Citizen of the World, A Note on #Mentors
Arthur Ashe & a Langston Hughes Poem
I’m subscribed to receive one DVD from Netflix including the streaming access. This past summer a DVD arrived about legend Arthur Ashe titled Citizen of the World, directed by Julie Anderson. The film is a look into the life of a legendary athlete I was aware of, but knew very little about.
One of the details the film revealed was a note about Arthur Ashe’s mentor, Dr. R.W. Johnson. In a previous Every1Plays post, I talked about one of my mentors. The film made me think about some of today’s athletes and who they identify as mentors.
I highly recommend the film Citizen of the World. Ashe lived a life of memorable accomplishments and extreme challenges including his fight to live after having contracted HIV during a heart bypass surgery in the 80s. This was at a time of ruthless stigma, prejudice, and negativity against those living with HIV and/or advocating on its behalf. Til’ this day, advocates work tirelessly to educate and raise awareness on issues like stigma that continues to occur across the country and around the world..
Above is a photograph of Arthur Ashe with several others including his mentor. I included a link to the Arthur Ashe documentary on Amazon below. If you’re a teacher or coach looking to school your students on Arthur Ashe, the game of tennis, and why this film is titled Citizen of the World, I’d suggest you check it out!
In the film, it included reference to a poem by Langston Hughes I believe is titled “To You”.
To Sit and dream, to sit and read,
To sit and learn about the world outside
Our world of here and now – our problem world-
To dream of vast horizons of the soul
Through dreams made whole, unfettered, free – help me!
All you who are dreamers too, help me make the world anew.
Team USAB’s Core Values #together #play #learning #work #friendship
As the world gets a glimpse of the Golden State Warriors starting core in the Rio 2016 summer games, I want to go back to 2015 after GS secured a historic 16 consecutive wins to open the season. At the time, Head Coach Steve Kerr was out having underwent back surgery, placing the responsibility of the X’s and O’s on assistant coach Luke Walton. In an NBATV broadcast following GS’s 16th win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Warriors commentator Laurence Scott introduced viewers to a story about the team’s core values. The broadcast included insight from Coach Walton and the Warrior’s power forward Draymond Green. It also included a shot of a dry erase board in the Warrior’s lockeroom with the following core values written in the order listed below:
Written in another marker color below the main four was a note that read 5th Man “Togetherness”.
My younger brother Josh got all of us brothers involved in assisting the Team USA basketball club. He’s been coaching the group for close to five years now. Like any team, the squad has experienced plenty of ups and downs. Thinking about some of the team’s struggles at the time, I was inspired by what I saw on the Warriors broadcast about their core values. I thought about how those core values that Coach Kerr instilled as a foundation for the team’s success would translate over to a children’s basketball club.
In the NBATV broadcast Coach Walton mentioned “joy” was the most important of the core values. He talked about how important it was to have fun, especially since an NBA season is so long. By the time the Finals ended in 2016, the Warriors played more than 100 games.
After watching the broadcast, I thought about coming up with our own core values that we could share with the children of Team USA. Coach Walton only mentions four core values in the broadcast, but on the dry erase board there was reference to a 5th, “Togetherness”
For our squad we kept “Togetherness” as one of our values that we simply refer to as Together. We promote ‘Together’ as a value to say that we win and lose as a team, together.
The next core value inspired by the Warriors concept of fun, we changed to Play. Regardless whether we win or lose, everyone or “every1” must have the opportunity to ‘Play’. This core value was also inspired by an old Santana song titled ((Let the Children Play)).
Play is followed by the core value of Learning. Even the greatest of the great will tell you how much they continue to learn and the importance of practice. So for our squad, we identify each practice and game as a learning experience. And following the each one teach one philosophy, we also believe that we all have something to teach ourselves and each other. Therefore, we consider our failures and accomplishments ‘Learning’ experiences.
Our next core value is Work. While we want to stress the importance of having fun, we also emphasize the importance of respecting hard ‘Work’ as essential to becoming the best we can be. We emphasize this through our commitment to practice and other responsibilities in our lives that make us whole. Whether that’s commitment as a student to school and teachers, commitments as a big brother or big sister, commitment to our parents, commitment to church, and our general commitments to help each other excel.
Our final value for our children’s basketball club is Friendship. I was inspired by Coach Kerr's core value of compassion. Instead we chose the word 'Friendship' to help our players understand that as teammates they should care about each other. Beyond the court, our intent is to promote a bully free environment that children can begin to conceptualize through the values of friendship.
At the end of some of our practices we ask children from the Team USA basketball club if they remember the five core values. At times we’ll also focus on one core value at a time and connect it to something we learn during practice. For example, if the children are fatigued from running and putting in work during drill stations we’ll discuss the importance of ‘Work’. If we notice kids getting upset with one another during practice we’ll emphasize values of ‘Friendship’. If we come off of a big win or loss from a city league game, we’ll talk about what it means to experience those moments ‘Together’. Or if one of the children is getting better at a particular basketball skill that they want to demonstrate to the team, we highlight these moments as ‘Learning’ moments.
These core values help provide structure and opportunities for coaches, youth athletes, and families to reflect on their involvement with the game of basketball. Our athletes are still in the beginning stages of their development as adolescents and how they think. For many, its their first time stepping foot on a court for organized play. It’s a special time for how they see themselves and imagine their futures in the game of hoop. It’s a game that can open up a lifetime of healthy activity and that has the potential to compliment academic improvement, community involvement, and even professional opportunity way into their adult years.
If you run a basketball club for youth and have or are planning to develop your own set of core values we’d love to hear from you.
A #every1reads post from our world wide web archive at every1plays.org
Shout out to our main man Juan!
Unstoppable from Underdog to Undefeated: How I Became a Champion
This afternoon I was reading the October 2014 issue of Muscle & Fitness when I flipped the page to the Edge Inspiration section titled ‘Pinning His Hopes’ about D-1 wrestling champion Anthony Robles by Ben Radding. The page included a note that said, “Read Up, Robles is the author of Unstoppable: From Underdog to Undefeated“. The book was published by Gotham last year. I checked out a couple of interviews on YouTube included below with Anthony Robles promoting the book and sharing his inspiring story. There’s a lot more to come from Robles including a documentary, talks about a movie on his life, ESPN work, more motivational speaking, and the possibility (if the time is right) to return to the mat for a shot at the 2016 Olympics. The YouTube videos are linked below. Check them out!
This begins a category of this website we’ve titled Every1Reads. As we stumble across books we’d like to recommend or write reviews for, we’ll post them on our website under the category Every1Reads. This is to encourage athletic programs to promote reading amongst athletes. Especially with the amount of travel teams have to do… what best than to fill that down time with reading? As a coach, do you promote recreational reading with athletes? This question applies to teams of all ages.
A request we’d like to throw out there, especially for school coaches… as athletes put in time to excel in sport activity, make reading activity a part of their program too. Perhaps some of the book recommendations we post will encourage you to pass the word. Or maybe it’ll encourage you to purchase copies for your athletes to discuss over the course of the season. Or maybe you can request these titles for the school library or encourage your athletes to get some time in to visit and support their local libraries and book stores. There are thousands of sports stories documented in text out there stretching far back in history to the present day, from males and females, of all sports, ages, and circumstances. You never know, one of those stories may be on your roster working their way towards triumph.