Wednesday, September 29, 2010

L.E.A.D. Ambassador Gensen Scott Guest Blog

Eight L.E.A.D. Ambassador program graduates started college.  These young men brought the lessons they learned through L.E.A.D. with them and are playing baseball at their respective colleges.  Gensen Scott is a freshman at Shaw University.  He has written a guest blog to talk about how L.E.A.D. has impacted his college career so far.

The L.E.A.D. organization has helped me in so many positive ways! I am currently a college student at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. L.E.A.D. helped me as a student and personally. They have provided me with the knowledge of correct decision making skills which have truly helped me in college in an environment where I am now responsible for all my actions. As a student, they pushed for excellence in the class room and without grades I would be unable to play this season. Due to the decision making skills and that extra push for academics from L.E.A.D., I am more confident in my studies and class work. They took me from being a livewire ready to explode any second, to teaching me how to be a man with a brain and how to think situations all the way through.

I have been tested many times since beginning college but I applied what I learned from the L.E.A.D. organization and the outcome has come to benefit me in many ways. As a player, the coaching staff of the L.E.A.D. organization is absolutely phenomenal. They have given me the correct fundamentals and knowledge of the game.  Now I can help my new teammates and teach them the right fundamentals. That way we can become better as a team instead of me just being a good individual. I have learned the greatness of team work and being a part of something that’s more than just an organization and a baseball team.  The L.E.A.D. organization is like my family I always feel welcomed and loved when I am in the presence of any member of the L.E.A.D. organization.

I cannot express enough how appreciative I am of Coach CJ and Ms. Kelli for starting an organization to help young men like me.

Gensen Scott #21

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Check the menu

I pick at my wife Kelli all the time about how she goes to McDonald's and it takes her 10 minutes to order from the menu.  The McDonald's menu has changed some over the years but for over 50 years, it's basically been the same.  With laughter, I say "please order some food Kelli!"

To her defense, she wants to be sure that she orders exactly what she wants based on her current craving.  You should get what you want but you must also realize that McDonald's isn't Burger King where you can "Have it your way!"

L.E.A.D. is no restaurant, but on our menu we offer leadership development, professional baseball development, civic engagement, mentorship and discipline for young men grades 6-12 from the Atlanta Public School System, South Fulton and Dekalb County.

We operate based on the life experiences that allowed me to use baseball to attend GA State University as a student/athlete and later play professionally for the Chicago Cubs.  Now that my playing days are over, I'm a business owner, philanthropist and I love serving others.

I find that the one menu item that parents have issue with from time to time is the discipline of their sons.  I was raised that when you are wrong, it must be dealt with swiftly and firmly.  This is something I’ve carried over to L.E.A.D. and is the way we operate. 

I too was raised in the inner city and I faced challenges everyday as a male.  Learning to make good decisions often comes from making a lot of bad ones previously.  I am not the wisest man on earth but I'm more experienced than the young men that we serve and I'm here for the sole purpose of helping them win the game of life.  Life can deal bad hands and boys play the game differently.  I know because I have been there and have the wisdom that comes from living through it.

It seems that there is a McDonald's on almost every corner.  You can also bet that there is a Burger King not too far away.  L.E.A.D. has a menu that is well thought out and appreciated by most our customers but we realize that not everyone has a taste for our offerings.  That is what makes this country so great because there is always a Burger King around the corner that will allow you to have it your way.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

No headset in the dugout Coach Richt

Listening to football players talk about baseball is hilarious because to them, all you do is just swing the bat, hit the ball and run as fast as you can.  Watching them swing the bat and miss repeatedly is even funnier.

Not sure how many football players I would recruit from the GA Bulldogs, Tech or the Falcons to play baseball but I would love to have their coaches in the dugout with me.

I would like for Coach Richt to assist me with making the L.E.A.D.  Leaders become more of a family on and off the baseball field.  The Bulldog football players may not win every game on Saturday's but they play hard for each other and leave it all on the field.  They all understand their role realizing that they are a link in the chain and each link must be strong in order for the chain to be strong.  Coach Richt motivates his players to a high level and they believe in him.  I can hear the cheers from my wife who is also a Bulldog fan.  "It's great to be a GA Bulldog!  I say it's great to be a GA Bulldog!" I want that same strong sense of pride and family within L.E.A.D.

I would like for Coach Johnson to assist me with the offense of L.E.A.D.  Watching the Yellow Jackets on offense is fun.  They execute plays with great tempo and efficiency.  Smash mouth football at its best.  I believe that the opposing defense at times know what plays that Tech will run but the Yellow Jackets continue to run the ball at the heart of the defense.  This is the attitude that I want my batters to have.  Make your opponent concentrate and containing you because he knows that he can't stop you.  Buzz!

I would like for Coach Smith to lend his defensive mind to the L.E.A.D. coaching staff.  The Atlanta Falcons play defense with intensity and passion.  Their opponent will score but the Falcons defense won't quit.  Being a playmaker is what defense is all about.  You have to want the ball to come to you.  Good defense wins games.  Let's go L.E.A.D.!  Rise Up!

Football is here and L.E.A.D. is also in full gear with competitive high school baseball for inner city teens with our Fall Instructional Baseball Development League.  The Legacy League is America's 1st Fall Developmental League geared towards inner city teens.  We practice and play games weekly during the fall but nothing and I mean nothing interferes with watching GA Bulldog, GA Tech and Falcons football.  We love baseball but you can't beat the thrill of football.  I will be watching the coaches on sideline closely and learning from them as I prepare our Leaders on the Diamond.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

1935 Ford

A little over 3 years ago, I was leaving my baseball training facility in Cobb county for the day and my good friend Josh Mills was coming in to work at his automobile restoration shop.  He and other workers were pushing an old, beat up 1935 Ford in the garage. 

I said, "What in the world are you going to do with that?"

He replied, "Look at this photo. This car will look like that in a year."

I'm thinking to myself as I look at the photo of a mint condition replica, there is no way in the world- especially doing it by hand.  He bought the old car for $5,000 and claimed that he would restore and sell it for $80,000.  Josh had to explain to me that he is a professional and wouldn't take on a project that he couldn't complete.  He said it takes a plan, skill, patience, the right equipment and paying careful attention to detail.

L.E.A.D. was conceived immediately after that conversation three years ago for the sole purpose of developing the raw baseball talent of inner city high school baseball players in Atlanta and providing opportunities for them to use their new baseball skills to access college.

Three years later, Josh's 35 Ford has been restored and sold for over $90,000.  L.E.A.D. is also established and to date, 83% of our Ambassadors are enrolled in college on baseball scholarships and 100% of them are enrolled in college.

On Sunday, September 5th, 2010, L.E.A.D. finalized selections for our Legacy League Fall Instructional Program and welcomed 60 families into the organization.  In the interview process, parents expressed that they want us to teach their sons how to become leaders in their communities, the importance of making good decisions and academic achievement.  They also mentioned that their sons love baseball more than any other sport and they want us to finally teach them the proper way to play the game.

L.E.A.D. does that and a whole lot more; we have the plan, skill, patience, the right equipment and pay careful attention to detail.  Let's have another great year L.E.A.D.!

1935 Ford - Before
1935 Ford - After

Young men hear about what it means to be a L.E.A.D. Ambassador at an info session.
L.E.A.D. 2010 Ambassador Graduating Class - All 8 young men are currently attending college with baseball scholarships.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jason Heyward is the new cool!

Jason Heyward has received national attention this year and is considered a compassionate, selfless, focused, humble and disciplined baseball player.  These aren't words that are usually used to describe athletes.  Especially athletes that are only 21 years old.

I have been privileged to be a part of Jason's development on and off the field as a mentor and swing coach since he was 14.  It is an awesome feeling to see a young man achieve his childhood dream and be a part of it.

I get the opportunity to have the same influence on all of the Leaders in the L.E.A.D. organization.  Being successful is all about how you respond to support and resources provided by coaches, mentors, teachers, etc.

I am convinced that my leadership and influence works.  Jason makes that clear everytime he speaks about the team rather than himself.  He also makes it clear everytime he hits a Hey-Maker over the fence and sprints around the bases.

Jason serves as the Honorary Ambassador for L.E.A.D.  Not because of who he is but what he does.  He is just the example that we need to show our Leaders that striving for excellence in the classroom and on the field is the right choice. Jason isn't perfect.  He is just Jason.

Actions speak louder than words.  If only Jason's actions had a volume button so that they would get more attention throughout the country.  Being compassionate, selfless, focused, humble and disciplined is the new cool!