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I want to talk about seven-on-seven.

No, dammit! Not a Roman orgy. I’m talking about that shorts-and-tees summer league passing game touch football stuff that high school players, coaches, fans and parents take way too seriously.

It can be fun. Throwing and catching a football under any conditions has been one of the abiding joys of my life. Yes, throwers and catchers (and defenders) get better through repetition. The “reps” involved in seven-on-seven have value. But fixating on winning these games does not, in my opinion, and in fact can be detrimental to high school football teams and programs.

Here’s what seven-on-seven football isn’t. Football. It bears not the slightest resemblance to football. So using it to gauge how good your team is or isn’t is bound to miss the mark. Guaranteed.

Nobody is trying to kill your quarterback. Nobody’s really even in his face. The only “pressure” he’s facing is from a benign official counting, “One Mississippi, Two Mississippi,” etc. That’s a little different from facing a sadistic jail-break blitz on a Friday night in September by seven guys who are not only trying to break you in half, but will talk about your mama after they do.

Receivers? Seven-on-seven is not receiving. Seven-on-seven is at least relatively safe. Receiving isn’t.

Pass defense? That is largely about whacking the bejabbers out of guys. That is (properly) “frowned upon” in seven-on-seven.

So it’s fun. Throw it. Catch it. Get better at throwing it and catching it. But here’s what I learned in ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. There were summers in which we were dominant at seven-on-seven. So we started to think we were pretty good. Until July turned into August and August turned into September and we faced the rude realization that we couldn’t play football. Conversely, we had teams that looked like F-Troop in seven-on-seven, but then beat the living hell out of folks in actual boys tackle football.

Skills developed in seven-on-seven matter. Winning doesn’t.

Now, go back to your orgy.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.