Monthly Archives: May 2013

Memorial Day 2013

Memorial Day (or Decoration Day to revert to its original name) is today. In 2013, we have added many, too many, names to the list of those who have died in service to this great nation. Say a prayer, take a moment, or perform some act of honor today for those who have sacrificed to serve.

Memorial Day started with official recognition by the Grand Army of the Republic on May 5, 1868 to honor both the fallen Union and Confederate soldiers from the Civil War. The Civil War, the pivotal, bloody, divisive War Between the States. The War which tested our young nation to the very brink of disaster with neighbor fighting neighbor. The War which ultimately made us a stronger collective people, one bound together despite our flaws and differences.  After its inception, the concept of a Decoration Day spread across the country, although the former Confederate states in the south refused to join with the “northern” celebration and kept their memorial separate until around the time of World War I (Some wounds heal more slow, I guess).

Today, on this Memorial Day, let us, as this nation’s collective people, reflect upon the origins of this holiday and remember. Let us honor our past by exhibiting in our personal, political, and professional lives the ideal that we are a stronger, collective people bound together despite our flaws and differences and striving to honor those we remember on Memorial Day.

For Memorial Day 2013, a re-posting of the story behind the founding of Arlington National Cemetery.

The Beginnings of Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington House

Union Quartermaster General Montgomery  Meigs appropriated land around Arlington House from its owner Gen. Robert E. Lee in June 1864 for use as Arlington National Cemetery.  General Meigs wanted to make Arlington House uninhabitable for the Lee family by placing Union soldier’s graves right to the front porch. In his excellent documentary,  The Civil War, filmmaker Ken Burns adds that General Meigs had previously lost his son, a Union soldier, in battle against Lee led forces and the appropriation of Lee’s land was particularly satisfying to the Quartermaster General.

I have only seen Arlington by photo or film.  It is a place I must visit before I die. My daughter has been there on a school group trip led by my good friends, and excellent teachers, the Lane Brothers.  She loved Arlington and everything about Washington, DC.  Coach Lane once gave me a football scout VCR tape, on which at the very end of the tape was copied the film he took of the changing of the guard at the Tomb on the Unknown Soldier.  I still have that tape safely stored away.  Incredible. Solemn. Beautiful.

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Coach Hays Rant: EASY Button?

I think at one time or another, we all wish for the EASY button. Pleasant dreams in which our lives will be made easier by some means of magic. Well, haven’t you ever wished that? Sure you have.

But here’s the bubble-bursting truth…there is no EASY button. If you want to get something done, then it’s time to get to work. There is no EASY button. There, I’ll say it again just for emphasis.
Things worth having are worth working for. Things worth accomplishing are worth working for. Dream big and do the work necessary to achieve your dreams.

If you want to play big, train big.
If you want to learn big, study big.
If you want to play explosive, you need to train explosive.
If you want to play slow and sluggish (even if you are static strong), train slow.


Easy doesn’t require an investment.
Easy doesn’t require a commitment.
Easy accepts minimal effort and laziness.
Easy allows shortcuts and shortcuts make long, miserable journeys with unfulfilling endings.
Easy becomes a lifestyle.

Never lose sight that things worth having are worth working for.
Never allow yourself to be seduced by the shortcut and the EASY.

Dream it and do it.

Hard work is the magic.

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Coach Hays Rant: Summertime!

Summer conditioning time is coming around the mountain, boys and girls. Time for a few Coach Hays rants to get the ball rolling. Of all the things about coaching high school sports I could miss, the sidelines, the dugout, the practices, etc., the one one thing I miss (besides the kids) is summer conditioning. I don’t think too many summer programs across the state did things the way we did back then. Every minute of summer had to be intense, focused, and productive.



  • The professional teams draft the cream of the crop and then develop them.
  • College programs recruit the best they can find and then develop them.
  • High school programs (except for the few private schools) take what walks through your door and then drive and push them to develop into the best they can be.

We had to do things different. We didn’t have big kids, we didn’t have fast kids, and we had very few superstar raw talents. We had to work our butts off. We had to maximize what we had, which was tough, hard working kids. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade our kids for anything, though I wish we could have had their 22 year-old bodies when they were 17. Late bloomers.


I miss it. I miss the groans and moans at 6:30 AM. I miss the energy of 50 kids working hard. I miss pushing them to do things the right way, every time. I loved it and I did it every day from June to mid-August for nine summers for a whopping cumulative salary of $0.00. Best job I ever had.

I will always be extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish with the resources we were allocated and the meager school support. I am proud to have achieved the results we did through the incredible effort, the desire to improve, and the high level of buy-in from the kids.


Man, alive! It gets me excited just thinking about it. Get busy, Kids of Summer 2013. Take advantage of your opportunities. Get in touch if you have a question or need some help. I’ll be glad to help if you have something you want to work on.

Hard work is the magic.

Here’s a little something to roll around in your head until the next rant on “Easy”:

The Coach Hays High School Sports Roles

The Athlete – Show up everyday with the desire and effort to get better.

The Coach – Show up everyday with the desire and the plan to make athletes better.

The Parent – Be your athlete’s biggest fan and supporter.

The Official/Umpire – Please be patient and take into account that Coach Hays is an idiot.

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Honesty and Transparency

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.”    Mother Theresa



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