Play to Lose?

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers "Playing to lose?

After further review… There has been much debate surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers over the past couple of seasons. With this year’s team stuck once again in the losing cycle (despite the presence of talented young players who could eventually turn their fortunes around), some version of this question hovers over the court: to tank, or not to tank?

Better draft picks await teams at the bottom of the standings, and a lot of people would excuse “victory avoidance” for that reason. The TunneySide visited this topic a while back, and what follows are some observations that remain relevant to this day.

During a recent high school girls’ basketball game, both coaches told their players to “play to lose!” C’mon, man! The players were ordered to lose in order not to face a stronger opponent in the upcoming playoffs. The names of these two coaches and their schools are not mentioned here, as their identities are not the point.

Who’s to blame for this ethical failure? The two coaches, for starters. But where were the school administrators? Should players be held accountable? (Probably not—their first duty is to obey their coach.) Credit should go to the game officials, who witnessed this flagrant disregard for the integrity of the game and tried to intervene. They then followed up with a game report to the proper authorities.

Several methods were used to “throw” the game: free throws intentionally missed, players failing to get the ball into their front court within 10 seconds (the resulting violation causing a turnover), one player attempting to shoot at the opponent’s basket, and various other intentional turnovers.

Both coaches have been suspended, and will not be permitted to coach during the 2015-16 school year. Both teams have been banned for the remainder of the season, and disqualified for possible postseason games. Both schools were fined.

“You play to win the game! Hello! You play to win the game!” said New York Jets Head Coach Herm Edwards midway through the 2002 NFL season, when the Jets were losing. When a reporter mused that the season might be a lost cause, Herm continued “That’s the great thing about sports. You don’t play just to play it! I don’t care if you don’t have any wins; you play to win.” In that 2002 season the Jets finished 9-7 and made the playoffs.

Coaches are there to encourage players to always give their best effort. The main ingredient in the word encourage is “courage.” What better practice than sports can help a young person muster the strength to “keep on keepin’ on?” By the way, Laker coach Luke Walton’s attitude on all of this is that “We try to do things the right way around here. We’re going to play to win.”

Will you help others who may be facing a difficult situation to find the courage within?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

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Stepping up to be a leader!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS January 23, 2017 # 629 Up next…Stepping up to be a leader!

After further review… Following the recent TunneySide article on the San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick’s selection by his teammates as an inspirational leader, I received an email from a subscriber saying that his son has been selected captain of his high school baseball T*E*A*M, and could I offer a plan that he could follow to become a successful leader.

After considering many approaches, and with space limitations, I chose to use “C,” the first letter in the word captain to introduce terms that typify strong leadership.

The “C” represents “charge” as “in charge.” Yes, you are in charge. You must step up to take control of your T*E*A*M. When all is going well, leadership is easy. But when difficulties arise, others look to you for solutions. That’s when some want out. But not you — your strength and your demeanor will be scrutinized by others.

Be “calm” – there’s another “C” that’s important. Okay, but how does one develop calmness in the face of adversity? Read on.

“C” for confidence comes to mind. Confidence comes from within. It’s not something that someone else gives you, but a quality that you develop inwardly. Confidence may not be there at first, but convincing yourself (“C”) that you can be a capable (“C”) leader will come with practice. Be careful (“C”) that arrogance doesn’t develop. Great leaders develop what is called quiet confidence. You can as well.

A “C” for credibility comes with being a strong leader. “Walk your talk” is the old saw that expresses what you do speaks louder than what you say. I wrote some time ago that a leader I worked with (and later for) in the National Football League is one whom I could trust to do what he said. I wrote, “I would play poker over the phone with him” knowing full well that although I wasn’t in his presence, I could trust his honesty. That leader was Art McNally, my former NFL officiating supervisor!

The last “C” in this alphabetical exploration is companionship. No one leads alone. Steve Young, NFL Hall-of-Fame quarterback and former San Francisco 49er, told me “If you play alone, you’ll be alone.”

Everyone on a T*E*A*M must be considered important for the team to be successful.

Will you be willing to step up to be a leader with these qualities in mind?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

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Is Kap Inspirational?

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS January 16, 2017 # 628 Up next...Is Kap Inspirational?

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS January 16, 2017 #628 Up next… “Is Kap Inspirational?”

After further review… Leonard Charles Eshmont died from hepatitis over 50 years ago. He was a member of the first San Francisco 49er T*E*A*M (1946-1949). After graduating from Fordham University, Eshmont was the 30th pick of the New York Giants. He was traded to the 49ers, as both a running back as well as a defensive back – he played both positions in every game. He scored the first touchdown in 49er history. Because of his inspirational and courageous play, the ‘Niners named an award in his honor: “The Eshmont Award for Inspiration and Courage”.

When I recently read that a current San Francisco player, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, was named the 2016 Eshmont Award recipient, I researched the past winners. The first recipient was quarterback Y.A. Tittle in 1957. Other Eshmont Award winners have included Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, and Jimmy Johnson, who each won twice. The most frequent recipient of this award, which is voted on by teammates, has been eight-time winner Bryant Young. Considering (as well as knowing) all the 50-plus recipients of the 49ers’ most prestigious team award, the choice of Kaepernick was a surprise.

Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem prior to the 49ers’ 2016 NFL games struck a chord of disrespect in many, as it did in me. The TunneySide takes the stance that while Kaepernick has the constitutional right to protest, he did so while being part of a T*E*A*M, which stands as a unit out of respect to the flag and anthem – symbols of our nation, the very entity that gives him and others the “right” to disrespect. Moreover, he was “on-the-clock,” i.e., being paid by an organization which promotes patriotism as part of their pre-game ceremony.

If the 49er organization had taken the position to disagree with Kaepernick’s form of protest, could they have cut him from the T*E*A*M? They surely could. But per his contract, they would have to pay him his salary for that year – a double-digit million-dollar figure! Of course, Kaepernick knew this, and thus, in this case, held the upper hand.

Further, Len Eshmont, and all the other recipients of the award created in his honor, inspired their fellow T*E*A*M (Together Everyone Accomplishes More) members to perform together as one. While all 53 active players, as well as management, must share in the responsibility of the 49ers’ disastrous 2016 season, how important a role did Kaepernick’s refusal to stand play?

Will you log-in your argument for or against Kaepernick’s position?

To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

Posted in NFL, Tunney Side of Sports Columns | 3 Comments