Monday, December 14, 2009


Today, I had the distinct honor and pleasure of being a wingman.
A first-year student walked into my office on the verge of tears. Anxiety? Maybe. Fear? Not Exactly.Failure? Absolutely Not. Uncertainty? Ok, let's work with that one. It just so happened that this student overslept for the first exam of her college career as a result of pulling an "all-nighter". Thus, her fate (at that time) was hanging in the balance in her mind. As she explained the rest of her story to me the coach, father, big brother, and godfather roles all kicked into gear. The coach tried to motivate, the father attemped comfort, the big brother asked questions, then the godfather made her an offer that she couldn't refuse. I simply asked her if she wanted me to walk with her to the professor's office. Without hesitation she replied"please & thank you".
We arrived at the building moments later only to find that the professor was not in his office. As she prepared to leave a note under his door, her professor rounds the corner. Thus, her impromptu speech had no note cards and an audience of 1. As she started her speech, I simply faded into the distance and let her negotiate the deal. Ultimately, her professor allowed her to take her exam. Often times wingmen are heralded for their solidaritous acts, but the reality is that great wingmen are truly a reflection of the great leaders they support. She went in, asked for what she wanted and she received it because of who she is, not because of me. Why? I simply abide by the creed of a wingman.
The creed of a wingman is as follows:
  • A wingman passes no judgement
  • A wingman proudly flies on the shoulder of the lead pilot while pushing those in front to keep the lead
  • A wingman is more effective being seen and not heard
  • A wingman never asks for credit
  • A wingman never leaves unless the lead pilot has enough fuel & ammunition to complete the mission
Therefore, I repeat; Today I had the honor and pleasure of being a wingman. YES, it was indeed a pleasure, but moreover it was an honor. My student didn't ask me to be her wingman because she needed me to, but because she wantedme to. The reality is that I didn't do anything except obey my wingman; God. As a result of me doing nothing He empowered her to do something. I simply complied with God's timing and his command. Thus, the title of consummate wingman belongs to Him. He doesn't ask for the credit. Why? He adheres to the aforementioned creed. However, he deserves it and receives it with the utmost humility. So today, I won't ask you who your wingman is; I'll simply ask for whom have you served as a wingman?

Sunday, November 15, 2009


This past Wednesday I had the honor and privelege of hosting students from the FAST TRACK college preparatory program from New York City. They spent an entire day in the District visiting the various schools in the area including Howard University, Georgetown University and finally The George Washington University.

From the time that they waited in the hallway, I immediately sensed an array of energy from these young people. Several burroughs were represented from Brooklyn, Harlem and Queens. When the shout-outs were solicited there was a buzz in the room and a sprinkle of hate, but all the same there was a friendly, competitive commraderie and respect that abided within.

As I began to speak to the group I began to zero in on the people who were listenting not just hearing, focusing not just looking and responding, not just reacting. I sensed that these young people were a little tired from the events of the day and the rainy weather conditions, but what remained constant was their Empire State of Mind. As I shared with them my stories, philosophies, and experiences, I also challenged them to intellectually reach beyond their comfort zone and critically tackle the issues that face them as they plan their present, yes their present not their future. To have an Empire State of Mind is not reserved or limited to native New Yorkers of the universe, however it is a unique and infectious state of mind altogether; a fast track.

Is it a state of mind that dreams? Yes.

One that pursues dreams?Yes

One that will succeed? Yes.

One that removes obstacles? Yes.

One that affects change? Yes.

One that will rule the world? Yes

One that doesn't take NO for an answer? Yes.

It is all of the above and then some. However, an Empire State of Mind should never get old, it should never be off key, it should never be in one language, nor should it ever be a song that falls out of your mental rolodex. It's about building an empire with the skills you have been blessed with. Just remember that you are not the only builder that will make your empire complete. It's a team effort that requires each team member to stick to what they specialize in. You are the architect so sit down at your desk and design the BLUEPRINT.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


It's the beginning of a new season. Hopefully, you've sharpened the skills that desperately needed sharpening, gotten rid of some bad habits that you've developed over time, and maybe you've created a new ritual that will lead to an optimistic attitude as you start this season.

Whatever the case may be, your offseason workouts determine how you perform during training camp and furthermore during the season. In the offseason, you may have taken some extra courses to get ahead or catch up, secured an internship that helped you develop professionally or figure out what you don't want to do. You may have attended a leadership conference/symposium, traveled abroad, read some additional books instead of watching TV or volunteered in your community. If you did any or all of these things, then your status on the team shouldn't be in question once the whistle blows. If your preparation is strategically thorough and your practice is consistently intense then your performance will be undeniably excellent.

Your offseason workout will ultimately determine whether you make the roster, the practice squad or are waived. Training camp is underway. Somebody wants your spot. Will you be on the field making it happen or in the stands watching it happen?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One more day

I'm smart enough to know, patient enough to wait, disciplined enough to stand still, trusting enough to ask once, grounded enough to serve, focused enough to see even with my eyes closed, humbled beyond words yet grateful enough to say thank you. One more day..........

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Untitled ......

Good Morning,

The last 2 months I've been remiss and inconsistent with my blogging. Why? Because I've put unnecessary pressure on myself to share thoughts that are profound, insightful, clever and empowering. Don't get me wrong, it's what I love to do. However, it is not absolutely imperative that I empower and motivate readers every week or every other week. Nevertheless, it is imperative that I share what is on my heart first and then what's on my mind.

In the last few days I've just been in awe and I've also been in prayer about God's purpose for me. I've been in awe at how great God is and how great my life is and has been. Lately God has just shown me how great living can be if you just exist, listen to and follow your heart. So I submit to you today me, a man who is humble, honest, realistic, idealistic, excited, scared, apprehensive, fallible, inconsistent, unsure at times, yet a child of God who just wants to do what he loves and allow it to be acceptable in God's sight and encouraging to those who struggle with the same questions of this life daily.

That said there is no title for this blog entry today, because frankly there is no title for this day, this hour, month, or this lifetime. Allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is Coach Rice. I have dreams, aspirations, prayers, fears, questions, demons and shortcomings. However, I'm still here and so are you. So let's be mindful, grateful, and ready to play this game the right way; together, win or lose, blood, sweat and tears, home and away. Ball up top!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009


Let's face it. We've all felt this way about something in our lives more than we can care to recall or even admit.

It's a phrase whose impact is just as dangerous as "I can't", "it's too hard", "forget this", and "I don't care".

I just don't feel like it. What could this possibly mean? To "feel like it" is to instinctively and confidently know in your heart that you can execute, achieve, and even conquer if necessary. Truthfully there are some things we can do at 75% effort and still yield a 100% result/response. However, to say that "you don't feel like it" leaves your team to fill in your role because of a choice you made, not an impediment. This gives your competitor the edge every single time. With this phrase you give yourself a reason to be below average, stubborn or just plain lazy.

Our freedom to frequently use of this cop out phrase is a sure-fire way to give up the best thing about this life; trying. With one fell swoop we often brush the seemingly tedious and/or grandiose things under the rug and never give thought to who it affects and how it affects them. Whether we pronounce the phrase verbatum or show how much we don't feel like it through our body language we take for granted that our teammates will understand and that our opponents won't sense it or ever take advantage of it. Thus, our teammates question our desire to try, to win and help the team get better.

Take one minute to think about the people in our lives who have meant so much to us. Think about those people from our past and present, from far and near who are related or unrelated and how they have motivated, mentored and guided us. I'm sure there were days they didn't feel like it, but they made themselves feel like it. They pushed through and re-defined hard work, re-defined driven, re-defined focused, re-defined committed, re-defined role model, re-defined mentor, and re-defined team player without wincing or crying aloud. Some people don't get another day to "feel like it", but you've been given another day. So the choice is to feel like it or not feel like it. God gives it to all of us whether we really deserve it or not or whether he feels like it or not. But what if God didn't feel like it????????

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Our mothers are Goddesses. They have humbly and unequivocally accepted the challenge of proactively holding down role of the life-giver, the nurturer, the teacher, the healer, the lover, the encourager and THE ROCK. Although this list does not do justice to what our mothers truly mean to us, it is an abbreviated testament to what is important in our lives. After all, it is our mothers who have taught us to be respectful, thoughtful, and grateful for the little things which in essence are great things.

Mothers have such a major effect on us not just by what they say and do, but by how they say it and do it. While prayer changes things, Mom rearranges things. Our mothers have helped us fine tune our value system, appearance, speech, work ethic, and our attitude. She has been the one person whose timing is deliberate. Every scolding, punishment, chore and lecture had a designed intent to let you know that she brought you in this world and would surely take you out if necessary. Every hug, kiss, smile and high five comforted, and empowered us to go back out into that world again knowing that Mom gave us her blessing and achieve the unseen and unheard.

It's not just a cliche, but every day is Mother's Day. Every day that you can think about her, talk to her, listen to her, learn from her, touch her, hug her, kiss her and remember her is a day that you should celebrate, cherish and take advantage of.

Today and every day I thank God for my mother. I thank my mother for being my angel and my everything. I love and honor her for being a relentless, reliable tower of strength, love, compassion and beauty in every single way. Mom, I love you so much. Thank you for choosing to bring me into this life. You had a choice and I thank you for making the choice that you made. Hopefully, my life is an indication that your choice was not in vain.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


A true friend will stab you in the front? Yes.

The first time my mentor shared this with me years ago I paused. True indeed it was clever, however it wasn't a thought/proverb that he created although he made me think so initially. So often growing up, we were stabbed in the back by people we put our trust in. These people, in our minds, were our true friends until we discovered several blunt objects protruding from our backs. Sometimes we actually felt the knife go in, other times people had to let us know that they were there. No matter the case, it's potentially a deal breaker. It's the kind of harsh reality we must face in our lives more than we care to.

It doesn't limit itself to our childhood. We will remove knives from our backs continuously but it is up to us to decide whether we will leave the knives there and press on or remove the stab throwers from our circle of trust having learned from those stab wounds. If we must remove knives allow them to ones that we can see coming. It's much easier in my humble opinion to remove knives when we have been stabbed in the front. When this occurs at least we know the who, when, why and how. Although the knives still hurt, the act of the stabbing in and of itself has no malicious intent, but the intent must be intepreted correctly by the target. When someone stabs you in the back, it's betrayal, but someone stabs you in the front, it's deference.

To be shown deference can be an ego/confidence killer depending on how or when it is shown, and why or by whom it is shown. Deference done in a sincere manner can build character and allow for a moment of clarity. Initially it may hurt and make us furious and confused yet it is intended to makes us more analytical, cautious and ultimately more appreciative of those who hold the knives. As a result we know where we stand with those whose opinion we value and trust. Thus, when someone shows you deference, take into consideration the nature of your relationship, see the intent, critically analyze, make the necessary adjusments and proceed with no regrets. There is a blessin in every lesson thus give thanks to those people and the role that they play in your life, growth and development. As we learn from friends and family allow their deference toward us allow to the make the difference in our lives and others.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Resurrecting The Champ

Happy Easter!!

Most people celebrate Easter by purchasing new clothes or new cars. It's a time of year when most folks bring closure to their respective fasts from a plethora of simple pleasures or vices. Once the fast is over, most return to the normal routine. Lent among other observances is intended for people to re-commit, re-focus on the things that are important. For most it's a last chance to salvage those New Year's resolutions gone bad.

Most of us celebrate Easter but fail to acknowledge that it is the time to celebrate the resurrection of the greatest champ of all time. That champ is God. It's a challenge and a reminder for us to acknowledge the champ (or the God) that lives in all of us. Through all the trials, tribulations, obstacles, and criticism we experience we choose to either rise to the challenge or accept the situations that we find ourselves in unless we proactively acknowledge and activate the champ within us.

With every second, minute, hour, day, week and year that passes we must resurrect the champ in ourselves. Make every possession, every down, every round, and every quarter matter. Resurrecting the champ is when practice meets play, mental preparation meets physical confirmation, internal drive translates into external dreams come true. Stop complaining about what has happened and what hasn't happened in our life. Often times, we are delayed rewards because we don't deserve them quite yet. We are delayed but not denied. If you don't get what you expected then you aren't working hard enough, smart enough or consistently enough. The champ within us knows the difference.

Champs don't make excuses. Champs compete with fire. Champs practice hard when no one is looking. Champs are never denied. Champs win and lose with dignity. Champs are never forgotten. Don't let the champ go unnoticed.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Needless to say, this time of year is my favorite for obvious reasons. It's the best time for college basketball. Ever since I fell in love with this game I have religiously watched every sports channel, read numerous magazine, newspaper and on-line articles as they relate to the tournament. Is it an obsession? Well, I wouldn't go that far, but I will say that I never grow tired of watching it, even if my favorite teams and coaches don't win.

It's a time of year when you get to see stellar powerhouses, cinderellas, resurrected and rising programs battle each other on the hallowed hardwood for an opportunity to be called the best. Players and coaches alike put their skill, will, and strategy to the ultimate test on the greatest stage in sports. Behind-the-scenes interviews, practices, shoot-arounds, old and new stats, pre-game and post-game interviews, buzzer beaters, hustle plays, controversial calls, unforgettable commentary and ultimately a team is crowned as the undisputed national champion.

Sports journalists have coined the term "bracketology" in an effort to stress that there is a science to filling out your tournament bracket. While there is a science to predicting who will advance to the Final Four and furthermore who will be crowned champion, there is a personal meaning that bracketology has for me. While Biology is the study of life and psychology is the study of human behavior, bracketology is the study of champions. Each coach, each player, each student, and each fan looks forward to the tournament with an unparalleled enthusiasm. This enthusiasm is fueled by the thoughts, hopes and dreams of their team/school possibly having the chance to stand in the winner's circle. However, if this goal is not achieved and they don't get that grand opportunity, the shear thrill of being recognized is just as much of an honor for some. Whether they are recognized by their school's name, their mascot's or their coach's name the "one shining moment" is the very essence of a champion. To have a chance to show everyone that you are a champion beyond the shadow of a doubt, whether you win or lose.

Let's take that same enthusiasm, pride, and tireless effort and apply it to our lives on a daily basis. Let's fill out our daily brackets and carefully strategize our course to life's championship game. Let's compete vigorously against those opponents with well-deserved reputations and those we've never seen or heard of. Let's commit to making the hustle plays, the fundamental passes, playing solid defense, and hitting the game-winners/buzzer beaters that confirm and validate our status as champions. Let's hoist our championship trophy everyday having the satisfaction and the confidence that we played the game the right way. The shining moment is here. Earn it with every possession.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Are you serious, Coach?

I know, I know. Most of you may think that by making this statement it is simply to spark curiosity in the reader. You may also be thinking that I sound too much like a coach who's attempting to motivate his players. Ok, maybe you're right. But let's be honest for a second and think about one of the most dreaded words/concepts in the history of mankind; homework. Why is the word dreaded? Maybe it;s because most people are afraid of work. Then again maybe it's because most people associate their home as a place reserved strictly for rest. Whatever reason(s) people give for loathing homework, it is often directed at the lack of motivation to do the things that are absolutely instrumental in our growth and development.

Homework is one thing we all have dreaded at some point in our lives. The word alone still makes some people cringe long after their school days have passed. Even the most academically astute people find it hard to motivate themselves to complete homework consistently and accurately. No matter the case, homework is the very concept that is at the root of our work ethic. We often do it reactively because we have to or because we want to. Those who complete their homework do it and go through the motions just to get it done while others truly want to do their homework because they wish to truly learn and understand. This is clealy the difference between a student and an intellect.

No matter if we are in school or in the world of work there will always be homework to do. Doing the homework before it is assigned speaks to our willingness to develop a work ethic that is focused on proactively preparing for challenges in an uncertain future, yet wholeheartedly believing that a rewarding and positive outcome awaits. Dancers choreograph their routines prior to the recital, doctors consult with their patients before performing surgery, lawyers research cases, rehearse their statements, arguments, and rebuttles before stepping into the court room, and coaches watch film, write practice plans and go over both team's strategy before the actual game is played. Homework translates tedious work done in isolation into proficient skill sets that are displayed in public. We must be committed to completing the homework, understanding the homework and using the homework to rise above the class. So with that said, have you finished your homework?

Sunday, March 1, 2009


On this path, this journey, we are provided with options as we attempt to live out our dreams. However, before we live out our dreams, and even before we identify, strategize and act on our dreams we have a decision to make. We must decide whether we are in the way or whether we are on our way. What do I mean by that?

The things, situations and people that we encounter all have a designed intent. For example, a normal interstate highway has at least 2 lanes. On most interstate highways, local parkways and bypasses the left lane is designated for passing while the right lane is intended for those who are not passing anyone. You choose a lane according to how fast you want to go and in turn it will determine how quickly you arrive. Those who properly utilize the passing lane are people who are focused, ready to take risks, and willing to learn as they go. They pass on the left and return to the right lane in order to faciliate the smooth flow of traffic yet still move rapidly in the direction of their goal. Often times we witness people who hop into the passing lane, stay even with the lead car in the right lane and remain there. Thus, while they are moving forward, they are creating a moving traffic jam in the process and no one gets ahead.

We see this type of behavior in leadership all too often. Believe or not, leadership is not just about the person who is in the front, it's about the person who is in the front yet allows other people to lead when they are ready. Effective leadership on the road to our destination is about empowering, encouraging and allowing others to lead in their own time, with their own style and at their own pace. To lead and impede other's progress is like taking an ill-advised shot , but to lead and allow others to grow is the consummate assist. Therefore I ask; Are you in the way, or are you on the way?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Last week I wrote about people and their new year's resolutions and how we should first commit to making new day resolutions instead. This week my challenge for you is to simply GROW.

G.R.O.W. = Gradually Renew Our Will

If you've ever cared for a plant, one thing you will realize is that like other living things it needs something beyond the basic necessities(food, water and sunlight) in order to grow. Growing up around my mother and grandmothers who love to plant flowers in the garden, I learned that there are two types of plants: annuals and perennials. Annuals you have to buy and replant every year while perennials are planted once and return each spring. From day to day we determine if we will be annual champions or perennial champions. We can choose to be annuals and let our hopes, dreams, drive and aspirations die everyday because someone challenged, angered, or discouraged us. We look healthy and strong on the outside, but on the inside we are weak and unsure of ourselves and allow the smallest thing to break us down consistently. The alternative is to be perennial champions in that we are resillient and remain strong externally and internally.

Plants have to be placed in an atmosphere where the air is fresh and there is a healthy exchange of energy. Some people actually talk to their plants. In fact some people even sing to their plants. Now, before you call them crazy, understand the philosophy behind people's actions toward plants and how they should mirror their actions toward other human beings. When was the last time you heard of someone cussin out a plant cuz it wasn't growing fast enough? If you answered this question in the affirmative, please refer that person to your family therapist ASAP.

The lesson that we can learn from plants is to gradually renew our will on the good and the bad days. It is the difference between being bruised or broken, hurt or injured, confused or convinced. Ultimately, we determine the temporary or permanent resillience of our character. It is our responsibility to take the energy from every accomplishment, experience, relationship, failure, challenge, conversation as one to grow on and grow with.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Happy New Year !!

It's a great way to greet people as we come out of holiday season. What's funny is the fact that most of people get the 1st day of the new year off work. It's the right thing to do in theory, but the counterproductive thing to do in practice especially for those people who make new year's resolutions.

On the first day of the year we humbly submit and adamantly promise to start the new year off differently than we ended the immediate past year. Most vow to work harder, but on the new day we are resting. You can't rest and work hard at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a self-proclaimed workaholic or a killjoy by any stretch, but I am an analyst. Thus analyst ask questions.

At the beginning of every year, people make huge plans to work harder, work smarter, eat less, eat healthier, exercise more, attend church more, stop cursing, stop drinking, smoking, etc. The truth is 75% of people who make new year's resolutions don't make it past the first month. The reason? They bite off more than they can realistically chew. Regardless of what generation people grow up in the commonality amongst all people is that we want results right now. We get no support, we quit. We listen to criticism from family and friends, we quit. We get challenged, we quit. We see how much change actually has to take place in order to resolve the situation, we quit. The solution? Make a new day's resolution every single day. Be your own motivation. Challenge yourself to do something different every single day. Discipline yourself when you don't get things done. Commit to making yourself better by setting the bar realistically higher. Every day is never the same, so why allow yourself to be the same? The newness of the new year wears off after 15 days, but the newness of you never wears off. A happy new year is made by happy new days.