It’s time for our weekly installment of Action’s BookClub, where I’ve been reviewing books “written” “by” top college football coaches. So far, I’ve “read” Lou Holtz’s Wins, Losses and Lessons and Urban Meyer’s Above The Line.
I have not enjoyed them.
But you know what? This week, I’m going to come in with an open mind. I’ll admit that I’m not perfect, nor do I have all the answers. There are things in my life that I could stand to change, dreams I haven’t realized. Maybe if I stopped being so cynical, the next one of these books could actually prove helpful to me.
Let’s see what the next book is.
I want to be kinda good, Nick. I want to be kinda good.
Let’s dig in. Where do we start?
THE ROAD MAP
Who you are. Where you are. Where you are going. How you are going to get there. You need a road map to give you a direction... So what’s your road map? Do you know who you are and where you want to go?
Nick, I’ll tell you who I am and where I want to go.
I am a 5’-10”, 36-year-old office worker and part-time blogger, and I want to dunk a basketball. Tell me how I’m going to get there.
CREATING A CULTURE OF EXPECTATIONS
The major by-product of creating a mission statement and vision for you or your organization is that it creates a culture of expectations. If you have clearly defined who you are and where you want to go, then there is no longer need for any debate about it. From the top managers to entry-level employees, from parents to children, from the head coach to the players, everyone knows what to expect.
[marches into living room, where my wife and kids are watching TV]
VALUED FAMILY MEMBERS, I HAVE A STATEMENT OF MISSION TO MAKE. I INTEND TO DUNK A BASKETBALL.
[kids continue watching cartoons]
[wife, not looking up from phone] “okay honey”
BRANDING THE PRODUCT
At LSU, we have created the 4th Quarter Program, which defines the values we expect our players to adhere to. Five simple words: Discipline. Commitment. Toughness. Effort. Pride. It is about salesmanship. It’s not enough to simply write up a mission statement or road map and stick it in a drawer. You must reinforce the values on a daily basis... an example of branding is a sign that hangs inside our locker room that reads, “OUT OF YOURSELF AND INTO THE TEAM.”
[marches outside, removes address number plate from mailbox, replaces it with block-lettered sign] THE DUNKATORIUM, HOME TO STATE DUNK CHAMPION ACTION COOKBOOK
I feel the success coming on already. What’s next?
COMMITMENT, CONVICTION, CHARACTER, AND ATTITUDE
Take the example of superstar NHL player Jaromir Jagr, who wears jersey number 68. Why 68? In 1968, the Soviet army invaded the nation of Czechoslovakia. In the chaos, Jagr’s grandfather was jailed. While imprisoned, he fell ill; he died shortly after his release. [Jagr] has since dedicated his playing days to his late grandfather and remind him of what he is playing for—what conviction really means. So what is your 68?
Well, in 1992, I accidentally called my 4th-grade teacher “mom”. I don’t think I’ve ever really recovered from that. Also, I already have a Michael Dean Perry #92 Browns jersey. I wonder if the fact that my favorite player as a kid was a lineman who had a special triple cheeseburger promotion at McDonald’s is at all correlated to my never dunking a basketball? Anyways, no time for introspection. We’re going with 92.
My father, Nick Sr., was well built - five feet eleven
Lesson 1: Invest your time, don’t spend it
You’re really telling this to someone who spent time reading this book
Lesson 2: You don’t always get what you want, but you always get what you deserve.
Yeah man I loved The Big Chill too.
Lesson 3: Promise a starting time, but not a quitting time.
Also great advice if you’re sending an Evite for a party. ActionCookbook’s Dunk Celebration: 8pm-???
Really makes people think some wild shit is gonna go down.
Lesson 4: Patience is a necessity for succ
Lesson 5: Enjoy your work.
THE ABILITY TO PERSEVERE
The authors of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series were rejected by 140 publishers.
And yet this book was published readily.
Do you know who is the winningest pitcher in Major League Baseball history? Cy Young. The great pitcher for whom the award for each league’s top pitching award is named won an astounding 511 games in his career. On the flip side, do you know who is the all-time losingest pitcher in Major League Baseball history?
Of course. That’s Zebulon “Old Oatmeal Arm” Barnswogle, who played from 1876-1896 for the Scranton Mine-Dyers.
No, that doesn’t sound right.
Don’t look at the scoreboard.
Another time this stands out in my professional life came with the Cleveland Browns-
Yeah that adds up.
Being focused does not mean having tunnel vision.
In 1903, Marie Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for her work on natural radioactivity and the use of radium for treating tumors. Eight years later she won her second Nobel Prize, this one in chemistry for determining the atomic weight of radium. I have found that people who have success at one thing are often successful at another, because they have focus - not tunnel vision.
Wow, never heard of this Marie Curie person. I’m sure everything turned out great for her.
Remember that success is never final and failure is never fatal.
But what if success is fatal? I just read about Marie Curie. Anyways, I don’t feel like we’re getting any closer to me dunking.
Prepare for the worst.
Okay, if the teens across the street happen to film me and post it on YouTube with a title like “Broke-boi old dude dunk fail LMFAO”, then I’m going to threaten to tell their mom they smoke weed down by the creek unless they take it down.
There is no i in team, but there is an i in win.
That i stands for “individual responsibility”.
There’s also an i in “slipped disc”, and it stands for “I have a $4,000 medical insurance deductible, Nick.”
Great leaders pick their battles.
You’re right, I probably shouldn’t threaten those teens. They’d win in the end. Teens always win.
Be wary of the internet.
Best advice in the book. I mean, look at you. You’re reading this right now. What are you doing? Anyways, Nick, the dunking. My wife and kids are going to be so disillusioned in me if I don’t pull this off.
Well, more disillusioned. What can I do? I made promises. I had a FatHead made of myself dunking. My son says it scares him. I’m in too deep, Coach. Help me out.
Don’t judge ability simply by statistics.
[marches back into house]
VALUED FAMILY MEMBERS. I HAVE COMPLETED MY JOURNEY OF DUNKING.
[wife, not looking up from her phone, skeptically] You dunked?
KEEPING SCORE IS ANTITHETICAL TO THE CULTURE OF WINNING THAT I HAVE INSTALLED HERE. THE JOURNEY IS COMPLETE. I HAVE ACHIEVED MY GOALS AND THERE IS NOTHING MORE TO-
Never forget that your children owe you nothing; you owe them everything.
DADDY WE WANT A SNACK
alright guys sorry sorry I’m getting it, Nick, can you give us something to go out on while I work on that?
Never take anything for granted.
My family and I were vacationing at our summer lake house in Georgia... as I began to walk off the boat, I slipped. On the way down, I sliced my ear in half, hit my head on the deck, and was knocked unconscious as I fell into the lake.
Oh, it’s funny you mention that, Nick — we actually have footage of that, can we roll that?
[yelling back out to living room while I get the snacks] HONEY I DUNKED
that’s great dear