POISE AND EXECUTION, LLC
DISCOVER WHO WE ARE
Poise and execution was the strategy and game plan of the New York Jets, as the team sought out to upset the Baltimore Colts, in Super Bowl III in Miami’s Orange Bowl in 1969. New York’s head coach Weeb Ewbank felt that the only way that his Jets, led by Joe Willie Namath, could beat Don Shula’s dominant NFC team was if they could manage to maintain poise and execute their plays.
Maintaining poise has always been a fundamental strategy for black athletes on their quest to gain opportunities to play in professional and international sporting events. This was true when in 1936 as Jesse Owens took on Germany in the 1936 Olympics. This was again the case when Joe Louis matched skill and wits with Germany’s Max Schmeling in 1936 and again in 1938.
Jackie Robinson was known for poise under pressure as he broke baseball’s color barrier when he was admitted to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Golf’s color barrier was first broken in 1896 when John Shippen, a black caddy, was allowed to play in the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in New York.
Being a professional athlete requires tremendous concentration and focus. Being black and a professional athlete requires even greater focus. This is because the fans, media and broader public, do not just see them in just the context of an athlete; but instead, they are invariably viewed through the prism of a black athlete. Black athletes have excelled in spite of the added scrutiny and pressure.
So, whether it is golf, hockey, auto racing, boxing, baseball or other sport, we have decided to tell the stories of these heroic individuals who succeeded despite the added pressure of color barriers, prejudices and sometimes outright expressions of hate. The fact that these athletes of color could maintain poise and still execute their plan is the true testament to their will and greatness! It is through this lens that we pay tribute and honor their accomplishments!
Andre K. Williams
Poise and Execution, LLC
Founder and President