Tag Archives: Sports

A DIFFERENT KIND OF MAC – Volume 1, Number 12, December 28, 2011

Just prior to Kelly’s (our Office Manager) return, my wife Sue and I took our traditional after tax season get away deciding to again head back to that little gem on the Eastern Shore, Ocean City, MD. Staring out at the ocean, walking on the boardwalk, talking to one another, taking time to reflect resulted in a new vision not only for Carlozo & Company (C & C), but for me as well. I knew I must face the truth head on – there was no getting around it. Even though many years removed, as a former trained athlete, I all too well knew the discipline required to get my body in “playing shape”. While “game days” were the very best, memories of practice and pushing my body in condition were quite frankly, not pleasant. Now some 37 years later, it would take a serious commitment, but it was more than just exercising, I would need to “take time for myself” as well as “take time away from the office”. Never before, in the history of C & C, had I even considered such an undertaking. As unbelievable as it might seem, even though I owned my own business, I had often thought to myself, how can I do that? Regardless, the time had come for action, and so in late May around lunchtime, I quietly wandered over to The Maryland Athletic Club (The MAC) which was only a few blocks from our office in Timonium, signed myself up and hired a personal trainer (PT). I had no idea what to expect, how my body would react, how the work at the office would get done, but it was time to “damn the torpedoes” and “move full speed ahead”.

As I showed up for my first training session, I purposely arrived early. Like a kid in a candy store, I stared up and down at the basketball court finding myself mesmerized. I decided “what the heck” and went out and started bouncing the ball around taking shots from around the key – I was having a ball. How could I do this when I had work to do around the office? How could I make this commitment? What I had I gotten myself into? Surely, I thought, the other members were going to laugh at me not being able to do what once came easily. Maybe it was last minute jitters, but before I knew it, the time had arrived to start personal training. Then, in walked all 5′ 5″ of Erin Olsen. It didn’t take long for me to realize that she was full of spirit and enthusiasm and a burning desire to help me accomplish my goals – personal training was her calling and she was good at it, very good. She would push me until my muscles hurt (actually burn) challenge me to get better, and not put up with any rationalization on my part. She was on a mission — and it was exactly what I needed. I had finally realized, and came to accept, that I either couldn’t or wouldn’t do it on my own and that was O.K. About a month into my training one of the newly hired PT’s, Erick Baier, began “shadowing” with us. While Erin and Erick are both excellent PT’s, what impressed me most is what fine young adults they are – The MAC should be proud, very proud. When I sat back and thought about it, the cost of the membership dues and personal training wasn’t an expense at all – it was an investment in myself. As the weeks went by and the extra pounds slowly began to peel away, as my muscles got firmer and my conditioning improved, I began to realize that The MAC was really just a little city in and of itself. I met other members, without even trying. I came to know the other PTs and it was always great to see them. It was beyond my wildest dreams and then some.

(Left to Right – Erin Olsen, a tired me, Erick Baier)

The “MAC Experience” doesn’t show up in an advertisement, in a sales brochure, a fitness club review or even in a GOOGLE search for that matter. I was having a great time, and yes, miraculously the work got done back at the office. While I still have a long way to go, I understand that it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish, so I will keep plugging, and plugging and plugging. As a side note, when I glance around The MAC and see all the members working so hard to get/stay in shape and then consider all the health and obesity problems in our society (Marylanders today have a combined obesity and overweight rate of 64.1%, diabetes rate of 9.1% and hypertension rate of 28.2%) it’s a shame that health club dues/personal training fees fall outside the realm of a tax deductible IRS expense. Yet, buying a hybrid and/or electric car can result in substantial tax credits and who can forget the economic stimulus called “cash for clunkers”. Enough said.

If you had wanted for years to get yourself in shape, but always seem to have an excuse, then this MAC for is for you. Don’t wait 37 years. Don’t wait 37 months. Don’t wait 37 weeks. Don’t wait 37 days. Don’t wait 37 hours. Don’t even wait 37 minutes!!! Make up your mind to take action now and don’t feel bad if you cannot alone summons up the discipline to do it on your own; if I can do it, you can too. I can attest to the results and how much better you will feel, and yes, the work will get done.

 Have a Great Day!!!! May God Bless You!!!

 

Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)

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BEFORE YOU CAN LEAD, YOU MUST LEARN TO FOLLOW – Volume 1, No. 6, November 3, 2011

In the book he co-authored, “The 7 Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life” noted psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow, states that “more than any one thing, you must be truthful with yourself; It is never too late to turn and face the real story of how you became who you are in this world, in order to rid yourself of any emotional or behavioral patterns, especially unconscious ones, that are undermining your possibilities.” Keeping that in mind, in today’s blog, I chose to share with you a personal story which gives a glimpse inside to how a boy became a man. Frankly, certain aspects of this story do not portray me in the best light. Regardless, I thought it was important in teaching a lesson that others could benefit from. And so, it was a hot summer day in August 1971. I was an 18-year old sophomore (read – wise fool) at Penn State University as I reported to football camp in the best shape of my life. Back then, we all thought we were invincible; we approached the game on the field of strife with a reckless abandon of a “Roman Gladiator” in combat. Before we could even practice, we were required to run the 440 and 880 in less than predetermined times based on our position. It tested us to the limit and if you didn’t “make time” you were forced to get up at 6:00 A.M. every morning and do it again until you were eventually successful. Thankfully, I only needed one try to get the job done. During this era in college College Football, while freshman could not play in regular season games with the varsity squad, we were still allowed (actually required) to practice with them. And the year before, boy did we practice, day-in day-out, each week running the plays of the upcoming opposing team for that week. In doing so, we learned first hand the meaning of “baptism by fire”. As a freshman, I’ll never forget being welcomed to Division I football when Jack Ham (NFL HOF 1988) hit me with a forearm and knocked me on my can; and I thought I was a tough guy. While I got right back up, I was still stunned.

As the two-a-day practices started and we “put the pads on” the contact became intense, very intense. Coach Paterno loved “up-downs” at the end of every practice – I think he got great joy in seeing his players push themselves to the point of full exhaustion, and then some. About 2 weeks into summer camp, after dishing out a crushing hit to the head of the offensive center in an intrasquad scrimage, I emerged with a broken right hand; I had never had an injury which sidelined me so this was a new experience. At that time I was a second team inside linebacker. The following week the first team inside linebacker suffered a severe concussion and was ruled out for the entire season; for many years I had often thought of what might had been had I not been hurt. Regardless, college rules at that time precluded anyone from playing  in games with a cast, so for the next 6 weeks I practiced with a cast and this huge contraption that protected my hand. It was, as I recall, just awful. Finally the day came for my first college football game. I was so excited. My parents drove up from Maryland to attend the game held at Beaver Stadium. In addition to being on the kickoff team, I had kept my position as a second team inside linebacker. I couldn’t believe it as I looked up into the stands and saw 57K+ fans (capacity at that time – today it holds 106K+). In high school, our largest attended game stood at around 15K so this was quite a difference. As our kicker thrust his leg into the ball I was down the field faster than I could (or anyone for that matter) ever imagine. Unfortunately, in my eagerness, I had over pursued the kickoff return and in doing so was then surprisingly greeted by a player on the opposing team with a clip block below my knee; I knew something was wrong, terribly wrong, but it would take another 3 months before my knee would be operated on for torn cartiledge and ligaments.

After my operation, the road to recovery taught me a thing or two about how hard-headed I was. I wanted to take things at my own pace, and my coaches had a different plan. Did I ever think for one moment that just maybe they knew a thing or two more about rehabilitation that I did? Sadly, no I did not. Fast forward 8 weeks and there I am in spring football practice and I was not ready (my fault) either physically or mentally. As spring practice (5 weeks) ended I was instructed to meet one of the assistant coaches each week at a prescribed time and location to “weigh in”. I had always battled the demons of the “knife and fork” so watching my weight was nothing new to me. In any event, about the third week into my “weigh in” in the style of classic rationalization,  I convinced myself  that I really didn’t need to do this and so I “skipped out”. A few weeks later before heading home for the summer, each player had to meet with Coach Paterno. Apparently my indiscretion did not go unnoticed as he read me the riot act about failing to “check in” as well as not giving my best in rehabilitation. As so with my tail between legs I headed home for summer break knowing I was wrong, dead wrong; still I thought I could redeem myself. Coach Paterno followed our meeting with a letter (still have) to my Mom about how Italian mothers need to cook for their Italian sons. It’s a classic to pass down to future generations. Plain and simple, he wanted me to lose weight and thought it would improve my speed and quickness. I worked so hard that summer and reported to summer camp 25 pounds less; no one recognized me. I strengthen my left leg that had been operated on. While I was ready, willing and able to pick up my college football career where it had left off at the time of my injury, I would never again have that opportunity; two weeks into summer practice I had been demoted to the third team. Humiliated and depressed, I had missed my chance and would sulk, complain and place responsibility everywhere except where it belonged — right on my own shoulders. My last (senior) year at Penn State it only got worse as I would “walk away” from the game I loved as I gave in to the “dynamic duo” of “dissappointment” and “adversity”. I had allowed my spirit to be broken and later had deep regrets that had haunted me for many years. Although I beleived in God,  He was not a part of my life then, as He is today, as it pertains to faith and trust. Still, as the ensuing years passed, I had come to understand the meaning of “self responsibility” and would make it a point to thank Coach Paterno for teaching me a very valuable, yet painful lesson about doing what you’re told to do by someone in authority. It would take years to sink in and root, but eventually I realized that before I could lead, I must learn to follow. I had swallowed the bitter pill of defeat, but since it didn’t kill me, it only made me stronger. On the good side, in many ways, it greatly motivated in my professional career to be be successful.

Lee Iacocca is credited with saying “lead, follow, or get out of the way”. His words are so appropriate whether we are an employer, an employee, a head coach or a player on a sports team. If you are a “foot soldier”, you have a responsibility to be loyal and “follow the leader” if you will. But just don’t go through the motions, do it with a good (make that GREAT) attitude, a spirit of teamwork and from your heart with an abundance of enthusiasm. Some opportunities only come once in a lifetime and you may very well regret not doing what you were supposed to do, were able to do, but just didn’t think it was that important to do, or even worse, just didn’t feel like doing it. It is for this reason why I beleive that some people never seem to “make it” in life as their behavior has a strange way of following them around, no matter where they go. Frankly, it really doesn’t make any difference what you think about the directive, the request, or the order, if the Boss wants something done and it’s not illegeal, immoral or fattening, then just do it. When you sit back and reflect on this for a moment, being obedient is just another way to honor God as it is when we do our best, when we are productive, when we get to work on time, when we have a good attitude, etc. It’s important to be the bigger person, show some class and be patient; your time to reap your rewards will eventually come.  In the final analysis, everything worked out for me; I am so thankful to God for all my blessings and for guiding me as I try to help others “be the best they can be”. In so many ways, I feel that this is my calling. Because of what happended to me, I feel a deep responsibilty to help others reach their full potential – just ask my staff – mediocrity is simply unacceptable. Poor judgment and immaturity at a young age kept me from reaching my full potential. Manytimes, there is no option to go back and “do over” what has already been done. Don’t be afraid to face your own truth head on. Be honest with yourself and others as Dr. Ablow suggests. In my case, once I did, one day, years later, I would l have the opportunity to lead, and thankfully, I already learned the hard way, that first I had to learn to follow.

Have a great day!!! May God Bless You!!!

Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)

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A GREAT CHAMPION – Volume 1, No. 3, October 25, 2011

It was 2005 and we were just finishing up the April 15 crunch. The following week, a few hundred miles north in New York City, the NFL would hold its highly anticipated and much publicized annual draft. Rumor had it that a relatively unknown (on the national level) Quarterback by the name of Aaron Rodgers would be the first player selected. It was just 3 years prior that Rodgers would graduate from Pleasant Valley High School in Chico California having broken numerous records as his teams QB for 2 years all while scoring 1300 on his SATs and maintaining a 3.6 GPA. Not bad, not bad at all. Still, despite record setting statistics during his high school career, Rodgers would not receive any Division I scholarship offers; it was a huge disappointment, so much so that he considered quitting football to pursue a law degree.

Sometimes in life, “Guardian Angels” show up and come to our rescue without us even realizing it. In Aaron Rodgers case, the Guardian Angel was a football coach, Craig Rigsbee, who recruited him to attend Butte Community College, a local Junior College about 15 miles from Rodgers hometown of Chico. Talk about a “long shot”. Not missing a beat, Rodgers led his Butte team to a 10-1 record, a Northern California Conference Championship and a No. 2 National Ranking. Still, the Guardian Angel wasn’t finished, showing up again the following year, this time as another football coach, Jeff Tedford, from the University of California, Berkley Golden Bears. Rodgers would transfer to Cal and continue to lead his team to victory while posting impressive stats, receiving numerous awards and accolades, and all while maintaining a relatively low profile under the national “radar screen”.  Rodgers could hold his  head high – he had made to Division I football, albeit through an unconventional route.

As the NFL Draft was set to begin, Aaron Rodgers couldn’t help but recall the adversity he battled to even be considered a first round draft pick, yet alone the first player in the draft. The moment had come, the anticipation was intense as the announcement came, “The first player selected by The San Francisco 49ers is Alex Smith from the University of Utah”. The disappointment on Rodgers face was evident. It only got worse as it would be 23 more selections before (talk about being frozen in time) Aaron Rodgers would be selected by The Green Bay Packers who at that time had a starting QB by the name of Brett Favre, a future first round Hall of Famer who was still in his prime, not to mention a legend among Packers fans. It seemed like “disappointment” and its brother “adversity”, had a way of following Aaron Rodgers around enticing him to quit. If Aaron Rodgers ever needed a Guardian Angel, now was surely the time. Could it be another football coach? From what I can tell, yes, it was, but this time it would be spiritual. The Guardian Angel would be “The Father of Green Bay Packers” himself, Vince Lombardi, the legendary “football coach”, and for whom the Super Bowl Trophy is named after. It seemed that Lombardi’s words would magically wear off on Rodgers’: “The mark of a GREAT CHAMPION comes not in how many times he wins, nor in how much he wins by, but rather in how he gets up after he has been knocked down.” Aaron Rodgers had decisively been knocked down, humiliated and seemingly cast aside, but being the GREAT CHAMPION he is, boy did he (as Johnny Unitas use to say) silence the crowd and get right back up. He kept his cool and remained patient, and when he finally got his chance as Brett Favre left the Packers, he rose to the occasion culminating with leading his team to victory in Super Bowl XLV and being named MVP for his performance. It was just his 3rd year as the starting QB of The Green Bay Packers and only 9 years from his Pleasant Valley High School days. I could just imagine Coach Lombardi’s joy and see his big grin gleaming from one side of his face to the other as he looked down on Lambeau Field.

Aaron Rodgers never gave up on the promise God put in his heart. As a source of motivation, he kept his rejection letters from high school when the Division I teams showed little or no interest in him. Rodgers has said “As a man of faith, God doesn’t bring you to things you can’t get through. He doesn’t put you in a spot then leave you out to dry.” When the scouts in both College and the NFL rated him, they didn’t see the speed, they questioned his size and weren’t impressed with his strength. The so called “experts” failed to recognize his character, confidence, spirit, leadership skills and perhaps most importantly, his will to win and his heart. Aaron Rodgers is an inspiration to each and everyone of us who has ever been knocked down, to get back up, keep fighting and stay in the game. While I do not know Aaron Rodgers, some day I would love to shake his hand and say “thank you” for demonstrating what can be done with a strong heart, a positive attitude and faith and trust in God. An inspiration to young and old alike, he is, undoubtedly, in every sense, A GREAT CHAMPION.

 Have a great day!!! May God Bless You!!!

Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)

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