Kris Kristofferson 80th Birthday Sale

Use this code GM3DL5XL to get 25% off unlimited copies of The Quality of Effort and The Quality of Effort Workbook through June 30, 2016.

The code is valid only at the book manufacturer’s site, and not on Amazon. Both books are available in print and Kindle editions on Amazon as well.

Kristofferson, who was a Rhodes Scholar, Golden Gloves boxer and a college football and rugby player, was born on June 22, 1936.

2015 Fall Foliage 35% Off Sale!

From October 21 through October 31, 2015 this coupon code, 8GP2PHU7, provides a 35% discount for both The Quality of Effort and The Quality of Effort Workbook when ordered directly from the manufacturer’s online store (coupon does not work on Amazon).

There is no limit to the number of books you can order, or the number of times you can use the coupon between October 21 and 31.
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From “The Quality of Effort” Chapter 8:

“It is the job of coaches and parents to encourage those dreams [of playing sports as a career] and to prepare the student-athlete cognitively, emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually for the day…when a primary activity other than sport is appropriate. The student-athlete who receives only playing time and notoriety from his or her schooling is being cheated.”

Use Coupon Code 8GP2PHU7 for 35% off as many copies of The Quality of Effort and The Quality of Effort Workbook as you’d like between October 21 and October 31, 2015. Click here to order.

“The Quality of Effort inspires coaches and parents to divert their eyes from the scoreboard and focus on nurturing the heart, mind and body of today’s young athlete. Reggie Marra offers a blueprint that encourages our children to become not only better athletes but better people. He delivers a powerful message filled with humanity and honest answers to questions that we sometimes think but may not want to ask. The Quality of Effort is a wonderful read and I would recommend it to anyone who works with kids, is a kid, or is living vicariously through their kids (you know who you are).”
– Anthony Perrone, VP, Challenger Division, Cortland American Little League
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“The Quality of Effort has helped me reinterpret my career as a professional athlete – providing both relief and direction. The book’s message would have been invaluable years ago when I was starting out as well as at the height of my career. Reggie Marra offers a map to tomorrow’s competitive edge, a map that requires effort – not necessarily in doing more drills or pushups, but in taking responsibility for all aspects of your approach to life.”
– Ryan Leech, Professional Mountain Biker (Retired) and Integral Master Coach,™ http://ryanleech.
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Click here to order (and don’t forget your Coupon Code: 8GP2PHU7)!

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – Plus

My wonderful niece, Yuni (Yunilka Nuñez), aka U.S. Navy Aviation Electrician’s Mate Nuñez, called me out to participate in the challenge, so here I am.

I’m doing this especially for my St. Anrthony’s, Nepera Park, Yonkers NY, Class of ’68 elementary school classmate, Rich Eletto, with whom I reconnected almost two years ago, and who was diagnosed with ALS several months ago. He’s got a great spirit and sense of humor.

To enhance my participation a bit, I’m going to donate a percentage of profits from the sale of The Quality of Effort and The Quality of Effort Workbook to the ALS Association for all sales through the end of September, 2014 as follows:

30% of profits from sales of both books purchased directly through the publisher’s e-stores (click on titles above or here for the book and here for the workbook).

The books are also available on Amazon, but the the publisher’s e-store pays a higher per-book royalty–so the 30% will be higher as well.

 

If you’d like multiple copies (5 or more) of either book for your organization or team, email me at rmarra@paradoxedge.com and I will give you a discount code. Same 30% donation applies.

I’d also like to acknowledge some friends, classmates and former students who set the example in the last few weeks: Gary Greenhill, Tim Holland and Tom Hanney (Sacred Heart High School, class of ’80), Tom Lyons (SHHS, ’81), Mark Maggiola (SHHS, ’75), and my classmates, Bunny Santullo—sorry for the “Smith” in the video, and Rose DeVito Nedwick, whom I forgot to mention in the video (SHHS, ’72), Mike Bardunias (Iona College), Chris Rogers (Salpointe Catholic via Cardinal Spellman in da Bronx), Steve Butala (Rich’s and my classmate at St. Anthony’s), and Michael Brant DeMaria (composer and musician extraordinaire).

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

“The Quality of Effort,” as it applies to sports and to the rest of our lives beyond the “arena,” ultimately comes down to living an aware life in love. Yikes, some readers might say. What’s love got to do with it?

Three perspectives on love, among others, have informed me over the years:

  • Love is a wholehearted ‘yes’ to belonging. – Br. David Steindl-Rast
  • Love is the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth. – M. Scott Peck
  • Love is the absence of fear.A Course in Miracles

Briefly, imagine moving through your day each day with a wholehearted ‘yes’ to belonging, first to and with yourself–fully and unconditionally loving yourself with kindness and compassion amid all your beauty, blemishes, dreams, desires, regrets and judgments–all of you.  Then imagine that same wholehearted yes to belonging to and with your family, your friends, your colleagues at work, your student-athletes, your opponents, strangers on the street…and take that as far as you can. Where do you draw the line for belonging?

Next, imagine your level of willingness to extend yourself–to go beyond what feels comfortable, in order to better understand who you are in the world, and your willingness to do that for others as well. For whom are you willing to feel some discomfort in order to help them see and live more clearly? Family? Friends? Colleagues…Strangers?

And imagine what it might feel like to engage yourself and the world at large without fear, or at least without the influence of fear on what you choose and how you behave. That includes everything from your life’s trajectory, to the outcome of the game, the at-bat, the free-throw. Imagine yourself living moment to moment without fear. Imagine your student-athletes competing without fear.

Any one of these, and all of them together comprise the quality of effort. Easy to understand, perhaps, and quite challenging to live. But why shoot for less?

That’s what love’s got to do with it, as far as I can tell.

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Foundation for Inner PeaceA Course in Miracles.  2nd ed.  Glen Ellen CA: FIP, 1976.

Peck, M. Scott, M.D.  The Road Less Traveled.  New   York: Touchstone-Simon & Schuster, 1978.

Steindl-Rast, Brother David.  Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer: An Approach to Life in Fullness.  New York/Ramsey: Paulist, 1984.

Welcome Home to Sanity in Sport

If you’ve been waiting for a book on youth, interscholastic and intercollegiate sport that honors and addresses the need for cooperation among student-athletes, parents and coaches—with a focus on what’s best for the student-athlete, welcome home.

The 2013 editions of The Quality of Effort and The Quality of Effort Workbook invite student-athletes, parents and coaches to observe and explore their unique and necessary roles in bringing about a healthy athletic experience. Reggie Marra writes through the soul of a poet-athlete-teacher-caregiver, and kid who got cut from the team he later went on to coach.

He takes us by the hand and challenges us to inquire into our own values, behaviors, and relationships within the complexity of the 21st-Century environments in which we live, learn, work and play. If we’re willing to take up the challenge, this inquiry helps us see ourselves and all those heroes and villains out there from increasingly comprehensive and balanced perspectives.

“Preaching” only what he practices, in The Quality of Effort, Reggie Marra authentically engages each of us to become increasingly more aware of our stories—the interpretations we choose, and how they affect, and even effect, what we do next as parents, coaches, student-athletes and human beings.

While focused on and in contemporary youth, interscholastic and intercollegiate sports, Marra calls on both ancient and modern wisdom: The Consolation of Philosophy, Spiral Dynamics, Man’s Search for Meaning and the Bhagavad Gita, and invites us into the worlds of Mary Catherine Bateson and Ken Wilber; Bob Knight and Boethius; Joan Benoit Samuelson and Don Beck; and Sacred Heart High School’s 1979-1980 boys’ junior varsity basketball team.

If you’re willing to explore the questions he raises, you may find that at its core The Quality of Effort is all about your favorite topic—you.

The Everyday Athlete

“While everyone is obsessed with the ‘All-American,’ Reggie Marra cares about the everyday athlete. As I read The Quality of Effort, I had constant flashbacks to my high school playing days. I know that if I had had this book back then, all of my athletic experiences would have been more productive and more enjoyable. This book will hit home for anyone who has ever competed in sports.”
– Mike Breen, Sportscaster, New York, on the 1st edition

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“…a map to tomorrow’s competitive edge…”

“The Quality of Effort has helped me reinterpret my career as a professional athlete – providing both relief and direction. The book’s message would have been invaluable years ago when I was starting out as well as at the height of my career. Reggie Marra offers a map to tomorrow’s competitive edge, a map that requires effort – not necessarily in doing more drills or pushups, but in taking responsibility for all aspects of your approach to life.”
– Ryan Leech, Professional Mountain Biker (Retired) and Professional Integral Coach,™ http://ryanleech.com/

Integrated, Balanced and Always Expanding…

From Fred Krawchuk, Retired U.S. Special Forces Colonel and RAND Consultant:

“As a former college athlete and longtime leader of high-performance military units, I recommend Reggie Marra’s work with unbridled enthusiasm. Whether you are a student-athlete, parent or coach, this book’s proven practices will greatly enhance your performance in and enjoyment of youth, interscholastic and intercollegiate sports. Reggie’s savvy discussion of integrated training, competent coaching, and the importance of a proper training environment helps the reader clearly visualize a successful path of development. Following this comprehensive approach to training will not only produce better athletes, but also happier and healthier citizens as our youth grow and take their place in the world. I hope for the sake of student-athletes everywhere that this book gets the appreciation it deserves. How much happier we would all be if we could travel a healthy path of development supported by quality practices, competent and caring coaches/teachers, and a nurturing learning environment.”

From The Quality of Effort, and The Quality of Effort Workbook, Chapter 5, “The Varying Natures of Success and Justice”:

“Not everyone gets to be a professional, or even a collegiate or high school athlete, or a movie star, recording artist, reality show contestant, or some other locally, nationally or globally famous celebrity. When we have the courage to work toward our ultimate dream with a high quality of effort and we fall short, we really do need something to catch us. The love and support of family and friends are indispensable, but the safest net is within each of us—a truly integrated, balanced, and always expanding view of the world. The ability to recognize, appreciate and embrace serendipitous events and people can be a strong component of such a worldview.

“Sometimes we don’t get what we truly (think we) want and we get lots of what we don’t (think we) want. Just as often some very worthwhile, unexpected things come our way; we can enrich our lives by learning to recognize them and accept the good they bring.”

Copyright © 2013 by Reggie Marra

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Why Am I Doing This?

From The Quality of Effort, Chapter 10Motivation: Why Am I Doing This?

“In the broadest sense, whether we look at species development over thousands of years, or individual development from birth through infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood, humans can develop from having no conscious sense of an individual self, to worldviews that can be described as self- or ego-centered, then ethno- or group-centered, then world-centered, and then universe- or everything-centered. We might abbreviate these stages of development, respectively, as “huh?” “me,” “us,” “all of us,” and “all there is.” Put in other words, we can develop from not yet having a sense of identity, to just identifying with our individual self (common), to identifying with a group or groups such as family, school, team, religion, nation, etc. (very common) to truly identifying with all the people on the planet (rare), to identifying with everything there is (very rare). It’s important to note here that anyone who reads this book can understand the concepts of me, us, all of us and all there is. To take just one example, however, understanding what “world-centered” means is very different from truly orienting or living every day from a world-centered perspective.”

Copyright © 2013 by Reggie Marra

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Yo, Adrian

From The Quality of Effort, Chapter 11 – Athletics and Life: A Permanent, Positive Relationship:

“In the movie Rocky, Adrian and Rocky spend their first date at a skating rink after Rocky bribes the maintenance man for some ice time on Thanksgiving night.  During their first few minutes on the ice, Rocky tells Adrian that his father told him he’d better learn to use his body because his brains wouldn’t get him anywhere.  Adrian laughs and says that her mother gave her the opposite advice—she’d better learn to use her brain because she didn’t have much of a body.

“Both funny and poignant, the scene allowed each character to share a somewhat awkward self-perception, and it also portrayed the strong sense of “perceived specialization” that characterizes so many of our journeys. We’re either smart or dumb, quick or slow, athletes or scholars, liberals or conservatives, thin or plump, peaceful or angry.  We do not allow ourselves to be human beings who happen to have certain interests and talents, who have chosen certain careers or vocations, who engage sports and spirituality, and for the sake of an example, have a knack for carpentry but no clue when it comes to cooking—or vice versa.  Don’t get me wrong—the differences do exist, relatively speaking, but the differences are not who we are.

“People seem easier to sort out, classify and understand if we group them by size, shape, color, sex, wardrobe, profession, ethnicity, religion, and other arbitrary characteristics.  If you’re a plumber or a surgeon, we know what that means, or if you’re Catholic, or short, or don’t believe in God, we know what that means as well.  While you’re in school, you may be a jock or a techie, or a goth, or a preppie, or a loner, or … you name it (the labels get outdated and updated pretty quickly).  If you’re lucky, perhaps you’re in touch with that part of yourself that allows you to move easily among your classmates in all the various groups. Regardless of the category or categories you embrace, or into which others place you, the groupings don’t really matter except in people’s minds, and while that can affect perceptions, it does not affect who and what you truly are. Why not strike a balance?  Why not develop athletically, as well as intellectually, emotionally, socially, professionally and spiritually, as you grow chronologically older?”

Copyright © 2013 by Reggie Marra

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