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

Friday, February 28, 2014



This is in Henryville, Indiana just west of the school on March 2, 2012

Thursday, February 27, 2014

It's Been Two Years

 

Well, here we are.  The two year anniversary of the EF-4 tornado that roared through southern Indiana and changed lives permanently.  Where do I start?  It is still overwhelming when I think back about the outreach and giving that so many did for not only the Henryville community, but also in Pekin, Borden, New Washington and all places there and in between that the tornado affected.

Though the aftermath isn't in the news anymore there are still people dealing with the consequences.  Whether it is still dealing with the insurnace companies, receiving money that was donated to your school, or the psychological issues, there are still those dealing daily with the tornado.  Some think we should just "get over it", and I do agree to some point, but people are different.  There isn't a cookie cutter way to "get over it".

It does get better though.  It does.  Your life might not always be the way it was before the storm, but it does get better.  I remember when I went to Indonesia right after the tornado on a mission trip with Athletes in Action.  The pastor on the trip and I were speaking and he said, "you do know, it will get better."  Those words shocked me because I thought the anxiety, panic, and depression were my new life, it never entered my mind that it would get better.  And it has.

I still have people who reach out and thank me for the articles I wrote after the tornado, and how I have been open about the anxiety and issues I have dealt with.  Look, and I want people to know that I felt this way before the storm, but anything good about me comes from my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, so if you think I am doing good things, look to Him because I believe He has the answers.  If you think I am doing bad, well, I accept full responsibility, that's on me.  There are people who regularly realize that they need help (yes, even two years later because everyone deals with something like this differently), and are taking steps forward to get better.

I see what happened that day as a blessing.  I realize that many do not and may never.  They lost their homes, their physical mobility, their innocence, their loved ones or even their lives.  But we got to see so much the good in people and unfortunately, some of the not so good.  Things we would have never seen without this experience.  We got to see that there are things in this life greater than us, yet we can make the biggest difference in one life by listening and understanding.  We lost the innocence of belief that you can go to a school hallway or your basement and everything will be fine when a tornado hits, but we have learned where to go and what to do like never before and have shared that info with others. So many lessons learned...so many.

What would I do differently?  I would slow down that day and remember what happened better. Would I change going through what I have the last two years?  My answer is "no".  What happened that day has made me a better person (you can argue that point, I am sure) and has gotten me to where I am today.  Though I forget too often and pretty much knew before this storm, I now fully comprehend what matters in life. 

People. 

And how you treat them. 

Period. 




Prayers Answered


Before this school year, I had been praying for more help from someone when it came to running our Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  They were answered in that Mrs. Melva Carter has helped with some of the financial and time consuming issues, but He has sent a former student, David Bigelow.

David has been attending recently, speaking devotions and helping to possibly expand what we are doing in the near future.  It is refreshing to see David stepping up like this and helping out.  Prayers have been answered.

Is it Friday Yet?


In the last couple of days, our team has lost a couple of big games; my allergies have taken over; I feel sleep deprived; the cold has returned; my son won't behave; I feel like I am neglecting my daughter and wife; I feel overwhelmed by leading a small group, Sunday school, and FCA; my energy level has dropped and my body is sore all over.  I just want to crawl into bed and stay there for a week, or longer.  I just want to head to Florida and sleep on the beach, or up into the hills and be away from everyone for a couple of days.

Yet, I get to be around young men learning life skills win or lose; I take shots to help with my allergies and their aggravation remind what feeling good feels like; I am awake trying to do so much to help others; the cold reminds me what's it is like to love the warm weather; my son will get past this and it will be rewarding; my daughter and wife will appreciate my time much more than other times, hopefully; I get to be put in charge of leading people through God's word; my energy level will rise again and my body being sore reminds me of what I did as a youth playing sports the only way...all out. 

I still want to crawl into a bed or escape for a few days, but it could be worse....much worse.  It just depends on how you look at any given situation.  It doesn't make it easier, but it helps with my perspective on life which can be very hard.

I am blessed. 

I am blessed for all of the things I perceive as negative because I learn so much or have beliefs reinforced during this kind of time. 

I am blessed. 

I am blessed because I am in the fight every day, usually against the demons that put up obstacles in my path. 

I am blessed. 

I am blessed because I get to feel the anguish of failure, but also the exhileration of victory. 

I am blessed.

It is okay to feel sorry for yourself occasionally, but not every day, all of the time.  Get up, get help if needed, and get moving.  You will be happier in the long run that you di...zzzzzzzzzz.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Come on Coach!


The best coaches, the ones who are coaching for the right reasons are plentiful.  However, there are some that are the worst of the worst.  I am not talking about them. So other than them, at worst, a coach is a narcissistic, selfish, jerk who wants to win at any costs, doesn't care about the players, and is willing to put student-athletes in the worst positions possible on and off the court.  (Ok, so maybe there are some that are the worst of the worst.)  Yet, they still spend considerable time away from their families and can actually teach your child a lot about life (I believe people teach you either what to do or what NOT to do).

The best coaches are selfless...period.  They do everything for the benefit of the student athletes in both preparation for their sport and life.  Most coaches lie somewhere in between these two, I believe.  Meaning that most coaches are doing what needs to be done, win, yet trying to build the character of their players.  All the while spending many hours away from their families.

I have seen coaches be attacked for many things both online and in person.  What I find hard to comprehend is that many parents do not want their child treated harshly by a coach who is, in effect, a father/mother figure.  They are quick to criticize the coach for doing so, yet they are not above speaking harshly about the coach in front of their children.  Both their children who play for the coach, but the coaches actual children, too.  What is really strange, is that these same parents (guilty as charged) will not always speak so well to their own child in public, but that's another article.

But let me spell this out.  A parent who is angry at a coach for speaking harshly at their child, finds that it is okay to speak harshly about the coach in front of the coaches children.  Which of these two things is worse?  The soon to be adult child being confronted is way less worse.  Soon, very soon, that child will be put in a tough situation, it is called the "real world", and mom and dad won't be there to fix every "accident".

Yelling harshly at a coach in front of his children, can put psychological trauma on little children who are a long way from the "real world", and in fact, don't need to be anywhere close to that yet.  Why do that?  Emotion.  We love our children.  We want what is best for them.  We want them to have all the opportunities to be successful.  What I have learned, for me and my family, is that consoling for unnecessary issues, babying, coddling, attacking their coaches at home, and spoiling my child is not what is best for them, and not always providing the opportunities to be successful in their adult lives.  And in fact, by not doing these things (don't get me wrong, I am not a cold, harsh father. I love my children more than life itself and that is why I do this.  I won't be around forever to fix their issues) I am showing a different kind of love.  Maybe even a better type?

It's a tough thing to be a parent and to raise children.  It is the toughest thing I have ever done.  I find it hard to know where that line is to being the loving dad who they know they can run to and hide in my arms, and that dad who has to teach them to be tough.  Because being tough is important in the world.  It is a world that usually could care less if they are successful and there are even some out there who will be glad if they fail. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Room to Grow and "Cross" the Bridge


There is no doubt that I have room to grow.  However, when my emotions get involved and I tend to want to defend those that I love against transgressors, I fall even further.  It is the human nature reaction to protect those that you care about and spend much time with.  Whether you are right or wrong in any given situation, you should be better.  I guess I need to make that decision before the time arises because in that knee jerk time, I don't exactly show that I am a follower of Christ.  In fact, I probably push people away as I want to be known as a follower of Jesus.  But, I think it is important to protect those you love especially from situations that are not healthy and maybe even wrong for them to be involved in.

It seems that this situation occurs more in the competitive world of...well anything that requires competition.  It has been good to be back in the coaching world because it what I am, a basketball coach, hopefully sharing my faith while doing so.  But by being back in that highly competitive, emotionally charged world, I see the growth that I need and how I lack being a positive example of Christ in all things.  I want people to see him through me, when I lose my cool, it can't happen

The picture above reminds me that we are sinful and that we need Christ to bridge the gap between us and God.  If we got what we deserved, we wouldn't be in heaven.  I think it is important to remembeer, too, that God is a God of love, but He is also a God of wrath and without Christ bridging the gap, we would all feel the wrath of God.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Really Letting Go?


In the last month or so, I have tried my best to quit snooping out things that make me angry or, at the very least, make my blood pressure go up.  There is so much negativity that occurs to you that you don't need to search for it, especially online.

I still like to read a few things from time to time, but I am becoming more disciplined in not replying there, but coming here and letting go of my anxiety.  When it comes to Facebook, I am doing a much better job of trying to just check if I am mentioned in a posting because my info tells me or answering direction questions.  I want to keep Facebook because it is a great way to be contacted or to contact people you might not have any other info for; and it has taken a long time for me to realize you will not change someone's mind by confronting them online where they have the need to "win" in a debate that others are seeing.

I still like to read the occasional message board, I am human, I like to read the gossip and read the arguments.  It is like a car crash, you know you shouldn't look  when you drive by and you regret it afterwards, but you just can't help to look as you drive by.  But I have gotten better at not posting in debates.  I try to post only information and positive writings.

I have even stopped watching MSNBC and FOX news as much.  They aren't telling us the news, they report the news and then tell us what we should think about it.  All it does it get me agitated, so I am watching much, much less of this. 

Twitter is my last weakness in which I read a lot of postings.  Much is because there is much information on there, but I can configure my home page to things that won't get me too worked up.  Trust me, I am not finished fighting the fight, in fact, I still get worked up pretty much by the little that I do see, I am just trying to limit it.

I am borderline high blood pressure and my children do enough to elevate my agitation, so I am making a healthier, happier decision to quit looking for trouble.  Enough trouble seems to find me without trying to search it out.  I am not dropping out (I often threaten I am heading to the mountains of Montana or an island in the south Pacific), I am trying to allow others to fight the fight.  And I am getting better at allowing the "noise" around me to be unheard, better,  but not great at it.

What I want to do is be a positive voice, a voice that shows my relationship with Jesus Christ has made me a happier, better person.  I can't do that if I am angry all the time.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's Not About You...No Really...It Isn't


In the competitive world of athletics, players and coaches tend to forget sometimes that they are not at the center of the universe.  Coaches tend to think they are Dr. Naismith from time to time and players lose sight that the team is more important than they.

As a player, I don't care how great of shape you are in, but you won't play whole game.  I know it's disappointing that you get taken out of the game, but you just can't play the whole time.  Especially if you have a team with some talented players.

Some players are better at some things than you are and how games get played out will decide if you can play or not.  Some situations call for more ball handlers, shooters, rebounders, or defensive players.  Being substituted out for doesn't mean you did anything wrong or that you haven't done your job, or that you are in trouble.  Often, it is to get someone who is better than you at something into the game.
 
If you make mistakes, you will be taken out of the game.  Period.  If you don't like that it is a possibility, quit and go do something else.  Quit moping, mouthing, and looking into the stands because....
 
Negative body language is embarrassing.   It is an embarassment to you, the team, the coaching staff, and if you are my child...to me.  Do not draw attention to yourself with slouching shoulders, a sullen look on your face, talking under your breath, talking negatively to your teammates, or moping on the sideline.  Just stop it.

Be a selfless teammate.  If you can do that, if you can at least act happy about the success of your teammates, it will build team cohesion.

Finally, most of all, quit questioning everything.  A mature coach will ask your opinion from time to time about certain aspects of the team and the game, but that doesn't mean you get to coach.  You will be coached, and you need to buy into the game plan and the coaching staff.
 
If a team does understands the above, they will be successful.  Understand the above and have some talent...the sky is the limit and you are setting a positive example for those watching. 
 
Don't do the above and you will not live up to your potential and you pass on a legacy of negativity to those who come after.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Josh Hamilton

New favorite baseball player.  This is the autograph on his bat.


The Evolution of Me

Me in the past and unfortunately still sometimes



Me, more and more lately

Friday, February 14, 2014

Questioning Authority



I absolutely support the questioning of leadership.  It must be done to keep a healthy leader in charge, someone who doesn't run amok over those he is in charge of.  But where is the line?

Constant questioning for issues that seem small in the grand scheme of things, can only undermine that leader in the eyes he is leading.  Have we gotten to a point in this society where every single person has an opinion and believes it to be equal to all other opinions?  Yes, I believe so, and that is unfortunate because there are dumb opinions out there that undermine leadership unecessarily.

But it is the society we live in and isn't changing anytime soon and is one of the major reasons that I stepped down as a head coach.  It was wearing me and my family out too much.  Now, I am an assistant and do my best to not add to problems of the head coach and support him as much as I can.

And maybe even the ocassional friend who coaches at other schools also.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fire Tom Crean...?


You've got to be kidding me.  IU fans have completely lost their minds.  I won't even get started on what Coach Crean inherited when he left a successful program at Marquette to take over the mess that was Indiana Basketball.  And he did so with a passion and enthusiasm that any normal human being would have had squashed the second year into his tenure.

He then takes IU to the pinnacle of college basketball for two years.  Starts below the bottom, takes IU to the top, then this season has occurred.  I am a true IU fan, I was there when Knight was coach, and I was there when 12,000 would show up to Assembly Hall during Crean's first two years.  By the way, the bandwagon seems to be getting less crowded and all this negativity cannot be good for recruiting, but continue on with your rants verbalizing your anger with the program.  I don't care how much money he gets paid, it can't be enjoyable for him and his family who have sacrificed much to help our program succeed be so negatively critisized now.

I am as frustrated as anyone about the roller coaster that this IU team has been.  I wish they would be the team that beat Michigan all of the time, but they aren't.  There is something going on with the team dynamic that isn't allowing them to reach their full potential.  I will concede and say that everyone, players and coaches, deserve some of the blame, but to want the guy fired after this is just asinine.

Here is what I will get started on.  Coach Crean reached out to me and our community after an EF-4 tornado destroyed much of our town.  That was a big deal to the people he contacted that were injured.  He has helped look for missing college students, he has helped them get their cars out of snow drifts, he has contacted numerous sick and dying people, he has allowed a student going blind to attend an IU game, he has done all of this and worked his behind off to help IU be consistently successful.

It is a sad state of many fans who smile, shake his hand and want to be close to him, then want to question every single decision he makes.  I will say that the fan base in Indiana is smarter than the average fan base, but most have never coached a 3rd grade game not to say major college basketball.  You don't attend practice, you don't know what's going on within the team, you don't know how hard the coaches and players are working and they want to be successful also.  Trust me, losing like the Penn State game makes you miserable, for a long time.

I can live with some of the things that THEY (coaches/players) do up in Bloomington because I feel that the program is in great hands.  Hands that not only try to win basketball games, but has a love, compassion, and empathy for Hoosier fans who understand what really matters in life....people.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Family Christian Stores



After paying the bills, 100% goes to charity.  So buy something and help others.

Family Christian Store Story

The Truth is...


When I was younger and much smarter, I often gossiped.  We all do to some point, but I would a lot.  I would be confronted with what I had said and then I would lie to keep from having to be held accountable.  The lies that I would weave made lying become easy and sometimes I am not sure that I even knew the truth.

In a position of leadership, we often have to make decisions, sometimes really tough decisions.  We must be careful what we say (withholding all info) or do not speak what you are not ready to defend or be confronted with.  I have tried to speak less ill of others in gossip not because I know they are speaking about me, but because I want to be careful of what I say.

If someone approaches me and asks me about something I have said, I want to be able to stand up for what I have said and believe it.  I want to not have to remember what lies I have told, but be able to tell the truth all of the time. 

With all of that said, I am not perfect, I still make mistakes, and will continue to do so in the future.  The goal is to be better than yesterday and than last year.  If you are still living a life of lies, you haven't figured it out yet.  And what is worse...if you don't know that you lie so much you have become numb to the truth.

Monday, February 10, 2014


We Are Trying to Help You



In coaching, I have seen this so many times.  You take a kid out of a game because they aren't playing well, or you just feel sorry for them because they aren't playing well.  When they come to the bench, they are not happy.  Really, it is something they need to control, but it is nice to see that a player cares about something.  A lot of it comes from being a competitor and frustration, but you've got to be careful...real careful, players are treading in shallow water (I don't even know what that means).

The first reaction for a player in their anger is to take it out on the coaches, but hey, we are trying to help you.  I do think it is a defense mechanism, a way to get over the potential embarassment of how they are playing, maybe they are just frustrated with a lot of things, but don't take it out on us.  I often ask if they are mad because they are playing poorly or because it is being pointed out.  I did have to learn the hard way, doesn't all good learning come from that, that some guys were just besides themselves upset because of their failure.  I took it as disrespect to me and it was the farthest thing from that, for sure.

It is important to remember then when a player comes over to the bench when being taken out their body language SCREAMS so much.  Be careful what you are screaming in a crowded gym...it could cause a riot.  When I say riot, I mean the coach/es giving you something to really be angry about.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Snow Days, 2 Hour Delay, Early Release

Southern Indiana weather...60 degrees and then a few days later, we get this and more time off school added onto summer break.