Remembering what’s important

With decades of experience in coaching, we understand the importance of encouragement in the face of struggle and frustration. A touching moment between a coach and a player at the Little League World Series was caught on live television, warming hearts across the country. The coach also happened to be the player’s father.

It was the first game in the series for Pitcher Isaiah “Bugsy” Jensen, who had not pitched much in the Northwest Regional either, but he’d had quite a game on the biggest stage for Little Leaguers. Bugsy pitched four innings with six strikeouts and only two singles. Then, he began to lose control in the fifth as wild pitches walked a hitter from the opposing team: Italy. Joel Jensen, coach for Bend North in Oregon, gave son and pitcher a pep talk that brought him the courage to strike out his next and final hitter. And eventually, his team won the game.

Photo Courtesy www.sportsgrid.com

Photo Courtesy www.sportsgrid.com

I just came out to tell you … I love you, as a dad and a player, okay? You’re doing awesome out here. One more hitter and I’m going to bring in _____ (alternate pitcher). This is your last hitter, okay? You understand? Come right after him… Hey, cheer up, have some fun, come right after him. Okay? Let’s go!

It was a moment not only seen and heard by the crowd of 7,000 at the series, but also by national audiences of ESPN and ABC News. The video serves as a reminder to dads and coaches everywhere: support and validate your children, players, and students. They need it most when they lose faith in themselves–that message may be the push they need to end on a high note.

Unfortunately, ESPN might be seen as Red-Faced after commercializing the touching moment with corporate sponsorship from Kellogg’s. They branded the video as a “Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Let Your Grrrrreat-Out Moment.”

Our disclaimer: No Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes contributed in the making of this moment.

What’s in a Name?

NFL REDSKINS

The  “Redskins,” Washington DC’s NFL team has been in existence for almost a century. And now some in the media are refusing to use the term, citing a racial slur against Native Americans.

Here, the media is more than the messenger. The journalists are playing the role of conscience-minding mentor, who can make the choice of the words they use, both in broadcast and in print.

And team owner, Dan Snyder is using the media to broadcast his refusal to change the moniker.  He told USA Today: “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

Christine Brennan from the same USA Today explained “even if only some Native Americans think it’s racist, here’s news for the rest of us. Whether we want to hear it and deal with it or not: it’s racist.”

And what does the franchise really lose if the network coverage refers to the team as “Washington” rather than the “Redskins?” Even though the name has not changed, the term “redskins” is slowly disappearing from sports culture.

Other sports teams are also facing challenges to their brands including baseball’s Cleveland Indians, who stoutly defend their red-faced Chief Wahoo logo. According to Cleveland Indian President Mark Shapiro,. “Chief Wahoo is not going anywhere. He will continue to be “featured prominently” and presently on every team uniform. But there seems to be a transition to the “C,” emphasizing Cleveland instead of the red-faced, hook-nosed chief.

wahooAs the media pinpoints the teams and erases their colorful mascots, sports teams may be forced to re-brand.  All this political correctness would demand that the teams create a new image.  But the real question is, who is the audience? Loyal fans and season ticket holders may be as offended by a name change.  It proves that branding and when to change your brand is a very difficult question to answer.