is leadership? Well Michael Jordan didn’t win a championship until Phil Jackson became the coach. The Showtime Era of the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t begin until Pat Riley became coach. Magic Johnson managed up and requested new leadership. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could manage up that way?

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Extroverted? Here’s How to Not Annoy Introverts

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Someone posted this image begging for tips for extroverts to be quiet in one of my Facebook groups and I am happy to oblige. Why are we introverts making ourselves uncomfortable to appease extroverts. I have a feeling that there are more of us introverts than extroverts it’s just that they are so loud and overbearing that they take up all the space. Extroverts, here are tips for you to not annoy introverts.

1. Email don’t call. Extroverts have a tendency to go on and on about nothing. To avoid hearing about your weekend, your plans for lunch, don’t call when an email can do. And please keep the email brief with only relevant information.

2. No impromptu brainstorming in a meeting. Just because you were too busy shooting the shit instead of working, we don’t want to help you do your work in a meeting. We need time to fully vet our ideas. It’s hard to do that with your constant chatter.

3. Limit social interactions. No, we don’t wanna eat lunch with you. Introverts need this time to recharge. We want to eat our lunch in peace. Talk a walk. Spend some time playing a game on our phone or watching funny videos on Tik-Tok. This is our personal time. Let us be.

4. Shut up! It’s ok to be quiet. Sound doesn’t have to be constant. Silence is only awkward if you make it awkward. You think I want sound or chatter because I have on headphones. No, sweetie. I’m wearing headphones to enjoy my sound of choice without disturbing you because I’m respectful like that. It is very possible that I have on headphones without anything playing as an indicator TO YOU that now is definitely not a good time to talk to me. This is me giving you a heads up because I’m considerate like that.

5. No Pop-ups. Unless we’re friends, don’t pop up at my desk. House rules apply. Call or email before coming by. I plan my tasks for the day based on my energy levels and concentration levels needed for specific tasks. If interrupted while doing a high concentration, high energy level task, I may have to set that task aside until the next day. Your little pop-ups can fuck up my entire day. No Pop-ups. Unless we’re friends, don’t pop up at my desk. House rules apply. Call or email before coming by. I plan my tasks for the day based on my energy levels and concentration levels needed for specific tasks. If interrupted while doing a high concentration, high energy level task, I may have to set that task aside until the next day. Your little pop-ups can fuck up my entire day.

6. Be less confident in who you are. Maybe if you’re less confident, you’ll be reluctant to speak and say the first thing that comes to mind.

7. Step outside your comfort zone, refuel alone. Try recharging alone. Talk a walk by yourself. Close your office door or go outside and call a friend. If you have a close friend who is also an extrovert, schedule virtual lunch dates.

8. Go to work functions late. Give the introverts time to make a good showing. By the time you get there, the introverts should be gone.

9. Learn to manage rejection. Don’t take it personal when introverts do not want to have lunch with you, discuss trending topics on social media or talk about our weekend. We are trying to stay fueled throughout the day and these things drain our fuel.

10. The less present you are, the better for us. If you’re disengaged you’re probably not talking.

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Are libraries serious about equity like the NCAA? Hope not, but….

Photo with three people of varying height watching a baseball game over a fence standing on three blocks the same size labeled Equality on the left side  while on the right of photo, they have blocks of varying heights, so they can all see over the fence labeled Equity.
Equality vs. Equity

As March madness commenced, we witnessed America’s longstanding tradition of inequality between men and women. The pictures of the NCAA men’s gym versus the NCAA women’s gym tell the story. This is not comparing apples to oranges. Athletes of the same sport of basketball were given the “tools” of their trade to succeed. If we’re not going to provide the bare minimum of equality, we will not rise to the level of equity that we like to tout. A multi-million dollar organization could not be bothered with providing their members doing the same job, the same tools.

Women’s gym shown with one stack of small weights versus the men’s gym shown fully equipped with weights, benches, and more.
Women’s Gym vs Men’s Gym by NCAA

I was recently on a search committee where we interviewed one black and one black Latina appearing women and one white appearing man. Guess who got the job? All were very qualified and performed well in the interview process parts that I witnessed. To be fair and clear, the white man performed slightly better in his interview and I look forward to working with him. I knew there were certain nuances with the women that would not fair well for them especially with a very well spoken and qualified white man in the running. But if this profession wants to be serious about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, this was the time for leadership to exercise its leadership muscle and hire the best qualified black woman for a seat at the leadership table. It is not enough to hire BIPOC to faculty and staff positions if we do not plan to hire them to lead.

This was a time when I expected leadership to manage the bigger picture and not cower behind unmeasurable phrases such as “he showed more enthusiasm” for the job. This was the time to make a tough call even if it meant going against the majority. It’s a leader’s job to do that. This was the time to level the playing field where inherent biases render the women of color candidates with a stack of weights versus a white male candidate with a fully equipped gym that professional athletes would be proud to use.

I have been a librarian since 1999 and on numerous search committees, but never on one where a POC was hired. And there have been instances where the black candidate was more qualified. This process was triggering in that it left me deflated. Thinking of the old adage that we have to be twice as good to get half as far. I am also conflicted in that this time the white person was just as qualified. Should this make me feel better? To be in this profession as a black woman is to feel like the women’s initial gym of a stack of weights versus the men’s elaborate gym set up. Feeling outnumbered, outpowered, and outgunned. Then a slight moment of guilt for feeling that way.

I bet the NCAA women’s basketball players felt a second of doubt as well when they saw that gym and may have thought, “Maybe we don’t need what the men have.” Or, “Maybe we’re not real athletes.” I thought about what those black candidates may think once they learned of not being hired. I hope they did not feel an ounce of self-doubt. I’m left wondering if my feelings are valid. Should I even care about working with more people who look like me? Am I desperate for it? Why does this feel personal in some way?

Here’s the thing white leadership. Someone of color or other minority role in your organization is asking the same questions. Because they are silent about their pain and experiences does not negate the emotional gymnastics they may be feeling in response to organizational decisions. I am not all that different. I am just closer to retirement and tired. I’ll end this rant with this battle cry. I can check LIBRARY LEADERS, DO BETTER AND LEAD WITH COURAGE!!!

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Birds of a Feather, Lose Together: Falcons and Democrats

Birds of a feather, lose together

While the pairing of an NFL team with a political party may seem odd, they actually have some commonalities. The main one is that they insist on losing. Even when victory is in sight, cough cough 28-3, they find a way to fumble the bag. The Falcons lost their first four games of the season after having a substantial lead at halftime against subpar teams. With a top tier quarterback, one of the best if not the best wide receiver in the NFL in Julio Jones, they should be able to score enough points to win even with a weak defense.

The Democrats, with the help of black women like Stacey Abrams and LaTosha Brown, were able to turn Georgia blue on January 5th largely on the promise of Biden emphatically stating that $2000 stimulus checks would be given immediately. Turning Georgia blue is like having a halftime lead. All the Democrats have to do is deliver on that promise. Send $2000 checks, TOUCHDOWN! Game is over, fat lady is singing. But, like the Falcons, they insist on finding a way to lose. Now, it’s $1400 to be added to the $600 checks received under the previous administration that totals $2000. Ahmmm, no ma’am. Addition was not involved in the promise. That $600 was so long ago that I don’t even remember what I spent it own. And, I’m fortunate enough to have a job that has allowed me to work from home during this pandemic, not missing a single paycheck. So, I can’t even imagine how long ago that $600 feels like for those who aren’t so lucky and are unemployed.

The Falcons do not have the killer instinct and nor do the Democrats. After a halftime lead, the game plan falls apart. Conservative, suspect play calling and they blow it. With the majority in the House and Senate, after an insurrection where some Democrats could have been assassinated by white domestic terrorists, and after all the underhanded ways McConnell has done to stifle progress, they still want to negotiate. I thought the United States didn’t negotiate with terrorists. Alas, some folks insist on losing by any and all means necessary.

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Transforming a Losing Team

A colleague recently asked me this question:

What do you do when you inherit a team that is so defeated and
browbeaten by their previous manager that they are now

In her ongoing study on low morale in libraries of all types, Kaetrena Kendrick (@Kaetrena) labels this as Legacy Toxicity (#LegacyToxicity) defined as the toxic environment that is inherited by a person who assumes a position in a toxic organization or group. The person is usually in a leadership position; and realizes quickly that the toxicity may not be effectively mitigated due to the previous incumbent’s role in a) perpetuating abuse/neglect or b) already exhausting avenues to eradicate it.

Unfortunately this isn’t the world of sports where you can request trades and scout new talent. There will be no LeBron James bringing his talents to your team. But, perhaps you can be that LeBron James as the new manager. Your new management and coaching approach has to be what brings the shift. Be the fire that they need.

First things first. Assess the situation.

Do team members know what their duties are?
Can they perform these duties effectively?
Are methods, procedures, duties obsolete?

The answers to these questions may require a new mission and vision statements as well as new job descriptions. I would also devise a tag line/motto that could serve as a rallying cry to improve morale and a sense of purpose. The motto could be a hashtag such as #WeAreOne or #IBelieve. The purpose is to get everyone on the same page, pursuing the same overarching goal. The End Game.

Secondly, model the behavior. Now that the vision has been set, it is time to see it in action. They need to know what this new professionalism, authentic and empathetic way of being looks like. This may look like a lot of work that does not include the actual work to be done. But, the pay off is worth it. Changing the culture from passive aggressiveness, bullying, and any other issue that may have been present takes time. Prepare to stand alone as most true leaders do. Leadership requires a delicate balance of making the team feel comfortable with you while knowing that there will be times when you are not a part of the group. You move differently.

During the latter years of Kobe Bryant’s career with the Los Angeles Lakers, he was clearly the leader of that team. He was the first person at practice and the last person to leave. Mamba Mentality. As a leader, he modeled the behavior, the dedication he wanted from his teammates.

Kobe Bryant

Inspirational you are. Be the inspiration you want to see. Make your team believe in themselves. Think of yourself as the Deion Sanders of your library. Primetime was recently named Head Football Coach at Thee Jackson State University. The entire state of black Mississippi, the SouthWestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), and HBCU’s became excited about what this meant. JSU’s football record has been horrendous, but now everyone believes they have a chance to be successful before they even have their first practice. Why? Because Deion is a proven winner and his confidence drips off and onto those around him. I think his presence will change the mindset of those players who will now believe in themselves in a way they haven’t before. Just as important is that their opponents will see them as winners as well. Pretty much psyching themselves out before the game even begins. Much like Mohammed Ali did his opponents.

In short, you have to change the culture. This may be as difficult as you imagine. You may not even get to your work related end goals because your time will be spent putting processes in place, changing the mindset and instilling confidence. Know that this is ok. This is your role for now as the leader, the coach. The next leader will have a chance to take it to the next level if you move on. But, if you stay more than three years, you will have a chance to make it to the championship game. The process of inspiring and increasing skills is arduous. Right now, you are trying to get into the playoffs. In a year or three the divisional championship game. Then, it’s any given Sunday.

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NBA’s One Day Strike: missed opportunity and burden

NBA players in solidarity for Black Lives

No one was happier than I when I heard the NBA playoff games would not take place on August 26, 2020. Reacting to yet another senseless act of policy brutality against black people, this time Jacob Blake, the NBA went on strike. It was a glimmer of hope that I and the entire black community needed. When Colin Kaepernick first kneeled I hoped and wished that the rest of the NFL’s 85% black players would do the same. My feelings were hurt when once again, athletes were unwilling to sacrifice for the greater good. I say once again because athletes have taken part in political activities or been called upon to do so many times before.

In the Michael Jordan era, the NBA grappled with taking a stance in 1991. When they didn’t, players who wanted to strike during the NBA Finals like Craig Hodges, Jordan’s teammate, were essentially blackballed. When folks want to argue who’s better, LeBron or MJ, I like to point out that MJ was never as vocal as King James about any issue related to the black community. This doesn’t relate to skills on the court, but it shows leadership skills and courage. When I read that the Lakers and the Clippers voted to cancel the rest of the season, I was elated! Finally I thought! They have to listen to our cries now! Woe is me as I was once again disappointed that the game is once again put before justice.

WNBA showing support for Jacob Blake and Black Lives

LeBron, the only player whose voice could shift the tide, had now voted to continue. Damn! I have no doubt that LeBron and many other players will continue to use their platforms to bring attention to these issues. It’s just that the only language this country seems to understand is money. The color that matters most is green. The WNBA, MLB and MLS also called off their games in solidarity with the NBA. If the NBA had continued to strike, imagine how much pressure that would place on those leagues to continue their support and strike as well. With the games continuing, it feels like the burden of fighting for racial justice has been placed on those suffering the most. Those in the street protesting and risking their lives. Those who are poor and underemployed because white supremacist institutions and infrastructure.

On First Take, Maria Taylor said, “The black players in those locker rooms that are in the Disney bubble right now should not be held accountable or responsible for changing the problem that they did not create.” That may be true. There isn’t a manual to defeat this monster call racism and white supremacy. I just think we are going to need extraordinary efforts to make any progress on a national scale.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was successful because it hurt the establishment financially. We need something similar to happen nationally. A strike by one of the major sports leagues could have a domino effect. I envision a domino effect of strikes at major corporations, academic institutions until the American economy is completely shut down. Then maybe change, real change, structural, systemic change can take place. That’s my dream. With games resuming it feels like the dream is over.

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Celebrating or Looting?

When a school or city wins a major sporting event and fans tear down the city, it is called a celebration. Police don’t pepper spray or tase fans. Police somehow manage to save life and property. All of a sudden they show remarkable skills in de-escalating situations. A skill that is rarely employed when interacting one-on-one with black and brown bodies.

Time and time again we see police escalate peaceful encounters with black and brown peoples often ending in murder when they have full compliance from those they are harassing and arresting. Colin Kaepernick peacefully protested police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem. That was met with anger and disdain. Kaepernick lost his career as a result. There have been three nationally reported murders of black people in the month of May whose murderers have either yet to be arrested or arrests were delayed – Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. I say nationally reported because undoubtedly there have been others. Ahmaud was murdered in February, but nothing happened until May 2020.

After witnessing so many murders of black and brown bodies at the hands of the police and pleading for our humanity, we are still met with resistance. When that anger boils over into the streets, it is used as proof that we aren’t worthy of our humanity. Not that is is our responsibility to prove our humanity, I see it as proof of our humanity. Jesus got angry and tumbled tables over. Anger is a righteous emotion. We have the right to feel how we feel. But, when we express ourselves in the same fashion as those celebrating sports championships, we’re looting and called thugs.

No, the thugs are in blue. The looters are those tearing up sh$t for fun, cause a team won a game. America is so full of double standards and hypocrisy that it’s infuriating. We say please stop hurting us. America tries to gaslight us and says, “What on earth are you talking about? We’re not hurting you. My knee is on your neck out of love. Not hurt. Stop being so dramatic.”

I have no answers, I’m just venting. So, I’ll just leave you with the lyrics of Bob Marley’s song, ”War”, which is based on Emperor Haile Selassie’s speech given to the United Nations in 1963.

Until the philosophy
Which hold one race superior and another
Is finally
And permanently
And abandoned
Everywhere is war
Me say war

That until there no longer
First class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the color of a man’s skin
Is of no more significance than the color of his eyes
Me say war

That until the basic human rights
Are equally guaranteed to all
Without regard to race
Dis a war

That until that day
The dream of lasting peace,
World citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued,
But never attained
Now everywhere is war


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What’s your work ethic after you face disappointment?

The Miami Dolphins won their first game of the season in week 9. The Atlanta Falcons molly whopped the New Orleans Saints, their fiercest rivalry. The Dolphins and Falcons now have the same record of  2-7. You might think that it is not worth it to watch their games for the rest of the season. It is very doubtful that either will make the playoffs or even win another game. However, there is still an important reason to watch. This is when you find out what the team is really made of. Do they have grit? Or, do they simply fall like lined-up dominos?

Super Bowl expectations may no longer exist for these teams and a few others, but that does not mean they should throw in the towel. Many of us in our professional lives face similar challenges. How you respond to disappointment says more about you than your employer. It is very tempting to do nothing or silently sabotage departmental or company goals. Faced with various disappointments at my place of employment, I had many days that I call “bare-minimum” days. On these days, I was like a hung over college student who shows up for class with sunglasses on sitting in the back just to sign the attendance sheet. However, when you are a person who has a standard for work values and ethics, this quickly becomes intolerable. It is harder than you think to sit at work and do nothing. Eventually, you run out of Netflix series to watch and personal errands to attend. Then, here comes the guilt. The feeling of not earning your keep, of being paid for not working. I know, I know what you are thinking. We all have that one day where we do not give a $%#@. That is normal. I mean when that day turns into days, then months, then suddenly it is two years later.  

How you respond to disappointment is really a reflection of you. Let your work ethic guide your response. This is not to dismiss toxic work environments that make this even more difficult. Even within these environments, for our own sanity, we have to find a way to motivate ourselves and work to our level of professionalism. It may mean that you no longer go above and beyond your required duties. Your new normal may be to find work life balance (which you should have had anyway) and only do the required duties of your position. However, you do those duties well enough to live up to your standards.

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Libraries need the Rooney Rule for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The National Football League’s Rooney Rule requires that an ethnic minority candidate be interviewed for each head coaching and general manager vacancy. It does not grant any preferential treatment other than getting an ethnic-minority in the door who would not have a chance otherwise because of the good ole white boy network.

The Rooney Rule has had some success. But much like libraries, the people in charge do not proportionately represent those they serve. Seventy percent of NFL players are black. But the league has never had that percentage of black coaches. Much like in quite a few libraries, the population they serve is comprised of a majority-minority but the librarians are still overwhelmingly white. At the beginning of the 2018 season, the NFL had seven black head coaches and one Latino head coach. By the end of the season, only two black, one Latino head coaches were left standing. The numbers are just as depressing in libraries with only five-percent of librarians in general being African American.

In past years, libraries have been better about advertising positions with minority caucuses and other places where minorities may see open positions. But, has that lead to more hires for ethnic minorities? I say no. Without something similar to the Rooney Rule, I do not believe that libraries are pressed to bring in a minority candidates for each position. When they do bring in a minority candidate, what percentage is hired? The fact that no one keeps this statistic (that I can find) says it all. Without a requirement to interview a minority candidate for each position, we are only recruiting more minority candidates to apply for positions.

The Rooney Rule also focuses on hiring more general managers of color. This is most important in libraries to introduce the equity and inclusion factors. It is not enough to just hire people of color in entry faculty and staff positions, but we must then have a fair and equitable chance of advancement. That advancement “ensures” that we are included in the decision making processes. That advancement fosters an environment of inclusion. If libraries are truly committed to Equity and Inclusion, they will institute their version of the Rooney Rule and commit to interviewing POCs for managerial positions, especially senior level positions. There are only 192 African Americans serving as deans and/or library directors in the United States. What realistically should be our goal by 2029? A thirty percent increase would lead to 250 African American deans and library directors. That should at least be the minimum goal in the next ten years.

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Tiger’s Win is the Audacity of Hope

On April 14, 2019, Tiger won his 5th Masters Tournament. His first major win since 2008. During that time, Tiger experienced incredible lows. From his then wife hitting his car with a golf club because of adultery, very public admission to sex addict clinic, to his numerous back surgeries and injuries that kept him from his previous form and his DUI arrest. Most of us had all but written Tiger out. I know I did. Nevertheless, I was still pulling for him. Nothing I love more than a good comeback story. These comeback stories give us nonprofessional athletes hope. With everything Tiger went through to climb his way back to championship form, all he had was hope, an unyielding hope. The Audacity of Hope. Hmm. I think I have heard that phrase somewhere before. Ha-ha.

In 2013, I started running with Black Girls RUN! I loved it. I did a few 5K races and had worked my way up to do a couple of 10K including the Peachtree Road Race, one of the largest 10K races in the United States. I was planning on going to Disney World for their race. Unfortunately, in 2015 I was injured. First, it was my knee, then my back and lately my hip. If I count all the starts and stops that I have had with physical therapy, it would probably total two years. This does not even include my chiropractor visits and massages. All I have had during this time was the audacity of hope. An unyielding hope that I can get back out there. That hope was starting to fade. I was slowly accepting that I should just be grateful to walk without constant pain. Then here comes Tiger. If it took him a decade to get back to form even with his access to the best medical and sports care, maybe I can hang in there a little longer.

Thanks for the hope, Tiger. Pavement here I come! Eventually.

Do you have a newfound hope for something you have been trying to do? Comment below.

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Know Your Worth

I really like this quote from Reggie Jackson because it doesn’t have the usual pretense of you should just do it for the love of the game, to support your teammates and be loyal to team and fans nonsense. Whereas a lot of sports fans tend to be old school in how they want players to behave and have complete loyalty, I see that train of thought for the bullshit that it is. So when Le’Veon Bell decided to hold out this year from the Steelers, I was all for it. I really admire players who try to get what they deserve financially. Free thinkers who KNOW THEIR WORTH.

With all the time spent in practice and training, I would really like to see college athletes demand their fair share of the pie. Look at all the money generated from March Madness and the College Football Playoffs. Not to mention jersey sales. CBS had a behind the scenes camera on Zion Williamson during March Madness, yet he will not receive a dime from the TV revenue that he generated. And for the naysayers, don’t tell me his scholarship adequately compensates him for the money he generates.

This is also true for us laypeople in the workforce. KNOW YOUR WORTH. Negotiate your salary to adequately reflect the skills, tangible and intangible, that you bring to the table. This also applies to those of you who do speaking engagements. There was a thread on Twitter about how people of color and women are undervalued and underpaid if paid at all. They want you to be happy with the opportunity and the update to your resume’. Don’t fall for it. Unless there is a clear and upcoming benefit that will come from funding your own speaking engagements or other professional development opportunities, demand your funds up front. Mr. October said it best, it’s worthless unless you’re getting paid. Show me the bag. Run me my coins.

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Work Ethic Can Beat Talent


Magic Johnson is my favorite NBA player. While some may prefer to watch players like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, who were shooters first, I prefer Magic because he could do it all. He could play all positions, shoot a jumper or drive to the hole, but he is mostly known for his assists – those magical passes. It is comforting to see that a player with all his abilities cared more about work ethic than natural talent. If you are in the job market doing interviews after interviews, it can get frustrating when a potential employer wants you to have every skill/experience listed on the job advertisement when you know that you can do that job and do it well. What do you tell them? Tell them to be like Magic and select you because you have the work ethic to be great. Tell them that you will not rest on your laurels when you have accomplished one major win. Like Magic, you desire to win year after year, championship after championship.

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If the shoe no longer fits….

By now most of us have heard about Zion Williamson’s exploding shoe. His exploding Nike shoe that is. This Adidas girl had to point that out cause, yeah, I’m petty. Moving on. In what was the Super Bowl of college basketball between Duke and North Carolina, and that’s saying a lot with March Madness on the horizon, even President Obama was in attendance. The main attraction was Zion. Reminiscent of a Mike Tyson fight in his prime, the action was over in 36 seconds when Zion tried to plant his left foot and then cut back to the right. “His shoe broke” was uttered by President Obama. The shoe being worn out was offered as the cause. One former NBA player said that he too is unlikely and reluctant to change his shoes if he’s been on a hot streak regardless of if it’s time to change the shoe.

Now isn’t this just like libraries? How many times have you heard, “because we always do it this way?” We have GOT to get out of own way and stop waiting for the shoe to explode before we try something new. If we’re not stuck in our own way, we’re trying on any and every new shoe whether we need to or not. “That library is doing it, so we should to.” Only to realize later that that wasn’t a good solution after all because it didn’t account for unique factors of their library. I once interviewed at a library where one of the managers told me that the only reason they were moving to become a 24/7 library is because their in-state rival school had done so. Hint: it was an SEC school.

How do we fix this? Is data the answer? What ideas do you have to keep us from waiting until the shoe explodes before we try it another way? Be honest, you thought I was about to say think out of the box. Nope. There is no box.

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a lesson in resilience

You may know Brett Favre as the three time MVP, Super Bowl winning retired quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. You may also know Kobe Bryant as Black Mamba, 5 times NBA Champion, and legendary guard of the Los Angeles Lakers. Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls is globally recognized as the G.O.A.T – Greatest of All Time (erroneous by the way since that honor belongs to Earvin Magic Johnson, but I digress) has Six Championship Rings. What may not immediately come to mind when you think of these sports icons is how much failure they endured.

resilience trio

Brett Favre still leads the NFL in most interceptions thrown with 336. Ironically, when he retired he also held the record for most touchdowns thrown with 508. If you know anything about Kobe Bryant you know that he liked loved to shoot. Let’s face it. He was a ball hog. Therefore, it may not be as surprising to know that he leads the NBA with 14,481 missed shots – the most in history. Jordan says, “…26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” However, what we probably remember about Jordan is that winning jumper he made in the NBA Playoffs and then leaps in the air with three fist pumps.

What gets overlooked is the amount of resilience or grit that it takes to fail repeatedly yet continue in spite of those failures. In her book, Grit: the power of passion and perseverance, Angela Duckworth writes:

         high but not the highest intelligence, combined with the greatest degree of
      persistence, will achieve greater eminence than the highest degree of intelligence
     with somewhat less persistence. (78)

Brett, Kobe, and Michael were all knowledgeable about their sports, but it was their persistence after failure that made them legends. Embrace your failures. Soldier on cause like Brett you could fail more than anyone else, but you can simultaneously be the most successful in the same field. Kobe and Jordan are beloved for their grit and the unshakeable belief in their skills and talent. Make someone a believer in you with your resilience and grit.

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Knute Rockne on Leaders

knute lako

You really cannot lead if you are just like everyone else – part of the flock. Transformational and aspirational leaders are comfortable in their own skin, making those tough, unpopular decisions. They may even intentionally stand alone to resist the pack mentality. Are you an eagle or part of the flock?

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White Men Continue to Fail Up

Last night I was watching the Miami and LSU game where the head coaches of each team looked very familiar. I couldn’t immediately remember their names or where they coached previously. I haven’t followed sports as closely as I used since I was in school the last three years. Eventually the announcers gave their names and I was like, “oh yeah. Mark Richt is former head coach at UGA and Ed Orgeron was head coach at Ole Miss.” Two teams of the premier conference in college football, the SEC. Yeah, I said it – the SEC rules.

Now they didn’t get their new jobs because their previous teams had outstanding records or had just won their conference or even the national championship. No, they were fired for essentially failing. But what happens to white men when they fail compared to everyone else? They get another job at a comparable level.

Now I’m not suggesting that they should never coach again. But you would expect that after an abysmal performance that led to their firings, they would at the very least start their next head coaching gig at a Division II or III school. No, they just pick up and start over at another Division I School.

What happens to most of us when we have less than a stellar job performance? Well, we certainly are not promoted. Even when we do have a stellar job performance, we’re not getting promoted. We may get more responsibility without a pay raise while some other white guy gets our promotion.

I work in a profession that is 80% women but the men still hold 40% of the management positions. Based on the numbers alone every three out of four management positions should be held by a woman. Where I work the top four positions are held by two men and two women. All of whom are white. This only decreases your opportunities if you are a nonwhite woman.

We talk a lot about diversity but it’s time to progress to equity and inclusion. Not only do we want to be in the room, but we want a chance to be at the table as well as seated at the head of the table. And when we have a misstep, don’t let that negate all of our good works. Like Orgeron and Richt, give us a comparable second chance.

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Dear ALA: Here’s why LeBron should be keynote speaker at 2019 Annual Conference

LeBronIPromiseWhen Colin Kaepernick and other athletes started silently protesting police brutality of black and brown peoples, the vitriol they received was relentless. Basketball players were told to shut up and dribble. Sports fans erroneously believe that millionaire athletes are unaffected by the racism that everyday people of color receive. LeBron James, one of the most recognizable, beloved athletes in the world experienced racism when his Los Angeles home was painted with “nigger” in May of 2017. Never one to shy away from difficult conversations, when interviewed about this incident, King James said,

           “No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are,
no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is tough.”

Because LeBron knows how tough it is being black in America from his own experiences especially those of his youth, LeBron opened a school, I Promise, in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. I Promise School will provide many services at no cost to students including tuition, uniforms, bicycle and helmet, breakfast, lunch and snacks. Families are also supported with access to a food pantry, GED access and job placement services for parents. In 2015, LeBron announced scholarships to attend the University of Akron for those graduating from the I Promise School. This could benefit more than 2300 students.

Thank God, LeBron does not just shut up and dribble. With these programs and his willingness to speak truth to power, LeBron continues to show us that he has not forgotten where he comes from. Instead, he is using those experiences to contribute to the change he wants to see. I believe that change is a more inclusive society for all.

LeBron Reading
LeBron is an avid reader, often reading before games. Thus, making it cool for kids to be nerdy. Earlier this year, the American Library Association (ALA) dropped Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a children’s literary award “to reconcile the award with the organization’s values of ‘inclusiveness, integrity and respect’….” As ALA seeks to establish itself as a more inclusive organization, why not have someone who shares that inclusive vision be the next keynote speaker at the annual conference. LeBron James, the kid from Akron, is by far the best choice.

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LaKo’s Lesson of the Month: Leadership


In other words, leadership is an action word, a verb. You can study it, but you cannot become one, a leader, until you are actually leading. And leading is different from managing. Managers maintain the status quo. Leaders challenge that status quo and compel others to follow. So, go forth and lead.

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Organizational Stability: a lesson from the Steelers

Since 1969 the Pittsburgh Steelers have had only three head coaches – Chuck Noll, Bill PittsburghSteelers_Electric2Cowher, and Mike Tomlin. Each coach has won one Super Bowl, and Chuck Noll has won four of them. In comparison, another historic franchise, the Oakland Raiders has had 14 head coaches since 1969 (Offstein 2009, 114). The norm of longevity for football coaches in the NFL is more in line with the Raiders than the Steelers, the average length of time being about 5-7 years. It is probably not a coincidence that the Steelers have won more Super Bowls than any other team; a total of six. What has made the Steelers stay the course where other teams seem to be in a constant panic; ever-changing their strategy? The Rooneys, family owners of the Steelers, seem to trust their head coaching decisions. They give their coaches an opportunity to grow and learn on the job. They give them the freedom to make head coaching decisions without micromanaging the process. If the team has a bad year, they do not panic and take the easy route in blaming the coach. Instead, they strategically look at what resources the team needs to succeed and develop a plan to make that happen. They turn their failures into successes with patience and strategy, but, they do not change the strategy at the core – the Steelers may add a player here or there, but remain the same team with the same personality. In Gridiron Leadership, the Raiders lack of success is attributed to “strategic flip-flopping” (Offstein 2009, 114).

 From 1989 to 2008, the Oakland Raiders had ten separate head or interim coaches during that period. That’s a new coach every two years. Compare that with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had three coaches over an almost 40-year period, or the Minnesota Vikings, who had four coaches during the same 20-year span as the Raiders’ coaching carousel. Since the head coach plays a large part in determining and dictating a team’s strategy, we can easily see that the revolving coaching door created a revolving strategy. This flip-flopping of strategy meant that no one strategy could get traction, and the people who were brought in to fit with the strategy… didn’t quite mesh when the new leadership came in and changed strategy again (Offstein 2009,114-115.)

As a manager, do you have those qualities exhibited by the Steelers and the Rooneys or do you panic and start yet another restructuring of your unit or revising of job descriptions? As managers we should exhibit the qualities of the Rooneys and the Steelers. Of course, we do not always have the luxury of dismissing an employee on the spot, but in most cases, that is not the answer any way. It is our job as managers to coach our players up – help that employee perform better. Take on that failure as your own, so your employee doesn’t lose confidence. Some of the best athletes are those who can quickly forget their failures, so by taking on that failure as the manager, the employee can quickly forget. How failures are handled will determine the level of ease and comfort of your employees. If you panic then your employees will panic and start wondering if they need to pursue employment elsewhere. Now, does that sound like a mind state that will lead to productivity? If you simply look at this as a challenge that you and your employees can tackle together, employees will remain relaxed enough to continue their creativity and productivity.

Offstein, Evan H. 2009. Gridiron leadership: winning strategies and breakthrough tactics. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger.

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When Less is More: reducing the work week cause it’s time

NBA82When I was younger, I used to watch every basketball and football game that came on TV. I only discovered tennis after the NBA Finals in the 80s; let’s just say after a Laker’s victory, because I was suffering from sports withdrawal. This was before cable and ESPN, so it is not as if I saw every game. Back then, it was mostly on weekends and then those were based on your region of residence. However, the older I get and the more games I am able to watch, I just think there are just too many games played for most professional sports. Moreover, this is not just because I am getting older and do not have much time because of responsibilities. I think about the toll this has on the player’s body.

Richard Sherman, in an article for the Player’s Tribune talked about the process of getting ready to play on Sundays in the NFL and how Thursday night games interrupts that process. Remember when the NFL was just on Sundays and Mondays. Yeah, the good old days. Then there was talk of extending the season going from 16 to 18 games. With CTE (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy), concussions, and the dismal quality of life for retired football players, you would think that oh maybe fewer games could extend the quality of life for players. I’m no doctor, but that seems like a reasonable idea that may work. The same goes for the NBA with 82 games and an everlasting playoff series. Why can’t they just play one game per round in the playoffs? Greed of course.

work 10 to 4I was reading this article about how the workplace is killing us. Just as the professional seasons should be shorter, so should our workweek. For the last ten years, I have been saying that the full time workweek should be 30 hours. Forty hours a week may have worked during the industrial revolution when people lived near family and worked close to home. However, in today’s world, working 40 hours a week is for the birds. I cannot remember a month when I have worked 40 hours a week for each week in a month. Even if you do not take a day off, there is always one day when there is a doctor’s appointment, an errand that has to be run during the day or something else where you have to take 2-3 hours off. In my case, 2-3 hours is usually used to take a nap after my daughter gets on the bus for school. Most of us are exhausted.

No 8 HoursProfessor Nuria Chinchilla [of IESE Business School] describes the damage happening at work as “social pollution.”

              The work hours that companies are demanding of their employees are causing
              the breakup of marriages, burdens on raising children, and general disruption to
             family life. And the family unit is an important source of social support.

Whereas professional athletes suffer from arthritis, memory loss, back pain, the workforce suffers from “diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome…overeating, underexercising, substance abuse,” Burnout is also a real issue. Remember when commentators and tennis legends like Chris Evert and John McEnroe kept stating that Serena and Venus Williams should play a fuller tennis schedule. Well, it is probably good that they did not because playing selectively has extended their careers to an age when most retire. Working a full-time schedule of 10am to 4pm Monday through Friday would do wonders to enhance the quality of life for so many of us. Let’s make this happen ASAP!!

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The Importance of Team: the lesson from LeBron

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are once again facing the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. It looks like the Cavaliers will be swept by the Warriors who lead the series 3-0. This is in spite of LeBron James being the best player on the planet right now nearly averaging a triple double every game. (Noticed I said “right now.” We can argue the best of all time later who happens to be Earvin “Magic” Johnson by the way.)

warriors sweep

This is a good lesson for youth players who only think about their individual statistics. If I were a coach and had a player hot-dogging it, this would be the example I would use. LeBron being the best player in the world and still cannot win the NBA Championship shows the importance of team. The Warriors have a better team. It is that simple.

Some will point to this series and last year’s finals lost to justify why LeBron should not be considered the Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T.). He is one of the few greats who have more losses in the finals than wins. But, what most overlook about the other players on the list of greats is their teammates. As great as they were, they did not do it alone. Jordan had Pippen and Grant; Magic had Jabbar, Worthy, and Cooper; Kobe and Shaq had each other plus Rodman, and Horry; and Bird had Parrish and McHale. Even the casual basketball fan could name those players, but would be hard-pressed to name LeBron’s current teammates. There are a lot of Hall of Famers who never won it all. Their individual accomplishments got them to the Hall, but being a champion requires a great team working together. Find your squad.

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Why I Hate the Jordan v. LeBron Debate

D6CD47E0-160F-4B52-8C6F-7A5BFD335788In one of my sports group on Facebook, the theme of most days is who is the NBA greatest of all time, the GOAT: Michael Jordan or LeBron James. Most in the group seem to be Jordanites, but there are a few for King James. I was never a fan of Jordan and blame him for indirectly ruining the game of basketball (I’ll explain that later.) They throw up stats like Jordan has more NBA Championships (6) than LeBron. Never mind that the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also has 6 NBA Championships and bests Jordan in several categories.


They’ll criticize LeBron for going to Miami, not having the killer instinct and other nonsense. For the record, I think James is better than Jordan. I think folks forget that basketball is a team game. When folks argue so hard about Jordan’s individual stats – usually the number of points he scored, I think they indirectly prove my point. He was a good individual player, but not a team player. He was a selfish player. LeBron is criticized for being a team player playing a team game. Go figure. Because Jordan was less than a team player, and yes, a highlight reel, others tried to follow in his footsteps. Every player after was trying to be like Mike, a hotdogging, ball hog.

As with other team sports, it’s really not fair to try to select the Greatest of All Time because no one you choose would have played All. The. Time. You really have to look at the era in which they played. Rules change and no one is even playing under the same rules. There are a host of other nuances. You have to look at the field of competition along with teammates. The coach and the offensive scheme. When we say Serena Williams is the GOAT of tennis, that can’t be challenged. Tennis is an individual sport and she has the most Grand Slam wins and counting (girl, come through with this U.S. Open title in September).


But, the real reason, I hate the Jordan v. LeBron debate for the basketball’s greatest of all time, is that everyone should know that Earvin Magic Johnson is actually the Greatest Of All Time. Who was a better team player in the team sport of basketball? Yes, he played with a bunch of Hall of Famers, but that doesn’t negate his greatness.  In fact, some of his teammates are Hall of Famers because of the excellent team play of Magic Johnson. Plus, he played every position. I rest my case. Of course, this is all subjective. I’m a Laker’s fan who prefers a certain style of play. So, maybe I hate the Jordan v. LeBron debate because Magic isn’t included.

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LaKo’s Lesson of the Month: Just Start

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

This quote was shared with me because I was noticeably overwhelmed with the many things on my many to-do lists. Have you ever had so much to do that you end up doing nothing? Well, that was I. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Am I?

As stated by Arthur Ashe, three time grand slam champion, start where you are. Don’t wait to get everything in place before you begin. Just start already. Use what you have. You’re working on getting your body summer ready but are lacking the latest J’s or Yeezy’s? Use the sneakers you do have and start walking. Walk in your jeans or jorts if you have to. Do what you can. You may want to give back to your community but are temporarily experiencing a cash flow problem. Give the gift of time instead. Start by volunteering for one hour a month. Or, give money if you don’t have any time. Last year I started giving $10 a month to a different social justice organization. That’s just a couple of coffees from Starbucks. That’s not a lot, but the joy I get from contributing to causes I believe in is priceless.

What have you been waiting to do?

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Winter Olympics So Black

The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang County, South Korea has more athletes of African descent than ever before with 13 athletes hailing from 8 African countries. The last time that I watched the Winter Olympics or any winter sport was probably when Debbie Thomas was a figure skater. And, the only thing I know about South Korea is that’s where talented artists SHINee and Rain are from.

First, there are the Nigerian bobsledders, Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga, who apparently saw the Cool Runnings movie and said, “hmmm, that’s a good idea, we should give it a try.” Most athletes spend their entire lives perfecting their sport for a chance at the Olympics. These ladies, although Olympic athletes in track and field, picked up the sport only three years ago. Though they were all born in the USA, they are representing their parents homeland of Nigeria. The USA also has a bobsled team with Elana Meyers Taylor, Kehri Jones, and Aja Evans.

Next, there’s Jason Greenway who is the first African American on the USA hockey team. Another first includes Maame Biney becoming the first African American woman to qualify for the short track speedskating team. Erin Jackson qualified for long track speedskating after only four months of starting the sport. Can we say #BlackGirlMagic ? Finishing out the USA lineup is Shani Davis returning as a long track speedskater, having previously earned two gold medals. #BlackBoyExcellence

I don’t know much about who’s the favorite in any of the Winter Olympics events, but like Issa Rae, “I’m rooting for everyone black” cause #WinterOlympicsSoBlack.

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The Official Black Panther Playlist

Many athletes have a musical playlist that gets them pumping before the big game. If you’re like me, you have quite a few playlists that you use to get your mind right for work. Not that we need a playlist to get us excited about the Black Panther movie, we are more than hyped. But, to make sure you head into the theaters with the right mind set, here’s the official playlist for Black Panther as you head to the sold out theaters.

James Brown – Gonna Have a Funky Good Time – Hope the theaters have shook insurance cause it’s about to be rocking in there.

Sister Sledge – We Are Family – This movie is like a reunion of the African Diaspora, one big global happy family, yes we are.

Stevie Wonder – Livin’ for the (Chi) City (with Common) – This song just screams black life and this remix by Amerigo Gazaway is everything.

Sheila E – Yes We Can Can – Obama said it and here’s more proof. If you don’t walk out of this movie thinking Yes We Can about stuff in your life, there’s no hope for you. I like how they added the extra Can at the end for good measure. That’s so black. And to make it more black, Angela Davis is featured.

Funkadelic – One Nation – One nation under a groove and that nation is Wakanda.

James Brown – Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud – No commentary necessary. And shout out to Chadwick for his excellent performance as JB.

DJ Khaled – All I Do Is Win Remix – If this ain’t winning I don’t know what is.

Migos – Bad and Boujee – This will be the only time I admit to being Boujee cause I know I won’t be alone.

PJ Morton – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright – This gospel-tinged, hand clapping, foot stomping song represents the spiritual experience we’re gonna have. Anytime something negative happens, we’ll think about this movie and start singing, everything’s gonna be alright.

Angie Stone – Brotha – ’cause the brothas will feel celebrated like never before as the hero and not the thug.

Chaka Khan – I’m Every Woman – Just from the clip of seeing the sista warrior snatch off her wig and handle business, I’m feeling like I got superpowers.

Shalamar – A Night to Remember – I’ve never been this excited to see a movie. It’s reminiscent of waiting for a Michael Jackson video to drop. It will be a night to remember.

Beyoncé- Run the World – Who run the world? Girls! and they are called Dora Milaje, the Wakandan female warriors.

The Jacksons – Can You Feel It – Have you seen this video? Doesn’t it just make you feel royal? On top of the world?

Park Hyo Shin – Beautiful Day – Yes it is a beautiful day to see that much black excellence on film and behind the scenes.

Steel Pulse – Worth His Weight in Gold – That’s the official title of the song in reference to Marcus Garvey, but we call it, Rally round the Flag, rally round the red, gold, black and green. Have you gotten your African attire ready?

Gil-Scott Heron – The Revolution will not be televised – We know what you meant brotha, but times have changed. The revolution has been televised and it’s called Black Panther. Get yo popcorn family.


Prince – Purple Rain– of course this is an obvious choice by Purple Royalty. Since his death, it’s not always easy listening to his music which is why it wasn’t on the original list. If they play this at the end of the movie, I envision hands swaying with lighters or more likely these days the flashlight from a smartphone.

Solange –F.U.B.U. – For Us By Us – cause representation matters.

Black Panther family, what other songs would you add to this list? Add it to the list on Spotify.

Wakanda Forever! (I think I’m gonna sign all my work emails with this.)

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LaKo’s Lesson of the Month: New Beginnings

7732B37E-5688-42EA-8513-AB27F0E20E23.pngAt first glance, new beginnings seems like something more appropriate for January when every one is making new year’s resolutions of all the changes they wish to make. Actually, if I had thought of it then, I would have made it the lesson of the month for January. I actually tried writing something that was in line with the new year theme, but it was even too corny for me. Here’s hoping that this is not so corny.

New beginnings has been heavily on my mind since I’m coming to the end of my studies in my graduate program. While any new chapter can be exciting, it can also be scary for the very same reason – the unknown. As I was looking for inspiration, Kyrie Irving came to mind. Last year, Kyrie was in the NBA Finals playing with Lebron James as the Cleveland Cavaliers faced the Golden State Warriors for the title. I won’t get into the reasons he decided to leave the Cavaliers for the Boston Celtics, let’s just focus on the leaving part. That was mighty brave and courageous. I’m not suggesting that Kyrie isn’t a good enough player on his own to have success elsewhere. He is a good player. But he was playing with a GREAT player in Lebron who will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the all-time greats. So, a certain level of comfortableness was probably there for Kyrie. You know what to expect when you’re playing with most of the same players. But, going to a new team is like being the new kid in school trying to find your tribe.

The lesson for this month is to embrace your new beginnings. Will you experience some fear? Probably. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Who knows, you could be like Kyrie, soaring on a new team where the team of old struggles to find it’s way even with a future hall of famer.

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The Tide will ROLL or the Dawgs will Bark

DE4CFB31-768A-411D-8C7E-C3C5174551A8It is two days before the college football’s National Championship showdown between A and G. Or as I like to call it, the National Title SEC Bowl game. Being a true fan I decided to sport my Bama hoodie today. And since I live and work in Atlanta, I was appropriately chided for doing so – by my chiropractor, a coworker, and two strangers I encountered throughout the day. But the chiding was all in fun. The trash talk is a big part of sports and even brings folks together. Even though we disagree, we agree on our Love for the game. In this era of pettiness to the 100th power, it’s nice to communicate differences without someone acting like a petulant toddler.

8EF7AE0C-7F2E-48C0-BFAA-D86E60E211F7Either way, the football dominance of the SEC will be on full display. Who am I kidding trying to take the high road? I’m team petty, so ROLL TIDE!! Georgia fans, please tell me the absurd reasons you think the Dawgs will win.



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LaKo’s Lesson of the Month: Vision

Charlie Ward VisionProverbs 29:18 (KJV) states, Where there is no vision, the people perish.” If you’ve been feeling as if you are dying bit by bit each day, this may be the root cause. The nation is being led by someone without a clear vision. What was true one day, is false the next. Or more accurately, what was false but said to be true one day is denied the next. With a vision comes the responsibility of having a clear grasp of the issues and setting goals to make the vision a reality. In a recent interview with a friendly interviewer, *45 clearly shows that he doesn’t have even an elementary level of knowledge on issues that he is responsible for (See: Trump’s interview is both funny and terrifying. ) 

You may have disagreed with the agendas and policies of previous presidents, but what wasn’t lacking was a vision. You knew what their policy focus would be and how they hoped to achieved those policies. For those in the White House that’s what we call a “platform”. And if you are weary about the lack of vision coming from the White House, you may be equally frustrated with the lack of vision to counteract that nonsense. The Democratic party, our only real option in a two-party system, is still struggling to define its platform. Instead there just seems to be reactions to *45’s tweets instead of proactive pursuit on a policy agenda. Democrats still can’t agree on why they lost the presidential election that was nine months ago. Nine months.  trek facepalm

This happens in the workplace as well. With a change in leadership comes the inevitable plan of the new leader to erase or undo goals instituted by the previous leader. Even when those goals are still beneficial to the organization, they are tossed aside. In a matter of months, employees have no idea why they are doing what they are doing. Exhaustion and low morale creep in. Why? I believe we have a very human need (Maslow’s hierarchy) to follow a clear vision in order to be fulfilled in what we do.

People are protesting in the streets in pursuit to have these needs met. Unfortunately, there are group protests at extreme odds with each other. Employees forge similar protests in the form of tardiness, silence, and decrease in productivity. If you find yourself in a workplace without a vision, develop a personal vision that you can accomplish within the confines of the organization. Set out a new plan for your career goals. As a Heisman Trophy winner, Charlie Ward had visions of having a professional career in the NFL. When that vision did not become a reality, he forged a new vision and had a career as a professional athlete in the NBA. Be like Charlie Ward.


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Jerry’s ‘boys: Is low morale looming for Dallas?

Jerry Jones Kneeling

In a new study on low morale of academic librariansKaetrena Kendrick states that “low morale experiences were often triggered by an unexpected negative event or a relationship that developed in an unexpected and negative manner. (p.6)” With Jerry Jones adamant pronouncement that all his players will stand for the national anthem, I surmise that this may lead to low morale with his players. Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against unarmed black and brown women and men. During a campaign rally in Alabama, President *45 said that NFL owners should fire the SOB’s that kneel during the anthem.

Cowboys anthem

What did Jerry Jones do at the next game? He was on the field kneeling with his players before the anthem then standing and locking arms with them. Keep in mind that he’s usually not on the field during the playing of the national anthem.  So, Jerry will take a knee to be defiant because no billionaire wants to be told what to do by another so-called billionaire (can’t say for sure that*45 is a billionaire because we still haven’t seen his taxes). But, when it comes to standing or kneeling against police brutality, he has threatened to bench any player who does kneel. In other words, to hell with what happens in the black community, I control these black bodies who incidentally are the majority of the team and his Big 3 – DakDez, and ZekeHe doesn’t care that these players may have had encounters with police or run the risk of having these encounters a la Michael BennettTheir lives are on the line daily, off and on the field, just by the nature of their skin color. shaun king kneeling 2

In Kendrick’s study, participants “noted that the unexpected nature of the trigger event played a role in their immediate responses…. Blindsided/betrayal, shock, and anger (including its iterations, e.g., irritation, annoyance) were significant emotions that respondents felt during and immediately after their trigger events.” I know we often lose sight of athletes as human beings with feelings as if becoming millionaires strips you of any emotional response, but I wonder if this event or stance by Jerry will trigger low morale among players. Because players want to avoid Jerry’s “shit list,”  we may not see a noticeable response on the field or even during any upcoming interviews. I think this will be something that will fester and simmer underneath the surface. Where it may come up is in negotiating contracts. Current players may opt out at the end of their contracts and pursue free agency. Free agents from other teams may choose not to sign even if the money is right. This may not be Houston, but Dallas, we have a problem.  


*45 – asterisk because of possible interference from the Russians in the presidential elections – waiting on Mueller. 

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LaKo’s Lesson of the Month: Preparation

Ali and preparation

It’s all about preparation. Even the smallest result or outcome requires preparation and planning. If you just want to watch a movie on Netflix, preparation includes having an account which means having the means to pay for an account which requires having a job or sponsor. Those small steps can often be overlooked, but they shouldn’t be.


Long before Lebron James or Steph Curry hits the game winning shot, they have made that shot a thousand times in practice. Even if you’re not looking to achieve athletic prowess, take the time to come up with your game plan. One of the reasons I started this blog was to become a better writer because writing was always one of my weaker subjects in school. Writing was scarier than a math or science class. And guess what? While I’m no where near being a writer in the league with Toni Morrison (who is anyway?), I am a better writing me.

Try following these steps so you can dance under those lights of your own accomplishment:

  1. Set an end goal. What do you ultimately want to accomplish?
  2. List the practical steps needed to achieve this goal. Does it require learning a new skill and if so how are you going to acquire this skill? Does it require doing volunteer work or attending a workshop? Is there someone you can talk with or interview for help.
  3. For each practical step, set a realistic time frame for achieving that step. This should consider balancing current responsibilities.
  4. Complete one step before moving to the next.
  5. Because life happens, revisit and adjust the time frame and steps as needed.
  6. Celebrate and commemorate your accomplishment. Dance under those lights.

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Why Athletes Shouldn’t Stick to Sports 

Hold on to your hats cause for some of you the next sentence will be shocking. Professional athletes are not only real people, human beings, but in most cases they are citizens of the United States. I know, take a moment to absorb that factoid. As such, when the Constitution starts with, ” We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union . . . ,” they are a part of “We the people.”

What happens to the general society also impacts their lives in spite of them being celebrities and wealthy. Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem last season to protest police brutality. He stated:

 “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that
                  oppresses black people and people of color,”  Kaepernick told Steve
                  Wyche of NFL Media in August 2016. 

                 “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part
                  to look the other way,” he continued. “There are bodies in the street
                  and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” 

Michael Bennett ProfEarlier this month, Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks was held at gun point by Las Vegas police for being a big black dude running away from heard gun shots. On the streets, he didn’t have his celebrity and status. He very well could have been the next Alton Sterling or Philando Castile. It’s understandable to any reasonable person why he and others would use their platform to address a life or death issue that affects them and those they love.

DungyObamaChange in this country comes very slowly. The Civil War ended in 1865, yet, civil rights laws weren’t passed until the 1960s. Yes, Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott played a significant role. But, the groundwork that came before was laid by Jackie Robinson when he integrated Major League Baseball in 1947. Not sure if we would have had the Brown vs. Board of Education decision that integrated public schools without the integration of sports. Additionally, the groundwork for Barack Obama becoming the first black president was laid by Tony Dungy becoming the first black head coach in the NFL to win a Super Bowl. Progress in sports seems to make progress in society more digestible.

The other reason that NFL players in particular should feel free to use their platform for social change is the physical sacrifices they make to play a game that brings in billions for NFL owners. An autopsy revealed that Aaron Hernandez, former player for the New England Patriots who was serving time for a murder conviction, had the most severe form of Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease, for someone his age. He was 27 years old and played his last game when he was 23 years old.

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New Stadiums For a Few Or Medicare For All

“The idea that sports is a catalyst for economic development just doesn’t hold water.” —Robert Baade, sports economist

Medicare For All

On September 13, 2017, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont along with 16 other Democrats introduced a Medicare For All Healthcare Bill. The United States remains as the lone Super Power, but ironically one of the only industrialized nations without universal healthcare. For all of our technological advancements and innovations and military prowess, we still refuse to recognize healthcare and education as rights that should be guaranteed to all citizens.

When then First Lady Hillary Clinton tried to get a healthcare bill passed in the early to mid-90s, I naively thought this would easily pass and become law. It seemed a no brainer to take care of your citizens who support industries that keep the economy moving. When President Barack Obama introduced the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, I again thought the time has come for us, “We the people.” No way would this be a partisan issue. Boy was I wrong.

Total Federal SpendingSince 2002 there has been a boom in renovations for sport stadiums and the building of new stadiums. Even though these teams are owned by billionaires it is “We the people” who foot the bill for the stadiums by way of municipal bonds. Keep in mind that the NFL earns billions of dollars yearly and does not pay taxes.  In spite of this, “We the people” seem gitty to foot the bill for it. Yet, we don’t want to pay for healthcare. Something that would benefit all. In some cases, having minimal healthcare is a matter of life and death. Take a look at this sampling of the millions of dollars taxpayers have spent on new stadiums and renovations:

Phillips Arena, Atlanta
Team: Atlanta Hawks
Renovated: 2018
Cost: $193 million
Cost to taxpayers: $143 million

Three facilities: Progressive Field, FirstEnergy Stadium and Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Team: Cleveland Indians, Browns and Cavaliers
Renovated: 2015 and 2016
Cost: $210 million
Cost to taxpayers: $90 million

Soldier Field in Chicago
Team: Chicago Bears
Renovated: 2003
Cost: $587 million
Cost to taxpayers: $387 million
 Jason Notte. Even sports stadium ‘facelifts’ cost taxpayers millions, July 2017.

Contrary to popular belief, new stadiums for sports teams are not the economic trampoline or stimulus that we make them out to be. The economic impact is temporary. For instance, the proposed stadium for the Los Angeles Rams will cost $3 billion and create 22,000 construction jobs. Once construction of the stadium is complete, those jobs are gone. The next argument is that people will spend money at nearby restaurants, pay for parking, and other local vendors and this improves the local economy. Yet, when surveyed, 86% of economists are opposed to taxpayers subsiding new stadiums. “In a 2017 poll, 83 percent of the economists surveyed agreed that ‘Providing state and local subsidies to build stadiums for professional sports teams is likely to cost the relevant taxpayers more than any local economic benefits that are generated.’” Scott A. Wolla, “The Economics of Subsidizing Sports Stadiums,” Page One Economics, May 2017.

Taxes and ExpendituresEconomists suggest that we should look at the opportunity cost. That is, when you spend money on one product, this takes the place of something else that could have/would have been bought. In other words, if you only have $50 of discretionary funds, you have limited options. You can either go to a ball game or to a museum. Most cannot fund both activities on a regular basis. So, while a new stadium is stimulating that segment of the economy, it is taking money away from another segment.

So, why are “We the people” willing to pay for sports stadiums and not healthcare or education for all? Some of the blame lies in our pull yourself up by your bootstraps philosophy. We believe if you work hard, you should be able to afford to care for yourself. That philosophy fails to acknowledge that stagnant income wage growth has not kept up with the real cost of living. There’s also a stigma of shame that we have given to those receiving any kind of government benefit.

I almost hate to bring up slavery, but it is at the root of a lot of what ails this country. In this regard, “We the people” don’t want to pay for healthcare or Medicare for all because we don’t want everyone, i.e. blacks and other minorities to get it as well.  This is why racism is considered a mental illness. We would rather pay for a stadium that most of us cannot attend because we can’t afford to buy a ticket instead of investing in ourselves in the form of healthcare and education.

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Select Competition: We like competition except in the real world

CompetitionIn the U.S., we love sports. Sports is all about competition. It can be argued that we love sports more than we love God. Football is the national pastime as well as foremost religion. The one thing you can count on in bringing different factions together in this country is sports. Enemies in every other aspect of life are suddenly friends or frenemies simply because they both wear Carolina blue, gold and garnet, and on and on. For some, the outcome of a sporting event may determine their mood for the rest of the week or how “friendly” they will be with their significant other.

Michael Bennett Prof

So then, why doesn’t this transfer to all areas of our lives? Racism is a form of unfair competition. Yet, we don’t seem to be in any hurry to rid ourselves of it. Banning Muslims, deporting immigrants and ending DACA are also forms of unfair competition in that they seek to remove these groups from the competition. Most whites, especially in areas hardest hit by a changing economy, don’t come into enough contact with these groups to hate so strongly. Some Americans seem to be as selective in their love of competition as they are in their display of patriotism. It’s ok to stand for the national anthem, but don’t dare kneel during the anthem to protest. I’ll cheer for a bunch of black players on Sunday, but I don’t want to hear him speak on social justice even after he’s been profiled.

Kamala Harris Immigrant Tweet

What are these white males who dared to march in Charlottesville with their tiki torches chanting “We will not be replaced” so afraid of? Losing. It’s that simple. It must be troubling to see so many “others” winning when the deck is stacked against them.How dare Barack Obama be an educated black man and then president? How dare Oprah have her own network? How dare Ilhan Omar become the first Somali-Muslim American legislator? I find it telling that there is such strong resistance to leveling the playing field. It explains the cheating behavior of a Tom Brady (inflate-gate) and a Lance Armstrong. Men at the top of their sport insisting on cheating. I guess that’s the real American way.



See also: The First White President by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Be Wary of NFL Even If Kaepernick Is Signed

In this week’s saga of Colin Kaepernick who peacefully and quietly took a knee during the national anthem, the Ravens considered signing him since their starting QB, Flacco is injured. Even if Kaepernick is signed it doesn’t mean that the league is not blackballing him and that we shouldn’t boycott the NFL if that’s your position.

Kaepernick headlines

Nothing is more important to the NFL than the shield and profits – one in the same actually. Right now, Kaepernick is dominating the headlines. So, league owners aren’t above signing him just to shut down the noise. Owners have previously colluded against a player when it’s in the best interest of the league.

Case in point – Bubba Smith. Most of you may know him from his movie career, but he was slated to be one of the best defensive ends/tackles before he was injured at the hands of the league. You see, Bubba Smith of the Baltimore Colts, sustained a career ending injury on the field. In Ten Men You Meet in the Huddle, Bill Curry details the scene.

 We were playing the Steelers in an exhibition game. Late in the fourth quarter, Colts safety Rick Volk picked off a Terry Bradshaw pass and headed up the sideline on our side of the field. Bubba was running at full speed trying to block for Rick…. As they reached the side line in front of our bench, some guys went down ahead of him and Bubba had to leap over them, straight at the marker and the man holding it.

In these situations, the sideline officials are instructed to pick up the pole, which is stuck firmly into the ground, and back-pedal out of the way of players whose momentum might bring them out of bounds. In this care, the guy froze, maintaining a death grip on the pole that he’d driven hard into the turf.

In one of the most horrible injuries I have ever seen, Bubba crashed into the implanted pole, his weight and momentum driving his leg against it with such force that his knee counter-hinged, ripping loose every ligament that held the joint together. (292)

To us laymen, the NFL is clearly at fault here and Bubba Smith should have been compensated for the ending of his career as a result of the injury.

But, what did the NFL do?

Bubba Smith was traded to the Raiders with a salary THREE times his pre-injury salary. Why?  Curry speculates that “should Bubba ever sue on the grounds that the injury ruined his career, the NFL could point out that his highest salary came after the injury.” (300) So, no negligence by the league, right? (Gives side-eye).

So, even if Kaepernick is signed, I will keep my reservations about the NFL intact until I see that he is given a fair chance to be successful and this isn’t the latest example of league owners colluding with each other.

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Failure is *45’s Trademark

IMG_5014So much for all that winning that *45 was going to bring to the federal government. In the wee hours of the morning, the replacement bill for Obamacare was defeated. AGAIN for the third time. You can add Muslim travel ban, keeping jobs in America (Ford, Carrier), and Transgender Ban in military (only a matter of time) to that losing streak. But, for those of us familiar with this so-called president’s history, we are not at all surprised.

In 1983 the USFL (United States Football League) started as a football league to play in the spring to satisfy the country’s unquenched thirst for football. The owners were expected to take losses for a few years to build the league. Profits were not expected in the early years, but with slow growth, it was thought that the league could be on par with the NFL in about eight years.

Unfortunately for the USFL, *45 become owner of the New Jersey Generals. The plan set out by John Bassett, owner of the Tampa Bay Bandits, was quickly eroded as *45 brought with him his brand of wanting to do everything on a grand scale to fulfill his narcissistic insecurities and illusions of grandeur. *45 eroded the league just as he is doing with our country. Overpromising with no clear plan or intent to deliver. He brought in athletes at exorbitant salaries that led to a bidding war. He went after athletes who would have been 1st round draft picks of the NFL forcing the NFL into bidding wars. He convinced the other owners that they needed the spectacular – “the wall” of today. And, of course it was going to be easy like healthcare.

He convinced the owners to go against the business plan that was essential to the league – football in spring. He wanted to compete directly with the NFL or force a merger. How did he convince other owners to go along with this? Bullying, suing, leveraging the press. Wait, that sounds familiar.

The common thread here is that this grifter can convince people to go against their own interests because of promises based on no substance at all. If it was not so dire for our country, impacting all of our lives, you could almost admire this skill. No one can sell bullshit like he can. If only he would use his skill for good. You know like convincing himself that resigning is the best way to make America great again.

*45 – asterisk because Hillary did win the popular vote without Russian collusion.


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Vick to Kaep: “You betta cut it.”

I must have awakened Michael Vick by mentioning him in my last post. Unfortunately, I wish he would have stayed asleep or at least quiet. Vick is catching volcano lava heat for suggesting that Kaepernick should cut his hair to change his image in order to get back in the good graces of the NFL owners. That strategy worked for Vick because he was returning to the NFL from prison, as a convicted felon for a crime that most think he should never be forgiven for. I was a strong supporter of Vick and hoped that he got another chance to play in the NFL. On principle though I was a bit miffed that Vick got more time for cruelty to dogs than most get for murdering people of color or even abusing another human being. And, we all know that there are an endless number of domestic abusers who go unpunished and suffer no time off the gridiron for their abusive ways.

Kaepernick peacefully took a knee to protest MURDER! That is, the unjustified murders committed by police on black and brown bodies – SANDRA BLAND, PHILANDO CASTILE, ALTON STERLING, to name a few of which there are too many and counting. For the conservative holy rollers let me remind you of one of the Ten Commandments – THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT MURDER. I mention that commandment because folks seem to be really religious until….
A lot has already been said of Vick’s comments. Some have permanently revoked Vick’s invite to the cookout (I agree with this), called him a sellout, etc. For me, it’s just another sign that we still aren’t judged by the content of our character. We don’t value people of substance. We just want them to look the part. As a black woman with “dreadlocks” this is of significant concern because regardless of the number of degrees I have or my skill set, I know that my career goals may eventually be decided on looking the part. Or, confirming the standard opinion instead of providing a diversity of thought. I’m not saying that I should be allowed to wear sweats when the dress code clearly requires business attire. I’m speaking of fairness of actually using the list of job qualifications to make a decision. Kaepernick is a quarterback. His hair is not a qualification. His stance on police brutality is not a qualification. The only qualification that should be considered is his production on the field in comparison to the likes of Mark Sanchez (Bears), Geno Smith (Giants), Austin Davis (Seahawks ) and several more  who have been signed as quarterbacks. Until you can justify their signings, don’t pretend that this is about football, let alone hair.

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Obama, we’re sorry

obama-presidential-legacy-collapsingTo my forever president, Barack Hussein Obama, on behalf of this country, these United States of America, and the well over 65 million that voted for Hillary Clinton, WE ARE SO SORRY. PLEASE ACCEPT OUR APOLOGY. The current level of activism for the #RESISTANCE keeps me hopeful of avoiding total destruction under the current administration, but it also makes me wonder what could have been. What could this country had accomplished if there was this current level of engagement?Maybe we could have stomped out the Super-Obstructionist McConnell’s evil plan and forced the Senate to vote on your justice appointee, Merrick Garland. Maybe we wouldn’t have to look at the passive aggressive and smug Speakerless Ryan (speakerless cause he ain’t said shit worth hearing) admit to his agenda of destroying health care options for 23 million citizens. Citizens that you fought so hard for to have health insurance. In some cases, for the first time. Instead of fighting so hard to keep what you put in place, if WE had done our due diligence and fulfilled our citizen obligations, maybe at this point in time WE would instead be implementing upgrades to strengthen the ACA/Obamacare that would stay in place regardless of who won the last election. appleemoji-550x280

But, alas, that is not our current fate. Because WE didn’t give you the support that you needed, we are left running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Tirelessly and exhaustingly fighting for crumbs. Each day, or each tweet brings a new issue that WE have to address. We can’t fight for improvements because what is proposed by what Auntie Maxine calls the Kremlin Klan is so dangerous and unChrist-like, that we have to try to just maintain the status quo.

Since this is a sports blog, let me bring it back to sports. Michael Vick was probably one of the most exciting players to ever play football. Certainly one of the most exciting quarterbacks. Vick was an enormous talent, but after being banned from the NFL and sent to prison for dog-fighting , appleemoji-550x280Vick admitted that he hadn’t fulfilled his full potential because he didn’t work as hard as he should have. He just relied on his natural abilities which were pretty damn good by the way. If he had had the work ethic of a Peyton Manning or Kobe Bryant to match his natural abilities, just imagine how much better he would have been. We may be talking about him as a potential hall of fame quarterback. But, just like Vick, we had the talent in the intelligence, compassion, and steady hand of Barack Obama in the oval and we squandered it. We squandered it to a bunch of white male welfare kings. It’s welfare to get paid to do nothing. No one but elected officials can go on national TV and confidently say that they refuse to do their jobs and still get paid.

So to you, POTUS 44, I apologize. I apologize for leaving you hanging. I apologize for not calling my senators weekly like I do now, at least until I need a mental and emotional break. If I could turn back time (wait, did I just quote Cher. Desperate times) I would do it so differently and I know others would to. Until I find that DeLorean, accept our apology. WE’RE SORRY!!


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Game Changing Management – The Bill Walsh Way

BillWalshWhile interviewing for a management position in libraries, I was asked the typical question of how did I see myself as a manager or how would I manage. My ingenious response was that I wanted to be like Bill Walsh. I had to quickly clarify because we had a Bill Walsh in the library (not that he would be a bad example). I wanted to be like Bill Walsh of the San Francisco 49ers. I described him as a risk taker, an innovator, and a true visionary/leader.

He was a risk-taker because in 1985 he drafted Jerry Rice as a wide-receiver from the little known school in Itta Bena, MS – Mississippi Valley State University. Now, we may know Jerry Rice as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), but then it was, “who is this guy?.” If you had the opportunity to make a hiring choice without the assistance of a search committee, would you have the courage to make an unconventional choice? He was an innovator by refining what is called the West Coast Offense. In this scheme, he used short passes as most teams would use the run. He used the pass to set-up the run. Even 20 years later, most teams run some version of this offense.

He was also an innovator in how he managed players. “A sports psychologist who later studied Walsh’s methods described them as ‘creating a positive learning environment.’ Their assumption was that ‘playing ‘correctly’ because of fear of reprisal does not describe an ideal performance state (Harris 2008, 80).’” Walsh didn’t yell at players like so many other coaches did at the time. They worked to change the behavior through positive reinforcement.

He was a visionary because he was holding coaching camps for minority coaches before the NFL enacted the Rooney Rule which “mandates that teams must interview one minority candidate for each head coaching vacancy (Corbett 2009).” Five minority coaches can trace their coaching roots back to Bill Walsh with two being winners of the Super Bowl (a total of eight head coaches with roots to Bill Walsh have won the Super Bowl). It is no coincidence that both exhibited Walsh’s calm exterior.


Figure 1: Bill Walsh Coaching Tree (Wikipedia,, Accessed July 28, 2012 )


Bill Walsh’s Coaching Tree and minority coaches legacy

Having a coaching tree like Walsh should be every manager’s goal. How are you grooming your reports to succeed and surpass you? Or, are you afraid that with too much coaching, your reports will one day take your job.

Corbett, Jim. 2009. “Dungy: Rooney Rule opened up pipeline.” USA Today, February 2.

Harris, David. 2008. The Genius: How Bill Walsh Reinvented Football and Created an NFL
Dynasty. New York: Random House.

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