This is your year

By David Tepera, January 3, 2018

Well, here we go, another year to create lasting memories. We will go through four seasons of ups and downs, including wins and losses. As long as you go through these challenges and victories, then you’re living life.

For a lot of people, starting a new year can seem depressing, especially if you feel alone in this world. It’s easy for all of us to dwell on the negatives which will only pull you down. But, all that can change in an instant by just getting in motion and start attacking the day.

One particular year, my boys varsity soccer team was struggling with teamwork. They kept getting upset with each other’s mistakes, and that created more turmoil between themselves.

After a few early losses, I sat them down and had each one stand up and say something positive about each teammate. I wanted them to only focus on our strengths and why we are a championship team.

At the end of the session, they each bro-hugged and we had the best practice of the season. We went on to win the rest of our games and made the playoffs.

You see, my team got caught up, like all of us, to only recognize bad situations and decisions. We have to accept this is part of life that teaches us lessons. Once we can recognize this, then we can proceed to another level of determination and success.

I learned long ago to not cast stones. I’ve made some huge mistakes in life, so I wasn’t someone who could fault others for theirs. If I find your bad decisions will negatively impact my life, then I’ll eliminate you from my social circle, and move on.

Learn to forgive yourself, find the positives you possess and fall in love with the person who matters most — YOU.

It’s time to go look in the mirror and blow some kisses and winks at that awesome person looking back. It’s OK to look silly and laugh at yourself. Life can be a lot of fun if you let it.

So, here we go, another year of accomplishments to partake. You’re beautiful, handsome and the most compassionate person you know. Now, go out there and kick some butt because this is your year.

Time to delete the word “No”

By David Tepera, December 27, 2017

One of the first words almost every toddler learns is, “No.” Of course, because of kids’ curiosity, they are told “No” constantly due to safety and mischievous concerns. So, at an early age, the power of “No” is pounded into our brains.

Now, let’s take out all the negative, uncomfortable and dangerous concerns accompanied with “No,” which is important in those situations.

On the flip side, people who use the word “No” have power. These people feel they can stop you or at least deter you from accomplishing something.

Today’s lesson is about you overcoming the power of “No.” We’ve all heard of countless athletes accomplishing incredible feats because someone told them they couldn’t do it.

Michael Jordon has been very vocal about his high school basketball coach cutting him from the team in 10th grade.

During his Hall of Fame induction speech, he mentioned every person who told him “No” throughout his career. I believe we all know how that ended.

I feel every one of us have or had someone tell us we couldn’t succeed at something. We’ve been told “you’re too stupid, too fat, too old, too ugly, too broke or laughed at for our dumb ideas.”

Yes, those are harsh words, but it’s part of reality that keeps people down.

It took time and experience into my adulthood to figure out those people don’t want you to succeed because they are failures and have given up on life. Your success will make them feel worse about themselves.

Think about it. It makes a lot of sense.

Remember, it’s your life and your destiny to rise up and kick No’s butt. Yes, you’ll get knocked down, but jump back up and throw a knockout punch, and shout “Yes, I did it.”

Let’s take today to brush off the dust from being down for so long. It’s time to delete the word “No,” and to rise up, stick your chest out, put on your mug face to go win back life.

Roll with the changes

By David Tepera, December 20, 2017

In all sports, a team must adjust throughout the game. You can be losing, but if you make the proper adjustments, you can get back on top before it’s too late.

There have been situations where a team stayed with the same game plan, and the other team out-coached them in the second half. Also, holding back and making conservative adjustments can come back and bite you.

I actually made this mistake when coaching high school soccer. One particular year, our team wasn’t that strong compared to the district. We scored early against a dominant team and were up on the scoreboard. I put our strongest players on defense hoping to keep the opponent from scoring. But, what happened? My team was unable to score, so the opponent ended up beating us by one goal. I had to apologize to my players for not believing in their ability.

I promise, that coaching mistake never happened again.

The lesson learned, even in life, we must roll with the changes and keep adjusting, or we’ll get left behind.

As we all know, technology is constantly evolving and it’s difficult to keep up. Us old fogeys lose touch with the real world due to our old-school ways. I’m fortunate to have teenage children who help set up iPads, iPhones and social media.

I’m constantly searching for new ideas and leads, so keeping up with technology allows me to find success.

What about you? Do you feel you’re stuck in the same old occupation because you’re behind with society? One of the fastest growing job opportunities is in the IT industry. Almost all area colleges offer night classes. Did you know that there’s a shortage of welders? You can make a lot of money, even six figures!

Also, it’s easy for all of us to dwell on bad decisions from our past. Don’t let these negative experiences hold you back. We all make mistakes, so you have to keep moving forward and roll with the changes. I decided long ago to not let things I can’t control — control me.

Now, this year is almost over and will be considered our past. Let the remainder of the year be your ramp to leap over into the new year with a fresh start of conquering life. Make the adjustments necessary, roll with the changes and let 2018 be your championship run.

Put me in coach

By David Tepera, December 13, 2017

A common phrase most of us have heard through the years in reference to sports is “put me in, coach.” The true meaning of this phrase represents athletes that are so hyped up that they’re practically begging the coach to put them back in the game.

This type of enthusiastic athlete can be rare, but every coach loves them. Depending on the circumstances of why these players are on the sidelines, you have to respect their passion and desire to succeed.

As a former high school coach through the 1990s, I had a few elite players whose athletic ability made a difference on the outcome of each game. Of course, there were instances that sidelined them until the athletic trainer or I allowed them to return to the game.

They were like a locked up bull breaking out of a cage. These players went full speed — taking no prisoners. Their passion to win was overwhelming which spilled over onto teammates.

Notice, I didn’t reference any particular sport because I witnessed this passion in multiple sports, which included young men and women. If you’ve been reading my column long enough, you’d remember my story of three girls making my boys JV soccer team and were starters.

Now, this attitude of “put me in, coach” is in all of us. We all have passion brewing inside of us to accomplish specific goals. When you really want something bad enough, it takes over your total mental being. You’re like that caged bull ready to succeed with every ounce of energy and each inch of your body. Nothing can stop you because you’re on a mission to win a championship.

When’s the last time you went to work and were hyped to tackle every project or work order? Do you ever surprise your family on the weekend, have the car packed and ready to create lasting memories at the beach?

How about a candlelight dinner ready for wifey or hubby? You’ve made their special meal, along with a personalized card letting them know how much you appreciate their love and support. You might get to take that candle to the bedroom. Wink-wink!

Now, let today take over your creative mind and passionately pursue your day with a “put me in, coach” attitude. I promise, your life will be meaningful, plus impact those around you.

Love it while it’s here

By David Tepera, December 6, 2017

There’s no secret, most people still reflect on the glory years of high school. For those who competed in sports, typically high school was your heyday. If you had a winning season or not, you were probably in the best shape of your life and created lasting memories and friends.

But now, you’re just an old fogey like me, missing the good old days and wishing you could relive them again. At that time, you didn’t realize how much you loved the game until it was gone.

Even recently, you were probably involved in other uplifting experiences, but now they’ve come to an end. You might be a little disappointed and depressed because you didn’t really take in the moment while it was happening. It never crossed your mind that all good things really do come to an end.

Over the past several years, I’ve been attending quite a few funerals celebrating people’s lives. It’s common that everyone closest to the deceased wished they’d spent more time with them.

We all do get caught up in routines with our busy lives. Most days are filled with work and weekends loaded with kid activities.

I know it’s hard to think about it, but sometimes we must recognize that we will lose people close to us. You’ve been putting off spending time with grandparents, parents and other relatives.

Believe me, I completely understand. I’ve been a single parent for more than 12 years and venturing out of our routine has been most challenging. I don’t visit others as frequently as I should. I recognize the disappointment within myself for not taking a step back from my schedule to spend time with people who unconditionally love me.

Sorry, I’m really not trying to be a downer today, but just hoping to make you slow down and go love and hug those people who miss you.

I’m sure most of us have already experienced losing someone we’d like to just sit and talk, laugh and cry, eat a meal, have a drink and just enjoy the moment with again.

So, maybe today, you can take a step back and reach out to those special people while you can. I guarantee a new memory will be made that’ll be cherished forever.

Remember, you once loved the game and now it’s over, but it’s not too late to reach out and love your family. Sometimes, all it takes is a phone call.

What color do you see?

By David Tepera, November 29, 2017

In the game of football, besides special teams, you’re either on offense or defense. As complicated as the game may seem, it’s really just black and white.

Offensive players’ goals are to take the ball down the field to score a touchdown. The defensive players’ goals are to tackle the ball carrier to keep the opponent from scoring.

I was recently in a debated discussion with someone who only could see this world in black and white. They’ve somehow let others dictate their emotions, and you’re either on their side or perceived as the enemy.

Even though we disagreed, I pointed out the beauty and passion this person possessed. I only suggested, “if you could use that same passion towards beauty and color, your life will explode in goodness.”

Let me ask you, “how do you see life?” Do you only see black and white, good or evil, or do you recognize color and beauty each of us hold?

How do you treat people? Is it with hatred and negativity or with kindness and love?

I’ve had multiple conversations with people in power positions who are having difficulty with their employees. My first question about their leadership is, “do you put your workers down or lift them up?”

There’s not one person on this planet who doesn’t enjoy the words of encouragement, especially coming from someone special.

How do you respond to your children? Are you caught up only yelling at them for wrong decisions, or do you give praise for all the good deeds?

Remember the classic movie Wizard of Oz? The movie starts off in black and white because the characters are living in gloom and despair on a poor farm, plus a storm is brewing.

But, as soon as Dorothy and Toto land on Oz, brilliant colors are displayed. Do you remember the joyous feeling that came over you as all the explosion of vivacious colors rush into your eyesight? It’s at this moment you followed the yellow brick road with Dorothy and became one of the characters.

Now, why don’t we all see the beauty each of us possess? When’s the last time you shook hands with a total stranger and gave them a compliment?

It’s time we all throw away black and white to enjoy the beautiful colors that surround us. We need it. Don’t you agree?

The Unknown Winner

By David Tepera, November 22, 2017

In almost every game played, at any level, there’s moments when an athletic player performs a spectacular play. The crowd yells and cheers, including teammates and coaches. Even after the game is over, people still celebrate these star players.

But, here is something I want you to think about. Let’s revert back to children’s early years and into high school activities.

As I’ve just written, star athletes get all the attention, and they should. I’m not taking away from their efforts. But, in most cases, there are other players on the team that conquered bigger battles just to be in the game.

I know obese kids who lost a significant amount of weight because they loved football. I know of a family who lost a son in a tragedy, but his brother and sister finished the season in his honor.

We recently had major destruction from the flooding of Hurricane Harvey, and Dickinson High School sports are thriving. Of course, so many other county schools were affected, as well, but Dickinson was hit the hardest. I’m sure many of their athletes are living in uncomfortable conditions.

Now, I’m not just referring to sports. What about in the classroom? Who could possibly be an unknown winner for academics?

My 19-year-old son Dylan has been a talented athlete his whole life, including impeccable grades throughout school. But, the biggest winner in our family is my 17-year-old daughter Daylyn.

Daylyn was diagnosed with extreme dyslexia in second grade. I had her repeat a grade due to the severity. Just know, she gave me permission to write about her struggles.

Here’s my point. Daylyn studies twice as long as most students, battles through all her classes, and had a season-ending knee surgery this past summer, including so much more.

For Daylyn, she doesn’t get grounded for making subpar grades, we celebrate any number that reflects passing. Our family knows her struggles and frustrations because life doesn’t come easy for her.

One day she came home very disappointed and embarrassed with herself due to a 42 grade on a major text. I looked at her, gave her a high five and said, “at least it wasn’t a 41.” We laughed and went for ice cream.

I’m only giving my experiences of the unknown winner. I’m sure all of you have personal stories and life experiences, too. Take the time today and reach out to the unknown winner in your family. Let them know how proud you are of their efforts, and go celebrate like the game winning shot.

You Can’t Knock Me Out

By David Tepera, November 16, 2017

Sylvester Stallone became a famous, wealthy man for being known as one of the world’s greatest boxers as an actor. The character Rocky Balboa always fought his way back to the top after a multitude of negative life circumstances.

When very few people supported Rocky during times of trouble, he always believed in himself and fought back in the game of life. The journey to the championship ring was tougher than the fight itself.

In case you didn’t know, Stallone’s real life was turbulent and defeated before the Rocky sagas.

One of the many famous quotes taken from the Rocky movies is “Life’s not about how hard of a hit you can give. … It’s about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward.”

Now, let that sink for a moment. There’s not one person reading this article that hasn’t either gone through or is currently going through some difficulty. We all would like to think we prepare ourselves for the worst, but somehow, life comes out of nowhere and sucker punches us.

It could be a life-threatening diagnosis, unexpected unemployment, death of a loved one, or as many of our neighbors experienced — loss of a flooded home.

But really, the question is “what are you going to do about it?” Are you going to just lay there on the canvas while the referee counts you out? Did you give up on yourself because you felt worthless?

Stallone knew he could grab the hearts of his viewers if Rocky was beat to a pulp, and then somehow gathered himself to fight the last round because pride was on the line.

One of the most gruesome scenes from Rocky I was when Rocky told Mickey to cut him. His eye was swollen shut from taking a pounding and could no longer see. Mickey slices his eyelid, and Rocky proceeded to stay in the fight.

Yes, I know these are fictitious movies, but there are so many circumstances that are motivating to dig deep within ourselves and realize we can take punches, too.

Now, join me with a new determined mindset, “Yesterday was the last day that life held me down. You can throw punches and knock me around, but I refuse to get knocked out. I will keep pushing forward and believe in myself, even if others don’t. Every day is training day because eventually I will be standing in the ring putting on the championship belt because I am the heavyweight champion of the world.”

Planning a Game Day Proposal

By David Tepera, November 8, 2017

For all you fellas who are planning a marriage proposal or had been through it, wouldn’t you agree it takes on the same mentality as competing in sports?

First of all, I’m sure most of you are stressing the outcome. Will you win or lose? Will you feel shame and embarrassment or be victorious?

You’ve put in a lot of thought, preparation and planning to develop an action plan. The day is set, and everything must go right in order to win the event. You’ve tucked the ball away, started running down the field, dodging every obstacle because no one can stop you from scoring a touchdown. This isn’t just her day, it’s your day.

Just like sports, you’ve practiced multiple times to get the words out without fumbling. It’s important to work your breathing technique to keep from passing out. If not, you might end up in concussion protocol, and put on the bench for a few weeks, but delay is not an option.

Admit it guys, finding the perfect ring is way too much stress. I bet whoever made up the rules that wedding rings are made with diamonds owned a jewelry store. My goodness, it requires selling blood and working overtime to pay for it. Then, because you’re shaking so bad for the big moment, you’re scared of fumbling the rock and looking like a rookie idiot.

Ladies, just know, most men’s DNA isn’t wired to truly know which style ring you most desire. At this point in the relationship, the only beauty we recognize is you walking through the door.

Remember, all past failed relationships were only practice to develop better skills, maturity and growth in order to win the ultimate life trophy. This championship ring will mean more than any Super Bowl because it comes with deep true love.

Understand guys, your woman will run off to her friends and family to celebrate your big moment. You’ll feel left behind and realize it’s no longer about you. But don’t fret it, the wedding day will eventually come, and you’ll have her all to yourself for eternity.

So, fellas, put your game plan together, practice like a champion, get ready to score a touchdown because it will be you celebrating in the end zone with a crazy unskilled dance. You got this!

Find the solution

By David Tepera, November 1, 2017

In every sporting event, defeating situations and challenging objectives are constant. For example, when a team is losing at halftime, the coach needs to develop a new strategy.

There are many coaches who are great at making halftime adjustments to come back and outsmart the opponent. I should know, I was raised by a football defensive coordinator, and observed my dad during games throughout my entire childhood.

Other mastermind coaches are five-time Super Bowl winning Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots. He is known for out-coaching opponents by coming back and ripping their hearts out. Head basketball coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs holds the same record in the NBA. Plus, both these amazing coaches are currently leading their teams to another season. Obviously, these men are hall of famers who are masterminds at problem solving.

Now, don’t we all have difficulty and problems in every category of our lives? Do you dwell on challenging situations, or try to strategize a positive solution?

Take a deep look into your life. Are you a problem solver or a problem maker? I understand, I’ve just asked a personal question that no one wants to answer. We all want to play the blame game for reasons why we’ve become stuck in a rut.

I want you to realize that our minds are powerful when it comes to strategizing and problem solving. It just takes releasing all negative thoughts and dive deep into concentration with a positive mindset. This will allow your mind to accept new ideas and become creative.

I know I’m getting a little deep today, but we all eventually hit a roadblock in life and there must be a better way out.

Have you ever sat around with a group of friends, business partners or spouses to strategize a solution to a particular problem? Once someone begins the conversation, then mental creativity occurs, and everyone has ideas.

Many of today’s and most of tomorrow’s inventions will be created through this process.

Maybe today is the opportunity to truly expand your mind and resolve your most difficult problems.

I know many people who are facing health crises for a variety of reasons. Some more severe than others. Typically, an immediate strategy is crucial, and requires input from doctors, therapists, family and spouses. As long as you have a plan in place, and surrounded by encouragement and love, you’ll conquer the crises and live a prosperous life.

No matter what you’re facing today, take a deep breath and focus on positive solutions and kick stinking-thinking to the curb. This will fast track you back on path, plus life will soar to new heights.