Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Doing The Right Thing

With the start of spring sports it gives us two sports in particular where integrity and doing the right things come into play in a big, big way.  The sports of golf and tennis are, for the most part, controlled by decisions that the players make on the course and on the court. 

I believe that golf is the ultimate game of integrity.  The rules are set up to be self governing and those that have played or competed know how extensive they can be.  High School tennis competitions are set up so players are making their own calls in their matches.  There are no line judges, chair umpires, or even ball boys or girls that will toss you the ball when you need it.  Both games offer the ultimate opportunity for sportsmanship and integrity. 

Two of the bullet points of The Rider Way are tied together in one fantastic thread for these sports.  "Control What You Can Control" and "Integrity Above All Else".  In these competitive areas you will always have the ability to control your ability to do the right thing as you look at the lie of your golf ball in the rough or make the right line call on the tennis court. 

Can you control what your opponent does?  Obviously, the answer is no.  You do control your own integrity though and just because someone else improves their lie in the rough, makes the wrong call or doesn't apply a rule correctly never gives you the right to return the favor just to try to even the score. 

That's why educational athletics is such a great tool for teaching lessons that can make an impact for a lifetime.  There will always be people looking for shortcuts and a shadier way to get ahead.  We have to rise above that and do the right thing because the right thing is always the best thing to do.  This may mean that we may not receive immediate rewards or accolades, but in the end, if we do things the right way, and do them consistently, people will notice and the acknowledgement will come.  Besides we don't do the right thing for the praise, we do it because it's the right thing to do.

We should also keep in mind that the example we set in some of those situations not only reflects on who we are but also serves as an example for those that may be watching.  We need to use the opportunities where we have a choice of doing the right thing or the wrong thing to be a leader and stand for the right thing.  One right decision at a time could not only change your destiny but also help shape the person watching how you handle the decision. 

Don't miss your leadership opportunities even in times of difficult decisions. 


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Need Inspired?

I'm not sure how your day was.  Mine was good but it still doesn't hurt to be inspired.  I'm lucky to "work" in a fantastic environment that is alive every single day and you don't have to look very hard to be encouraged.  

My hope for those that are reading this is that you are able to be in a place daily that can lift you up when you need it or takes you even higher if your day is rolling along nicely.  If you're not, maybe see last weeks post (The Fab Five). 

My other hope is that you are in a place daily where you can lift someone else up as well.  If you've been encouraged pay it back by encouraging someone else.  Everyone can always use a little encouragement and you may be the person in line to offer it.  Remember, it costs $0.00 to be a decent human being.

I happened upon a Bridges2Harmony rehearsal a few hours ago and was able to just stand and be encouraged by the amazing talent and passion of this group.  They inspired me and I thank them for that.  Today it was a musical performance.  Tomorrow it may be an athletic practice, something I witness in the hallway, or a conversation with a student, parent, or coach.  Not knowing where the inspiration will come from and who may offer it is what makes each day special. 

Thank You Roosevelt.

Perfect? No.
Always easy? No.
Inspiring? YES!

So...need inspired?  Here's Bridges2Harmony from this year's Winter Concert.

p.s. You're welcome


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Your Fab Five

You are the average of the 5 people 
you spend the most time with. 

Who are the five people you hang around with the most?  Maybe you don't actually physically get to be with them on a day to day basis.  If not, who are the people you text, tweet, or talk to on the phone (what a concept) most frequently? 

Chances are those people help to shape your attitude and the way you view the things that happen to you each and every day.  Are you surrounding yourself with people that are positive?  Are they doing what you are doing or would like to become?  If not, why not? 

One of the first steps in becoming the person or leader that you want to become may be getting out of your own way and making the decision to surround yourself with people that can encourage and help you get there.  The next step will be to follow through with those tough decisions and separating yourself from the people or situations that may be holding you back. 

I often told athletes that the people you have to stay away from are the people who are happy with average and don't want to step out to take the risk or do the work to get better.  When you step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to grow it's scary and there will always be people who will tell you it's not worth it. 

My encouragement is to get away from those types of people and get them out of your five.  You don't deserve them and they don't deserve you.  

You can not change
around you.

But you can change
the people you choose
to be around... 


Monday, February 29, 2016

Roosevelt Football Coach Erik Link Shares His Vision

Roosevelt Family:

It’s with great excitement, passion, and humility that I introduce myself as the next Head Football Coach. I am truly honored and humbled with the opportunity to be your Head Coach. There is no greater platform to impact lives and a school community. I can assure you that I do not take this responsibility lightly and will work every day to ensure that our young people have a great experience with in our program. It’s my intent to hire a staff that is full with men of a great character and share my passion for positively impacting the lives of young people.

 Our vision is to build a successful football family including administration/faculty, coaches, players, parents, and community members that facilitates the development of young student-athletes in becoming productive students, athletes, and citizens. Our vision encompasses five areas: athletics, academics, team, personal, and societal. We want to prepare, equip, and motivate all student-athletes to win in each of those areas. Our players will strive to make a lasting and measurable difference within the team, their families, and their community. 

Our program motto is simply G.B.E.D. “Get Better Every Day”. We want our student-athletes to find something they can identify each day to improve in or get better at. It’s our belief that if each student-athlete in our program does this, “we” in turn will improve as a Football Family. 

Our program “it’s” for each phase of our program are as follows:
Our offensive “it”: We are a 2-back/play action hurry up no huddle offense that operates at a 2 minute pace the entire game.
Our defensive “it”: We will relentlessly pursue the football for 48 minutes and establish a physical edge for the entire game.
Our Special Teams “it”: Provide the winning edge.
Our Coaches/Players “it”: Develop dynamic and meaningful relationships with one another.
Our Roosevelt Family “it”: Unite as One!

I am very much looking forward to meeting all of you in the very near future. I strongly encourage you to get involved with our football family in any way that you possibly can. Roosevelt has a long tradition of excellence in so many programs and we intend to establish a level of excellence with our football program that everyone in the Roosevelt community can be proud to support.

Go Riders!

Coach Link

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Thank You

Our winter home games and meets have come to a close for the 2015-16 seasons.  It's amazing how fast the time goes and I'm continuing to learn a great deal as I work through my first year at Roosevelt.  I do know that it is an amazing place with amazing people. 

I'd just like to take a moment to say Thank You to everyone who has helped us at our home events.  To all of the volunteers who work on the pool deck during swim meets, work as announcers, work computers, scoreboards, and various other score table responsibilities at all of our events a huge Thanks to you. 

To all of our night set up crew who work to get our facility ready for events setting up the gym and then clean it up after the contests so school can start again in the morning, Thank You. 

Thank You to the teachers who have shown up to take the gate money for all of our events and to the concession stand workers who have shown up and contributed their time and energy to run the concession stands.  

We were blessed with such a great group of vocalists to sing our National Anthem at our events and were treated to be best drum line in the state at several basketball games.  Thank You for sharing your talents and showing what amazing students we have.  

Thank You to our cheerleaders and their coaches for leading us with their school spirit.  The same goes to our Super Fans student section who have taken over gyms and been such a big help in some of our games with their enthusiasm and support. 

Thank You to those that helped to provide some half-time entertainment during the season.  The dance team, individual dancers, and our drill team provided some great entertainment throughout the season.  

Parents, I've worn those shoes, and I Thank You for sharing your child with us and helping in so many ways.  It's a phase of life that passes quickly so I hope you've had some moments to cherish.     

And finally, Thank You to all of the students and coaches who have given their time, talents, and energy to represent Roosevelt High School in such a positive way.  Our hope is that you've created memories and learned some life lessons that will last a lifetime.  

(Good Luck to the Girls Bowling team at State and Boys Basketball as you face Valley on Friday)

Thank You Riders!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Leadership Lessons From Super Bowl 50

Super Bowl 50 is a week in the books but I'd like to just touch on a couple of leadership take a ways from the post game.  Many have seen or read about Carolina quarterback Cam Newton's post-game press conference.  If you haven't hear it is.

I understand the disappointment of losing on the biggest stage of the year, but I think we need to be gracious and available even in defeat.  The Panthers, in particular Cam, have been celebrating all season and even been criticized for some of the actions they used in celebration.
Lesson #1:  Everyone is always happy and upbeat when life is good and we're winning but how are you when things get tough?  Tough times are going to happen. Be prepared and handle them with grace and class. I'm sure Cam Newton will learn from this, grow because of it, and be better next time.  (That is a free leadership lesson as well)

On the other side much was being made about Peyton Manning and if he would announce his retirement.  Had he wanted the moment he certainly could have taken it but his teammate Von Miller had just been named the MVP of the game and had almost single handedly dominated the Panthers.  What Peyton did was the second lesson I believe we can learn from the night.
Lesson #2: Even if the spotlight is thrown upon you don't take away from the team and your teammates if they deserve their moment. 

Until next time Roughriders.


Monday, February 8, 2016

More Than A Game - Rider Pride Night 2016

(photo courtesy of Daniel Doyle)
Awesome, astonishing awe-inspiring, beautiful, wonderful.  The words to describe the scene and activity in Pomerantz Gymnasium could go on and on as the third annual Rider Pride game was played.  The game was just a tool to help make memories that will last a lifetime.  A special recognition to the organizer of this incredible evening, Emily Ruff-Burroughs and the Best Buddies at TRHS.  
To see our school and community come together and support this game was impressive.  I had heard about it and even watched the You Tube video of the first one two  years ago, but to actually experience is something that is so good for the heart and soul.  I've been fortunate to witness some marvelous things in my 31 years in education but nothing quite like this.  Thank you to all those that participated and gave their time to help make the Rider Pride game a reality.  
Here's what I was reminded of after reflecting on the evening.  
  1. Never underestimate the impact of what we might consider something so simple to actually do.  Many times we just have to act on what we may see as unimportant and it usually has a big impact. 
  2. When you use the position and talents you've been given to impact others you receive the biggest blessing and lesson. 
  3.  In the grand scheme of things memories are one of the greatest things we can give and receive. 
  4. Roosevelt has terrific students, school, and community. 
If you missed the game or would like to relive it click the link below.  
Rider Pride 2016 Courtesy of Joe Mahoney

Continue to make a difference in the world around you.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Roughriders Are Now On Pinterest

Yes, that's right, we've added another social media site to our repertoire and it seems only natural given the founder of Pinterest is a Roughrider.  Ben Silbermann graduated from Roosevelt in 1999 and launched Pinterest in 2010.  We will use Pinterest to share information on "boards" that may help students and families in a variety of areas and some that may just be of interest and fun.  We currently have the following topics on our site:
  1. Concussion Management
  2. Social Media
  3. Sportsmanship
  4. Inspirational Quotes
  5. Sports Nutrition
  6. Sports Parenting 
  7. Multi-Sport Athletes
  8. State Offices
  9. Leadership 
  10. Ted Talks
  11. NCAA/NAIA Eligibility Center
  12. Roosevelt Photos
  13. Miscellaneous
If you have some ideas on areas that may be of interest or help please let me know and we'll expand what we have on our page.  If you'd like to follow our page and are a Pinterest user you can find us by searching DM Roosevelt Roughriders.  If you're not a Pinterest user you can sign up and start using the social media platform created by a Roosevelt Roughrider. We'll be adding to it on a regular basis. We hope you'll enjoy it.

All for now.  Thanks for spending some time with me.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Roosevelt And Promoting Our Brand

In this week's blog I'd like to look at the different forms of media we are using to promote Roosevelt High School and the Roughrider brand.  We strive to be the best at marketing our school and our programs because I think our students and community deserve our best effort in this area.  We also have some wonderful photographers who graciously share their work with us so we can use it in different areas of our media and social media.  Thank you to those that provide these photos. 

Here's what is currently available to the Roosevelt community to follow the Roughriders: 

Our activities webpage, Roosevelt Riders is a "one stop shop" for fans to come and see up to date features, schedules, scores, and links to just about everything associated with Roosevelt athletics and activities.  If individual programs have a website of their own I've linked to it from their specific sports page for user convenience.  One of the best links fans of our teams can access is the rschool calendar where you can find up to date schedules and sign up for reminders in case schedules are changed.  The calendar is found under the Extras tab on the webpage and would be a good one to save. 

Our Twitter feed, @trhsroughriders is a site we use daily to send out reminders of upcoming events and update results as well.  When I'm at live events it's updated quite regularly and if I'm not at events I hope to have people sending me periodic updates and then I tweet out the updates as I receive them.  Many times we use the twitter feed independently but there are times that we may post a picture or video from our Instagram account trhsroughriders which posts directly to the twitter feed and our Facebook page Des Moines Roosevelt Roughrider Athletics and Activities.

If you're reading this you have found our blog The Rider Way in which we will do weekly short blogs highlighting some of the happenings around TRHS.  Most will pertain directly to the Riders but some may be informational from other sources if it seems like good information to share.  You can subscribe to the blog if you are a blog reader or I will send out the link through our twitter and facebook links when a new one is shared. 

We toyed with a free phone app this winter but have gotten very limited response to that so I have stopped using it at the present time however, I am exploring the possibility of a new phone app using a company called SuperfanU which is like Foursquare or Swarm, if you are familiar with those.  Fans, in particular students, will "check in" and earn points each time they check in at an event.  We will run contests and can give away prizes as our fans reach certain point levels.  Again, this is being explored but I think would be a fun way to encourage and increase attendance at many activity events. 

What else is to come?  Live video of events.  We're exploring several avenues with this and is something that we hope to have in the future.  My vision is to incorporate this with a program that can let students develop skills in video production and broadcasting.  I believe we have students who may have a real interest and knack for doing this and we also have a few connections in the Roosevelt community who work in the field and could possibly be a great resource for our students.  One of our next local or national news or sports anchor may be walking our hallways right now.  

We are constantly looking for ways to market and brand the Roosevelt Roughriders but I also believe that the best we way can market ourselves is by having successful programs and having fans that are enthusiastic, support our programs and students, and have outstanding sportsmanship.  Those are all things we can control and do with excellence regardless of what social media is being used. 
Our people are the absolute best marketing and promotional programs we can have to make the Roosevelt brand known and seen in a positive light.    

Thanks for spending some time with me. 

Until next time.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Dream and Believe

This is the third in a five part series discussing The Rider Way which is a tool we use to teach students about character and leadership. 

It is rather fitting that today we discuss just a little bit about "Dream and Believe".  Dr. King's vision and dream continues to change the world today.  Even as we talk and work toward making our dreams come true, may we keep our eye on Dr. King's dream of making this world a better place.  That should be our ultimate dream.  

The Rider Way 

                              Respect All, Fear None
                               Integrity Above All Else
                              Dream and Believe
                              Excellence Is Pursued
                              Resilience - Control What You Can Control
·       Dream And Believe
Nothing great is ever accomplished without big dreams.  Don’t be afraid to cast a big dream out there and work for it.  That’s where the real work starts.  Many people have dreams but when things get tough and their back is against the wall, it’s easier to abandon the dream than continue to pursue it.  You have to believe that the dream, not matter how big, is attainable and no setback can keep you from continuing to pursue it.

Don’t settle for what everyone else is doing or what others may tell you that they think you can do.  Chances are most people who try to discourage you don’t have the ambition and would rather have you stay stagnant than really stretch yourself for something better.   Don’t let others drag you down.  If it's your dream and you believe it, keep working toward it.

 Image result for i have a dream quote