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Happy Thanksgiving — thank you to my mentors and mentees

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It’s a day spent with family and friends. And, it’s a day to take a step back and to think and to be grateful for what we have been blessed with over the years.
 
For the past five years, I have visited Arlington National Cemetery on the morning of Thanksgiving to pay respects to my heroes — my father, Uncle Art and General and Mrs Jack Guthrie (the parents of one of my closest friends). These are all people that have had such a deep and meaningful impact on my life.
 
In addition to my heroes, this day also makes me think of the deep impact that my mentors and mentees make on my life — each and every day. Two of my main mentors are Ted Leonsis and Mario Morino, who both have taught me the importance of mentoring, giving back, helping others, philanthropy, etc. They have done so not only with their words but also through their actions over the past 15+ years.
 
We have an informal “Pay It Forward” system in place. Those two men were mentored by others when they were young and in college and / or early in their work careers. They in turn have mentored many people from my generation. So, it’s on us to now to pay it forward by passing on our learning’s to the next generation.
 
I have been blessed to mentor so many wonderful people throughout the past two decades. The first group of mentees were primarily from my office — HTS and then AOL — as well as through the wonderful non-profits I worked with — Hoop Dreams Scholarship Foundation, Year Up, Posse Foundation, etc. Now, most of my mentees are from Georgetown University as well as other non-profits such as Asian-American LEAD and NFTE.
 
On this Thanksgiving Day, I do have a wonderful story to tell. As many of my friends know, I mentor two wonderful Chinese-American teenagers, Da-Zhi, who is 17 yrs old and a senior in high school and his sister, Sally, who is 13 yrs old and in 8th grade. Their parents are from China and moved to Washington, DC so they can provide an education and bright future for their children. I met them through Asian-American LEAD, where I’ve served on the board for over 5 years (we were one of the first non-profits funded by Venture Philanthropy Partners – co-founded by Mario Morino, Raul Fernandez and Mark Warner in ’00).
 
I have been mentoring Da-Zhi and Sally for over four years and I am 100% committed to paying for their college tuition and ensuring they will receive their college degrees.
 
This is where the Pay It Forward system continues to grow. I have four terrific Asian and Asian-American students from Georgetown University — two graduated recently and two are seniors now. All four students have embraced the Pay It Forward system. I’ve told them I will mentor them and help them over the years — in return, I asked if they would help me prepare Da-Zhi and Sally for college.
 
Da-Zhi is now a senior in high school and is writing his college essays for his application process. Since he is the first one in his family to go to college, this is a new experience for him. Thankfully, this has been a group effort as my 4 Georgetown students / friends and I have collectively helped Da-Zhi with is essays. I am grateful to Carlos, Morgan, Lily and Frank for their wonderful help and advice.
 
In summary, I am so deeply grateful for this network of mentors and mentees. I am “paying it forward” to my mentors by mentoring dozens and dozens of the next generation in the greater Washington, DC area. So many people tell me, “your mentees are lucky to have you in life.” My response is “I’m just as lucky and fortunate to have them in my life.” This is not a one-way street … it goes both ways. I don’t have my own children — but because I have so many mentees — it provides a great feeling in that I’m able to “give back” and to help others. In addition to Sally and Da-Zhi, there are so many other mentees — TK, William, Michael, Emily, Jeremy, Taylor, Rodney — this list goes on and on and on (and I’m sorry I’m not listing everyone). In fact, I just added two new mentees from Georgetown this week as part of a wonderful program called Georgetown Scholarship Program.
 
So, on this special day, Thanksgiving, I am thinking of my Dad, Uncle Art and Aunt June, General and Mrs Guthrie, for being heroes in my life. And, I deeply thankful and grateful for the mentors and mentees in my life. Each of you have made my life that much more meaningful. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Washington Nationals – enjoy the run!

The Washington Nationals are bringing joy and smiles to a lot us in the greater Washington, DC area.  A number of us have been season ticket holders since they moved here to DC in ’05.  Yes, they played in an old stadium, RFK, but it didn’t really matter.  After not having MLB here in town for over 30 years, it was so wonderful to watch baseball played in the Nation’s Capital.  It didn’t matter to me who the Nats were playing — it was joyous to have pro baseball played here in DC.

I also bought into their long term plans near the beginning of their tenure here — about replenishing the farm system and building the team with young talent and a long-term vision in place.  I’m fortunate to be friends with the Nats ownership group as well as the team president at the time, Stan Kasten.

I know Stan from our AOL / Time Warner days.  He’s the legendary sports executive who at one point was in charge of three professional teams at the same time — the Braves of the MLB; Hawks of the NBA; and Thrashers of the NHL.  He’s a true legend and visionary in our field.

So, yes we bought into the long-term vision, similar to what the Capitals have so successfully accomplished.  But, it’s been an up and down couple of years as the Nats struggled on the field.

We did start to see the improvement in play in the latter half of last season.  And, we know the team has drafted very well under the great GM leadership of Mike Rizzo.  But, none of my friends and I expected the fantastic success that Nats are displaying this year.  It’s getting near the end of August and they still have the best record in the MLB! 

I’m working out of LA this week so I’m missing the big series vs the 2nd place Atlanta Braves.  But, I’m following the games on my iPad.  And, I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming series against the defending world champion, STL Cardinals, next week and then the Cubbies.

The team is definitely built for the long run.  They have a great foundation in place and should be in contention for the playoffs for the next few years.  Pitching, timely hitting and defense — the keys to a winning team.  Of course, injuries can and will play a factor,  So, we’ll keep our fingers crossed as DC gets to enjoy its first pennant race in a long, long time in the coming months. 

As for the Strasburg issue, I could write an entire blog about it but I’m 100% behind the decision made by Nats management. 

Nats fan — enjoy the next couple of months — we haven’t experienced this in a long time and it will be fun.  Of course, the experiences at the Caps playoffs are through the roof.  Looking forward to some raucous nights at Nats Park!   Let’s go, Nats.

Brilliant 2012 Olympic Games

Congratulations to London and NBC Sports for a fantastic 2012 Olympic Summer Games.  London was a terrific host city — this was definitely one of the best run and most entertaining games (similar to the successful ’00 Sydney Olympics and ’96 Atlanta Olympics).  We were in London with 20 of Sports Industry Management students from Georgetown.  We toured the Olympic facilities and attended a swimming trials event.  There were a lot of people predicting massive traffic problems and security concerns but those were alleviated and the Games were a smashing success.

I also nothing but superb praise for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Olympics.  During my 14 years at AOL (’95 – ’09), we were constantly in discussions with NBC about a strategic partnership but we could never come to terms.  I was a strong advocate of NBC as well as the IOC doing a better job of embracing the internet.  I knew that we could create a win-win partnership where we could have helped drive our massive audience (in late 90’s thru mid 00’s) to the NBC coverage of the Olympics.

The first time this topic became an important was in ’00 for the Sydney Olympics.  The IOC hastily put together a New Media Summit for the Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland in Dec ’00.  I was on a panel at the summit strongly arguing that the internet can and will improve the coverage of the Olympics, including helping people find the events on TV (including cable networks), watching some of the sports that don’t prime-TV coverage, helping people track the medal standings, etc.

But, back in ’00, the TV broadcasters looked at the internet as  a threat and didn’t want anything to do with it.  They claimed as long as they were paying the massive TV rights fees that they would call the shots.

Well, it’s now 2012 and things have changed dramatically, especially the huge uptick in usage of Social Media and mobile devices.  Twitter and Facebook are obviously game-changers — just look at the increased usage from the ’08 (Beijing Games) to this year.  In addition to those two platforms, YouTube continues to also be a game-changer.  And, NBC did a great job in creating a partnership with Google’s YouTube for their NBCOlympics site.

Social media will continue to increasingly change the viewing habits of sports fans.  With Tweets, FB updates, text messages, etc, it’s no longer easy to try to watch a delayed broadcast of one’s favorite sporting event.  You now literally need to shut off the devices to try to watch your DVR’ed game or event.

I loved how NBC changed its strategy — showing events live on NBCOlympics,com ended up not hurting the TV ratings.  I know some people complained about NBC’s coverage during prime-time but I liked they way the packaged the events.  Also, if you watched it via your DVR, you could easily speed through events that were not of interests.

Although I knew the results, I still watched nearly every night.  And, I shook with excitement or shed a few tears watching so many great athletes perform so well.  My favorite highlights were Gabby and US Women’s team winning the gold, Mo Farah winning the two big running events, the joy of the Missy Franklin and her teammates, the US Women’s basketball and soccer teams winning Gold, Jessica Ennis joyfully winning the heptathlon, Kerry and Misty sweeping their matches, etc.  There’s too many to list. 

This.again reinforces to me the wonderful success of the Olympic Games.  Many Kudos to London and NBC Sports.  I am very much looking forward to the 2016 Olympics in my beloved Rio de Janeiro.  There’s only a 1 hour time difference from US EST so some of the tape-delayed and timing issues won’t be as relevant.  But the inclusion of Social Media will be that much more integrated in the ’16 Games.  What’s interesting is that there will very likely be another major social media platform that launches in for the those ’16 Olympics — it’s hard to say what it’ll be but surely some young and brilliant entrepreneur will develop the next big idea.  Cheers.

JLynn: Update

I have not done any blogging over the past few months … I got caught up too much in the ease and simplicity of Twitter as well as Facebook status updates.  But, the space is quite limited.  I get emails and texts from various friends and students about what I’m up to … so I figured it’s best to write a blog and point to it rather than trying to email a lot of different people. So, here it goes.

In regard to work, I’m focused on three specific buckets — JLynn Associates, Georgetown University and Human Equity.  Here’s the quick updates:

http://www.JLynnAssociates.com — a strategic advisory business focused on Sports and Entertainment.  I’m now in my fourth year and things are going well.  Working with 15+ clients, including Under Armour, MicroStrategy, x2impact, Audax Health, SportsVite, StatSheet / Automated Insights, SpotLight Ticket Management, MTX Wealth Management, etc.   It’s primarily an advisory / connector role with a focus on digital, social, mobile, global, diversity and marketing.  Speaking of global, strategic partnerships and alliances have been formed or will be formed in Brazil, China, Mexico, Israel, UK, etc.

– Georgetown University — this upcoming Fall semester marks my the beginning of my 8th year at teaching at Georgetown.  I’ve taught a Sports Marketing Strategy course in the McDonough School of Business (MSB) undergraduate marketing program for the past seven years; I’m continuing my role as the Visiting Professional in our graduate Sports Industry Management program in the School of Continuing Studies; and I’ll start teaching a MBA course, Social Technology Marketing, in Sept.  I very much enjoy teaching, advising, interacting and mentoring so many wonderful students.  I’ve also struck a number of terrific friendships with faculty throughout the campus.

http://www.HumanEquity.com — this is a new digital media solutions business we’ve launched earlier this year.  We have a terrific staff, based in NY and Washington, DC.  I’m very proud that our DC office is comprised of three of our former graduate students from Georgetown Univ.  It’s not easy launching a new business in these tough times but there’s clearly a need for social / digital media strategy help.  It’s an exciting venture with much upside.

So, those are the three areas of focus but I also do make sure to continue to spend a fair amount of time with philanthropy, mentoring and community service.  And, lastly, one of my long-time friends, Chris Tavlarides, and I are co-producing a boxing documentary that will be released this fall — http://www.thegoodsondocumentary.com/.  Much more info will be coming out soon about our movie project.

Georgetown University ’12

It was a terrific week on the Georgetown University campus last week since it was Graduation Week.  I attended the commencement ceremonies for the Sports Industry Management graduate program (School of Continuing Studies) on Friday afternoon and for the McDonough School of Business (undergrad) on Saturday evening.  In addition, I participated in the Tropaia ceremonies for MSB and SCS, attended the receptions for both schools and also went to a couple of families receptions throughout the weekend.

Each year, one of my personal highlights is attending the graduation ceremonies and then meeting the families of my students.  It’s great to meet the parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.  I think it takes on an even more personal nature for me since I still look back fondly at the look of pride on my parents’ face when I received my MBA over 20 years ago.   It’s particularly poignant since I lost my father four years ago.  But, I’m cheered up each year during graduation thinking of how proud the families are when watching their son / daughter walk across the stage to receive their diploma (it’s also one of the reasons I love serving as a “hooder” during the SIM graduation — to be able to personally congratulate our students).

This weekend also makes me reflect on my 7+ years at Georgetown Univ.  It’s been a wonderful ride and one I look forward for many years to come.   I’ve taught “Sports Marketing Strategy” in the undergraduate business program for the past seven years.  And I currently serve as the “Visiting Professor” for the Sports Industry Management program.  It’s a hybrid role of teaching (Sports Digital Media, Sports Leadership and Management, Global  Economics / Under Armour, Capstone, etc); advising students and faculty; and leading business development for the SIM program (we will be creating international partnerships as we strive toward our goal of being the world’s best sports management program).  This Fall, I will start teaching a MBA course, “Social Technology Marketing.”

It’s wonderful being part of the Georgetown family.  I’ve also been able to strategically connect my two businesses, JLynn Associates and Human Equity, with the programs and classes I teach.    The latter venture is a new digital media solutions company we just launched in April — and I’m proud to note that three of our former SIM students are part of the team.  Btw, many of my students know that I’m constantly preaching about the importance of Digital / Social Media — so it was terrific to have the CEO of Living Social, Tim O’Shaugnessy, deliver the commencement address for MSB as well as to have our MSB Dean, David Thomas, eloquently use five of his best Tweets, as important lessons for the graduating business students.

In addition to the business tie-ins, I’m also so very proud of philanthropic / non-profit work of our students.  As one who serves on a number of non-profit boards, I’m constantly telling my students about the importance of “giving back” to the community.  This is also part of my “Pay It Forward” promise to my long-time mentor and friend, Ted Leonsis, who is a proud Georgetown graduate and member of the GU board.  He was mentored by the legendary Father Durkin — Ted has taught my generation about giving back and helping others — now it’s turn to pass this on to our students.  I’m proud of my former and current students that are involved with “Teach for America,” our MSB partnership with Year Up as well as many other organizations.  I’ve also had a few students tell me they’re going to make the transition from banking / private finance to get involved with leadership of non-profit organizations.

In summary, I’m grateful to be part of this Georgetown community (most of you know I’m a proud AU alum but they don’t have a sports management type of program).   It’s great to see the growth of our Sports Industry Management program and I’m excited to be adding a MBA course to teach later this year.  But, most importantly, it was so wonderful to see so many students graduate on this special weekend.   Hoya Saxa.

 

J-Lynn writing about J-Lin

I just returned back to DC on Monday afternoon after attending the NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando (which is the best place to network and conduct business with sports executives).   The hot topic continues to be the unbelievable and amazing story of Jeremy Lin of the NY Knicks.

I’ve had lots of interesting discussions, emails, texts, Tweets, FB messages, etc since my long-time nickname has been J-Lynn.  Some of my fellow baseball and softball teammates have been calling me that for over 20 years (since it’s common in Sports to call the person with a combination of the initial of the first name and their last name).  Also, when I left AOL in March ’09 to start my own strategic advisory sports business, I had to come up quickly with a name — so I called it JLynn Associates.   So, my friends have had fun with J-Lin vs J-Lynn.

But, getting back to the real J-Lin, the story is simply spectacular.   The recent articles in Sports Illustrated are stating that his marketing endorsement deals could be worth between $100 million to $1 billion.  That is staggering.   Has this ever happened before in the history of Sports?  Or, even in Business?  When has a relatively obscure athlete / personality become so wildly popular in such a short period of time that his representatives can generate that type of income?  It really is amazing.

It’s also the perfect storm … J-Lin’s playing skills match almost perfectly to Coach D’Antoni’s system; he’s playing in the number one media market in the US; there’s a strong Asian and Asian-American segment in NY; the Chinese and Taiwanese have a love affair with basketball, etc.  Also, due in part to the massive popularity of social media, this has quickly become a global phenomenon.

If J-Lin played in Minnesota or Milwaukee … or, if this was before the explosion of social media, the story would not be as hugely popular.  But because of these various factors, this is indeed one of the greatest Sports stories in history.  It’ll be fascinating to track this story in the coming weeks and months.  The Knicks have already announced a deal with a Taiwanese tire company … there will be many more deals announced (for J-Lin, the Knicks and the NBA).

Speaking of the NBA, they deserve great kudos for their foresight … they are the American professional sports league that first fully understand the power of the global opportunities facing them.  They opened their first NBA office in Asia in ’92.   They laid the foundation and worked feverishly at over the years.  Having the “US Dream Team” play in the ’92 Olympics was a great start …. and they’ve smartly and strategically marketed this sport … and basketball and soccer (or football as many call it outside of the US) are the two biggest Sports played and watched in the world.

As one who is half-Asian, I do take great pride in watching the successes of J-Lin.  I’ve read that he’s been called racist names while growing up playing Sports as a youth.   I can certainly relate — I was called racist names while playing baseball, basketball and football during my youth years.  I used to laugh it off and sometimes it made me play harder.   Also, ironically, I went to the same high school, WT Woodson, as J-Lin’s terrific coach at Harvard, Tommy Amaker (who must have passed on the many lessons he learned from Coach K while playing at Duke).

So, from one J-Lynn to the real J-Lin, wishing you the best of luck.  There are many, many people rooting and cheering you.  Not only are you a very good NBA player, you are so well-grounded, respectful and authentic.  This is particularly refreshing in this day and age when a number of star athletes are so consumed with themselves and their individual stats.  You, J-Lin, are a great teammate and leader.  And, we will continue to cheer and root for your success.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.  And, it really hit home to me this morning when I went to Arlington National Cemetery to pay respects to my father, Uncle Arthur and General and Mrs Guthrie, the parents of my close friend and brother, Kevin.

My father and Uncle Art are both interred at the Columbarium.   That’s also where they hold the burial ceremony, which is one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever witnessed.  I stood there for a few minutes this morning near the staging area and I thought back to the incredible service that the US Military puts on to honor its veterans — the flag folding, the firing of shots, the playing of bugle, the presentation of the flag, etc.   The ceremony is spectacular and solemn – and nearly renders one speechless.

As I stood there, I also remembered the outpouring of family and friends that were there to support my mother, brother and I.  I’m dumbfounded at the number of people that were.  Losing a parent and / or family member is easily one of the most difficult and painful periods one can go through.  But, I was there standing strong — riding on the shoulders of my cousins, aunts and friends.

So, it made me particularly think, on this Thanksgiving Day, how grateful I am.  I am thankful for the wonderful family I have — my mother and brother — and also my aunts and uncles, cousins and cousin’s children.  Fortunately, we stay in close contact.  On the Lynn side of the family, we had a family reunion in Oklahoma City this past May.  And, on the Tobari side of the family, we had a reunion in Tokyo less than a month ago.  I am so grateful for the Lynn and Tobari families.  And, I also have a third family, the Guthries — who I’m so fortunate to be a part of.

As I mentioned when I delivered the eulogy at my father’s funeral, I feel so lucky to have so many wonderful friends — ones that are there for you — not just in the good and joyous times but also in the hard and difficult times.  The names are too numerous to mention but they know who they are.  Thank you for the years of friendship.

I also want to thank my numerous co-workers / clients / friends — from the AOL days and across the Sports industry as well as to those now currently at Georgetown University, Under Armour, MicroStrategy, x2impact, Legacy Connect and so many more.

Speaking of Georgetown, I feel blessed to be part of the family.  I’m now in my 7th year of teaching there.  I have so many friends, students and mentees — literally over 100 — that I keep in contact with regulary.  As I write this blog on my deck, I’m looking clearly across the river on this beautiful directly at Georgetown Univ.  I am thankful to be part of this wonderful institution and family.

And, of course, I must thank my mentees.  Again, they are too numerous to mention — the list is in the dozens and dozens, but you all inspire and motivate me.   My friends say that my mentees must be lucky to have me as a mentor.  I think it’s the other way around — I’m blessed to have them in my life.  They give me pride, joy, laughter and passion.  In fact, tonight, I’m taking three of my mentees to a Thanksgiving Dinner in Koreatown — so we’re going to do an Asian-style Thanksgiving!

My best Thanksgiving wishes to all.  I am thankful on this holiday but I’m also grateful and appreciative each and every day of the year.  Peace.

The vision of Steve Case

I’ve spent the past couple of years in a hybrid role of sports consulting and teaching at Georgetown.   I’ve also been fortunate to do a fair amount of traveling, primarily to Brazil, Europe and Asia.   And, one of the reasons I can travel so easily is because I’m always connected to my Blackberry.  Recently, I was in Europe — and doing a flurry of email exchanges with business associates in Rio de Janeiro and Beijing (we are working on a 3-way project).  I was in Germany at the time.  I don’t think I knew what time it was in Brazil or China but the three of us were going back and forth, including sending documents.  As I took a step back, it just made me appreciate the beauty and power of  email.   As I thought about the ease of email and community, it made me think of one of the pioneers of this space, Steve Case, the former Chairman and CEO of AOL and then AOL Time Warner.

In the past couple of years, Steve Jobs has been lauded over and over for his brilliance in leading Apple.  And, of course, Mark Zuckerberg receives great praise for the amazing work he’s done at Facebook.   And, Bill Gates is regarded as one of the great business leaders for building and leading one of the great companies of all time, MicroSoft.  But, I think Steve Case deserves more recognition for his incredible vision and drive.

I don’t know if I have these details correct, but as the story goes, Steve was working for the Pizza Hut corporation in Kansas back in the early 80’s when he got very interested in exchanging bulletin board messages (the pre-cursor to email).   He was then recruited by his older brother, an investment banker, to join Control Video Corp around ’83.   Steve then founded Quantum Computer Services in ’85, which evolved into several different firms and names before being named America Online  in the early 90’s.   After a 10-year run, AOL finally took off in ’94 and ’95 and went through a meteoric rise into becoming a leading global brand.

But, just think.  How did Steve Case have the vision and audacity way back in the early 80’s to think that he could connect people through this new form of messsaging?  And, it wasn’t just in the US, but globally.  Talk about being way ahead of the game.

I joined AOL in the Spring ’95.  At the time, we had email and chat rooms.  But, then the Buddy List and instant messaging launched on the AOL service.  Talk about another game-changer!  In fact, if you look back, the foundation of social media was launched on AOL — email, chat rooms, instant messaging, polling, pictures, etc.  We called it Community back then but it’s really what Facebook, Twitter, etc is now.

I still remember about 5 years ago when I got a Facebook friend request from Steve.  Since I teach at Georgetown, I’ve had an .edu address for some time.   I didn’t join FB in the mid 00’s since I thought it was primarily for students.  So, when I got the FB request from Steve, I thought it might be spam.  But, in fact, it was at that time that FB decided to open up to people outside the education space.   My first two friends on FB were Steve and his wonderful wife, Jean.

It is simply incredible to see the growth of Facebook over the past few years — nearly 800 million users around the world.  And, Twitter is another remarkable tool.   If you go back 10 years, the darlings of the internet space were AOL, Yahoo and MySpace.  It’s now all about Google, Facebook and Twitter.

But, in going to back to the beginning of this blog, I’m still fascinated with how emailing how impacted and changed the way we communicate — not just in the business world, but also socially.  Personally speaking, I am so much more productive — not just interacting with my Sports clients but also with the 100+ students I teach / advise  at Georgetown — as well as the many friends I have here in the US and internationally.

And when I think back to how emailing changed the game, I think back to the vision of Steve Case.   He got this going back in the early 80’s — when cable TV was fairly new and satellite tv, internet, mobile phones, etc were barely existent.  So, yes, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, etc deserve great praise, but I think Steve Case should also be more prominently lauded for his vision and leadership in changing the way we communicate.

I’m sure a number of friends and former colleagues can add much more to this topic.   Cheers.

DC Sports scene

After my experiment of trying to blog daily during the month of June, I took a break from blogging for the past two months.   But, now as we’re about to enter one of the most exciting Sports periods of the year (I love September with the start of the NFL and NCAA Football seasons, MLB pennant race, start of NHL and NBA training camps, etc) as well as the start of our Fall semester at Georgetown Univ, it’s time to ramp it back up.

I like to write from time to time about the status of the Washington, DC sports scene — so here we go:

– Washington Nationals:  what a great series win over the Phillies, the team w/ the best record in baseball.  I very much like the foundation that the Nats are putting in place.  They now have a core of good, young players — Zimmerman, Espinoza, Desmond, Morse, Ramos, Zimmermann, Storen, Clippard, etc — while they’re also putting together a terrific farm system.  The signing of all 5 draft picks last week was terrific.  I like how they’re patiently building out the team — from the minors up to the majors.  Similar to the Atlanta Braves model — which helped them win numerous NL East titles.  Yes, they still have a ways to go but it’s good to see the approach they are taking.

– Washington Redskins:  yes, it’s only the preseason but as a ‘Skins fan, one must like they are playing the game — offense, defense and special teams.  This year’s team is younger, more athletic and faster.  And, they seem to have players that want to play the game — rather some of the overpaid and pampered free agents from the past few years.  It’s refreshing to see.   It’s good they put an emphasis on building up the offensive and defensive lines.  Obviously, the QB is going to be a major factor in how the team plays this year.  But, the Shanahan duo seem to fully believe in Beck.   The ‘Skins are in a tough division – with the the Eagles (nearly everyone’s pick to win the Super Bowl), Giants and Cowboys.   A .500 record might be the best we can hope for — but at least Shanahan and Allen are building the team the right way (also taking the long-term approach and filling the team with character guys).

– Washington Capitals:  wow, this is going to be another exciting year.  Some “experts” are predicting the Caps to win the Stanley Cup this coming season.  That might be a bit premature since they haven’t advanced too far in the playoffs the past few years.  But, the team is certainly talented and extremely well-built (the additions of the veteran free agents should have a great impact — on and off the ice).  And, the Caps games are the “must see” and “go to” sports experience in DC.   It is the one sports experience that has a “wow” factor and compels fans to keep coming back.  In fact, the Caps are already sold out for the season.  Looking forward to rocking the red in about 2 months.

– Washington Wizards:  this will continue to be frustrating for NBA fans … the lock-out talks, similarly to what we went through with the NFL for so many months this year.   It’s a shame since I like the team the Wizards are putting together — similarly to the Caps and Nationals — they’re putting together a good foundation of young talent — that can develop and grow together into a winning team.   But, similarly to the NHL in the mid ’00’s, this current economic model is broken and needs to be remedied.  It’ll eventually be settled but it looks like it’s going to take quite some time for this to occur.

– DC United:  it’s good to have them back to their winning ways.   Coach Ben Olsen is doing a good job in his first year as the full-time head coach.  They do need to fare better at home but they’re playing well on the road.  The team is coming together nicely — and they’re right there to snag a spot in the top three if they keep playing well.  It’s a shame that more fans don’t come to RFK for games — it’s really a fun and entertaining experience.  Of course, things would be different if the team played in a new, soccer-specific stadium.  But, for now, more and more fans should go and experience a MLS game.

 

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