sports this weekend

This post is nothing really important it’s just that every once in awhile you see something that is worth mentioning that is about sports but goes beyond sports. So. The three things playing on ESPN.

Jon Gruden and Derek Jeter and putting.

Jon Gruden.

Ok. This is about Jon Gruden as a high school coach. (which he is right now)

I have always thought the true test of your abilities is if you can translate it to teen and tweens. A brutal test. But one if you pass is rewarding and selfishly proof you got game.

Oh. Gruden got game.

His rah rah style and kind of bluntness can be grating at the pro level but when you see him working his magic with high school kids you get a true sense of his passion for the game and teaching.  He also has that incredible ability (which we all aspire to have) to communicate he doesn’t think you have done the best you can do … without telling you that you sucked.

He didn’t do much for me as a pro coach. But then he did the quarterback breakdowns during the draft (awesome display of game knowledge and ability to communicate succinctly) I started looking at him differently.

And now his comfortable professionalism style translating NFL knowledge to kids whose football careers end at graduation is jaw dropping.

Class act who knows his shit.

The high school kids he is teaching are really lucky. And I think we are lucky to watch a pro do his stuff with kids.

Derek Jeter.

ah. Derek Jeter. Last night was the tribute to George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard, the 55+ year Yankees announcer guy, in the Bronx.

It may be me. It may be I need to pay attention more often but I think I can count on one hand the amount of times I have seen the Yankee captain publicly speak.

Post game interviews?  Sure.

Public group speaking?  You know. Up until yesterday I couldn’t name one if you paid me.

So Derek Jeter. Truly one of the class acts in all of professional sports steps up to the microphone at Yankee stadium in front of 47,700 people and emcees the tribute to Bob Sheppard and Steinbrenner.

Now. I know he practiced.

But his delivery. His cadence. His choice of words. His clarity. His understanding of the moment. And his heartfelt speech.

All were perfect.

It’s the kind of thing you should show in public speaking class.

A soft spoken man who doesn’t shirk the limelight but certainly doesn’t seek the limelight didn’t step out of character solely because of the moment.

Instead he spoke with character and it became another classic Yankees moment.

Look. Love ‘em or hate ‘em (the Yankees). Derek Jeter made professional baseball as a whole, not just the Yankees, look awful frickin good last night.

I honestly didn’t know he had it in him to do it. Watch the tape. It is worth the 3 minutes or so of your time.

I do know. Regardless of whether I know an announcers name or not. It will be difficult to ever beat Bob Sheppard’s “and now. Coming to the plate. Number 3. Derek Jeter. Number 3”. Kind of thing that sends a little chill down your spine. Good stuff.


No. Not miniature golf (although I could do an entire series on the frustrations of windmills and bank shots and whatever that would make the pros tear their hair out).

This is about the putting at the British Open.

Anyway. I have played a lot of golf in my life. And I guess I was good enough that an individual shot could decide whether it ended up being a good day versus an entire hole deciding the day. With that said I believe there is nothing more frustrating than playing a hole to perfection and missing “the finish” – missing the putt.

When a great day comes down to a shot or two, those putts are maddening. And make you want to wrap your club around a tree (once in high school) or just scream in frustration (probably but I cannot remember).

I cannot remember a professional golf tournament where more short putts have been missed than the current British open.

And I mean some great rounds, really great rounds, are becoming middle of the road ‘good’ rounds because of the missed ‘pro makeable’ short putts (note: I say ‘pro makeable’ because it is insane what a routine putt is to a pro. We watch on TV as they routinely run anything within 15 feet or so in the cup. 15 feet for an amateur is a frickin’ mile.) these are being missed hole by hole.

I guess my point here is we haven’t seen one thrown club. One scream.

In fact. Many of these guys have shown an ongoing ability to completely shut out that maddening moment and play another hole impeccably and get into that makeable putt situation again.

Yeah. Sure. They are pros.

Yeah. Sure. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention for a good lesson here.

Part of being a pro isn’t just having the talent. Its knowing how to maximize your talent.

Everyone “hits a bad shot or two” in life.

No sense throwing the bag into the pond because of this hole.

Pick it up and move on. Just as in golf, everyone gets another hole to play.

Written by Bruce