On Football and Pride with Melvin Lars
Mr. Melvin Lars is a native of Bossier City/Shreveport, Louisiana; he received several undergraduate and graduate academic degrees from various universities; La. Tech. (BS) Univ. & Centenary (Admin. Cert.) College) in Louisiana, Texas (Tx. Southern (MA) Univ), Michigan (Eastern, Mi Univ, & Saginaw Valley St. Univ.) and has done extensive educational studies in Ohio (Youngstown (Supt., cert.)St Univ) and California (Los Angeles, (CA. cert) City College).
Lars is a certified Violence Prevention/Intervention Specialist, receiving his certification and training through the prestigious Harvard University, with Dr.Renee Prothro-Stith.
He is a licensed/ordained Elder/Minister in both the C.O.G.I.C. & C.M.E. Churches. He is the CEO/founder of Brighter Futures Inc; a Family Wellness, Violence Prevention/Intervention and Academic Enhancement and entertainment Company; an affiliate representative for the NFL ALLPRODADS Initiative. Former interim; Executive Director of Urban League of Greater Muskegon, Former NAACP President of Muskegon County; 2007–2012, employed as a consultant to the Michigan Department of Education as a Compliance Monitor for the (NCLB Highly Qualified) initiative for Highly Qualified Teachers and works collaboratively with Hall of Famer Jim Brown and his Amer-I-Can Program and is a ten-time published author of various books, and self-help and academic articles. He is married to Ann Lars and is the father of one adult son, Ernest. Here we talk about sports and pride in an uncensored and educational series.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You spent a long time in, and were very successful at, football.
Melvin Lars: Yes.
Jacobsen: So, you have a lot of experience in American football. The bravado and ego — and some good aspects to it, of course — in college and higher-level football stand out to me.
What advice can you give to younger men to keep their ego in check?
Lars: [Laughing] Scott, when we speak, I am always laughing. I am dealing with life, the real world. To answer that question, specifically, you have to start off with something. When you are involved in sports, certainly at a high level, it is always about being the alpha male. No one talks about it.
No one says, “You have to be the alpha male.” Nonetheless, there is a perception. In trying to be the one trying to attain the lofty status of the alpha male, unfortunately, people forget. You cannot talk about the game; you have to play the game.
Certain individuals are born with more speed or strength. They are able to build themselves better than the others on top of their natural gifts and talents, and blessings. Many times, you get beside yourself. What is getting “beside yourself”? You get full of yourself.
Because when you are competing, you realize, “I am faster. I am stronger. I possess a level of superiority when it comes to participating in a specific area of athletics and having some dominance.”
One has to be careful. One should not get full of oneself. I have been guilty, Scott. I will not be a hypocrite. I have been full of myself, in trying to be the alpha male. Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.”
He meant that we have to get in touch with ourselves and realize what we’re doing. In the final analysis, it is a game. Far too often, we take the game too seriously.
Jacobsen: If we take boxing, one of the fastest punchers and quickest talkers was Muhammad Ali.
Jacobsen: He was braggadocious.
Jacobsen: When is it appropriate to have pride? I heard Muhammad Ali was different. In that, he made you feel good as he was saying these things about you. So, it wasn’t a putdown necessarily inasmuch as it was part of the theatrics.
Lars: You know what, Scott, it has been my experience too. I am a huge Muhammad Ali fan. In high school, I was also a Golden Gloves boxing champion. I had the opportunity to go to the Olympic trials, for the 1972 trials.
However, when you come to Muhammad Ali, it gets back to the first question. Some guys are more braggadocious or over-the-top. You are conditioned, as an athlete, to be the alpha male. When you begin to realize, you have attained the status.
There is a sense of pride. Other people also begin to receive your abilities as being the alpha male as well. With a person, in my experience, of someone like a Muhammad Ali, who was colourful and charismatic, it comes from the personality. He worked extremely hard.
When we talk about athletics, we have to understand. There is so much work to becoming the quintessential top-of-the-line athlete. A lot of people do not understand that part of it. They believe: you’re born with this ability to dominate.
That is why it is important to be careful about being full of ourselves. When you put the work and time into it, there is a sense of pride and accomplishment. You get respect from individuals who would like to be in the same position.
However, for whatever reason, they have not been able to attain it. Ali was an entertainer. But when it came to perfecting his craft, he was blessed to be able to perfect it.
Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Lars.
(Updated September 28, 2016)
Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com, Scott.Jacobsen@TrustedClothes.Com, Scott@ConatusNews.Com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Scott@Karmik.Ca.
He is a Moral Courage Webmaster and Outreach Specialist (Fall, 2016) at the UCI Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center), Interview Columnist for Conatus News, Writer and Executive Administrator for Trusted Clothes, Interview Columnist for Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), Councillor for the Athabasca University Student Union, Member of the Learning Analytics Research Group, writer for The Voice Magazine, Your Political Party of BC, ProBC, Marijuana Party of Canada, Fresh Start Recovery Centre, Harvest House Ministries, and Little Footprints Big Steps International Development Organization, Editor and Proofreader for Alfred Yi Zhang Photography, Community Journalist/Blogger for Gordon Neighbourhood House, Member-at-Large, Member of the Outreach Committee, the Finance & Fundraising Committee, and the Special Projects & Political Advocacy Committee, and Writer for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Member of the Lifespan Cognition Psychology Lab and IMAGe Psychology Lab, Collaborator with Dr. Farhad Dastur in creation of the CriticalThinkingWiki, Board Member, and Foundation Volunteer Committee Member for the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation, and Independent Landscaper.
He was a Francisco Ayala Scholar at the UCI Ethics Center, Member of the Psychometric Society Graduate Student Committee, Special Advisor and Writer for ECOSOC at NWMUN, Writer for TransplantFirstAcademy and ProActive Path, Member of AT-CURA Psychology Lab, Contributor for a student policy review, Vice President of Outreach for the Almas Jiwani Foundation, worked with Manahel Thabet on numerous initiatives, Student Member of the Ad–Hoc Executive Compensation Review Committee for the Athabasca University Student Union, Volunteer and Writer for British Columbia Psychological Association, Community Member of the KPU Choir (even performed with them alongside the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra), Delegate at Harvard World MUN, NWMUN, UBC MUN, and Long Beach Intercollegiate MUN, and Writer and Member of the Communications Committee for The PIPE UP Network.
He published in American Enterprise Institute, Annaborgia, Conatus News, Earth Skin & Eden, Fresh Start Recovery Centre, Gordon Neighbourhood House, Huffington Post, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, Jolly Dragons, Kwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology Department, La Petite Mort, Learning Analytics Research Group, Lifespan Cognition Psychology Lab, Lost in Samara, Marijuana Party of Canada, MomMandy, Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society, Piece of Mind, Production Mode, Synapse, TeenFinancial, The Peak, The Ubyssey, The Voice Magazine, Transformative Dialogues, Treasure Box Kids, Trusted Clothes.