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April 8, 2016 - No Comments!

Are You in the Ring or in the Stands?

“Don’t let Eddie in the ring with Jules,” Coach Ron insisted.

There’s no bad blood here. Jules and Eddie train side-by-side, every day. They’re friends. But during their first sparring session, Jules knocked Eddie out and it damaged him, within.

“Trust me,” Coach Zach responded.

At 14, Eddie’s a spunky little gym rat. Occasionally, he’ll show you how to throw a left hook with your body (instead of your arm), or the proper technique for a double-end striking bag. Getting fight tips from a teenager is humbling, yes.

So is his story.

Before joining the Clearwater Boxing Center, Eddie was an easy target for bullies. Gangly limbs, husky center, a frame that's still filling out; you can imagine his motivation spurred from a lack of self-confidence and an “I’m not taking this sh*t anymore” attitude.

Some people don’t change until they’re hurt enough that they have to.

After some time in the gym, Eddie slimmed down, grew in stature and grew in confidence. Unless you were there during that first sparring session, though, you couldn’t tell something was brewing deep within him for over a year.

While Eddie worked to get his step back, Jules dug the seed of fear deeper by knocking him out four more times in separate sparring sessions. Finally, Eddie threw in the towel and stepped away from the ring for a while.

When he returned, he was cautious and timid. Sparring with other teammates, he’d tense up and flinch at haphazard punches.

That’s what happens when we make bold steps in the arena of life. We think, I’ve got this, or I’ve trained enough, or I can handle it, but there’s no telling what happens until the lights come on and the bell rings. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. Sometimes we learn, sometimes we get our teeth punched in. When life lays you out, you can get back up but that doesn’t mean you won’t second-guess your next bout.

“Don’t let Eddie fight,” Coach Ron repeated at the 2016 Fight Night. Every fighter and their mother shared Ron’s sentiment that night. Except Coach Zach.

“Trust me,” is all he said.

Zach saw something others couldn't. That Eddie was ready. He had come to himself. He had made up his mind  and that made him a contender against any opponent.

On March 19, 2016, Eddie ended his yearlong battle with fear, demanding Jules stand in the other corner. Win or lose, the kid showed brass. Maybe there's no scorecard for courage, but the only decision that mattered that night was his decision to fight. And yes, Eddie stayed on his feet.

Learn more about the Clearwater Boxing Center here.

"It's not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

February 4, 2016 - No Comments!

MVP: Morals. Values. Principles.

“Arrogant. Cry baby. Scam.” Call Cam Newton what you want, but you have to respect him for winning and having fun doing it. He walks, talks and dresses like someone who knows exactly who he is, what he wants and what he’s capable of.

That self-knowing is a dangerous thing in a society polluted with noise, narcissism and negativity, but don’t confuse his confidence with cockiness.

Cockiness will empty your pocket; confidence has no budget. And the Carolina Panthers’ roster is strung with misfits and outcasts who know what it’s like to be undervalued.

Newton is a hands-down, nigh-automatic for the regular season MVP award, but what’s been most impressive about his performance this year has been the development of his character. Anyone who's followed him can attest that he hasn’t always played with the zeal that permeates the Panthers organization today.

Between his rejection from the University of Florida after a stolen laptop, which landed him a stint in junior college (’09), the allegations of his father accepting money for Cam to play D1 football (’10), two standout NFL seasons marred with a sulking demeanor (’11-’12) and his escape from a car accident (’14), his past is peppered with trials that have helped mold him as a leader.

Newton scratched and clawed his way to MVP status.

It wasn’t just his on-field performance that got him there, though. His attitude — poise, competitiveness and an enthusiasm for playing — makes him the unstoppable force he is. His maturation has been the final piece of the puzzle that took him from mug shot to shot at the Super Bowl.

MVP isn’t an award for accomplishments and statistics. It’s a game face for life. I share this acronym when challenging peers to live a more fulfilled life: MVP = Morals, Values, Principles.

Know what these are for yourself and you’ll know more clearly who you are, what you want and what you’re capable of.

Here's an example ...

Morals Values Principles
In short:
Right- vs. wrong-willed conduct. What is acceptable behavior according to your individual standards. The intrinsic worth or merit you place on any given thing, concept or persons, with regard to priority and vested interest. Individual (or universal) “truths” learned or acquired by experience, used as a foundation for behaviors.
In practice:
Regrettable decisions or actions in life do not align with your moral code (and vice-versa). “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”– Matthew 6:21 Do as you do, not as you say.
Moral Code

·     Faith

·     Hope

·     Love

·     Kindness

·     Goodness

·     Self-control

·     Honesty

·     Friendship

·     Sound Learning

·     Rectitude

·     Equality

·     Respect


·      Relationship with God

·      Family/Friends/Community

·      Wisdom

·      Health

·      Wealth

·      Travel

·      Experiences

·      Liberty

·      Individualism

·      Life


·     Be impeccable with your word.

·     Don’t take anything personally.

·     Don’t make assumptions.

·     Always do your best.

·     Give respect and you will get respect.

·     People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

·     If there’s no enemy within, there can be no enemy outside.

NOTE: A seemingly unfortunate side effect to a life fully lived is that we often face mistakes before we can classify our MVP formulas.