Relationships Mean EVERYTHING

I know it seems I say this every week, but man! I sure am proud of these guys for all they've done to make this year what it was. They overcame last year's afflictions, yet also learned from last year's despairs. It made them better young men, and this year we saw the fruits of what they learned. I am so proud of them. While we felt like we had a chance to win a few of the games we lost, ultimately, we are thankful to be in the position that we are in. When you look back at where we were 12 months ago, "thankful" is an understatement. Hard work, determination, grit, and relentlessness are words I would use when describing this 2018 Cherokee Warrior Football team. What a great way to model that, as they did last week in the overtime win versus Lassiter to end the regular season. What a great win!

Of course, we are all excited about the next opportunity that we have before us and we couldn't wait to get back to work with these young men this week. Like we do every week, we started off with our Character Education meeting, and I spoke this week on Relationships. You see, life is ALL about relationships. Its not about the size of the car you drive, the size of your home, how much money you have or don't have in the bank, but it's about healthy relationships with those around you. I want our guys to understand that. They will face all sorts of temptations in the real world very soon to just focus on themselves. The world sells us all on "just worry about you." Yet, that couldn't be further from the truth in what it takes to have a happy and successful life. Jon Gordon says, "To build a strong team, family and organization you need to have great relationships. To have great relationships you must invest your time and energy in your relationships." I'd like to share with you some of the points I shared with our team this past Monday .I used information from my favorite author, Jon Gordon, for our lesson on Relationships. He calls them the 4 C's of improving relationships for your organization, team or family.

  1. Communication - Communication builds trust. Trust generates commitment. Commitment fosters teamwork and teamwork delivers results. It all starts with great communication. Unfortunately, many relationships and teams suffer from poor communication. A lack of communication leads to voids and where there is a void in communication negativity will fill it. We must make time to communicate consistently and constantly in order to fill the void. In a world filled with useful technology, may we not hide behind our devices and neglect opportunities we must effectively communicate with those we work with and those we love.
  2. Connect - Communication begins the process of building trust but connection is where a bond of trust is created. Connecting is essential because you'll never have commitment without connection. If you want a committed relationship and a committed team you must make the time to connect with them. A quick tip is to intentionally connect with one person on your team or one person you lead each day. It doesn't have to take a long time. Even 10 minutes will make a difference. Ask them how they are doing and really listen. Have a meaningful conversation. Ask how you can help them. If every leader and team member did this, we would have much stronger teams. We then discussed the importance of taking the time to connect at home, too. These days, its too easy NOT to work on connecting with those we love. We MUST make time to apply these principles to our home lives, as well as our corporate lives.
  3. Commit - Everybody wants their team or family members to be committed but if you want commitment from others you have to show your commitment to them. It starts with you. Commitment always looks like service and sacrifice. Commit to your team or family by finding ways to serve them and make them better. In fact, start by picking one thing you will do to be a better team member. When you commit to your team members and team you demonstrate that WE is more important than me and you become the leader and team you are meant to be.
  4. Care - If you knew someone cared about you and had your back would you be more open to their feedback? Of course you would. And it's the same with your team members. When people know you care about them, they will be more likely to care about you and what you have to say. The often-used quote "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" is so popular for a reason. It's true. Don't just show up and go through the motions. Instead, show your team members that you care about them. When you care you build a team that cares. A team that cares builds greatness together.

This week, as you already know, we have the wonderful privilege and opportunity to play at Lowndes High School. If you've ever headed south to Florida on Interstate 75 South, then you have seen this stadium. Over the years, this program has had unprecedented success and has won 5 state titles, with 3 titles coming under Coach Randy McPherson. When you think about how we were all sitting at home this time last year, we will gladly load up the buses this afternoon and head down south to take on the Vikings of Lowndes High School. They are a tremendously talented football team and we are excited for the challenge.

I can never thank you enough for all each of you have done to make this year so special. We aren't planning on ending the season this Friday night, but should things not go our way, know I love and appreciate each of you. You make us what we are, and we can never thank you enough. The "relationships" I have with this place is so special. Relationships DO matter and I am so thankful for what we have here. In this season of "Thankfulness" know from the bottom of my heart, this Coach sure does love and appreciate each and every one of the Warrior Nation. Go Warriors! #PTC18

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FIGHT

I cannot believe game 10 is upon us, already! How are we already in November and how in the world are we at the last football game at Tommy Baker Field for the 2018 season? Every year seems to move even faster than the year before and this year is no different. Luckily, our season does not end tomorrow night. Can I get an AMEN?

While I was pleased with some of the aspects of last Friday night's game, I was not pleased with the outcome. We knew we would have our hands full with Walton, but I thought we had some opportunities early in the game that we didn't take advantage of, and it came back to bite us in the rear near the end of the game. However, the one thing I can say about this team is they never stopped fighting and never backed down, regardless of the odds that were stacked against them. That is why I love this team and this group of seniors. They FIGHT!

That brings me to our word for the week. Coach Smith spoke to the team on Monday morning on the word FIGHT. He defined fight as your ability to keep pushing forward during adverse situations. He talked about how several of our players face adversity and adverse situations every day, yet they keep fighting because they have no choice. Some of our players leave practice and go to work until midnight and then come home to do homework, because they must help pay the bills at home.They fight through it because they have no choice. He talked about how real men never quit fighting and how the older you get, the more you will have to fight. Some of our guys have never really had to fight adversity before, yet one day, when they are out on their own, they will have to fight, to survive financially, relationally, or occupationally. He talked about how one of our coaches had to lead his family and fight through the birth of his premature little one. As you mature into a man or a young lady, sometimes the adversity hits harder and more often. Yet, being a fighter and refusing to give up, will help you through that. He encouraged them to fight for what they want in life, regardless of the odds that may be stacked against them. Lastly, he challenged them by saying, "In football and life you may face situations or individuals that have an advantage over you, but your ability to fight and compete determines who you are as a person, and ultimately, as a man. Coach Smith did a fabulous job and I am so thankful for his investment in our young men.

Tomorrow night is a big game around here for many reasons. Considering the heartache and pain these guys experienced last year, this group of seniors have led the way and have done their part to turn this program around. Tomorrow night they have a chance to even their record to 5-5 (a +5 in the win column compared to last year), and for just the 4th time in school history, these guys will make the playoffs in two different seasons during their high school careers. I could not be prouder of these guys and all they've fought to overcome.

I hope you will come out to celebrate these Seniors tomorrow night. I hope you and your family will come to the pay your respects to these young men and thank them for their time here in the Cherokee Football program. I can remember some of these young men when they were playing in CYFA and in the Jr. Warrior Program. I will hate to see them leave, but they sure have left this program better than the way they found it. I am so proud of them.

Come out tomorrow night and celebrate a wonderful night. Please know that we thank you for all you've done to make this program what it is! YOU MATTER, and YOU ARE CHEROKEE! #PTC18

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Passion

I think every head coach will agree that its much better to head into a bye week off a win, than it is to have a week off right after a loss.What a great night it was two weeks ago.Each of you reminded us once again, how great Friday nights are under the lights, in the fall.It was a night to remember for sure.A wonderful win for our program and a great accomplishment for our boys.I never want to take for granted just how blessed we all are to experience high school football in the South.The weather was perfect, the stadium was packed, and the 2018 Homecoming game couldn't have ended any better.I'm thankful for what we experienced that night.

Our guys enjoyed several days off during our bye week to rest up their legs, get caught up on some academic work, and get one last break before we head into the most important part of our season.We have a chance to do some special things these last few weeks and our guys are looking forward to all that is before us.This has been a great week of practice and it started off with an excellent message on Monday morning by one of our newest coaches, Coach Evans.Coach Evan spoke to our team about Passion.

He defined "passion" as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.If we want to be successful in life we must be passionate about what we do.Sure, it's hard to maintain the high level of enthusiasm that passion requires, but more often than not, our days should be consumed with passion in everything we do.

Author, Jon Gordon, speaks and writes about passion.Jon says,

In today's competitive environment, your passion and your purpose must be greater than your challenges. You have to be willing to work harder, run faster, drive further, study more, practice longer, lead better, sweat more, love deeper and this requires passion.

Passion wakes you up 30 minutes earlier. It dials your phone one more time to make one more sale. It rallies your team together when times are tough. It moves you to see one more patient after a long day at the hospital. It inspires you to help a struggling student. It provides legendary customer service. Passion transforms workplaces, powers champions and fuels winning teams.

We need more passionate people in this world.We have so many negative voices and so much divisiveness that we need more positive and passionate people in our community.I firmly believe we can change the world if we live a life of positivity and passion.

Tomorrow night we play game 9 of the 2018 season.How in the world are we already at this point?It just seems like yesterday we were working out in the summer waiting for the season to finally arrive.Now here we are.We are both 2-1 in the region and are currently tied for 2nd place.Walton is a tremendous team that has been ranked all year, as high as #2 in the state.They are a well-coached and extremely talented team.They have several players that you will see playing on Saturdays in the very near future.However, we love a challenge and our guys will be ready Friday night.

We can't wait for another night under the lights at Tommy Baker.I'm getting chills just thinking about it.We hope to see you there.We need you to be there and be loud.Thank you for your support and Go Warriors! #PTC18

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To Do The Right Thing, At The Right Time, All The Time

Well, last Friday night was not what we expected. We knew Roswell was a great team and had one of the best defenses around, yet we didn't anticipate the game would end like it did. However, sometimes life throws you curveballs and you must take what it gives you, work hard to correct your mistakes, and learn from it, to experience growth. That was exactly our focus this week. Don't dwell on the failures and defeats from yesterday. Learn all you can from those failures and defeats and then use it to fuel the fire deep in your soul to become better, as a result of the misfortune you experienced.

As we do every week, we start off the week with a topic or life lesson from one of our coaches. Coach Mac spoke to our team earlier this week and spoke on the topic of Integrity. In our program we have six core values that we try to live by and teach our young men throughout the year, and integrity is certainly one of them. Coach Mac focused on our team's definition of integrity, and that is "to do the right thing at the right time, all the time." Coach Mac challenged our team in all phases of our lives. Here were some of his points:

1) Football – Integrity is not taking a play off, during practice, because your coach isn't looking at you. Integrity is making sure if you are in the weight room and the workout says to do 10 reps, even when a coach or your fellow teammate isn't watching you, you complete your reps. You do the right thing, at the right time, all the time.

2) School – Integrity is not giving in to the temptation to look at another classmate's test or quiz. Integrity is not copying off a friend's homework when you need to get the homework turned in. Integrity is being honest when you are asked a question by a friend, teacher, or administrator; even when you know the circumstances of your action may cause you shame or embarrassment. You do the right thing, at the right time, all the time.

3) Outside of School – Integrity is adhering to the rules that your parents or guardians have set in place to help and protect you. Integrity is not doing something you shouldn't do, when your parents go out of town. Integrity is doing the right thing, even when you don't suspect you will be caught or seen. Integrity is owning up to your own mistakes and not blaming someone else in the family. You do the right thing, at the right time, all the time.

Coach Mac did a fantastic job on this topic. I believe the value of being a person of integrity continues to decline in our society and I don't think it's an accident that our country continues to crumble from within. We all need a heavy dose of integrity. Coach Mac was very passionate in his message and I appreciated that. Our young men need to hear powerful messages like this. The difference in having integrity versus not having integrity WILL determine the future of your life.

How about you? Do you have integrity? Do you do the right thing, at the right time, all the time? Do you sneak around and try to hide something? Do you lie or try to fudge numbers at work to report back to your boss? I think at some point, we all struggle with things in life, but I firmly believe we can be a light and impact this world in such a positive way, if we make a commitment to live our lives on the principle of integrity.

For the third week in a row, we have had an excellent week of practice. I am so proud of these guys for continuing to work hard and not let obstacles impede their progress towards reaching their goals. This week we take on a county foe and we couldn't be any more excited about the chance to be back at Tommy Baker under the lights. Its been 5 weeks since we've played at home. That's way too long, but we are thrilled to be back home. We continue to believe we have the best fans, the best band, the best cheerleaders, and the best student section around. We need all of you to be here Friday night. The atmosphere will be unbelievable and will be the epitome of the term "Friday Night Lights." There's nothing like high school football in the fall. We look forward to seeing you there and thank you so much for your continued support. Go Warriors! #PTC18

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Consistent Actions Create Consistent Results

First, I wanted to start out by thanking all of you who came and supported our Warriors on the road the last several weeks.The large amount of Warrior parents and fans that showed up at Cartersville and Etowah just speaks to the kind of fanbase and support we have here at Cherokee High School.So, as the Head Coach of this program, please know that it does not go unnoticed, and our program is very blessed by your unending support.

I am very proud of these young men and how they fought through constant adversity in last week's win over Etowah.After being up 10-0 in the 2nd quarter, within about 45 "game" seconds, we were down 12-10.However, after the half, our guys came out and scored on the 2nd play of the 3rd quarter to go up 17-12.Until the very last play of the game, we had to fight and protect our lead.I am so proud of these guys for the resolve they showed in pulling out the win in our first region game of the year.We hope to continue building on that fight and determination that we saw last Friday night.

On Monday morning, as we began preparations for our next region matchup with Roswell High School, Coach Pearce spoke to our team on the topic of Consistency.Allow me to share with you one of the key points of his talk.The title of his message to our team was "Consistency – The Grind to Greatness."

Consistent Actions Create Consistent Results

  1. In Football, we do the same drills every day.This helps our players be more consistent in whatever phase of the game they are in, be it offense, defense or special teams.A QB needs to throw every day.A WR needs to catch as many balls as possible every day.A defensive player needs to work on tackling and pursuing the ball carrier every day.Muscle memory is an important part of football.When we are consistent in the drills we do each day, our players will have a higher percentage or chance at obtaining success on Friday nights.
  2. In our occupations, there are things we need to do every day to achieve success.If you are in sales, and you aren't consistently contacting new leads or checking in with current customers, then somebody else will.You must be consistent in taking care of your current customers, as well as consistently going out to seek new business.
  3. As a husband and a father, if I am not consistent in adhering to the principles in which I lead my family, then it will make it hard for my family to depend on on me.If I am not the same in how I keep and live out our core family values each day, then how can my family trust me?How can they know and understand how I will respond to a situation, if I am not consistent as their leader?
  4. As a coaching staff, if we are not consistent in not only preaching the core values of our program, but also practicing what we preach, then how can we expect our players to live by those values?If as a coaching staff, we are consistent in how we discipline and treat our players, then our players will feel safe in this organization and know what is expected of them.

In any organization, whether at work or at home, people grow and thrive under consistency.We will find that if we are consistent in how we lead, our people will follow. Conversely, if we are inconsistent in our actions and core values, then the efficiency of our organization will suffer tremendously.Coach Pearce challenged us all to be more consistent in all we do, from the classroom, to the hallways, to our home lives, and on this team.Consistent Actions Create Consistent Results.

As I mentioned above, we have a big region game this week at Roswell High School.They are a very good football team and are 4-1 on the season.However, we love a challenge and welcome the opportunity.Our guys have had another good week of practice and that makes two very good weeks of practice in back-to-back weeks.Our guys are learning what it takes to be more consistent in how they practice each week.For that, I am extremely proud of them.

We look forward to seeing you there on Friday night.Be there!Be early and be loud!Thank you for your support and Go Warriors! #Consistency #PTC18
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When Adversity Knocks..... We Say Good

 I guess I'll start off the Week 2 version of the Coach's Corner like I did in the previous edition.FINALLY! We finally shook the proverbial "monkey off our back," and welcomed the dawn of a victorious Saturday morning with great joy.Its been a long time since we've been able to do that; too long.Yet, it finally happened, and for that I am extremely grateful.I'm thankful for all of you that made the trip up to the northern part of Forsyth county to support us.What an awesome night it was for our football team and for our whole program in general.

This win was the epitome of a "team" win.We had players all over the field that made big plays when we needed it the most. Our defense came through in the most critical moments of the game.Our offense also found the endzone three times in the first half and took advantage of the opportunities they were given.While we must choose a "player of the game" each week, we found it difficult to do that because it seemed there were so many players who simply did their job and that is what contributed to most of the success we had Friday night.A defensive lineman that puts pressure on a quarterback, who throws an interception, doesn't get as much credit as the defensive back that intercepted the ball.An offensive lineman that made a great down block doesn't get the credit that the running back receives when he scores a touchdown.The player who isn't playing on the field but encourages his teammates every time they come off the field is just as important as the guy who makes the game-saving play.Yet, that player never receives the recognition that is due him.There are many other examples I could give, and therefore I believe football is the ultimate team sport.We ALL play a role and each role is just as important to the success of our team.

Our word of the week for Week 2 is ADVERSITY.Jason Kuhn, of Stonewall Solutions, told us in the summer that adversity is inevitable, uncontrollable and necessary.Adversity hits each one of us in all phases of our lives.It always seems to hit at the worst moment too.It's inevitable.Its bound to happen.Its uncontrollable.There is very little, if anything, we can do to avoid it.Yet it's also necessary.It's essential and even required for growth and we handle that adversity is what determines the eventual or pending outcome.

Former Seal Team Six member, Richard Marcinko, stresses the importance of "looking for Murphy."Murphy's Law states that if something can go bad it WILL go bad.Therefore, we must be looking for, or anticipating adversity.If we are "looking for it" and if we are anticipating that it will find us at some point, we will be ready for it. It won't surprise us.To show growth in certain areas of our lives, we MUST face some type of adversity.For its in those times that we find who we really are.It's been said, "You're not gold 'til you've been through the fire." Adversity is inevitable, uncontrollable, and necessary.

We are looking forward to tomorrow night's match up with a county foe.This is always one of the most attended games in the fall, in this county.Both schools have a long history of fierce battles and both schools have extremely passionate fans.Therefore, we NEED you there.We need you to be there early.We need you to be loud and help us as much as possible.As I mentioned above, people who aren't on the field have a role too.You are instrumental to our success and we can't wait to see you all there.

We WILL face adversity tomorrow night at some point.It's inevitable.We've practiced for it all week.Our players are prepared for that adversity and the outcome of the game will be dependent on how well we respond to trying times throughout the game.You WILL face adversity today, tomorrow, and/or the next day.It's uncontrollable, yet its necessary.Use adversity and hard times to help shape who you are and all that you are meant to become.Like our team has been taught all summer, when adversity hits your verbal, mental, and emotional response ought to be one word and one word only: GOOD!Bring it on!Let's go.#PTC18
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