Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Today we were able to go downtown of the capital city. On the way there and back you can see how greatly the difference is in this country. There are 24 million people in the capital with 10% being millionaires. There are the super rich, but also the super poor.
The place we are staying at UPH is an oasis in this area. It was nice to go outside and see more and I know it was good for our players. We were able to mingle with many of the local people who are trying to make $1-3 a day. It is reinforced with me any time I travel that the USA is the 1% in the world when it comes to opportunity.
We literally got off the bus, got dressed and played another pro team tonight. We were able to win easily and the players seemed to have more fun. I wonder what is going through our guys heads sometime....they are having a great opportunity to play, share their faith, and be a part of something greater than themselves, yet they don't seem to enjoy it all of the time.
Tomorrow we will go to the beach and hang out. Looking for more and more opportunities to share our faith. We are doing so at the local Christian university that we are staying at and trying to be an example here.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Today was a good day. We were able to go to a school and run two small mini camps. Being around kids is on of the reasons I love coaching baskeball. We ran the kids through some drills, but all they really wanted was to see our guys dunk and shoot.
After that, we played a pro team from the island. They were very good, and we wer able hold them off for an 80-77 victory. They were quick, had a great shooter and a couple of bigs. We will play them again at the end of the week.
Chapel with faculty tomorrow, downtown and another game.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Last night a big 3 on 3 tournament started and the AIA guys were part of it. However, two teams forfeited and one team we played we beat easily. That team that tried to play our guys were about 5'5 at best and 110 lbs., but they played so hard and had so much fun playing against our team. I admire that the team from here competed and gave it their best.
We got up today and attended Chapel at the University. Listening to a sermon that is being translated was a first for me. It was a nice service, well attended, with a good message.
The 3 on 3 tournament is going on again today, I don't know if we will play in it or not. There are teams threatening to not play if we do because it isn't fair and it probably isn't. We are here to serve the host country and we want what is best for them and not best for us....we will be gone in a couple of weeks and the people putting this on will have to live here and grow this tournament without us.
Tomorrow, we have another game. I am really looking forward to going out into some of the poorer parts of the area to spend time with the children.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Traveling around Europe the last two summers, I knew that the countries I visited liked or loved basketball, but now where I am in Southeast Asia is taking it to whole new level for me. Basketball is not becoming an international sport, it is an international sport. The coaches for Athletes in Action, Head coach Kelly Combs, Asst. Coach Anthony Weston and I put on a basketball clinic for about 20 coaches on Friday.
We went for about four hours giving these guys as much info as we could, probably overwhelming them at times. When we finished, many of these coaches were so thankful that we came all the way to their country to help them (ask me when I get back, and I will tell you where I was. We aren't allowed right now to publicly state where we are because of the type of country we are in and what we are attempting to do with our faith). It is an overwhelming feeling when you think that you are just a high school basketball coach (former) and you can help many of these guys learn or refine their craft.
The coaches were apologetic that more weren't here, but as I have spoken before, you have to start somewhere. Maybe this is one of the beginings as AIA has been here before. It is amazing as a young boy growing up in Henryville shooting on my basketball goal at home, I never thought basketball would take me where it has. Of course, I wanted to play big time college basketball, but that didn't work out for many reasons, I started coaching. The game of basketball has helped me in so many ways in life, family, and travel.
At the coaching clinic, a coach with a Hickory t-shirt on was attending (Hickory is the fictional team from Hoosiers). He knew all about the movie Hoosiers and Indiana basketball. Now that is amazing. When I told him I was a basketball coach from Indiana, it was as if he were meeting someone to be revered. I wonder what he would do if a coach who actually won something were there.
I am missing my family very much, but what I am doing is something greater than myself. I am not just talking about basketball, I have traveled here with AIA and they are a faith based organization. If we can show at least one person how we live our faith using basketball, then I feel I have done my little part in this whole thing. After March 2 (yea, I know you know, the tornado thing) and all the support we got in town, it has become even more obvious how blessed we all are and that we should be giving something back.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
|(Downtown of the capital city)|
After arriving Wednesday afternoon, we are struggling to get our legs back....all of us, not just the players. Some of the guys were able to sleep through the night, others not so much. We had our first practice Thursday morning and it looked like we hadn't practiced since Sunday and that we were 11 hours off from our normal schedules.
After that, we got cleaned up and drove into downtown. The pollution is unbelievable, not just on the ground, but also in the air. I think my allergies are working overtime due to this. We went to a mall and walked around for awile. Then we watched the movie Dark Knight...yes, I saw it in Southeast Asia!
We got back that night, ate a little something and crashed for the night!
At least in some countries. I have been to a few foreign countries and USA basketball is at least respected greatly, but some countries, like where I am, the players are being treated like celebrities. It is good for some of them because they may not have had this type of reaction, for others...maybe not so much a good thing.
We arrived last night, ate, and slept. Driving through the city to our dorm was interesting. The guy who brought us to the university said there are no driving laws, only recommendations. Nice...and you could tell.
We had our first practice and the guys and myself were sluggish, but it is something that will take care of itself over the next few days. We don't play until tomorrow night, so today we are going to go on a sight seeing tour of the capital city and see what we can see. I am taking my camera because I never want to forget what I am about to see.
I am tired...still. We are 11 hours ahead of home....and I am feeling it.
(check out this guy trimming the shrubs at the airport, how many US laws are there for this situation?)
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
|(Pierre and Peter with new friend in SF airport)|
After 38 hours of travel in which we saw 17 straight hours of dark, a 13 hour flight from San Francisco to Southeast Asia, we crossed the International Date Line and the Equator, we arrived.
The players kept a pretty good attitude during that entire time. As we arrived, we got to the hotel and we told the players to stay up so that they could get acclimated to time change. We have an arrival dinner at 6:30 PM which is a 12 hour difference in time.
We get up tomorrow and will tour the city and then practice preparing for our first game on Friday.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
|(Satay Tour Team Asst. Coach Perry Hunter, Head Coach Kelly Combs, Asst. Coach Anthony Weston, and Asst. Coach Charlie Clary)|
Even though I had figured out what my purpose was, I still didn't know how to really do that purpose, if that makes sense. For anyone who thought I was intense or ridiculous the last few years, they probably would have called the police those first 1-10 years of my coaching career. I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn't know how to do it. Many of those players from those years have thanked me for all I did, and I usually apologize because I could have done better and I am not talking about just on the court..
That gets me to the last two years. As I started to understand my purpose even more, I was starting to understand that purpose had to lead to more than just coaching basketball. I wanted to reach more and different people through my faith. Last fall, I applied to Athlete's in Action and a couple of other organizations and was accepted.
That acceptance and the process helped me to decide to resign as boys' basketball coach at Henryville. I knew there was something that I should be doing greater than what I was doing. So thankfully to some, I resigned.f I am not putting down being a varsity basketball coach. So many men and women are doing a job that is under the microscope by many who wouldn't even consider coaching an elementary team. Asked by friend Matt Denison the other night if I was finished being a head coach, I told him I just didn't know. I will be coaching in the near future, but at what position and where is still unknown to me.
Now I am with Athlete's in Action for a basketball tour. We are going somewhere to play that it is so sensitive, I am not allowed to tell anyone specifically where it is. If you know me close enough, you will know where it is, but it is something I am really looking forward to. As we finish training camp and prepare to fly out this week, I am excited.
My wife, Kristi, may be one of the most supportive wives I know. "Honey, can I go to Eastern Europe and work camps?" Kristi: "That's a great opportunity, you can't pass it up". "Honey, can I go to Iceland and work camps?" Kristi: "How cool, of course you can". "Honey, can I go with Athlete's in Action for a tour to Southeast Asia?" Kristi: "I will help you in any way I can." Now my wife isn't exactly a pushover, in fact, she is the one who keeps, ok, tries to keep my humble. She is able to say things that keep things in perspective, to keep me focused on my purpose.
I want to thank everyone who has helped me with support on this trip. I plan on writing a journal and taking lots of pictures to share with you because I want you to feel that you are part of this trip. I will continue to blog here as much as I can the next few weeks.
But I think I finally have figured out not just my purpose, but how to go about doing it. And that realization has come from so many helpful people that I may not be able to ever get around thanking everyone in the manner it deserves.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
(Team members and coaches of the basketball tour team of Satay headed to Southeast Asia.)
Each AIA team has "Team Time" built in both during the morning and evenings. This allows for the team members and coaches to bond in a better way than just hanging out. We are forced to show our vulnerable sides and talk about those things in our lives that are important and, well, things we may not be proud of.
After this morning's Team Time in which a member of our team shared some really good personal information allowing us to get to know him better, our practice was unbelievable. For the guys' second practice, they played hard and together.
Again, if this team can get good chemistry and play for each other, this will be fun.
The team and most of the coaches arrived in Xenia, Ohio yesterday to begin preparation for our basketball tour of Southeast Asia. We have a good mix of bigs and wings with a couple of smart point guards. If this team can get good team chemistry, we should be pretty fun to watch.
Pierre Sneed may be the most recognizable name for Indiana readers of this blog as he played at Ball State. Most of the players are small college players, but that diminish their skills and basketball IQ. The difference between and a D3 or D1 player can be about 3 inches in height.
The facility at AIA is superb with the ability to host soccer, baseball, and football tournaments. This weekend FCA is hosting a football camp and there are two schools participating.
Last night the weather cooled off, however, the small gym at Xenia Christian H.S. where we practiced was very hot and humid. Many of the players are used to air conditioning and struggled with the heat and how the ball and floor became slick often. The coaching staff reminded them that this is the exact type of conditions we will see in Southeast Asia.
We have two more days of practice and we fly out on Monday, lost the day of Tuesday while traveling across the International Date Line and will arrive at our destination on Wednesday. Wednesday is my wife, Kristi's birthday, so please, if you see her, tell her happy thirty (cough, cough) something.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
"For I know the plans I have for you....." That's all I need to know of that Scripture in Jeremiah after March 2. I believe that God has a plan for all of us, that we are all selected to live his plan if we follow him. As I prepare to fly to Asia, there are some things that I need to get off my chest for my family to know...to know for sure. Yes, you have a better chance of dying in a car wreck than in a plane crash, but you just never know when your time has come and that God's plan is for you to move on.
I love my family so much. It isn't always seen, I know (sometimes even by them) because of the frustrations of life, but I wouldn't change anything in my life right now....ok, maybe a little more money, and a couple of kids to be a little more obedient, but that's it. What do I want from my immediate family if I weren't to be around any longer?
To my son, Brandon, I want him to grow up and be happy. I want him to continue doing everything all out and fearless. I want him to temper a little of his attitude, but only a little because it is that attitude that will bring him success in life in dealing with all of life's ups and downs. I want him to continue on his path to Jesus Christ and to one day marry a woman who loves God as much as he will. I want him to be a happy husband and father who doesn't just take his kids to play, but plays with them also. I want him to be the spiritual leader of his family who will keep our family's legacy continuing. I want him to love God with all his heart, soul and mind and to love others as he does himself.
To my daughter, Madison, I would want her to grow up happy. I want her to continue doing those things that make her happy. I want her to continue on her path in finding God and living for others. I want her to grow up to find a good man who will take care of her and love her, and loves God. But I want her also to not have to be dependent on a man, but be able to take care of herself. I want her to grow up and become a wonderful wife and mother to children that will continue our family's legacy. I would want her to love God and love others and be as caring and giving as her mother is every day.
I want both of my children to never guess if their father loved them because I do. I want them to not look at any times we might not have had and be sad, but be so grateful for the times that we did have together playing in the back yard, camping in the basement or some other crazy thing their dad came up with. If I were not to be around, I would want them to know that I am so proud of them and could not have been blessed with two better children than them.
|(that's me hugging the most wonderful woman in the world)|
For my wife, I would want her to continue living her life. I would want her, obviously, to never forget about me, but she should still continue living for Christ and being a great mother. If some time down the road she were...to...well, I would want her to be happy and continue living. I couldn't ask for a better wife. Kristi has been so supportive of me in all that I do and I hope she knows how much I love her and that I would give my own life for her. She is the reason that I came to know Jesus Christ which is the greatest gift she has ever given me, as well as those two children.
This isn't a farewell note, this is something that I wanted written down not because I am flying in airplanes to Asia soon, but because the day you get up might be your last day. And it will probably start like any other day as did March 2nd. And there are so many words that would go unspoken....well, now, here they are and words don't even express my love for my family.
Friday, July 13, 2012
|(Penn State Assistant Jerry Sandusky with Legendary PSU head coach Joe Paterno)|
First, in the late 1990's, Penn State Asst. coach Jerry Sandusky was caught by a grad assistant coach doing something inappropriate with an under age male in the showers of the PSU locker room. I just can't believe that Sandusky would do anything inappropriate in the showers in the late 90's with anyone that was legal, needless to say an underage boy. This under grad coach reported the incident to head coach Joe Paterno, the Godfather of PSU football, someone almost virtually untouchable at Penn State.
Joe Pa reported this incident to his superiors and apparently that is where it stopped. I had a discussion with fellow coaches on this and couldn't believe that he wouldn't have followed up again (and again, and again ultimately confronting Sandusky if needed) to make sure HIS superiors were doing what they should be doing, like having Sandusky fired, arrested or banned from the premises none of which happened. Instead, with newly released email that the university President, trustees and quite possibly Joe Paterno himself, not only didn't stop Sandusky but covered up what he was doing with under age boys, keeping him from being fired, keeping him from being arrested, and allowing him to have a key to the facility even after his resignation.
I don't know all the details and I really don't want to know all the details, but I do know this there are many people at Penn State who should lose their jobs. Anyone associated with Penn State who knew, covered up and especially were in a position of leadership should be fired period. And from what I have seen in some of the emails, there just may need to be some people go to jail besides Sanduskey including the President and Athletic Director during this time.
I hate to think what the players for Penn State football are thinking, I mean, what the NCAA did to IU men's basketball program was drastic for too many phone calls (which by the way is legal again during certain times of the year), what will they do to Penn State football or worse yet, Penn State athletics? It is bad enough that Sandusky did what he did with under age boys, that he started a faith based group (The Second Mile) to have more contact with under age boys, and that he used Penn State's football facilities as a way to lure boys in, but the people in charge at Penn State from the President, to the Athletic Director, to the Head Coach, what they did is also disgusting.
We are talking about protecting children here, children that were used by an adult with prestige and some star power (Penn State football is huge). During the 12+ years that Sandusky ran amok on these boys, I guarantee you that where were rumors. What should have been done? I am not so sure that I have the answer, but I do know that an answer was not doing anything, covering up, or looking the other way.
So what is the legend Joe Paterno's legacy? What Joe Paterno did through the years for Penn State that was good could never be listed in this article. From bringing notoriety in for their football successes to the money raised for the university to money raised for needy people and probably even taking care of needy people in the surrounding areas. But this happened on his watch and the emails that are coming out is that he knew about it for years. First, he needs to remain in anything that they put out when it comes to their history, but he does not need to be exalted, at all. Second the statue of him at PSU needs to come down. Both are definites for the short term and may be something that changes 20 years from now as we get better perspective and information about what he knew and when he knew it.
We aren't talking about recruiting violations, we aren't talking about phone call violations, we aren't talking about violations of adult women (this too would be awful), we aren't talking about violating ethics or integrity when it comes to coaching or dealing with other adults. We are talking about violating young people, we are talking about violations that those violated will never completely get over. We are talking about something so despicable and heinous that I haven't even mentioned here.
I guess I am writing as a father and don't have much compassion for those involved. I guess I think that if my son had to endure something this bad, that it wouldn't take 14 years for justice to occur, that those in charge would go "the second mile" to ensure that my son was protected. Then if something did happen like this those in charge would do anything to make sure it didn't happen to anyone else....ever.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
The Indiana High School Athletic Association's (IHSAA) Commissioner Bobby Cox recently issued his final report on the study of the boys' and girls' state basketball tournament formats in Indiana and I am not sure that it surprised anyone. What was probably more frustrating to me is that it came in response to Senate Bill 236 in the Indiana State Senate in which state Senator Mike Delph had language in this bill that would make it illegal to participate in a multi class tournament, you read that right....illegal. This sounds and reads like an attack on the IHSAA itself which doesn't bother me as much as we have state senators getting involved in high school sports. I am sure Mr. Delph is a very good man, but aren't there more serious problems to deal with?
I am a supporter of multi class sports and probably we need to move to classes in all sports (if it's good enough for football and basketball...well, those are arguments for another time, I guess). There are so many arguments for and against that I won't go into here because to be honest, it has made me physically ill listening to both sides and how the opposite sides use the same arguments each time with neither side actually listening to the other side (think politics or religion). But what I found interesting is how the IHSAA went about coming to the conclusion of their decision that class sports are here to stay...for now.
They held a series of town meetings and surveyed the IHSAA member schools. I don't know about anyone else, but the findings in both were not surprising to me. The town meetings, you know who is going to be motivated to travel to one of these things, it is usually, for the most part those that are not happy with the current set up. Not only were they mostly attended by those that dislike the current set up, there weren't very many in the first place. There were 11 town meetings and 514 votes were cast with 68% wanting to return to the one class tournament. 514 votes isn't much when you compare the voting population of the entire state of Indiana.
Secondly, they had principals, athletic directors, coaches and players fill out surveys online. This was a direct contact with a group that did not surprise me of their findings. A high majority (in 70% of all groups except basketball coaches, but they approved by 55%) supported the current set up. I don't have the numbers, but I am going to guess that more than 514 people voted with the online survey. Does that matter? I mean, it should come down to percentages, right? Maybe, but what if the 2 million plus people who voted in the 2008 presidential election were given the opportunity to vote on the issue? That would be considerably more than 514 votes at the town meetings and then would the percentage still be 68% or would it be higher or lower?
I have two ideas to help settle this issue. 1. make it a public referendum in the next election. Let the people decide and then do what a large percentage wants to be done. Make it 70%. If 70% vote either way, we will do what that group wants done and then it would be over with (yeah, right). But, 2. if the class vote wins, let's do a compromise, a real compromise that I think many people would be behind (put that on the referendum too). Let's have class basketball, baseball...whatever sports you want to include for the sectional and regional levels. After that throw the best four teams from each class into one final state tournament. Smaller schools get a chance for some success in the tourney (that's what most want, it isn't about winning more state championships, it's about having the opportunity for some success) then allows for one state champion. This is known around basketball circles at the Hickory Compromise that HickoryHusker.com's Leigh Evans has pushed for many years.
It would set up small school vs. big school and allow for one state champion. I mean, it has so much common sense to it, it probably has zero chance of ever happening, but I can dream can't I?