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

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thinking Usual

The other night, my daughter was crying in bed.  I went in to see what was wrong and she said "something just doesn't feel right".  I told her I knew and that I understood, hugged her, kissed her and then left the room.  My poor daughter.  Everyone tells me per personality is similar to mine.  That's good in some ways, but troubling in some other ways.  We tend to worry about things that aren't a big deal and when the big deal things come along, we worry more.  We tend to think...a lot about the world and it's problems.  I still remember not being able to sleep when I was 6 years old because the "killer bees" were making their way to the U.S.

Even before I went college or majored in U.S. History education, even before I minored in sociology and psychology, I was an osbserver of what was going on around me.  More importantly, I was an observer of people.  I watched people's actions to see if they measured up to their words and I learned about hypocrisy at a young age.  I reflected on myself and tried to align my own actions up with my words and beliefs and I am still working on that one.  But I am honest and aware that these issues still occur with me and try to do better though others might say I don't. 

I have observed (mostly students but also adults...educated adults) people who are either unaware that they are not aligning actions with belief or they just don't care.  Those that are unaware are usually the easiest to speak with about the subject.  They truly are uninformed that what they are doing is conflicting with their beliefs.  Sometimes they attempt to change, but sometimes their heads figuratively explode because they have a schema changing which can be uncomfortable.

Those who don't care see that they are conflicting, but don't believe that it matters because they are the one who is "right" in the situation.  I have observed that who is "right" can often be perspective.  I spoke with a Pastor recently who said that any issue within his church in which there is a conflict involving him, it is his fault first.  From there they work through the issue to see what the true conflict is about.  That's true servant leadership. 

How often do we knee jerk react to we are not wrong in any given situation that involves conflict with others?  I know that I have done it...a lot especially when I was coaching.  "It's the fans' fault, it's the player's fault, it's the parents' fault", it was never that maybe I wasn't working hard enough, that I wasn't trying something new, or that maybe I was at fault.  I think I have gotten better apologizing when appropriate (again, that's dependent on perspective) but even critisized for doing that.  It's a crazy, crazy world. 

As a servant leader, we must accept responsibility and then work through the issue.  I have seen so many issues where leadership allows emotions to get involved and hinder progress with issues that develop.  Maybe people who have issues will see that it isn't actually my fault, or maybe I will see that it is my fault.  As a servant leader, if there are issues that I have then I need to change my behavior, or find another job where my actions could lead to healthy development.  By leaving my job, I am not saying that those people were good or bad, that the place was going down the drain or the greatest place ever, that those people were clueless or that I am clueless.  I wouldn't be saying that my way was the only way and they didn't see my greatness or that I wasn't fit for the place.

What I would be saying is that it was time for me to leave hopefully under my own accord because it what was best for both me and my family and the institution in which I left. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Sun'll Come Out, Tomorrow

My wife Kristi and my daughter love the movie Annie.  I will admit that I enjoyed it when I was younger, just not the extent that those two do.  Oh, but Madison, my daughter.  She watched it numerous times when she was little and could sing the songs with ease, especially "Tomorrow".  The song is about how bad "lonely and gray" a day can be, and how "I stick out my chin and grin and say" (I am singing while writing this, really I am).  And it really is a positive song, to keep you upbeat and to put the proper perspective on life, however, as a growing Christian I have a problem with the song that I didn't when I was younger.

We are not guaranteed tomorrow. 

James 4:13-17 states:  "Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."

To wait for the sun to come out tomorrow, you are taking for granted that tomorrow will come for you.  Instead, we as Christians should look at each moment as a gift.  This day, this moment, right now has been given to us by God and it is a gift.  During those days that are "lonely and gray"  I turn to the scriptures such as James 1:2-4  "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  Those lonely and gray days are actually building you up in your faith and producing a stronger faith if you allow it.

But also, 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances."  Give thanks in all circumstances.  Easy to say, hard to do.  Yet, if we believe that God created us in His image and sent His son to die on the cross for us, every day, every moment that we should give thanks for that, not just when times are good or it is convenient for us, or only on Sunday mornings during Communion.

I pray that when you encounter those lonely, gray days that you don't wait for the SUN to come up tomorrow, but that you pray for the SON to help get you through it; I pray for you to do is what Proverbs 24:16 claims "For a righteous man falls seven times and rises again" or as the great theolgian TobyMac sings: "if we lose our way (or get knocked down), we get back up again". 


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Life as an Assistant Basketball Coach in Indiana

After being the varsity basketball coach at a local high school for 7 years after having been an assistant the previous 13 years has given me some perspective on the coaching profession.  Before being a head coach, my main goal was climbing the ladder to success.  Everything I did was focused on getting that head coaching position.  To be honest, I wasn't always the most supportive assistant because I had ways that I would do some of the coaching and I wasn't in charge.  I was as supportive as many young assistants, but not to the point I should have been.  Call it the selfishness of wanting to climb the ladder, but I wasn't always as I should have been.

Then after 7 years of being in charge and seeing and dealing with all of the things that a head coach does, I realized that all head coaches are usually doing the best that they can.  There are some bad ones out there for different reasons, but most are trying to do what's best for the players as well as the team.  Now, after that experience I am an assistant again.  I have little of the pressure of the head coach and have a different perspective than I did in my 20's.

My job as an assistant is to be a "yes" man to a limit.  My job is to give support to the head coach in ways that he asks, but also in ways that maybe he doesn't see.  My job is to attempt to take some of the pressure off him in his daily duties.  My job is to support him in public whether he is around or not and to not tolerate negative talk about him from the players, parents, or fans around me.  My job is to defend him at all costs and any questions I have should be addressed between he and I and not with people with an agenda.  My job is to sell the program to anyone and everyone who will listen assisting with the young elementary players all the way to the alumni.

My job as an assistant hasn't changed from when I was younger, I should have been doing those same things.  What has changed is I have now let go of the selfish ambition of my youth into the helpful assistance of my early middle age.  There will be more help from me than before and there will be more smiles also.  Because I will be giving advice and not making decisions.  Giving advice is an easy job, everyone can do it, however, making decisions is a hard job and few people want to do that.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What are We Doing Here?

As followers of Christ, what are we doing?  I have definitely grown in my faith over the last 3 years and I have grown past some that I respect in their walk with Christ.  What I mean by that is as I have grown and had an increased level of excitement, commitment and love to follow Christ, I have watched others who have been followers for many years, stay in the same place.  Why is that?  What keeps people from growing in their faith?

Going through the motions.  Our churches are filled with people who want to be there at 10 AM, really, they arrive later because 10 AM on a Sunday is too early.  They want to be fed the word, but not challenged or made to feel uncomfortable.  They want to then leave out the back at 11:05...a minute or two past and they are upset that they were there too long and the preacher needs to change.

What causes this lack of devotion?  If you believe the Gospel, then you believe that a great thing was done for you and yet, you repay it with indifference.  If someone did you a huge favor in this world that saved your life, marriage, financial situation, you would do anything for that person.  Yet, as followers of Christ, we have been given the greatest gift of all and yet we reject it through our indifference, through our selfishness, and through our inability to see ourselves for what we are...sinners. 

We often use the perspective argument: "I am not as bad as such and such".  That is not the way to think.  Don't compare yourself to others, we can always justify ourselves to victory in that comparison.  Compare yourself to what you should be.  Don't believe that you can do nothing wrong.  Accept that you do....every day and every situation has two sides of the story.  Most of the time those two sides have enough wrong in them to cover for everybody.  Yet, we can't seem to accept that.

It is disheartening in being a follower of Christ sometimes.  I used to believe that the single greatest issue attacking my faith were non-believers, now I believe it's those who sit in the pews each and every Sunday and haven't grown spiritually in many years.  I believe it's those people and the others who say "Give it time, he will calm down and be the same as he used to be".

I have no desire to ever be the same as I used to be.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What Am I Doing?

Have you ever felt like you should be doing something other than what you are doing?  When I was younger, I was bored, now that I am older, I don't understand the word bored.  I either am doing what I want to do or trying to enjoy what I have to do.  It is part of aging, I think, to completely understand this idea.  Maybe aging isn't a good word, maybe maturing is a good word because I know many adults that seem "bored" with their lives. 

Lately, I have felt that I should be doing something else with my life than what I am doing now.  I get a great fulfillment out of teaching and coaching, but seem to be on empty right now when it comes to being motivated.  Some of that has to do with the fact that there isn't one part of my life in turmoil right now.  Personally, we are dealing with a life and death issue in my family; professionally, I am bored; and in my life outside of school, I have been dealing with issues all over the place.

Some would argue that maybe it's me and not all of the outside influences.  I won't disagree with that.  One thing I have learned about myself is that I do things for seven years and then I need a change.  I taught in the junior high for seven years and when I was transferred to the high school, it rejuvenated me.  I was the varsity boys' basketball coach for seven years and taking a year off rejuvenated me.  Here I am at the beginning of my eighth year teaching in the high school and I feel like something is missing.

I don't know if it is that I miss my family more during the day, if this school has passed me up and fallen behind my energy level, or just an overall "thing" I am going through at 43.  In no way do I feel that way about my wife and kids, in fact, I think I could retire and spend the rest of my life with them on some deserted island in the Pacific Ocean. 

I know there is a reason for everything I am doing and I know that I will continue to do what I am doing to the best of my ability.  I just....I just.....feel that something is missing and I should be somewhere else doing something else.  I am sure in the near future that feeling with disappear and I will be fully charged and ready to go, or....I could be doing something else.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Weight of the World!

Me, Perry Hunter, and only me has the weight of the world on my shoulders.  No one understands me and the problems I am going through.  No one understands that just because I smile or seem to be in a great mood, I have burdens that I am bearing.  I have family, friend, professional and personal issues.  No one understands me and could ever relate with the pain I have suffered or am enduring today.  Because of that I have every right to lash out, retaliate and to just be a total - not nice person.  And because of that I have every right to write what I want on any social network or espouse my thoughts to everyone.  I will show some restraint and not use actual names, but everyone will know what I am talking about and by gosh, sometimes I will give you names.  I will do this because it will make me feel better and that's all that matters, right?

Also, I am the only person that seems to get attacked verbally via social media and word of mouth.  No matter what I say or do, it is judged thoroughly and by many people.  "How dare he!"  "What an arrogant person!" (won't argue with that one most of the time) "Who does he think he is?!"  I can tell you that I have and will continue to make mistakes and say some pretty dumb things.  Rarely do I mean it with the intent that it is taken.  I have a psychology minor and I know what happens and you would think that I would learn.  I say things, people translate it with their perception, then they spread their translation to someone else who translates the translation.  Next thing you know, we have a huge misunderstanding.  Why?  Because it's all; and well, see the above comments.

Unfortunately, the previous paragraphs are true in many ways for both me and others, but also so wrong in many ways.  We all deal with something and sometimes it's more than others and most times it's not as much.  We lose all perspective because we are narcissistic (it isn't lost on me that I am writing about this in a blog I created for me to share my feelings because...well, I am special).  We lose all perspective in our hurt, our bad days, our "fighting injustices" that we inflict the same hurt on others.

Most humans are selfish until they have children.  Then they become, usually, less selfish about themselves and lose their minds about their children (there are actual psychological studies about how with each child, parents' IQ's drop, really there are).  We want our children to have the best of everything, we want them to be the best at everything, and we want them to not suffer or face any injustice.  I know, I am a parent too and I get it.  What's crazy is I know these things and am aware of them and yet I find myself doing the same thing.  I find myself getting frustrated or angry because of this or that in which I don't think my child is getting a fair shake.  The difference, often, but not always, is that when I start to get angry or frustrated, I start to realize what I am doing (my friends and family may disagree).  And I realize that this world is hard, it is full of struggle, and that my children, no matter how much I desire will encounter hurt, pain, and struggle.

So what should I do?  Coddle them, take care of them and step in at every injustice just because they are my cute little babies?  I think I have to be careful because sometimes they do need me, they will need me to step in to help, but more often than not they don't.  Despite the drop in my IQ, I need to understand that they need to struggle, fight, and overcome on their own.  If I don't allow that to occur what kind of adult will they become?  Unfortunately it won't be one that can handle life, but one who feels that any perceived injustice should be fought when it might just be time to kick it in and overcome it through perseverance.   

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Basketball Purgatory

It is odd.  I haven't had much to write about lately when it pertains to basketball for a couple of different reasons, I guess.  The first is because I am busy working on my +30 hours for my teaching job.  I am taking online classes trying to get that pay raise which is the only way we can do that in Indiana.  Well, at least until 2016 when some dumb stuff will take over; paying teachers on merit.  I could write about that, but don't have time or really the patience. Secondly, my sister in law, Megan McKinley, had a heart transplant when she was 2 years old and is now 30.  That heart is worn out and she is fighting and waiting for another transplant.  That one puts a lot of silly things into perspective of what we deal with on a daily basis....and most of what we deal with is silly stuff.

But we are in a basketball purgatory right now.  Summer basketball is over, weights and open gym have become the norm and practice isn't for another month.  We have the fall sports and college football to tide us over, but it isn't the same.  When I go into a gym for a volleyball match, it's nice.  I am in a gym and I smell popcorn and I get the basketball "feel", but it's not basketball.  Plus it is so darn hot in most gyms around here this time of year.

With all of the daily issues I encounter, basketball does a good job of taking my mind off those issues if even for a short moment.  So come on basketball season, I need to you for my mind to slow down and we can get to work.