relationships

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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year...and Happy Old Year!



Every year seems to have its own ups and downs.  You deal with happiness and sadness.  You deal with births and deaths.  You worry too much about things that don't matter, and don't worry enough about those that do.  You begin each year with all of these feelings of beginning, something new as you end an old worn out old year.  You feel that there is nothing that can stop you from making the new year the best ever and that the old one was one of the worst ever.

On New Year's Eve of 2011, I was in 85 degree weather at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  I had already made up my mind that I was finished coaching varsity basketball and the rest of the season had its lumps, but it was stress free for me.  To be honest, I couldn't wait to be rid of the yoke around my neck that coaching varsity basketball in Indiana had become.

We finished our season on a Tuesday in the sectional actually in February on the 27th.  The next two days were upsetting in that I didn't feel we played as well as we could have, but it was over.  I had cleaned out my office and was looking forward to not being the basketball coach at Henryville.  Then came March 2nd.

It started like any other day and there were warnings about bad weather.  But I had planned on going to a sectional semi-final that night and we were at school until 2:40.  That's when the fun began.  A pastor that I read a lot of his writings, Francis Chan, says we should pray a prayer that is scary.  That we should pray to be drawn nearer to God...whatever it takes.  I prayed that often.  On March 2 became a time in my life that I did just that and not out of devotion, but of necessity.

After surviving an EF-4 tornado going right over me at school, our school destroyed, my father's brother (my uncle) dying, our school being moved to a closet in Scottsburg, my panic attack and anxiety, going to Indonesia with Athletes in Action and speaking to anyone who will listen, I have been drawn nearer to the Lord.  You always think when you will be drawn nearer to God, it will be winning a million dollars or by the birth of your child (I know what I am talking about on the second).  You never think that it will be something as dramatic and devastating as what happened.

So, here I am in 30 degree weather on New Year's Eve of 2012 waiting for the 2013 in southern Indiana.  I have survived an EF-4 tornado, the Mayan calendar, and the antics of my children.  I will continue to grow nearer to the Lord, whatever it takes.  I will continue to speak to anyone who will listen about my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  And I will thank the Lord for each day because nothing is guaranteed, our lives are but vapor.  If you are wallowing in your own self-importance, please realize that this world isn't about you, it will go on after you are dead.  What will be your legacy?  What will they say about you?  That you were rich?  That you were powerful?  That you were a swell guy?  I hope people say when my name is mentioned "he loved God, and he loved people". 

Thank you 2012 all of the ups and downs for making me who I am and I look forward to 2013 developing me even more and whatever it brings.  Even if I have to keep one eye on the weather channel and one eye towards the sky.

How Powerful are These Lyrics?



Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns

Jesus Friend of sinners we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to
swing
Jesus friend of sinners the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours

Yeah,yeah,yeah

Jesus friend of sinners the one who's writing in the sand
Make the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of thieves
Let the memory of Your mercy bring your people to their knees

Nobody knows what we're for only what we're against when we
judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and love like
You did
Oh Jesus friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
[ From: http://www.elyrics.net ]

Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me a grateful leper at Your feet

'Cause You are good, You are good And Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
Oh Jesus friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast
Yeah(hold note)
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Southern Indiana FCA's Character Counts Award


Southern Indiana's Fellowship of Christian athletes representative Dave Hudson came up with the idea of recognizing student athletes in tournaments througout the state that represents FCA's core values. Those values are integrity, serving, excellence, and teamwork within the team, school and community.

I took the opportunity to recognize someone from our two tourneys at HHS and with the help of Silver Creek's AD, Larry Richmer, we also did so at the Charlestown Girls' and Silver Creek boys' holiday tourneys. The award is sponsored by Graber Posts in Montgomery, Indiana.

Pictured above is the girls'winner at Charlestown, Charlestown's Taylor Thrasher and below is the boy's winner at Silver Creek, Silver Creek's Layne Taylor.






Growing up in Indiana


This is a rite of passage in Indiana.  No indoor gym available, you put on your winter clothes and shoot with gloves on after shoveling off the driveway.  It is something that countless kids do each winter here. 

I wish I had pictures of me doing this to show how much it means here in this state and to show my own children, but he seems to be getting it. 

In 49 states it is just a game, but this is Indiana.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Silver Creek Holiday Pre Tourney Meal


Tonight was the pre tournament meal for the Silver Creek Holiday tournament.  This tournament is the oldest in the state of Indiana with the same four teams participating.  It is a tournament with a lot of history, a lot of great teams, and a lot of great players throughout the years.

This year, S.C. FCA rep Robert Shaw decided to have a pre tourney meal.  All of the players were able to take home a Bible for athletes and each head coach was given a Coaches Bible by S.C. FCA.  We brought the four head coaches up and recognized them for their efforts in coaching and developing young men. The food was donated by Chick fil A and some S.C. FCA members helped to serve the players at the meal.

Silver Creek player Nick Arbagast got up and gave a quick testimony about what it means to play basketball and in this tourney and how big of a deal it is in this world, but what will it matter in the end. Finally, former New Albany, The Citadel, and professional basketball player Noy Castillo gave a great speech about what is important in this life and the next.



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's an Indiana Blizzard


Embedded image permalink


The day after Christmas and we got a little snow. Less than an inch locally but much more up north but it has thrown practices and games for a loop. One of the things that drove me crazy was having to contact everyone on days like this. Texting did help in that it sped up contact but you still had to make sure everyone knew what was going on. Then there was the issue if everyone could get to practice and rescheduling  games.  

All of it just created a mess and I am not even going into trying to scout and what it did to that schedule. And you hoped that no one got injured while playing in the "snow". Looking forward to getting out and watching some tournaments, an IU game and maybe a practice or two as well as reading a book or two over break.



Saturday, December 22, 2012

FCA Appreciation Meal for Boys' Basketball



Today, the FCA showed their appreciation to the boys' basketball team for all the time and effort they put into their sport.  FCA fed them and had a guest speaker, Aaron Nance, speak to them about his faith.  Nance is a wide receiver for the U of L football team, but had surgery recently on one of his knees and is not playing.



It was a great talk, fellowship, and food.  Thanks to Coach Carmony and Hill for allowing us to do this for the team.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Good Intentions


"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" is a proverb that has been around for many years.  With the new year upon us, it is often a time that we make resolutions to be different, to be better and we do so with good intentions.  However, within weeks, if not days, our good intentions falter and we fall back to what we were before.

At the mid season point in basketball, every team is in the midst of a journey.  If that team is winning, their resolution is to continue doing what they have done so far.  If that team is not winning, their resolution may be to get on the right track or stay on the right track and compete for some success when the games get started again.

By the end of January, those good intentions will have been played out or...not.  What causes these good intentions to falter or succeed?  Mental toughness.  If you are faltering by the end of December, it is going to take a monumental effort to not be faltering after January, but it can be done. 

I would be willing to bet that not too many resolutions have been kept for the new year throughout humankind.  Why?  Because, those that are motivated or disciplined do not need a new resolution, they are already living the life they need to be successful.  However, a little reminder doesn't hurt for coaches or players, so here is a Basketball Resolution for the new year.

I will take responsibility for myself, my team and work to improve each day.

I will love my team, understanding that even though we have differences, we are together in this.

I will be faithful to my team, teammates, and coaches by saying nothing negatively publicly or online.

I will help to improve myself, my teammates, and be an example for those younger than I.

I will compete fearing no one and respecting everyone.

I will forgive those who have wronged me to focus on improving our team.

I will learn from my mistakes and walk with integrity in positive and negative situations.

I will seek to honor my parents, my school, my community, my teammates, and my coaches with my play and effort.

I will work every day to fulfill this resolution stopping to reflect each day after practice or games.

By executing this resolution, I cannot guarantee any more wins for your team, but I can guarantee that you will be a team that is fun to watch and one that is respected by not just your fan base, but those surrounding communities on your schedule.  I think you can do these thing and still be a competitor, because it more about respecting the game than it is about being soft.  There is nothing soft about this resolution, in fact, it takes a lot of toughness to do these things every day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What He Said


 

FCA Christmas Party and Meeting for 12-18-2012



Monday night, many of the FCA members led by Tyler and Sydney, put on a great Christmas Party.  There was food, singing, food, and Mr. Toby Jenkins from First Baptist Church shared the gospel through his testimony.








Then on Tuesday morning, senior Kayla shared her testimony using Jeremiah 29:11 "for I know the plans I have for you, plans to make you prosper" as her scripture.

Enjoy a little of the music from last night:

 
 

Monday, December 17, 2012

In Honor of Sandy Hook Elementary



A teacher at HHS, Jolie Lindley, came up with this idea.  Feel free to use it.



Your Name and Grade Level:
 
In order to honor and remember the 26 victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School and keep their memory alive, I pledge to perform 26 acts of kindness this week, one in the name of each victim. May my actions shine light into the darkness. 
 


1. _______________________________

In memory of Rachel Davino, 29

 

2._______________________________

In memory of Dawn Hochsprung, 47

 

3. ______________________________

In memory of Anne Marie Murphy, 52

 

4._______________________________

In memory of Lauren Rousseau, 30

 

5._______________________________

In memory of Mary Sherlach, 56

 

6.________________________________

In memory of Victoria Soto, 27

 

7.________________________________

In memory of Charlotte Bacon, 6

 

8.________________________________

In memory of Daniel Barden, 7

 

9.________________________________

In memory of Olivia Engel, 6

 

10. ______________________________

In memory of Josephine Gay, 7

 

11._______________________________

In memory of Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

 

12. _______________________________

In memory of Dylan Hockley, 6

 

13. _____________________________

In memory of Madeline Hsu, 6

 

 

14. ______________________________

In memory of Catherine Hubbard, 6

 

15._______________________________

In memory of Chase Kowalski, 7

 

16. ______________________________

In memory of Jesse Lewis, 6

 

17.______________________________

In memory of James Mattioli, 6

 

18.______________________________

In memory of Grace McDonnell, 7

 

19._______________________________

In memory of Emilie Parker, 6

 

20._______________________________

In memory of Jack Pinto, 6

 

21._______________________________

In memory of Noah Pozner, 6

 

22.________________________________

In memory of Caroline Previdi, 6

 

23. _______________________________

In memory of Jessica Rekos, 6

 

24.________________________________

In memory of Avielle Richman, 6

 

25. ________________________________

In memory of Benjamin Wheeler, 6

 

26. _________________________________

In memory of Allison Wyatt, 6

Friday, December 14, 2012

All I Want for Christmas




It's that time of year where everyone makes lists of what they want for Christmas.  I want this, and I want that, and I want this, and...okay, so maybe it's only my children doing this, but I thought I would make a list.  And since I would rather give gifts than receive them, please "Santa", I know I am being idealistic, but I really would like some of these things.  My high school basketball number was 12 (I loved Steve Alford), so I reduced the list to 12 items.

1. I would love to see the good in any given situation.  We are either headed towards a storm, in the midst of one, or headed out of one.  May God help us to understand that and come to grips with it. (you can really see that in sports as well as life)

2. I would love for local community members to support their local schools in any way, but this is the sports section, so get out and support your teams. (high school athletes deserve your attendance, win or lose)

3. I would love for something to be done with the IHSAA transfer rules, make it clearer for us to understand what is going on. (some allowed, some not, some schools take transfers, some don't allow transfers out)

4. I would love for the IHSAA to help class basketball to succeed rather than hinder it. (Really, you could do so much, if not cut it loose)

5. I would love for my children to grow up healthy, happy and doing something they love with someone they love and who cares about them. (only after playing college athletics, of course)

6. I would love to grow old with my wife, Kristi, and watch our children grow up and have their own families. (mostly I want to witness my children's frustration in rasing children; is there a harder job than being a parent?)

7. I would love for everyone's team to play hard, compete, and bring pride to their communities. (I think we can all agree that is worth the price of any set admission)

8. I would love for some legislation to be passed that you can only post online about anything or anyone if you first put your real name in print for all to see. (come on, let us know who actually thinks and says these things)

9. This one goes with #8, for people to realize that their printed words sting and hurt children and adults (most coaches won't admit it), so have some kind of filter system that occurs before pushing "send". (I try to do it all the time, however, I know I fail sometimes)

10. World Peace! (If I don't ask for this, there's got to be some sort of bad karma, right?)

11. For me to appreciate whatever my child chooses to do or be when it comes to extracurriculars and allow him to live his own life, and not me through him. (my time has passed)

12. For IU men's basketball to win the national championship in 2013! (1987 has been a long time ago!)

I know that I used the pronoun "I" a lot in this list, but hopefully if my list were fulfilled, a lot of other people would benefit from it.  As for children....you gotta love them, right?  It's a law or something (come on, I am joking). 

Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone and have a happy and safe holiday.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Got this from Stuff Christians Like

Stuff Christians Like


Ayden's Army

(Dad Shane with Ayden)

You want to see God at work?  Read this blog about my friend Shane Billingsley's son Ayden.  If you don't want to read the whole thing (shame on you) read the last paragraph! of the entry Faith Can Move a Mountain.

Really, everything is only a mountain, right?  You may have to go through it, you may have to go over it, you may go under it, or it could just very well fall.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Get it?



I once was agnostic and I did everything I could to argue why religion was a joke. I am now saved by Jesus Christ and have been in many conversations about why there is a God. It is funny to me because I am now treated and perceived as I once treated and perceived believers, but I know the non believer's arguments...I used to use them.

They are right, we can't "prove" what we believe...it is faith, but there are many things that can be proven and that helped me in coming around, look up apologetics.  But, ultimately they cannot "prove" what they believe either.  Science has not proven everything and probably never will.  There is a form of faith that exists even for those people dependent on science.  I used to hunt these debates but now I could care less...I guess, I don't mean I could care less but I don't feel the need to defend a God that is supreme in my eyes.

What I have found recently is that I am not trying to prove you wrong anymore. I have found that it matters less to me to fight people that are uninformed (yes, even on the scientific/evolution side they exist) because they won't get it until they want to get it....get it? The arguments that I read make sense to the old me, but to the new me filled with the Holy Spirit feels how they don't "get it".

I am not saying to lie down and let non believers run amok, but know what you are talking about. Be able to use other ideas besides The Bible as points of discussion (they don't believe it and write it off immediately, so you lose before you start), and be able to philosophize on their points of attack before they use them....they've done it to us, so be ready.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

FCA for December 11, 2012



Senior Savannah gave her moving testimony this week allowing us into her life to this point.  The many issues she faced forced her to either give up or to turn to Christ.  She tried the first, but ended up doing the second and has become a much happier person because of it. She used Ephesians 2: 1-5 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." Sydney and Tyler finished up with a song.  There are great things going on in my classroom on Tuesday mornings at 7 AM.


Southern Indiana FCA donated IU men's game tickets and many students were able to take advantage of the opportunity as well as some staff who never have attended a game.  There is an FCA game day for IU women's basketball on Sunday, December 16 in Assembly Hall.  Admission is only $2 and there will be a guest speaker afterwards.  The game is at 2 PM.

We will be having a Christmas party, tentatively, on Monday, December 17th at 6:30 PM with food, fellowship, a guest speaker, and Christ.  An appreciation meal is schedule for Saturday, December 22 for the varsity boys' basketball team.  We are working on a guest speaker for that.

Thank you to Borden Church of Christ (my home church) for providing the mornings doughnuts and juice, and feel free to pray for our FCA and to help in anyway possible.

Monday, December 10, 2012

What Makes a Great Practice Player (Thus Leader)



As I have written, I have been able to attend quite a few different practices this winter due to my open schedule.  I have written about the consistencies I have seen in coaches who do a great job, and really there are none I have seen that don't do a great job.  It is amazing what having good players can do to make fans believe a coach is good or not, but any way.

I have also noticed at these practices some things about the players that attend.  Your best players aren't always your leaders and your leaders aren't always your best players, but if you can get that time when those two things come together, you have a special player on your hands.  What makes a great leader?  For sure, it has to do with what they get done in games.  No, they don't have to score points, but they need to be positive leaders.  Last year, Borden's Brandon Beam comes to mind, always talking, always getting players where they need to be and on the same page, he was like a coach on the floor and it didn't hurt that he was probably the best player on that team.

But that leadership is shown usually every day from 3-5 pm where there aren't 1,500 fans watching, it happens in practice.  What makes a great practice player, thus leader? 

Some of my observations from experience as a coach and player and watching practices the following shows great practice players and leaders:

1. Compete through fatigue. (mental toughness and competitive leadership)
2. Never whine, even when they are just close enough to stand up to the coach. (a leader will often not like being led, but understands the necessity of the coach)
3. Touches every endline when running sprints. (not doing so, tells you a lot about a kid's personality)
4. Listens and does what coaches want all the time. (but isn't afraid to quietly take up for a teammate who may have just been subjected to some, um, positive criticism with a pat on the back and a positive word)
5. Talks, keeps things clear to everyone. (amazing that kids will talk all day in class when they shouldn't, then walk in a gym where it's expected and....nothing)
6. They will never put their hands on their knees during breaks in practice. (shows weakness in fatigue and shows mental toughness)
7. Hits free throws when the pressure is on in practice and then carries that over to games. (mental toughness)
8. Talks to parents, teachers, all adults in a respectfull manner. (shows that upbringing has been good)
9. Tries to win at all drills, all of them. (true competitors)
10. Run from drill to drill, never walking. (you can walk after practice)
11. Hits all shots, or most, around the rim despite contact that is made. (mental toughness and concentration)

I know there are more and for each coach there may be something that is different that is just as important to them.  But, I believe if you can concentrate on doing those eleven things as a player in practice, the coach will find a place for you on the bench or, better yet, in the game.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Coaches Seem to Have Strong Faith

(How I feel is the result of 10 billion years of evolution? I can't believe it)
Why can non-believers be so angry?  Since I was at best an agnostic, I will tell you my opinion (it's my blog). Many non-believers  have had some horribly traumatic experience in their life which makes them question the belief in a higher entity. They are so angry at the "God" they don't believe in, they are constantly cursing His very existence...or lack there of which can be confusing, I know.

When I was younger, my uncle was unbalanced. How much so?  He was molested his daughters because "God told him to". My father who was not related to his children by blood stepped in and took two of the children who wanted out of the family into our family. I was probably 8-13 years old while all this was going on, so my experience with "religion" was at best questionable. We didn't go to church except during the main holidays, we were cultural Christians. My father was a questioner of everything that went on with the church and was constantly looking for the truth in other avenues. Then Jimmy Swaggert and Jim Baker were doing their thing in the 1980's stealing and lying while preaching. Lots for a young mind to take in and I became extremely negative towards God.

When those two cousins moved in, they were troubled for all the obvious reasons. Looking back on it now, I feel sorry for them, but it was a strain on our family and for me. Before they moved in, I had tried my best to win trophies and be noticed for athletic achievements to get my father's attention/love which I know now was a mistake.  My father loved me without those things, but my father never played athletics, so it didn't work, in my eyes. My sister was his favorite. He wanted a daughter and I don't know if he ever really related to me. He had an alcoholic father who he had tried to get the affection of and I don't think my dad ever really related to his own father. Then comes this athlete who is more like his mother as a son. (sidenote: my father and I have a very good relationship, one of love, respect and admiration today, he is a great, great man).

Well, you can understand how hard it was to get my father's attention when two more, troubled children were thrown into the mix. Our family grew, but the two new members got more attention than me or my sister. There were court dates, counseling, court dates, visitations, preaching by my wack job Uncle while around him, my Aunt turning against her father (who was in every sense a true, loving, giving Christian man).  Very hard for a kid to take in and I became angry at God for allowing this to go on and in turn attacked anyone who would believe. That's my story of why I was the way I was.

Many of the non-believers I have known through the years are angry children/people like I was. Their fathers have left them, their mothers have left them, one or the other parent is crazy, parents have died in car crashes, parents force them to go to church and then don't live a Christian lifestyle, parents have died from an illness, over and over and over events that were worse than what I went through. So they don't believe...and they attack those who do, they are angry at a God who they feel has allowed bad things to happen.

Even through trying to teach, talk and even learn myself, I don't always know the answer. My preacher says that it all comes back to "Yea, but why?" when you have doubts about bad things. And there is only one person who can answer that and he isn't a living, breathing human being on this earth. I have come to grips about 90% of the time that I could never understand why God does what he does, but if He exists his knowledge and understanding would never make sense to the brain of a human being. That isn't good enough for many people who don't believe and I understand.

But the bottom line is that most people will not believe until they are ready to listen, ready to believe. So I will continue to talk to brick walls, lead my FCA at school and hope that I am able to move those kids who are believers and doubters (as I can be sometimes about certain aspects of my faith) back to the faith or to at least not lose them.

So any non-believers who are reading this now and upset that I would label you in this way and are angry that I would be arrogant to judge you, and are upset at everything I have written, aggravated that I don't have an open mind like you, well, you just proved my point, and there is a way out of that anger.

Dave Matthews Band at the Yum! Center


Last night, my wife and I were able to attend a concert, together, alone for the first time in a while.  It was nice to be with just her and remember my "girlfriend" from before marriage and children.  We were able to get something to eat, and then head over.  Last year, I would have had to coach a game and my wife would have kept the book, but instead we had the freedom to go to a concert instead.

(DMB drummer, Carter Beauford)
My friend, who shall remain nameless here, but she knows who she is, has married into the Dave Matthews Band family.  Last week, she asked if Kristi and I would be interested in attending the concert and she was able to get us tickets, for free.  We arrived, got our tickets from Will Call, and there was a pass into the Legends Lounge at the KFC Yum! Center, so we had access to as much food and soft drinks that we wanted.

After finishing there, we went inside to the concert and had great seats, $75 seats for free from my friend.  We watched until the main set was over and then our friend was able to come and visit for awhile.  Pretty cool stories including how she helped Dave Matthews decide how much Mucinex to take before the concert (he was hoarse and dealing with some type of illness). 

I asked if it had gotten "old" or did she still get moments of out of body experiences.  She replied that she had gotten used to a lot of it, but when Dave Matthews is standing next to you and asking you medical questions, it can be somewhat surreal.

I want to thank her again because it was very nice that should we think of my wife and I when so many people could benefit from her kindness.  That she thought of us is as touching a thing that could happen and we both appreciated it.

P.S.  If you don't mind, "friend", I would like to replace that word with your name, but I remember once upon a time that it was supposed to be kept on the down low, for the obvious reasons.  Take care.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

FCA for December 4, 2012


Today, senior athlete Spencer shared her moving testimony dealing with the loss of her father.  Her faith and friends brought her back from a dark place and she now has a stronger contenment during good times and hope in bad times.

She shared 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Daniel 10:16-18.  2 Chronicles states "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."  If you don't completely rely on God, you will not bear the fruit of the spirit from Ephesians 5:22-23.

But relying on God at all times, easier to do in good times, is extremely hard and most believers struggle with this.  It is normal, it is natural, but something we strive to more each day and with each uncomfortable experience we encounter.  We are all either headed towards a storm, in the middle of one, or coming out of one, and we need Jesus Christ for all three.



If I Were a Young Christian or 7 Things I Wish I Had Known Earlier


I want to write about 7 things that I have come to understand as a Christian, and 7 things I wish I had heard when younger. Maybe it would have changed my ideas on faith earlier...probably not. I believe that most people only want to hear what they want to hear and will not change their hearts or minds until they are ready to hear. Many people think they are open minded, but few are, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. You are convicted in your beliefs, but at least listen. But anyway, here you go:

1. It's not about you: No matter if you believe in God or not (I do and believe it is about Him), this life isn't about you. I guess if you believe in social evolution, it should be, but it should be about helping others.

2. Judge, but don't condemn: Most Christians are assailed because we are judgmental...um...everybody is judgmental. I think Christians condemn a little too quickly because if you condemn any sinner, you had better start in the mirror first.

3. Forgiveness...see #1.

4. Go to church and ask questions: When you don't want to, go to church. When there is something you don't understand, ask questions. Research, use the Internet...but be faithful.

5. Self-control: As a Christian, you will be judged and condemned (funny how that works, huh?) quicker than anyone else. Show self control and constraint or get beat up for not. Really, it doesn't matter what you do, you will be condemned, but you can try.

6. Don't worry: There is very little we can control, I believe it is in God's hands, but beyond that can we control other people? Rarely. So worry less, I guess would be better.

7. Thank you and I'm sorry: Say thank you more than you ever mean it, but say it every time as though you mean it. Many people do many things for us, often when they don't want to and without much fanfare. A simple "thank you" can go a long way. And "I'm sorry". Listen. Say it. Mean it.
I could get into more detail and probably have more things pointed out about my faith and what I believe, but to me these are big cornerstones of my faith and life.

Monday, December 3, 2012

WBIS-TV


Last season when I decided I was finished coaching basketball for the next season, I approached Myra Powell about doing some play by play or color for her games.  She and her husband were  recording and placing games online for another way to get business for Wright Brothers Implement Sales.  They had covered games with no one working them and doing a great job with the technical stuff, I know many coaches who use them for scouting purposes. I knew that I would need something to do this winter, so I volunteered to help.  If you want to check out the games and what southern Indiana basketball is all about you can go to their website http://www.wrightbrosimpl.com/ and see how good, or bad, of a job we are doing. 

I have been able to cover some games and have had a great time.  It has allowed me to attend some practices, it has allowed me to use my relationships, and it has allowed me to stay involved with high school basketball.  I don't know if anyone is listening or even caring about what is being said, but, I guess, I enjoy listening to myself talk.  A couple of things have happened through this opportunity, I have gotten to spend more time with my good friend Nick Ray and a former HHS player in Cody Munk and I got to interview a legend the other night at Orleans in Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame member and former Orleans boys' basketball coach Charlie Denbo; as well as the Henryville Principal, Troy Albert at the Austin vs. Henryville game.

Coach Denbo was a head basketball coach for 35 years, the last 27 at Orleans High School with a total of 402 wins where he began coaching at Vallonia 1960-62 (28-15), Brownstown Central 1962-66 (53-37), Crothersville 1966-68 (29-15) winning 3 sectional championships and 9 conference titles in his career with an HBCA Distinguished Service Award in 2001 and a Governor's Distinguished Hoosier Award in 2003. (from Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame website).  To sit down with him and hear him speak about his experiences, even if for a short time, was quite an experience.  The reverance I have for him and for Indiana high school basketball is at a high level.  He spoke fondly of his four year run in the early 1970's with Curt Gilstrap and a guard named Johnny Bradley (former SC and HHS basketball coach).  He briefly covered their rivalry with another big man in the area during that time from Springs Valley, you may have heard of him, Larry Bird.

What Myra and Greg Powell have done is allow for the conversations that I might have with a Nick Ray or a Cody Munk be televised.  I think that there are many good conversations going on around any gym on any given game night.  Towns and schools have alumni and intelligent people talking about the game or the history of that particular school.  In Indiana, that is usually at a higher level than you might find in another state (I am biased).  Not everyone is complaining about the coach or the players at the local high school game (of course that doesn't happen, does it?). 

I look forward to calling more games and getting the opportunity to listen to people like Coach Denbo and Troy Albert as they share their story.  I will call a few more games this season doing my best for Myra Powell and her husband Greg because of the time and effort they are putting into this thing.  They deserve my best effort and Indiana high school basketball does, too.  Despite some people's dismay with class basketball at the high school level, Indiana is still THE basketball state.



Friday, November 30, 2012

We're Talkin Bout Practice



In not coaching this season, one thing I wanted to do was attend high school practices.  I have attended college practices at UK, IU, Xavier and other colleges, but I wanted to see what my competitors were doing in practice.  You can watch a college practice (I like them better than coaching clinics), but you still have to adjust to your players.  You don't coach in college with players who you recruited, so I wanted to see if what I have always done was way off, on spot, or just wrong.  I want to thank those coaches who have allowed me access so far and there have been quite a few, so many that if I mentioned them all, it would take up most of the column.  But they have been open to me, a former coach, in coming in and watching what they do and I truly appreciate that.

Some things that I have noticed with these coaches and their importance has been reinforced by my attendance are as follows:  Teams will do what you allow.  Meaning, if you allow them to take bad shots, talk back, have bad attitudes, they will.  Coaches have to control what they will allow or let slide and every single one I have seen has done a great job with the discipline of their team.

Teams will take serious what the coach takes serious.  I can remember my first year as boys' basketball coach at Henryville, I asked my former Coach Dennis Holt how I could get my team to be better on defense.  We did all the drills, but couldn't get better.  He asked how long we worked on defense per practice and then said that teams listen to you talking about defense, but unless you work on it a lot the players won't really believe you.  I have watched recent practices and noticed that teams don't do 50 things per practice, they do 5-10 and make sure their teams are doing what they want done correctly. 

Fundamentals must be worked on until boredom, and then you can't let them go through the motions.  When it comes to footwork, hand positioning, defensive stance, shooting, hitting shots around the basket, ball handling, passing, etc, the fundamentals have to be burned into their brains.  The best way to do that is constantly correct and ask the players what they have done wrong or right. 

The more intense the coach, the more disciplined the team.  So far in the 8 or 9 teams I have watched practice, I notice that the coaches energy level definitely has an influence on the energy level of the players.  One thing I have spoken about in clinics around the world is that as a coach, I could never have a day off.  If I did, you could watch the intensity/energy level of the team go down proportionately.  Plus, I always felt that if you were passionate about basketball practice, it would carry over to the players in their passion and commitment.

Some times I allowed people to come in and watch our practices at Henryville, and often they would leave with a different perspective on our team than from just watching games.  So many people have no idea what actually goes on at practice because they are closed to the general public to accomplish anything in your limited time.  I think it is important that when you are at a game and you want to critisize a coach, we need to understand that we aren't at practice, we don't know what is trying to be done many times, we don't know who has missed practice, and we don't often realize how much time a coach spends with your child at practice.  That time at practice is shaping and forming your child in a positive way while their own children are at home waiting for them to come home.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just a Dad




Hopefully, a rather informed Dad, but I am thoroughly enjoying watching my children play basketball and attending games for fun without all of the stress. I am sure I am not finished coaching, but it is nice to be able to spend time with the family and be "Dad". Pretty funny, though, I feel like I am home too much now which can never be, I don't think.

There are certain things that are frustrating about not coaching, but for the most part, I am glad I did what I did.  I look forward to being someone who can come and go as I please at 2:50 and attending high school practices visiting friends which I have done a lot already.

Maybe we will have a Miss Basketball in 2023 or a Mr. Basketball in 2027, but it will be up to them. It will be up to them to be really good, to their potential, or if they decide to do something else.
Who knows where the future will take me and my family, but I know that they are on my side and the most important team that I coach is the one that lives in my home.

Coach Crean, feel free to start recruting the now 4 year old, the same kid at 2 years of age could dribble two basketballs at once.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Father/Son Time

(with Coach Kelly Combs)
Friday night, my wife, kids, and I journeyed to Spalding University in Louisville, KY to watch them take on Asbury College in a men's basketball game.  Athletes in Action head coach, Kelly Combs, who I went to Indonesia with this summer, texted me and told me about the game.  His son, Kyle, also went on the tour with us and I wanted very much to visit with Coach.  My daughter is not a bad little basketball player, but could care less to watch it right now, so my son sat and we watched the game while my daughter did other things, mostly bugging my wife.  Such is life, I guess.

(at Loogootee)
Saturday morning, however, it was boys' night (or day) out.  We traveled to Loogootee, IN and historic Jack Butcher Arena to watch them take on Attica and to watch Rock Creek play Irvington Prep in Loogootee's annual Tip-Off tourney.  If you have never been to Loogootee's gym, you have to watch a game there.  The gym is set up for games, of course, but it is also a museum for Loogootee athletics.  Many schools have done great jobs in recognizing the past, but Loogootee is the best, in my opinion.

After watching those two games, Brandon and I headed to Terre Haute.  It was on the way to Riverton Parke where we watched a couple of friends coach for Cloverdale High School.  In Terre Haute, after a nice long nap by my son, we ate at Pizza Hut because he "likes the breadsticks" and then we headed north.
 
(4 year old looking over the Rady coaches)
My friends at Cloverdale are Pat Rady, Sr. and Pat Rady, Jr. Pat Jr. and I became friends when he was coaching boys' basketball at Southwestern (Hanover).  His dad who is a very good coach and greater man coached at Terre Haute South for many years coaching guys like Steve Hart and Brian Evans.  He is now the head coach at Cloverdale and his son is his junior varsity coach.  It was nice to catch up with them and to have my son watch, with the victory Cloverdale got the other night, the 3rd all time winningest coach in Indiana high school basketball history.  Pat Sr. has over 700 wins, do you realize how long it takes to get that many wins? 

By the time we winded back through southwestern Indiana Saturday night, my son was fast asleep.  He had been a great kid that day loving to watch all the basketball.  The travel didn't bother him either and he didn't want to sleep because he wanted to play basketball when we got home.  When we arrived home, as I carried him up the stairs to his room, he woke up and went into his mother's arms.  I went to his room to cover him up and he hugged me thanking me for the day.  As I prepared for bed, I reflected on how many more days I will have like this with him.  As I have learned, this life can be taken away at any moment, but more than likely it will be because he grows up, out growing....me. (not if I can help it!) 

FCA for November 27, 2012



Today we spoke about many of the same things that we talk about that as Christians, we are called to love God and love people.  Senior athlete Tyler gave his testimony and used Psalm 139.



1You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand
when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
 
Tyler shared his feelings about what drew him, finally, to Christ and then sang David Crowder's song Oh, How He Loves Us.