BOSS: Business of Success Beyond Sports
By Dianne Anderson
Long Beach kids are learning how to use their innate multitasking abilities to expand on something else they naturally have in play.
One of the first things that Everett Glenn always tells students in his program is that making it to the top of their sports dreams might be a one in a million long shot, but that’s okay.
Academic and sports success doesn’t have to be an either-or situation. It can be both.
“We’re not trying to tell you you can’t be the one. We’re telling them if you’re not the one, then what? Also, if you are the one, then what?” said Glenn, president of the California-based Entertainment & Sports Plus.
He never underestimates kids these days, and how they juggle lots of things at once.
“If they can watch streaming video while listening to music on their headphones while updating their Instagram, then they can play sports and also do well in school,” he said.
Sports also holds an added benefit of building mental and physical endurance, both of which translate well into forming the discipline they need to make the grade.
Through his program, BOSS, they learn to use their skills they’ve honed in sports, and take it further to develop the character and discipline needed to achieve success for the long haul. There is a strong emphasis on STEAM, including critical thinking and writing.
The two-week summer BOSS Camps kick off their year-round multi-year program outreach. Unlike so many other enrichment programs, he said that they aren’t exclusive in how they select kids to participate.
“We don’t cherry-pick,” he said. “We don’t look for the kids that are on the path to success at some level, we just meet the kids wherever they are.”
Kids at the camp and in the program explore math and robotics, exciting field trips like SpaceX, along with expert presentations and exposure to top athletes that are also successful businessmen. He especially wants students to understand they can be great at sports, and equally successful in other areas of life, but it requires putting in the work.
“You can’t practice [sports] for three hours and do homework for 15 minutes,” said Glenn, who also served as Deputy City Attorney for the City of Long Beach for ten years ending 2006.
Glenn has been a lawyer for 43 years, and the first African American attorney in the Office of the City Attorney for the City of Long Beach. At one point in his legal career, before he worked at the city he represented many professional Hall of Fame athletes.
“I showed them how to take their 15 minutes of fame and turn it into a lifetime of good fortune,” he said.
To get boys in the program, they also work with Long Beach Unified School District, and visit school sites to get parents and kids to sign up.
Today, the program works with about 125 students held at California State University, Long Beach, and he said there are local success stories.
One of their students came in as a hard to reach seventh-grader.
“He was getting all D’s and F’s. He was cool and popular, and flunking everything,” Glenn said. “He’s now in eleventh grade at a 3.5 GPA. His parents bring him to the program from San Diego.”
But Glenn said it is disturbing to know that through most of Southern California, Black and Brown boys are failing to make the grade. Most are not ready to meet the requirement to apply to a four-year college. They’re not taking Algebra as eighth-graders, he said, they are not testing proficiently in language arts.
“They’re not ready even in 9th grade, and keep falling further back in 11th and 12th grade,” he said.
During Black history month, his program has several events exciting events lined up for the kids, including Lakers games, and also a visit to the Shaquille O’Neal restaurant, one of his numerous businesses and franchises.
“He’s a role model. He’s made more money off the court than on the court,” he said. “He has all kinds of business interests.”
For the most part, the boys already know what it takes to succeed at sports, but Glenn said the key is getting them to success beyond sports, and within a critical timeline. Many athletes may start strong at 21 years, but only play for about ten years.
Even if they don’t get injured along the way, many do not reach the pinnacle as mega-players, they’re on salary and they don’t have the long view.
“What are you going to do from 31 until you die?” he said. “You can’t get rich unless you’re a superstar. [Earnings of ] a couple hundred thousand after taxes – that’s not rich.”
Much of his philosophy for his youth programming follows business researcher, Jim Collins and Good To Great in 10 Steps.
“I tell the boys it only takes three things to be great — to identify what they want to be great at, determine the price to pay to achieve it, and commit to pay that price,” he said.
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