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

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

One Word

If you could choose one word to describe yourself what would it be?  What one word would people choose for you?  What one word would describe your family or your life?  I have read some books by Dan Britton and Jon Gordon that talks about this one word thing.

Often we pick a phrase or a status or a vision statement that is wordy and hard to follow.  Try using just One Word and live by it for a week, a month, or a year.

I am starting today and my one word is "now".  When should I do it?  Now.  When should I go there?  Now.  When should I begin?  Now. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What Season is it Anyway?

I have written about this before, but it seems to be an issue that keeps coming up with our family.  And I am sure it will continue in the future.  Our kids play multiple sports.  My wife and I have chosen as parents to allow them to play a sport per season.  When that season is over, we don't feel that at such a young age they should be playing a sport out of season.  In today's world, the definition of "season" is becoming harder and harder to do.  We are not judging parents who allow this, but we want our kids to feel the freedom to play whatever sport they want in that season and still have time to be kids.  Parents who allow this are not doing anything wrong in our eyes, not at all, but are focusing so much attention on one thing for their kids. 

We feel that when they get to around 10-13 years of age, if they want to stop playing the different sports they do and want to specialize on one or two, then they can choose that.  I would like for them to play multiple sports in high school because the odds that they will get to do anything past high school are slim.  I want them to have memories of playing more than just one sport and dealing with the success and failure that different sports provide.

Don't get me wrong, if one or both of them start to show a love and an advanced skill in one sport, we would let them stop playing multiple sports at some time.  Especially if it could make us money in the future or a free scholarship, we would highly consider it as long as our children love that sport.  Does that make us hypocritical?  Maybe, but our kids will not play hundreds of games before they get to high school in any sport.  What we really want is for them to log hundreds of hours in the backyard riding their bikes, playing with their friends and enjoying their youth.  They will have plenty of time to be working on just one thing when they are older.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Being a True Follower

(The hypocrite and Ernie Johnson)
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you may want to read this...or maybe not.  If you are a non-believer, you will probably agree with the principle, but don't need all my Jesus stuff shoved down your throat.  Either you go.

I spend a lot of time on the Internet.  I like to check my Facebook, but I really enjoy Twitter.  What's the difference?  Not sure, I think there is less interaction on Twitter so when I post something, I don't have to read how someone disagrees with it, therefore, making me feel good.  Probably something I need to work on.

Being on these sites and blogs and other websites, I often see believers of the Gospel not acting consistent.  I am sure that many people would say the same thing about me, I don't claim to not be a hypocrite, just an aware one trying to be better.  However, if you have Bible scripture in your online life you in which others can see, you are not allowed to use profanity or post perverse items.  It just isn't right as a follower and believer of Christ.  I am not judging you, but that is the quickest way to turn someone teetering on the verge of salvation or someone against the Gospel even further away.

If you are gong to espouse the love for God and Jesus, you must be aware of your online activity.  Some of you may be reading this and saying "look what you blog about".  Trust me, I cleaned up some of my drafts the other day, I didn't clean them all up.  Why?  Because some of them were written in anger and it wasn't righteous anger. 

We are all hypocrites about something.  Often we just don't want to see it in ourselves, or can't.  However, if you are going to claim to be a follower online, you must reflect on everything you put out there.  In the "real" world, we all fail and come up short, usually because we react instead of contemplating, at least that's the major reason why I do, but in the online world, you can actually stop and think before pushing "send" or "tweet".  I think, though, that the access of smart phones actually allows us to act quickly and not too....ummm smart.

Look, you can do what you want.  I am not judging, I am not telling you what to do, I am not even going to be perfect in this endeavor, but what I am telling you is that inconsistency makes a difference.  Over ten years ago, I was agnostic and I can tell you those types of inconsistencies would have fed my anger over the hypocrisy of Christians. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cleaning Up My Drafts

I haven't had much to write about lately, I guess that can be a good thing.  What I decided to do today was to clean up my drafts, things I have written in the past and didn't publish for one reason or another.  I decided to post these things and delete others.  Many people have commented that they appreciate what I have put because they have been through similar situations. 

I have actually held back in some of these posts.  The absolute hypocrisy in some posts by outsiders would be comical if not so wrong.  I think it is important to keep names from the articles because I want to give them anonymity. 

Email Examples of What We Can Get

This blog has been cathartic for me and I don't mind posting things that basketball coaches in Indiana endure.  Following are emails received in the past.  These are players for us that we have spent countless time, money, and love.  They are players in which this parent have obviously done a very good job in raising their children because they are great kids, great kids...let me say it again great kids/people! (No, I am serious, they are great kids!)...this is an example of what we might receive from parents.

"Thank you Coach Hunter and coaching staff for all that you do.  I have coached in the past and realize all the time and effort that is needed to be put in while coaching.  My son doesn't bring home anything but his shoes, so I know that someone is washing his uniform and practice clothes every day.  I also know that by you living outside of town that you are leaving home some days to be away from your family so you can do my child's laundry.  I appreciate it a lot.  Also, the things you do for them as people is why I am glad my son has played for you.  I really hate that you have resigned at the end of the year because he is disappointed, but I do understand why you are doing it.  It seems more and more (I know, I sit in the bleachers) that the things all coaches, not just you and your staff do a thankless job.  Again, good luck the rest of the season and know that there are people who appreciate you and what you've done."

Below is my response:
Thank you. We don't often get these types of emails, but it is nice. You can best believe that I have enjoyed, overall, my time as head coach and am looking forward to being in the bleachers supporting the future coach and players.

Those are nice, they do come on ocassion, but we also get other kinds.

"I've sat back and watched for the last (few) years the antics and rediculousness of  Perry Hunter coaching.  Tonight at the (game) was the final straw for me and I am sure with this email it is going to have repercussions on my sons but I cannot watch it any longer quietly.  After a bad play, which I understand completely he had on o (sic) his temper tantrums then proceeded to turn toward the bench and throw something causing the players sitting there to have to duck out of the way.  I find this completely unacceptable and think there needs to be se (sic) sort of disciplinary action and at the very least a public apology.  This is not a good example for the students, the school or the community.  If the man can't control himself anymore than this I am not sure he needs to be in this position of authority.  Like I said I know this will more than likely bring repercussions on my sons and if that happens I will deal with that with (sic) furnther steps.  I would appreciate a reply and eagerly await it."

Following is my response email:

"I was shown your email that was delivered immediately after our loss vs. Crothersville and I don’t know if I can agree with you more.  My behavior comes out of my competitive spirit and more so because I want to see the kids be successful.  It is not about making me look bad or not look bad, but the kids rewarding their hard work and effort.

What I threw (which I should not have done) was my offensive and defensive plays written on paper and laminated with tape.  I do not have any excuses for doing this other than frustration that comes from giving up my time to try and help young men be successful in something they like to do, and from the time they give up to reap the rewards of their own efforts.

I have to admit, I am a little upset that you didn’t feel like you could speak to me personally about any of these issues in the 3 years you have watched my antics or ridiculousness as I do not make myself unapproachable.  Before anything got to this point, I would have hoped you had spoken to me before going to my superiors.

I think I am probably more offended that you think that airing your opinion will cause for negative consequences for your boys.  Your two boys are two of the best kids we have, on and off the court.  Nothing you ever said or did would make me do something negative to them. 

I have apologized before to the team for things I have done as I did after the game Wednesday vs. Crothersville explaining to them where that frustration comes from and it isn’t about me.  I have done nothing, but be open and honest with the players, apologized when I see necessary (more than most coaches would admit), loved, and cared about them on and off the court.  If that makes me unfit to be in a position of authority, I guess we will have differing opinions.

In closing, I am more concerned with my job as a parent and to be quite honest, being a parent is the hardest job I have ever done.  I thank God often that what I do as a parent sometimes is not evaluated by the community once a week. I try to coach my players in a way that I would want my own children to be coached.  Every single thing I do I evaluate and contemplate based on that decision.   I often go home and ask my wife, Kristi, what she thinks and she is honest with me, sometimes brutally. What I have found is that there are very few things I do as a coach that I would be against if a coach treated my children the way I treat my players."

During this exchange, I had nothing but positive support from my administration.  Both the principal and Athletic Director supported me, realized that we can all be better and let me know they supported me almost unconditionally.  This parent's following response which I let end the conversation is below, but I am going to answer here:

"I would expect nothing less than you supporting your coach and quite frankly I would be upset if you didn’t.  I agree the job is tougher than it looks and I applaud all of the staff at the school for the hours that they give to the academic, athletic and fine arts departments.  Your jobs are thankless, overworked and underpaid I will admit but I hope by this being pointed out to you and to Coach Hunter that it will open some eyes to some things and make the boys realize that you can’t have a temper tantrum then apologize and all will be okay (definitions of temper tantrums are different). (Also, if you remember, this person wanted a public apology which I have done here)  I deal with the public and my employees daily and there are times when I would like nothing more than to have a fit and throw anything within reach but when in the public eye that is frowned upon (In no way are our jobs comparable other than being leaders, my online life and public life away from school is scrutinized continually).  I do not harbor any bad feelings towards you or towards Coach Hunter and will continue to support HHS and its athletic programs constantly any way that I can.  I appreciate the response from both of you and wish luck the rest of the season." (I have zero doubts this to be true. This person has always been perceived as supportive)

How to Handle a Real Issue vs. How NOT to Handle a Real Issue

There are some things in life that are real issues to deal with and some...well, really aren't.  A real issue is if you believe that your family or friends are being treated badly.  I guess the definition of "badly" will depend on your perspective, but what I am talking about is if a teacher, coach or anyone in a position of authority is mistreating your child or spouse, and a friend, I guess. 

How do you handle an issue like this?  What I hope I do is first contact the person directly that I have an issue with.  That contact will hopefully be face to face, but a phone call would be sufficient.  After discussing with this person the issue, I have two options.  I can probably figure out that I was wrong or have a differing philosophy or I can then contact their immediate supervisor.  From there, I can decide if I am happy or not then contact the next supervisor, on up the chain until I decide that I am at least satisfied with the outcomes.  If something is that bad, my next step could be a letter to the editor.  I would hope that the last thing would be an extreme decision.  I am willing to be that most people are easy to deal with and the first option would end the problem.

How NOT to handle an issue.  First, just go right to Facebook and/or Twitter and air my concerns.  Without knowing all things involved, I have just created more controversy than there needs to be.  Many people will comment defending you, making you feel better, but really they are commenting on something that even you don't have all the details.

Second, contact any level of the supervising chain without speaking to the person my issue is with directly.  That is disrespectful, gets more people involved than is needed, especially if it could be handled with the person directly involved.  What you have done if you go this rout is worsen a relationship that the person you had an issue with didn't even know there was an issue...if that makes sense.  No one appreciates you going over there head immediately.

Third, do not try to get a "group" on your side and create discontent over an extended period of time.  All you are doing is probably aligning yourself with some people who have no real issue, but there is usually power in numbers.  What happens is you end up hanging with people similar to you on one issue.  That questions your credibilty when the issue does come to light.

When I write in this blog, it is for me to get my thoughts down, it isn't for you.  If you don't like what is written here, don't read it.  These "issues" are how I hope I handle anything in the future and I know that I will slip and fail at times.  Does that make me a hypocrite?  Probably, but at least I can admit it.

Pro Planet = Sports Related? Nope...Anyway

I was watcing the Discovery channel the other day and they were espousing a theory about how life started on Earth. You need some background info when you discuss issues with your evolution friends, and I have probably been rightly corrected that it is not "random" selection that occurs on earth. That according to them, all things have been done not randomly, but because it is the best, most efficient. I get that, it makes sense until you look at how the human eye sees and our brain works, and there really aren't colors, just the name we give to different speeds of light, but I digress. I have actually conceded that argument of "random" selection as being a wrong word to use in trying to explain evolution.

That is until the other night watching the Discovery channel when science helped to support my position in that according to science, we are all just some random, accident. The theory they were espousing is that 4.5 billion years ago a protoplanet, a smaller planet, rammed into Earth. Until that point no life could exist on Earth, it was only after that collision that the moon could form from the debris created by it. The moon then allowed for the conditions to be created allowing for life to being which began the process of evolution.

So.....all of this is a random occurrence according to those scientists. If that protoplanet does not hit Earth then the conditions for life do not develop which doesn't allow for evolution to begin. A totally accidental, random occurrence allowed for me to sit here typing this.

So what? Who cares? Well, if this is all done from a random, accident, what does any of this mean? We should look at ourselves strictly as lab rats. There is no "right" or "wrong". There is no "meaning to life". This means nothing more than what we want it to mean at any given point. Why would we worry about marriage? What's the big deal about divorce? In fact, why would beating your children matter? How about "saving the whales" or polar bears? None of it matters if all we are is a random accident. We are no different than dogs, trees, grass, tigers, clouds, poison ivy, or wind patterns....all random accidents striving for dominance in our no meaning world.

Whether you believe in God or not that seems to be a sad way to look at life. I look at my children and cannot accept that it is a random accident, those feelings cannot be the result of macro-evolution. I look at how human beings fight for so many causes and cannot accept that this is a random accident. I know how it feels when indwelt with the Holy Spirit to accept that this is a random accident caused by a random collison of a protoplanet with our Earth.

Basketball and Faith


 A few years ago, a friend of mine, Shane Billingsley, told me a story which gave me good perspective on life dealing with his son and his disease.  Shane was the head coach at South Decatur when we won a sectional in the mid 00's.  He spoke to me, a JV coach, with the respect that few head coaches would and that was something I never forgot.  We both share the same passions for basketball, our families, and Christ.  Shane is a good man, below are excerpts from his blog and the story of his son Ayden. 
"As we were sitting in the doctor’s office of the famed Cleveland Clinic many thoughts were racing through mine and Becky’s minds.  Answers had eluded us for more than 18 months. This all began with a regular check up when our little boy Ayden turned 9 months old. His pediatrician noticed that he had not gained weight since his 6 month check up. This was a red flag and set us on a journey that would change our lives. We would first see a GI specialist and eventually he would be seen by 10 different doctors. We learned his body was not producing pancreatic enzymes, that he had some structural issues with his lungs and other organs in his body. The doctors told us that he was carnitine deficient and his body was not producing enough energy to create adequate growth. We found out all these things but not one doctor could tell us why. He would be tested, x rayed, cat scanned, poked, and prodded still nothing conclusive. That led us to the Cleveland Clinic. It is believed when dealing with 3 or more body systems that have issues, a Mitochondrial Disease is suspected. Dr Parikh at the Cleveland Clinic is one of the best in the US and it took 6 months to get an appointment. For months we prayed for answers and as we made the trip to Cleveland, Becky and I were excited and optimistic about knowing what was going on inside of Ayden’s body.

Our world was turned upside down when Dr Parikh spoke the following, ”Ayden has DNA Depletion Syndrome and the prognosis is that he will not live much longer.” Shock, disbelief, anger all were flowing through my body and the only thing that I could think of is why is our baby going to die? Neither Becky nor I remember much of the visit or exactly what the doctor was telling us. Over and over in my head I kept hearing him say,”enjoy every moment with him because he will only get worse from this point on."  We hid emotions when the phone rang and Courtney our 14 year old daughter called as school had gotten out and she was excited to know what we found out about her baby brother.  We were able to muster up the courage to hide our emotions and tell her it was ok.   Oakley our oldest son at age 11 told us how much he missed us and loved us and could not wait to see us. 

We went to see a Christian healer and as we arrived we made our way to the service. Going in it was tough not being skeptical. We decided we were going to do any and everything possible. We adopted the bible verse Philippians 4:13 as our family motto, “All things are possible thought Christ our lord who gives us strength.” Stepping into the sanctuary you could feel the energy and listening to Mr. Smithwick speak was amazing. He said that a family with a little boy needed to speak directly to him. There was no doubt who he was talking about. After the service we introduced ourselves to him. Mr. Smithwick and several members of the church laid hands on Ayden and began to pray. I have read stories about feeling the Holy Spirit but not experienced it like this.  The goose bumps stacked up and as they prayed for Ayden the tears flowing from our eyes were uncontrollable.  Mr. Smithwick told us to continue to do what the doctors said and the tests would still show he had DNA Depletion but over time we would see exactly what God had done for Ayden.

We began getting results from Cleveland and all things still pointed to DNA Depletion Syndrome. Ayden’s liver enzymes had been at a dangerous level. At their highest they were around 550, normal is in the 50’s.  When we first went to Cleveland Ayden was taking 14 different medicines, and he was losing hair in small patches. After the initial healing service all of Ayden’s test results began to improve. His liver enzymes dropped.  He was tested every 2 months and everything was going great.  I was driving to work one morning and I had tried so hard to be strong and I believed that God had healed Ayden but I was scared and upset and angry. I prayed and, after my prayer I turned on the radio and the song by Kutless, Faith Can Move a Mountain came on and I was overcome with a sense of calmness.  The words tell us that, “Impossible is not a word just a reason for someone not to try.” It reminds us that miracles just happen and silent prayers get answered and it just restored my faith.

June 6, 2012 was a great day for the Billingsley Family. We arrived in Atlanta for a check up with Dr. Shoffner to see how Ayden was doing.  The date June 6th is known as D-Day, now for us it is known as ND-Day, which stands for No Disease Day. Dr. Shoffner gave us the news that Ayden not only did not have DNA Depletion Syndrome, he could not classify him as mitochondrial.  All of our prayers had been answered. The nightmare that we had been living was over.  I watched a transformation happen right in front of my eyes, my wife who had given everything that she had to make Ayden well became her old self.  She is the one that put all of her needs behind his and the thought of losing him changed her. We know that not all things will be easy for us and that Ayden will have struggles that most others will not, however with my own eyes I have seen faith move a mountain."  Shane Billingsley

Friday, August 9, 2013

Say Whaaaat?

Yesterday, one of the best guards in the 2014 class, a Hoosier, and a verbal committment to Indiana University (James Blackmon, Jr.) decommitted three months before the signing period.  This is the third high profile player in the area to decommit in the last year (Trey Lyles to IU and Quentin Snyder from U of L).  What is going on?

The reason given has been that these guys were too young when they verballed to their schools.  All being in the 14 age range.  Blackmon and Lyles had committed before ever playing a varsity basketball game.  What is going on?

Blackmon and Snyder want their host schools to continue recruiting them.  Blackmon has said so much as that IU is still where he is leaning on attending and plans to sign during the early signing period in November.  It doesn't sound or look good as players rarely decommit then commit again to the same university (it has happened before, DeShaun Thomas for Ohio State is one example).

College recruiting is social darwinism at its finest.  College coaches are offering scholarships to young players to let them understand how serious they are about them playing for them some day.  But when a kid verbals and then sees all the attention his friends are getting, it seems natural to want some of that attention, too.

If my children are ever good enough to play big time Division 1 sports, I will, as a parent, not allow them to verbally commit until their junior year.  I don't care how much they may like one university over another, I will not allow it.  At the end of their junior year they can verbal and then sign in the early period their senior year if they so choose.  This will allow for my child even in their excitement to hold off.  So much can change from 14 to 17 years of age including coaching changes, NCAA investigations, etc.

You will hear college coaches being blamed for this, I blame parents.  It is our responsibility to take care of all things.  Even in something as wonderful as being offered a full ride, basketball scholarship to one of the greatest basketball universities in the country.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Who am I? Who are you? Who are we?

Over the last two weeks, I have been invited to speak at our church at the Borden Church of Christ.  So I came up with a little mini series.  I have always felt it is important that if I got up and spoke at church, I should be as transparent as possible.  The first of three parts of the mini series deals with I am.

Who am I?

Last Sunday, I felt it was important to tell the congregation who they are, individually as followers of Christ.

Who are you?

Finally, this Sunday, Lord willing, I will speaking about "Who are we?"

Please listen at your own risk and understand that I am using power point, so some of the things I am speaking about not come through on just audio.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Killing Jesus by Stephen Mansfield

Recently, I finished the book Killing Jesus by Stephen Mansfield.  From the front cover, this book is rooted in scholarship but told simply with vivid detail, this gritty account of the crucifixion of Jesus tells the unknown, fascinating saga of the death of the world's most famous man.

New York Times best-selling author Stephen Mansfield moves the story from the real of religion alone to the certainties of time and place, separating fact from persistent fiction.  In these pages you will find the hidden intrigue and corruption behind the death that changed the world forever.

I found many of the historical details to be interesting when it came to the relationship between the Romans and the Jews.  Also, many of the connecting details of the story of the crucifixion that unles done together, you find hard to understand are made clear here. 

I cannot wait to read Bill O'Reilly's book of the same title in September, but until then, I would recommend this book if you like history, theology, or Jesus.

Here....or There?

As I have written recently, I have taken the position of assistant boys' basketball coach at Silver Creek High School.  However, I am still teaching at the school I have been at for the last 14 years; Henryville High School.  The two schools are ten miles apart, and I live in Sellersburg, the home of Silver Creek H.S.

I have found an interesting feeling develop this summer.  After being at SCHS all summer and helping with the basketball program, I felt a disconnect from HHS.  When I would come up in the summer to do some work, I felt odd being here.  I didn't feel a part of the school.

Now we are about 5 days into the school year and I am spending most of my days at HHS.  My daughter attends SC schools, and when I go to pick her up, I now feel a disconnect from SC and it's players. 

I know it is part of coaching at one school and teaching at another, but I feel torn between the two, yet not really part of either...?  I am sure it is something that will only increase as the season begins and unwinds.  The best part is that the two schools play each other the first game of the season and after that, I can continue in supporting both schools in all they do.