Football Season

STORIES OF ENCOURAGEMENT: Blocking, Tackling, Head Safety, Conditioning Drills, Nutrition, Training Camp & Season
Curated By
James Brown

James E. Brown, Jr. is Founder and Chief Encouragement Officer of James is a native of Chicago, Illinois. He attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where he received an undergraduate degree in business administration. He later attended Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business in Evanston, Illinois, where he earned three masters degrees in marketing, strategy, and organizational behavior. James has worked for some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies, including Dow Chemical, Kraft Foods, General Electric, Compaq, Hewlett Packard, and Royal Dutch Shell.

The Encouragement Situation:

My 17-year-old cousin has overcome significant challenges on the road to adulthood. After his parents divorced at the age of seven, his father walked away from all parental responsibilities. His mother, a well-educated engineer, made no excuses and decided she would assume full responsibility for raising him on her own. My young cousin began to flourish during his teen years as a standout athlete. He recently earned a full scholarship to an ACC football powerhouse. My goal is to serve on his "Council of Dads" to provide information, inspiration, and support as he moves on to the college ranks. It's the least I can do for his mother, who happens to be my favorite cousin and lifelong friend.  

My Cousin Might Be Thinking:

  • I'm not sure if my conditioning will be enough to deal with the Alabama heat this summer.
  • I am preparing for Division 1, so I have a lot to learn.
  • I have butterflies in my stomach whenever I think about training.
  • I don't want to eat too much before morning drills.
  • I hope I don't get hurt during contact drills.
  • Will my girlfriend come to see me play when the season starts?
  • Will I be a starter when I go to college next year?
  • I want to get my head right - God, Family, Team. But will I be able to balance everything?
  • I want to make sure I focus on my studies to become an engineer.
  • I need to make sure I don't get too hyped up for practice.
  • I want to make sure I eat my last meal at the right time so I don't get cramps.
  • I need to visualize myself having a great practice.
  • How will I handle the new game day experience, including all of the sights, sounds, obstacles, smells, ground surfaces, and spectators?
  • I need to make sure I warm up properly so I don't strain a hamstring.

Curation Profile Used to Generate Encouragement Recommendations:

  • Relationship to You: COUSIN
  • Age Range: 14-18
  • Relationship Status: SINGLE
  • Occupation: STUDENT
  • Music Preferences: R&B, Rap, Hip-Hop, 
  • Style & Lifestyle: CONTEMPORARY
  • Product Quality: QUALITY, ECONOMY
  • Important Holidays: BIRTHDAY, CHRISTMAS, EASTER
  • Hobbies & Interests: CARS, VIDEO GAMES
  • Sports & Recreation: FOOTBALL, TRACK, BASEBALL
  • Media Preferences: ONLINE, PODCASTS
  • Faith & Religion: BAPTIST

How I Created The Plan to Encourage My Cousin:

  • Week 1: Words & Phrases (Free): The Dream is Free. The Hustle is Sold Separately. - George “GK” Koufalis. A great reminder to keep working hard to achieve his goals.
  • Week 3: Gifts & Goodwill ($$): Electronic Massager by Healthmate Forever Muscle Simulator to help accelerate recovery after a physical game
  • Week 5: Gifts & Goodwill ($): Thorlo cushioned triple cushioned athletic socks to prevent blisters from hours of running drills.
  • Week 7: Words & Phrases (Free): I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. - Nelson Mandela    
  • Week 9: Words & Phrases (Free): Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon. - Nelson Mandela, Invictus. Help him lead the team after the first loss of the season.
  • Week 11: Audio & Video (Free): O'Dell Beckham Jr - All I Do Is Win - Football Hype Video on YouTube - Explicit Lyrics
  • Week 13: Gifts & Goodwill ($$): Nike workout shirt. His favorite brand, in his favorite color (black)
  • Week 15: Events & Experiences ($$): Cheesecake Factory gift card (His mother told me he loves macaroni and cheese)
  • Week 17: Words & Phrases (Free): When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. People know themselves much better than you do. That's why it's important to stop expecting them to be something other than who they are. - Maya Angelou
  • Week 19: Events & Experiences ($$): Full body massage, end of season (completely unexpected experience)
  • Week 21: Audio & Video ($$): Madden Football 2018 (A fun way to take a break from the physical demands of the season).

Encouragement Plan Summary:

  • Time Frame: 5 months
  • Total Cost: $248
  • Relationship Value: Priceless

Feedback from My Cousin on the Encouragement Experience:

  • Week 6: "Thanks, cousin...this is totally unexpected."
  • Week 10: "Thanks for the portable massager, I tweaked my calf in practice yesterday."
  • Week 19 : "The Maya Angelou quote was right on time...I just broke things off with my girlfriend. I think she was all about me running the ball, not about me as a person."
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