Monthly Archives: November 2010

Toughskins: The Official Kid Coach Hays Outfitter

Looking back, I was a difficult child. I had issues. Shy, stubborn, quiet and stocky. But I think clothing and associated issues were, and still, are some of the great issues of me. Clothes shopping is the most painful of activities.

Hated it.

I did not like looking through racks, did not like trying clothes on in the fitting rooms and absolutely despised the clerk and mother asking questions concerned over the status of the fit in the crotch.  Horrific! Always a difficult activity that shopping for clothing, plus when I was a kid in the 1970’s, fashion leaned a bit to the embarrassing as a general rule.  But as I have said on several occasions, I was a lineman, a Bubba, from day one, and finding clothes was always a difficult task.

I also had trouble with a shirt tuck. Seriously. Still do at age 46. One of my favorite pictures from childhood is what could be an Easter Day photo of my older brothers, my sister, and me, all dressed to the hilt. The others stand as perfect kids of fashion, worthy of any Madison Avenue ad campaign, cherubs sent down from heaven. Then on the left side of the photo is me. Dress pants, clip-on tie, scowl on face and hands balled up tight at my side. Not bad, except the right half of my shirt’s completely un-tucked. In this photo of youthful fashion perfection, I stand out like a flashing red light. Pathetic.

But with all those unfortunate fashion incidents, there was a pillar of apparel hope. Toughskin Jeans from Sears. Look at the photo. Appreciate the high tech design features.  The tri-blended material Toughskins, the HUSKY variety in my case, were the jeans for me. I had gone through a pair of Levis by the end of first recess, scoffed at the durability claims of Wrangler and the blue-light special jeans of K-Mart, forget it. Only one jean could handle the abuse of the Kid Coach Hays, Husky Toughskins.

Listen, these jeans were so tough they didn’t need a sappy name variation, like Tuf’ Skins or any of that sort of marketing mumbo-jumbo. (Look at the models in the ad, those are no nonsense kids, ready for action! And the jacket! Holy jumping Jehoshaphat! That is the height of big lapel 70’s greatness.) The Toughskins were so bad-ass, so tough-as-nails that Sears, confident in their creation, put a guarantee on Toughskins. If you wore through the 3/4 inch, highly fortified knee of the pant, they would trade you out a new pair. And thanks to a certain young boy, a decision which almost took the company down in the mid-1970’s.

I never fancied myself any sort of fashion expert. As my wife points out, I often wear black shoes with brown belts. But, I have to tell you, I became sort of a celebrity at the 38th Street Sears store in KCK. As previously mentioned, I was tough, tough, tough on clothes.  I still rip through clothes, especially my fashion foundation of blue jeans. I’ve gone through knees, ripped out belt loops, ripped gashes front and back. Heck, one time, I even caught the cuff of a pair of jeans on the heel of my shoe and walked/tore the hem right off the pants. So naturally, a mother with six lovely children and limited budget, eventually threw up the white flag to insure the financial solvency of the Hays family and put Destructo-Boy in the new technology out of Sears Research and Development. It was not so much that the mother believed any of the Sears durability claims, she liked the guarantee.

Long story short, I became somewhat of a celebrity at our Sears store. I would go through the indestructible Toughskins jean in a matter of months. Right before the guarantee would expire, I would do something else and have to go switch out for a replacement pair. Mostly the quadruple fortified knee would crumble under the pressure of recess on a parking lot. Falls, dives, rolls, tackles took down many a pair of Toughskins.

I would walk into the Sears store with my guarantee-savvy mother, and after a few moments for my ears to adjust to the ever-present high pitch squeal of our Sears store, the clerks would call out my name. I felt like a Hollywood celebrity strolling into a premiere, flash bulbs popping, fans waving.

“Hello, Master Hays.  New jeans, sir?”

“New Toughskins.  Husky, not regular.”  (It was like I was 007 in a exotic Russian nightclub).

“And may we interest you in the new forest green color, or the goldenrod, or perhaps the corduroys?”

“Not today, just the usual blue will do.”

The new pair would be traded out with the old pair. I always liked to believe the ruined pairs were sent by armored courier to Sears-Roebuck Home Base in Chicago for additional research and study. The clerks would step off to the side in private conversation with mother, with an occasional point to me standing in the aisle, for probably some “suggestions” about parenting. She never cared, mother loved the fact that she outfitted me in one purchase of Toughskins jeans for several years. I went through them so fast, the growth spurts played little effect.

It was the perfect, accidental fashion plan.



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Play in the Digital Playground!

Rest Day Read (SR-60)

Educator in the Real Time World by Kevin Honeycutt

“A good QB throws the ball where the receiver is going to be, not where they are when the ball is snapped.  A good educator throws an education where kids are going to be.  We have to know that.

I want you to know there are thousands of educators worldwide who get this,  who are connected to an EDU-VERSE of other ideas and people on BEHALF of their kids, and their kids DESERVE this.”

Thanks to the Mrs. Hays for this one.  Watch, listen and learn.  Parents, teachers, coaches, grandparents, uncles, aunts, everyone watch, listen and learn.  This is good, no, it’s great stuff.  Get out there people, take the plunge into the digital age. Learn from the kids, learn with the kids.  Take it from me, it is a great experience to learn Facebook, Twitter or blogging from your kids.  It is a very rewarding experience and a whole new world for us old farts.

Play in the digital playground!

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Workout Songs: Flashlight by Parliament

Don’t think fat, middle aged, no rhythm, white guys can enjoy the FUNK?  Well, my friend, you are absolutely wrong.  This is a GREAT song, maybe one of the greatest funk songs of all time.  Used to dance to this song in the locker room and at school dances.  My favorite.

Imagine a young, lineman-type kid going from Christ The King Catholic School to the very public, desegregated ninth grade of Eisenhower Junior High in Kansas City, Kansas.  I was dead dog scared to say the least.  It didn’t help at all when a girl at the locker next to mine OD’s and collapses in convulsions before the start of the FIRST DAY of school.  But it all worked out.  I learned a lot about life, learned that viewpoints can vary and learned that “home” means many different things to many different people.  I ate chitlins and greens, toured the projects, saw my first .38 caliber pistol (in art class!) and was introduced to a whole new world of music.  Without sports and all the friends (from all sorts of origins and backgrounds) I made from sports, the transition would have been disastrous and my life a whole lot less interesting.

Okay, okay, back to exercise and workout songs.  I like to use this song,  and other long, rhythmic songs like it, for a circuit timer.  I will pick three or four exercises, (i.e. squats, push-ups and pull-ups) then do 10 reps of each for one round with the goal to see how many rounds can be completed before the end of the song.  Try it, you’ll like it!  Na na na ne na na ne na.

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The Streetlight Effect

Rest Day Read (SR-59)

by David H. Freedman from Discover Magazine, July-August 2010

“Many, and possibly most, scientists spend their careers looking for answers where the light is better rather than where the truth is more likely to lie. They don’t always have much choice. It is often extremely difficult or even impossible to cleanly measure what is really important, so scientists instead cleanly measure what they can, hoping it turns out to be relevant. After all, we expect scientists to quantify their observations precisely. As Lord Kelvin put it more than a century ago, “When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it.” There is just one little problem. While these surrogate measurements yield clean numbers, they frequently throw off the results, sometimes dramatically so. This “streetlight effect,” as I call it in my new book, Wrong (Little, Brown), turns up in every field of science, filling research journals with experiments and studies that directly contradict previously published work.”

“The results? We get heavily hyped drugs like Avastin, which shrank tumors without adding significant time to cancer patients’ lives (and increased the incidence of heart failure and blood clots to boot); Avandia, which lowered blood sugar in diabetics but raised the average risk of heart attack by 43 percent; torcetrapib, which raised both good cholesterol and death rates; and Flurizan, which reduced brain plaque but failed to slow the cognitive ravages of Alzheimer’s disease before trials were finally halted in 2008.”

This article was hard to read, hard to admit the truth behind it.  I can’t wait to read Freedman’s book, WRONG.  But it is true, science has gone a bit off course.  When we should be about truth, we have become driven by gain.  We have let the truth be molded by what we (or our sources of funding) want to prove rather than the facts. And ladies and gentlemen, that is a slippery slope we tread upon.  Dangerous and treacherous to all of us.

Being a scientist, I especially would like to put absolute faith is everything science produces.  But more and more, I am afraid we must go with the old adage “Don’t believe everything you hear”.  Ever heard that one?  Maybe from your parents, perhaps?  Be wary, dig deeper and search for the truth.

Note: If you are looking for some awesome, informative reading to have around your household, why not try a subscription to Discover Magazine?  (Non-compensated, non-celebrity endorsement)

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Workout Songs: Bloodbuzz, Ohio by The National

Workout Songs

You gotta have them.  The workout songs.  The loud, chaotic, wall shaking music served with an underlying hum of intensity to prime your adrenaline pump.  That is what I am talking about.  It will push you through the tough times.  It will get that rhythmic beat starting in your head that snakes to your heart, through the gut and into all your muscles.  It goes to the top of the bell tower and starts the incessant ringing signaling it is time to get after it.  It is time to run.  It is time to turn it loose.  It is time to let it fly.

The music doesn’t have to be fast loud head banging, but in can be.  It can be something a driving as Kashmir by Led Zeppelin (my personal pro sports introduction song if I would have played pro sports and required an introduction) or something like Sandman by Metallica or country and western like, Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way? by Waylon Jennings.  And what about the funk classic from Parliament, Flashlight?  That will work and so will you.  It doesn’t matter it just must have that underlying hum of intensity.

Today’s Workout Song is Bloodbuzz, Ohio by The National.  Great song.

“I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees.”

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The Dingo Ate The Bingo

Rest Day Read (SR-58)

The Dingo Ate The Bingo by Mike Hays

I was going to link to an intellectually uplifting article for today’s RDR, but I have got to relate to you a story about fatherhood.  But to warn you, it runs a bit to the smartass/amusing side.  In fact it made the Mom expel her lime green jello from mouth to plate during the dinner where the tale was first told.  For the record, that hasn’t occurred in a LONG time.  (Don’t say anything to the Mom about the lime green jello incident, though. Some things are better kept between us.)

Son, age 16, and father, age 46, went to Salina for a doctor’s appointment.  While on the hour-long drive, son periodically shouts “Bingo” and tallies a count.

Finally, as they hit the I-70 Abilene to Salina stretch, the dad says.”Bingo?  What the heck is that?”

“You say ‘Bingo’ when you see a yellow vehicle.”

Okay, easy enough.  So we travel a few miles ahead, the ultra-observant dad sees a school bus. “Bingo!”

“That doesn’t count.” says passive-competitive son. “Buses don’t count.”

Next, the dad sees a Catepillar bulldozer in a construction zone.  As “B…” begins to slip out of dad’s mouth.

Teenage son says, “Neither do construction vehicles.”

“Are you making the rules up as we go?” dad asks.

In that wonderful teenage tone comes the answer, “No.”

So teenage son runs the score up through the city of Salina on the way to the doctor’s office.  Apparently, not only are yellow buses and construction vehicles not legal fare in this game of Bingo, but about every yellow vehicle the dad points out lies outside the rules.  “Too orange-ish”, “no delivery vans”, “no 1972 Coup de villes”, etc., etc. etc…

After the appointment, a trip to exchange some clothes at the mall, which feels like sticking pins into the eyes, stop by the McD’s for a quick lunch and hit the road back toward home.

Son continues Bingo game, every yellow vehicle he points out is acceptable within the rules of the Bingo Society of North America and every yellow-ish vehicle the dad points out gets negated.  Back on I-70, the dad has just about had enough of the game of Bingo.

Ahead, as if sent by God himself, the dad sees a tandem Fed-Ex tractor-trailer in the westbound lane.  “DINGO!” the dad shouts.

Teenage son, ‘What are you talking about?  Dingo?”

“Yeah, I am now playing Dingo.  Delivery truck Bingo…Dingo.  Get it?”  The dad, using superior evasive strategy, completely dumbfounds teenage son.

“Dingo!” he shouts out at a passing Old Dominion trailer.

“Doesn’t count.”


“It’s Monday, isn’t it?”

“Yeah.  So…” he mind is racing trying to figure what is coming next.

The dad chuckles, “Son, Monday is Fed-Ex Dingo Day. I am up by one.”

On the east side of Salina, another tandem Fed-Ex trailer. “DINGO!  Up 2-Zip”

About a mile or so down the highway we see a mid-size Fed-Ex delivery van.  The son points and just about jumps out of his seat.

“DINGO!” He shouts.

“Sorry.” says the dad.  “That’s a van, not a delivery TRUCK.”  The laughter from one half of the car is uncontrollable as the car veers slightly in the lane.

(Note: This is where the start of the green jello incident commences on the retelling of the story later that evening.)

“That is NOT funny!” Teenage son is not happy as the tables turn in old papa’s direction.

You know sometimes you just can’t script real life any more funnier than it turns out.  There is truly a God and He has a great sense of humor.  For just at that moment, as the teenage son turns around and is complaining and pointing at the Fed Ex delivery van that did not count as a legal hit in the game of Dingo,  four or five Fed-Ex tandem delivery tractor-trailers, a virtual convoy, rise up over the ridge in the opposite lane.  As son is still lamenting about his lack of a score, the dad, who is laughing so hard he doesn’t really remember if it was actually four or five trucks in the convoy, says, “Dingo, Dingo, Dingo, Dingo and Dingo!”

(Herein lies the actual point that the Mom expelled the lime green jello from her mouth.  3 family members at the dinner table are laughing so hard they can hardly breath, while one stays absolutely silent.)

Teenage son sits in stunned silence.  About 30 minutes down the road, he’s still silent.  The dad sees a yellow trash truck down the road where they are at a stop sign.  Just to rub it in, he calmly says, “Bingo.”

Teenage son’s head snaps up, returns to straight ahead stare position then deadpans, “Nope, that’s gold.”

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The Physical Space: A Coach Hays Rant

Rest Day Read (SR-57)

The Physical Space a Coach Hays Rant

The secret to physical preparation lies in the the work.  The physical space is a vital component of that work.  The outpouring of heart and soul, blood and sweat, time and effort, is key.  The pressure applied by the athlete toward themselves over time prepares the body for physical challenge, much like pressure applied to carbon over time results in the formation of a diamond.  Hard work, every day, every minute, every second.

The secret to success is not a shiny new training space with matching new pieces of equipment.  The success lies not in mirrors and color coordinated outfits.  The success lies in offering a good physical space which, above all else, is safe and effective. Let me repeat, safe AND effective. A good physical space needs heavy things to lift, move and carry.  It needs places to hang from, drag things over and move upon.

The environment has to be welcoming, the athletes should want to go there to work.  Athletes should know they are expected to be there.  The cultivated physical, mental and emotional environment must make the athlete want to show up and put it out there every session.  Everyone gets better, everyday.  That is how teams are made.  That is how athletes learn to trust each other and become a unit, a team.  Players know their teammates are putting it out there.  Hard work and trust become contagious.  Then the diamonds are formed.

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