29 years coaching experience/ 7 years as a varsity boys' basketball coach, now assisting

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hoops 4 Rescue

If money were not an issue, I would start a sports ministry with an heavy emphasis on basketball starting out, but maybe even baseball.

What I would like to do is go to inner cities or other poorer places and put on "free" basketball clinics for one day or multiple days.

I would have volunteers work, and I would make sure that each child got a t-shirt and maybe a basketball.

My goal would be to find a corporate sponsor who would donate up to $2,000 to make the camp free for the children involved.

That total would be hopefully no more than $500.

The other $1,500 would be donated to a human/sex trafficking group and that total is what it costs to free one person from that horrendous way of life. We would base the camp on Proverbs 24:11 "Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling toward slaughter".

It would:
1. Give back to communities who may not be able to afford a basketball camp.
2. Each child would leave with a shirt and a ball with the logo of the sports ministry and the corporate sponsors ad along with which trafficking organization we would donate to.
3. Corporations in the area would have a tax write off as well as good will in an area they may not always have it.
4. We would spread the Gospel, as it would be well known that we are not just a character organization, but a Christ centered.

And Volleyball...and Cheer...and....

Friday, March 17, 2017

Thanks Coach Crean, I Wish You Well

Yesterday, as news of Coach Tom Crean being removed as the Indiana University basketball coach, many emotions went through my mind.

First, and foremost was remorse.

Remorse that it had gotten to this point in his relationship with the university and worse yet, the fan base.

Remorse for him.

Remorse for his family.

And remorse in that I may not be able to see and speak to him as often.

Tom Crean, forget the coach part, is a very good man.

A good man who used his spotlight to help a student whose car was stuck in a snow bank; who allowed me to take a high school student who is an IU fan and going blind to attend a game; who contacted me after the tornado that destroyed the school I taught at; who contacted numerous people dealing with traumatic events; who befriended many people who were sick and dying; and who believed that his job was much bigger than coaching basketball.

He is a man who I could start typing about the great things I know he did and what I heard he did and wouldn't end anytime soon.

The remorse I feel is for a man who was fired (never an easy thing to deal with) and his family who wants to be supportive, but may not be able to help other than to vent anger.

Sure, the amount of money he has been paid over the last nine years will soften the blow, but it still hurts and I hate that for him.

But I also realized that this meant a new beginning for both IU basketball and Coach Crean. An unfortunate separation that, in all honesty, needed to happen for all parties involved.

And often times a new beginning is the best thing that can happen to us. Whether they be voluntary or forced upon us a new page, a new view can refresh us.

Coach Crean will land on his feet and probably score a "10" in doing so.

His personality, contacts, knowledge, charisma, empathy, sympathy, and experience are just a few things that will land him where he desires eventually. He understands his purpose in coaching this silly game of basketball

IU basketball may be better off or worse with this separating of the ways, that is yet to be seen, but Coach Crean will be better off either soon or eventually. He can't not be because of the type of human being he is.

Finally, I just want to say "thank you" to Coach Crean. The program he inherited was awful, just awful and through his sheer will and the help of his assistants like Tim Buckley, they were able to bring IU back to national prominence even if irregularly.

For that IU fans owe him a huge, huge show of appreciation.

I will miss Coach Crean because I am a fan, but I will miss Tom Crean even more. Tom Crean touched more people in a positive way often out of sight than can be written in one small blog entry.

I just hope that he ends up somewhere close, or somewhere that I visit regularly so that I may stay in touch with Tom Crean and still watch his practices and know that he's still making a positive impact both on and off the basketball court.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Under the Radar No More

(picture from News and Tribune Sports)
A couple years ago, I wrote an article about a friend of mine at a local high school you can find it HERE.

Coach Jon May at New Washington H.S. hadn't had the kind of success that he deserved compared to the amount of time that he and his staff had put in. I mean, they scout you to the point your guys can't take a step without them calling it out.

Nothing against NW, but the talent level hadn't been to a competitive level for their class during his tenure and even the two previous coaches. I had heard some negatives (they exist when you coach) about him and some wondering out loud if they should go in a different direction which motivated me to write that article. It appeared in our local paper as I was writing weekly for them at the time.

My biggest argument was when he had talent that was equitable, he would show what he could really do.

And man oh man has he done that.

This group of seniors that he has playing for him this year have won their first sectional and regional titles in sixteen years. To watch them play is truly watching an extension of the coaching staff and Coach May.

All of the things he has taught them, they are believing, doing and executing. There is no perceived issue among any of the players or between the players and staff. He has his team currently playing in a way where he can sit and enjoy because they are playing at a high level. He has done all of the hard work, they have listened, and they are executing.

This weekend they play in the semi-state, one game from the state finals and whether they win or not will not change my opinion about Coach May.

I said it before and I will say it now.

I would have zero hesitation allowing my children to play for him because he knows what he is doing basketball wise and because he is a class act human being.

Jim Matthews used to say that winning championships justifies what you're doing as a coach and Coach May has finally gotten that justification.

The great thing is that he didn't need them to justify anything, and despite overwhelming support from many in his hometown, maybe now some of the naysayers will realize how lucky they are to have him representing their town and school.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It's Our Fault; Parents That Is

As parents in the 21st century, have we become enablers of our children?

I think this is something that has gone on for a long time because I can remember instances when I was younger in the early 1980s and maybe even earlier, but has it gotten worse?

We see and read about the "snowflake" generation and wonder where our country is headed, but shouldn't we look backwards? Whose fault is it that we are witnessing this behavior?

As a coach/teacher I have seen many situations of enabling. I've seen many situations that I have been attacked for pointing out the situation by a parent because they believe (or refuse to see) that their child may not be perfect and I ended up being right in the future. I have yet to receive an apology from some of these parents, but it is what it is.

Before I was a parent, I could not understand where these people were coming from, now with children, I do understand it.

We don't want our children to endure hardships.

Yet, isn't that the way we've all learned? Isn't it actually the best way to learn?

I get it though.

I have watched as my child has been disciplined by coaches, treated in ways that I think unfairly compared to the other players and I go into defensive mode.

It is then that I try to remember all of the experiences I have seen or been involved in as a coach/parent or my wife sets me straight.

It is good for my son and daughter to endure "hardships" (I mean they aren't starving, homeless, or unclothed, or unloved) when they are younger because they will face them as adults. More serious than anything they will see as children. And we are not talking about the kind of hardships that will mentally challenge them forever and, really, who cares if it does? It is isn't any type of abuse.

And that's why we sit where we do today with an ever growing group of spoiled children/young adults.

They can't handle someone who disagrees with them so they shut down, or worse yet, attempt to shut down the person they disagree with. If disagreement cannot be stopped, we give law students coloring books, safe spaces and excuses for their behavior which enables it further.

I'm not just pointing this out about society today in general, I, specifically, have caught myself doing it to my children and I worry I am not preparing them for real life.

How tough will they be?

Will they cower because someone disagrees with them?

Will they fight for what they believe in?

Or will I have spoiled them so much that they will march in the streets for the perceived lack of rights (we can always do better) in a country that is the 1% when dealing with freedoms and monetary success?

I hope not.

And I will continue to examine my actions and what I shelter them from...

But it ain't easy; not by a long shot.