Monday, December 2, 2013

4th Quarter Close Out - Phase 1/Game Statistics

HGood Morning Team! 

We're at Day 3 of my 4th Quarter CloseOut and if you ve been following my directions you should have written down a pretty extensive list of things. I've encouraged you to exhaust the lists because there's something to be said about blessings, wins, and gifts and how their interconnectedness translates into how we successfully close one year and start another. During this time of year some people begin to name and claim their New Year's resolutions. Now, that's not a bad thing because at least they're starting before New Year's Eve and New Year's Day! Often times people base their resolutions on what didn't happen during the current year. In essence, they push back the date in order to get "ready" for the new year. 

Am I clowning people who make resolutions? Nope!

Am I someone who doesn't make resolutions? 

Am I hear to tell you what your resolutions should be? 
Heck No! 

All I'm asking you to do during the first 3 days of this closeout is to take inventory of your game statistics. From those statistics, I want you be mindful, grateful and objective about how successful this year has been thus far. Regardless of what you think you've won more than you've lost, you've been blessed more than you've been cursed and your gifts havent been completely revealed or utilized. Based on your stats simply analyze what needs to happen and what doesn't need to happen. It 's the first step en route to finishing strong and starting even stronger. Take inventory on how your lists make you feel. Do you feel confident? Happy? Surprised? Motivated? Indifferent? Angry? Whatever emotion you feel, use that emotion to decide what action(s) you'll take to finish this year strong. Notice, I didnt say anything about setting any new goals/resolutions just yet. 

Blessings -> Which ones have you taken for granted? 

Wins -> Have you forgotten that progress toward a goal is a win, not just completion of it? 

Gifts -> Do you have hard time naming or sharing what yours are? 

Are your blessings & wins true reflections of how effectively you utilizing your gift(s)? 

Numbers don't lie, check the scoreboard. 


Sunday, November 3, 2013


For the second year in a row, I ran in the annual Rockville 10K in Rockville, MD. This is the race's 38th year. In fact, it's the oldest race in Montgomery County. Since April of 2012, I've been committed to running at least 3 times a week along with my supplementary training. I've run in rain, sleet, snow, heat, humidity, wind and extreme cold. I never allowed the weather to be a factor. Mind you, there was a time when I absolutely despised running. On the days that I didn't run, I literally would be furious with myself. Why? Because I felt like I broke a commitment to myself. A commitment that required me to push myself to the limit and remain consistent in my quest to remain fit, but moreover to remain a champion. On those missed days,  I felt like someone was either coming for my spot or they had already taken it. I realized that I had to earn my spot daily. 

During the race I saw people from all walks of life, in all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. I saw breast cancer survivors, young runners, old runners, tall runners, short runners, novice runners and professional runners. As we all warmed up, took our mark and rushed out the gate there was a collective enthusiasm and confidence that filled the air. We all had something to prove, but we didnt know exactly what we had to prove. See, this race wasnt like grade school where you compete against the person next to you. This race wasnt about competing against the clock or the course. This race was and is about competing against whats inside of you and the race you run everyday is about earning your spot. 

Earning your spot is having the courage, vision and work ethic to push yourself to do things just because. Earning your spot is about ignoring the elements and opinions you cant change and finding a way to shed your old skin as much as you need to shed it. Earning your spot is about making less announcements and producing more results in your way and in your time. Earning your spot is about inviting a certain level of discomfort into your life knowing that regardless of the pain, the force and moments of temporary convenience that comes with it, you will get better. Earning your spot is about being a finisher not just a participant. Earning your spot is GROWTH. 

So as you take your mark today, remember that the spot you haven't work for will never be reserved and the spot you think you deserve is on someone else's radar and within their reach and can be occupied at any given time. There's no need to talk about what you're about to do. There's only a need to go above & beyond what youre capable of doing. 


Earn your spot. Every second, every minute, every hour. 


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL:" The Season Opener"

In the words of one of my favorite West Coast MCs, "ONCE AGAIN IT'S ON!"

That's right! No matter how far away it seemed, no matter how badly some of you wanted to turn the calendar upside down to force the days, weeks and months to go back to the first week of June, it's here. That's right, it's the first day of school. While some of you may already be in the full swing of school others are still milking the last few seconds of their summer vacation. 

Some are excited, others couldn't care less if they tried, and many absolutely loathe the thought having to rearrange their schedules just to go back to school. From my window, as a father, educator and coach, the first day of school is the season opener. You get an opportunity to start fresh, deliberately make some changes and get closer to your dreams/goals. 

The stadium lights come on, the crowd has gathered, your teammates,parents and even your teachers are waiting for you to take your place and showcase the new and improved you. They all have expectations of you that are higher than the ones from last season. Are the lights too bright? Is the noise of the crowd too much for your eardrums? Will you help or hinder your team? Will your parents and teachers teammates be convinced or confused by your performance? As you look in the mirror are you confident that the reflection is an accurate indication of who you are? Inquiring minds wanna know.

Your offseason (for those who believe in the concept) gave way to countless opportunities for self-improvement. If there's an unprecedented and infectious excitement and enthusiasm about the season opener, then that means you took advantage of those opportunities and made new strides during your offseason. It also means that you're ready to unveil to spectators, reassure your teammates and re-convince your opponents that you are still a force to be reckoned with. If there's a somber and nonchalant approach to your season opener, there's some serious soul searching to do and some steps that need to be retraced. It's the season opener for crying out loud. If you're the champion that you think you are and claim to be, you know that you don't have a choice once the whistle blows and the lights come on. You have to compete. Either you're in for tragedy or you're in for triumph, but the only way to find out what you're made of is to line up and make today better than yesterday. By association many already assume that you deserve to be on the team while several others are skeptical. Whose expectations will you meet? What reality will you confirm? No need to answer. Let your results speak for themselves.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013


This is an excerpt from my forthcoming book due for release in the Fall of 2013...

When I was in 7th grade, I decided to play football. I remember a high school football coach coming to our practice to talk about adversity. It was the first time I had ever heard the word and at that moment I was somewhat intimated by the sound of it. The intensity of the coach’s face along with the stories that he told about current and former players overcoming adversity were particularly interesting. What made the stories interesting was the fact that the players he mentioned were not particularly gifted with size,speed or quickness. They were gifted with drive.

Adversity is a state, condition, or instance of serious or continued difficulty or adverse fortune. When I think of adversity now, I immediately think about Eminem in the movie 8 Mile. For those who haven’t seen the movie, Marshall Mathers aka Eminem plays himself, a poor white kid growing up in a trailer park in Detroit, Michigan who aspires to become a hip hop artist. He has a group of loyal friends who he’s known for some time. They all love hip-hop and they believe in him and support him in his quest. They constantly run into a rival hip-hop group who call themselves the Free World. Throughout the movie Eminem and his crew have several run-ins with this rival crew and get into a series of lyrical and physical battles in the streets. The consensus is that Eminem’s lyrical skills are not quite up to par and they don't impress his rivals. Out to prove them wrong and himself right, he enters the most popular weekly freestyle battle at a local club. In front of thousands, Mathers steps to the mic, looks around, nods his head to the hip instrumental, stares his opponent in the eye then into oblivion and nothing comes out of his mouth. To his dismay and the disappointment of the crowd at hand, he completely embarrasses himself and is booed off the stage.

While many would deem this instance an epic failure and assume that he did not have the skills to compete in the first place, others might say that he choked due to fear. People have turned fear into an acronym that stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. Are fear and adversity the same? Or does adversity bring about fear? While fear might be false evidence, adversity is false advertising. The craft that Eminem ate, drank, and slept was not displayed to the people in the club that night because he chose not deal with adversity. Was it out of fear? Most would say yes. I would say that adversity convinced him that his skill was not good enough or good at all. In his mind, he viewed the crowd, the atmosphere and even the other MC as the opponent when, in reality, the biggest opponent was the reflection in the mirror.

We read and hear stories about athletes and entertainers and even everyday people who consistently overcome insurmountable obstacles. We often discover that these people have displayed courage, determination, focus, discipline and drive and we assume they are born with it when in reality they have developed it in the face of adversity. We often hear that people have triumphed in the "face of adversity.” While these proven household ingredients never fail those who possess and use them, there is an element of overcoming adversity that most people don’t address. The first face of adversity that they have conquered is same one that we all must conquer; the face in the mirror. When was the last time you looked in the mirror? I’m not talking about when you brush your teeth, do your hair or remove that nagging nose hair. I’m talking about shutting the door, turning on the light and getting up close and personal with your reflection. No need for talking, smiling, frowning, or even glaring. As you focus on your reflection, let your soul simply talk to you, tell you the truth, set the expectation, allow you to envision who you want to become. Let the moment build some suspense and most importantly confidence. The eyes are without a doubt the window to the soul and it is the soul that tell you the real deal about adversity.

Adversity is false advertising because it paints a picture of fear, failure and inadequacy before we get a chance to prove otherwise. Look at David and Goliath and the odds that David would win. Look at J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, who was a single mother on welfare and discouraged by 11 publishers that her book was not worth writing or reading. Walt Disney himself was actually deathly afraid of mice, but chose Mickey Mouse as the icon of his empire. Nic Vujicic was born with no arms or legs but can swim, surf, and play golf. All of these people could have thought of a thousand excuses and could name a thousand people who have discouraged them directly or indirectly, but instead they found every reason not to buy the negativity that people tried to sell them.

The truth is you cannot face or conquer adversity outside of yourself until you face and conquer the adversity inside of yourself. You cannot fix what you will not face. Know that God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear. That’s something that you gave yourself. Often times fear settles in because we haven’t spent enough time thinking or talking to ourselves. Therefore our own insecurities become the elephant in the room. If we continue to ignore that elephant and put forth zero effort to get him out of the room, sooner or later he’s gonna get hungry and angry then eat and destroy everything in the room, including you. That elephant will completely disregard everything you want, need and value, but if you haven’t faced your reflection then you won’t be ready or confident to face that elephant.

Adversity comes with a FEE.

Adversity is a FORCE that pushes or pulls us to take action

Adversity is an EXPECTATION that we will match or exceed the intensity and power of that force.

Adversity is an ENCOURAGEMENT from within that convinces us that who we are is what we’re willing to do.

Adversity is false advertisement that forces, expects and encourages us to choose. It’s really all about how we view what we value. Some may think that force is an overly aggressive word, but when faced with challenges we are forced to step up or step down. When faced with adversity we do can choose to do one of three things; freeze, run or fight. In any event, our perception of the false advertisement compels us to do something. We freeze and let it continue it’s sales pitch to us because we’re unprepared or uninformed. We run because we buy that we’re not able to conquer it. We fight it because we refuse to lay down and let it beat us.

The cost of success is about the FEE that adversity charges. You either choose to pay by taking action and investing in yourself or you choose to lose by sitting there and investing in excuses. We must stop thinking that we don’t have the ability and/or the resources to face adversity. We have both, but we must develop the character, the heart and determination to conquer adversity.

I'm Coach Rice. I approve this message and I'm ready to pay the FEE. Are you?


Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Are you hurt or injured?

I often ask my players this when there's a hard foul or a pause in action. It's been a question that I find myself asking during practice and games. Why? I'm genuinely concerned about the well-being of my players,but I also need to know how mentally tough my players are or aren't. Some might think that being hurt and being injured are the same thing because they both involve pain and/or discomfort, but there's a fine line between the two. It's all about the INTERPRETATION. Often times, we interpret being hurt as being injured and we "milk" the opportunity to gain sympathy from the people around us. There are times when we can play hurt but we choose not to do so. When we choose not to push ourselves, we contradict the champion's creed and lose the competitive edge.

To be hurt, by definition, is a slight decrease in efficiency in one's performance. The key word here is slight. We often times don't have much control over getting hurt. However, our hurt can be self-inflicted as we often allow people or obstacles to serve as the root of a slight decrease in our performance or actually convince us to give up and use being "hurt" as an excuse for not competing at the highest level. To be injured, on the other hand, is defined as a state of being impaired or deficient. When we're injured we have the choice to rehab or remain injured. Ironically, 90% of the rehab is mental while the remaining 10% is physical. More often than not, it's on the battlefield of our minds that we defeat ourselves. We let one person doubt our ability. We let one person talk us out of our game. We let one failure destroy our confidence. We let one challenge make us second-guess ourselves. Why? Because as hard core and invincible as we claim to be, we all have a sensitive side that rears it's ugly head, disrupts our normal routine and determines if we're hurt or injured. That little voice in our head is responsible for the aforementioned. If we allow the smallest amount of inconvenience to convince us that we can't compete then we'll never win. It's about the CONVERSATION we choose to have with ourselves.

We cultivate unhealthy relationships with excuses. When we're hurt we allow excuses to join our inner circle and throw a party because of a moment of inconvenience. We allow that party to never ever end. We promote the party and invite people to it. In fact, we invite the words can't, won't, and quit to bring their sleeping bags and have a sleepover night after night after night until they're not guests anymore. In turn, they become part of the family. They lay around all day with no purpose, nowhere to go and nothing good to say. Why? Because we've allowed the EXPECTATION for ourselves to be lowered. If we have even the slightest regard for ourselves we'll look excuses, along with the words can't, won't and quit square in the eyes, grab them by the collar and aggressively remove them from our minds as well as our vocabulary.

In sports ICE (ice, compression,elevation)is the strategy used when dealing with bruises or sprains.

In life, ICE (interpretation, conversation, expectation) is the strategy used when determining if we're hurt or injured.

Interpretation - in moments of tragedy, we must look pay closer attention to
how and why things happen. It's not the load that weighs us down, it's
the way we carry it.

Conversation - in moments of tragedy, we must speak victory and
deliverance to ourselves (internally and externally) and align our
actions with our words toward progress, restoration and rehabilitation.

Expectation - in moments of tragedy, we must raise the expectation of ourselves and those around. Expect and demand that you push you and that they push you.

Being hurt means you pay little or no attention, then play through with no mention

Being injured means you're down temporarily but come back with a vengeance

On the path of excellence, expect that life will be filled with bumps and bruises

Champions never back down, learn to fail forward, and separate reasons from excuses

Get knocked down 8 times , get up 9



Thursday, March 28, 2013


Once again it’s on! It’s that time of year time to pull out your brackets, do your research, devise your strategy and make some critical decisions that will allow you to achieve maximum results. Some call it March Madness. I call it March Maintenance.

If you hadn’t noticed, March is the end of the first quarter. Yeah, I know. It’s a blur right? Many of us have made strides during the first quarter and others have gotten off track with our personal and professional goals that we set on that glorious 1st day in January. Why? We could think of millions of excuses but never address the reasons. Honestly, there’s no need to harp on what hasn’t happened at this moment. I’d rather take a different route and look at what has happened. After all, numbers don't lie. While every day is an opportunity to play in a championship game, every year is an opportunity to enhance your legacy one quarter at a time. Therefore, I cordially invite you to March Maintenance.

March marks the beginning of Spring. The weather begins to change and hopefully we experience a shift in our dreams, goals or visions by virtue of the work that we've done. Some of us hope that this shift will occur based on our talent and/or the change in season. We must not be so consumed with the conditions that are beyond our control and focus on what we vow to maintain through mindfulness, consistency, tenacity, integrity, evaluation and accountability. Those are always key elements to our success.

March Maintenance is about objectively looking at the 1st quarter and asking the following questions:

What was the game plan?
Who's in the starting line up?
How did I start?
What did I do well?
What needs improvement?

Whether or not we've achieved our goals, we have to approach our goals and aspirations like the 1st quarter of the game;

1) Slowly get warm and work yourself into the flow of the game.

2) Dictate the tempo. Know when to hurry and when to slow down.

3) Make sure the strategy is feasible, intentional and plays to the strengths of your team.

4) Know which plays and players translate into team chemistry and success.

5) Identify which obstacles can potentially prevent you from executing your strategy.

We must not overexert ourselves during the first quarter, nor should we set low expectations or give minimal effort. We shouldn't be overly concerned with the score at the end of the 1st quarter either. Rather, we should be more concerned with the statistics that we can control; our preparation, our practice and our pursuit. Some say that you "play like you practice". Others say "it s not about how you start it's about how you finish." I say that it s about the maintenance of our march that brings us success. Maintenance is the marriage of preparation, desire and consistency. As you look back at the 1st quarter you set an expectation. How painful or rewarding is that look back?

Whatever the case may be don't look too long. Develop intentional amnesia and demand more from yourself. Don't allow the stats from the 1st quarter to determine your passion and effort in the forthcoming quarters. Don't base your success on someone else's brackets. Use your own stats to demand more from yourself and more from your teammates. You've got 3 more quarters to play. Write your successes and shortcomings in the sand and engrave champion on your heart.

Maintain the clarity of our vision.
Maintain the commitment to consistency.
Maintain a tireless work ethic.
Maintain that good is the enemy of excellence.
Maintain that you owe it yourself and all those who came before you, then March beyond your expectations.

The whistle's blowing. 2nd quarter is coming.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013


"Hurry Up and Wait!" This is a phrase often heard in the armed forces as it pertains to detailed missions. When some people hear this for the first time, they chuckle. It actually sounds like an oxymoron. On one hand, it is. On the other hand, it's not. In fact, it's a cornerstone proverb of this life that we've been expected and challenged to live.

When I was younger I'm sure I was the only person who couldn't wait to be 16. Right? I was chomping at the bit to turn 16 so that I could get my driver's license. However, when I finally got my license my parents quickly informed me that while I met the state of Ohio's requirements to operate a motor vehicle, I had to meet the state of mom and dad's requirements first. Once the novelty of 16 wore off I became focused on 18 which was followed by the fascination with 21 then 25 and then the fascination with getting older suddenly began to fade. Could it be that after countless moments of clarity we realize that the times we envision to be the most grandiose in our lives are based on waiting? "I can't wait to be 16. I can't wait to be 21. I can't wait to be 25. Now that I'm 25, I, I, I.............I'm 25? Hmmmm. Next is stop is 30. When you slow down and evaluate it, you'll realize the waiting you've done wasn't necessarily that bad. However, if you stop and think too long about it some opportunities will pass right by you simply because you were focused on the wrong thing. No matter the age, goal or expiration date you've put on your calendar to accomplish certain things in your life, there's a moment in time where you have to stop yourself in your tracks simply to ask; Is this what I worked for or what I waited for?

No matter the case, the reality of time is that it marches on regardless of where you live or how you live. No matter how much we claim that we cannot wait until the next great thing happens, we have to wait. However, we have a choice of whether or not we pass the time or spend the time. It's the difference between working to get better and waiting/hoping to get better.

My philosophy of life is simple; work while you wait. No matter how hard we try, we can't speed up time, we can't make it stop and we can't slow it down. You often hear these go get em' phrases like 'Carpe Diem', 'Embrace the Now', 'Maximize the Precious Present'. Ultimately it means we must play the game in front of us, one possession at a time and squeeze every ounce of energy out of ourselves while we're living. In the song, "Just The Two Of Us" Bill Withers sings, "good things might come to those who wait, but not for those who wait too late, we gotta go for all we know." The Chrysler commercial states, "good things come to those who work." I personally prefer to fuse the two philosophies and simply say good things come to those work while they wait. Many of you will take heed to my words or maybe you already live by these words. Others may just continue to work however you wish with your head down instead of working with your eyes lifted. Waiting is not resting. Instead, waiting is praying, planning, organizing, envisioning, working, and risking as you take that first small step into the abyss of the unknown.

There are 3 benefits to working while you wait;

1)It minimizes distractions and maximizes discipline.
2)It enhances your appreciation of time.
3)It helps eliminate excuses.

Champion entrepreneurs don't wait for that perfect job to find them. They create that perfect job in the meanwhile.

Champion athletes don't celebrate their championship the entire off-season. They immediately go back to work in order to ensure that they stand in the winner's circle the very next season.

Champion politicians don't rely on the delivery of one speech in one night to get them elected. They work diligently on their platform and campaign strategy when they're away from the podium so that their speech is simply an extension of their work.

Ordinary people don't become extraordinary people by wishing on a star. They build their own spaceships and become stars.

So what are you waiting on?
What are you working on?
Are you waiting on the work?
Or are you working on how you wait?

Whatever you do, make your work worth the wait.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Let's bring it in. 1-2-3 WIN!

As you break from the huddle and you set foot in the arena there's a physiological change that occurs; your heart beats harder and faster, your palms sweat, your stomach is filled with butterflies,etc. Whatever the case may be, it's game time and everything that you, your teammates, your coaches, and your fans expect to happen will soon come to fruition. No time for do-overs, no time for excuses. No time to for "shoulda, woulda, coulda." The game is here. Only the results will speak.

Every day is an opportunity to play in a championship game. Unbeknownst to us, each day could bring a major or minor shift in our season. In any event, it's our undeniable duty to make the adjustments. It's the essence of being GAME-READY. New challenges, news success and new failure await us every day. When we are game-ready, it doesn't necessarily guarantee immediate success but it does guarantee that our success is closer than we realize.

If you're game ready the following should apply:






When you're game-ready you don't need a new year's resolution or a presidential inauguration to motivate you. You are the standard. You are the trendsetter. You work the hardest. You push yourself the farthest even when no one is watching you.

You are the commander in chief. So, raise your right hand and promise yourself, your God, your team and your opponents that you are about to bring the noise every single moment you are in the game.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013



I won't start this blog or this year by sharing my new year's resolutions with you.

I won't start this blog or this year by asking you to share your new year's resolutions with me.

I won't start this blog or this year by telling you how to set, honor, and evaluate your New Year's resolutions.

What I will do is simply remind you that you are a bonafied UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT! Yes, unbeknownst to most of you, you are an unrestricted free agent. I'm not addressing this universal truth because it's New Year's Day. Rather, I'm bringing this to your attention because this is our daily reality that we routinely ignore.

Wikipedia simply states that Unrestricted free agents are players without a team. They have either been released from their club, had the term of their contract expire without a renewal, or were not chosen in a league's draft of amateur players. These players, generally speaking, are free to entertain offers from all other teams and to decide with whom to sign a new contract.

While wikipedia provides a detailed definition of an UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT, I will tweak it just a little to fit your needs. Why? Because I'm unrestricted and so are you.

As an UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT the following rules apply:

* You are always with a team even when you're "not with a team."
God, Family, and Friends can guide you to resources/tools that you need to win.
First, you've got to ask them to commit to being a part of your team, then trust their ability to get er' done.

* You have not been released from any club, your contract has not expired.
YOU ARE THE FRANCHISE. You draft the contract and make the decisions that
determine if you win or lose, if you have a championship team or a championship
legacy, and if you are an all-star or a hall of famer.

* You never have to rely on being drafted.
While certain teams may not want you, all teams can use your skills. Know who
you are definitively, hone your craft, work while others are sleeping. Carve
your niche based on your passion. Let your results get you noticed, not your reputation.

* You are free to entertain offers from all other teams!
Each day your team may be comprised of different players depending on the
challenges, goals and expectations for that particular day. Winning is about
chemistry. Pick the best teammates for each day that maximize your chances to win.

One of my mantras is, "every day is an opportunity to play in a championship game." When I say this most people find it to be clever because I view life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness from a coach's perspective. However, as an UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT, my mantra has evolved into "every day is an opportunity to play in a championship game and I will win by choosing the best teammates available for each championship task at hand." The power of your UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT status relieves you of the pressures of making new year's resolutions. As an UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT the year doesn't determine what you resolve, your strategy, focus and diligent actions do. When you make a new year's resolution you turn yourself into a RESTRICTED FREE AGENT because the phrase/concept alone locks your goal(s) into one year while your commitment to daily evolution unlocks your mind and your vision infinitely.

Therefore, whatever you decide to resolve, involve, change, estrange, evaluate, prognosticate, castrate, debate, upgrade, downgrade, fast from, blast from, edit, "dead it", twerk, work, complete, delete, attract, extract, name, claim, tweak or speak, know that you are an UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT. No fast-talking money-hungry agent needs to negotiate your contract. You choose, trust and empower every teammate, you set every expectation, you call every play, you shake every hand, you lead every meeting, you ask every question, you write every offer, you make every key decision, you conquer every obstacle, you win every possession, you close every deal.

Unrestricted in thought, unrestricted in word, unrestricted in deed.....