30 years coaching experience/Worked Camps/Clinics on 5 Continents

Friday, July 29, 2011

Some Stuff from the Cards of Coach Don Meyer

Coach Don Meyer has good stuff on his website: Coach Don Meyer: Home

Don't listen.  You might hear.

Don't think.  You might learn.

Don't make a decision.  You might be wrong.

Don't walk.  You might stumble.

Don't run.  You might fall.

Don't live.  You might die.

Love Life:
Be grateful for it always
and show your gratitude
by not shying away from its challenges

Try always to live
a little beyond your capacities....
you'll find that you never succeed

STOP! and think
1. Is this a risk I can afford to take?
2. How will this affect my future?
3. How will this affect my family?
4.  How will this affect my teammates and coaches?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nothing Moving Me to Write, I Thought I Would Offer Up Another Movie Selection

I am currently reading The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne.  I had seen the movie first and if you picked either you would be entertained, I guess is the best word.  The movie, however, does go along with the book.  It is about being an innocent boy growing up during the Hitler Reich in Germany.  Good movie with a shocking ending.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Trailer

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dead Poets Society: Carpe Diem

This is by far one of the better movies I have seen.  I can remember being in my mid 20's watching this and this scene really hit me....hard.

Watch and enjoy this 5 minute clip.

How Much is Too Much?

Before I had kids, I often wondered why we didn't have consistent attendance when we had camps from some students.  Most of it was based on the fact that when I was a kid, I was there every time the doors were open.  But when I was a kid, I did two things...Little League baseball and basketball camps.  That was it.  The rest of the time I did something really crazy....I played in my yard with my sister or by myself.

Now I do have kids.  Only one is old enough to participate in camps and little league, but I wonder what is too much?  Do we schedule too much of her fun.  She has attended boys' basketball camps, girls' basketball camps (2 different schools), volleyball camps, tennis camps, gymnastics, played soccer, and played coach pitch baseball.  When I write that down, I wonder if it is too much.  We never force her to participate, we ask her.  And if she were to say "no", my wife and I would be fine with that.  But she says "yes".  Should we hold back some of these things to allow her more unscheduled time or is it part of the world we live in, she lives in today?

I try to be a pretty even minded parent which might be virtually impossible to do.  But I observe her when she is doing what she is doing and she doesn't act bored.  It kills my son who is 3 years younger.  He wants to do everything that his sister does and we have allowed him in my camps and started him in gymnastics to help with his coordination. 

I think we have to be cautious in comparing the world of our children with the world we grew up in.  I think that is true for every generation.  Because there are always changes in culture and each generation thinks they had it better than the current generation.  Maybe we did, maybe our parents and grandparents had better than any of us.  I guess it is going to be a debate on what is too much not in activities for kids, but also is it too much on toys, technology, and just about everything else. 

So, this morning, we take the kids off to tennis camp, we will sign my daughter up for basketball camp, gymnastics this week, and soccer sign ups soon as well as my basketball camp for both kiddos...geez, I am worn out just thinking about it.  As they age, we plan on narrowing what they do based on their likes and ability, but for now this is it for kids; and it makes more sense why we don't get consistent attendance in our camps from some kids.  We are just but one of numerous things that kids have the opportunity to do every week and every day.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Support Base

In the coaching world, you need to have a support base.  You need someone who will be there when you win, but more importantly when you are losing.  You need someone who is going to be there when you are the unofficial mayor of the town, but more importantly when you can't find a friend anywhere.

With me, it is my wife, mom and dad, and kids.  I have plenty of friends in the school, in the community, and surrounding the team that support me, but I don't go home with them.  That doesn't make me appreciate them any less.  Other coaches in the building as well as other teachers at HHS are hugely supportive and I am glad that they are there.  My parents, I know, have my back.  They will support me no matter what happens.  My mom may even be a little more aggressive in her support.

But my kids are always welcoming me after a game with hugs and kisses...and honesty.  Last year, my daughter said towards the middle of a tough season "dad, your team always loses, but I love you".  I said "uh, thanks, I think" and had a little laugh about it.  My daughter could care less if we win or not, she just wants to cheer at the games, and the cheer sponsor has been great in allowing her to be with them during games.  My son could also care less if we win or not.  After games, he just wants a basketball to dribble and shoot with.

My wife, however, is the best.  She is the one who keeps my book, listens to me vent, supports and reassures, and also brings me down to Earth.  She is the one who listens to my doubts, my conerns, and my frustrations.  She does all of this by reminding me why I coach and putting things in proper perspective.  She might be the best coaches wife that there is, though many would debate that comment.  But she does not complain when I have to scout, when I want to go to camps to work or attend basketball clinics.  She does not complain when I am refereeing elementary games, and I ask her to work the "gate".  She does not complain when after a game, win or lose, that we go out to either sulk or celebrate.  She played and she has an understanding of what it takes to be successful, she understand how you are supposed to do things when it comes to basketball. 

I will debate anyone that she is the best my wife Kristi.  And as she approaches her 32nd birthday on Monday, July 25, I hope she knows how much I appreciate her.  I appreciate that she is supportive, but also has to endure many of the same things that I do on the negative side, the only difference is that I can control some of it...she can't.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

When Bad Things Happen to Good Coaches

I will be the first to do two things:

1. admit that I have coached for 1 A.D. and 3 Principals and have had full support, to my knowledge, from all four people.  I have zero stories of threats by administration towards whether I am coach or not, I will even go so far to say that I have had zero problems with school board members.  I realize that they hear talk and complaints, but it hasn't reached the level that they have spoken to me.  Maybe it has gotten bad, but they have been professional and kept it to themselves.  With that said, it could change at anytime, I understand that.

2. admit that basketball coaches can do some really stupid things.  I am not going to discuss details here, but there have been coaches fired for doing immoral and unethical things.  We are human beings, we will make mistakes...that doesn't make it any less stupid.  I will also admit that I have done some pretty stupid things that haven't broached a fireable offense, but that would be subjective to many people.

With those two things being said, there have been many coaches in the last 5 years that I have noticed that have resigned or been fired that should not have been forced in either situation.  Some of these coaches were successfull, but someone (board/administration) was wanting to make room for someone else (I would not want to coach in that situation at all).  Some of these coaches were let go in the time that their talent level had dipped.  It happens at all schools, but even more so at smaller schools.

Most people don't put much thought into what this pressure puts on a coach, but more importantly to a coaches family.  Most coaches are big boys, or girls, and can handle isn't fun, but they can handle it.  But imagine their wives or children having to hear and deal with these things.  These negative situations are usually public and everyone is dragged through the proverbial mud.  It isn't something that happens when doctors, accountants or salesman lose their jobs.  It isn't fair, but it is part of the job when you take a job like high school basketball coach in Indiana, you realize that it happens.

It's unfortunate to see highly successful coaches who are doing things the right way to be under pressure and then removed.  Believe it or not, most high school coaches are not coaching for the money.  They might be coaching for themselves, their need for competition and their need to feel good about themselves, but most are coaching because they want to compete and want to help kids.  Maybe that is idealistic but it is what I believe.

I think it is important to understand that all coaches do not want to lose.  If winning were easy everybody would be doing it, but we are all trying to beat each other.  Therefore, if your talent level is down that team probably won't do as well.  I think it is important to take into everything that is going on around a program before you remove the coach.  Is the talent down?  Do the kids respect the coach?  Is the coach working hard?  Is the coach a moral guy?  and many other questions that have nothing to do with winning, but.....

I do realize that it is high school basketball in Indiana and that many people want to win.  I understand that at some point if you don't win the grumblings will get louder and louder.  I understand that at some point the administration and school boards may get tired of hearing about the basketball coach (squeeky wheel gets noticed).  I understand that when that happens, they will find anything they can to pressure you to step down or be fired.  I understand all of that, and I understand that it might be time for the coach to go which won't usually be an easy parting.  Think divorce and you understand maybe a little why it could get ugly.

The only thing that I can offer is this and it goes not just for basketball coaches, but in any position where there is negativity.  If you are a supporter, speak up.  Usually people are most vocal when they are unhappy, just look at politics especially during election time.  A small minority can affect the outcome of job positions especially basketball coaches.  If you think your coach is doing a good job, tell the administration and school board members.  I would bet that often the silent majority is shocked and/or upset when something like this happens but hasn't spoken up.  So speak up when you hear rumors or grumblings.

Most people wouldn't understand that high school coaches are pretty close.  We are willing to share information on other teams and even our own philosophies to other coaches.  We are trying to beat each other, but besides our family, we probably support each other more than you could understand and it is because of shared experiences.  This isn't a personal issue for me because of something I have gone through (a coach once told me that there are two types of coaches: those who have been fired and those who will be fired), but it is a personal issue in that I have seen people I consider friends go through this.  It is personal because  I know what we go through as coaches and most coaches, not all, deserve better. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Can There Be 4 Worse Words to Say as a Coach Than "Well, When I Played..."?

(Back row Buddy Coats, Erik Furnish, Charles Bottorff, David Moore, Darrell Bischoff, Head Coach Terry Rademacher
Front row Bryan Coomer, Doug Boggs, Matt Rice, and Perry Hunter)
Well, when I played....many people thought I was a smart player.  Some thought I was skilled, some thought I was quick, some thought...whatever, but many people thought I was smart.  When I think back about when I played high school basketball, I wasn't very smart, I just did what my coach told me to do which I guess in hindsight is pretty smart.  But I have watched game tapes of when I played and I can remember playing in those games, but I don't remember knowing why I did what I did.  But I look back and see that not only me, but many of my teammates did some really smart things and it had to go back to coaching because none of us were that smart.

My senior year, picture above, we were not that good.  We were not athletic, but the team GPA was relatively high, we played hard, and we were coachable.  The scoring was done by 3 guys. Charles Bottorff, me, and Matt Rice would take most of the shots and score most of the points.  We had many good role players after that.  Some of the guys would focus on rebounding and some on defense, and some on handling the ball.

We played many good teams that year and finished 11-9 in the regular season.  We got a break and drew Borden in the bye game of the sectional which is the first round of our state tournament.  This was the one class era, so two small schools playing for a chance to get to the championship was a big deal for both of us.  We had beaten them twice that season in close games, I hit two FT's with seconds left to beat them at home and Matt Rice hit FT's at Borden to win in the last seconds.  We felt like we were better than them and they were confident they could beat us.  We came out and got a big lead immediately up over 30 points at halftime.

That got us to the championship game vs. the host school Floyd Central.  Floyd Central was a junior dominated team led by Pat Graham.  The next season FC would go to the State Final Four, Graham would be named Mr. Basketball and would sign with Indiana University.  But on this night, this group at FC hadn't won anything yet.  We were down 10-0 and called a timeout.  By halftime the game was virtually over but in the 4th quarter down by 20, we made a run and cut the lead to 12, I believe, and had the ball.  FC stopped the run and defeated us easily to win the sectional and for us to finish 12-10.

I can remember fouling out of that game with a few minutes left and I can remember the absolute emotional drain that I had.  You see, all I had wanted to do when I was a kid was play for Henryville.  I was born in October of 1969 and my mom started taking me to games in November.  But as I walked off the floor to the bench, then from the bench to the locker room and finally in the locker room I could not believe that I would never get to put on a uniform again.  That everything I had ever wanted as a kid was over.

You can probably understand why many of us coach.  We want to be able to never grow up in some ways.  By coaching we get to still be a part of our childhood, by being part of others' childhoods.  The difference now is that when a player's career is over and they are extremely emotional, my career can go on as long as I want to coach or do not get removed from the job.

(The 10-11 team at Purdue the summer before the season)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Making Basketball Goals Out of Nothing...or Something

(Hanover Basketball Camp above before my freshman year of high school.  I am third row from the bottom all the way to the right)

When I first started playing basketball, I had an urge inside to play...all the time.  It would drive me crazy if I couldn't shoot, or play.  I was around 10 years old when a friend of my cousins told me what he used to do.  We didn't have Nerf goals, so he taught me how to take a metal coat hanger and make it into a rim.  You spin the top off, then put it in the top of your door.  I got more elaborate as time went on by putting string on for a net and cardboard cut out to make backboards.  At one time, I had a full court in my bedroom, and I played full schedules.  Usually, as Henryville playing every top team in the state and we never lost...always undefeated.  The ball could be any ball, but what I ended up doing was taking a sock or two and wrapping them up in gray tape.  It would bounce and you could shoot it and it would last a long time.

What I think back on now is the unbelievable patience my parents had.  I played games with play by play.  I played games and was fouled by bumping into the walls.  I played games running up and down the court, throwing the ball off the walls for give and go plays.  When I had friends over, we would play one on one and it could get pretty physical.  I don't know if as a parent, I could put up with what I did.  I would play music and that would be the length of the game.  5 songs would be halftime, 5 more would be the end of the game.  I got to where I knew towards the end of the last song when the half or the game would end.

My father built the goal that I had in my yard.  He used wood from an old house he had torn down, dug the hole and put it up.  It had no area to shoot a layup with a gap...the boards were right there.  It was built on a small hill and the rim broke hanging down in front.  It was why my shot was so flat early in high school because I shot so many times at that goal.

The court wasn't paved, it was grass until I turned it into dirt.  It was dirt when it was dry, it was mud when it rained and when it was both snowy and muddy.  I can remember shooting on that goal in the dirt, the mud and wearing gloves in the winter to go and shoot.  I remember watching basketball games on t.v. and I could not stand it, I had to get up and go out and shoot, yet I wanted to watch the game so it was a continuous back and forth.  Inside to watch the game, outside to shoot, back inside to watch...and so on.  Again, the patience of my parents.

How often do kids do that now?  I know my own children have many basketball goals in the house, none made by them.  There are many basketballs in the house, none made by them.  Are we stealing something from our children by not allowing them to use their imaginations?  Are we stealing something by having everything they do organized and scheduled?  I think so, but I might also be a parent who remembers the "good old days" but while participating back then, my parents and grandparents were probably looking at me thinking of what I was missing out on from their own childhoods.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

113 Days Until The Boys' 1st Practice

Yes, having a few days off from basketball has gotten me looking ahead to this season.  I really believe that if the guys keep working and learning that we will be highly competitive this season.  Seniors Brad Everage and Evan Embry, juniors Cody Reister, Dakota Harrell, Ty Collins, Jade Jones and Jacob Guernsey, sophomores Andrew Jones and Devin Richey played the bulk of the varsity games this summer and all did some good things at different times.  We have some size, some quickness, and some shooters and our defense improved.  And all those guys who played some J.V. also improved this summer.

But until the first practice, we have a few things to do.  First, I will meet with the girls' coach and we are going to talk about starting a "league" that combines both boys and girls starting at the pre-K age to junior high, at least what I am hoping for.  We will start open gyms soon, but we have to work around the fall sports schedules especially volleyball, but having a third functional gym now will help.  Then in October, we will start conditioning.  We really want to be in great running shape when practice starts so we are ready to go.

That may not seem like a lot to do, but it will start about 2 to three weeks after school begins making us have something to do with basketball August thru April, nothing in May, much of June, off in July.  So in 12 months, we do nothing basketball related 2 out of 12 months.  That is why I think that any boy who is willing to put the time in to play basketball deserves respect.  However, I do not think that because they are willing to put the time in that they deserve any special treatment inside the building when it comes to academics or behavior, in fact, I would hope they are held to a higher standard in many situations.

Our goal is to win games, build better men who will be responsible husbands and fathers.  Our goal is to win games and teach them the game of basketball, but more importantly the game of life in how to deal with success and adversity.  Our goal is to win games and to work hard.  Our goal is to win games and represent Henryville H.S. and the Henryville school community in a positive manner.  Our goals are many, but they are what I believe in and what we will work towards as long as I am the coach.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Balance in Life

We did something a little differently this summer basketball wise, we are taking all of July off.  We used to have the "old school" open gyms, but we had low turnout and I think we all needed a break.  I know I did but many of the guys wanted to play some more once the down period was over after July 4th week, but I told them no.  I think it is good that they want to be IN the gym and not want to stay AWAY from the gym.  So we will get started back up once school starts with open gyms and conditioning starting sometime in October.

It is nice to take some time and stay away from not only the gym, but also the school.  I have not been up there, but one time in 3 weeks.  I have done a lot of yard work and spending time with the kids, trying to make up for all the time I miss from October to March.  I have tried not to miss their events since the season ended even though it won't kill them to have me not there, it is something that I don't want to look back on and regret because I didn't go enough.  It is like when I get frustrated at night when the kids want me to read to them, yet I am tired.  All I have to do is think about how it won't be long when they won't want me to read to them, they won't want me around, and they will be reading to their own I stay, read, and smile.

We all got away for a few days to Michigan City, IN for a mini vacation.  There is a nice beach up there at Washington Park and I just wanted to be on a beach without driving forever and spending a ton of money.  Who knows, maybe we will go back up in August.  But I have been writing my "autobiography" lately and I think about all of the great times that I had with my mom and dad as a kid and I want my kids to have positive memories too. 

I really like the picture to the side that my wife took while walking to the car and without my knowledge.  Hopefully, they will want to hold my hand for a long time as we walk because I don't know if I will see them as anything other than my "little kids".  I hope that I do a good job in being a father that it will help my daughter to understand what she deserves in a man to marry and my son understands what it is to be a father.  I know that my parents did that and it is something that I hope I can pass onto them.

You see, basketball is important to me, but it isn't my life.  All of this stuff that I write about is important, but isn't necessarily my life.  My life is the picture above, along with my wife, trying to live a good life and helping to better the world by sending two more good people off into it.  To me, it isn't about what I have done, what I am doing, or what I will do, it is about giving back.  I have been greatly blessed, sure I have had some down times, but who hasn't, and I feel it is only important to give back.  Hopefully, I am doing that most days and teaching my children the same thing.

(We did stop by Valparaiso University and take a look at the gym and their facilities...come on, it is a basketball family for crying out loud!)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Coaching at a Smaller High School

Coaching where I do, and I am sure it happens at most high schools but I can only speak for myself, the jobs (plural) we do almost make us some sort of administrator besides varsity basketball coach.  If we could worry just about coaching the varsity basketball team, it would make the job easier, but maybe not always as fulfilling.  Here are some of the things that I am either responsible for or have taken on myself.

Supervisor: I try to attend as many games as possible from the 5th grade level on up.  Since I have children of my own the total amount of games has dwindled, but I still attend some.  While there I try to help whoever is in charge with supervision, but you also deal with parents who may want to vent some of their frustrations about the current situation about their's son's team.  This sometimes carries over to phone calls at home about these teams.

Director of Basketball Operations: from scheduling and officiating elementary games, but more importantly scheduling the summer games we play in June to finding hotel rooms and transportation during that time, we become mini Athletic Directors.  Hopefully, we are giving these guys an experience at different colleges and Indiana basketball history that they will remember the rest of their lives.

Fundraiser: I have written about this before, but fundraising is a necessary evil.  We cannot do or afford some of the stuff we get without it.  This past summer, the only thing our players paid for with 4 trips was food they wanted to eat while away from home.  The tournaments and hotel rooms were taken care of for them and that is something that doesn't happen everywhere.

Custodian: Sometimes before and after the season, but during the season I am constantly cleaning our floor.  I want the facility to be as nice as possible to practice and play on for our guys.  We ask so much from them during the season  the least I can do is to make sure the floor is clean, free of coke spills, and non slippery.

Counselor: Very often I find myself making sure our players are staying on top of their grades, but I am also talking to them about family issues and, unfortunately, girl issues.  These are all situations I have found myself in while coaching and though I don't like it, we find ourselves dealing with them.  I can either look the other way or help, I choose to help.

Mentor: For former players and current players, I am trying to teach, but also set a good example of how to be a good person.  They don't have to be me, I don't want them to be me, but I want them to feel comfortable to come back and talk any time.  I want them to have something that they can draw upon from their past that will help, maybe, in their current lives.

Public Relations: It is one thing that I didn't like as much when I was a young coach and trying to be someone other than who I was, but it is something that I have embraced as I have gotten older, more experienced and being who I am.  I enjoy developing relationships with the elementary camp players, but also their parents.  I want them to know that I care about their son not just as a basketball player, but as a person.  When it comes to my own team, I have become more open about discussing what I do even if they don't agree with it.  Being a leader is making decisions and when you make decisions you are not going to make everyone happy.   But being a parent now, I appreciate feedback from my child's coaches and I can understand that though some parents may not like what I say, they will appreciate that I say it....but I could be wrong.

These are a few of the things that I can sit down and think of right off the top of my head.  I can write on a resume my job experiences and I can write about the clinics or camps I have attended or worked, but I don't think they do justice to what high school coaches do on a daily basis.  Luckily, I have great administrative support and help so what I have to do is minimal compared to other coaches.  But the job is not just about coaching basketball, it coaching life and trying to do things the right way.

Friday, July 8, 2011

How to be Considered a Good Employee/Teammate

(Bobby Plump of Milan fame and me, picture doesn't have anything to do with the article other than these 4 things describe Plump and how he has attacked sports and his businesses since before and after"The Shot")

I tell my students and players often that it is easy to be successful.  They just have to do four simple things: never call in sick, never be late, and work to the best of your abilities while having a relatively positive attitude.

That sounds easy to do, but you will find yourself battling to do most of these on any given day.  Calling in sick...more often than not, you do this at jobs (work or sports) because you don't like what you are doing or because there is something you would rather do instead.  People are relying on you and if you are doing this for no apparent reason, you are letting them down.

Never be late to work or school, or practice.  This takes a little more effort in that you must leave early enough to get to where you are going.  I tell my players that if they aren't at least 15 minutes early they are late.  It never amazes me when kids are 1-2 minutes late to school each day...can they not set their alarm a couple minutes earlier?  Or is it because they do not want to be there?  Again, you might just be letting someone down.  Those who are relying on you to be at school to be eligible to play in a game, or co-workers who are taking up the slack until you get there.

Working to best of your abilities is something that is harder to do.  When you are a minimum wage job or not being used the way you think you ought to be, you tend to go through the motions.  Going through the motions is pretty easy to spot.  You might not think it is noticeable, but to the people that actually do care, it is magnified behavior.

Being as positive as possible may be the hardest thing to do in all of these.  If you are working a job you don't like, or doing anything you don't like, it is hard to be positive.  We have all been in these places and I have probably learned this easier as I have gotten older, but I am just as guilty as anyone while working as a stockboy, or at UPS, or trimming Christmas trees.

Never call in sick, never be late, work to the best of your abilities with a positive attitude; do those four things and I can almost guarantee that you will always have a job or a place on a team.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

AAU Basketball

AAU basketball has become a huge thing in the states.  It is my opinion that with the economic problems of education that one of the first things to be cut will athletics moving all school related activities when it comes to athletics to clubs (AAU).  This is exactly what most of the world does and I can tell you that it will be a sad day if that ever happens.  We have foreign exchange students at HHS and every single one of them enjoy that sports and school are mixed instead of separated as it is in their homeland. 

Anyway, there are a few of my players that play AAU each year.  Some of it is to get better and some of it is to position themselves into maybe being noticed by a college coach.  Playing AAU has become almost imperative to play college basketball, it isn't a necessity, but it is nice to do.  It helps get your name out there and to be honest, unless you are an elite athlete most college coaches aren't going to make a drive in January to a high school game to watch one player.  They can go to an AAU event where there are hundreds of players playing and smaller colleges can be more cost effective and efficient this way.

What I really enjoy is going to watch my players play in a different setting.  Whether it be AAU or some fall or spring league, I enjoy watching them to see if they are learning anything.  I like to watch and compare them with kids from other programs and I am not talking about skills (sometimes), but basketball IQ.  I enjoy watching to see if they are coachable by someone else.  I know they are with me, but how do they handle being coached by someone different?  I enjoy talking to them after the games and getting feedback on how they think it went and what they need to do to improve.

I also think it is important for me to be there when it is possible.  I want our kids to know that I care about them not just as basketball players, but as people too.  If I can take some time out of my schedule during AAU tournaments, drive to the games (some are 20 miles away, some are 100 miles away), it shows the players that I care about their development and am willing to prove it my seeing them when they aren't "mine".

Thankfully, their coaches and they themselves know that I am willing to do this and I am informed quite often when some of the guys play.  So, this weekend, I will be heading out to watch a couple of players for all of the above listed reasons.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

5 Excuses I Used When Younger at Jobs I Didn't Like

1. "I am sick."  I used that one so much that some people must have thought something seriously was wrong with me and truth is, I wasn't sick just unmotivated and lazy.

2. "I have something to do with my family".  Go ahead and call me on it, but how dare you question my loyalty to my family, you are such a bad person if you do AND you just might risk getting that ticked off phone call from my mother!  I usually didn't have anything to do with my family, I was just unmotivated and lazy.

3. "I forgot".  I didn't forget, but how do you argue against that?  It was usually because I was..? You got it, unmotivated and lazy.

4.  "My parents said I couldn't".  Again, it isn't my fault, it is their fault if I had my way well I would be there.  And if you question me, how bad of a person are you AND you risk the threat of a phone call from my mom...a very not nice one.  Again?  Unmotivated and lazy.

5. "I am going to be out of town".  I wasn't more often than not, but it was before cell phones and it was virtually impossible to get hold of me if I didn't want you to.  I wasn't out of town, just unmotivated and lazy.

When I hear these excuses my knee jerk reaction is to not believe them because of my own past.  I realize that in some and maybe even many instances these are legit and true excuses, but because of my own past, I listen with leery ears.

It is amazing after I matured and actually found something that I wanted to do how unsick I was, how my parents didn't tell me I couldn't, how much I was in town, how I didn't forget, and how often I didn't do stuff with my family.  It was because I found something that I loved to do in teaching and coaching.  And I think because I realized how wonderful it was to be able to do many different things even jobs or sports I didn't enjoy or have at the top of my list.

I just wish now that back then, if I knew then what I know now, that I would have embraced many of the situations that I faced instead of ran from them.  They built so much character for me as it is, it would have done even more so, or maybe not.  Maybe the whole experience was part of my character building and understand who ultimately I would be.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Down Time

After working in Iceland for 12 days and working with my own team before I left and then a mad dash when I got back (we played 16 games in 6 days) left me needing some time to re-energize my batteries.  Not just on basketball, but getting some stuff done around the house.

I am not an NBA player, but basketball has helped me get many of the things that I have in my life.  It motivated me to get my education degree, it was something that my wife and I had in common, it is something that has allowed me to meet many great kids and people, and it has allowed me to travel around the state, the country and parts of Europe.  So I love basketball...very much.  But, it has been nice to get away.

It has been nice to be dad and husband.  It has been nice to do yard work.  It has been nice to stay up late and sleep late knowing that I don't have any pressing commitments.  It has been nice to go to tennis practice, gymnastics practice, and playing in the backyard.  It has been nice to sleep in my own bed (see previous article) and to be there for my wife to share in the home problems (you know, like "he took my paper!" or "she hit me!"). 

I have been blessed in many ways and I believe that basketball has helped in those blessings, but it is nice to get away once in awhile.  But I am sure with the upcoming AAU tournaments that it won't be long before I am hanging around those tournaments watching a Henryville player competing or who the next great player is going to be trying to schmooze with college coaches.