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Summary

A portion of the proceeds from Front Row Seat will be donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease research and the Positive Coaching Alliance to help coaches lead and develop America’s future leaders.

America's youth sports industry has changed dramatically over the past two decades. The days of playing for your town or local YMCA team, be it baseball, soccer, basketball or lacrosse were coming to an end. There would soon be an arms race - how do I get my child on the best travel team, should I hire a personal trainer, which college showcases should my child attend, should I subscribe to a recruiting service, and so on. Youth sports had become big business. 

An opportunity presented itself to me to invest in a sports event business and, soon, other opportunities followed. Over the next five years or so, I was invested; personally and financially in the industry. 

My view and approach to the youth sports market was pretty simple - first and foremost, exceed customer expectations; deliver great experiences and value; and reinforce positive values and sportsmanship. With the advent of social media, our customers became our marketers; moms, dads and kids sharing our branded content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, respectively. 

The founder of a youth sports company reached out to me and told me that he had heard good things about me and said he would like to get together and tell me more about his company. He seemed to know a fair amount about my investments and activities in the sports space. He was a bit vague about why he was contacting me, however, it felt like a good networking opportunity and you never know where meetings like this can lead. 

I had strong opinions about the youth sports market and a fully developed investment thesis - I was confident that there was tremendous opportunity both from an investment perspective and to provide customers with better-quality experiences. Perhaps this company would prove to be a good opportunity, a platform to execute the strategy. I agreed to meet with him. 

I could never have imagined what the next two years of my life would be like. I quickly found myself wrapped in a web of lies, cover-ups, and dealing with individuals driven by ego and greed. Never in my life did I think I would be dealing with an international criminal investigation led by the US Department of Justice. I was fearing for my family's safety and fighting for the rights of our employees and customers all at the same time. 

If that wasn’t enough, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. 

I had a front row seat to dozens of real-time business case studies; accounting issues; civil and criminal litigation; and my own path to acceptance and rediscovering what matters most.

©2020 Stephen Griffin (P)2020 Stephen Griffin

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  • Muddy Spud Bug
  • 30-06-21

Accounting Drama!

This book is a testament to the freedom of self-publishing:

Production: The production of this audiobook was amateur at best, but I found that the author’s passion towards ethical accounting came through in his voice and was infectious.

Story: No traditional artsy publisher would have allowed accounting irregularities to push a plot forward, but it did here. The accounting violations with layman explanations were very interesting to me as a financial professional with limited accounting knowledge.

Thanks to Stephen for writing this book instead of just trying to forget the events!

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  • Dave Hemke
  • 30-06-21

Great story - horrible performance

This was a great 'inspired by real life' story that touches on a number of the many problems connected to slick business men obsessed with shaking every last dollar out of youth sports.

The story was so good that I was willing to endure the amateur-sounding audio performance which suffers from objectively poor recording quality, numerous technical glitches, sudden and jarring volume changes, and a subjectively grating Northeastern accent.

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  • M. Addesa
  • 20-05-21

Is Steve running a vacuum or standing on a jetway

This story is great. It is a lot of fun. I liked listening to the author reading it. This version I listened too had amateur production quality. There are several places where you can hear Outlook ding or a text message come in while the author is reading. At one point I am pretty sure there was an audible fart, if it wasn't, it sounded so much like it that it might as well have been. Between each chapter there is a god awful noise that sounds like a vacuum, so loud it hurts your ears if you have headphones on.

Great Story, well read by an interesting guy that is not a voice actor. That was refreshing. So far below the production quality I am used to as an Audible listener.