Tag Archives: sports

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The Perfect (Sports-Related) Tribute to Nelson Mandela

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ESPN’s Surprise-Returns Video Speaks for Itself This Veterans Day

What Can Associations Learn from the NFL’s Diversity Playbook?

nfl rooney rule
An annual report by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports showed that the National Football League is making great strides with diverse hiring at top-level positions. But what can associations draw from it?

Associations looking to improve their game in terms of hiring practices that promote a diverse workforce might want to get some coaching from the National Football League.

For the fourth consecutive year, the NFL received an A grade for its racial hiring practices from the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES). The institute, located at the University of Central Florida, gave the league a C+ for gender hiring, making its overall grade a B.

While the number of diverse head coaches dropped from eight to four from 2011 to the beginning of 2013, the league welcomed its first team president of color and first majority team-owner of color. The league saw an 11 percent increase in the total number of women and people of color at or above the vice president level.

[quote ]”Diverse teams tend to work better and see things from different perspectives.”[/quote]

Compare that with data showing that minorities constitute 25 percent or less of board members at most associations and that nearly 40 percent of associations have no minority board members at all.

Forget about grades for a minute though, because, according to career coach Cheryl Palmer, founder and president of Call to Career, the report itself—specifically, its focus on metrics—can offer some great lessons for associations. “Metrics let you know where you stand and what you need to actually work on,” she said. “Otherwise you just have a general idea of where you are, and your perception might not be that accurate.”

The TIDES “2013 Racial and Gender Report Card” for the NFL [PDF] also showed that a team’s overall effectiveness, on and off the field, was affected by the level of diversity within the organization.

“Being diverse helps to attract other people who might be your members or customers, and diverse teams tend to work better and see things from different perspectives,” Palmer said.

A diversity initiative has to be built into the strategic plan and the culture of an organization to be successful, she said, but building a pipeline of diverse candidates is just as critical. “It starts from college and goes all the way up—connecting with professional organizations and different types of networks that represents the diverse workforce that you’re looking for.”

Since NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was hired in 2006, the NFL has implemented various policies and procedures to emphasize diversity throughout the league, most notably the so-called Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for a vacant head coaching position. A similar policy in associations could be a double-edged sword, Palmer said.

“Something like that certainly could be effective, but it’s a matter of, in terms of implementation, making sure that it doesn’t end up having some sort of backlash,” she said. “It’s more about being intentional with the people you bring in and setting the expectation within your organization that this is what you value. And beyond that, it’s about retaining the right people and making sure that everybody is welcome in this environment.”

Reprinted with permission. Copyright, ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership, November 1, 2013, Washington, DC.

In Defense of the Bandwagoner

Let's not be so hostile to those trying to climb aboard.

Let’s not be so hostile to those trying to climb aboard. (Photo via Gridiron Goddess)

Any good sports fan can spot one, even if they were a mile away, wearing an eye mask, five sheets to the wind, and having just finished a game of dizzy bat (though none of that sounds like a good idea in any sort of way). Bandwagon fans stand out like a black eye. But why all of the hate?

In just the last 24 hours I’ve seen such harsh things written on the Twitters and Facebook about fair-weather fans—namely those in Boston (after the Red Sox clinched their 3rd World Series in the last decade) and the Philly (the upstart 76ers knocked off the Miami Heat last night). True, die-hard, loyal fans went above and beyond their “call of duty” to put down anyone who showed any amount of excitement about either team winning, and who they were absolutely positive was not a “real fan” of either team.

For anyone who partook in those shenanigans, I hope you’re reading, and listen closely: Stop it. Ripping on bandwagon fans makes you look like a jackass. Just let those “fake fans” enjoy whatever moment it is they want to revel in, and look the other way. They’re not hurting you. They’re not hurting your team. They should have little to no impact on your daily life as a fan, and how invested you are in your team. If anything, you should be proud and excited that other people—especially those born and raised in the same town as you—want to support and throw some passion behind the same thing you do (that sounded dirty, but I’m alright with it, and you catch my drift).

A few things to consider about bandwagon fans, that maybe could change how maliciously you act towards them.

1. Just because they don’t post social media updates after every inning, or bucket, or goal, or huge hit, doesn’t mean they’re not as big of a fan as you.

Lots and lots and lots of people use social media in lots and lots and lots of different ways. Some go way overboard with the things they post or how frequently the share things (I’m usually guilty of this), and others will make an update once in a blue moon. The Red Sox winning the World Series might’ve given people in the latter group cause to come out of the wood works and share in the moment of celebration. A huge win over the defending NBA champs might’ve given people in Philly a reason to get excited for a hot minute about the Sixers. I haven’t said much about the Flyers on Facebook, Twitter, or this blog during the first few weeks of the season—frankly because there hasn’t been much of anything nice to say—but that doesn’t make me a fair-weather Flyers fan. Every time I get a text from ESPN about a blown lead and eventually a loss, it still hurts. It hurts because I’m a fan. Bottom line: Don’t judge someone’s level of fandom by their social media engagement.

2. Yes, there absolutely are different levels of fandom, and as long as a bandwagoner isn’t a “bad fan” then I have no problem with them.

Every team in every city throughout the globe has a wide range of fans. You’ve got your die-hards who literally live and slowly die with their teams and show up to 90-100% of the games (home and away), and can recite the team’s entire roster down to the 7th bench player’s height, weight, wing span, where he went to school, what he majored in, and what his shooting percentage is in the 4th quarter with his team down by 1 with less than 10 seconds left on the clock. (These are mostly your beat reporters, retired old men, and the unemployed.) Then there’s your passionate fans who stay in tune with a team and follow them throughout the season, occasionally go to games and can hold a conversation. Casual fans (where most “bandwagoners” probably legitimately fall) know who the all stars are, they understand the game for the most part, and know how to have a good time if and when you take them to a game—but they don’t pretend to know everything about everyone like you, you die-hard Yankees-addict. Then we all know what a true bandwagoner is—the guy (or gal) who goes out and buys the championship t-shirt, their first piece of team apparel, and wears it for the next week. But hey, that’s more money to the organization, and as long as they aren’t showing up to games and causing a scene (like intentionally vomiting on people, or kicking girls in the face) who cares what they do? Embrace those folks, catch them up to speed, and convert them to die-hards.

We all had to become fans at some point. Sure they’re late to the party, but why are you going to try and shun them away and prevent them from having a good time? I’m a fan of that cliche, ‘The more the merrier.’ A packed Citizens Bank Park filled with 45,000 bandwagoners is a much better atmosphere than barely 10,000 unhappy, pissed off, grumpy ass die-hards. Invite those people into the “in” crowd and celebrate the fact that your team has a whole host of new fans.

3. Can bandwagoners be annoying? Sure. You know, deep down, that you were there through thick and thin, but crying about it only makes you seem like a douche.

Not much more I can say beyond that. Just know that whenever you complain about fair-weather fans, you’re just making yourself look like a fool. If you know in your heart that you are a real fan, that’s great for you. There’s no need to act all tough behind a keyboard (no, the irony is not lost on me here). You just sound all whiny and childish. “This was my team first! I love them more than you, and there’s no way you’ll ever be as big a fan as me! I have a different jersey I can put on for each day of the month. And they’re all authentic replicas that I spent my last seven paychecks on. How many jerseys do you have, (and t-shirt jerseys count for negative one)? Huh? HUH!?!? How many losses did you agonize through? How many dates with real girls did you pass up on so you could make it to each game of that big weekend series against the Mets? How many times have you sat in the 700 Level with the real fans? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Go back to being a fake fan, you fake fan, you.”

You with me?

I get that people are going to get passionate and want to act all macho about big of a fan they are, and they want to prove to themselves and others that they are, by far, the biggest fan in the world, but who are you really benefiting? Your ego? Maybe, but that’s all. People are going to be their own kind of fan at their own pace that they’re comfortable with, and everyone else should learn to respect that.

At the very least, learn to ignore those who you think are fair-weather in nature, and refrain from making yourself look ridiculous.

[Steps down from soapbox.]

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Ohio State’s Marching Band is Going Viral, Again

If you haven’t seen this already, please take the time to treat yourself to Ohio State’s marching band paying tribute to Michael Jackson during halftime of the school’s game against Iowa on Saturday. The entire thing is a great, but if you’re crunched on time, the real fun starts at around the 4:15 mark.

The video is already up around 400,000 views at the time of this posting, and should climb higher as it’s been featured on news sites all across the interwebs.

This isn’t the first time the group has been able to grab a slice of internet fame with their halftime performances, either. Earlier this year the group paid tribute to Disney at halftime during their game against Buffalo…

…and back in October of 2012, the group put on quite the spectacle, playing video game music and getting into some incredible formations.

And who says being in a marching band isn’t cool as shit? Dorky? Absolutely, but cool. as. shit.

So, What Did Everyone Think Of the Bob Costas Halftime Segment?

Bob Costas’s Sunday Night Football soap box segment has seen its fair share of blow back from the public—most notably when he went off of the gun control issue just a few days after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Well, he definitely struck another chord on Sunday when he offered his take on the Washington Redskins name change debate.

I’m not going to offer my opinion on the issue of the moniker that Washington’s football team employs (I’ve already done plenty of that), but a quick search of “Bob Costas” on Twitter will give you a good idea of where people stand on the issue—and what they think about Costas. Here’s a sampling of the hate that was spewed at NBC and Costas by the same people who would argue that Daniel Snyder is honoring America and those people who lived here before our ancestors by continuing to call Washington’s team a racist slur (sorry, I know I said I wouldn’t say anything, but I couldn’t help it).

https://twitter.com/proUSAproGod/status/389573008748453888

Here’s What’s Wrong With ESPN’s “Best Sports Region” Methodology

In the latest edition of ESPN the Magazine—sickeningly dubbed “The Bay Area Issue”—the World Wide Leader crowned the Bay Area as the best sports region during the last calendar year. The title was determined based on a number of factors from overall record to postseason performance to regular season finish in the major sports, college sports, and the WNBA and MLS (separated from the rest, and worth far less overall because who cares about soccer and women’s basketball…).

I’m alright with the San Fran/Oakland region being given the title, they deserved it—a world series win (Giants), Super Bowl runner-up (49ers), a Rose Bowl win (Stanford), and the best record in the AL over that span (A’s)—and they ran far and away with it—their 360 “points” was more than 100 “points” better than the next closest regions.

What I’m not alright with is the next two regions that were on the list, particularly the one that came in second: Baltimore/Washington.

Last year, this same issue was dedicated to B’more/DC, and was just as sickening. What I don’t get though, is why these two cities, with two distinct fan bases are constantly being clumped together? (Granted, Oakland and San Fran are the same way, it’s pretty clear that one city is carrying the torch there, and they, literally, are separated by only a 1.7 mile bridge.) Comparing these two cities, their sports teams, their fans, hell even their cultures, is like comparing apples and oranges.

My allegiance belongs to an entirely different region, but I’ve been living amongst the fans in the nation’s capital long enough that I feel like I’m able to speak on their behalf in this regard. Baltimore and DC people don’t necessarily like each other. Go to a Ravens-‘Skins game when they happen every four years. Purple and Burgundy don’t mesh well. Go to a Nats-O’s game when they renew the “Battle of the Beltways” every year during interleague play. It’s not cordial to say the least. So why are we going to clump them together on a consistent basis and act like Baltimore and Washington, DC, are one in the same?

The two towns are a good hour-drive away from one another. While people in DC are worried about politics and working their shoe leather on the Hill, people in Baltimore are busy crabbing in the Chesapeake. One is an actually city with a downtown and skyscrapers; the other has a 12-story height restriction for buildings and free and open monuments and museums. One has a tourist attraction located on a harbor that gets everyone away from the bad parts of town; the other is constantly overrun by tourists who can’t actually visit the free and open monuments and museums right now because our government sucks. One is filled with people who actually live and work in the city and are die-hard fans of their sports teams no matter how much they suck; the other sees its population boom during the work week (only 28 percent of the people employed in DC actually live in the District), and the fans are some of the most bandwaggon you’ll find—I’m lookin’ at you, you grumpy asshole Nats fan. Christ, they’re even in separate “states.”

Both are surrounded by large beltways though, and just a short drive from one to the next! Oh, and there’s that airport smack in the middle of them that they share (BWI). But that’s about all they have in common.

If proximity to one another is all that ESPN cares about, then how about we group together Philly and New York? They could count as a sports region if that’s what we’re going by—and they’d be one of the most dominant. It’s only an extra half-hour drive between those two cities than it is from DC to Baltimore.

dc to bmore and philly to ny

Hell, it’s even a shorter drive than the “region” they made up that finished third in this ridiculous listing—Louisville/Cincinnati.

louisville to cincy

We don’t group Philly and New York into a region because it sounds ridiculous. When it comes to sports, and most other things in life, the two cities absolutely hate each other. Baltimore and Washington aren’t quite on that level, but Uncle Sam certainly doesn’t want his little District sneaking around with that dirty, disgusting, disease infested neighbor’s son.

So please, for the love of God, DC fans, and Baltimore fans (and Cincinnati and Louisville fans for that matter), can we stop trying to mix oil and water in the same cup over and over?