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Style Meets Substance

“Let us be grateful to the mirror for revealing to us our appearance only.” – Samuel Butler

What a hectic couple of weeks!! After finishing a 20-page paper, getting a little local exposure from WeLoveDC.com (check it out, if you haven’t read it, here) and enjoying my birthday last week, (hooray birthdays!) I decided with some of the downtime I had I wanted to do some spring-cleaning. I went through my entire closet, and as I was getting rid of the things that I didn’t want anymore and it got me thinking of a new blog post. What do my clothes say about me? I have a little bit of everything, from dresses to college t-shirts to dress slacks to jerseys, (around 65 now, and still growing!) and I take pride in the fact that I think I dress well and have a good sense of style. Clothes are also a way to express oneself through colors, fabrics, and creativity. I often get asked my favorite labels or designers I prefer. To be honest, I don’t stick to one particular brand.

Sure, dressing a certain way definitely impacts how others can view you. But it also speaks volumes of how you feel about yourself. Don’t think it matters? Wrong, it does, even in the smallest way. You know how it goes, the water cooler talk about what someone was wearing the night before. Often some conversation beginning with, “What were they wearing and what were they thinking??” comes to mind. Particularly with work, and having a career, fashion is important more than you think.

Lets take a look at the movie, ‘Devil Wears Prada.’ For those of you who haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. The witty humor and business operations of a successful company, even if it seems like some girly fashion magazine. The premise: A young writer new to NYC lands a job with a fashion magazine. Knowing little to nothing about labels or style at all, she gets criticized for it and her work suffers. She starts to learn that dressing well for the job and learning to be professional in other ways really made the difference.

Today, fashion and sports often coincide; check out my friend Heather’s (@HeatherZeller) blog,  Glam Slam: Where Fashion Meets Sports.

In sports, the uniform is heavily influenced, too. Recently, there has been a lot of talk of properly representing an organization that you work for or with. There has been discussion about whether Chicago Bulls Joakim Noah’s slur to a fan is worthy of being fined $50,000. Same thing with Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant’s slur only a few short weeks ago, fined $100,000. One side of the debate says that its freedom of speech, another side says it’s the cameraman’s fault for catching the slip up, others say it is their fault. Regardless of what was said, both athletes are representing the respective NBA franchise teams while being in uniform. It ultimately negatively reflects on the organization.

The bottom line is this: If you’re comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt going to the grocery store, or working out at the gym in sweats, that’s fine. But in a place of legitimate business, or attending an event representing a company, think twice before dressing inappropriately. You never know who you’ll meet or run into. Yes those heels hurt, but I always feel more confident in them than in flats.

The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” means nothing if someone sees you from across the room. It can also translate the same way if you’re trying to meet someone at a bar – regardless of how nice or cordial they are and despite their actual talent or work efforts, people always hold someone to a higher regard if they look the part, too. Everyone wants to be a part of some organization that has employees who embody the job as a whole and that includes how one dresses. Just put yourself in a CEO’s position during the interview process. Would you hire yourself? These days, image is everything, but sometimes can be difficult to maintain, especially in front of others. Self-image is even more important, however, and that comes from within.

Maybe that relates to a buying a new shirt or a new pair of shoes, or maybe even a new wardrobe, but whatever the case, it is just human nature to judge that book by its cover. We all do it – but we all want to make a good impression, too. Personal appearance can affect your credibility and in my opinion, it’s well worth the effort.

It’s Showtime for Mayhem

Its Showtime folks, literally!

Undefeated heavyweight boxer, Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell, will return to the ring at Buffalo Bill’s Star of the Desert Arena, located within Terrible’s Primm Valley Casino Resorts, in Primm, Nevada.  Mitchell will fight May 13th on the televised portion of Showtime’s boxing series, “ShoBox: The New Generation.”  The Star of the Desert Arena holds 6,500 seats and is approximately forty miles from downtown Las Vegas.  The fight card is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona and DeWalt Tools.

Mitchell

Seth Mitchell (Brandywine, Maryland, 21-0-1, 15 KOs) is scheduled to fight against the Nicaraguan boxer, Evans “The Sandman” Quinn (Miami, Florida, 20-5-1, 18 KOs), in a 10-round bout.

Mitchell, a former Maryland high school football All-American and Michigan State University football standout, has knocked out eight of his last nine opponents.  On March 5, 2011, he defeated Charles Davis by TKO in 1:02 of Round 2.  Mitchell dominated Davis in the scheduled 10-round bout, sending his opponent to the canvas four times, before referee Wayne Hedgepeth stopped the fight.

Quinn

Mitchell said, “I feel I am well-prepared for this fight.  I am in great shape and can box ten rounds if I need to.  My opponent’s record shows he has good punching power, so I know I will need to have good defense and be ready for anything.  This is my first time fighting on Showtime, so I am ready to put on a good show for the fans.”

Mitchell’s boxing trainer, Andre Hunter said, “For this fight, we worked on being prepared for any style that his opponent may bring.  This fight is like every other fight, because you have to put the work in for any opponent they put in front of you.  I’m excited that a large television audience will tune in for the fight.”

Mitchell’s boxing manager, Sharif Salim, said, “Evans Quinn is a very credible and formidable opponent.  He has 20 wins, with 18 of them coming by knockout.  After viewing him, I was impressed with his athleticism, movement and hand speed.  The styles of both fighters will create an exciting fight on Showtime.   If styles make fights, then this is one fight you will want to see.”

If you’re out and about, set your DVR’s tonight…coverage starts around 10:45-11:00pm.

UPDATE: Seth Mitchell wins by KO in the 1st round.

The DMV Coaching Carousel

The past few weeks have certainly altered the way the people in Washington, D.C., think about adjusting to change. In terms of what is sticking around – the weather is starting to be consistently pleasant, the allergies are consistently aggravating, Metro is still jam packed during rush hour, and the foreign drivers still have no idea where they are going in the downtown area. What have changed, however, are the sports organizations in and around the Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. areas. Fans and media alike are unsure what is to come over the next several years. “We’re rebuilding” has become a common statement in daily conversations.  Lets take a look at the changes:

 — High School —

Head Football Coach Change

Dematha High School – Bill McGregor (retiring, 39 years)

— College/University –

4 College Head Basketball Coaches Changes

George Mason – Paul Hewitt (Ga. Tech) for Jim Larranaga (took job with Miami, 14 years)

George Washington – Mike Lonergan (Vermont) for Karl Hobbs (released, 10 years)

Maryland – Mark Turgeon (from Texas A&M) for Gary Williams (retiring, 22 years)

Navy — Billy Lange (took job with Villanova as an Associate HC, 7 years)

Losing a head coach, especially in basketball, is difficult in the future of recruiting and properly representing the university. Each has ties to the local area and what are my thoughts on these hires? I’m satisfied with all of them. They each bring something new and useful to the future of the program and ready to move forward in its own stages of rebuilding a name in their own respective conference.

 2 Head Lacrosse Coaches

Towson –Tony Seaman (retiring, 13 years)

Navy – Richie Meade (resigned, 17 years)

Any coach that is in a position longer than 10 years, whether it is basketball, football, baseball, or even lacrosse, is a milestone in high school and college athletics.

— NHL —

               Capitals: After a 4-0 sweep loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Bruce Boudreau’s job is in jeopardy. Once pegged as the savior of the NHL in DC, the Caps are facing a major rebuild with possible player and structure changes. The future of what happens with BB will lie in the hands of Capitals general manager George McPhee. Should they fire him? Is it solely his fault? It definitely is an interesting debate, and for now, it looks like Boudreau is sticking around.

Think about it, if we fired every coach out there for not exceeding high caliber expectations, there would be far more than just a couple of coaching changes every year. On the other hand, the Caps have lost to a lower-seeded team in four (shrug, yes, four) consecutive playoffs under Boudreau, despite winning four consecutive titles in the Eastern division, the President’s Trophy and the conference title the past two seasons under his tenure as head coach.

— NBA –

Wizards:  A major marketing overhaul with the unveiling of a new red, white and blue color scheme, new logos, fonts, and designs, the Wizards hope to score big in the upcoming draft lottery. With the previous mindset of having to rebuild from last year, it hasn’t been easy. Even with the lucky number one lottery pick spot; the Wizards have had a conflicting couple of seasons with trades, injuries, lack of leadership, and losses including that of  “Mr. Rebuilder” himself, Abe Pollin. Hopeful that after a makeover and some fresh talent will result in leading the Wizards back to a playoff spot like they did back in 2008,  owner Ted Leonsis and his team with Monumental Sports can look to more success in the future.

The new Washington Wizards jerseys and team logos

We as fans, media, ticket holders, both seasoned and random, alumni and friends of these programs, must embrace it. Much like a carousel at an amusement park, it’s the one ride everyone seems to flock to. With its pretty colors, and siren song, it would be boring if the elegant horses didn’t go up and down every few seconds. With all of these new revisions to the DMV area, it helps to breed motivation for new leadership to embrace an open-door policy for a paradigm shift. By revamping our own expectations, we can harbor new ones. John C. Maxwell said it best: “Change is inevitable, growth is optional.”

Status Update: The Power of Social Media

I’ll be the first to admit: I’m addicted to the Internets. My morning routine begins with social media – starting with, in order: Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Phone. This past weekend was no exception. Though I had a lot of schoolwork to finish, I maintained my schedule with social media check-ins more than a few times. It got a tad out of hand waking up early Friday morning to watch the events of the Royal Wedding. Yes, I watched. Mostly because I love a good love story and second, how often in the news do we have something positive to report on? I would have to say maybe once every other break I took from writing a marketing paper on a case study of the development of Cymbalta, to stay up to date on what’s going on in the world around me.

This weekend also marked the beginning of the Washington Capitals second round run with the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that after playing us in the regular season shut us out twice. Let’s also take note that their goalie, Dwayne Roloson, leads the NHL in save percentage (.949) in the postseason, but we have Michael Neuvirth whose GAA is 1.38. Like anyone excited for any postseason play, we read previews and posts and comments. For me, it was mostly through Twitter, hearing from beat writers, analysts and fans about how we can beat the No. 5 seeded Lightning.

via @clydeorama http://www.flickr.com/photos/clydeorama/3818958525/

Finishing up the tweaks of my paper, conference postings and other schoolwork, Game 2 on Sunday was just a few hours away. Hoping we would finally snap out of our Power Play rut, we made our way down to Verizon where you could definitely feel the energy in the building. I found myself checking tweets even while I was AT the game on Sunday, which doesn’t happen that often. I’m so immersed in games that I tend to shut out the World and focus on what’s on the ice (or court, or field). As much of a heartbreaking loss as it was, my Twitter timeline and newsfeed on Facebook started blowing up with comments of things like “we’re not worried” and “We need to find a way to score on the PP!!” Still, I was hoping we’d hold off and get the W, but just couldn’t execute. I still hope for the best, though – its all we can do as fans.  Even though we’re down 0-3 in the series, hopefully we can get a W in Tampa Bay to build our confidence and take back the series we were favored to win. You better believe I’ll be tracking the news via Twitter.

With that said, the impact of how social media set the tone for the series is unbelievable. But it isn’t just with sports. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner was Saturday night and in an awesome evening out in Dupont for my friend Laura’s birthday, we all headed home tweeting the likes of Seth Myers, Jimmy Fallon, Andy Samberg and Mindy Kaling, all of whom were in attendance for the dinner at the Hilton downtown. We were perhaps even more jealous of our other friend Kate, who was working the event. Tweets flew back and forth and one thing I do love about Twitter is it’s more than just instant connection, because hey, people DO respond back. Yes, even celebrities.

After Sunday’s game, and headed back to Arlington, Va., on the metro, my timeline had tweets that began to overshadow Game 2’s news … something about Obama holding a press conference within the hour about an undisclosed topic regarding national security. There was nothing that mentioned the dinner from the previous evening. The rumors started flying, yet no one really knew what was going on. It was very odd for it to be on a Sunday night and so late, was it a coincidence that it had to interrupt Celebrity Apprentice?

We come to find out that it was held to announce that Osama bin Laden, the notorious claimed mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, had been shot and killed by US troops and that the U.S. had custody of the body. As we all know, any news, rumored or factual, spread so fast, I’m surprised it didn’t break the Internet. Within just a few minutes of getting back to Arlington and confirmed mentions from White House officials did the streets flood around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Students from George Washington and Georgetown, local residents and the even some of the remaining media from the Caps game showed up in utter satisfaction and celebration of the news.

There’s no way that outside of a telecast could anything travel as fast as it had. It was pretty amazing. Read this, if you haven’t yet. There was even a guy live tweeting in Abbottabad while the raid was going down (@ReallyVirtual). There were celebrations all over the country, too, including major universities, and World Trade Center site. Standing together as a nation, even for a few hours, is a great sight to see – but, does this change anything? Not sure.

As recent as this development is, there are far too many unknowns. What I DO know, however, is the significant impact that social media has over everyone, whether you actually use these outlets or not. It has provoked some stunning trends. The Pew Research Center’s 2011 Annual Report on American Journalism reports that:

     * In 2010 every news platform saw audience stall or decline … except the Web.

     * For the first time ever, more people got their news from the Web than newspapers … the gap for TV is closing, too.

   * Newspaper newsrooms are 30 percent smaller than in 2000.

    * Nearly half of all Americans now get some form of local news on a mobile device. In other countries where mobile penetration is deeper, the number is probably greater.

(via @ smexaminer)

from http://www.wpmods.com

Given the passion of the fans and dedication of the blogger, writer, or award-winning journalist, there’s no sign of social media slowing down anytime soon. This goes for politics, local/national news and of course sports, and that includes athletes.

The best way is to embrace the power of social media is use it to YOUR advantage. Follow the people and be followed by those who share similar interests and viewpoints. While there are a lot of ignorant people out there, keep your values and what YOU believe in, in check. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and in the world of social media and free speech; make those decisions wisely. As Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.”

KNOWING is not as important as DOING: Get Motivated

As Vince Lombardi once said, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.” I firmly believe that after the past month or so. With spring (and terrible allergies) upon us, I can look back at all of the accomplishments of the past year in comparison to last spring. With the Capital Classic wrapped it feels pretty great to be finally be done with basketball season. It was a long haul to get to this point. I have to look back and think – would I do it all over again? I feel that most people ask themselves that question after some major event or series of events happen. Do we always have a definitive answer for that question? Not really. There are always extenuating circumstances to every issue. For example, I missed Orange and White weekend down in Knoxville, Tenn., last weekend, the UT spring scrimmage  game where all my college friends get together and celebrate the start of an exciting college football season. The first time ever that I’ve missed the game, since I started school there. On the other hand, though, one could also argue that I learned a LOT and gained valuable experience (which I did) that will no doubt help me with my career and all future endeavors.

But which choice is best? Work or play? What is the motivation? It’s the same argument as choosing love or career. You cannot REALLY choose what’s best, because you do not really know what is going to happen in the future. You can predict, but unless you’re Nostradamus, there are far too many unknowns. In class this week, we were learning about the Value Chain Analysis, describing internal and external factors, both having strengths, weaknesses, positives and negatives. It sounds pretty similar to what I’m thinking right now, so why can’t we apply most business models to our everyday lives?

Look at the show Celebrity Apprentice. Not sure if you watch or not, but if you don’t, it’s actually a really great show. It’s interesting to see, using their status in society, celebrities that tackle these specific business tasks and how they work with each other, even though each person is so different. (Latoya Jackson is STILL in it…) It shows how they use specific ideals of incorporating brand management and creating new marketing prototypes that haven’t been used before. I wonder if there’s a motivation in others like there is for the show? I’m talking about thousands of dollars toward a charity of their choice.

Would people act differently or work harder if they were getting something substantial out of it? What if the motivation was something else, like a championship? Look at the Washington Capitals, moving on to Round 2 in the Stanley Cup playoffs, well on their way to (hopefully) a championship. Shall I go a little more extreme? Look at Kate Middleton, about to marry Prince William in a ridiculously lavish wedding event for the entire world to see. Talk about motivation … I think about the Capital Classic event versus running an event like that, with close to 177,000 members of the press guaranteed to attend, I wonder who makes THAT seating chart (and I hope it’s a staff and not just one person).

Whether your motivation is to help yourself in your own career, helping others through charity work, getting that World Championship, or to help land that Prince Charming, the lines of motivation still remain the same. You can try and troubleshoot all the possibilities, but there will always be circumstances that are beyond our control. What it takes is someone who is organized, aware of and utilizes their resources, and is not afraid to act spontaneously to problem solve as situations arise. What is YOUR motivation?

There’s No Tasking like Multitasking!

It has been a while since my last post, not that I am neglecting my new blog, but because I’ve literally be swamped with school and work. With several national champions in the history books, records breaking, statistics churning and face paint washing, basketball tournament mode ends this weekend – it is so close, I can almost taste it. What a season it has been for  me. For those that know me, or have gotten a brief moment to actually see me in person, you are aware that my stress level these past few months have been on a steady incline. With handling four email accounts, four Twitter accounts, three Facebook pages and numerous website updating, comes a big sigh of relief knowing I can multitask as well as anyone. There is something to say about the difficulty in multitasking and time management that I have learned to control since beginning grad school last year. It seems that these past several weeks have taken a lot out of me socially. There is no doubt that I have worked harder since the end of 2010 than I ever have before.

With the ESPN Rise tournament wrapped I focused solely on school and to continue my duties on the Capital Classic. Well here we are, only a few days away and my responsibilities have increased from mere social media updates to the director of all media relations and event operations. All within a couple of weeks! Talk about pressure! The job basically fell into my hands and I stepped up to the plate to tackle it head on, wearing no helmet. Growing up and being around game day operations my entire life, I have put all my efforts into making this tournament a successful one for the players – the future of college basketball. I’ve helped with the implementation of everything including focusing on the tiny logistics of game day, what is needed and what is provided for players, staff, coaches and media, coordinating with the volunteers and arena staff regarding ticketing, food and operations, and most importantly, organizing our own staff to communicate with one another to accomplish our goals. This has been no easy feat!

I’ve learned that the key to not becoming too overwhelmed is to continue to keep track of, and document, all of our efforts as well as maintain a solid, organized schedule. In doing so, it can help in omitting mistakes from occurring and execute a plan successfully.  I basically had to create a schedule from scratch and work with what I know and fill in the blanks. I somehow also managed to create and design everything related to credentialing, even parking passes! They sure are pretty…

However, with the limited time, limited resources and little to no budget, we still have the help of people donating both their time and efforts towards this production I have no doubt this tournament; in its 38th year, will be successful. High-pressured situations are what I think I was programmed for, making any day-to-day operations in the future, a breeze.

Throughout the year I have met some amazing people, the local media outlets in the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland regions embody some of the most amazing and talented people in the country. We all know how much we hate overtime in production but how we secretly love when there’s a great gamegoing on, regardless of what sport it is.

From the outside looking in, it seems like an awesome job a million people would kill to be a part of, but that is only scratching the surface. The Sports/Entertainment field a ridiculous one. I cannot tell you the number of times I have wanted to throw my phone up against a wall in frustration, I’ve lost count. Having to work on most weekends and holidays, having very little time for vacation and no break in between sports seasons doesn’t seem like the “American Dream” to most. If you read a job description that explained its requirements and didn’t mention the sports perk, would you even consider applying?

It sums up what we, as members of sports media, (at least some of us) all love to do pretty accurately. There is no sign of me slowing down, anytime soon, so buckle up, it’s going to be one heck of a ride. With that being said, when one sport ends others are already in full swing. I am beyond excited for NHL playoffs this year and rooting hardcore for the Washington Capitals to Rock the Red and bring home that Stanley Cup! C-A-P-S Caps Caps Caps!

I leave you with a time lapse video (my favorite kind) of how The Chicago Bulls basketball court transforms into the Blackhawks hockey rink in just a few hours..


Please check out www.thecapitalclassic.com for more information about our event. Sunday’s games (beginning at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.) feature players heading to some of the top universities in the country… Georgetown, Maryland, Clemson, Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia, Villanova, Rutgers, St. John’s, Howard, American, VCU, Georgia, Virginia, Virginia Tech and others, just to name a few. I can tell you first hand, it is a pretty impressive group to see.

Brackets and Seeding and Upsets, Oh My!

The tournament season for basketball is far from over – including high school basketball tournaments I’m working in the next few weeks. The ESPN RISE High School Basketball Invitational is back at Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, Md., this year and I’m excited to be working it for the third year in a row. (www.nhsihoops.com) Also coming up this weekend is the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago, Ill., and coming up in a few weeks is the 38th Annual Capital Classic – which I am helping to run, probably my biggest task to date! (www.thecapitalclassic.com)

I am looking forward to what lies ahead in the coming weeks. These high school basketball tournaments give players the chance to shine on a bigger level than inside their own gymnasiums. Most head off to Division-I schools in major conferences. It’s their time to prove they deserve to be among the best. But what about the best, now?

This weekend also notes the 67th NCAA Tournament since its beginning in 1939. The four remaining schools, all from different conferences, are set to tip off in Houston, Tex. Reliant Stadium is the host for what might be one of the most storied Final Fours in history. In making this year potentially historic, I thought I would compile some fun facts about this season’s Final Four:

By the way, despite having Kansas winning it all, I’m still ranked 115, 795 in the 98th percentile in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge…How about you?

We can start with saying that the combined salaries of Butler and VCU’s coaching staff’s are lower than that of UConn’s players…(Just kidding!!) I heard this the other day, and as a Georgetown fan, couldn’t do anything but laugh, and share it.  Now for some actual facts:

  • Performances of the No. 1 seeds: 1 out in second round, 2 out in Sweet 16, 1 out in Elite Eight
  • The tournament has been renamed “mid-major March Madness”: VCU vs. Butler = Must See TV
  • 192 ESPN Tournament Challenge brackets of 5.9 million have both VCU and Butler in the Final Four. Only 20 have those two and UConn. (via @ESPNResearch)
  • Butler is the first final four team to go back to back that hasn’t been a 1 or 2 seed either time
  • VCU’s defense ranked 106th in the nation. But, it ranked 2nd to KU in the NCAA. Averaged 8.2 3pt FGM season, but averaged over 10 in NCAA
  • This year marks the thrd #11 seed in Final Four history with VCU in the Final Four (the others were 2006 George Mason & 1986 LSU)
  • VCU’s Shaka Smart (33) and Butler’s Brad Stevens (34) combined are still younger than UConn’s Jim Calhoun (68)
  • Connecticut  is currently 12-0 outside of regular season action this year (Maui Invitational, 3-0; Big East Tournament, 5-0; NCAA, 4-0)
  • UConn finished 9th in Big East at 9-9; VCU finished 4th in Colonial at 12-6, Butler finished tied for first at 13-5 in Horizon League, and Kentucky finished 2nd in SEC East at 10-6. VCU is the only Final Four team that did not win their respective conference tournament.
  • Kentucky is headed back to the Final Four for an amazing 14th time. They currently hold the No. 1 spot for trips to the NCAA tournament with 51 appearances.
  • What do you mean you have never heard of VCU!? Enrollment in the university is approximately 32,300, followed by Kentucky who has a roughly 27,200, then UConn with about 20,800 and Butler with 4,200 students
  • VCU is the only Final Four team to have played five games (including a play-in game) to get to the Final Four since the NCAA had changed the field to 68 teams

There are endless comparisons to be made about these very different, very talented clubs. I’m sure someone will throw in a quote from Hoosiers (filmed at Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse), or “Houston, we have a problem” will no doubt come up at some point over the course of the weekend. All we can do is sit back and enjoy what has already been a bracket busting amazing post-season ride.