When I was a member of the National Speakers Association, I wrote a book of funny (true) stories (Life’s A Joke) and had begun another on a more serious subject. It was to be titled “The Lost Art of Role Model Leadership.” My idea was to write the book but have a “co-author,” someone relatively famous who would only have to read the text and agree to have his name on the cover - above mine. The content was derived from the numerous books I’d read, the experiences I’d had and the people I’d met. There were five categories with several traits in each categories. Naturally, a great deal of it was to be quotes. Short, or a bit longer, lines that made a powerful point.
I got the idea when I was returning from working Michael Jordan’s Flight School in Santa Barbara. Nearly all the time I’m driving alone I’m listening to an audiobook. Since the one I had in my disk player on the way to Santa Barbara had finished, I stopped at an outlet mall in Atascadero to get another. The one that caught my eye was a book Jane Leavy did on Sandy Koufax. If ever I idolized a professional athlete, Sandy Koufax was my man. I mean, I was a Jewish teenager from New Jersey in the ’60s. After listening to that audiobook, I knew I had my co-author. Instead of boring you with how it didn’t happen, suffice to say I thought I had an “in” to help me present my idea to Sandy but it didn’t pan out.
I was pretty bummed out until it struck me there had to be other guys who qualified. That thought was more difficult than it should have been but I came up with several other possibilities. Because I spent 30 years in the world of relatively big-time college athletics, I had made contacts and met “people who knew people.” A few I thought would be possibilities were David Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr, Roger Staubach and John Stockton as well as a couple of other basketball guys, Grant Hill and Bruce Bowen, because of their alpha vs omega type backgrounds. Obviously, nothing came to fruition. My contacts not as powerful, or willing, as I thought.
Now that I’m retired, I’ve had people ask me if I was planning on coming out with another book - a sequel to Life’s A Joke. I mentioned to my friend/boss/mentor George Raveling I had quite a bit of a book on role model leadership already done and he said to me, “Then why don’t you write it?” Good question. Currently occupying my time are CuteBabyNameGifts.com, a business which produces unique, personalized artwork for babies and toddlers; traveling weekends throughout California with my wife to watch our son, Alex, play for the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters; yoga, stretching and exercising, and, if you’ve read many of these posts or know me at all, going to doctors’ appointments.
If I did decide to venture into the literary world and tackle my original idea, who in the world could be a role model? Our country’s been blitzed by not just negative stories but horrendous, offensive ones. Put it this way, if you’ve ever wanted to tell a lie, now’s the time! From Jerry Sandusky to Lance Armstrong to Manti Te’o, we’ve got some hard-to-top whoppers. I imagine there are some qualified men and women. In fact, if you think of one - please let me know.
What is redeeming is that people are tired of less-than-the-whole-truth apologies and explanations. What needs to be taught to the youth (and not-so-youth) is the statement by Mark Twain:
“A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”