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

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I Found it at Rock Bottom

Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

I was 32 years old when I was baptized at the Borden Church of Christ. Honestly, I did it for two reasons. I was a lukewarm believer which was much better than I had been (an agnostic-I didn’t know if there was a God or not and was screaming for someone to help me believe), and I loved my future wife Kristi and felt it was important to her.

Exactly, you’re thinking those aren’t the best reasons to be baptized, but it started me on the journey to become a deacon and share my faith on mission trips, in the pulpit, and these writings. Do I believe that God sent Kristi into my life to help lead me to my salvation? There is no doubt about it to me.

I often think about what I put my hope in before Christ. I won’t go into detail, but I put my hope in fleeting things. I put my hope into myself mostly and consistently let myself down. I think back on the person I was before baptism and really before the last five years and wonder if Kristi did the right thing. I don’t think I would want Madison to be within 100 yards of someone like me when she decides to date (which won’t be allowed until she moves out of the house anyway).

But now, my hope is in Jesus Christ. We have hit rock bottom a few times since that faith has been strengthened with just the daily stress and struggle of life, but sister-in-law’s heart and kidney surgeries, my depression after the tornado, and just raising two stubborn-willed children (I will blame Kristi on that one…I have been told over and over that her father bought a book on how to deal with strong-willed children when she was little. Of course, I don’t have a strong will at all).

How often do we rely on “things” to help us through times of despair? And how often do those things let us down or lead us down the wrong path? Rock bottom, unfortunately, is where the answer often lies. Because it is there when we will stop looking around and we start looking up, and ask how do we get out of this? We have many choices then, but to me the only answer is that we get out by looking up and dropping to our knees.

The Lord is our help and shield. I can promise you that relying on God will never let you down. You may not always like the answer to a question and you may not like the outcome of an action, but Jesus is there for you. He is there for you through prayer or by the actions of a follower who is sent at just the right time.

Are we willing to let go and let God? Are we willing to let go of the frustration, the anger or the bitterness of something that has happened to us? Or will we hang onto it, wallowing in it pointing and blaming?

I think of Joshua 25:15 “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." when I think of where I will turn in times of despair. It is easier to say this in times of good than reacting when you hit rock bottom, so be intentional. Make a point to live for the Lord every day, in good times and bad, and not as a fall back, but even if you do use Him as a fall back, He’ll be there waiting because He loves us.

Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Monday, October 26, 2015

It's a Lonely Proposition

Ted Throckmorton

I am a John Mellencamp fan, I think it's part of the "if you're a Hoosier" then... But anyway, I love his songs and if you want to know what it's like to grow up and live in rural Indiana, listen to his songs. One of his songs The Real Life off  The Lonesome Jubilee (It's the album with Paper in Fire and Cherry Bomb) is one that made less sense to me when I was in my 20's but becomes clearer with every birthday I am blessed to have. Here are the last few lyrics of that song:

"I guess it don't matter how old you are;
Or how old one lives to be;
I guess it boils down to what we did with our lives;
And how we deal with our own destinies;
But something happens;
When you reach a certain age;
Particularly to those ones that are young at heart;
It's a lonely proposition when you realize;
That there's less days in front of the horse;
Than riding in the back of this cart."

As I age, the "It's a lonely proposition when you realize that there's less days in front of the horse than riding in the back of this cart" brings my mortality into focus.

What else brings my mortality in perspective? When icons from local communities pass away. First it was Ted Throckmorton. I realize that we won't live forever, but he was somebody I thought might have a chance. His personality and demeanor were so pleasant to be around. I served with him on the 50 in 50 board that we did for the News and Tribune and here was a guy who had forgotten more than I ever knew about sports in the area and he me! Not only that, he was comforting and seemed to get a kick out of the fact that he was doing this and enjoyed being around me when discussing sports or eating lunch at Ann's By the River.

Then the recent news of the passing of Pat Hennegan. That's two Jeffersonville sports icons in a short amount of time. Pat was another person who I served on the 50 in 50 board with. Pat was full of sports statistics that he brought to the table. Many of us told stories of athletes through the years who we believed were qualified for this prestigious list, but Pat had stats! Those were hard to argue with. Pat, who was different than Ted, asked me questions during out time together. He wanted to know some of the details of stories of athletes I brought up from Henryville, Borden and Silver Creek.

These are Jeffersonville sports icons that have been lost. You can't help to think that the sports scene will be less without them around (it will), but there are also those guys that are growing up either listening to them or someone else that will be those types in the future who will continue their type of work. There will always be a Matt Denison from New Albany or a Wayne Davis from New Washington that keeps their communities history and stats alive.

But that doesn't make it any easier when we, yes we as a sports community, lose people like Mr. Throckmorton and Mr. Hennegan. No matter the rivalries there is an appreciation for what people do from other communities to preserve their heritage. Throw in that they are interesting and kind human beings and it makes it that much harder when they leave us from this world.

It is a lonely proposition when you realize that you won't live forever, but what really matters in that song is the third line: "I guess it boils down to what we did with our lives". There is no "I guess" Mr. Mellencamp, it is truth, that's all that matters is what we did with this life. Who you touched, inspired or made better besides yourself is all that matters. Because it is those things that will continue on long after they are gone.

So I hope when my day comes that people won't have to lie about me but that they will flood my wife and children with comments and stories the way that these two men's families have been. My goodness these two men will be missed; missed as Jeff sports icons, missed by their families and missed by a 46 year old man who they left an indelible mark on in the short time he came into contact with them.

Rest in peace gentlemen, I hope to share stories again with you one day.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Got Your Goggles on?

Varsity coaches, and heck many other coaches, have a term that we use sometimes called "Parent Goggles". Often times, parents see their children as better, more hard working and better behaved than their peers. The main reason? They love their children and don't want to see them hurt or hurting. As a coach without children, I just kind of smirked when a parent came to talk to me about their child. You could see and hear that they were caring, and some were flat out clueless. Sometimes they were the worst issue in causing you problems.

We can tell you story after story where player such and such dominated at the elementary level or middle school level but when others gained on them in height and strength, they weren't as good. Not that they got worse, but their competition was better. Or that little league or AAU coach who uttered the famous "I've coached this bunch last couple of years and this is what I did" (Translation: "what you should do"). But the parent goggles were in full effect when talking with these parents. Or worse yet, when you were slandered by a parent in full goggle mode, but did not have the courage to speak with you.

I used to believe parent goggles were a real thing, but after having children I know that it is a real thing. I watch the parents of kids on my daughter and son's teams and see how distorted their view is of their child, as if they were as good or better than mine! What's wrong with them, oh they have parent goggles on because it's clear that my children are the best and...

OK, the above paragraph is a joke for those who don't get it because I have suffered from it. I knew from the beginning that it was a thing when my daughter was born, and I saw how perfect and beautiful she was compared to all other children, so I have always tried to go overboard the other way. I have tried to downplay my children (those that know me are judging one way or the other on if that's a true statement right now). But I have felt it...Parent Goggles are real!

And, in my experience, I am not so sure that having coached at the varsity level in baseball and basketball that I may not be the worst type of parent. I "know" more than any other person that coaches those two sports, so why don't they ask me for help? Why don't they ask for my expertise? What's wrong with those coaches? Don't they know that I have researched and have a reason and "fix" for every single issue they might encounter? Plus, can't they see that my kids deserve to play, start, and be a main focus? Being a coach, I see the little things that my kids do that others don't (More sarcasm).

So yea...I am a mess. How many of us aren't?

But, I feel that we have been real lucky. Most if not all of the coaches have done a good job with my children. I don't always agree with everything they do, but not everyone always agreed with everything that I did. I used to get offended by that, now I understand.

Am I perfect? No way, not even close! But, I do believe that being aware of my shortcomings is a huge positive in the right direction. I just hope that I don't cause unwanted negativity for my kids' coaches, but more importantly for my kids. When I don't like something going on and I get aggravated, then I see them running, jumping, competing and enjoying themselves, I need to do what I thought parents with the goggles on should have done when I coached.

Be quiet and let your children enjoy themselves and let the people that who have either volunteered or are being paid very little do what they signed up without me making their job harder.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

If in New York City...

Last summer, we went to NYC for a day. We did a lot of walking and one of the places we ended up was Times Square. Lots of people call Times Square the heart of America and maybe even the heart of the world, but we went there and the kids recognized where the ball drops on New Year's Even.

There were many Disney characters walking around as well as some, aheam, topless women. But Maddie loves these characters, I kind of figured something was up, but we kept walking by. These four grab Maddie and say "picture?". I give in and let her have a picture with them.

Mickey takes his head off and it's a woman who then propositions us for money. "Money?" I asked incredulously. I then asked how much and she wanted $20 per person.

I gave them $10.

We start to head to Bubba Gump's to eat and my daughter is crying. She was upset that they asked for money because she didn't think that would happen and she was afraid her mother and I would be angry with her.

We weren't.

I was more upset because they were there and took advantage of a child, but that's NYC for you. Really, that's a lot of places. They are trying to separate you from your money at least they do it here and it did put a temporary smile on Maddie's face.

So if you are in NYC and don't want to be hit up for money, avoid these characters.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Silver Creek FCA and Lincoln Trail

About a week ago, we went over and put on a free basketball camp for 1st and 2nd graders at Lincoln Trail Elementary in Louisville, KY. Along with the camp, we donated basketballs to the school which will be used in their classes.

Sean Smith, boys' coach at West Washington HS, brought his kids along to help. We were able to do this due to a relationship with Krista Campisano whose son plays baseball with my son.

We were thankful to go and do this for these kids and the school.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

My Kids and Traveling

I'm trying to get my kids to many different places before I die or they grow up. They may not remember all of these places, but I am hoping it plants a seed to go back.

Gettysburg, PA

Boardwalk Atlantic City, NJ


Ohio R on left, Mississippi R on right

Branson, MO

Friday, October 2, 2015

What Do You Do? What Can You Do?

There are poor people all over the world. There are school shootings and 15 week old children being killed. There are people addicted to drugs killing themselves and hurting their families. There are natural disasters displacing, killing, and hurting people. There are people murdering, molesting, and raping.

The world is an evil place if you pay attention. If you pay attention, it can be overwhelming.

What do you do?

What can you do?

I don't know.

But here's what we do.

We help when we can.

We feed and give when we can.

We speak out and try to help those that feel lost when we can.

We love on and send people in directions of help when we can.

We give money monthly to help when we can.

The goal is to expand the "when we can" to discomfort. Do all of these things when we can, but also when it isn't convenient.

And the goal is to expand myself, but also to pass it on to my children. To make them better than myself, to do more to the point of discomfort.

Try to do for one at a time what you'd like for the world.

But not matter what we do, we can always do more, it's an inconvenient truth.

But will you?

Will I?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Slowly...we descend...into...Ignorance

Some days I just can't.

2015 is the year we will remember when everyone became outraged, offended, insulted by something. Jon Acuff had a meme a few weeks ago that said if you see something on social media that insults you, move on. You don't have to post or get involved in every fight.

Yes, there we see them, every day people who are outraged on social media about this or that, post it, feel better about themselves, but actually never do anything. They stand up in public for their views, but I believe that it's part of the narcissistic society we have become.

If I post it, I believe it, I stand for it....and.....

That's it.

But nothing has changed. No new awareness is there because you've created disharmony in a situation you wanted to create a positive change in.

So stop it. Or start your own blog.