relationships

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Warning!

College coaches, college administration, prospective employers, mothers, fathers, parents of children, other friends, the parents of the girl/guy you want to date, little kids...somebody, someone, everybody is checking your life online.

No matter how many times we tell students and/or athletes, they don't seem to get it.  Unfortunately, everybody judges and when seeing and/or reading some of the stuff online you are being judged.  I think most kids are rebellious and defiant.  They are screaming for the ability to be free from their parents and school and rules and anything that keeps them from doing what they want to do, but aren't understanding the consequences of their actions.  What I find amusing is that they will do these behaviors, post the pictures online but get upset (and I could probably get in trouble) if I put the pictures up in my classroom or (gasp) used one as the picture for this article.

One thing I have found about young people is that they want to do adult behavior, but rarely want to have adult consequences (who does?).  They are quick to "do what I want to do" on the weekend, but when called out about it or worse yet, called in about it, they are quick to have their parents come in to defend them.  I had an administrator say once to a kid: "you want to be an adult?" student shakes head yes while dad is sitting with him; "adults don't have parent meetings."  It was great.

Where are the parents?  I can tell you this with no reservations....being a parent is the hardest job in the world to me.  I don't know if what I am doing is right or wrong sometimes, but there are certain things I have zero doubts about.  I will not allow my 7 year old daughter cross I-65 by herself.  I will not allow my 3 year old son to walk over to the local school by himself to play basketball.  I will not all them, together, to walk down the street to a friends house.  I will punish them if they do any of these things.

I am not judging anybody here, but I can tell you this my children will not be perfect angels, I know this.  And when they fall there will be many people who will point and say "hypocrite, look at his kids."  But you can best believe that there will be a consequence, they will be policed and they will be dealt with.  It might not be easy and it might not be pretty, but I will do so until they prove to be responsible adults whatever age that may be.

Yes, I Have

It never ceases to amaze me when I find out people read this stuff I write.  I realize that people do read it, but when someone brings it up, it catches me off guard...sometimes.  I have had people agree with me, disagree with me, thank me, tell me it's a waste of time, etc., but I have had a new one lately.  I have had a couple of people tell me that "you seem to be getting more religious lately".  I will agree on one front and that is that I am going to lead less of a double life.  Some of the stuff I have posted is who I am, but have tried to separate the two...the religion and the coach, but I am not doing that as much anymore.

I won't lie, I do have a double secret blog that only two people know about that gets deeper into politics and religion, but I do that to get things off my chest.  I have written in that blog much less lately.  I feel that if I am going to be honest with anyone who reads this and more importantly with myself, I need to include and be more public about all sides of myself.  I am complimented about how this blog is "open" and that I write some things down that makes people feel they are not alone, well, if I am going to be completely "open" then I need to express all sides of myself.

My faith is the most important part of my life along with my family and gets me through what I go through.  We all go through something and you need something that helps....my faith does.  Yes, I have gotten more religious on this blog and I have indeed gotten stronger in my faith over the last 6 months.

Losing last year really drew me nearer to God, but then I gave the Baccalaureate speech to our graduationg class, I went to Iceland (where prayer helped me greatly in missing my family), I came home and taught a lesson on a Wednesday night at church, I started listening to contemporary Christian music where songs like The Motions by Matthew West hit me right in the head and heart, I went to a leadership seminar by Coach Don Meyer and have emailed back and forth a few times, I have started reading the John Maxwell leadership Bible, I have started an Uncommon devotion by Tony Dungy, I have surrounded myself with Scripture, study, and as much of the word as possible....yes, I have changed, yes, I am changing, and yes, I have a long way to go.

Now...7 more days until basketball practice starts in Indiana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

7 Ups


Received this in an email this morning from our Business teacher Melva Carter...good stuff.

1. Wake up:  Decide to have a good day.  'This is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.' Psalms 118:24.

2. Dress up:  The best way to dress up is to put on a smile.  A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.  'The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.' 1 Samuel 16:7

3. Hush up:  Say nice things and learn to listen.  God gave us two ears and one mouth, so He must have meant for us to do twice as much listening as talking. 'He who guards his lips guards his soul.'
Proverbs 13:3

4. Stand up: ...for what you believe in. Stand for something or you will fall for anything.  'Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good...' Galatians 6:9-10

5. Look up: ...to the Lord. 'I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me'. Philippians 4:13

6. Reach up: ...for something higher. 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. 'In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.' Proverbs 3:5-6

7. Lift up: ...your prayers.  'Do not worry about anything; instead pray about everything.'
Philippians 4:6

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Benefit for Colby Russ (His Mother is Amy (Bagshaw) Russ)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Moose Lodge

1040 South Indiana Avenue

Sellersburg, IN 47172

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Bazaar featuring lots of booths!

(Excellent time to start Christmas shopping)
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Music provided by "Under Construction"

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Music provided by "Bad Omen"

9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Music provided by "Changing Lanes"

Silent Auction throughout day and evening!

Admission is $15.00 for adults and $7.00 for children (12 and under),

which includes food, entertainment, music…and much, much more!!!

If you have questions or would like to donate a raffle item/basket

please contact Pam at 812-989-2957

If you will not be able to attend and would like to make a donation, please make payable to Amy Russ, c/o Moose Lodge, 1040 South Indiana Avenue, Sellersburg, IN 47172

Colby was diagnosed with SMA Type I at 4 months of age, although he had a life expectancy of age 2, Colby just celebrated his 9th birthday July 22, 2011. He is in a wheelchair and requires a specially equipped van that holds all of his medical supplies and breathing machines. Colby uses various braces and supports to help prevent contractures and assist in positioning. He is nonverbal, but is currently learning to use a communication system with eye gaze technology. He is followed by a pulmonologist, neurologist, cardiologist, orthopedist, dietician and physical therapist.

Colby’s mother, Amy, is a single mom who works 2 part time jobs in order to accommodate Colby's schedule. She primarily cares for him on her own. Colby was recently hospitalized for 39 days at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Amy stayed with Colby during his hospitalization and was unable to work during that time. Furthermore, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in July 2011, and consequently has had 2 outpatient surgeries. This diagnosis has brought more time off from work for her, along with extensive medical bills.
Thank you in advance for your support!

Things Are Going Well, So....

One kid who didn't come out and was pretty key in the overall program, decided to play.  Some of our other issues are working themselves out.  The guys are working hard in conditioning and at open gym.  It is good to be the coach right now, so why do I feel like I am waiting for the hammer to fall?

When I started coaching, I wanted each year to be the year we dealt with zero issues.  Now with experience, I realize that each year has its own problems, some of them you can control, some you can't.

I am just going to enjoy the time right now with zero drama, but not too comfortably because something will happen, it is just a matter of time and it could be big or small, but it's going to happen.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Faith, Family, School, Team, Self

(Four generations of Hunter men, along with my son, I have pictures of five generations)
I have listened to many coaches and have had coaches who tried to put things into perspective for us as players and coaches.  I really wonder if anybody "gets" it until they "get" it.  Probably not, that is why people say "you just don't get it", I guess.

(Our church family at our annual Fall Picnic)
Faith - To me, and this has actually changed in the last six months, it is everything.  Faith used to be something that I had along with everything else.  It was there when I needed it, but now I feel every single step should be about faith.  Some people have said to me recently, "I read your blog, you have gotten pretty religious lately" to which I say, I just am not holding it back anymore, I am not pretending to be something different than what I am.  You say I am religious?  I say, not enough.  To me everything else flows from this, yet I feel I am just a regular guy and not a radical, but I guess that is for others to decide for themselves.

(The four of us along with Kristi's sister "Aunt Megan")
Family - My wife and my kids.  I love them and will not prioritize my job over spending time with them.  One of my self imposed rules is that I bring nothing about my coaching job home.  It makes for longer days sometimes, but when I hit that door my kiddos and wife have my full attention (my wife teaches elementary school so you can probably guess she does bring work home....every night).  I hug and kiss all three of them a lot because I do not want them to doubt ever how I feel about them. 


(The Henryville Golden Band)
School - For the players, but even for me our school should come before our team.  One thing I have tried to do is push the idea of Henryville High School and all of its components should be supportive of each other.  It often feels like each group is too competitive with other groups within the same school.  I wish every single thing we did at HHS won the state championship, I really do.  I want all of our players to understand that our school gives them great opportunities and they should be supportive of their classmates in their endeavors especially if they want them to come to our games.


(2009 15-8 S.A.C Champions)
Team - If the team doesn't do well, who cares if you can do things individually.  People remember players of championship teams better than they do good players off losing teams.  Play hard (for the team), Play Smart (for the team and together) and Have Fun! (for the team enjoying the individual accolades of others wanting them to succeed).  Every team that wins gets along it is the teams that aren't successful where you see if they will stay together or divide.


(Yep, me...circa 1988)
Self - Yes, we should be lowest on the list of priorities.  How much are you giving of yourself for the betterment of others? for the team? for the school? for your family? for your faith?  You should be selfish in improving your skills for the betterment of you and ultimately the team which brings joy to the school, your family and playing for your faith.  What is interesting is that as a player you should use your individual skills to help the team and understand that you are no more important than any other player, however, your individual skills can hurt the team.  Those decisions to break team and school rules will hurt the team which is a huge act of selfishness and often immaturity.

We have discussed in FCA that often the immediate, emotional reaction to any given situation is the easiest choice, but probably the wrong choice that will not make things better often making the situation worse.  I believe that in those situations where you react immediately and emotionally you have put the least of the list at the top of the list and that is something to reflect upon and prepare when those situations arise.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Seven Years

So many things come in "sevens" it seems.  Seven years of bad luck, lucky #7 and you get the point.  Today, my best seven ever is happening.  It is the 7th birthday of my favorite girl in the world, my daughter Madison or "Maddie".

I remember when my wife told me that she was pregnant.  She handed me the pregnancy test and I looked at it.  I didn't know if it was an ipod or some kind of technological thing I could use to play with (I was pretty spoiled until the kids came along, but still am slightly).  I asked "What's this?" and my wife said it meant that we were going to have a baby.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Then from that moment on all I wanted was a boy, a son.  When we went to the doctor to find out the gender and they told us it was a girl, I was a little disappointed.  It was like that present you get that you don't want, but you don't want to look ungrateful.  You put on that smile that everyone knows is fake, but you do it and act excited.  Over the course of the next six months, I not only became "ok" with having a daughter, it really looked forward to it.  In fact, when we got pregnant with our son, I sorta wanted to have another girl because the relationship is so special to me with our daughter.

Maddie was born and I had zero experience dealing with a baby.  My wife would leave the house and leave me in control of her and I was afraid for Kristi to be gone too long.  What if a diaper had to be changed?  Or she got hungry?  Or she started crying and I didn't know what to do?  But I remember surviving and being so proud of her when we would take her out in public.

In these seven years, she has grown up and is probably more like me than she is like my wife.  We have developed that father/daughter relationship where she has me wrapped around her little finger and I am her hero.  She is truly my little princess and I understand why parents talk about giving up everything for their children because she and her brother are that special to me.  She told me once recently that she loved me so much, she would break her arm for me.  She was trying to convey how much I mean to her, so that has become our little joke..."I love you so much, I would break my arm for you."

In these seven years, she has grown and developed into quite the little athlete.  We shall see if she does anything with it and if she is even that good compared to other kids.  I just want her to grow up and be happy.  She can do whatever she likes and I will always be there for her...always.  I look forward to her growing up because I like the person she is becoming, but I also look to it with some agony.  I realize that life is hard and she is going to have to endure pain to become a better person.  I think the difference is that I understand that, I will not shelter her from all pain, but will be there to help in those situations.

My wish is that every day she lives she feels the excitement of her birthday.  I hope that I do a good job as a dad to help her lead a healthy, happy life.  7 years old....Wow!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More Good Stuff from Coach Don Meyer

I recently received more philosophies of Coach Don Meyer in the mail, I thought I would share one of the cards.

1. Live beneath your means.
2. Return everything you borrow.
3. Stop blaming other people.
4. Admit it when you make a mistake.
5. Give clothes not worn in 3 years to charity.
6. Do something nice and try not to get caught.
7. Listen more; talk less.
8. Every day take a 30 minute walk.
9. Strive for excellence, not perfection.
10. Be on time.
11. Don't make excuses.
12. Don't argue.
13. Get organized.
14. Be kind to kind people.
15. Be kind to unkind people.
16. Let someone cut ahead of you in line.
17. Take time to be alone.
18. Reread your favorite book.
19. Cultivate good manners.
20. Be humble.
21. Realize and accept that life isn't fair.
22. Know when to keep your mouth shut.
23. Go an entire day without criticizing anyone.
24. Learn from the past.
25. Plan for the future.
26. Live in the present.
27. Don't sweat the small stuff.
28. It's all small stuff.

(from a Quaker newsletter)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Would Coach for Free...Most Days

I teach in a corporation with 3 high schools and 3 middle schools, and 3 elementary schools.  In my building at the high school level, I have been grateful to my administration as they allow me to pick my coaches with them providing guidance.  They have never told me to forget someone or hired someone over me.

Our elementary programs, however, are disconnected from all three high school coaches.  Most school's principals allow their varsity coaches to have a lot of control but....  My belief is that there needs to be some coherent, consistent elementary program.  There needs to be by laws on who decides on who coaches or doesn't coach anymore, when the season begins, how many games can be played, who runs the program, how many camps are to be run, how you have tryouts/cuts, and just about any other detail that can be thought out.

Running elementary and really entire programs is not about fund raising, even though there is money to be made off it.  It is about having a consistent program with the person at the top who will be held accountable for wins and losses having much of the control.  Or if that isn't what is decided we at least need an understood, consistent, corporation led policy clearing up all confusion.  The kids deserve that.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Indiana vs. Duke in the 2002 Regional Semi Finals


Crazy 15 seconds.

The Resolution for Men

This is the Resolution for Men that comes from one of the most powerful movies I have ever seen: Courageous.  You can buy this book at Amazon.com.

I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.

I will love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my house.

I will be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.

I will bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.

I will train them to honor authority and live responsibly.

I will confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.

I will pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.

I will work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.

I will forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.

I will learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.

I will seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will.

I will courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.



As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15

Friday, October 14, 2011

What is Commitment?

As coaches, we often speak about, read about, and hopefully show commitment to what we believe in.  But what is it?  I am committed to my family.  I have put much time and spent many dollars on them.  I have hopefully helped them to grow and to be better people.  I will continue to do this every day and I realize that not always will they appreciate what I have done, but I bet they do appreciate it somewhat.  In fact, it is something that I don't think twice about, it just comes naturally.  To give as much as possible and really to expect nothing in return other than a hug or a kiss from any of them is all that I want and need.

So what does it mean as a coach?  We have put numerous hours into our players.  We have spent money on each of them whether it be for shirts, travel suits, traveling or many other things we give our players.  We have tried to develop positive relationships with each players before they get to high school and even when they play.  All I really need for them to show their appreciation is to play and then to play hard representing the community and showing appreciation for all the things they receive.

And yet, we are losing players.  They are deciding to not play the most popular sport in Indiana to "focus on _________" (fill in the blank)  What about focusing on the sport and the coaching staff that has done as much for you as any other coaching staff? (We have great coaching staffs in every sport at our school, this is not in any way me demeaning what those people have done)  We are talking about players giving up for many different reasons sometimes it screams the obvious why they quit.  But sometimes it is quite perplexing because there is no apparent reason for it.  I have always said that I care about our basketball program too much to continue coaching if it is running off players, in large numbers.  I am told that it isn't me or anyone else on the staff, so I can only go with their word.  I am sure that what some of them tell others is different than what they have told me.

At our school, the coaches work together, usually, and would do just about anything for any of our athletes to be able to participate in more than one or two sports.  Yet we have athletes quitting a sport they like/love to focus on one sport.  Why?  For a college scholarship?  At our school, whether you play one sport or multiple sports (small college coaches actually like multiple sport athletes) you will probably end up with the same college opportunity.  Full ride scholarships are rare, period.  The best you can hope for is some money athletically, but many of our students need to show diversity in athletics, participation in other events, and do well academically.

But as a parent, I can understand where complications can ensue.  My kids are into many different things right now and excel at too many.  It sounds ridiculous, but if they continue to excel at many sports (I realize they are young and may actually NOT excel at any sport) there will come a point where due to their desires or out of necessity some coach will be extremely disappointed.  Does that make my hypocritical?  Maybe.  Does it make me realize that sometimes these issues are way more complex than kids doing something to me?  Hopefully.

So what is commitment?  I know what it is for me and I realize that it can be something different for each person.  However, I cannot think of doing anything else but giving everything I have to our basketball program while I am still the head coach.  It is that way because I love basketball, I love our school, and I love our kids.

Indiana!

This brings back so many memories growing up and watching IU games on Channel 4 out of Indianapolis.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gone Are The Days

Gone are the days (almost anyway) where I keep track of what I did and expected something in return.  Okay, I guess I still do it sometimes, but I am trying.  As coaches, if we received back for what we put in, we would be rich people.  But aren't we?

I realize that I and many of us are taken advantage of by many different people.  Sometimes on purpose and many times not on purpose, but aren't we rich in other ways?  How many teachers have as many kids as we do that come back some day and thank us for what we did for them?  You can't rely on that with your current players, but many of them some day will understand what you have done. 

I think with me, I deal with my pride too often.  I spend so much time away from my family and helping other people's children that I expect too much sometimes in return.  Some of the stuff I do in being away from my family is extra stuff that I could eventually use to help our players, but often it is almost mandatory stuff to compete at a higher level.  But I do it and expect kids to play, work, and compete at basketball in return.

It is in those moments that I try to remember it isn't about me and it isn't about what I do, you aren't supposed to keep track of that are you?  Then where is that fine line in which you are selfless but being taken for granted or advantage of?  I think with each person they have to find that line and realize that it is different in every single situation.  Because what would be unjust in one situation is not in a different situation.  I can't fully explain it, but you know it when you now it.

So, gone are the days where I keep track of what I give vs. what I receive (yea, again, I concede I fail but am trying) because it isn't about me.  It is about the team, community, school, program, and players.  We just have to get them (the players) to understand the same thing.  We have to get them to understand that there have been many people who have come before them on whose shoulders they are standing.  What are they going to do about that?  How do they want to be remembered?

Monday, October 10, 2011

What is Commitment? Part 2

The difference between players and coaches and their levels of commitment are many.  We are doing this for many different reasons than just playing for one four year window.  We hope we are making a difference in kid's lives and that parents appreciate it.  But when can we as coaches "give up"?  When does our level of commitment to the kids decrease or end making it unfair to the kids left behind?

What I am talking about when we as coaches voluntarily retire or resign do we show a lack of commitment to the kids who are left to play?  When is it okay for us as coaches to do what is best for us or our family and it not look like selling out or quitting on our commitment?  I think too often we personalize things that happen to us by the players thinking it has to be about us, or maybe we go completely the opposite way and blame it on them, but what about when we decide to hang it up?

College coaches are the greatest example of this.  Many of them recruit players wanting them to come to their college to play basketball to help them win.  It is, too often, to help them win and then to possibly climb the ladder to another school.  If those players don't end up at their school, they personalize it too much because when that job opens and they leave, they are leaving kids who are commited to the program and to that coach.

I think it is important to keep in mind all of these things when we talk about commitment.  You must be careful in dealing with these situations in questioning someone's desire or commitment to you or your program.  They just might have a desire and a strong commitment to something else that isn't you, but there are still players who do left for you to coach.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I Don't Worry Too Much About our Students

I don't worry too much about our students.  I think some of them have a long way to go to get to where they need to be, but I figure that many of them are like me.  Given enough time, they will be fine.  However, they are not my kids and I will worry about my kids "getting it" sooner than they probably will.  But I assume that as long as they are alive, they have plenty of time to "get it".  No, they can never go back, but life is about the journey, not the destination.

However, it is something that I do not get when it comes to high school athletics.  I tell kids who choose not to play that they have one, four year window to do something athletically where large amounts of people actually care.  When it comes to basketball in Indiana, this will be the only time in their lives that bleachers are pulled out, people buy tickets, a concession stand is set up, and a band will play for them to do an activity.  The high majority of them will never experience anything even remotely close to it ever again.  And yet, they choose not to play.  I do get that they don't understand that because they are kids, but it is something that 100% of the people who have done that, not play, have regretted to some extent.

That regret has been something as blatant as telling people with a serious look of regret on their faces to subtle comments made that if you aren't paying attention to it, it might pass by without a thought.  It is like just about anything when it comes to young people in that you wish you could touch a kid on the shoulder and have them "feel" how they will feel in the future for the decisions they make today. 

If we could do that, how different would all of our decisions be?  But you can't do that and they make the decisions that are best for them right now which is what we all do to some point.  However,  in some instances it comes off as selfish, even though probably not to them at that moment.  Why selfish?  Because at a smaller school where we have "come" outs instead of "try" outs, playing time and opportunities have been given to some players over others.  When those players decides to "give it up" instead of that time and effort given to them paying off for them, the coaches and the program, it is like stealing from other players who could have benefitted from the same time and stay with the program.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rural Southern Indiana Culture

We get a few visitors  on this blog (just going by the spinning globe) from outside of the state and outside of the country for that matter.  You may have heard of Indiana basketball, but I thought I would link a  few videos that show you rural southern Indiana culture.  The singer is John Mellencamp who is from Seymour, IN, just up the road.  He was real popular in the 1980's with songs like Small Town , Pink Houses and Cherry Bomb (which caused a stir back in the 80's by having a black man and white woman dancing in the video, we have come a long way) but I thought this song, Rain on the Scarecrow shows our rural areas better than any video he has.

The video showed the plight of the American farmer in the 1980's and what is interesting or sad, I guess depending on your viewpoint, is that not much has changed since this video was made.  That is one of the great things about rural southern Indiana, not much changes and yet it is what sometimes can be taken as negative also.

Mellecamp has sold over 30 million records world wide and if you are a Caucasian man from southern Indiana, his songs describe your life in many ways.

It's Time to Add Some More Memories

(It's been a rough few years, but only a handful of schools have this many banners)
Why? Because this is Indiana.  This might be the year my favorite team turns the corner and comes back to where it belongs (fingers crossed).