“The Missing Man”

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS September 19, 2016 #611 up next…” The Missing Man”

After further review…Does it need to be repeated how important every T*E*A*M member can be? The old saw: “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” tells just a part of the story. Each member’s contribution to its culture is a vital element of any successful team regardless of the circumstances.

To illustrate, the University of Nebraska football team began its 2016 season in an atmosphere of loss. On July 25, punter Sam Foltz, 22 and a senior, was killed in an auto accident in Wisconsin while driving home from a summer camp for punters. Also killed in that accident was former Michigan State University punter Mike Sadler. Fortunate to survive that crash was Colby Delahoussaye, an LSU team member. The accident was caused by a wet roadway; no alcohol or drugs were involved. Such a tragedy for these men, who were so admired by their colleges.

So what did the Nebraska T*E*A*M do in its opening game against the Fresno State (CA) Bulldogs? In their first offensive series of plays the Cornhuskers were fourth-and-four on their own 32-yard line. Naturally, they opted to punt. Ten players ran onto the field and set themselves in punt formation. But wait! There was no punter lined up to punt. It should have been Sam Foltz, of course. The 10 Cornhuskers just waited – and waited – and waited – until the play clock expired, causing delay of game and the resulting 5-yard penalty. The Bulldogs head coach Jim DeRuyter told his players to just stand there and not to accept the penalty.

Mike Riley, in his second year as the Cornhuskers head coach, had forewarned the Big Ten game officials and Coach DeRuyter of this opportunistic play. Drew Brown, Foltz’s closest friend, pointed skyward as the Nebraska players, both on the field and on the sideline “took a knee” as the play clock counted down to zero. The Bulldogs players, knowing the motivation behind this unusual salute, stood and applauded as did the 90,013 fans in the stands.

Coach Riley, who previously coached at Oregon State and for three years in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, won his 100th game as the Cornhuskers prevailed that day, 43-10. Riley said later “There was no better way to start this season than paying tribute to a fine young man”.

Will you recognize the full value of each individual on your T*E*A*M?

contact Jim, go to www.jimtunney.com or email jim@jimtunney.com.

Be sure to get “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” now available for just $20. which includes tax, shipping and autograph, if requested. Please use above email address. Thank You! TunneySide of Sports has many examples of teamwork!

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True Meaning of Sports

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS September 12, 2016 #610 Up next…True Meaning of Sports!

After further review…A recent TunneySide extolled the virtues of the Special Olympic Games. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as a judge, as well as an award presenter to these courageous special athletes. What is “special” about them not only is the overcoming of their physical, mental or emotional challenges, but their outward display of love and sportsmanship for their fellow competitors.

If you know the physical makeup of Down’s Syndrome, you are familiar with their short legs, larger head and a smile, always a smile on their faces. At one of these summer games, I witnessed sportsmanship at its finest. A young Down’s Syndrome competitor, was leading the others in the 400-meter run, when nearing the finish line, he tripped and fell. The other six competitors seeing this, stopped and picked him up, and then proceeded – together –across the finish line. A gesture of sportsmanship that’s often missing in many sporting events. Or is it?

One of those epic moments happened in one of the heats in the Women’s 5000-meter run, during the recent XXXIst Olympiad. With 4-1/2 laps of the 12-1/2 lap race remaining, U.S. runner Abbey D’Agostino fell while running mid-pack and clipped the feet of New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, causing both to tumble spectacularly on the track. As Hamblin laid there on the ground somewhat dazed, she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was her rival, D’Agostino, who said, “Come on get up. We have to finish the race.”

Until that moment, those two had never met, nor spoken to each other. As D’Agostino started to help Hamblin up, her knee buckled. Seeing this, Hamblin returned the favor giving physical support to D’Agostino. They both continued at their own speed to finish the race. Hamblin’s time, 16:43:16, and D’Agostino’s, 17:10:02 — far beyond their normal. Because they were not at fault for the fall, both were advanced through to the finals three days later. D’Agostino was not physically able to run in that final. Hamblin did, but did not medal. Both certainly will remember this Olympiad and, hopefully, so will you; not for the medal count, but for sportsmanship!

This is how sports should be. Competition is important and can be entertaining, but humanity out weights them both!
Will you compete with all your strength and will, but with sportsmanship first and foremost?

To contact Jim, go to www.jimtunney.com or email jim@jimtunney.com.

Jim’ books and video tapes are full of ideas and suggestions about sportsmanship and competition. Available at the above email. These TunneySide’s take issues from the sports world and transforms them into positive messages for better living. Thank You!

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The “Kaper Kaper !”

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS September 5, 2016 #609 Up next…The “Kaper Kaper !”

After further review…The National Football League is currently promoting the slogan, “Football Is Family.” This is of significance to this writer since the NFL has fulfilled that role to both me and my personal family for over one-half century – 56 years to be more precise. When I was invited to join the NFL’s officiating family in 1960, I felt an immediate camaraderie. During my 31 years as an active on-field official, the NFL provided me a job (concurrent with my career as an educator) that fostered great pride and helped me put four kids through higher education.

The NFL officiating family comprises crews whose lives are woven tightly together from July through January each season. The seven members of each crew know each other’s personal families and develop their own group culture to ensure that all members are working together to produce the best quality of officiating possible. Likewise, every NFL T*E*A*M (Together Everyone Accomplishes More) develops its own culture adopting the shared philosophy that ensures they put forth their best performance.

Which brings us to the “Kaper Kaper” where one member of a T*E*A*M decides that the culture or tradition of his team is against his personal beliefs. In this case it has led to instances of not standing during the playing of the National Anthem, because he feels that showing pride “in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color” would be “selfish.” In particular, he decries law enforcement. Does one member of a team have the right to such symbolic behavior? Of course he does; if, indeed, the very constitution of this country guarantees freedom of speech. However, when one puts his own beliefs ahead of his team, then team chemistry is affected.

Having had the privilege of playing, coaching and officiating in team sports for my entire life, it has always been my belief that team, family, and officiating crew culture must take precedence over personal issues. Does this mean one must devalue or forego issues of integrity? Of course not! It does mean, however, accepting the culture of a team and if not, disengaging oneself from that team. It occurs to me that if one is unwilling to adapt to, or is unwilling to change, or is unable to change one’s teams culture, then separation from that team must happen for the future success of both the individual and the team.

Will you log-in your beliefs about individual rights vs team culture?

To contact Jim, go to www.jimtunney.com or email jim@jimtunney.com.

Jim’s book “Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” take issues from the sports world and transforms them into positive messages for better living. Available from the above email at $20. which includes tax, shipping and an autograph, if requested.

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