Monthly Archives: September 2010

The Arena of Compete: Tickets, Please.

The Arena of Compete: Tickets, Please.

a Coach Hays Rant

“May I see your ticket, please?”

“What ticket is that, fine sir?”

“Your ticket to the Arena of Compete, of course.”

Now that’s the ticket I am talking about!  The ticket to the Arena of Compete.  The ticket to the big show, the big stage, the place where you get to shine.

By this point of the season, everyone, regardless of sport, has probably played a few games.  You probably know whether you possess a ticket or not.  You also probably have a pretty good idea who is holding the tickets on your team or your opponent’s team.  You probably know who belongs in the Arena of Compete and who does not.

Wins alone are not the ultimate indicator of possessing a ticket.  Even a broken clock is right twice a day.  S0,  maybe a win can be squeezed out here or there, regardless of ability.  What really matters is the ability to compete when times get tough.  The ability to compete when it is all on the line.  The ability to compete when the opponent or situation becomes daunting and overwhelming.

How much to buy a ticket, you ask?  Sorry, you can’t buy one.  Cash is not good at the Arena of Compete.  You can’t buy your way in with money, association or appointment.  There are no gift memberships.  Nothing is given freely, all must be earned!  Earned by blood, sweat and tears. Earned through hours of toil and labor.  Forged through continual preparation and through the Fail Cycle (pushing, failing and conquering…pushing, failing and conquering…)

No ticket? No problem.  You can still enter through the back door, even without a ticket.  Intertwined into the Arena of Compete is the Field of Fraud.  Sure enough, don’t do the work, just show up at the Field of Fraud.  Wear the right uniform, say the right things, look the part and you can get in there.  But, realize,  that you and your weaknesses will be exposed in front of God and everyone.  There is no place to hide on the Field of Fraud.  It will be obvious you did not earn a ticket.  You will lack the confidence and the swagger of those who did.  You will be a fraud and everyone will know it.

The Arena of Compete can be a brutal, unforgiving place for the unprepared or it can be a place of honor and glory.  the choice is yours.  Do the work.  Earn your way.   Earn your very own ticket into the Arena of Compete.

Hard Work is the Currency.

Hard Work is the Magic.

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Aesop’s Fables: Four to Live By

Rest Day Read (SR-49)

Aesop’s Fables: Four to Live By

(with Coach Hays translations)

The Hare and the Tortoise

The Hare was once boasting of his speed before the other animals. “I have never yet been beaten.” said he, “when I put forth my full speed.  I challenge any one here to race with me.”

The Tortoise said quietly, “I accept you challenge.”

“That is a good joke.” said the Hare. “I could dance around you all the way.”

“Keep your boasting till you’ve been beaten.” answered the Tortoise. “Shall we race?”

So the course was fixed and a start was made. The Hare darted almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped and, to show his contempt for the Tortoise, lay down to have a nap.  The Tortoise plodded on and plodded on, and when the Hare awoke from his nap, he saw the Tortoise just near the winning-post and could not run up in time to save the race.  Then said the Tortoise:

“Plodding wins the race.”

Show up & work hard every day.

Everyone gets better every day.

Do your job every day.

Every man, every play.

The Fox and the Grapes

One hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. “Just the thing to quench my thirst.” quoth he.  Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch.  Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success.  Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.”

It is easy to despise what you cannot get.

Shoot FOR the moon, not AT the moon.

Learn from failure, don’t accept failure.

Improve from failure, don’t spread blame for failure.

The Dog and the Shadow

It happened that a Dog had got a piece of meat and was carrying it home in his mouth to eat it in peace.  Now on his way home he had to cross a plank lying across a running brook.  As he crossed, he looked down and saw his own shadow reflected in the water beneath.  Thinking it was another dog with another piece of meat, he made up his mind to have that also.  So he made a snap at the shadow in the water, but as he opened his mouth the piece of meat fell out, dropped into the water and was never seen more.

Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.

Appreciate what you have and what you are.

Take what you are blessed with and make it better.

Protect what is yours.

The Lion and the Mouse

Once when a Lion was asleep a little Mouse began running up and down upon him: this soon wakened the Lion, who placed his huge paw upon him, and opened his jaws to swallow him.  “Pardon, O King.” cried the little Mouse: “forgive me this time, I shall never forget it: who knows but what I may be able to do you a turn some of these days?”  The Lion was so tickled at the idea of the Mouse being able to help him, that he lifted up his paw and let him go.  Some time after, the Lion was caught in a trap, and the hunters who desired to carry him alive to the King, tied him to a tree while they went in search of a wagon to carry him on.  Just then the little Mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the sad plight in which the Lion was, went up to him and soon gnawed away the ropes that bound the King of Beasts. “Was I not right?” said the little Mouse.

Little friends may prove great friends.

Everyone has something to offer.

Everyone is important.

Everyone contributes.

Be the best YOU that you can be.

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Football is NOT Life.

Football is NOT Life! a Coach Hays rant

I know this may sound highly irrational and maybe even a bit hypocritical coming from me, but contrary to what the t-shirts say, FOOTBALL IS NOT LIFE!.

Football is the greatest damn game ever invented, but it is not life.  Football is intensity, competitiveness, sportsmanship and violence, but it is not life.  Football requires immense strategy and teamwork, but it is not life.  Football provides education, drama, entertainment, and a solidarity which binds communities, campuses and fan bases throughout the nation, but it is not life.  Football is universal, it is played by presidents and paupers, genius and idiot, big and small, aggressive and passive, rich and poor, but it is not life.  Football should not be all consuming.  Football should not be the top priority.  I know this for a fact, I have tripped and fallen down that hole before (see my story).

Football can be like a package of Oreos, both need to be consumed in moderation.  You’ve been there, you open the package of Oreos and leave it out on the counter.  Sooner, rather than later, the whole package is gone and you don’t feel so good.  But if you open that package and only take a couple of Oreos and place the package in the cupboard for a later date, they not only taste spectacular, but last and satisfy for days upon days.  Football is not life.  It should be taken in moderation and/or with a tall glass of milk, (1% or skim preferably).

Football has it’s proper place, it has it’s proper perspective. Football is not the primary reason for the existence of high schools, colleges and universities.

Yes, football is important.  It is important to compete.  It is important to work hard to be the best coach or player you can be.  It is important to compete with purpose, pride and passion.  But I think Coach Paul Lane said it best with his prioritization of the sport, “Faith, Family, Football, in that order”.

Football is important to me.  But football is not life.  Let’s work to keep football in it’s proper perspective and place. I would hate for you to get a football belly-ache.


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For the Bubbas:The School of Block

The School of Block

There is Honor on the line.

There is Glory in the trenches.

Honor in the protection of what’s ours and in the destruction of what’s theirs.

Honor in the 50-79 numbers, invisible to all but the coaches and the blood relation.

Honor in aggressively getting in the defender’s way. Line it up, tear them down, repeat.

Glory in a facemask decorated in turf and mud.  Hands bruised. Fingers battered. Knuckles bloodied.

Glory in watching the backside of your running back move down the field.

Glory in crushing the will of the opponent.

The School of Block

Coach Hays

September 2010

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Moral Machines

Rest Day Read (SR-46)
Moral Machines: Introduction

by Wendell Wallach and Collin Allen

“As noted, this book is not about the horrors of technology. Yes, the machines are coming. Yes, their existence will have unintended effects on human lives and welfare, not all of them good. But no, we do not believe that increasing reliance on autonomous systems will undermine people’s basic humanity. Neither, in our view, will advanced robots enslave or exterminate humanity, as in the best traditions of science fiction. Humans have always adapted to their technological products, and the benefits to people of having autonomous machines around them will most likely outweigh the costs.
However, this optimism does not come for free. It is not possible to just sit back and hope that things will turn out for the best. If humanity is to avoid the consequences of bad autonomous artificial agents, people must be prepared to think hard about what it will take to make such agents good.”

“Is it possible to build AMAs (Artificial Moral Agents)? Fully conscious artificial systems with complete human moral capacities may perhaps remain forever in the realm of science fiction. Nevertheless, we believe that more limited systems will soon be built. Such systems will have some capacity to evaluate the ethical ramifications of their actions—for example, whether they have no option but to violate a property right to protect a privacy right.The task of designing AMAs requires a serious look at ethical theory, which originates from a human-centered perspective. The values and concerns expressed in the world’s religious and philosophical traditions are not easily applied to machines. Rule-based ethical systems, for example the Ten Commandments or Asimov’s Three Laws for Robots, might appear somewhat easier to embed in a computer, but as Asimov’s many robot stories show, even three simple rules (later four) can give rise to many ethical dilemmas. Aristotle’s ethics emphasized character over rules: good actions flowed from good character, and the aim of a flourishing human being was to develop a virtuous character. It is, of course, hard enough for humans to develop their own virtues, let alone developing appropriate virtues for computers or robots. Facing the engineering challenge entailed in going from Aristotle to Asimov and beyond will require looking at the origins of human morality as viewed in the fields of evolution, learning and development, neuropsychology, and philosophy.”

Want to see a positive application of technology? Click here

I definitely want to read this book, Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong. Their fictitious scenario of the automation-triggered disaster of Monday July 23, 2012 is just plain scary. I love their mutli-discipline approach for establishing the ethical parameters for automated systems. Interesting dilemmas and interesting ideas highlight the need for us to properly set the foundation of ethically and morally defined robotics from the start. We will all be better off in the long run.  Even my mother.

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Balthasar Gracian’s Aphorism #292

Rest Day Read (SR-45)
from Balthasar Gracian’s “The Art of Wordly Wisdom”
Aphorism #292

Let your personal Qualities surpass those of your Office, Let it not be the other way about. How-ever high the post, the person should be higher. An extensive capacity expands and dilates more and more as his office becomes higher. On the other hand, the narrow-minded will easily lose heart and come to grief with diminished responsibilities and reputation. The great Augustus thought more of being a great man than a great prince. Here a lofty mind finds fit place, and well-grounded confidence finds its opportunity.

Who is Balthasar Gracian you ask?
Well to quote the daily email nugget of “worldly wisdom” that I subscribe to;
“In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a Jesuit priest, wrote 300 aphorisms on living life effectively called “The Art of Worldly Wisdom.” The book stays relevent to modern day society and has been used such as Machiavelli’s “The Prince” or Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” as a guidebook for everything from business to sports.
In a nutshell, one smart SOB. The daily shot of wisdom always seems to be sent to me just at the right time. Feel a little cocky? Here’s one to bring you back to earth. Feel a little beat down? Here’s one to pick you up. Always great stuff from a very wise man.

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Game Day Philosophy: Friday Night in America

from the Coach Hays quote archive:

We did not come here  for “spirit” or to be “peppy”, others will come for those.

We did not come here for peace, or love, or joy.

We came here to knock your pride into the dirt.

We came here to steal your dignity.

Friday Night in America.

Tiger Football.

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