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Volume 25 No. 214
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Weekend Plans With MLL Atlanta Blaze Owner Andre Gudger

Gudger (l) this weekend will prep for March's draft by reviewing film and meeting with his analytics team
Photo: MLL

Atlanta Blaze Owner ANDRE GUDGER is headed into his second full season at the helm of the MLL franchise, and this weekend he's looking to balance draft preparations with a heavy dose of family time, not to mention finalizing plans for a certain event coming to town next weekend. Gudger: "Lot of energy in Atlanta right now with the Super Bowl. The city’s awfully happy the Saints didn’t make it." Gudger took some time out of his schedule to take THE DAILY through his agenda for the weekend and what he expects in year two of his MLL experience.

OFF & RUNNING: My life is six Mondays and a Sunday. I approach every day as a work day, but Friday is typically a day when I reflect on the past week and also try to prepare for what’s on the horizon. I’ll have my family time, and I’ll tend to make it a "family-fun" night. I’ll watch a movie with my kids and then combine that with one of my passions -- cooking. It’s very therapeutic for me. I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen preparing unique, fresh meals. Saturday first thing in the morning you’ll find me meditating -- really just gaining the energy for what I think is the most important day of the week. On Saturdays, not only do I continue to push business items from the week that may not have gotten done, but then I also have to think of my kids, whose schedules are even busier than my own. I have to be really good at that balance and time-blocking and make sure I have the energy to last through the day because it’s probably the busiest of the week for me. I’ll spend a good chunk of time at their various sports games, and I’m a voice of reason on the sidelines. I understand people are in tough positions, particularly referees in youth sports. I typically find myself calming other parents down or trying to bring order to the chaos of a game day.

COUNTDOWN TO DRAFT DAY: Saturday during the afternoon I’ll be with my Blaze team going over our approach to Black History Month, as we’re heavy into a true diversity campaign for the sport. Then we just announced our upcoming Draft at the NASCAR HOF in Charlotte and we’re already evaluating prospects' film, recapping our scouting efforts during the week and making our draft boards with our analytics guys. Late night you’ll find me in the kitchen again. Sunday I'll meditate again in the morning, then that night you’ll find me at one of my favorite restaurants around Atlanta, enjoying a good meal that I did not cook. There’ll be more time with my family too, I’m sure we’ll have healthy debates about who’s going to take the Super Bowl next weekend. I’ll be hosting a couple events with some leadership folks from both the Broncos and New Balance, and I’ll be thinking about those things on Sunday as well to make sure I have the right time allotted for them.

EXPECTATIONS IN YEAR TWO: I’m very positive about the outlook of the league, as we’re in the best position we’ve ever been in throughout our 19-year history. Myself and a couple others who are approaching our second year have brought a lot of energy and new ideas that have already benefited the fans. I think we’ll have a huge improvement in our fan experience this season and we now have a good group of players that have entered the league and are ready to be coached. We’re on that narrow path to righteousness and the trajectory is looking good. You should see me ahead of the game, I get more nervous than the players. I'm superstitious so I’m very in tune to what we do pregame and how we do it so the guys can win. I don’t do anything to mess that up.

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