On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS June 6, 2016 # 596 Up next… Mentoring

After further review…A recent CBS “60 Minutes” program featured Valarie B. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama. Yes, that’s right — POTUS has a “special advisor!” She answers to no one but him – not the President’s cabinet, not the Senate, not the House of Representatives – just Obama. She is there in a mentorship role. The TunneySide has always believed in mentoring, and I dedicated an entire chapter to the topic (number 21, “Everyone Needs Mentors – I’ve had the best”) in my book Impartial Judgment. (More on that later).

Throughout my life I believed in having mentors. As a kid on the playground I always played with kids two or three years older. My thought was that I can learn more from them than kids my own age. As a teacher, coach, high school principal and district superintendent I wanted to learn from the best, so I followed that same thinking and searched out more experienced educators who could help me. When I became a high school principal, I formed a community advisory committee to help guide our school to its healthiest growth.

When I was accepted as an NFL referee, I stayed that course and sought out those with more experience and knowledge to help me become a better game official, and they inspired the above statement “I’ve had the best.” In the early days the NFL didn’t assign officials to crews, so I had the privilege of working with six or seven of the best referees (the crew chief).

In the early 2000s, under the leadership of veteran referees Red Cashion and Jerry Markbreit, (both then retired) the NFL began a “Trainers” program whereby former NFL officials became mentors to younger officials in their various on-field positions. These trainers are mentors to younger officials, but do not hire, fire, or grade them. It is important to note that every official is graded on calls – and no-calls – on every play in every game throughout the season. These trainers have no responsibility in grading; they are there only as mentors to help guide their younger colleagues become better every game, every week. I have been fortunate to work in that capacity for the past several seasons. Giving-back is an important way of life.

From the president of the United States to the youngest official in the NFL, having a mentor to help guide you in the best direction is of great value to you and your organization.

Will you seek out experienced others to be your mentors?

To contact Jim go to or email him

Be sure to get Jim’s new book, “101 Best of the TunneySide of Sports” now available for $20.– includes tax, shipping and an autograph, if requested. The TunneySide takes issues from the sports world and transforms them into positive messages for living a better life. Thank You!

Posted in Current Affairs, NFL, Sports, Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Leave a comment

Tribute To “Red” Scully

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 30, 2016 #595 Up next…To “Red” – a Tribute!

The Sports Illustrated cover for the May 16, 2016 issue featured “The Man Behind the ‘Voice of Baseball’” Vin Scully. Legally known as Vincent Edward Scully, the 1949 Fordham University graduate still answers to the nickname “Red,” earned, of course, for the hair color that is still visible along with tinges of gray. At the end of the 2016 season, after 67 years behind the mike, Scully is retiring. Summer will never be the same for a stadium full of Dodger fans listening to him. ‘Wait a minute!’ you shout – ‘Scully is not the public address announcer. He’s the radio and television voice of Dodger broadcasts.’
Well now, you just wait a minute! Perhaps you’ve never been to a game at Dodger Stadium. Going back 54 years you could find thousands of fans clutching their transistor radios to their ears, listening to Scully as they watch the game on the field below. They still do; ‘course now it’s Vin streaming into their iPhones via live feeds from apps and subscriptions of every description.

But let’s back up for a look at the history of my acquaintance with baseball broadcasters. In my youth, each night I listened to the likes of Red (there’s that unavoidable nickname again) Barber, Marty Glickman and the other eastern broadcasters, since California didn’t yet have MLB. I admired their vocal talents, and that admiration extended over the passing years to broadcasters like Jack Buck, Dick Enberg, Chris Schenkel, Ray Scott, Pat Summerall, Jack Whitaker, and more recently Jim Nantz, the voice of CBS Sports. All articulate and supremely professional. But the unique style and eloquence of Scully is not to be denied, and I’m sure all of the above feel as I do. I remember Scully’s description of a foul ball that crashed into the broadcast booth one evening at Dodger Stadium, Scully said, “My wife, Sandy, while not often in the booth with me, is here today; and that foul ball almost ‘naaaaillled’ her!’”

Scully and I met in the early ‘60s when I attended games at Dodger Stadium. One of my lifelong friends, Rollie Seidler had the good sense to marry Teresa O’Malley, daughter of Walter O’Malley, the owner who moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to L.A. It was a sad day for all “Dem Bums” fans in Brooklyn, but good fortune for Angelenos.

In the mid-70s, Scully called me when I was superintendent in the Bellflower Unified School District and, of course, still very active as an NFL referee. He said CBS invited him to do play-by-play for their upcoming NFL games, and asked would I sit down with him and discuss NFL rules, and their interpretations and nuances. I accepted his invitation and visited with him for dinner at Dodger Stadium before ball games several times to have those discussions. Scully worked some seven seasons as an NFL play-by-play announcer finishing that segment of his NFL career with “The Catch” game – the Dallas vs San Francisco NFC Championship matchup, in which I was the Referee.

Will you pattern your accomplishments with the humility of Vin Scully’s?

To contact Jim go to or email

9781606793503-214x300Be sure to order your copy of “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” now available for $20. includes tax, shipping, and autograph if requested. This book takes issues from the sports world and transforms them into positive messages for productive living.

To order your autographed copy click here.




Posted in Sports, Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Tagged , | Leave a comment


On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 23, 2016 #594 Up Next…” Ball-Brawls!”

After further review…”Grab, Grab, Grab” a former coach was heard to yell from his sideline coaching box. No, he wasn’t talking about today’s NBA style of professional basketball. With pressing defenses, the defensive player being in very close contact with an offensive opponent, players are plainly seen grabbing onto the arm or body of the cutting player. Game officials do see that contact and could call a foul, but it is obvious that the NBA rule makers are allowing it to occur. Maybe the TunneySide has overlooked and somehow missed the logic or attraction of that deviation from basketball’s original rules.

The above quote is attributed to Vince Lombardi, former head coach of the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. Coach Lombardi would follow those three words with “Nobody’s tackling any more – just grab, grab.” Is that the direction of the NBA? Well, if you listen to ESPN/NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy encouraging physical contact when he says “Ya gotta lay some ‘wood’ out there.” Or Charles Barkley, former player, and now TNT/NBA analyst when he says “You can’t let that happen. Take somebody out” in response to a T*E*A*M setting the single-game 3-point record.

That sort of play carries an odor that the TunneySide decries in today’s style of both coaching and performance. And speaking of odor – how about Rougned Odor, who plays second base for the Texas Rangers, and received an eight-game suspension for the right cross he placed on Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista’s jaw (for more on Bautista see his “take that- bat flip” in the 2015 ALSD game five against the Rangers). In a game on May 8, 2016 (Mother’s day of all things!), Bautista was angry that Rangers pitcher Matt Bush “plunked” him. A couple batters later Bautista, now a base runner, executed a late and aggressive take-out slide on Odor. This triggered the bull’s-eye punch from Odor and preceded a massive bench-clearing brawl, resulting in six players (three from each team) being suspended for a total of 17 games while eight others were given fines.

With high school and college baseball playoffs just under way and Little League games coming up in the summer, how can we expect our younger generation to properly play America’s Game?
Will you respect your opponent – and the game of baseball – by avoiding such unwarranted expressions of behavior and letting the powers-that-be deal with such?

To contact Jim go to or email

9781606793503-214x300Be sure to order your copy of “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” now available for $20. includes tax, shipping, and autograph if requested. This book takes issues from the sports world and transforms them into positive messages for productive living.

To order your autographed copy click here.




Posted in Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Leave a comment