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

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If I Heard Everything....

How bad would it be in this world if we knew everything that was said about us? Worse yet, thought about us? I would be willing to bet that many of us have at least had negative thoughts about loved ones, but those thoughts were never spoken or acted upon.

You learn as a coach to take things with a grain of salt, as I have stated before or get out. A lifetime of working on a reputation can be taken away in a few seconds. It has happened to me, but I have also been guilty of the same thing.

Thoughts you have, emotions you feel can lead to things being said that aren't meant or worse...not true. Words that can never be taken away. No matter the apology, it doesn't make the aggravation go away. It is something that has happened to me all too often and you would think I would know better than to be part of the problem.

The biggest difference between words and the written word is that written words can live forever. I am a supporter of social networking sites and I think they can bring many positive things about, but I also believe that it can bring very bad things about. There have been many times I have almost written something, but thought about the ramifications of those words....we need to do the same thing with the spoken word.

We all fall short in trying to improve, but what are you doing when that happens? Are you denying that you have a problem? Are you working to improve? And once you have a perception about you, it is even easier to fall in the eyes of some.

I am glad I haven't heard everything that has been said about me because the things I have heard are often hard to deal with. I am not glad, however, that I have on ocassion been part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Seniors...

Should seniors at a school be recognized in their last athletic event? First, let me say that I 100% support "Senior Night" for athletics and any other event that is held at a high school or college. I want to focus mainly on high school because that is where I teach and coach. At my school, it is a tradition that goes back so far I couldn't tell you when it started. However, it used to be that all athletes, cheerleaders, and band members were recognized one night, at the end of the boys' basketball season.

Acknowledging seniors in the last home game of the year is an honor especially for those student/athletes that participated for four years or longer. And for their parent or guardian to walk out with them is a nice gesture for all the time and effort that parents put into their children. I fully support "Senior Night".

What bothers me is that at some schools there are senior nights for every sport. Why does that bother me? Really, the only reason is that those athletes get recognized twice a year at our school. Once at the end of their athletic event (not all sports do it here), but also in the last home boys' basketball game. I do not mind sharing the spotlight with everyone, I think the boys' last home game is a great time to do it, but I do feel that some student/athletes are able double dip on recognition and others are recognized only once as I think it should be.

Boys' basketball players, cheerleaders, and band members are often recognized at the boys' last home game. As I have said, it is a wonderful honor, but they share the night with many other sports who have their own senior nights. Is it fair that those three groups have time taken from them by other student/athletes that have already been recognized?

I don't want to take anything away from the people who work and make the other "Senior Nights" a huge success for those teams, but if I were to have cake and a party after our senior night and only invited boys' basketball players, cheerleaders and band members, I would be highly critisized. Even though I would be doing nothing different than the other sports who have their own specific senior nights.

Ultimately, I don't mind what other sports do to end their season. As I stated, not ever sport does it. Is the answer to have your own or to show up at the last boy's game? I don't know. I do think it is nice what the people who put the work in do for these athletes on their senior nights.

Closing, I want to thank all of the parents of the seniors as well as other parents for getting their kids where they need and want to be. Thank you for supporting them throughout their careers and thank you for supporting us at the school. Without you, much of what we do would not be possible.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's the Right Thing to Do

Basketball isn't for everyone. I understand that. I understand that the time and commitment has increased, the attention span of the average person has decreased, and that the no guarantees of playing time does not hold the allure that a job or other interests hold today. I get that every year the players who put the time and effort into basketball grow more special, and yet compared to 20 years ago would be considered the norm. I get all of those things.

What I don't get is when players do not speak to me or one of the other coaches face to face to let us know what is going on. I feel that we do a good job in our communication, I am sure we could do better. I know that not everyone will be able to fulfill the obligations of basketball. But speak to your coach, any of them. Talk to them. Maybe something can be worked out, maybe it cannot be worked out. But do not keep them wondering what happened, what was the cause of your disappearance.

It may be hard, it may end up negative, but do it. Speak face to face with anyone is relying on you, depending on you, or wanting you to participate and inform them of your decision. I would be willing to bet that in a high percentage of the time, the coach may not be happy with your decision, but will absolutely respect that you spoke with them.


Why? Because I believe it's the right thing to do...it's the right thing to do.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The State of American Education

My preacher and I have had a running discussion the last few weeks about the state of the American education system. It is quite depressing when you see the numbers of where the USA is ranked in comparison to the rest of the world when it comes to science and math scores. It can be embarassing when you hear American students interviewed and asked simple geography and history questions and they cannot answer them and if they do it is so ridiculous that you cannot laugh. But is the entire system in trouble? Is it flawed?

First we must understand the US education system. We are one of the only if not the only country in the world that allows every single person access to a public education. We cannot discriminate based on anything. So, we have students in public classrooms who have physical disabilities along with those who do not. We have students in public classrooms with IQ's of 150 sitting along side students with IQ's of 70, and we allow students with psychological disabilities to be allowed in the public classroom.

I am not saying whether it is good or bad, I am just explaining what we have. I guess I could be making excuses, but there is no way that our education system can be ranked high if we allow for these types of situations to occur. What it does is allow for everyone access to an education. Will it make for high rankings; probably not. But it is a less discriminatory society and a noble exercise.

Other issues with public education would be the fear of lawsuits. Not just in education, but in every aspect of our country does the idea of being sued manipulate the system. As a teacher, if I have too high expecations and the students fail it is probably because I am not teaching to each student's education plan and therefore, I could be sued. If I water down the information then I am neglecting my job and can be sued for neglect of education. If I fail a student and they cannot be passed on, I have to show through extensive paperwork that I did my job (which isn't a problem for me) or be sued. Yet, if I just pass them on and they haven't done the work or learned the info to warrant passing, then I am guilty of social promotion.

It seems that teachers more and more are blamed for the downfall of the American education system and I think in some situations that is true. However, I believe that there needs to be a new mindset especially when comparing us to the rest of the world. If we continue to allow for all Americans to have access to a public education, then we had better be ready to have our understanding of where we rank world wide to be different. We will not be at the top of the list, but we may be making for a better overall country; or not.