Motivation Monday: Never Peak

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and is having an even better start to a new year (for law students, I hope you survived finals). With the new year in the works, I’d like to begin by making some improvements and more frequent posts on TASL Blog. I have had many ideas over the past month since finals have ended and really want to be able to make some big and positive changes in many facets of life.

With that said, one of the new ideas I have for the blog is “Motivation Monday” where I would like to write an article that encourages, inspires, and provides some motivation for those pursuing their professional dreams—particularly those that want to pursue something in sports law. And what better forum to do this? A blog about sports and law should definitely have some sort of motivational aspect given that we as a society associate sports with motivation, determination, and a means to learn something greater than a game and apply the lessons in our daily lives.

In today’s Motivation Monday post (hopefully the first of many), I want to touch on what I believe is a very important lesson to remember in our daily lives and in our constant pursuit of a dream—the concept of never peaking. And what does that mean to “never peak?” Well, the best way to explain it came to me this past December as I was watching my youngest brother and my high school alma mater play for a state championship—and win—in football.

As I was sitting in the stands and watching a great team full of really solid athletes play for a state championship I thought, “Wow, what an experience and chance of a lifetime. They’ll never get to experience something like this again. It doesn’t get much better than that.” But then I thought back to my playing days… I had a great experience.  I had a pretty good career. Heck, I was even named first team all-state and went on to play four years of college ball. But looking back—though they were great experiences and nothing is wrong with appreciating it—none of it really matters anymore. Outside of the relationships built and the friendships made, none of the records matter. None of the accolades amounted to anything much. Honestly, I think I was the first quarterback (or one of the firsts) from my high school to ever be named to the all-state team and literally no one has mentioned it to me since I received the honor. This is not to say I want them to or that I am asking for praise—I’m not. I simply say this to prove the point that all of that really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of life. The lessons that are taken away from the games are what matter.

The same can be said for anything else as well. Valedictorian of your class? Great. Chess Champion? Awesome. State championship in football? Love it. But, all those things really should do is help to set a higher expectation for something greater later. This is not to say that those types of accomplishments are completely meaningless and that you shouldn’t be proud of your accomplishments—you should. Nothing is wrong with taking pride in accomplishing something that you have worked so hard for; however, use it as a stepping stone to continuously succeed and move on to bigger and better things—plus it’s also a good thing to leave a legacy behind that will be continued by others (different article for a different time).

So, with that said, I continued thinking about what I wanted my little brother and his friends to get out of their experience—plus I started thinking about my life and how I want to approach my dreams and the process of attaining my goals.

In my research of professionals that are in the type roles that I aspire to be in one day, I have come across some great people who offer great advice for not only career stuff, but for life as well. For those of you not familiar with a sports law pro by the name of Andrew Brandt (ESPN Legal Analyst; interviewed him earlier), he has a hashtag in his twitter bio that says, “#NeverPeak.”

To me, never peaking is like a daily life motto each of us should live by in this fast-paced world where succeeding requires constant work. You almost have to approach dream chasing and goal setting with a “what have you done for me lately” mentality. This allows you to not dwell on past accomplishments, but to move forward in life so that you can continuously succeed at new things and continue to accomplish new goals. Sure, celebrate the victories; but continue to approach the next day as if there is a whole new agenda—I truly believe this is what many successful people do in their careers.

For my little brother and his teammates; for myself and others pursuing a career: let today be a new day with new goals to get you to a better end goal. Do not dwell on past accomplishments—appreciate them and take lessons away from them as you move forward. Never Peak and move on to the next phase so that you will be a constant success in whatever it is you want to do.

To finish this Motivation Monday up, I encourage myself and others that are willing to read into these posts to Never Peak. Constantly strive for something greater than what you’ve already accomplished. It is a good thing to have a constant hunger to be more than you were the day before and to constantly improve. It will allow you to have a higher ceiling in all that you do and will provide a constant ambition so that you may accomplish your goals, dreams, and aspirations.

I hope that this post has provided some sort of motivation—please give feedback—as I think this Motivation Monday thing will be a good theme throughout the year. There will be more to come including these types of posts, interviews from sports law professionals, and other experiences I am facing in my pursuit of a career as the year comes along.

Again, all feedback is appreciated and I hope you feel like sharing this post as many could use words of encouragement and motivation on any given day—especially Mondays.

Thank you for reading and God Bless!

#NeverPeak” – Andrew Brandt

—Dale Hutcherson

Oregon Law Summer Sports Institute

In order to make dreams happen and come to fruition, steps have to be taken to gain knowledge, insight, and experience in the career or education field that is so desired. For me and my interest in sports law, one of the first major steps I have taken is attending the University of Oregon School of Law’s Sports Institute. It is a great program designed to teach many different aspects of the wide world of sports law including issues in scholastic, intercollegiate, and professional sports.

Oregon Law Summer Sports Institute

“The Oregon Law Summer Sports Institute’s comprehensive curriculum introduces aspiring sports lawyers to a broad range of legal topics relevant to the practice of sports law. The Institute features a unique mix of classes, lectures and career panels, each led by experts in their respective fields. During the rigorous five-week program, students immerse themselves in the wide world of sports law.” – Oregon Law Summer Sports Institute website (https://law.uoregon.edu/explore/OLSSI).

The Sports Institute is a strenuous five-week program that covers areas of law within sports including: interscholastic sports law, economics of sports, NCAA regulation, discrimination in sports (race issues, Title IX, etc.), NCAA realignment & reform, sports scandals, sports & labor law, sports & torts, sports & intellectual property, international sports law, sports & negotiation, gambling in sports, sports & antitrust law, and legal issues facing sports agents.

The program also brings in experts in each area of sports law covered to teach the classes. Professors include general counsel for teams, individual attorneys that have worked on landmark cases, sports economists that have served as expert witnesses during major trials, expert professors of sports law from across the country, attorneys/counsel for the NCAA and other governing bodies in sports, and attorneys from agencies in sports such as the Anti-Doping Agency.

The curriculum consists of reading case law and academic articles from each area of sports law covered, attending classes six days a week, attending discussions with panels of experts on each subject area, Title IX and NCAA realignment simulations & role playing situations, and mock contract negotiations. It is intense, but interesting and it greatly increases knowledge on critical issues facing sports and all the actors in sports today. To top it off, there is a cumulative exam at the end of the program and it provides 6 ABA approved credits that go towards your Juris Doctorate Degree.

In the midst of all the work, there is also time for fun. Eugene, Oregon is a unique place with many activities available to all who are there. The Sports Law program allows for its students to integrate with the Eugene community by providing opportunities to go to events such as the Olympic Trials for track & field, rafting on the McKenzie River, and friendly competitive sports between the students of the program. Eugene also has many hiking trails, great restaurants, and wine vineyards. On top of that, as part of the experience, all of the students enrolled in the program have the opportunity to go to the NIKE and Adidas headquarters in Portland.

Throughout the program, the most valuable aspect truly lies in its networking opportunities. There are opportunities to meet with those that have already made sports law their profession and they give great advice on career and legal topics. They also instill in the students the knowledge needed to gain an edge in pursuing a career in sports law. With that said, the other great networking opportunity lies in socializing and spending time with the other students in the program. All of the students are like-minded individuals that have many of the same goals, and through meeting them there are great discussions about relevant topics and friendships that are made. In making these friendships with my classmates, I know I will have great connections through them as we all advance in our careers.

All that said, the University of Oregon School of Law Sports Institute is a great experience for those interested in a career in sports law. It provides a great educational opportunity, beneficial discussions about important topics, networking opportunities, and fun. I would highly recommend a program like this to any aspiring sports attorneys.

My next articles will be about relevant topics in the sports world that many people have strong feelings about. I hope they will promote discussion and I look forward to seeing your thoughts.

Thank you for reading and God Bless!

“You take on the responsibility for making your dream a reality.” – Les Brown

– Dale Hutcherson