Bankers Life for the Indiana vs. Kentucky All Star Game

Monday, July 28, 2014

So Much Going On

I have watched my daughter and son play many softball and baseball games this summer.  I love them and enjoy watching them play, but I wonder how we have ever taught toughness, or do we?  I hear often that they are 6 year olds, or 9 year olds, let them have fun and it isn't that big of a deal.  I agree, in the grand scheme of things, it isn't that big of a deal.  However, if we are going to play the game, if we are going to keep score, then we need to participate to win. 

They are just little kids, but so are the teams that have been kicking their butts.  My goal is to make my kids tough, mentally tough, but they need to play on teams that are tough too.  Life is hard, we have to be tough.

New school year is about to begin with me at a new school.  I am at Silver Creek HS where I coached last year, but now full time, every day.  I am leaving a school, Henryville, that I have taught at, attended or coached at for 31 of my 44 years.  There is a little bit of sadness compounded with much excitement as the school year begins in the next couple of days.  It is exciting to be around the players and coaches that I work with every day to try and grow this already successful program.

Finally, you ever feel like you are a bad parent?  Yea, me too.  So often my kids do not behave with my wife and I, but they are well behaved with others.  I guess if I had a choice, that's how I would take it.  But man...this parenting thing is hard, and I feel like I am in quicksand....a lot.

Monday, June 30, 2014

For Every Season, There is a Change

Some of you may know and others may not know but I have transferred schools within West Clark.  I have gone from a wonderful 15 years at Henryville H.S. and will now be teaching at Silver Creek H.S.  Along with teaching, coaching and attending HHS, I have spent over 25 of my 44 years in the halls of HHS.  It is home.  However, I thought I would take this space and answer some questions that I know will be and are being asked.

Why did you transfer?  Before the tornado on March 2, 2012, I did not want to teach or coach my own children.  I believed that they needed their own identity and needed to get away from mom and dad every day while at school.  After the tornado, I don't care about that anymore.  I want to be close to them at all times.  Right or wrong, that's how I feel.

Why don't your kids go to Henryville schools?  My wife and I thought about that, but we live next to SC schools, our kids attend there because we believe in the neighborhood school.  We also believe that since our children will be heavily involved in the school whether it be with sports or other things, it would save us many hours, miles, and gas money to have them in the schools in our back yard.

Why don't you move to Henryville?  We live in the house that my wife grew up in, in a great neighborhood, in a great location for a great price.  I won't say that we will never move, but neither of us have that desire right now. 

As I have gone back to HHS to clean up my room and put some things into storage, I cannot help but be saddended.  The students at HHS are some of the best that there are.  No doubt they have gotten me through some hard things in my own life from divorce to the tornado.  If it weren't for them, I don't know where I would be, but they will go on and be successful with or without me around.

Coaching at SC last winter has shown me that there are a lot of great kids there as well.  I can only hope that I have some impact on them as I did at HHS, but the greatest blessing is if they have the effect on me that teaching the students at HHS have had.  I will miss HHS, but I am looking forward to a change and challenges of a new school.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Final Thoughts on Prison Trip...for Now

I have been back for a couple of days from Lake Correctional Institute and I have been able to clear my head...some.  When I first come back from any trip in which the lifestyle is grossly different from my own, I really, really struggle assimilating back into my posh lifestyle.  It does not matter if it is from a foreign country or what I experienced last week.

The four days that Sports Reach helped with recreation at L.C.I. were a true blessing to me.  I interacted with many men who were extremely appreciative and thankful for us taking time from our schedules and away from our families to come and spend time with them.  I have never had the thanks and appreciation shown to me that I was shown last week in that prison.  Every single person that I spoke to was kind, supportive, and thoughtful to my being there.

With that all being said, they are criminals who have done things to get them locked up in a state penitentiary.  Many of them deal with drug issues, but there were armed robbers, murderers, rapists, etc within those walls of the prison.  I was able to look up online what some of them had done to get in there and their actions with me did not always seem to connect with what they were convicted of.

As a Christian, I believe we are called to love people, all people.  Even those in prison.  But how do I come to grips with two huge issues?

1.  I have done some things in my past that could have easily landed me in prison.  I believe that every person who has drank alcohol and can legally drive has been behind the wheel of a car at some point when they should not have been.  This very well could have led to an accident that led to me or you going to prison.  Yet, we are judgmental about these people that are inside the prison.  They were caught, their crimes have been seen, judged and a punishment rendered.  But what about us?  We got away with our crime, yet we seem to feel above those inside the prison walls.

2.  They are criminals.  They have done something to be sent to this place.  I would not want them to watch my children, and if they had done something to my family, I know I would not feel as much compassion for them.  Does that make me a hypocrite?  Does it make my actions more about me than for glorifying God?

I do not know the answers to these two big questions, but I know that I have changed.  I have changed in the way that I think about the whole "prison" situation (it is not all Lockdown on MSNBC!) and it has changed how I can forgive these people.

I can forgive them of their crimes perpetrated on others, but the true challenge would be can I forgive them if those same crimes were perpetrated on me?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lake Correctional Institute Day 3 and Heading Home

We finished Day 3 at the prison.  You form bonds with some of these guys and they will tell you their stories.  Some of them are true, and some maybe not, but you listen.  They are people who feel that the world has forgotten about them an many of them are in for drug charges. 

You can only hope that the young guys who are serving short times and the 41 who are getting out in the next few months have learned their lesson and will not return to the correctional system.  I pray they don't. 

Thursday, we are finishing up and driving home.  Cannot wait to see my family and prepare for the next big adventure....Chicago with them!!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Florida Correctional Institute: Day 2

Today, we headed on out to the prison and had a great morning.  The inmates played basketball and soccer and kept themselves in check.  They have an overall understanding that what they are getting to do this week is a privilege that can be taken away. 

After lunch, we headed back and had to wait for a couple of hours as there was a couple of situations.  The count of inmates was wrong after lunch, and then they found a cell phone.  Cell phones are being snuck into the prison and are a problem.  We weren't able to get in any recreation with them, but are looking forward to softball tomorrow. 

We got another round of Fantasia putt putt golf in.  The Indiana team was able to defeat the team from Kentucky and Tennessee.  Congrats Jordan, my main man from Ferdinand!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Lake Correctional Institute

We spent the day today at the above prison in Florida, speaking with, hanging out with, and umpiring softball games for the inmates.  I have worked many basketball camps throughout the area and many countries of the world.

I have never felt the appreciation that I felt today from these men.  I shared a testimony and it resonated with a few people.  It is a true blessing being here.