The first time that I attended the Petersburg High School (Petersburg, WV) Athletic Award Ceremony was during my freshman year in 1978. The keynote speaker that year was supposed to be Jack Flemming, “The Voice of the (WVU) Mountaineers”. Our athletic director received a call the evening before informing him that Mr. Flemming had just been hospitalized. WVU’s assistant basketball coach, Gary McPherson filled in at the last minute.
I remember seeing the keynote speaker of the event my sophomore year, University of Virginia’s head basketball coach, Terry Holland arrive. He was accompanied by a special guest; a very tall, (7 feet inches 4 inches) freshman college basketball player, Ralph Sampson. He was so tall he had to duck to get through the door of the school’s cafeteria where the event was being held.
The speaker my junior year was Steve Furness. He was the backup defensive tackle for the Steel Curtain of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was the consummate teammate who filled in when needed. The Steelers won 4 Super Bowls while he played. His talk highlighted the importance of being a good teammate and the importance of being a great backup player .
Mel Blount was the keynote speaker my senior year. The future NFL Hall of Fame player was also part of the Pittsburgh Steelers who won 4 Super Bowls. He became a 5 time Pro-Bowler. He was such a high profile athlete that it was very exciting to hear him speak about his experience in football and, in particular, the NFL. He's now consider one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL of all time.
Because of this history, I felt truly honored when I was asked to be this year’s keynote speaker on May 19th. I was filling in some really big shoes (….literally….Sampson wore size 17 shoes!).
What would I have to offer the crowd that would keep up to the standard of speaker presenting while I attended as a high school athlete?
The answer is pretty easy: See To Play!
4 out of 10 athletes don’t make it to the professional level because of one physical trait that is weaker than elite athletes: Vision.
As an eye doctor who specializes in helping elite athletes reach their genetic potential by maximizing their visual system, I’ve been fortunate to work with so many elite athletes: Super Bowl players, Pro Bowlers, World Series Champions, MLB All-star-ers, Olympians, Stanley Cup Champions, NBA athletes,…….my book lists my stats…..oh yeah….and…unfortunately…. I’ve also seen many more athletes miss it because of their vision. The majority of them waited too late to realize it was "in their eyes".
My talk for the award ceremony was entitled: Turn A Win Into A Loss #ALWAYSWINNING
No one remains undefeated in life. We all suffer a loss or two in sports and in the events of our lives. So, what steps can we take to turn out losses into wins so that we're always winning?
It’s simple: I call it the "4 L’s"
Listen: It may seem shocking, but many things that we do in our day to day life has already been done by humans before. People will tell you, “ I did this before and it didn’t work” or “I did this and it was awesome!” Listen to people around you and you will end up at the right place at the right time.
Learn: Practice, practice, practice. I love the saying "Don’t practice til you get it right, practice til you never get it wrong". Also, study, study, study….the majority people use what they've learned and their academics on a day to day basis more than the sports in their life. And topics that may seem less relevant while learning may end up being the best lessons learned.
Laugh: Learn to laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Life is to short. Forgive yourself and learn from your losses.
Love: Make this world a better place. Love those around you and what you do. Love through adversity. Some have lost family members through death and divorce. Some have bad parents, coaches, teachers and friends. Be bigger than that. It’s been said adversity breaks some people and adversity makes other people record breakers. Be the record breaker.
Turn your losses into wins. It will make you a champion in your sport….and a champion in your life!
This weekend, I get to return back to where See To Play started in 1981. The place where my drive and energy started in helping athletes of the future reach their dream of becoming elite athletes.
I'm going back to Petersburg High School in Petersburg, WV. This is where I graduated as part of the Class of 1981. I also became part of the statistics.....the one that states 4 out of 10 athletes won't make it to the professional level because of defects in their visual system.
Elite athletes run faster, jump higher, lift heavier weights, have faster eye hand coordination.....and, oh yeah....they see better! Visual issues are why most athletes are "cut".
Lebron James made it to the NBA as part of the statistic group where 2 out of 10 athletes who require vision correction will make it to the pros. He had LASIK surgery. He also went on to be a part of a championship team
Torry Holt made it to the NFL wearing contact lenses in the statistically matched group, 2 out of 10, that make it to the NFL needing vision correction. He went on to be part of a championship team.
My life's mission has been to help the 4 out of 10 prospective professional athletes make it to the pros who would statistically get cut because of minor flaws in their visual system.
I'm also very excited that my current work is leading the country in helping athletes rehab from concussions which have a visual component.
This weekend I will be the guest speaker at my Alma Maters' Athletic Award Ceremony. I feel very honored.
I'm even more honored to be inducted to my high school's athletic Hall Of Fame. I had a great career as an athlete at my high school ....but I've had an even better career being an integral part of helping elite athletes reach their genetic potential..
My hope is that, through my talk, I will help at least one athlete reach their genetic potential! The difference from one athlete making it to the pros over another is a fine line. I hope those in attendance on Sunday will realize that vision plays one of the biggest role in athletes becoming their best.
I am headed back to the future!
I hope every mom had a great Mother's Day yesterday.
This was my first Mother's Day since my mom passed away. It was a great day. I got to spend it with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and my wife....so...three moms!
I was also very fortunate to perform the song I wrote for my mother in church with some incredible musicians. I would like to share that youtube with you.
I had to post a link to this parody performed by Illinois College of Optometry. It's hilarious. There just not many funny things eye doctors can do. Enjoy!
Welcome to my blog! I hope this helps you learn a little more about me and also keeps you up to date on my fun world of sports vision.