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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

What You Do Matters

(This is my dad, he is a great man, he has helped me become who I am and I hope to pass much of what he taught me to my son)
Most of us have the ability to do something today to make our little world better.

Whether it is monetarily, saying a few words, spending some time with someone, we have that ability.

It's not like in the US that most of us have to worry about water or food, so that gives us a lot of "free" time.

So what have you done today to make the world better?

It can be as big as supplying a well for a village in Africa.

It can be as big as providing medical help for people in South America.

Or....

It can be hugging and kissing your wife and kids.

It can be putting your hand on a co-worker's shoulder who is struggling and letting them know you care.

And it can be smiling at someone you pass and saying hello.

I challenge myself  every day, to get up and make a difference.

It doesn't have to be 100% of the time, but do something because if we aren't what's this all really for?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Good Day With My New Mates


Last week, I got a text message from a friend, Shane Howard.

Shane runs Custom College Recruiting, a business that is helping boys and girls from many places around the world to come to the USA to play sports.

But Shane called and said that an Australian team was in Indianapolis and needed some help with a gym. I couldn't find one, but the next day I got another message from Shane. The team needed help with the book or clock.

I was free for a day, so I headed to Fishers and hung out with the my new friends from New South Wales.

The coaches and I clicked almost immediately.

Nathan Kirwan, the sort of Director of Ops was who I talked to first and who I spoke to first when we met up.

The head coach is Shannon Seebohm.

Seebohm was the U17 women's coach for Australia that handed the US their first loss ever at that age. Australia went on to win the FIBA championship, so Coach Seebohm is a world champion coach.

READ MORE ABOUT COACH SEEBOHM BY CLICKING HERE

Watching their team play and hanging with them and talking basketball was unbelievably refreshing.

They get it.

They get what basketball should be about.

Fundamentals.

Discipline.

Great shots.

Not dribbling too much.

In actuality, they get what USA basketball is supposed to be about more than many American coaches, especially AAU coaches get what it's supposed to be about.

It was a pure joy and also kind of depressing.

The USA is the greatest basketball power on the earth, but because we too often lose our way, many foreign countries have perfected our old blueprint and are using it to beat us.

Which is hard for this Yank to take.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Life is Hard, It is Easier with Hope



Life is hard.

The more you are aware, the more you care, the harder it is, it seems.

If you want to get up, indulge in self, and go to sleep at night thinking about no one or nothing other than yourself or your little world, you can probably watch the news, yell at the t.v., go to bed and live a relatively pain free life.

Sure, we all have our problems, many, many of them are serious problems.

From drugs to death to sickness to financial issues, many people in the USA struggle every day.

They struggle within the confines of their homes and their hometowns.

But there is struggling going on too outside of those confines.

From inner cities to reservations to foreign countries people are dealing with the same struggles and issues that you are. It may surprise some, but people of different colors, religions, and regions are not too much different from each other.

I have found that people want to work, they want to have a family, they want to make life better for their children, they want to love and to be loved, they want to be appreciated and they want to live a life of meaning.

It's no different here than it is in Indonesia, Kenya, Iceland or Macedonia.

Life is hard; here and there.

Before I became a follower of the Nazarene, I looked for fulfillment in many things from alcohol to women to many indulgences of self.

And they never provided long lasting fulfillment.

Sure, I had some fun but it was so fleeting and the hollowness following was not worth it.

I am here to tell you that Jesus provides hope and hope is a strong anchor for our lives.

He provides hope when you are dealing with horrific situations or living in a way that seems like there is no future.

I promise, He provides hope.

He turns drug addicts into counselors and he puts smiles in children who live in slums.

Jesus will not cure all ills, he will not fix every problems in a moments notice, but he will provide that hope...

Because...

Life is hard.

It's is easier with Jesus Christ and the hope of this life he provides, but also for the hereafter knowing that this is not our final destination.



Monday, July 3, 2017

You Went Where?! "Yes, Eastern Africa"


It has been a couple of weeks since I returned from my mission trip with Athletes in Action to Kenya and Ethiopia and every time I come back from abroad, it takes me time to wrap my mind around everything I experienced.

The first couple of times when I came home, I was not a very nice person to my family or to other people (others would argue I still am not nice, but that is another story) because of the guilt that I felt living in such a wonderful and bountiful place.

This time I have tried to not be that way.

Some of it is because even though I do feel guilt, as I have aged (I guess), I really enjoy many of the things we have here that do not exist over seas or even south of the border.

So I have tried to take time and ponder some of the many, many things that have gone around in my head.

First, we are blessed to live in this country. I'm not saying other people are not blessed to live in their countries, but I'm speaking for me. We are often so covered in blessings, we just figure this is how life is...it isn't. It's like a fish just assuming that everything else is wet until it isn't one time and then it really appreciates what it has the other 99% of the time (if fish can think or be appreciative).

I believe that you have to travel overseas or to some places here in the U.S. for many of us to truly appreciate what we have on a daily basis.

Ranging from quality healthcare at a moments notice to haagen-dazs ice cream, we are quite spoiled and yet, many of us are unaware of that. We complain about what we don't have instead of seeing what we do which is more than the average human being on this planet.

But...

Think toilets and toilet paper; I don't think I have ever had to use a hole in the ground and been in a public bathroom with no toilet paper...but I digress...

Second, I realize that we get to see the best in people when we are traveling. You would have to stay somewhere longer than two weeks to see some of the "warts" of a country, but the people in Eastern Africa were so nice.

It is almost embarrassing, okay, it is embarrassing how much they tried to help us maintain our lifestyle in a country that doesn't allow that for a large amount of people.

It is embarrassing that when you go through security (there is security to enter anything there, think airport security then put that on entering church, the mall, a small grocery store, a cafe, etc.) they seem embarrassed that they have to do their job and search you, and many times they don't.

But the people...



We do have so many more luxurious things in this country, so much so that many people "over there" want to come "here", but those people "over there" have many things that we don't have here.

We've have often lost our way on what people living together should be.

The handshakes and hugs, the genuine faith, the giving of your best when you don't have much so you can help someone with less, the caring and giving of self for others that seems often missing from here, is visibly prevalent there.

Sure, they have issues between tribes and the upcoming election in Kenya could cause violence afterwards dependent on the result, but you ought to see how people where traffic laws are recommended and rarely enforced get along so that everyone can use the roads.

Again, I realize that if you stay somewhere longer than a couple of weeks, you will see more and more of the imperfections that seem to be so noticeable in this country, but I can't help to think that us thinking we know everything about the world, have forgotten some key and important points.

So what do I do?

How can I wrap my mind around what I have seen and experienced?

I don't know if I ever will.

But I know that there are loving, caring people "over there" on the front lines every...single....day fighting the good fight against some of the worst issues you can imagine.


I know that I can offer some financial assistance, but more often I can support spiritually, verbally, and physically to those who would grow weary.

I know that I can live a life of more gratitude for what I do have, and strive to work towards that which I don't have and cannot be bought by money.

I am so blessed to have gone to Eastern Africa and I am so blessed to be back.

I am so blessed to have experience and seen some of the things I did, and I am so blessed to live here.

I am so blessed to be shown my downfalls as I work to help others' in theirs.

I am blessed to leave the secure borders of my small town and see how much of the world is like us and different.

Where did I go?

Eastern Africa!

And I cannot wait, Lord willing, to return again some day.




Friday, June 23, 2017

I Stopped Posting Every Day

It was becoming too tedious with slow wifi, but I do have some good articles in me to remember my time in Africa.

Here I will leave pics of the 5 continents I have worked camps on.

Africa (Ethiopia)

South America (Colombia)
North America (USA/Arizona)
Europe (Macedonia)
Asia (Indonesia)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What Day is it Anyway?


We've been together so long and have been busy so much and have had our sleep schedules so messed up, I really have to think hard what day it is.

We went to Eastleigh today.

Eastleigh is a poorer area where many, many Somali refugess have relocated and we ran a camp at a Christian center that has been continuously harassed by its neighbors.

As we rode in, you could tell we were in a different part of Nairobi, but I would not have wanted to be anywhere else.

The kids, as usual, are hungry to learn and to please.

The coaches, as usual, are eager to learn and connect.

Coach Sonny and his helpers are amazing. When you say "someone ought to do something about that" and you refused to get up and move, be assured that there are people in Nairobi doing just that.

Those men and women in Eastleigh, Omaruju, and Eastleigh are on the front lines of severe spiritual warfare and are making a difference.

They may not change their neighborhood, or their city, but they are changing and affecting many, many children who very well could grow up some day to change that place.

Why?

Because the kid above has a shirt on that says it all!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Basketball Camp....Continent 5



Today, I was able to work in a basketball camp on  my fifth continent on the continent of Africa.

It is amazing to see on each of the continents how little kids love to be coached, they have enthusiasm and enjoy the game of basketball.

Even in the USA, little ones (before they watch too much NBA and SportsCenter, they long for and love basketball camps.

The joy of the game of basketball is universal, at least in the USA, South America, Asia, Europe and Africa and at least in the places I have worked.

So many things the same, yet so many differences.

On a side note...I really am missing my favorite people on Earth: my wife and kids.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Day 8: Appreciate What You've Got

 
 
My oh my.
 
If you don't go through what we did today and it doesn't affect you, you probably have some real problems.
 
We visited Kibara which is the largest slum in Africa and visited Soweto Academy, a school started there to help save as many children as possible.
 
We played games with these kids and they were so happy.
 
One of the kids said they seem so happy with what they have do not care about what they don't have, and we are too busy worrying about what we don't have.
 
It's true.
 
We are called to care for the least of these and that is everyone.
 
This visit today, hopefully, motivates these people to continue doing good works. I know I need to be reminded from time to time.
 
After spending time with them, we headed to our game where we played and won a tough game against Strathmore University and some of their pro players.
 
We won and the women played at the same time also pulled out a victory.
 
After, we were able to share and spend time with the players which is the best part of the day, besides being around those little kids.
 
 
 
We started a busy week well today...let's roll on to the next thing!
 


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Security Here, Security There, Security Everywhere



We started the day off by attending church worship. It was amazing and you got to see an authentic worship, but something stood out as we entered the church area.

First, there was a gate to get into the church parking lot and security was at the gate. They checked your car and then you moved on to the parking lot.

Then right as you entered the church, security took a wand over you to make sure you weren't bringing anything harmful into the church.

Then we had regular church worship.

Later, we went to a couple of malls to pick up supplies and you had the same situation as well as at all the hotels.

Security at the gate checking your car and security at the entrance running a wand over you.

It made me wonder when will this happen to the United States?

I don't think it is a matter of if it will happen or not, but when....once we start to have consistent terrorist attacks or even the threat of them, I can see it happening.

Tomorrow, we head to Kibara, the largest slum in Africa...I'm sure I will have more to say then because we had our pre visit meeting tonight and was overwhelmed by what the adults are doing in Soweto Academy to help the situation there.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

We Made It



Well, after 25 hours of traveling, we made it to Nairobi, Kenya.

We have a busy schedule and wifi works only in the lounge, so I will do my best to keep up, but traveling the world really changes or reinforces how you see the world.

People of different colors, religions, and ethnic groups all just want the same things...to get where they're going.

It's all the other stuff that gets in the way.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Day 4: Prison, Rest, and Preparation


Today, we got up and did some of the same things, but today was game day.

Many of our players had never been to a correctional facility before, but today they got their first taste.

We scrimmaged a team from Warren Correctional in Lebanon, OH...the team were prisoners, the fans were prisoners, the clock keeper and the officials were prisoners.

They had their hands full and we prevailed 97-92, but it wasn't easy.

After the game, many of the guys stayed around and talked to people serving time there and what they found are people who are so thankful that someone would come in and spend time with them.

I know they've done some bad things and made bad decisions and caused a lot of pain, but they deserve respect as human beings.

We were able to spend the evening on Lake Shawnee and eat our last meal before flying out for Nairobi.

I have no idea what wifi will be like over there and I won't get a chance to tweet or blog until probably Saturday at the earliest.

This group of guys and coaching staff have grown considerably close in a short amount of time, let's hope we can do some good.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Day 3: Let's Roll Already


Lots of great practice time and lessons for the players and myself.

Prison game tomorrow and flying out Friday morning!

The players and coaching staff have been awesome, we shall see how it goes once we deal with some adversity.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Day 2 The Road to Eastern Africa



There is a women's team going with us, so 30 total.

Today, we had meetings and practiced for the first time...people are opening up because we all have one thing in common, our faith.

Last full day tomorrow before we head out.

I do like Xenia and wish I could get here to AIA more often.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Day 1...Sellersburg to Xenia


Today was the first day of an amazing trip that will grow me as a Christ follower and hopefully do some good in a small way for a small part of the world that isnt my home.

And today was one of the hardest days there is...saying gloodbye to my most favorite people on the planet.

It is hard to see your family cry as they leave.

There is a men's and women's team going to Kenya...it was good to meet everyone and to prepare for the upcoming weeks.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Let's See...



Using an old laptop and hopefully can blog from here over the next few weeks.

Pray for my family as separation is pretty bad.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


We Finished UP Another Camp Year




We recently finished up three weeks of basketball camp with our 2nd - 5th grades.

We had approximately 130 kids at different times.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Not Gonna Be Easy


I leave soon to head to Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia via Xenia, Ohio.

I will be in Ohio for a couple of days and then I won't see my family for almost three weeks.

I was talking today to our head coach to make sure my son keeps his mind off me as much as possible by letting him come to summer basketball practices and games and it really got to me.

As I type this, I can feel that uneasy feeling of "missing them" that I have had before.

I'm going to be able to send text messages at any time as well as pictures, but I will not like seeing them.

It hurts.

I'd almost rather have no contact with any of them while I'm gone...it'd be easier on me, but it won't for them.

As the excitement grows as I get closer to that time of leaving, I also get that reminder of the gnawing feeling of emptiness not having my favorite people within reach of a hug or kiss.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Ahhhh Teaching


The Social Studies Department at my school gives one social studies award to a senior each year.

That student had to take the most social studies classes of any other student and have the highest G.P.A.

Sometimes these awards are given to the same students over and over and they seem to lose their "flare".

But the other night, I was honored to give the award to our current recipient and her reaction made me remember why I teach...for the most part.

Kaylee W., thanks for your reaction and making me feel happy also.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Homeless in D.C.


Often times there are situations or images that catch my eye and the contradictions stand out.

It could be nurses that smoke outside of a hospital, it could be something like teachers when I was a kid and I saw them (gasp) outside of the classroom, or it could be a baby crying in my high school.

The picture I have included is from the Internet and not one I took because I find it hard as a tourist to photograph someone living on the streets.

In D.C., security has kept the homeless away from many of the tourist spots because who really wants "these people" to ruin our vacation (sigh), but once you get outside of that area, you will find more than you fair share of people who for some reason or another live on the streets.

There are many moral questions that arise about helping such people and in that case I always think of Matthew 25, but this part specifically in 25:37-40:

Then these righteous ones will reply, "Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?"

And the King will say, "I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!"

I realize that in ever increasing amount of times that I am "helping" someone who does not need the money. In D.C. I ran across a few homeless people who refused food, I saw one woman who had done her makeup, yet living on the street (I shouldn't judge here, but it was odd to see a homeless person with perfect makeup), and I saw people who wanted $1 or $2 just to get home, were given more than that and still kept asking for more money.

I realize that I will be taken advantage of, but I feel that I should help because of the above scripture, (I mean what if Jesus really is one of these and I look the other way?), and because I have been given so much and blessed beyond measure.

Should I not give something back?

Should I not attempt to help someone who has had much different life experiences both bad and good, and have at some point reached the realization that this is all that they can do?

When told by someone that they never give to those in "need" because they know so many are scamming us, my response is that whether I give or not is between me and God and what they do with the money and whether they really need it or not is between them and God.

It is not my job to judge them.

It is my pleasure to try and help them.

But back to the picture.

How odd is it that in a city of millionaire outsiders that there are so many struggling in some way?

How odd is it that in the city that is to solve the problems of our country, they can't solve the problems of their own city?

How odd is that a government that is trillions of dollars in debt, those government workers continue to live lavish lifestyles (relatively speaking) and people who just have nothing live day to day?

How odd is that in a city that represents American Idealism there is image after image of where we have failed?

And how dare I who lives in a place where there is no visible homeless on a day to day basis seem to have all the answers?

I don't, but I know as I have grown in my faith that I see how bad many people have it and I want to do a little bit to help.

It won't be enough, but it will be for that day...that moment.

And even in my hypocrisy where I waste too much and could help so much more, I won't look away from the problems of the world.

And even when I feel that I am drowning in quicksand in trying to help, I will not stop trying to make a difference.

I pray for our hearts to not only be broken, but to do something about that broken heart.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Selfish or Nah?


I love to travel.

I love to see new places.

I love to go and do things in new places.

And I absolutely love doing it with my family involved.

But...

My family is not always involved and I wonder if I am selfish for having these experiences.

I don't feel selfish because my wife disapproves, but because I miss them, and worse yet, they miss me.

So am I selfish?

Probably, but I try to be less selfish while away by attempting to do good things while gone.

Do I always?

Nope.

But I am always looking and trying to make the separation worthwhile.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sweet Pic


Washington D.C. and Striving for the Ideal Reality



Washington D.C. is the American ideal.

From the history of the city, to the monuments, to the history of the country, to the video they show you in the Capitol about our government, it represents all that is good with our government and country.

But it is the ideal.

I have tried hard for many years to not be cynical when it comes to American ideals, but it is hard as I have seen many political issues become what's good for the individual political party and not what's good for the country.

If you speak to many people who have worked in Washington for just a short amount of time, it is sad to hear the idealism has dulled or even disappeared.

But the thing is this, the more we know the more cynical we will get, and it has always been that way.

The country has been political since the beginning with Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton fighting over policy. There has been mud slinging, immoral activity and less than ideal behavior by many of our national politicians since before our freedom as a country and it will continue long after the US is gone. We've had presidents be impeached, resign and murdered and yet we continue to strive on towards what we should become.


But Washington D.C. is the American ideal.

It's what we strive to be and fail every single day.

It's what shows us what working together can accomplish even though there was often division that had to be overcome to get that "united" item finished.

It's what we, as Americans, look at and fills us with patriotism despite our failures as a country.

Washington D.C. is the American ideal and ideals are hard to attain, but they exist so that we continue to strive for them.

We must strive for them through our cynical realism and even when people are telling us "no" and fighting against us whether from abroad or within this country.

If you have never been to our nation's Capitol, go.

It will remind you of what we could be and that we must fight to continue taking steps towards that ideal reality.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Best Athlete in our Family

My wife and I were pretty good athletes in our day and our son is really good at many, but watching Maddie, well, don't tell my son, but I believe she's the most athletic person in the family. Competitive cheer, softball, basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, golf, soccer, and now track and field...she's not bad at any of them.


Silver Creek Senior Trip to D.C. 2017


I didn't take a laptop computer with me on this trip and wasn't able to blog at the time, but will write some articles over the next few days about my/our experiences for this year's version of the senior trip.

I realize that some people cannot afford to go on this trip (I think pretty cheap especially everything that the kids get to do), have other things going on, or just think they do not want to spend time with some of the kids going. But I truly believe that the memories and bonding that go on during this one week away from school far outweighs the negatives. Again, I realize that some cannot make it, but it should be a high priority for any junior that thinks they might want to go.

The senior trip occurs so late in the school year for my school that there really is a sense of "this is it" for many of them. It is such an over powering double feeling at the end of the trip that the trip is over, but so is the school year and ultimately...their secondary school experience.

The 90+ students that go on this trip share a common story that the others will miss out on.

It is emotional for me as well to witness this happen.

I can feel the emotion of some of them as they come face to face with the "real" world they've been preached to for so much of their young adult life. They realize that many of them will go their separate ways and they may not see any of their classmates again, or for a long time. And I think some of them even realize that they are going to miss their teachers. We are the ones fighting every day for them and in the cruel "real" world, there will be far fewer doing that for them.

I enjoy going on this trip to watch the bonding, to watch the laughs, watch the pictures being taken, and to try and make it a more fun trip for them by being a little...umm goofy at times.

So good luck class of 2017, you got to spend a week with people you will love forever in one of the world's greatest cities...Washington D.C.

Never forget this moment from this trip and do everything you can for the rest of your life to continue creating these moments for you and those you love.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Three Hunter Men(ish)

My 72 year old father and me (47) then me with my son (8).