Recognizing the Achievements of Our Youth

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Football season may be over for now, but the support of the community by LOTE goes on all year round. Our mission to support underserved youth has helped to bring scholarships to local students attending college. But, we recognize that encouraging children to do well in school begins with elementary school, and with the support of their families.

In January, LOTE recognized the achievements 20 elementary school students, as selected by their teacher. We provided each student, along with a parent, tickets to the January 13th San Jose Barracuda game at SAP Center.
And, we appreciate their heartfelt thank you poster! Congratulations to the students on their academic excellence !

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What is the NFL Combine?

Each February, hundreds of the very best college football players are invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Ind., where executives, coaches, scouts and doctors from all 32 NFL teams conduct an intense, four-day job interview in advance of the NFL Draft. Below are a list of the measurable drills that these players run through.

40-yard Dash

The 40-yard dash is the marquee event at the combine. It’s kind of like the 100-meters at the Olympics: It’s all about speed, explosion and watching skilled athletes run great times. These athletes are timed at 10, 20 and 40-yard intervals. What the scouts are looking for is an explosion from a static start.

Bench Press

The bench press is a test of strength — 225 pounds, as many reps as the athlete can get. What the NFL scouts are also looking for is endurance. Anybody can do a max one time, but what the bench press tells the pro scouts is how often the athlete frequented his college weight room for the last 3-5 years.

Vertical Jump

The vertical jump is all about lower-body explosion and power. The athlete stands flat-footed and they measure his reach. It is important to accurately measure the reach, because the differential between the reach and the flag the athlete touches is his vertical jump measurement.

Broad Jump

The broad jump is like being in gym class back in junior high school. Basically, it is testing an athlete’s lower-body explosion and lower-body strength. The athlete starts out with a stance balanced and then he explodes out as far as he can. It tests explosion and balance, because he has to land without moving.

3 Cone Drill

The 3 cone drill tests an athlete’s ability to change directions at a high speed. Three cones in an L-shape. He starts from the starting line, goes 5 yards to the first cone and back. Then, he turns, runs around the second cone, runs a weave around the third cone, which is the high point of the L, changes directions, comes back around that second cone and finishes.

Shuttle Run

The short shuttle is the first of the cone drills. It is known as the 5-10-5. What it tests is the athlete’s lateral quickness and explosion in short areas. The athlete starts in the three-point stance, explodes out 5 yards to his right, touches the line, goes back 10 yards to his left, left hand touches the line, pivot, and he turns 5 more yards and finishes.

For more information on how to watch as well as the actual schedules of events, visit www.nflcombine.net or www.nfl.com/network/combine.

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On January 26, 2018 our coaching staff along with the Raider coaching staff were picked to coach the Senior College Bowl.  This is a HUGE benefit to both teams because they get to see first hand how the players who will be up for the draft in 2019 perform.  The 49er staff will choose 2nd in the draft.  Some of the former stars coming out of the Senior Super Bowl are Joe Staley and Patrick Willis.

Shanahan came away saying it was a highly successful endeavor to be a part of this coaching staff.

For more info, visit www.seniorbowl.com.

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We would like to honor great African-Americans who have played a role in shaping American history.  Today, the NFL is comprised of teams with players of all nationalities, races and ethnicities.  However, it wasn’t always an inclusive organization.  Despite being founded in 1920, Black players were not permitted to join the NFL until 1946.  That year, one year before Jackie Robinson made history in baseball, four men broke the color barrier, opening the door for all that have followed.  Thank you Woody Strode, Kenny Washington, Marion Motley, and Bill Willis for your bravery; not buckling to the pressure to quit that must’ve felt insurmountable at times.

Ladies of the Empire believes that we are more creative, collaborative and successful by being part of a large diverse community.  We are members and allies of the Black community and are inspired by the resilience and courageousness that African-Americans have consistently shown.  There is more work to be done to achieve racial equality.  We pledge to be mindful, unbiassed and listen to each other to be the change in the world we want to be.  We mean it so much, it is in our mission statement:

“LOTE’s mission is to make a positive impact through education, support and hard work on underserved communities and for those of any gender overcoming adversity.  We want to be the change in the world that we want to see. 

Thank you for playing a role in achieving our mission!

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Leading up to the game, I heard it called the “Toilet Bowl”  and the “Someone’s got to Win Bowl.”  I admit, I got a little demoralized before the game, expecting to watch terrible football with a bunch of silver and black fans with painted faces screaming profanity and being belligerent.  I was so wrong on both counts.  The game was epic!  First of all, Nick Mullens, our 3rdstring QB shined. Of course, we had an advantage that the Raiders didn’t have tape to study.  But he came out strong, showing the hard work he had put in during practice had paid off.  Did you know he literally got verified on Twitter during the game?  Hilarious.  Then we had Raheem Mostert, who is a LOTE supporter, always happy to sign items for us at the 49ers Academy Cocktails and Couture.  He’s a running back – had three huge plays, including a 53 yard run and a touchdown.  Yay!! These two players, once underdogs, had a great game, which reconnected many of us to the team.

I can’t say much for the Raiders, especially their defense (ugh!), but I have high praise for their fans. I think fans of both sides were feeling a bit disenfranchised from our teams before the game.  My husband and I did some tailgate hopping and were frequently welcomed with “Good luck Bay Area” by Raiders fans.  We spread that through the parking lot and to the fans visiting our beautiful stadium.  All were courteous and kind.  Considering both of our records this season, I think we were there for the love of football and not the rivalry.

So, in conclusion, we saw the 49ers dominate, winning 34-3, we cheered for players that we don’t usually hear on the loud speaker who played great and we didn’t lament about our star QB or star RB going out early in the season.  I believe the Raiders were a good comparator to help us define what bad football looks like.  With respect to the Raider nation, your team didn’t look good.  But for that I thank you, because I left that game with new hope for our beloved 49ers.

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This time of year, we typically focus on being thankful for our friends and family. Equally as important, we need to take time to care for ourselves.  Although we had some rain, the wildfires in Northern and Southern California degraded our air quality severely.  The Golden Heart Fund 4.9k and half marathon at Levis Stadium was cancelled due to the heavy smoke.

The effects on our skin and lungs can be drastic.  Our breathing became shallow during that time, out of instinct.  Please take time out of your day to breathe deeply, allowing your lymph to move.  Shallow breathing stagnates our lymph which can lead to other health problems.  For your skin, please read this article on how to care for yourself after breathing in and being exposed to all that congested air: A HOLISTIC GUIDE TO YOUR HEALTH AFTER THE CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

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Who has inspired you the most on your path to the NFL and who has inspired you the most in life?

My mentor Bob Sperling taught me how to be a man and how to handle my business at a crucial age, when I was living in Chicago. He helped keep me out of trouble. So he definitely inspires me.

What is your proudest accomplishment on the field and off the field?

My proudest accomplishment so far has to be earning a contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers. I’m very excited to have a chance to extend my career in a great place.

What was one of the greatest adversities or barriers you had to overcome to get where you are now?

Moving to Chicago from Jamaica was one of the biggest transitions in my life. I definitely experienced some culture shock! It was very hard to adjust to the American school system and my neighborhood in Chicago. I’m glad that I found football, which set me on the path to go to a great school and start a great career.
In your opinion, who is the greatest NFL player of all time? Why? Which play stands out vividly in your memory?
I didn’t watch football as a child, unless you’re talking about soccer! However, I did watch the Bears when I was in high school, and I think Robbie Gould is one of the greats. I’ll never forget his game-winning field goal for the 49ers last season at Soldier Field — it was pretty special to be a part of that.
Off the field, you and Rachel serve the community and have formed your own non-profit Foundation. Could you tell us the name of your organization and describe your mission and vision.
Shortly after I got drafted, I started the Laken Tomlinson Foundation with a goal of increasing access to mental health care services for families in Detroit.

Why is supporting mental health important to you?

I graduated from Duke with majors in Psychology and Evolutionary Anthropology, and my wife is a clinical psychology graduate student. As you might expect, we think a lot about mental health and related issues. Unfortunately, between difficulties with insurance and availability of providers, it can be hard for people in the community to access the care they need. I hope to one day make a difference in this area.
How can LOTE members support your non-profit Foundation?
Look out for us in the future! Hopefully through LOTE we can make connections that help get us closer to our goal.
Name one thing that makes you roll on the floor with laughter.
My dogs always make me laugh. I have two golden retrievers, Douglas and Daisy, and they are both total goofs. Douglas is so sweet but never has any idea what’s going on, and Daisy will absolutely wipe out in pursuit of food. They’re pretty great!
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If you’ve been a 49er fan for any length of time, you’ve heard the story of “The Catch”,  the play that helped the 49ers beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC title game of 1982 and ultimately led to the team’s first Super Bowl victory. The player responsible for the catch was Dwight Clark. It is the stuff of legends, a football play that changed the momentum of a game, and went down in history as one of the most famous plays of all times.

We lost Dwight this June, to ALS, a disease he has been battling for years.  The 49ers are honoring this legendary player in a number of ways this season. The most visible is a new statue that was unveiled on Oct 21st at Leviʻs Stadium.  Located near Gate A, it features both Dwight Clark and Joe Montana, frozen in time just as the catch is made.  The statue weighs 350 pounds, and the figures of Dwight and Joe are placed 23 yards apart – the exact distance the two players were at during the famous play.

Next Time you are at Levi’s Stadium, take a moment to wander over and take a look at this epic play frozen in time.

Additionally, for the game against the Rams, Dwightʻs jersey number (87) was painted in the grass of the north end zone.  It was placed approximately at the spot Dwight was at when he made “The Catch”.


Dwight Clarkʻs charity of choice was the Golden Heart Fund, which is focused on providing financial, medical, or emotional support to ex-49ers. They help former players adapt to a life after football.  On November 18th, the Golden Heart Run is taking place at Leviʻs Stadium, to help raise money for the fund.

Here’s a chance to join with other 49er fans to do a 4.9K or a half-marathon in and around Leviʻs Stadium !  There is a kid’s fun run too !  If you’ve every wanted to be down on the field, here is your chance, as the race ends on the 49 yard line, inside the Stadium.  Who knows, you may end up running next to a 49er Alumni!  For tickets:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/49ers-golden-heart-run-tickets-47432397578

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In his rookie year, 2017, DB Adrian Colbert played in 14 games, racking up impressive stats; 32 tackles, 2 FFs, 1 FR and 5 PDs, while adding 6 special teams tackles.  Fans quickly took notice when #38 (turned in his rookie number for #27 this year) stepped onto the field anticipating a great defensive play.  Contributing to the excitement generated during the latter part of last season, fans cannot wait to see what he accomplishes on the field this year.

Why LOTE loves him

Not only is Colbert an amazing athlete, he also naturally aligns with LOTE’s mission to make a positive impact through education, support, and hard work on underserved communities and for those of any gender overcoming adversity.  He personally overcame adversity and has a long history of paying it forward through dedicating his time and resources to the community.  When he was 9, he suffered a life-threatening injury after being hit by a car.  Upon his recovery, his family moved to a new city that did not feel like home.  He found comfort with the Clarke family who loved and supported him alongside his family, encouraging him to continue to work hard and become the elite athlete he is today.  Colbert attended the Ladies of the Empire annual mixer last year.  He was so fun, approachable and engaging. He left a lasting impression with everyone who attended.  While at the mixer, Colbert donated to our fundraising efforts and encouraged others to do the same throughout the evening.  When Colbert was interviewed by the 49ers he stated “My cause is Social Equality…I want to help make a positive change the world and find a solution to the issues I dealt with growing up.”

Colbert is an amazing person with a huge charitable heart and incredible skills on the field which is why we love him being a part of the 49ers family and we look forward to cheering for #27 for many seasons to come.

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“I am very thankful for the support that Ladies of the Empire has offered me… About my experience this academic year:
I was accepted to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I attended their orientation and really wanted to study under their Aerospace department. About a month later, I received more great news; I was also accepted at UC Berkeley! I was really excited and thankful for such an amazing opportunity. Despite not having an Aerospace department, I chose Berkeley as my final decision because I wanted to challenge myself. I decided to major in Mechanical Engineering, as it is the major that is most similar to Aerospace Engineering. Last semester was academically challenging yet very memorable. Despite struggling through all of my classes, I reminded myself of the reason why I came here and the impact that this University will have in my future. I was able to pass all of my classes and maintain a 3.4 GPA. This semester is a little more challenging, but I will not give up. Aside from the engineering classes, I am also taking a class to help me reach another of my dreams, to become a pilot. The class I am taking helps me prepare for the written component of the private pilot’s exam. I hope to receive my private pilot’s license by the time I graduate.
The biggest difficulty I am encountering is the commute. I believe that the daily two-hour round-trip commute from Fremont to Berkeley has had an impact on my grades. I often stay studying on campus with my friends until I can take the last Bart train which comes a little past midnight. Once I get home, I sometimes stay up studying until 3 in the morning. I have tried studying while on Bart, but i find the noise and motion very distracting so I try to catch on some sleep. I initially wanted to ask my family if we could move closer to Berkeley but I realized that it was best if we stayed in Fremont since my mother and brother are both attending the same community college. I am currently applying for scholarships so that I can reside on campus.
I also noticed that the books, and course materials required at the University is considerably more expensive. I am very thankful for the generous financial support that the Ladies of the Empire has offered me. I was able to purchase books, online course products, and materials required for class projects for the whole year! The Ladies of the Empires definitely made an impact in my academic life, specially this semester. I am taking a project class and my team and I hope to break the world’s record for fastest Rubik’s cube solved. We are programming and building a structure from scratch to solve the Rubik’s cube after 10 repetitions in an average time of less than 0.5 seconds. The desired outcome of our project requires that we invest time and money into it.
Again, I really appreciate the support that Ladies of the Empire have given me.
Thank You.”
Luis Mendez
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