Archive for the ‘football’ Category

Mom, We Love You!

April 13, 2013

I am the second of four children, first two boys and then two girls.  I have always liked this combination, because then each of us gets at least one brother and one sister.  Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Speaking of appreciation, not too long ago, my brother, sisters, and I were thinking about what to give our mother for her 75th birthday.   She has everything she needs for a comfortable life, so buying her a toaster oven didn’t fit the bill, at least not for this special birthday.   We asked ourselves what she would like from us more than anything in the world, and came up with this simple answer: for us too tell her how much we have loved and appreciated her over the years, from childhood to today.

Marshall-Kids-With-Mom

(Teresa, Wayne, Mama Ruth, Kathy, and David)

My wife Kate and I, who have experience creating guided journals, bought a blank journal and created prompts for each of the Marshall four kids to fill out.  It covered our childhood, adolescent, and adult years with mom.  In round robin fashion, Kate sent the book around to each of us four kids, and we then took turns expressing our appreciation based on the prompts that spoke to us most deeply.  Kate made sure the book kept moving between sons and daughters so it would return to Mom in time for the big event.

When Mom first unwrapped the book on her special birthday, she didn’t know what it was.  But as she began to read the passages, her eyes started to well up.  This was not just another birthday card or Mother’s Day card with a page or two of appreciation.  It was a bound book filled with appreciation.  What mother wouldn’t like that?   Mom now says that this is the best present she has every received from her kids.  She proudly displays it on her coffee table at her home for all her guests to see.

Our own family experience with this book of maternal appreciation motivated Kate and me to write What I Love About You, Mom, to help other children express their feelings to their mothers (and even grandmothers) as well.

IMG_3056

Mom and I spoke recently about what the book means to her.

David – Mom, do you still remember your response when you first figured out what we had given you?

Mom – Yes, I remember it well.  I was amazed and deeply touched by the outpouring of love for events that I had either forgotten or never realized how much they meant to my children.

David –  Why did this gift affect you more than others we have given you in the past?

Mom – Well, it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?  This little book of appreciation showed your hearts, in your own handwritings, in ways that a blender or spa treatment never could.  It also outlasts any other gift. It’s a family keepsake for me to read again and again.

David – Which passages did you especially appreciate?

Mom – Well, I’ll mention one from each of you.  Your older brother Wayne said I helped him develop his love for music:

“You bought me my first drum, a bongo and enduring my bad playing, and encouraged my piano playing, too. I am still drumming and playing piano all these years later.”

David – What answers from your daughters moved you?

Mom – Kathy knew she was different from the start. She thanked me for letting her be her true self:

“When I was a child, you just let me be, let me be a tomboy, let me get dirty. You didn’t try to force things on me like clothes and toys, and I think that has been the case all along.  You let me be and trusted that things would be alright.”

David – And what about your youngest, Teresa?

Mom – Sometimes it was the little things that you kids remembered that really choked me up.  She wrote:

“I remember the pot roast you used to make in the electric skillet. It felt like home. And I remember singing to all the relatives whenever we went to Texas and Oklahoma to visit.”

David – And what about from me?

Mom: You wrote how glad you are to still have me in your life, and to have been born into my family:

“I still love and cherish having a healthy (mind, body, and spirit) mother at my age as I approach 50. Many people I know have already lost both parents.  I am very lucky. And I never would have met and fallen in love with your parents, Mama Lou and Papa Daddy, the best grandparents a kid could ask for. They passed on so much of the goodness of their souls to you and your dear sisters.

David – Anything else you’d like to add?

Mom – I wish I had thought to make a book like this for my own mother before she died.  Mama Lou, as we called her, was a powerful influence in my life.  As we say in Texas—I loved her to pieces.  I think this is a great way for mothers and children to communicate in ways they may not have beforehand.  I told Mama Lou that I loved her often, but never expressed the various ways she helped nurture me into the strong woman I am today.  I know she would have really cherished a book of appreciation from me like the one you kids gave me.

David – Just one more thing I want to say, Mom.  I love YOU to pieces.

Mom – Come give me some sugar!

**

David and Kate Marshall live in Moraga and write guided journals to foster family communication and self-discovery. What I Love About You, Mom, was published by Plume/Penguin in March, 2013, to show appreciation to moms everywhere in easy, fun, and heartfelt ways. They have written seven other guided journals, including What I Love About You for couples, which has sold 200,000 copies.

Kap Attack – The Amazing Adventures of Colin Kaepernick: 1987-2097

January 30, 2013

Who’s that galloping thoroughbred who raced by Green Bay’s elite defensive players for a 56-yard touchdown?  Colin Kaepernick came out of nowhere to capture the attention of America this season.  At 25, he’s just in his second year in the NFL, has only started in ten games. He took his team to the Super Bowl in New Orleans on 2-3-13 and almost engineering the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. But even with the temporary setback, the York and DeBartolo families are already dreaming of their second 49ers dynasty.

But we shouldn’t be so surprised.  As a nine-year-old fourth grader in Turlock, California, Colin wrote a letter to himself foretelling his future with the 49ers.

Colin-Kaepernick_Dream_1996

So what’s in store for the rest of his life?  We know he likes to envision his future.  Here’s how this writer imagines Colin’s life—past, present, and future—as Colin might see it playing out:

KapAttack-LifeMap

Life Title: BREAKING ALL THE RULES: LEADING FROM BEHIND

First 18 Years – Ages 1-18 (1987-2005) – Loving All Sports

I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and am proud of my ethnic diversity.  Mom and Dad, Teresa and Rick Kaepernick adopted me when I was young.   I only lived in Wisconsin until I was four years old before my family moved to the Sacramento area in California.  Growing up, I played as many sports as I could, but especially liked baseball and football.  At nine, I became the quarterback of my team. My first throw was a long bomb for a touchdown. I was hooked.  In high school, I maintained a 4.0 GPA even though I played on most of the varsity teams.  At 6 foot, 4 inches tall and 170 pounds, I was a string bean.  I became a pretty good pitcher, and could throw a 92 mph fastball.  Although I wanted to play college football, I mostly attracted baseball scholarships.  The Chicago Cubs even wanted to hire me straight out of high school.  The football scouts thought I was too lanky and wouldn’t survive all the hits.  The University of Nevada was the only school to offer me a football scholarship, so I jumped at the chance.  Some people thought I was crazy to give up a sure thing in baseball for a dream in football, but I knew in my heart that this was my future.  Mom and Dad supported my decision.

Next 6 Years – Ages 19-24 (2006-2011) – College and Drafted into the NFL

At the University of Nevada Reno, I majored in business management.  I liked my business classes, but my passion was football.  I became the starting quarterback for the Wolf Packs midway through my freshman year and held the position until I graduated.  I helped the Wolf Packs get to four bowl games during my collegiate years.  My biggest achievement was in reaching 10,000 passing yard and 4,000 rushing yards during my college career, which was a quarterback record for Division 1 colleges.

In the 2011 NFL draft, I was the sixth quarterback chosen; I’m glad that Coach Harbaugh saw something in me that others didn’t.  He had seen me scramble and knew I had a rocket arm.  I had always dreamed of playing for the 49ers. I ran the 40 yard dash in 4.53 seconds during the NFL tryouts, so he knew I could run faster than most other quarterbacks. Coach Harbaugh was a former NFL quarterback himself and had just come to the 49ers from Stanford, where he had coached Andrew Luck to winnings seasons. I was in heaven, but I still had a lot to learn.  During the players strike in 2011, the 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith organized his own training camp to get us ready, and he helped me learn the ropes. During the 2011 season and the beginning of the 2012 season, I came in now and again to use my scrambling ability to keep the defense of our competitors on their toes.  But I didn’t think that my time would come so soon.

Next 12 Years – Ages 25-37 (2012-2024) – The 49ers Rise Again

After winning six of nine games in the fall of 2012, Alex suffered a concussion and had to leave the game. We tied that game and then won five of the next seven games to reach the playoffs.  Even though Alex got better within a couple games of his concussion, Coach Harbaugh made me the starter.  He probably figured my scrambling and strong arm would increase our chances of going all the way. We then beat the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta in route to the Super Bowl in New Orleans. My big breakout game came against the Green Bay Packers, when I ran for 181 yards, more than any other quarterback in history in a single game.  Once I started getting popular, some people criticized me for my tattoos, but they just didn’t understand. That’s my Christian faith written in my tattoos, and they keep me strong.  In the Super Bowl, we faced the Baltimore Ravens, coached by Coach Harbaugh’s older brother John Harbaugh.  It was a close game that we almost won, but the 34-31 loss made us stronger for the Super Bowl games ahead of us.

(…and now the future part of his life map, as this writer imagines Colin creating it.)  My first Super Bowl win in 2014 marks the beginning of phase 2 of the 49ers dynasty.  Under Joe Montana and Steve Young, the 49ers had won five Super Bowls during the 1980s and 1990s, but it had been a long dry spell since 1994.  After our big win in February 2014, we win six more Super Bowl championships over the next twelve years.  My combination of fast running and baseball-pitcher arm helps reshape the NFL quarterback position over the next decade.  I stay with the 49ers during my entire professional career and retire when I am 37 years old.

Next 50 Years – Ages 37-60 (2025-2048) – Robotic Football League, RFL

After my professional football career ends, I have many offers to coach NFL or college teams to become a sportscaster, but I intend to use the business skills I learned in college instead.  The 49ers move from Candlestick in San Francisco to Santa Clara during my fourth year with the team, so I become pretty familiar with Silicon Valley high-tech companies during the next decade. I become obsessed with the huge strides being made with robotics companies, and invest in a few of them during my NFL days. At 37, I decide to found my own company, Kap Robotics, with a focus on building life-size robots that play a spectator form of football on a full-sized field controlled by 22 offensive and defensive players with advanced joysticks and their coaches on dashboards along the sidelines.  The players in our games are nerdier than the guys I played with the NFL, but no less committed.  Kap Robotics wins multiple patents in using our robots in key football positions. At first, the NFL is threatened by my company, but I win over a newer breed of owners in 30 major cities around the United States and we created our Robotic Football League (RFL).  In the end, both the NFL and RLF flourish.

In the early years, our robots are a bit clunky, but over time, they became very sophisticated.  Our robot quarterback can throw 80-yard long bombs with pinpoint accuracy, and our wide receiver robots catch them with ease, but the defender robots are equally good.  The sport is pretty violent, but unlike the professional league I had played in, only the machines got hurt, not the people. No more concussions and crippling career-ending injuries.  By 2035, after ten years of perfecting our robots and building up the league, the American public started to really warm up to the sport. We even put some inspirational tattoos on some of the robots.  Over the next thirteen years, we produced most of the robots for the RFL and developed similar athlete robots for budding automated leagues in other sports such as soccer, baseball, basketball, and hockey.  I was lucky enough to attract some of the brightest engineers in the world to RFL.  I learned leadership skills from my parents, and high school and college coaches, but Coach Harbaugh took takes to a new level.  He practices servant leadership and unbelievable passion, where everything he does serves and inspires his team.  I try to practice that same kind of humble and passionate leadership at RFL, and the engineers love it.

Next 40 Years – Ages 61-110 (2049-2097) – Exoskeleton Robots Serve the World

I become a billionaire many times over as the biggest shareholder of Kap Robotics, but when I turn 60, I decide to devote the rest of my life to using robots to help people recover from injuries or diseases.  In 2049, I found CK Robotics to focus on exoskeletons, robotic extensions of arms and legs that can help quadriplegics walk again and war veterans replace loss limbs. We establish both for-profit and non-profit organizations to serve as many people around the world as possible. This becomes my life work up until the end of my life.  Over the next fifty years, our firm helps millions of people walk again and regain mobility from lost or non-functioning limbs.  Embedded chips in the brain allow our clients to control our robots with their thoughts.  Many of my colleagues from my previous company join me at CK Robotics.  My proudest achievement is putting the traditional wheelchair out of business. Now even quadriplegics stand six feet tall and see eye to eye with the rest of us.  Based on knee and hip injuries I received during my NFL playing days, I wear my own lightweight exoskeleton these days.  I just celebrated my 105th birthday on November 3, 2092, and still feel great!

We’ve just seen a glimpse of Kap’s amazing life adventure.  He has proven that it’s never too early to start mapping your future.  Colin envisioned it at 9 years old, and as opportunities arose, made the choices that fulfilled his dream.  He is at the 20 yard line now, and still has 80 yards to go in his own life journey.  Based on what we’ve seen so far, he’ll be galloping through holes and throwing pin-point bullets all the way.

David Marshall

Co-author of My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future, Gotham Books/Penguin, November 2012