When did quitting become OK?

LSU v Louisville at the Citrus Bowl

It’s Bowl Season.

I love college football, but this year the bowls have been overshadowed by the discussion on whether it’s ok for a player to skip playing a bowl game if they are going out for the NFL draft. The one getting the most attention is Lenonard Fournette  – LSU’s running back and projected first round draft pick. Most commentators are taking the position that he has to protect his future and that there’s nothing wrong with him sitting the game out. That it’s the NCAA’s fault for not allowing athletes to accept pay or endorsement deals while in college or making them sit out from the draft until they are three years out from graduating high school.  I think that whole argument is horse pucky!

From kindergarten, I remember being taught one basic life lesson – You finish what you start! You don’t quit because it gets hard, you get tired, or you like what’s on the other side of the fence more.

I see it as more a reflection of what is becoming the predominant sentiment of people. It’s all about me.

Fournette is part of a team. His season isn’t over until the last game is played. If this wasn’t the Citrus Bowl and instead it was the National Championship game on the line– would it still be ok for a key player to not take the field? I think it would be a total different conversation.

To me he has failed to meet his obligation as a member of that team. It’s not just about him. It’s much larger.

The same sentiment can be seen in many areas today. Politicians lining their pockets instead of truly working for the betterment of their constituents. Members of organizations who fail to be active members or show up only for “fun” events and not the work days. Teachers who rely on tenure to keep their jobs instead of developing their skills and actively engaging students. Employees milking the clock and allowing others to carry the load.

It’s truly a me society. We’ve made it perfectly acceptable to allow selfishness to overshadow responsibility, duty, expectation and obligation.

What I don’t understand is why the masses have decided that this attitude is the one we want to glorify and exemplify. Why are we not talking about the responsibility we have to our fellow man? Why do we think putting our self above our responsibilities is ok? What are we teaching the next generation about the expectations of society?

We spend a lot of time talking about how we engage people and employees. To me, as long as we continue to put the spotlight on those people who choose to put themselves first over their team, organization or fellow man – we’re fighting a losing battle. Engagement means you actually care about the job, the people you work with, the story, the team.

Fournette says the only person he owes anything to is his daughter. While I respect him for taking care of his child, he’s got it wrong. He owes a lot more. He’s set himself up as a person other young athletes admire. He has fans that donate and support the institution that provided him a free education. He’s got teammates that are having to pull his weight. His message is loud and clear – it’s all about the money. It’s a character issue. If you’ll quit on them, you’ll quit on the next guys too.


Start a new tradition and add to your story

It’s Christmas Eve!!! All the presents are wrapped. The decorations are twinkling. It’s a wonderful time of year. 

This Christmas consider adding to your story. Start a tradition that adds meaning and joy to your life. 

My extended family gathers each Christmas Eve. We have breakfast for supper. Everyone brings their favorite breakfast casserole or dish. We sit around the table laughing, telling stories, and listening to the children talk about Santa. Then after our tummy’s are about to burst, we play a round of dirty Santa. Fair warning, should you ever join our rowdy group….my mom loves to steal!  So much laughter and fun. 

Need some inspiration to get your egg nog clogged thoughts churning?  Consider giving your children a special ornament each year that relates to something that has happened, a hobby the love, or a skill they possess. Not only will they have a treasure to take with them when they start a home of their own; each time they take them out it will bring back a memory of a special time, place or event. 

Whatever you do this Christmas, I hope you remember the best story of all. It’s about a baby, born in a manger, who came to Earth to save us all.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Using photos to tell a story


A photo can generate a lot of interest in your story. In fact, it can draw people in that would never otherwise stop and read what you wrote. It can also add dimension to your story and be used to add emphasis.

Photos are worth a 1000 words when they are done right. Pay attention to what you say with them.

Since most of us can’t hire a professional photographer for every article we write, what can we do to create better photos on our own?

One of the simplest things you can do is keep your camera with you. When you are out walking around or traveling, use that opportunity to snap interesting pictures. They can be backgrounds or items that spark an interest. Build a photo bank. You never know when a photo of a steaming cup of coffee will be just the one you need.

Learning how to shoot people can also make your photos more interesting. Begin by shooting at eye level with your subject. Then you can play around with other angles. Read up on posing. There are poses that make your subject appear authoritative and some that don’t. Make sure you are conveying the right tone with your subject. Make sure you don’t back them up against a wall. You’ll have problems with shadows behind their head. Move them at least 5 feet out from it.

Your phone is a great resource for snapping photos. However if you want better quality or higher resolution pictures you’ll need to invest in a good camera. An affordable choice is the Cannon Rebel. There’s lots of versions depending on the amount of money you’d like to invest. This option gives you lots of ways to adjust your image when shooting. If you need more light, consider increasing the ISO and turning off your flash.

Bracket the shots. That means take more than one using several different settings. This will give you a lot of options at press time. Don’t be afraid to shoot outside of the “automatic” mode. You’ll be surprised at how your images improve.

Finally, don’t just use a photo to take up space. It’s confusing to readers if the image or images doesn’t add anything to the story. Make sure the photos you pick answer at least 3 of the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where or why).