So I was called out by Ted Leonsis this past weekend. I know, not good to be called out by a billionaire … oops, millionaire. But in reality, it was more of a challenge (or question) from Mr. Leonsis, i.e., it wasn’t anything like his emotional “Unemotional Response” or calling me “Simply Uninformed,” as he’s done with others. Different by far, let me explain.
While relaying a good deed performed by Josh Howard (his past record of note has many bad deeds), I poked fun at his outfit, and loosely related something that Brendan Haywood (supposedly) said about Howard. It was joking. It was fun. And that’s what this “blog” thing is all about: writing, analysis, pictures, graphic design, stats, reporting, break-downs, video, opinions, links, and I’ll reiterate, fun.
But, considering Howard’s past bad news and how it’s nice to hear good news associated with him (and because they say the good things are never written about), was it fair for me to poke fun at his outfit (which honestly isn’t that bad, more silly)?
Well, I’m not answering that question. Too bad. Easy way out on my part? Maybe. But my poking fun at Howard’s outfit isn’t the point. Neither is the fact that Leonsis comes to the defense of his players, as their employer. I don’t necessarily see it as Leonsis being “too sensitive,” as I’ve heard others amongst my web social network imply. An employer goes to bat for his or her employees. That’s the way it should be, in most cases. It makes the employees feel appreciated. It creates unity from top down. More than understandable, in my book. (Although, I did giggle when my girlfriend called Mr. Leonsis their “Papa Bear” in a joking manner.)
Since Leonsis’ post was relatively short, I’ll just quote the whole thing:
Good for Josh Howard donating dollars for scholarships. Nothing nobler than that, is there?
I love what he is wearing. He is cool and comfortable at the game and he isn’t wearing a brace!
I am proud of Josh for supporting scholarship programs. What have you done lately TruthAboutIt.net to support students with needs? Just saying. Show me your double bottom line next blog post. Dazzle me.
See? Nothing malicious there … but certainly a call out, to which I’m clearly here to respond. (And of course, there will certainly be some who would question whether I should respond in the first place, perhaps citing some archaic journalism standards — I don’t think the Washington Post’s Micheal Lee responded when Leonsis lightheartedly implored him to “Chill out a bit.” However, Leonsis and a WasPost “blogger,” Dan Steinberg, have traded good-natured barbs in the past. So there’s that. But regardless, this is my blog and I’ll run it at my own discretion.)
The “double-bottom line” concept is mentioned several times in Leonsis’ book, “The Business of Happiness,” which I’ve read and enjoyed (and probably need to do so again). To further explain, I’ll quote from the introduction of Leonsis’ book:
“Along the way, I’ve learned that there aren’t only happy people; there are happy businesses and companies. Some of the same rules seem to apply to institutions as individuals. An enterprise that actively seeks to create happiness for the customers it serves, as well as its employees, partners, and yes, of course, its shareholders — a business that in its multidimensional ambitions for fulfillment has an outlook similar to many of the happy people I have known and studied — is more likely to be successful than one that doesn’t care about the happiness it creates, or over-indexes entirely in favor of shareholders at the expense of everyone else. There is, I believe, a “double bottom line” that is made up of fiscal results and positive impact on people and society. I believe that by pursuing happiness, people and businesses alike increase the odds that they will be successful in achieving their broadest goals. This concept of the “double bottom line” is now the overriding pursuit of all my business interests.”
To me, and in summation, to be truly successful as a person or as an entity, you must strive for success not only with the goal of fiscal security, but also with an aligned goal of making others around you happy, along with the interest of serving the greater good of the community. Be a “man for others,” as my Jesuit education at D.C.’s Gonzaga College High School taught me.
So what is the “double-bottom line” of Truth About It.net? Well, I’ve already got a strike against me … because this is a blog. It brings very little fiscal reward that certainly falls way short of covering some of the costs this blog has incurred, much less the time invested. But I also love writing, covering the Wizards, and doing all those multi-faceted aspects previously mentioned. It makes me happy … through the personal sacrifice and countless 3 am (give or take) nights. Oh, and I also have a regular job that comes first.
But none of that is what Mr. Leonsis was asking for. “What have you done lately TruthAboutIt.net to support students with needs?,” he asks.
I can’t speak for the other contributors to this site, but through my regular job I participate in weekly-run tutoring/mentoring sessions with 11th grade students from a local D.C. public charter school, the Thurgood Marshall Academy. Today I begin my third year with this program. It has made me happy and, hopefully, it has made a couple of students along the way happy too. But it’s really not enough. I understand that I could and should be doing more. My goal this year is to be more involved with the program.
I don’t have a celebrity name. I don’t subsequently have a foundation from which I can cut a check to donate to a school. And not to belittle Howard’s $100,000 gift to Wake Forest (he also lends his name to AAU teams and basketball camps, among other endeavors), but sitting face to face with a kid, helping solve hard math problems, and even more so, offering advice on study habits and organization, college, or career pursuits, makes me slightly more comfortable with my double-bottom line over, say, the transfer of cash from my foundation’s bank account.
Not exactly dazzling, but it’s a start.
In other news …
The Verizon Center men’s bathroom has cup-holders over the urinals! REJOICE!
(Now they just need dividers between the urinals to combat creepers and side-splash.)