One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for April 27, 2015.
My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.
I have reminded many coaches, friends, colleagues, and my family that there are a number of professions where you have the opportunity to receive two paychecks. Teachers, coaches, parents, ministers, and countless other careers have the opportunity to receive a reward outside the realm of their normal compensation.
That second paycheck can come in many forms but this week I received mine inside a book called “Life’s Simple Equation” written by Marcus Laster.
Marcus is one of my former players at Winthrop University.
My paycheck was the pride I had in knowing one of my former players had become a leader, spirtual grounded man, loving husband, father, and author. The other part of the paycheck was the gratitude I had because Marcus wrote about the small influences I had on his life.
Coaching is like parenting you don’t get confirmation that the natural laws you are applying will take hold. Those natural laws are simple; make sure the people you care about get the right amount of water and sunlight, till the soil before you plant them in the ground, and weed often.
You have to believe these natural laws work with people and that somewhere down the road you might get lucky and receive validation that the crop you planted will harvest. When I got my signed copy of Marcus’s book I was humbled, proud, happy, and I knew that the harvest was plentiful. That harvest is the reason I went into coaching.
Marcus Laster enrolled at Winthrop University in 1994. He was a fantastic athlete from St. Louis, MO that had a number of wonderful qualities. He was strong, fast, and could jump. He had a brother named Cedric Laster who played basketball at University of Pennsylvania so he had good genes. Marcus did not have an easy childhood and he had to fight a lot of emotional demons while in college. Those battles compromised his ability to give effort and to remain focused until his senior year.
In his last year at Winthrop he led the team in scoring. I was proud of him for the making the transition to a player with potential to a player who got results. That occured because Marcus changed his effort level. Marcus was also an extremely spiritual person who always relied on his faith to get him through tough times. Effort and belief in a higher power is a pretty good formula for success.
After college he began his career as a television sports anchor. Not only was he articulate but Marcus had the looks of Adonis. His communication skills and physical appearance made him a potential star in television. Marcus got to cover some special events like the Masters, the World Series, and Daytona 500 to mention a few. The problem was Marcus did not love TV work. The nights, the holidays, and the travel were not for him.
After TV he began bouncing between careers. Car rental company, Chamber of Commerce in Rock Hill, SC, and his Adonis good looks got him some part time modeling jobs for Belk out of Charlotte, NC. That modeling work continued to get bigger and bigger. He finally decided to leave everything in the early 2000’s and give modeling a full time effort by moving to New York City.
The modeling didn’t provide stability and Marcus took a entry level sales job with Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK). After 6 years he began work on his M.B.A. at Wake Forest. Today he is not only the author of a book but the sales manager for GSK and lives in Jacksonville, FL.
The day before classes began at Winthrop University in 1994 Marcus met someone that would change his life. Her name was Molly Strasser and 6 years later they were engaged to be married.
The Friend – MARCUS LASTER
The Friend of the Friend – MOLLY STRASSER LASTER
The rudder to a great ship
When I first met Marcus Laster it was not hard to envision what he could become. He was like a great ocean liner. He had a great appearance, great capacity, would be capable of going on some great journeys, and be able to withstand great storms.
Marcus in college had one problem similar to all great ships he needed deep water and he needed room to set a proper course. He floundered for most of his college career athletically because he allowed his ship to drift into shallow waters. He occasionally was the beneficiary of some favorable tides and had success but he would fall victim to drifting time and time again back in shallow waters.
Enter Molly Strasser a young woman who was strikingly beautiful but her maturity and leadership trumped that outward beauty. Marcus and Molly got engaged a couple of years after he finished college.
In marriage Molly became a rudder to Marcus and she got him into the deep waters where a great ship belongs. Molly provided the rudder that Marcus needed as a man. Today her husband is proving that great things are going to occur in their lives and marriage. She is an extemely talented fitness instructor, mom, and ambassador to those less fortunate. When Marcus needed a rudder Molly was there.
Do yourself a favor buy the book “Life Simple Equation”.