Sometimes…

Sometimes you do all the right things and still fail.
Sometimes you work hard and still sit the bench.
Sometimes you study until your brain explodes and still bomb the test.
Sometimes you practice and practice and practice but still strike out.
Sometimes you squeeze words to paper and they still sound like donkey doo.
Sometimes you give it all you got and it takes all you have, then laughs.

Keep working, stay true.

There will be a time you will win.
A time you’ll play and dominate.
A test score of an “A”.
A screaming line drive you hit into the gap with baseball loaded.
A story that rings true and honest.
A time when you give it all you got and get back more than you need.

You can’t hit the ball if you don’t swing the bat.

Hard work is the magic.

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New Year’s Eve #1

New Year’s Eve. Boy, howdy! I’ve had quiet ones and I’ve had crazy, insane ones. I’ve had snowy ones, ones with big crowds, ones with small crowds and ones I cannot for the life of me remember (and paid the price of a miserable January 1.).

The top of the list, New Year’s Eve Numero Uno, is by far one of the quiet ones, one of the ones spent at home with my young kids. I tried to recall the year and the age of the kids but can’t seem to pinpoint the details. It really doesn’t matter, they were around elementary school-aged.

As usual, the Mom went to sleep by the end of the 10:00 news. She, by habit, usually celebrates the New Year with the people of the Nova Scotia/Atlantic time zone, while the rest of the family celebrates in our resident time zone, the Central Time Zone. The kids and myself made a pact to stay up as late as possible with ten minutes after midnight being the dad’s preferred target.

Lo and behold, we turned on the television and TCM was running a all-night Marx Brothers marathon. We spread blankets on the living room floor, the kids got their various Disney character sleeping bags and pillows and we settled in for the night. We watched the Marx Brothers. We giggled. We laughed and laughed until about 3:00 AM when members of the crew began to nod off. It was the greatest of times.

As a parent, those are the times you never forget. Even these many years later, I still flashback to that New Year’s Eve whenever I see the Marx Brothers. The giggles and the belly laughs still ring sharp and true.

I know there’s the big deal in Times Square, I know there are loud, wild and woolly celebrations that go on around the globe to bring in the new year. But, to me there will always be one favorite New Year celebration, the New Year’s I spent sitting on the floor, surrounded by giggling kids, being completely entertained by Groucho, Chico, and Harpo.

Here is the famous mirror scene from the classic, Duck Soup.

Happy New Year!

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450

Keep moving. The key to getting better at something is to keep moving. Move forward, move backward, move, move, move.

What drives you to get better? Are you motivated by extrinsic factors, like awards, medals, or trophies?

Or are you motivated by intrinsic factors, like a desire to be the best you can be or an unquenchable will to win?

Whichever motivates you, keep moving. Keep pushing forward with the realization there will be the occasional backward move from the inevitable failure that comes with pushing the limits of your ability.

In football, we used to talk a lot in the off-season and preseason about the “450″. We tried to get the kids motivated by the “450″.

450?

Here is kind of how the rant usually went:

We have 9 scheduled games. That’s 9 teams we know we have to play. Let’s say each of those teams is about like us and has around 50 kids on their varsity squad. Do the math, 9 teams times 50 kids = 450 kids. That’s around 450 people who will wake up this morning with the desire to kick your ass on the field of play. 450 people who are probably working their tails off right now, as we speak, to get better. 

So when you’re debating whether or not you’re going to get out of bed for workout, remember the 450 players who want to defeat you. When you are deciding whether you want to put in full effort today or just put it in cruise control, remember those 450. They are out there, so you better be doing the work in here.

It’s not enough to be the best in our locker room, it’s all about being better than the 450.

So, it’s winter and the new year approaches. The perfect time to start the work. Beat your “450″.

Whether it’s your art, your sport, or your career, keep moving. Turn up the heat on yourself and push your boundaries. Find your own “450″ for motivation.

Don’t settle; be what you dream.

photo (1)

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What I Do

Our college is big on producing these promotional videos. Our media team is pretty darn good at it, too. I’ve successfully dodged them until recently when my luck apparently ran out.

So for all of you who have wondered and asked what I do for a living and get a blank stare from me as I attempt to find words to describe what I do do for a living, here is a wonderful educational and informational video.

We took a vote in the lab and decided we should win some sort of award for awesomeness.

“And the Oscar for the Best Short Film, Category: Research, goes to…”

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Frozen In Time

(Note: November in North Central Kansas was odd this year. A couple unseasonably warm spells in the 60′s wrapped around a unseasonable cold snap in the low teens. Weird. So weird, it fooled the insects [and spider], several who I found dead on the house. I snapped a few pictures to show to the Hays Crew and then started thinking entirely too much about the situation of insects [and spiders].)

Caught in the elements, frozen in time.

Ladybug

Fooled by nature in its cruelest of forms.
Played by a power yielding no remorse.
Tricked into a dream of early spring by the promise of late fall warmth.
Or
Joyful for another day. Enjoying a reprieve.
Escaping the inevitable for one more chance.
Living the gift to the final moment, departing happy.
Or
Oblivious to all but the nature of now.
Obeying the call from within, commands flowing through every atom.
Ignoring time and what’s next, devoting all to the moment.

Frozen in time…

Spider Bug

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Freaking Ready

Take Me Out to the Ball Game
“Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.”

It has been years since I’ve been this close to baseball this late through autumn and into winter. A long time. Too long, maybe.

The fever didn’t die this year when the World Series trophy was safely tucked into its new home in Boston. Perhaps it is the warm weather, perhaps it is something calling and pulling me in the direction of baseball.

Something pulling at me which has always been there. Every year, every fall, beckoning me like it did when I was a kid.  Calling for me to come back every year, but left alone with its voice echoing off the barren canyon as I pursued other endeavors. Maybe.

Maybe I’ll get the bat out of the closet and take some swings in the garage. Oil down the glove with some shaving cream, or work on the power curveball by throwing the ball into the sofa. Baseball.

Keep rolling along football, I’ll still be your fan. Hurry on your way basketball, make way for pitchers and catcher.

I think that is Spring I hear in the air. Then again, it could be Kiel Unruh’s first (and only) home run shot finally returning to Mother Earth.

Unruh Home Run Ball

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Ode to the Final Tomato of 2013

One final red tomato.
The end.
Summer is officially over.
Who cares about what the weatherman says?
Who cares about what the calendar says?

photo 2

The remaining green tomatoes were picked.
Saved from frost.
Made into a green tomato salsa experiment.
What about this last red tomato?
Doesn’t it deserve an epic departure?

photo

A tomato sandwich, on toast.
Multigrain wheat bread.
With tortilla chips and cheese.
Wouldn’t any tomato be proud to go like this?
Is there a finer way to enter winter?

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