Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tunney Side of Sports; “Coming up next … Every day is a time for giving.” #256, Nov. 23, 2009

After Further Review … It has always seemed to me that the celebration of the American holiday THANKSGIVING ought to be Thanksgiving EVERY day, not just the 4th Thursday in November. A couple of old saws come to mind.

First, are the words my father taught me: “Count your blessings.” Having spent my early years in the Great Depression (1930’s), our family didn’t have much money. Oh, we weren’t poor, but whatever money we had was earned (key word: earned) through the many jobs my father, as well as each of us in our family had, we were indeed, grateful for what we had.

The second is the philosophy I first heard expressed by my friend and colleague, Dr. Nido Qubein – now President of High Point University in North Carolina. Dr. Qubein said, “We should give without remembering; receive without forgetting.” That philosophy has served me well through many years as an educator and sports official. As an educator (see, I had decades of opportunity to be part of thousands of young people’s lives. Hopefully, I was able to transmit to these young people the importance of giving.

Being involved in sports all my life (at age 12 my ambition was to be a coach), I learned many things. Number one: it’s not about me. As a player, it was about the teams I was fortunate enough to play on – thus the acronym T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Accomplishes More). That same philosophy held for me as an NFL official. As crew chief (i.e. referee in the “white hat”), 24 of my 31 NFL years, it was the crew of 7 of us that became a family-on-the-field to serve the game of football better. My question after every one of my 500+ NFL games was “Did I leave the game today better than I found it?”

What I see and hear from some of today’s sport-stars is: “I told y’all, I’m not putting any more on my back;” meaning I am avoiding responsibility to help my T.E.A.M. more. It betrays the philosophy of giving and helping others. As Herm Edwards, former coach of two NFL teams, has always said, “Playing in professional sports is a privilege, not a right.” We need more of today’s players adopting the Edwards code.

Will you give without remembering and receive without forgetting?

Note: Many feel it’s time to elect an on-field game official to the Pro Football (NFL) Hall of Fame. To vote for nominee Jim Tunney, go to - scroll through nominee names to find TUNNEY; click on TUNNEY; drag and drop into voting area. You can vote once each day! Last day to vote is Saturday, November 28, 2009.

To learn more about Jim Tunney, or if your organization would like to secure Jim as a speaker, please visit and click on Jim Tunney

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