Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Arizona Shootings Cause Us to Search for Goodness

We hold an unspoken agreement that our lives are of infinite, equal value. Whenever someone shatters this oath, the power to restore it lies within everyone's moral grasp.

While the tragedy in Arizona is not a pleasant topic, this piece is offered as a method to honor those who were most affected by it. Violence should never translate to glorification. So, the name and the image of the person who committed the crimes has been intentionally omitted. Other journalists, for certain understandable reasons, have previously provided us with that information.

Debates regarding why some individuals use their free will to commit violent acts are relevant. However, those academic discussions shouldn't immediately rise above the importance of legal justice for any victim, or the feelings of their families and friends.

Honor These Individuals

The following human beings were killed on January 8, 2011: Christina Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, Judge John Roll, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwin Stoddard, and Gabe Zimmerman. Green's nine years of life were profoundly bookended by violence, as she was born on September 11, 2001.

Value Their Continuing Lives

The following human beings were injured on January 8, 2011: Bill Badger, Ron Barber, Eric Fuller, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Susan Hileman, George Morris, Pamela Simon, and Mavanell Stoddard.

There were brave individuals who were present at the scene and helped to end the conflict. They represent the goodness within our society. However, their heroic spirit is not fleeting and can always be found within many others. We need only to look into the eyes of our family members and friends to affirm this soft point.

The Positive Power of Government

A few days after the shootings, many government officials and employees stood outside and observed a moment of shared silence. The use of tasteful language in the aftermath of this event has also been important. The words of President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House, John Boehner, revealed how the influence of government can be used in positive ways. Both individuals have displayed this type of high-level, non-partisan, humanity at various other times in their careers.

Yet another event in a seemingly uncertain world ended the lives of some, damaged the lives of others, and jarred the rest of us. Some citizens may believe that they know where the roots of these problems have been growing. They may also think that people who hold opposite political views are currently scorching our public garden. Future seasons of consideration are always recommended for those who cultivate hardened opinions of others.

We must never allow our minds to close, because that defeats our capacity to be open to positive tomorrows. Each of us helps to maintain society. At times like these, our words and actions also help to restore it.

My article was published by on 1/14/11

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Text - Jen Groover interview

Do you know someone who is an innovator, a designer, an author, an expert, a speaker, a mentor, or a
television personality?

Any of those individual paths would be impressive.

Jen Groover has achieved success in all of those fields.

I like listening to people who have inspirational stories to tell. I like to understand the process of how someone got where they are. It is important when people can offer inspiration and tactical skills that can be applied that day,” Groover said.

Family Legacy

Born in Media, Pennsylvania, Groover's parental influence set the initial foundation for her life. Accountability was key. Her early education was in Catholic school, where the value of discipline was instilled. Later, her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and Minor in Philosophy were creatively woven into her career.

“My Mom had a television show on Cablevision, organized political campaigns, and was involved in many charitable events. The experience of being with her allowed me to meet people, including Philadelphia athletes like Steve Carlton, Pete Rose, and Tug McGraw, who were living their dreams.”

“My father did not grow up in an affluent environment. He was a Marine before he put himself through law school and become an attorney. He was also very involved in the community,” Groover said.

Her mother was taught by Vince Lombardi at St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, New Jersey. An experience that impacted her life and was later offered to her son and to her daughter Jen.

“My Mom was an old school, hard knox, Italian woman from Brooklyn. In reading things about Lombardi, I know her perspective was influenced by his mentality. She used to say, “You're not allowed to complain unless you do something about it.” and “If you want to win, you have to go for it.” She passed those ideas on to us,” Groover said.

Super Groover

Groover's friends refer to her as “Super Groover”, because of her energy and ability to accomplish goals.

When asked how success may have affected her life Groover said, “Kaci, one of my best friends since we were young, said something to me recently that was very meaningful. She commented that I am still the same person that I was in high school and that success had not changed me.


I learned that getting angry, upset, and over-anxious does nothing. It is through calmness and in the understanding of people that you become more fulfilled. One of my favorite books is Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman. In it he says “a warrior acts, only a fool reacts,” Groover said.
While studying at Kutztown University, she also helped to lead a successful fitness program. After graduating, she briefly worked as a Kindergarten teacher. Then she partnered with a man in Wilmington, Delaware who owned a gym and had a successful fitness training company. She started an aerobics division within the company called the “Groove Shop”, traveled to mentor instructors, and taught at Master's classes where thousands of conference attendees would be present.

I was killing myself by over-training and over-working. For the 1999-2000 season an Olympic trainer was helping to prepare me for the U.S. National Aerobic Championship and for the Galaxy Fitness Competition, which is more of an anaerobic event. At the same time I was teaching multiple daily aerobics classes, training many clients, as well as doing gymnastics and yoga. I thought I was invincible,” Groover said.

Living a Life of Purpose

There are many layers in a fabric that makes someone who they are,” Groover said.

For health reasons she eventually decided that it was best to move away from the intense physicality of her schedule.

I was given the greatest gift of a wakeup call. I was defining myself by a body fat count. The idea of perfection was on a physical plane. That is not a way to live,” Groover emphasized.

During that time a trip to a motivational speakers conference, at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, was about to reveal that she was open to a new direction in life. Bob Proctor, seen on the best-selling DVD The Secret, spoke at that event.

Bob taught me so many things that I knew, but did not know how to express, or to understand. I approached him and told him that what he said had changed my life. I asked him to be my mentor,” Groover said.

Art Linkletter and Walt Disney

While attending another motivational speaker's event, that featured Mark Victor Hansen, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, she met Art Linkletter. He had achieved fame as host of the television show, Kids Say The Darndest Things.

I had the chance to have lunch with Art. He told a story that became one of the most profound tipping points of my life. Because he was friends with Walt Disney, Art was one of the first people to go to Disney Land when it opened in 1955. He said that Disney had ran into so many obstacles while trying to get his theme park started, but he never gave up.

He told Disney that he should hire college students to take pictures of the families that would be at the park and that he should set up places where those photos could be sold to them. Today, that is the standard at every amusement park in the world. He received royalties for that idea during the remainder of his life, even though he only had a handshake agreement with Disney at the time he suggested it to him,” Groover said. (Linkletter passed away earlier this year in May.)

Before that lunch with Linkletter, Groover had been frustrated because she didn't know how to formulate her ideas into a business. She realized through Linkletter's story that ideas have equity and just need to be positioned in the right way to become successful.

One day I read about someone who had pursued an idea that was similar to one I had. But, that person had the courage to pursue it and I did not. So, that person reaped the rewards. It hit me that the feeling of regret was so much worse than had I tried it, even if I would have failed.”

Mantras To Live By

  1. Have more fear of regret than failure.
  2. Become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

One of the greatest questions I ever heard came from a high school student who said, “You are using success stories, what about the people that failed?” I told him that successful people have failed, but had gotten back up and kept going. The dichotomy of life is that you grow most when you are struggling, in pain, or are suffering,” Groover said.

Creating a Media Footprint

The creatively analytical Groover holds a variety of patents and trademarks, which is hardly surprising considering her many innovative business models. Groover's springboard came from a line of women's handbags she created called the Butler Bag.

I have created many of the television segments that I'm on. I didn't really want to go on television and speak about fashion. I wanted to speak about entrepreneurship and the inspiration needed to start a company. So, I had to learn how to make that concept marketable for the media.”

At the time I was getting involved with television there was no fusion between business and lifestyle segments. I worked on creating a footprint, within the media, where I provided content for the small business owner and entrepreneurs. That idea really took off when the economy started to plummet a few years ago. Today, I can't create content fast enough,” Groover said.

Through her segments on networks like Fox, NBC, and other media outlets, she presents concepts in a digestible form by converting Wall Street business jargon and political topics into Main Street language.

My favorite part about working in television is going into a green room. You never know who you are going to meet there. Steve Forbes was extremely warm and welcoming when I met him. Paula Dean was so friendly and very humble,” Groover said.

Recommendations for Younger Women

Groover is not only inspired by, but has become friends with two well known individuals who have impacted the lives of women nationally. Nell Merlino, who founded 'Take Your Daughter To Work Day' and Gabrielle Bernstein, author of Add More Ing To Your Life: A Hip Guide To Happiness.

Their efforts have taught me that when you have earned an opportunity to have influence, you also have a responsibility to make a positive impact and to help people. Women have come so far so fast. In setting the example for the younger generation, we need to keep expectations realistic. It is okay to ask for help, be vulnerable, and to remember that we can't do anything without other people,” Groover said.


When my Mom passed away a few years ago, I learned most profoundly about the power of legacy. In looking at my own daughters, I reflected on the many experiences she offered to me. I realized how much one person can affect a life. I know that what I do affects my daughters.”

“When they see me on TV, or my book in a store, I want them to know that I'm working, doing something positive and productive. I want them to understand that the rewards from what I do are not their toys, but are in seeing the things I'm working on come to life,” Groover said.

Leader Girlz is one of her newer brands. It teaches young girls about empowerment through play and helps foster their inner entrepreneur. She wants young women and girls to get to a point where they act out of love, not fear.

Social influence is so important for young people today. Their uniqueness is their power. They should not all want to be alike. Being yourself is good. Everyone might not become an entrepreneur, but everyone has entrepreneurial skills,” Groover said.


Money does not motivate me, making a positive impact through change does. Successful people work on themselves, more than their business. I want to remain on the speaking circuit and continue with a number of television shows are in development. I would like to develop documentaries, want to fuse new theories of what wellness and fitness should be, and think I have a second book in me,” Groover said.

I have a very optimistic view of the economy. Hard times have made us more resilient. The highest Cyber Monday (The Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend) sales ever were recorded this year. Business models are changing, as online sales, joint ventures, and collaboration are all stimulating the economy through multiple platforms and in different ways,” Groover concluded.

Relentless Resilience

If you were to see a someone on a sunny day, you would also see their shadow. A shadow is visible from certain angles and can be seen as an invitation to walk with that other person, rather than behind them. The shadows cast by accomplished people can be long, lasting, and are often joined with those of other leaders.

Jen Groover struck me as someone who is relentlessly resilient. She puts into practice what she has learned and offers models that can be implemented into everyday lifestyles. Her vividly recalled solid childhood foundation clearly enabled a consistent work ethic to be developed, a lasting success to have been earned, and a future that seems surely to evolve in many positive ways.

My article was published by on 1/6/11

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The full draft of my interview with Rich DeLucia: 

Current Dodgers Scout & Former Major League Pitcher

Always have a goal in life. Have some type of passion, so you can get up in the morning and feel good about yourself,” DeLucia said.

Recently, I had a chance to talk baseball with a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Rich DeLucia is a former major leaguer who pitched during the 1990's. He played for, with, and against many greats of the game including: Joe Torre, Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Dusty Baker.

Playing catch in the backyard with Dad

You can't do it by yourself. My Dad started early with me and kept on me. He always said that if I did the best that I could, everything else would take care of itself. He and my Mom gave me opportunities and were supportive,” DeLucia said.

His standout performances at Wyomissing High School, in Berks County, Pennsylvania, caught the eye of major league scouts.

Scouts were coming to see me during my junior year in high school. I was throwing in the upper 80's (mph) then, but I was 6 feet, 150 pounds. They said that they liked me, but that I wasn't physically ready for professional ball. So, I went to college and got bigger and stronger,” DeLucia said.

He accepted a full scholarship to play Division I baseball at the University of Tennessee. As Junior, he didn't have his best year, but was still drafted in the 15th round by the Toronto Blue Jays. Medical tests later revealed a bone spur, in his right throwing arm, as the cause behind his off season. A cortisone shot caused the pain to vanish, resulting in a great Senior year on the mound, and a 6th round draft selection by the Seattle Mariners in 1986.

People Who Matter Most

Early in his life, the most important support he received was from family and friends. As he moved into adulthood, the positive influence of his wife became key.

I met and married Lisa before I became a major league baseball player. She supported me when I was playing in the minor leagues. She had an important position in accounting with DuPont in Wilmington, DE, and later in South Carolina, where we lived for two years. She was advancing with the company, but quit her job, which was a huge sacrifice that she made for me.”

It was nice coming home to someone who didn't care if I got someone out. I wasn't always the most pleasant person after a loss, but she understood,” DeLucia emphasized.

Minor League Ball

School had just ended and I went straight to Bellingham, Washington, which was short-season A-ball. It was easier the first year in pro ball then in college, where the batters used aluminum bats. I threw a no-hitter and had a 1.70 ERA. That gave me confidence and got me noticed,” DeLucia said.

During his first year in the minor leagues DeLucia was invited to play in an annual game for future prospects at the Kingdome in Seattle. Players there told him that he already had the “stuff” to be a major league pitcher.

I thought I was good, but never thought I was going to be in the big leagues until I got to Double A in 1989 and had a great year. All of my minor league coaches, including Dan Warthan (recent New York Mets pitching coach) and Bobby Cuellar treated me awesomely and kept me on the right path,” DeLucia said.

In 1990, due to a back injury, he began the regular season in a warm weather climate with the Single A San Bernadino Spirit. He pitched well and advanced to the Williamsport Bills, in Double A, within a month. By August, he earned a promotion to the Calgary Cannons, in Triple A. In September, an unexpected bullpen conversation let DeLucia know that he was about to earn the ultimate promotion.

Making it to the show

After starting my last game of the season in Calgary on a Wednesday, our pitching coach, Dan Warthan asked me to throw a bullpen session that Saturday. I didn't expect to pitch again that year, so I wasn't focused, but he told me to take it seriously and that I was not done pitching that year.”

So, I asked if I was going to pitch in relief on Sunday, which was the last game of the Triple A season. When he said that I was getting called up after the game the next day my jaw dropped,” DeLucia fondly recalled.

Ken Griffey, Jr. and Randy Johnson

He made his major league debut as a Seattle Mariner against the Boston Red Sox on September 8, 1990. Jody Reed, the first batter he faced, popped out on a hanging slider.

Many familiar names were on that Mariners team including: Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey, Jr., Harold Reynolds, Omar Vizquel, and Edgar Martinez.

Randy Johnson was just throwing the ball back then. He had not yet developed into a pitcher. But after he talked to Nolan Ryan, he turned into a different guy. He no longer threw everything at 100%, but started to vary his speeds. That change in approach really allowed him to develop into the pitcher he became.”

Ken Griffrey, Jr. was the best baseball player that I had ever seen. He could do anything that he wanted to. An interesting thing happened during one game that I pitched in, his Dad, Ken Griffrey, Sr., was my left fielder and Ken Griffey, Jr. was my center fielder. During another game, they batted second and third in the order and hit back-to-back homeruns,” DeLucia said.

Rookie of the Year Voting
After getting a taste of big league life, he began to work even harder. A trade with the Giants emptied the Mariners bullpen, landed outfielder Kevin Mitchell, and led to DeLucia splitting time between starting and relieving. He won twelve games as a starter for Seattle in 1991, which was his first full season in the majors. That impressive performance earned him a spot among the top five in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting.

The mentality of relieving was better for me than starting. I liked potentially being involved in a game everyday. Plus, going at the batters with everything I had for an inning or two allowed me to use my best stuff, rather than trying to pitch to their weaknesses over the course of a game,” DeLucia said.

Pitching In A Hitter's Era

The 1990's were the hardest time to pitch ever. Live balls, small parks, and players on steroids. Because I was aggressive, most of my runs were given up on homeruns. Most of my strikeouts were called pitches on the outside corner.”

A good catcher will put down signs that you anticipate coming. I was always focused on the catcher. He knows your strengths and what will work. Dave Valle, Lance Parrish, and Tom Pagnozzi were good catchers that I played with. Matt Walbeck and I always clicked. I never had to shake him off. ” DeLucia said.

While he was an effective reliever, allowing less hits than innings pitched in his career, DeLucia also became an accomplished fielder. He sported a 1.000% fielding percentage in five different seasons.

Regarding some of the big names that he faced during his career DeLucia said, “Rickey Henderson would get a walking lead and then time you. It was best to hold the ball when he was on base. I would let him get out to his max lead and then go from there. The more the ball was held, the better the chance to prevent a steal. But if he was moving during the delivery, there was no shot to get him.”

Mark McGwire didn't see me well. He went 1-19 against me, which was a single. Sammy Sosa went 0-12 and Joe Carter went 0-16,” DeLucia said.

Released by Seattle in 1994, he hooked on with Baltimore in the offseason before being taken by St. Louis in the Rule 5 draft.

Joe Torre

I made their team out of spring training in 1995, but started the season badly. So, Joe (Torre) took me into his office after two weeks of struggling. ”

He said, Look Rich, I see you're thinking too much out there. You're not going anywhere. You're on this club and your going to be here the whole year. Relax, loosen up, and have some fun out there.”

I don't know how he knew what I was thinking about, but he did. What he said loosened me up and I had the best year of my career. He was even keel and nothing bothered him. Torre, Dusty Baker (current Reds manager), and Terry Collins (newly hired Mets manager) knew how to set the tone, offer game strategy, and put guys in the right position to be effective,” DeLucia said.

Working from the Cardinals bullpen, he went 8-7 with a 3.39 ERA. In 82 1/3 innings pitched he only gave up 63 hits, walked 36 guys, and struck out 76 batters.

Foreign Substances

I didn't know much about steroids and wasn't confident that they would even help me. They were prevalent, but weren't tested for. I felt if I made my pitches, it didn't matter how big or how strong other players were. Steroids made pitchers throw harder, but not pitch better. They still had to have the mechanics to move the ball around the strike zone.”

Hitters had the advantage because they were stronger, so they could wait longer to swing. They didn't have to go out of the zone to chase the fastball. That helped them to lay off the breaking ball. The stronger you are, the longer you can wait on the ball. The longer you can wait on the ball, the better chance you have of hitting the pitch,” DeLucia said.

Family Time

Part of the challenge of the baseball season was being away from family. Before his children started school, he and his family would live in an apartment. When he would go on road trip he wouldn't see them for awhile, but it was still better than not seeing them for the entire season.

When I left baseball and started coaching, our son Tanner began school. Our daughter Brenna was younger, so she didn't start school until after he did. I would leave for Spring training in February and wouldn't see my family at all until the kids were out of school in June,” DeLucia said.

Becoming a Scout

DeLucia pitched for Cleveland during his final season in the major leagues in 1999. In 2000, he pitched for Oakland, in Sacramento and in 2001, for Detroit, in Toledo, until his arm gave out. He had Tommy John surgery in August of that year.

After trying a comeback in the spring of 2002, he realized there wasn't enough time for his arm to have regained its strength. So, he retired and accepted a position with Detroit as their minor league pitching coach in Erie. In 2003, he was the pitching for the West Palm Beach Cardinals in the Florida state league. He then took five years off, before he and his family decided that they were ready to adapt to a different type of baseball life. In 2009, he accepted a position as a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I cover the entire Northeast. I have to rank every high school and college player that is draft eligible. I focus on what makes a player tick and see if they have the mental toughness to play baseball. I present the information I gather to my supervisor. If he likes it, he will make recommendations to the scouting director,” DeLucia said.
Three players that he recommended were drafted last June. A 13th round selection and a free agent both made it to short season A ball, which doesn't often happen for players taken in those rounds. The 28th round selection blew out his hamstring and is currently rehabilitating it.

When I started in baseball, I was raw and threw hard. By the end of my career I didn't throw as hard, but was a better pitcher. I'm learning as much about scouting as I can. So, hopefully I will become a better scout each year,” DeLucia said.

Making Your Best Pitch
Achieving longevity in a very competitive industry, like professional sports, doesn't happen by accident. It is the result of a dedicated process. A hybrid of physical and mental toughness.

DeLucia was straightforward in his answers, shared credit for his success with many people, and didn't have a bad word to say about anyone. Character earns respect.

The importance is the process and you get your satisfaction from the investment that you put into it. You have to adjust constantly and be true to yourself,” DeLucia concluded.

Copy and paste this link for a look at Rich's lifetime statistics:

My article was published by on 1/1/11

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