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SUBSCRIBING TO THE NOTION THAT AMERICAN HISTORY CAN FUNDAMENTALLY EXIST AND BE EXPRESSED AUTHENTICALLY WITHOUT BLACK HISTORY IS A FALLACY. ALSO, BELIEVING THAT BLACK HISTORY IS ONLY MADE WHEN A BLACK PERSON DOES SOMETHING FOR THE FIRST TIME, IS ALSO A FALLACY. HISTORY IS MADE IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT WAYS. HISTORY IS ALWAYS GROWING AND BEING CREATED IN THE PRESENT MOMENT. THE ONES WHO WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY ARE THE LEADERS, THE ONES WHO TOOK THE INITIATIVE TO CREATE SOMETHING, AND EXECUTED IN A WAY THAT HELPED TO EMPOWER OTHERS.
DISTRICT RUNNING COLLECTIVE IS NOT THE FIRST RUNNING CREW, BUT THEY ARE CERTAINLY AN EXAMPLE OF HISTORY IN THE MAKING. THE GROUP, COMPRISED MOSTLY OF OF MILLENNIALS OF COLOR, SERVES AS THE LARGEST MEMBERSHIP BASED RUNNING GROUP. THE CAPTAINS SHARE THE LOAD AND RESPONSIBILITY OF ORGANIZING, LEADING AND MANAGING THE SOCIAL OUTINGS FOR THE GROUP, AS WELL AS THEIR RUNS AND OTHER VARIOUS GROUP ACTIVITIES. BUT WHAT MAKES DISTRICT RUNNING COLLECTIVE SUCH A FORCE IN THE RUNNING COMMUNITY IS THE GROUP’S GENUINE LOVE AND ENTHUSIASM FOR THE CULTURE OF RUNNING AND IT’S LIFESTYLE AS WHOLE. THE GROUP IS STRONG BECAUSE THEIR LEADERSHIP IS STRONG. MATT, ASHLEE, CLIFF, TAY, AARON, CLIF, LATOSHA, AND ALL OF THE OTHER CURRENT DRC CAPTAINS ALL ENCOMPASS AND PROJECT THE NEEDED QUALITIES TO HELP GROW A POWERFUL GROUP. THEY’RE OPEN MINDED, ENGAGED, RESPONSIBLE, AWARE, THOUGHTFUL, ASSERTIVE, CARING, HELPFUL, WILLING, AND FLEXIBLE.
I DON’T CO-SIGN MANY RUNNING CREWS. IN PART BECAUSE I AM AWARE THAT MANY OF THEM ARE SIMPLY NOT DOING ANYTHING CREATIVE OR UPLIFTING FOR THE RUNNING COMMUNITY. DRC IS NOT ONLY PARTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING RUNNING COOL, BUT THEY ARE ESPECIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR GIVING PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY PEOPLE OF COLOR IN THE GREATER URBAN RUNNING COMMUNITY A VOICE AND PRESENCE THAT IS NOT ONLY RESPECTED, BUT IMITATED AND SOUGHT AFTER. WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY FURTHERING THE PRECEDENT THAT WE TOO CAN DO THIS RUNNING LIFESTYLE SHIT, JUST AS GOOD AS ANYONE ELSE. DRC ISN'T LIKE ANYTHING ELSE EVER SEEN. THEY STAND ALONE AND ARE AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE PACK WHEN IT COMES TO REPRESENTING THE COLORFUL AUTHENTICITY THAT HAS LONG BEEN BEEN IGNORED BY THE GREATER RUNNING COMMUNITY. FOR DECADES, PEOPLE OF COLOR HAVE BEEN EXPECTED AND LIMITED TO SPRINTING, AND OR ELITE LEVEL DISTANCE RUNNING. BUT TAKE A LOOK AROUND YOU. THE GREATER RUNNING COMMUNITY IS FAR MORE COLORFUL THAN IT HAS EVER BEEN. THAT WAS ON PURPOSE. THAT IS LEADERSHIP IN THE MOST PRACTICAL SENSE. AND DISTRICT RUNNING COLLECTIVE IS GREATLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS AMAZINGLY REFRESHING ENERGY.
AMERICAN HISTORY CAN NOT BE TOLD AUTHENTICALLY WITHOUT A HONEST, DEEP DIVE INTO BLACK HISTORY. AND ONE CAN NOT TALK ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE GREATER URBAN RUNNING COMMUNITY WITHOUT MILLY ROCKING INTO THE NARRATIVE OF DISTRICT RUNNING COLLECTIVE. HISTORY IS SURELY IN THE MAKING MY FRIENDS. MAN WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE...AND RUNNING.
I'm tired of being sick. I'm sick of being tired. I'm fed up with feeling internally undervalued and externally admired...Read More
It was the fall of 2012, and I was completely lost. I couldn't find a f* to give about myself. I just moved back home from College, SUNY Buffalo, and I had no sense of who I was, where I was going and how I would get there. Back when I couldn't afford a phone to download the NIKE Running app, I would head out the house in some Jordan V's and just run. Not to stunt or anything, those were the only shoes I had. I had no distance goal, no idea of my pace and no concept of proper technique. I was just running. In my head, running meant getting out of the house and finding myself. I was going somewhere. Where-I don't know. I had a good job, then didn't. I fell in love, then I wasn't anymore. Reconnected with "friends", just to learn we weren't close at all. Went to church to find God, just to spend months away because I was afraid to face my own realities.
At every opportunity I had to grow and make progress, I would stumble over a hurdle. Any help I would receive from family members or friends, I would eventually take for granted, and end up hurting them. You see, I was lost. No idea of who I was anymore. No understanding of where I belonged, or what I needed to do to get wherever "there" was. For all of my life, up until then, I knew exactly who I was. And for the first time in my life, I looked in the mirror and didn't know who I saw. I lacked an Identity. I lacked a purpose. I lacked courage and faith. I was, at least I felt like, a coward in every since of the word.
Quisque iaculis facilisis lacinia. Mauris euismod pellentesque tellus sit amet mollis.
I went back and forth in my thoughts. Should I go back to school and become a lawyer? It sounded good. I helped my ex-girlfriend do it. I have a cousin and several close friends and immediate family who are attorneys. Yeah I'll do that...NO! Oh, maybe I'll work in Digital Ad sales! You know, my banking background and natural sales attitude could land me a lucrative career working at a cool startup...But NO! Oh, I'll go to the NFL! Yeah, I'll train, diet, and impress scouts at the combine. I have the size, i'm fast. Yeah, lets get it Dugg!
All of these "options" ran through my head. At one point I concentrated all of my forces into accomplishing each of them. None of them would ever be successful though. Mainly because I kept looking in everything except within myself for answers. I kept seeking validation in acquiring a title. I wanted to do things because I knew other people would respect it. I desperately wanted to show others that my plan attempted Plan B was better than their executed Plan A.
I heard once that in dire times when you need a sign, that's when they appear. Well there came a night when it all just hit me. Up until my "AH HAA" moment, I spent most of my nights moving around: partying, drinking, dating, studying, hustling and other habits that didn't make me happy. I've always enjoyed a rather simplistic life. I love to read, write, listen to early Jay Z, watch Charlie Rose on PBS, listen to the rain fall, and watch NFL network, play Basketball and listen to cook. Above all, the thing I enjoy most is my solitude. I move better when I'm alone. I've always been that kind of man.
In the beginning of 2014, I registered for the Brooklyn Half Marathon, and wanted to make sure I didn't make a fool of myself. It was my then girlfriend's idea. I began training and with my dedication to that race, my life slowly began to improve. Now, by no means am I some new person, or am I no longer incapable of shortcomings. But since I was blessed with finding the culture and lifestyle of running, my life has improved significantly. There is a mental toughness that is required to be a distance runner. It takes consistency and perseverance. There is an inherent discomfort that you experience as a Distance Runner. It never gets old. It never becomes easy. It is this unavoidable discomfort that will either made you or kill you. The strongest runner is strong in mind. They embrace the discomfort. They run fearlessly, knowing the journey will get dark before there's a glimpse of light.
The ability to willingly submit to a cause that inevitably bring pain is rare. You have to be somewhat Those qualities, and others, have helped me be a better person. Above all things, running allowed me the space to get to know myself. If you grew up in a house with five siblings (I love them all) you would appreciate some solitude too.
Clarity, patience, peace of mind, are just a few of the traits that I have rediscovered and applied to my everyday life. Running helped me grow and find myself. Running allowed me the space and peace of mind to see situations objectively for what they are, and not what I want them to be. My journey is just getting started, but boy, I'm looking forward to it. I'm a better person because of running. Just imagine the person I'll be once I become a better runner. The transition...
Stay True To The Good
I hit up my boss to grab lunch the other day, but he was in Thailand, so he had to pass. And all I could think about was how much the idea of asking someone else to spend time with me made me uncomfortable. I'm my own boss, but sure didn't feel like it.Read More
Don't ever begin to think you're not amazing. Don't ever start to believe that you're not JUST as good as the next person. So what if you have a boss. So did Oprah. So did Barack Obama.
The nature of progress assumes obstacles and setbacks. Never forget that. At the same time, never that those obstacles can't be overcome. Your today is NOT your tomorrow. Your yesterday is not your today.
The difference between you and the space you want to be in is merely a time factor. So make the time worth it. Everyday, every hour, every moment, be about your business.
Take what's yours. Believe in yourself. Take risk. Embrace the unknown. Find comfort in the discomfort of uncertainty.
Thrive off of others willingness to not compete. Be willing to do what others won't. Be okay with being intentional in your actions. Love the results of your discipline. Work smarter, and harder. Give yourself every opportunity to grow.
Know the difference between an opportunity to grow, and an opportunity to be distracted. Know who's going places that you see yourself in. Be okay with being a leader. Don't look down on the notion of being a follower. Know that the two are merely a matter of perspective and circumstance, because those are always subject to change.
Stay True To The Good
Whether you're an outdoor runner like myself, or someone new to fitness , the last thing you want to do is get hurt while you're working out. The best way to prevent injuries is to ditch your usual pre-workout stretch, and take things to the next level with a dynamic warmup.
Stretching while the body is cold (has not been moving) is a terrible idea. Warming the body up with some light cardio or dynamic movements, prior to exercise is much more effective. In fact, unless you're nursing a injury or have been told otherwise by your doctor, static stretching (bend over and grab your toes) is simply bad idea.
Stretching cold muscles and connective tissues can lead to injury. Keep in mind that your body is a lot like a car (or a minivan) when it comes to movement. The more you warm it up, the better it operates.
Lastly, your body contains a lubricant called Synovial Fluid. Synovial Fluid sit in your joints (just like a car has oil that sits at the ready, to ensure that all of its components operate effectively) and when gently heated up prior to rigorous movement, will help prevent injury and ensure optimal performance.
So lets put an end to primitive, injury conducive, stretching. Know better, live better and perform better with more dynamic, injury preventive warmups :)
So you're at the gym, working on your fitness. Good for you. You spot a lovely woman, over by the cardio section, and she's absolutely stunning. Great! What should you do? Nothing, you idiot. Leave her alone.
Top 5 Reasons You Should Leave Her Alone
She's Focused: Although gyms are social spaces, many of the women in them are there with a specific goal in mind. Let her workout without any distractions. She probably just wants to get in and get out, without your "assistance".
You Should Be Working Out: To be honest, if you were paying as much attention to your own goals, you wouldn't be so eager to impede upon another's progress. Focus on your own journey. You're there to help yourself, not find bae.
If She Liked You, You'd Know Already: Hey look, im 28 years old. Most women near my age know how to give signs. They have their ways of communicating. The question is, are you picking up on them?
She Probably Has Bae Already: Most beautiful women, especially the ones who workout all the time, have a romantic interest. Her passion for fitness is part of the reason YOU like her. You don't think someone else noticed?
Women have Spidey Senses: Look bro, that whole "do you need a spot" line ain't working. Just keep it pushing. Most gyms have their regular members, who have been loyal for quite sometime. She's been there consistently, which means she's probably familiar with dealing with people approaching her. You're just the latest soon to be casualty.
~Stay True To The Good
Waist of Time
I'm often asked about the effectiveness of WAIST TRAINERS. Do they work? Should the average person wear one? How often should you wear one? Who makes the best one?
Here's the tea. Sip slow, it's kinda hot.
Truth be told, your body already has a natural waist trainer. Fitness professionals refer to it as your TRANSVERSE ABDOMINAL MUSCLE. As with any muscle in the body, this muscle needs to be stimulated, or rather activated, to yield any results.
You don't need to purchase any additional equipment from some Instagram model. You don't need to agree to have someone's Aunty or sorror from fall '94, or wrap your midsection in Saran Wrap.
The Transverse Abdominal Muscle wraps around your midsection (wait for it) just like a corset, or waist trainer. The TAM helps you stand upright, and works in conjunction with other muscles and joints to further your posture.
The best way to stimulate the TAM, and overall performance of your core is by driving your belly button inward and holding it there, while performing functional movements.
Muscle atrophy, or muscle breakdown, will increase with the usage of devices like waist trainers. Furthermore, you work hard for your money. As stated earlier, your body already has all the resources needed to help you get in shape. Why spend additional money purchasing a device that can potentially cause more harm to you than it does good? It's one thing to make a bad choice as a result of ignorance. It's another thing to know better and still proceed to make a bad decision. That my friends is a waist of time.
~Staye True To The Good
So you're at the gym and someone catches your eye. Okay. Here are some suggestions to help increase your chances of scoring a date with gym bae.
Appearance/Hygiene: Pretty simple, but yet so difficult. Gyms can get funky. People are sweating, grunting, and even spitting. Standout by being well groomed, and smelling good. This sounds primitive, but take a shower. It will increase your chances of being noticed. Some light cologne, and good pre gym shower can go a long way.
Familiarity: Smile. Say Hi. Keep it moving. Be cordial, confident, and about your business. You will increase your chances of asking her out, if she's familiar with you. If she see's you often, and you casually acknowledge her presence, without being overwhelming or awkward, you're almost there. Smile. Say Hi. Keep it Moving.
Take A Class: Most women prefer working out in small group settings, as opposed to the general gym area. If you want to increase your chances of getting her attention, take a class.
Don't Creep: Goes without saying, but it needs to be said. DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES CREEP. It's a major turnoff, and may even get you kicked out of the gym. Following women, starring at them, catcalling, are all definite NO NO's. Do not be that guy, ever.
Not while they're working out: Some people dig the whole gym hookup thing, some don't. Different strokes for different folks, you know? However, if you're digging someone, let it be known in a respectful, sincere, and concise way. You only get one shot, so go ahead and shoot yours. Just be sure to do it when you see them leaving or entering the gym. Once people start exercising, it's pretty annoying and disrespectful to be interrupted. Don't be that person.
Don't be mad: If they decline (for whatever reason), don't be mad and make things awkward. There are a number of reasons why you weren't successful. None of them are any of your business. You have been rejected, now move on with your life. No means NO. Go workout, isn't that why you're here in the first place? ;-)
These are just my suggestions. I'm on record for being in opposition of Gym Hookups. In fact, I think they're wrong. At the same time, people find love in many different ways. So who am I to judge?
~Stay True To The Good
Everyone doesn't care about everything, you know? There are a number of people in this world who genuinely don't identify, or for that matter care, about the notion of fitness. And to be honest with you, I get it. As a runner, personal trainer, former college athlete, and high school football coach, I see how someone who doesn't partake in such activities frequently, would ask someone like me "Why do you workout so much"? It's a valid question. You see, fitness for some is only a job, a responsibility--maybe even a burden. For some, fitness is painful, or even a space that highlights insecurities. For others fitness is fun, and space for positivity and glory. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
The one thing I can often rely on is fitness, and how it helps me develop mental toughness--resolve. You see, I don't always make the right calls. My choices and decisions throughout my life have been questioned, doubted, judged, and even gotten me kicked out of the house. It's tough trying to live your life free of consequences--in fact it's impossible. For the most part, we hope that the choices we make lend themselves to positive outcomes instead of traumatic, negative ones. No one is perfect, so what happens when ones character comes into question? How will you deal with the pressure and scrutiny of being "the bad person" or the one with the "unpopular opinion"? Coming from a young man who knows what it's like to disappoint his family and loved ones and having dealt with the pressures of trying to live a morally clean life, fitness helped me build character. For everyday I spent in practice, or for every lap/sprint I ran as kid, I was developing the mental toughness that would help me deal with the inevitable shortcomings that waited for me in my uncertain future.
Now don't get me wrong, I am fully aware of the health benefits that come along with maintaining a healthy/fit lifestyle. But for me, for Percell Alfonzso Sean Brandon Dugger, the reason why I workout so much is because I LOVE THE MENTAL TOUGHNESS that is developed during the process of exercising. Yes, I like how I look shirtless. Yes, I appreciate a nice compliment about my physical appearance. But none of that helps me sleep at night. None of those experiences come in handy when I find myself in a questionable situation, or when i'm mourning the loss of a friend, family member. None of those moments help me reflect on situations and examine where I may have had a misstep. For me, exerting myself physically, then mentally pushing myself to go harder in whatever exercise I'm doing is not JUST 11miles, its therapy and it's peace of mind..
~Stay True To The Good
The quickest way to kill someone's joy is through comparison. So, you can imagine my attitude towards someone when they say “you're better than...”, or “bro, do you want to be the next...”. I'd imagine such a primitive question would come from a good place. Misguided, absolutely. But, at the same time, I don't fault people for not engaging with me in a way that makes me comfortable. I'm objective enough to see that they're attempting to compliment me.
My objectivity has limits though. I do not and never will, agree with anyone who compares me to someone. I dislike comparisons; in fact, I hate them.
We often witness comparisons in sports. Is Lebron better than Jordan? Is Steph Curry better than LeBron? Is Peyton Manning better than Tom Brady? Is Cam Newton Jesus in Cleats? You know, stuff like that. Growing up with three older sisters I often witnessed them being compared by outsiders, and even immediate family members. Comparison happens often, and almost in every aspect of life.
Truth of the matter is, each of these individuals are all good and unique. They all possess a skill set, and work ethic that is unparalleled. But in a world that is predicated on garnering interest in the form of attention, storylines are needed. The game within the game is what draws an audience and keeps the machine going.
The fitness industry is no different, or is it? How does one measure how good, or effective a personal trainer or coach is? Does one need a major brand's co-sign? Does one have to be affiliated with a famous celebrity? Is it mandatory to have a social media following of 1 million subscribers?
I'll be honest, all of those questions deserve about as much time as it takes me to press the send button on my iPhone.
You see, success in this industry and for that matter, in life, is defined by you. You’re successful when you set a goal, and reach it. At least that's what I believe. You don't need to be compared to someone else, to validate your greatness.
What I'm after is something you can't place a price on. What I'm working to create, can't be accurately measured in followers, celebrity clientele, or brand affiliation. What I'm after, what I'm building, what I'm creating is something unique. It's something good...
GOODWRK is what I'm after. The narrative of progress. The journey to ones success. Without judgment, without context, without bias or prejudice. GOODWRK serves to break life’s traditional norms and standards through fitness. Everyone is an athlete. And everyone deserves the opportunity to shoot their shot.
I pray for clarity, patience, peace, and growth. My means of achieving these virtues is through earnest endeavors... GOODWRK. I can appreciate comparisons (I guess), but I surely don't care about them. I'm more concerned with making progress in relation to my former self, and my future goals. Now watch me work.
~STAY TRUE TO THE GOOD
I could rationalize the deaths of iconic figures like Whitney Houston or Michael Jackson. With all due respect, they both lived rather controversial lives. They were two iconic figures who reveled in the spotlight. For better and for worst, their personal lives were on display to the entire world. We identified with them at times, and at other times we didn't know them at all. Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston both had moments in which you felt bad for them. It makes sense because you feel bad for humans. Prince was a God. Prince was never supposed to die.
In 1978 Prince Rogers Nelson signed with Warner Brothers at the ripe age of 18, and released his debut album For You the following year in 1979. As a young man who didn’t get his own apartment until he was 23, it’s hard for me to identify with that kind of power at such a young age. I did normal stuff, like invite my friends over, and have Super Bowl parties. I got a dog, I walked it. Prince was a Platinum selling artist as a teenager, in the wild 80’s. He could walk humans. He had that kind of juice. He also went on to create some of the greatest music the world has ever experienced.
You see, aside from being one of the most gifted musicians the world has ever seen, Prince was also known for his vivid imagery using words. I remember my parents arguing because my Dad listened to Darling Niki while I was helping him set the table for dinner. Could you blame the man? The song is amazing! Prince did whatever he wanted. If he had a threesome gone wrong, and felt like sharing, he shared (When You Were Mine). If he was annoyed with gossip, (Controversy) he let it be known. Moments like Doves Cry, where he’s self reflective and vulnerable reminded us that Prince did indeed hurt. Songs like Baby I’m A Star, let us know that Prince was aware of how amazing he was.
For all of his vulnerability, and the IDGAF attitude expressed throughout his music, Prince was a rather private person. Unlike the previously mentioned stars, and most of his peers, there weren’t a ton of public meltdowns associated with Prince’s brand. He was seldom seen, but always felt. If you witnessed him behaving in a wild, uncommon way, it was almost certainly intentional and strategically planned. His live performances were legendary. But it’s the little known stories we’ve heard thru the grapevine, that enhance the mystic legacy and intrigue of the Prince Brand. The world wouldn’t believe Prince did mortal things like play Basketball. Prince. The man who regularly donned purple high-heels was out here serving Eddie Murphy’s crew triple-doubles and cooking the defeated muggles pancakes afterwards? Yes he was, beloved. God’s have no limitations.
Oh, and like every God, Prince transcended all things. He redefined masculinity, and gave birth to a generation in which a man could simultaneously identify with several things feminine, while still maintaining a very masculine assertiveness. Prince may have only stood 5 feet 2 inches tall, but what does height mean to a God who transcends? Prince was a black man, who wore blouses and permed hair, who slept with white, brown, yellow, and gorgeous black women, at a time when racial integration was still taboo. He did whatever he wanted. He lived however he wanted. And he used his platform to speak out whenever he wanted.
Another of Prince’s mystic qualities was his omniscience. As self-aware as he was, he rarely lacked an opinion on social issues. But his opinions weren't exclusive to his music. While presenting the Grammy for Best Album, At the 2016 Grammy Awards show, Prince, with the world watching said “Albums. Remember those? Albums, like books, like Black Lives, matter.” His statement was in reference to the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, a social response that went viral on on social media after the George Zimmerman was acquitted for Trayvon Martin’s Murder.
Prince was refreshing because he was always himself. He never attempted to follow trends or do anything that he wasn’t comfortable with. He was genuine, and uncompromising. He set the trend. He reminded us all, at every appearance and with every spoken word, that individuality and self-love is the key to happiness. He was bold, like his father. Never satisfied, just like his mother. I guess this is what it sounds like when a God dies.
I'm certain of nothing these days. In fact, i have very little faith in the universe. But boy do I believe in myself. Have you ever looked into the eyes of a person filled with conviction? I scared my mother the other day. She said my thoughts were so sharp and linear, she worried that i'm becoming obsessive. It comes with the territory these days. But that's not what I'm here to talk about.
Internal & External and always present. Our days are often spent attempting to overcome them. Sometimes they come from nowhere. At times we see them coming. But how exactly does one successfully overcome an obstacle?
Thinking back to that day I was on the phone with a woman I envisioned myself marrying. We met in very random way, but ever since, she's been a pleasant spark in my life. So we're talking, and she eventually gets to the part when she tells me how she doesn't want a romantic relationship with me. Hurt doesn't accurately describe how i felt in that moment. Embarrassed, dumbfounded, frustrated, and genuinely taken back by her sentiments, I respected her feelings. But understand, I DID NOT LIKE WHAT I HEARD. I digress.
Now this happens the day before we had dinner reservations at a French restaurant in the city, because courting...duh! Now what do I do? Just curved, the night still young, and a ton of deadlines for work, what is Percell going to do?
When you look at an obstacle coming, it's that much easier to overcome it. You can prepare. You can devise a game plan. For all intensive purposes, you can get your sh*t together. But what happens when you're caught off guard? How do you manage your emotions in the midst of hurt, pain...obstacles? How do you game plan for the unexpected? How do you deal with unforeseen occurrences?
I remembered something, I remembered my name. I'm Percell Sean Alfonzso Dugger. I'm a great person, outstanding Leader, Coach, Mentor, Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Distance Runner and a downright amazing individual. Not because of self proclamation, but because my clients, athletes and peers say so. So if anyone doesn't like me (for whatever reason) that's their loss. I've been teased, and i've been praised at different points in my life. I've made 6 figures annually before, and I've been homeless. I've been heart broken, and i've done my share of heartbreaking.
Obstacles are only obstacles if you see them as such. The universe doesn't always meet our expectations. We may not always get what we want, in pursuit of what we need. Does that mean we should just give up and quit? How foolish would I be if I took this situation and allowed it to impact the other amazing things I have going for me?
For as long as we're alive, they will always be there. Whether internal, or external, an obstacle will be present. But the only thing you need to overcome any obstacle is...trust in yourself. You can count on you. Bet my life on it 🙏
~STAY TRUE TO THE GOOD
I'm tired of feeling like the life I'm living isn't good enough for me. It's like there is something greater out there for me. I wake up in a solid space, that I'm extremely grateful for. My bills are paid, my stomach is full, but yet i'm still here, very much starving as I write this to the tune of "Love Yours" by J.Cole.
Some are motivated by fear. Their desire to be successful is driven by their fear of the consequences of being perceived as unsuccessful. Others are motivated by incentive. There's an external force that serves as tangible reflection of their success... validation.
But none of those quite work for me. You see, I'm not afraid of anything. There will always be some new, cool thing out there and I just want to be great at something, because...I just have to be.
As a child I would watch the older kids, in my neighborhood (Coney Island) play basketball. I'd watch them play, and one day I decided that I wanted to be better than them. Not because they did anything to me, not because they challenged me, but rather, I challenged myself. I remember watching a Bulls vs. Knicks game with my dad as a child. I remember watching Michael Jordan play and thinking to myself, "I'm going to kick his butt one day". I recall not ever wanting to wear any other players jersey as a kid. At one point, I had this phase where I bought nameless jerseys, just so I could put my own name on them. Since I was a young boy I wanted to be great, I needed to be great.
Maybe it's time I take some chances. Well, more than the ones that I've taken to date. Yes, I'm what some would consider to be "good", but I need great! I need to live on through my works far after I'm gone. I need my intentions to bleed through my thumbs with every letter I strike as I create these moments.
A chip on my shoulder? No. It's more like a brick or a boulder. So, you can imagine that my disdain for the universe when I'm not in spaces that I believe I'm destined for. I guess that's why I work so hard. I guess that's why I move so intentionally. I don't care about letting anyone down, or disappointing anyone else. I will succeed and be great. Not because of some fear of failure, or some external prizes. No, I will be great because that's what I was meant to have.
~Stay True To The Good
The young men I develop, they remind me of me. The young women I coach, they're reflections of me. Or rather, I'm a reflection of all of them. Actually it's more like both. We reflect one another. There's a balance at play, a very sensitive one. I tote the line, rather artful in my approach. I manage my expectations for them, because they're not the player I was. I have high expectations, because they're not the player I was. Im here to guide them, teach them the lessons of sport . But I'm no longer suiting up. Oh, how things have changed.
Im militant, deliberate and somewhat lacking in objectivity with the boys, I have to. For now, I converse with the girls, bc I have to. I'm a bit more patient with my girls because they're in a very critical point in their development (puberty). My reasoning is simple, they're different. Therefore, they should be led differently. I'm here to support the girls and Coach Christopher. I defer to her when it comes to the girls. She connects with them on a level that I simply can't right now. When it comes to the Varsity Boys & Girls, I feel secure in my approach. HS Athletes don't need as much tenderness. They're more mature, and most of them have been playing for years once they make it to me. I love coaching in general, but i'm best suited to be coaching HS Athletes or older.
When you don't see me out. When I read, but don't reply, know that the young adults I coach are the reasons why. Coach Dugger, I take pride in that name. Personal Training is great, but deep down I'm a Coach. I enjoy Personal Training, but I LOVE to coach. Coaches change lives, they save kids and families. We walk a fine line, balancing our two families. I love coaching, more so than any woman, book, or brand. I'm in love with this sport. And I'm willing to take a bullet for the sake of coaching and protecting my athletes.
Ebony & Coney Island, they taught me the basics. Coach Sanchez was there, he was a father to me. Coach Laino was next, he he did right by me. Coach Sadat was third, he loved my hustle. Those Riverside Church Days with Tyrone, I remember them all. Now Knox is my coach, of them all he's the most unique. I'm also not a impressions teenager. I love how flexible Knox is in his approach. If there is one thing I've learned from him from a far, it's how to manage and engage with your athletes, both individually and as a unit
Coaching reminds me of my moments as a writer. I'm helping these athletes create the foundation, the first few chapters, of their narrative. In a practical sense, coaching is the application of leadership. I'm a leader, who coaches football, basketball and fitness. My actions, and how I engage with these young men and women, are a reflection of my passion to see them succeed.
But what many of them will never understand (maybe when they're wiser) is the dichotomy that coaching/leadership presents to me. You see, a leader is not a leader unless they have followers. A coach is not a coach bc of their title. We are only as good as the athletes we aim to develop and lead. I'm not a good coach bc I win games. I'm a good coach bc my players say so. I'm a great leader bc people follow me, and believe in me. We need one another. For the amount of time we spend engaging with one another, I'm everything to these young adults, except their father. And that my friends is valuable. That my friends I take great pride in, and am willing to die for, without hesitation. We offer our lives to these athletes, what do you bring to the table?
STAY TRUE TO THE GOOD
Something about the locuascious ones. The gregarious, social extroverts, who control a room from the moment they walk in one. How it happens, how they steal our attention, even if just for a moment. How a situation isn't a situation, unless they come around. Why's it like that? Are they a magician? Do they possess some type of magical power, that allows them to own the moment?
That's the line my fav rapper just said, as I wrote this. I'm not so sure I agree with him. You see, I've taken loses. In fact, just this, morning I got curved by a woman I wanted to date. That's how it goes sometimes. Even Jordan got bumped from the playoffs. Even Michael Jordan looked terrible in a Wizards uniform (although Kobe's demise suggest MJ's wasn't so bad). Serena Williams recently lost in the US Open. Lebron James failed to win his 3rd NBA championship in 2015. Would you consider any of them losers? Would you consider any of them failures? Perhaps your standards for success are higher than Steve Job’s. Perhaps you're the prodigal son, and the holy grail of career progression. But for us mere mortals, we'd consider the formers to winning.
What makes us identify with those whom are unlike us? There is a difference, right? I mean, our names are different, we look different, we have different taste, deposit balances at our respective financial institutions, and I know I'm not nearly as good a Basketball or Tennis player as any of the athletes I mentioned earlier.
Differences. Their reality is apparent, to the naked eye.
Here's some insight.
They put their pants on 1 leg at a time, just like we do. I devote myself to my craft, like they do. I have the same 24hrs in my day, as they do. I believe in myself, and my talents, just like they do. I'm the best at what I do. Not a soul alive can compete with me. I'm special. I'm damn good at this. I should be thanked by Obama!
So don't ever let the success of another discourage or intimidate you. We’re all born with a set of skills, and given opportunities. Take advantage of yours, at all cost. Run, fly, sing, heal. Just be sure to create the narrative that you deserve. There is good in you. Stay true to that good.
Once upon a time, someone great made a choice to pursue their passion. They decided to hone their talents/craft. They sacrificed, and even endured moments of depression and heartache.
No one talks about how Lebron grew up with just his mom. No one talks about how Serena spent more time playing tennis than she did with Barbie Dolls, or her friends. People seldom acknowledge the process. They just see the end result, so as a result we formulate this logic that suggest that these successful people are somehow immune to the same circumstances that we all encounter.
Truth is, we have more in common, than the media portrays.
Whatever you do, I wish you the best in your endeavors. Continue to uplift yourself by digging deeper into yourself and discovering things about you. Work on your skill set. Challenge yourself, and alway remain positive. Your moment and theirs are one and the same. Just make sure you're ready for yours in 2016
~Stay True To The Good
I have to be careful these days. Even more careful than when I started this journey. Why, you ask? Because I have something to lose. You see, a year+ ago, I had everything to gain, and nothing to lose. These days, the spaces I find myself in are different. People I once was in awe of, now ask me for advice. Women I previously had a crush on txt me. I never read those messages. "Career opportunities" at "Elite" NYC Gyms feel more like a waste of time, than a real opportunity. I once felt validation by standing on stage at parties with "friends". Now a days, I find peace in a mug of ginger tea, reading James Baldwin.
Im no introvert by any means. But there is something to be said about the ability to sit. I spend many of days literally running around this city attempting to avoid it's myriad of distractions. From egos, to negative vibes, to the desires of the flesh, to flat-out laziness, and dough donuts. Sometimes a moment to ones self is as good as hitting the lotto.
As I reflect on things, it's important that i don't begin to see myself through the eyes of those looking at me. You see, at times, the result of ones achievements can distract. Distract from what's at stake, from what's important. Distract, not just from goals, but from peace of mind. This city can be pretty noisy. Amidst the hustle, everyday struggle, and the pursuit of glory, there lies a major certainty. If you start to believe what people say about you (good or bad) you might as well quit. You've already failed, the moment others begin to define your narrative. Sink or swim, right or wrong. If nothing else, do what you do with conviction. Believe in yourself, even when you're uncertain of who you are. Why? Because if you don't believe in you, why should anyone else.
~Stay True To The Good
Remember when your opinion didn't matter? Remember when you had thoughts on certain concepts, and presented ideas, and people gave you the “who's kid is this” look? You've come a long way since those days, sleeping in your ex-girlfriend’s residential fitness complex. You've grown a bit since the days when you passed out on Jason’s floor.
Still, there remains a job to do.
You see, some person(s) still have a vendetta out for you. They're close to you, and will do their best to discourage and send negative vibes your way. Be wary of their efforts.
Not much has changed. If anything they dislike you more.
You're in a new place, and although you bring positivity and good vibes, there are people who want nothing, than to see you fail. They're not happy about your presence. They've made it up in their mind, that you're limited, and will stop at nothing to see you in THE most limited capacity possible.
Just like before.
Remember when you were the new kid at UB? When you first transferred in, fall of 07. People liked you. Generally speaking, you were accepted into many social circles. But the moment you didn't meet people's expectations, and engage with them in a way that made them comfortable, you went from cute, to the annoying, jerk, hethinkhecute, why he so tall, his momma ugly, guy.
What's the lesson?
Change is life’s lone constant. You may never be prepared for said changes, but you can always adapt as things happen. At best, try to see them coming. The same people who accepted you, will deny you and push you away. Makes sense, seeing as how someone has to be pretty close to either embrace you with a hug, or deny you with a push.
Appreciate the lessons.
There's always something to be learned. These changes are a reminder that the universe and feelings are one in the same. Their currents can be in your favor, or they can oppose you. Forces at play, will change and shift, like the tides in the ocean. Look beyond the present moment. See past the stars, look into infinity, and Stay true to the good. There is always a positive force at play.
~STAY TRUE TO THE GOOD
Too many people hanging their hats on par for the course accomplishments. If having a degree and a job is your biggest accomplishment, than you haven't accomplished much. Too many average fish, in average ponds, doing average things, with very average people. Too much emphasis is put on ones social media following. Validated from how many followers you have, such a misleading concept. It's like we value people for not even being themselves. Their a runner, but haven't raced in over a year. They look good in Nike’s, but that's about it. I look around and see trainers who are in terrible shape, but let Beats1 tell it, and they'll swear that their trainers are great. On a weekend in Prospect Park doing a 5K, why was it that they couldn't even keep up me? They can't keep up with you. They can't keep up with us. It's sorta funny to me. Their struggle is way too much. I know runners who believe they're cool because they run “fast”. They run around telling people about about how “cool” they are. It's kinda sad.. What kind of person does that?
But these are the people who are seen as leaders, and man that's pretty sad. I'm glad I've created my own thing. I get to create independently of people and their bad vibes. Too many comparisons to people who cheated to get where they are. Too many runners upset at the narrative of other runners. What ever happened to being excited for another person’s accomplishments?
I don't get it. Help me understand. All these brand enthusiast. Does Nike pay you? Does Under Armour pay your bills? Why is it that people can't just be happy for people? I have questions, I want answers.
Maybe I'm asking too much. Maybe I'm expecting too much. Maybe I'm just too much.
~Stay True The Good