relationships

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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Four Spiritual Laws by Bill Bright


The Four Spiritual Laws is a booklet created in 1952 by Bill Bright (1921-2003), founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, the world's largest Christian ministry. Bright wrote the booklet as a means to clearly explain the essentials of the Christian faith concerning salvation.

In the booklet, Bright summarizes the Christian message of salvation contained in the Bible as four spiritual laws that govern our relationship with God, just like there are physical laws that govern the universe. The four spiritual laws are:

1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. (John 3:16, John 10:10)

2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God's love and plan for his life. (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23)

3. Jesus Christ is God's only provision for man's sin. Through Him you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life. (Romans 5:8, I Corinthians 15:3-6, John 14:6)

4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God's love and plan for our lives. (John 1:12, Ephesians 2:8,9, John 3:1~8, Revelation 3:20)

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Not About Me...or You


Yes...great title and really a great book by Max Lucado, but this is not about my faith.  This is all about what my teams are capable of doing and getting it done on the court.  One of my most said phrases as a coach is "reward yourself".  Our players put in lots of time and effort and I believe they should "reward themselves" during the games. 

When I first started coaching, I coached for me.  It took me probably ten years to go 50/50 on what or who I was coaching for.  Now...it is for the boys to be successful.  That is why I get so frustrated and animated during games.  I could care less for me to get any credit, it is about the players seeing something from the time and effort they put on during the summer and practice.

Really, it isn't even about this current team or any given current team.  The program was here before them, it is here now while they are here, and it will be here as long as there is an HHS.  The players owe it to those who came before them to compete and play hard, and they owe it to the future players to show what is expected of a basketball player at this school.

Why do you play?  Why do you coach?  What is your purpose?  Mine has been, in the last few years, to improve our guys as people and hopefully enjoy some success on the court.  Hopefully, they have worked and experienced some of that success.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Yep, I Am So Aggravated with This That it Warrants a Blog Post

But this...is a travel, walk, whatever you want to call it.  In this video Luol Deng establishes a pivot foot (left foot here) by drop stepping with the opposite foot (right foot here), if there is no dribble in the spin and the left foot hits the ground before he shoots, that is a travel by any definition you want to choose, well, okay not in the NBA.  But really, what is a travel there?!

I don't know why, but high school officials have stopped calling this, maybe once or twice a season it will be called, but it happens 2-5 times a game.  Sometimes more, sometimes less, but it is frustrating.  1. Because it is a rule that is not being enforced. 2. It is really hard to guard a guy who can spin and cover 5-10 feet gaining an advantage on the defense.

1. It's a rule:  If you watch a tape from the 1970's you will be amazed at how fundamental teams are, they never walk and they rarely foul.  Why is that?  The game has degraded, in my opinion, because the way the game is called has degraded.  There is no way that Milan or Loogootee's teams from the past who had success could play delay against bigger, stronger, faster teams.  Officials will just now allow it to happen.  Not because they have some vendetta against teams like those, but because of the way the game is called. 
Those faster, stronger, bigger teams can push, shove, hold, walk in today's game and a smaller, slower, more patient team has very little shot of winning.

2. You gain an unfair advantage: If you are allowed to gain an advantage by picking the ball up and moving side to side, it is hard to guard.  If you tell high school kids to shuffle their feet on defense when a player makes the spin move, few people can shuffle to the side to keep up with that.  So what happens?  It's 2 points or the defense is able to be out of position and block the shot.  However, to be able to block this shot, you must be as athletic or more than the person making the move.  At our level, kids can't shuffle correctly (unfair because offense is running) and rarely athletic enough to recover, so when they attempt a block they get called for a foul.

Don't even get me started on what a foul is today.  Every year we get "points of emphasis" to clean the game up.  Sometimes they call those points for a few games and more often than not they don't get called.  Teams are allowed to put forearms in sides of ball handlers pushing them off line (displacement), but my biggest complaint is in rebounding.  Teams are allowed to nudge from behind causing displacement, then when the defensive rebounder turns to wall up, a foul is called on the defense who was nudged (that's code for shoved/pushed) out of position in the first place.

Also, more and more teams drive the ball to the lane, really hard.  We teach our teams to take charges and to "wall up" when they come at them.  Walling up is holding your ground with your arms straight up making it hard for the offense to shoot over you.  We invariably get penalized for this once every two games.  Our defensive player will be where they need to be and the offense will run into them and jump up and it is called a foul on the defense yet the offense is the one who initiates all of the contact.

I will close with this; I haven't run into any really bad officials, well maybe a couple, but I really believe they love the game and work hard to try and do a good job.  I often wonder if it is the officials fault that this stuff goes on especially the spin move.  Is it cultural?  This is something that has started in the NBA and has filtered down to the high school level.  I have had officials tell me they won't call it because if they do they will be the only one who does (no, really, that's been said by a couple different referees), and I have been told that calling all those fouls hurts the flow of the game (well, letting one team molest another or each other hurts the integrity of the game).  So is it cultural, has what the fans want changed the game?  Or should the rule book be enforced with fewer individual interpretations.

I guess I shall see how many officials read this blog, but as I said most, if not all are working hard trying to do a good job within the confines of what is expected. So if I see you out there in the next few games, know that I truly appreciate what you do (I refereed elementary games before, it's hard) and the time that you put in.  Just do me a favor....keep an eye on the feet of the player with the ball and realize that almost all spin moves are travels.  (I can see it now, we have a game in the next month and my kid makes a spin move and a travel is called and the official will say "read your blog, like that call?"....I know it's coming.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Athletes in Action

The first time I ever heard of Athletes in Action was during an IU basketball game in the early 1980's.  Then colleges would play scrimmages before the season against foreign teams and AIA.  I remember asking someone what AIA stood for and it was explained to me.  I didn't really get it, but whatever, IU was winning the basketball game.

I have kept in touch with AIA recently just because I am interested in any group that furthers the Lord's work and AIA is one of those.  I have wanted to get into sports ministry more and more recently, so waaaay back last fall, I filled out an online application to coach for AIA or to work a clinic.  I filled out the app and three people had to fill out reference emails.  Finally, I spoke to Kelly Combs, former college coach and now with AIA, for about 45 minutes one day on the phone.  During that conversation, I gave my testimony as well as what I believe the Lord is calling me to do.

I must have done something right as Coach Combs contacted me the other day that I had been selected to serve with them this summer in some capacity.  It was going to be up to me what I felt called to do.  There were options to be an assistant coach in Brazil and Southeast Asia, or I could go work coaching clinics at three different places in Africa. 

Since I had gotten to know Coach Combs a little through the interview process and through email, I chose to go with him, to be his assistant on the Southeast Asia tour.  I have filled out the paperwork and will start soon in raising the money for this mission trip.  I am excited, yet a little nervous.  It requires two things I am not a huge fan of and that is flying and being away from my family for an extended time.

I want to thank all of those people who have been supportive in the changes I am making and will make soon.  I hope that you pray for me and my family and I will probably even post soon how you can donate some money towards my trip if you feel compelled to do so.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Are You a Fan or a Follower?

I recently went and watched the movie Not a Fan and for $10 I got into the movie and got the book by the same title (Not a Fan).  The movie was...well...moving, it made me think which is something that I always like to encounter.

The book is a series of sermons by Kyle Idleman in which he challenges you as a Christian.  He asks and hopes you look into your soul and ask if you are a "fan" or a "follower" of Jesus.  To give you a small insight to what some of the things he writes about is if Jesus is the one or the one of many.  He asks questions like For what do you sacrifice your money? When you're hurt, where do you go for comfort? What disappoints or frustrates you the most? What is it that really gets you excited?

It seems that what Idleman is writing about is an impossible plateau to reach, but if you attempt it, work at it, get back up and try again, you will become a follower of Christ and Not a Fan!

Big Win Saturday Night vs. Cancer



Two students recently organized our Coaches vs. Cancer game and did a wonderful job.  Savannah Booher and Spencer Whitehouse put in many hours and organized many things to help raise money for the American Cancer Society.  When the night was finished they had surpassed the amount raised from last year.

Through their efforts during our Borden vs. HHS game (attendance around 2,000 people) allowed for the two communities to raise over $900 for the fight against cancer.  Basketball games are important because so much time and effort are put into them by so many people and so many people take pride in the results.  But that result is what matters most, that we had students and two rival communities come together to help fight cancer.  I want to thank anyone from Borden who helped in the cause as it is greatly appreciated.  We will be participating later in the season at Crothersville in their Coaches vs. Cancer game.

Cancer is a disease that has touched almost every single family.  As Jim Valvano said, we should never give up in combatting that or any other disease.  Never give up.  Put things in perspective in that people and relationships matter over basketball games, fight the good fight and enjoy the games.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Part of the Final Speech from the Movie Courageous



Tuesday, January 17 the movie Courageous comes out on DVD.  I have written about it in the past, but it is one of the greatest movies I have ever seen.  The final speech will motivate you, even the most lukewarm follower to action.  Below is parts of the speech.  Reading it cannot do justice as to how it is delivered in the movie.

"....A father should love his children and seek to win their hearts.  He should protect them, discipline them, and teach them about God.  He should model how to walk with integrity and treat others with respect, and should call out his children to become responsible men and women who love their lives for what matters in eternity.

Some men will hear this and mock it or ignore it.  But I tell you that as a father, you are accountable to God for the position of influence He has given you.  You can't fall asleep at the wheel, only to wake up on day and realize that your job or your hobbies have no eternal value, but the souls of your children do.  Some men will hear this and agree with it but have no resolve to live it out.  Instead they will live for themselves and waste the opportunity to leave a godly legacy for the next generation.

But there are some men who, regardless of the mistakes we've made in the past, regardless of what our fathers did not do fur us, will give the strength of our arms and the rest of our days to loving God with all that we are and to teach our children to do the same, and whenever possible, to love and mentor others who have no father in their lives but who desperately need help and direction.  And we are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous to join us in this resolution.

In my home, the decision has already been made.  You don't have to ask who will guide my family because by God's grace, I will.  You don't have to ask who will teach my son (and daughter) to follow Christ because I will.  Who will accept the responsibility of providing for and protecting my family? I will.  Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family's history? I will. Who will pray for and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do? I am their father...I will.  I accept this responsibility, and it is my privilege to embrace it.

I want the favor of God and His blessing on my home.  Any good man does.  So where are you men of courage?  Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord?  It's time to rise up and answer the call God has give you, and to say I will, I will, I will!"

Friday, January 13, 2012

Indiana High School Basketball Is Supposed to Be.......

1. The smell of popcorn on game night.
2. The squeek of gym shoes on a wooden floor.
3. The town backing the local team.
4. School fight songs.
5. Multiple generations playing for the same school.
6. Gut wrenching nerves day of the game.
7. Fundamentals.
8. People caring about basketball right after God and family.
9. When you say a last name of a person, a town is associated with it.
10. Something that you work your schedule around.
11. Something you look forward to practice beginning then the first game, then sectional.
12. Seeing high school boys playing so hard for pride's sake.
13. Coaches working the officials.
14. Officials working the game.
15. That one fan each town has that you see when you play them.
16. Often better assistant coaches than there are head coaches in other states.
17. Life and death rivalries.
18. Teachers wearing ties and jackets to games (sometimes).
19. Something you don't realize you have until you graduate then you want it back badly.
20. Getting to know other coaches because of shared experiences.
21. Packed gyms.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lead...for God's Sake!


I recently finished reading the book Lead...for God's Sake! by Todd G. Gongwer.  What a great book for anyone to read whether you are a coach, teacher, leader, parent, player, anyone really.  Todd Gongwer does a fabulous job of expressing what many leaders go through at some point in their career/lives.  It is a parable, a fictional story about a high school basketball coach and his transformation.  The only problem I have with the book is that Gongwer is from Indiana, yet he sets the story in Kentucky, but I guess I can live with that.

The coach is one of the most successful coaches in Kentucky high school history and has a team back with 4 starters who was the runner up in the state finals the year before.  However, once the season starts that team starts to hid bumps in the road.  They are not performing quite up to what is expected of anyone especially the basketball coach.  So what does he do?  He starts falling back on all the things he has done in the past to get to a team, he runs them, he yells at them, he throws things and the situation doesn't get better it gets worse.

Finally, the school's custodian begins mentoring the coach.  Yes, the school's custodian.  There are many twists and turns in the book, but what the custodian does is get the coach to reflect on what is his purpose in life.  Why does he do what he does?  Why does he lead the way he does?  In the end the coach transforms and becomes a different type of coach and the ending has two big twists that leaving you thinking as you put the book down.

It is a great book, and I believe that everybody should read it.  But, if you are a high school basketball coach it is a must read.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Faith, Family, School, Team, Self is That How it Goes?

When I played (yuck), I can remember a coach telling me what my priorities should be.  It was faith, then family, then school, then the team and finally myself.  Now growing up, I wasn't exactly a real religious kid and I can remember not understanding putting faith before family.  In fact, it made zero sense to me.  But it also made little sense to me to put school before the team; just call me a stupid kid or maybe your average kid.

But recently I started reading a book called Lead....For God's Sake by Todd Gongwer (which I will write a little bit about when I finish the book) and in the book it claims that saying is all wrong.  Faith (God) cannot be compartmentalized into a list.  In fact, it should read Faith (God), Family (God), School (God), Team (God), Self (God). 

We are called not to be just Sunday Christians, but to walk a Christian LIFE.  It is a hard thing to do, but yet it isn't.  A believer especially one walking with The Holy Spirit should find it effortlessly to do so.  I believe that you will not only find it easy and effortlessly, but you will look for more ways to be an example of Christ to the world.

It is easy when the feeling over takes you to catch fire, but don't be a roman candle Christian.  Remember that the stronger you get in your faith, the stronger and more often it will be tested.  You will be tempted to return to the life you had before, but you must resist.  When you feel lost, when you have doubts, when you feel like you are going through the motions, find someone to speak with to help you stay the course.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Holidays, Some Time Off, End of the Year and Thinking = Reflection

With all that goes on this time of the year and what I have been going through personally (nothing bad at all, in fact, the best days of my life so far), it made me think a little more than usual.  I started thinking about some of the things I have learned in my 42 years.  There is way more than this which may prompt another article, but these were 16 things that came to mind today while driving back from Florida.  These are things that I have experienced first hand and believe they are pretty universal.

1. People have good intentions:  But, they rarely follow through on them.  Usually it is the small things such as "hey, we need to get together sometime" or "I am going to help you out".  People actually say things intending to do what they say, but when it comes time to actually do it, they don't for many reasons.

2. Best friends forever:  Rarely...and that is ok.  I have worked many jobs in my life and you grow close to many people, but when the job ends or people move on, you rarely stay in contact.  That is okay.  When you do re connect, it is nice and true friends pick up where they left off.

3. We are principled people: At least for others.  We often live our lives by a different set of principles than what we expect out of other people.  We hold others to higher standards than we hold ourselves because, well, we have "reasons" for what we do, they have "excuses".

4. People tend to help others: And usually don't like it or do it expecting something in the future.  I think it is only human nature, but I believe that the ultimate way to live your life is to give it all way and never expect anything in return.

5. Words are easy to say: But harder to live by.  And maybe even easier to type.

6.  Hard work: Doesn't guarantee success, but you won't be successful without it.

7.  Mental toughness: is everything.

8.  Have high expectations: and expect to be held to a higher standard.  People will critisize and become angrier at you due to what you stand for.  Often times for reasons that have nothing to do with you.

9. Accountability: is wanted by few people...again with the "reasons" vs. "excuses".

10. We often treat those closest to us: the worst.  We let down our walls and fake selves and expect those we love the most to cater to us.  When having a bad day with strangers, don't take it out on those who really love you.

11. Proper perspective: is often lost due to our own selfishness.  Throw in our emotions that we can't control....and you can forget it.

12. Experience: is the greatest teacher, but we are so busy wanting to have fun that we often forget to "experience" the moment.  Then due to our selfishness we don't learn anything.

13. Next: We often don't experience or learn because when in the moment, we are wondering how we can have something better, bigger, more expensive in the future.  We don't appreciate what we have now.

14.  We are quick: to be experts on many things that we have, at best, minimal experience or knowledge of.

15. Your legacy: will be forgotten in 3 generations or less.  What you did will be forgotten, how you did it will remain in your children who you can hope will pass it on to their children.  Three generations later, they won't remember who started how they live, but they will live in a certain way....and probably not even know there is another way.

16. Find a supportive spouse:  They can make or break you in anything you do.  They can make you miserable or happy every single day.  I have the best coaches wife in the world.  If she isn't, there are only those who can be equal to her.