Monthly Archives: July 2014

Why Free?

Not too long ago, someone asked me why I don’t charge for the baseball skills and hitting camps I offer. It’s because I’m a saint…okay, okay, quit giggling, I apologize for that “little” lie.

Honestly, I’ve thought about it. As a civil servant working at a state university, with twins in college, and a teacher wife taking graduate course work, heaven knows a few extra dollars wouldn’t hurt.

But, I don’t charge a dime.
Why?
Because, nobody ever charged me.

My father, Joe Hays, never charged me for his help.

My brothers, Pat, Tim, Dan, and Tom never charged me for their time or help.

The kids in the neighborhood and my friends never charged a solid quarter for the pick-up games, the whiffle ball games and the home run derby contests.

Coaching influences Bernie Hansel, Bill Patch, Ray Kistler, Dom Dumovich, “Easy” Ed Hernandez, Forest Miles, Bruce Gibb, Steve Burleson, Ron Koster, Rex Carlson, Barrett Long, and Dennis “Harpo” Hurla never charged Mike Hays anything to help him get a leg up in the game of baseball.

So, what gives me the right to charge? Nothing.

If I charge kids, who pays? Their parents, right? Now, those parents who emptied the wallet to pay for these lessons will naturally have high expectations. And, as sure as 2+2=4, these high expectations directly transfer to the kid.

Here’s a little sports secret: Stressed out, high anxiety athletes at every level do not perform well. The pressure and the expectation put on a kid after their parent’s monetary investment is something I do not want to make the kids have to deal with.

In a nutshell, here’s what we focus on in our camps:

  • Teach fundamental sports skills.
  • Teach them to be done with a relaxed and efficient body.
  • Practice, practice and practice these skills until they are second nature.
  • Now, the most important step, teach them to have fun playing. Teach them if they work at the skills and they learn to relax and perform, then success will follow. Success = Fun.

There is a lot of discussion in our community about money and extracurricular sports activities. Sports are important to me, always have been, always will be. But, I know sports are not life.
Sports are not at the core mission of what we do as communities. That is why they throw the “extra-” in front of the “curricular”.

Please, support your extracurricular activities with a positive mindset. Support them by providing the coaches and the programs with the budgets and salaries they need and deserve. But, never, ever forget to keep them in perspective.

Perspective. That’s what makes the difference.

Do sports because you enjoy doing sports. As a parent, fan, administrator, coach, or player, put sports in the proper context and savor every second you are fortunate to be involved in them.

Coach and teach sports without trying make a fast dime. I calculated my pay rate one year when I coach both football and baseball at Clay Center Community High School and it came out to be just over $5.00/hour (AND that did not include summer football conditioning hours or baseball field work time that year. It was too depressing to even calculate all that.).

Don’t do it for the money. Do it because you love the sport and love passing it along to future generations just as those in the last generation passed them along to you.

Finally, a little sports disclaimer:

Sports are not life.
Life is life.
Sport are for enjoyment purposes only.
Enjoy them!

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Proposed Holiday: Magic 8 Ball Day

“See, I’m an idea man, Chuck.” – Bill Blazejowski, NIGHT SHIFT (1982)

As Minister of Stupidity, it recently was brought to my attention there is no real summer holiday between the stellar events of July 20 (Apollo Moon Landing, 1969) and Labor Day.

Sure, if you are a heathen or a teacher, there’s always that first day of school thing, but, seriously, not exactly a holiday. There is also the first day of football practice. But again, although somewhat exciting to be back at football, two-a-day really are not anyone’s real idea of a holiday.

So where are we left now? The Holiday Desert.

I would like to propose a new holiday. A holiday which does not take itself too seriously and may or may not involve a day off (mostly depending of whether you are willing to spend your own leave time.)

The new holiday is Magic 8 Ball Day. I propose a date of August 8th to hold this new esteemed holiday. On Magic 8 Ball Day, one should only respond to questions with standard answers from the most famous toy-with-a-dark-purpose ever invented. The toy which can read the stars and give the most relevant answer to life’s biggest questions.

Q: “Magic 8 Ball, is today a good day to tell my boss to !@#$-off?”

A: “REPLY HAZY, TRY AGAIN”

Q: “Magic 8 Ball, should I buy my wife a nice gift because she’s so awesome?”

A: “OUTLOOK NOT SO GOOD.”

Are you starting to see the beauty of Magic 8 Ball Day? It will be the perfect day to find answers to your burning questions.

To get the inaugural Magic 8 Ball Day off to a rousing start, here are the 20 possible Magic 8 Ball answers:

  • It is certain
  • It is decidedly so
  • Without a doubt
  • Yes definitely
  • You may rely on it
  • As I see it, yes
  • Most likely
  • Outlook good
  • Yes
  • Signs point to yes
  • Reply hazy try again
  • Ask again later
  • Better not tell you now
  • Cannot predict now
  • Concentrate and ask again
  • Don’t count on it
  • My reply is no
  • My sources say no
  • Outlook not so good
  • Very doubtful

Happy Magic 8 Ball Day!

You’re welcome, in advance.

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