A Sports Mom to Rosemary Plorin

Dear Ms. Plorin,

Teachable moments.

Nearly every single day, we all encounter teachable moments. Some of them are teachable moments for us, individually. And some, if one is a parent, are teachable moments with our kids.

Please note the emphasis on the word “with”.

For every moment we are given to teach them, they are also teaching us. They are teaching us to listen with interest, understand how they think with an open-mind (which is constantly changing, by the way) and how to communicate with someone.

All of which are valuable tools as they grow up in this world.

The world isn’t the same one you or I grew up in – in some ways it’s better…some…worse. We both know, however, that change is inevitable.

Our kids change as they grow – influenced by their family, friends and the world around them. Our job is to lay the foundation in which their growth is built upon.

If it’s a solid foundation, then there is nothing that can come along to destroy it. Will there be challenges or storms? Yes, of course. That’s part of life. The question will then be, will there be anything resulting from those challenges or storms to build on top of that foundation?

That is each parent to decide with their child.

Decisions which are teachable moments.

Sunday was a teachable moment for you. And your daughter.

Carolina Panthers quarterback, Cam Newton, scored a touchdown in Sunday’s game against your team, the Tennessee Titans.

In that moment, he danced. 

He danced with excitement and exultation because he scored a touchdown for his team. He danced because there was a fierce battle being waged on the field. Men who were stronger and bigger than he – they wanted to destroy him. 

Why? Because if you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid. Football may be a sport, a game, to us as fans, but it’s a job to those at Newton’s level. 

But, every so often, the kid comes out. 

That’s what I saw in Newton’s dance. Whether I like the dance itself or not, whether I like the Panthers or not (I don’t), I see a kid dancing with joy. 

No, not your kid. And not even all kids. 

Just that kid. Cam Newton.  

It was objectionable to you. I understand that perspective as a parent. It’s okay that you didn’t like his dancing. I’m assuming you found it too suggestive. I get it.

I would also hope, however, that you don’t like the 5-18 year-old girls and boys that take dance classes where suggestive dance routines might be the norm for competitions. Dancing with moves that are sometimes just as, if not more than, suggestive than Newton’s moves. 

And yes, pelvic thrusts are involved. 

Ms. Plorin, I understand your frustration at Sunday’s game. As a parent, I do. But, one doesn’t have to be a Panthers or Newton fan to understand that there was a teachable moment with your daughter.  

Teachable moments happen when we understand different perspectives. I understand your perspective. But, I also understand Newton’s perspective. And…Panthers fans. And, yes, even your fellow Titans fans perspective that Sunday (fan behavior is a teachable moment too, by the way). 

Your daughter was confused by Newton’s actions. Instead of being disappointed by Newton and writing him a letter, why not explain to her that it was his way of celebrating? 

But first ask her why she is asking those questions. Find out what is truly going on in her mind. Understanding her now will help your communication improve when she is a teenager. Been there, done that with teenage girls myself. 

Or, just talk with her. Tell her that it isn’t how you would celebrate, but it’s how Newton does it. If you feel he was taunting Titans fans, tell her that. If you feel he was disrespectful, tell her that. But, also tell her the why. 

Encourage her to ask questions about your point of view. It’s not enough to say because I say so as a parent. It’s not enough to say because that’s how our family does it. Kids need to know the why

Help her try to understand the why in others. Help her to empathize with them. View things from others perspectives. That doesn’t mean we agree with them. It doesn’t mean we excuse behavior. It means that we are people who are open-minded to learn from others without compromising our own convictions. 

Let me ask you this question though. If your daughter offends someone with “her” act of joy, should she apologize? Or, would you want people to know the type of person she is inside? Would you want them to know she makes time for others? Would you tell them that she has learned from a past mistake and become a better person for it? 

It’s not easy. Believe me. I’ve been a parent for nearly 30 years, grandparent for 10. I’m still learning. Parents that fail to learn are parents that fail. 

We all have different perspectives. Our upbringing, our work and home lives as kids and adults – it all affects who we are in this very moment. It affects the choices we make both when the lights are brightest and when they’re not. 

My perspective is different from yours. I have the perspective of a wife, mom (some of it as a single mom), nana, daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, student, employee, a once-promising athlete, sports parent and now sports writer.

Newton’s perspective is different from mine. President Obama, Donald Trump, Roger Goodell, Hillary Clinton, Serena Williams, heck even the Kardashians – we all have different perspectives.

One perspective isn’t necessarily right over the other because our past, which helps shape our individual perspective, cannot be changed. We can, however, learn from the perspective of others.

Perspective is a personal thing, but it does provide context to others’ behavior. 

Speaking of context…

I’m not here to excoriate you like many have already done on social media. That action serves no purpose other than people giving voice to their opinions. 

And that’s exactly what they are. 

Opinions. 

They are a dime-a-dozen. Teachable moments are not.

Teachable moments are precious. 

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CadChica Sports

Domata Peko’s New Digital Venture

domato peko

CINCINNATI  – D Two Media announces the launch of the mobile app for National Football League player, Domata Peko, defensive lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals.

In what is believed to be the first of its kind, the player specific app will allow fans to find news, videos, and photos as well as exclusive content and behind the scenes access to all things Domata and the Bengals.
 
“I’m really excited about the launch of my app,” stated Peko.  “The app is designed to be a place where I can share things about myself both on and off the field. Fans can find things on the app they won’t get anywhere else.” Peko added, “I’ve talked to a lot of my friends around the league and as far as we could tell I’m the first guy in the NFL to have my own app. I think that’s pretty cool!”
 
“Bengals fans love Domata! He’s a leader both in the locker room and in his community!  How cool to have an app so you can follow Domata and the Bengals with one touch, right from your cell phone,” stated Craig Domann, NFL Agent, 360 Sports LLC.
 
The app is available free of charge on Domata Peko’s website: domatopeko94.com/app

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To schedule an interview with Domata Peko, contact Teddi Domann, 360 Sports LLC,teddi@360SportsLLC.com, 719-266-9124.
 
For questions about the app, contact D Two Media, 206-659-5579, press@dtwomedia.com

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CadChica Sports

Tuesday Ten: Charles Johnson

TTCCS 1-27-15

On Tuesday, January 27th, I was joined by Charles Johnson, Wide Receiver for the Minnesota Vikings. Johnson was in Phoenix for Super Bowl week. On his way to radio row for interviews, Johnson was kind enough to take time to join Tuesday Ten. 

Although we had a few tech issues, we managed to stick it out and have a quick chat. Discussing his past season in the NFL (going from the Cleveland Browns to the Minnesota Viking in September), catching passes from Teddy Bridgewater, his Twitter handle (it’s about the “ink”) and of course, the Super Bowl, it was a fun, quick convo with a player to watch over the next few years in the NFL. 

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WHO IS CHARLES JOHNSON?

Charles Johnson is a graduate of Grand Valley State. He is an active wide receiver with the Vikings starting in 6 games during the 2014 season. Johnson had 2 touchdowns with 475 receiving yards this season, becoming Teddy Bridgewater’s go-to guy!

Be sure and connect with Charles:

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WHERE TO WATCH?

You can watch the show right here on CadChica Sports or join the conversation on Google+ during the show. 

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NEXT WEEK

Tune in next week on Google+ for the next Tuesday Ten with CadChica Sports when I’ll be joined by Lauren Teague. Lauren is the former Social Media Manager for the PGA Tour. She is now the Social & Digital Strategist at Jay Baer’s Convince & Convert Media. 

Lauren joins me as part of my media partnership with Q1 Productions. Q1 is hosting the 2nd Annual Sports Fan Engagement Forum in Kansas City, MO, March 2-3, 2015. Sign-up for the forum with the discount code ‘CADCHICA’ and receive $100 off your registration fee. Details here

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CadChica Sports

Seahawks-Panthers: Tweets of NFL Players

One of the best things about Twitter is access. Access to sports media and yes, access to athletes. With the NFL regular season over and the second weekend of playoffs kicking in,  many players are watching. Players whose season ended far to early for them, are still watching the game. Former players too. 

As players watch, they tweet. They’re fans. Just like us. They react to plays just like we do, but they do it with a far more discerning eye. They know the grind. They know the ups and downs of a game. Of a season. Or even a single play. 

Don't worry Panthers fans, Seattle

Some provide simple reactions that we fans would tweet. Others, provide more inside scoop. More in-the-huddle or on-the-sidelines chatter. Fans love Twitter for things like this. 

But, a night like the one in Seattle, where the Seahawks hosted the Carolina Panthers, it brings out all kinds of athletes. Not just NFL ones either. An off night for the Golden State Warriors meant a quick trip to Seattle for Steph Curry (known Carolina fan).

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EVERYONE’S A FAN

INSIDER INFORMATION

STADIUM OBSERVATIONS

IT’S ABOUT THE HITS

EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS TIME LEFT ON THE CLOCK

TWEETED TOO SOON

IT’S A KAM CHANCELLOR NIGHT

THEY THINK ALIKE

SOME ARE HAPPY

OTHERS…NOT SO MUCH

FROM ONE NBA’er TO ANOTHER

(AKA: From a Seahawks fan to a Panthers fan)

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CadChica Sports

Illinois State Redbirds Gain A Fan

It all seems surreal now. Standing up in the press box watching fans and medical personnel below me. Watching two football teams who had been battling for hours in hopes of landing that spot in the championship game. Battling and now on their knees in prayer.

Surreal.

IMG_2123

 

The clock showed just over a minute left in Eastern Washington’s season. The Illinois State Redbirds were just over a minute away from that championship game. But, it was all secondary that night. Word spread that medical personnel were tending to the father of one of the EWU players.

It was.

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John Rodgers, father of EWU All-American lineman – Jake Rodgers, passed away on Friday, December 26th.  Families of football players sometimes form their own community. They feel the wins and losses right along with their sons. They’re fans of their sons and his team. They bond. When one hurts, they all hurt. 

The Eagles family mourns. But, their foe that night mourns along with them – albeit from a distance. 

As the Redbirds prepare to face three-time defending champion North Dakota State in Frisco, TX on Saturday, the Redbirds will be taking both Rodgers men with them on the field. Illinois State will be honoring Jake and his dad by wearing the #65 (Jake’s number) on their helmets.

Eastern Washington Athletic Director Bill Chaves said Illinois State’s gesture, “really went beyond the game.” I asked Chaves about Coach Beau Baldwin’s reaction and he said, “Speechless. Here they are preparing for a championship game and they take the time to do something like this. It’s incredible.” Chaves told me that Jake and the Rodgers family gave Illinois State the go-ahead. The idea, Chaves understands came from ISU Head Coach, Brock Spack.

A helmet sticker is a simple gesture, but approval was still required from the NCAA. The Redbirds were able to get that approval, get enough stickers made and added to helmets in time for Saturday’s game. 

If you looked up the word “class” in the dictionary today, the Illinois State Redbirds would be in it. They gained a new fan for Saturday. 

Go Redbirds! 

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CadChica Sports

NFL Listens to Jungle Boy Tweets

Jungle Boy

Jungle Boy. 

As the tweet above explains, “Jungle Boy” was used by long-time NFL referee Ed Hochuli during tonight’s Carolina Panthers-Arizona Cardinals game. The fact that Hochuli uttered the term during a national telecast had Twitter buzzing.

Who is “Jungle Boy” you may ask? And why is an NFL referee using that term? Before things got out of control on Twitter (like the tweet above indicates), the NFL was quick to issue an explanation on, where else, Twitter:

 

ProFootball Talk would go on to explain further:

Ed Hochuli refers to fellow official as “Jungle Boy” on live mic   ProFootballTalk

 

RELATED: NFL Ref Czar on Cowboys Party Bus? (August 2014)

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Think and Listen

Not that long ago I wrote a post entitled “Sweat the Small Stuff in Social Media“. Every little move is analyzed and critiqued in today’s social media world. Twitter has become a landing spot for instant criticism. Waiting on context is an inconvenience in the 140-character Twitterverse. Group-think can become fact. As such, it is imperative for teams, leagues, brands, athletes to be acutely aware of what is being said on social media.

RELATED: Key Weapons for Fighting Social Media Wildfires

“Think before you tweet” used to be the best advice to give for those on social media, no matter how big the person or entity. Now, it is joined by one simple word: listen. Fans, customers, media are using social media to provide their opinions on even the simplest thing, like a tweet.

Or, an inadvertent comment on national television.

That’s where Dean Blandino excelled tonight.

Hochuli mistakenly opened up his stadium

Blandino, according to his Twitter account, is the Vice-President of Officiating with the NFL. Within minutes of Jungle Boy being mentioned on Twitter, Blandino was quick to clarify its meaning. A single opinion can gain a following on Twitter at warp speed. By addressing the issue head-on, Blandino and the NFL kept a potential PR storm at bay. And, it demonstrated that the NFL is listening.

Not every social media firestorm can be addressed. Sometimes there are no-win situations. When the NFL faced the release of the Ray Rice video by TMZ, there was simply no way to appease the masses with a social media response. But, with Jungle Boy a quick response was the best way to go. 

Had it been left unchecked, surely this tweet would have proved prescient:

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CadChica Sports

 

Menelik Watson: Game Check Doing Good

giving

The goal: to make a difference by having a voice. 

I love sports. I love talking about sports. But, to work in this business, you have to go to school, get a degree and work your way up. I’m not a millenial. For someone like me, who was busy working 50+ hours a week and raising a family, yeah, that wasn’t going to cut it. 

That’s where social media comes into play. Social media was my way in to working in sports. It was about “having a voice” in the sports conversation. Through Twitter, Google+ and my blog, I have a voice. In the time I’ve been involved with social media, I learned a thing or two (or thousands) about it and its place in sports. I’ll never be and expert at it, but I know how to use it. 

I know that I also want to use it to make a difference. How that plays out – well, I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I do know I want to share the “good” stories in sports. Stories like this one: 

Full disclosure: The Oakland Raiders are my favorite team. 

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I may not be in a position to give away a game check. Or, even fly a sick child somewhere to visit their favorite team. There are things I can do both in and out of the public eye. I’d prefer to do most things out of the spotlight. Not that there’s even a spotlight on me, but that’s just how I operate – without fanfare.   

The easy thing I can do is on social media through my hashtag, #SportsDoingGood. The bad side of sports and athletes gets the clicks and shares. But, there are plenty of athletes and other sports entitities doing good through sports. Why not click and share the good through a simple hashtag? 

Since it is the holiday season, why not share this story across all of your social media platforms today. Show the good being done in sports.

It’s your voice – your social media voice – will you use it to make a difference? 

h/t @FTW

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By the way: Happy birthday (today), Menelik Watson! 

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CadChica Sports

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