My Friday Night Lights

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I would say 1000 thousand words is an understatement to my view tonight while cleaning rocks off the baseball field.

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Pretty darn nice for a January 23 evening.

Sometimes you just have to stop and soak in the beauty.

Then get back to raking rocks.

RockCleaning

Baseball season is just around the corner…

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The King of Communication

My smartphone is one of the coolest things I’ve ever owned. I can call, text, video chat, listen to music, listen to books, watch TV or videos, and even write. I carry a library of books with me everywhere I go on my phone. Cool, right?

But, truthfully, this wonder of modern gadgetry still pales in cool-factor comparison to the coolest gadget/toy a boy could ever hold in his hand—the walkie-talkie.

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A walkie-talkie could open many doors of imagination in beautiful static-filled delight for millions of kids. Talking CB language, sending Morse code, performing the perfect talk-drop-roll manuever to avoid being seen by suspicious sisters. Nothing was more fun (or high-tech) than using the “two-way”.

The uses are almost endless.

  • Planning an attack.
  • Asking your little brother to bring you a soda.
  • Searching the backyard for buried treasure.
  • Conniving deviant behaviors with the neighborhood crew.

All perfect for the king of communications.

The Walkie-Talkie!

Handhelds1

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Milestone Book Anniversaries (When Did I Get So Old?)

It’s the 40th anniversary of the release of Tuck Everlasting.

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Wow!
Tuck Everlasting is one of those books that galvanize readers. One of those books you read (skim) as an obnoxious pre-teen when you knew everything and just wanted to slip a few quick points in the school reading program in order to get a pizza. A book you read again as an adult and it triggers a desire to read all the kidlit you were too cool to read as an obnoxious pre-teen.
A classic.
But is it really 40?
Was I really only 10 when it was published?
Ha! That means it’s timeless also.
Tuck Everlasting isn’t the only awesome book celebrating a recent milestone anniversary. This year, Alice in Wonderland turns 150 and is just as awesome now as it was in 1865.
Last year, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The Giving Tree turned 50.

charlie and the chocolate factory
Maybe I’m getting old and tired, but these great, old books stay fresh and vibrant and still find a way to hook readers.
We have all aged well.

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What is best?

High school-aged kids are going to screw up.  That’s a given.  It is part of being young and stupid.  You think you will not get caught, you think nobody will know or find out, and you think nobody cares.  As a parent and coach, I don’t like it.  I wish kids wouldn’t behave badly. I wish they would make good decisions 100% of the time 24/7.  But they don’t.  The learning curve of life is shaped by mistakes and failures.

But, what do we adults do? Do we turn a blind eye? Do we slap their wrist and tell them not to repeat the bad behavior event? Do we bring the hammer down?

Tough questions. I have no good answer. I don’t like the solution which completely takes away the activity from the kid. In our high school, I felt football kept a great number of our young men coming to school every day (more than any of us wanted to admit). Being part of the team kept them connected. Without the sport and without the team, many of them drifted away.

Paddle

With a sports coach, I like the multi-facet discipline approach to a player in trouble. I think the most effective enforcement comes three directions—the parent, the administrator, and the coaching staff. Not too severe from either direction, but enough to turn the thumb screws and make life in trouble an uncomfortable situation for the kid.

Not easy topics.  Mistakes and punishment are right at the bottom of the list of things coaches want to take care of during a season. But, they happen. They happen more than any of us want to admit. When they do occur, how we handle these issues has a long-term positive or negative impact on the kid. No pressure, right?

I don’t know the way to solve all these problems. High school kids will continue to get in trouble. Are we going to respond in a way the helps the kid in the long run or hurts the kid in the long run?

It’s never easy.

 

 

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Be Fearless

Be fearless.
Make mistakes.
Fail, fail, and fail.
Get up and try again, only better.

Be fearless.
Like when you were a kid.
And had the tiger by the tail.
Take the chance.

Be fearless
Have dreams.
Throw them out there.
Chase them down.

Be fearless
Create your best.
Imagine your finest.
Make your world a better place.

Be fearless.
Live to your dream.
Give until empty.
The world needs it.

Young Super Hero Standing on Laundry Machines

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Coach Hays Rant: Not A Fan

“I’m not going to play this spring (or winter)(or summer) because I’m gonna lift.”

This phrase, when spoken from a high school athlete makes me cringe. I know what it means, I’ve been there. I used this excuse myself as a senior in high school and didn’t go out for wrestling. Here is the interpretation that enters my brain through the coach translation area of my cerebral cortex when I hear that phrase from a high school kid.

I don’t want to play __________ because I really don’t want to work that hard.

95% of the kids I’ve heard the “I’m going to lift” mantra from fail at this goal miserably. Sure, they show up in the weight room, but very little work gets done.

Rings

I admit I’m not a fan of the recent rise in the high school sport of powerlifting. Sure, it’s all pretty cool, but is it doing justice to our athletes? Are we pushing kids into powerlifting participation (even though it’s not a sanctioned competitive sport by the state athletic association) at the expense of other sports they could, and should, be participating in? Is powerlifting becoming the focus over the actual sports a high school offers?

Truth is you get better at sports by playing sports. The training component is vital, but it is still just a component. Playing multiple sports gives one an edge in physicality, in conditioning, and in competitiveness, which is such an important component, yet so overlooked. Give me eleven young, high school men who know how to compete and I will knock the mother-loving socks off your 300 lb. bench pressers who spend 8 months of their year lifting.

Plate

Explosive power development requires speed, agility, quickness, and strength. That strength is a certain type of strength—an explosive strength derived from a specific technical approach. Like I’ve said many times before, I want to develop bullets rather than bowling balls. Powerlifting as the primary focus does not build athletes. Period.

Moral of the story…play a sport whenever you can. It is the best “big picture” thing you can do. Don’t get stuck on the one particular tree and forget all about the forest.

  • The first step is to compete.
  • The second step is to practice with an approach to improve.
  • The third step is to attack a well-rounded physical training program to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • The fourth step…enjoy the ride.
  • The fifth step is to repeat steps one through four as often as possible.

Time is precious. Make the most of every tick of the clock and work to be the best you that you can be.

Hard work is the magic.

Rant over. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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Pitchers and Catchers

“Put me in coach. I’m ready to play.” – Centerfield by John Fogerty

Pitchers and catchers.

This is a magic phrase for an old baseball soul. The phrase “pitchers and catchers” uttered through weather-chapped lips tosses fuel on our ever-shrinking flicker of summer hope, which has struggled to survive the cold, dark times of winter, to become a flame once again. Baseball season has officially begun.

I can feel it. Spring is on the horizon. Baseball is coming. The past month, the weather has been rough. I know it’s winter. I know it’s Kansas. But, seriously, single digit temperatures? With below zero windchills? And an obnoxiously mediocre amount of snow which does nothing positive except make life more miserable.

But, we had a a few highly uncommon, 50-degree January days recently and the grip of Winter on our hearts and our souls is loosed. The local baseball folks have emerged on perfect cue from forced hibernation with a series of text messages, phone calls, and meetings being scheduled on the upcoming baseball season.

It’s almost time. The official Town Crier of Spring, dressed in his regal best, stands tall and proud and proclaims the battle cry throughout the land, “Pitchers and catchers!”

Put me in coach. I AM ready to play.

HomePlate0115

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