Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Word’s Look: Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

As with many of Pink Floyd’s great songs, Wish You Were Here stands on its own. All the gushing and blubbering I can do about it merely fades in comparison to the work itself. It’s a beautiful piece of art. The song tugs at the heartstrings. It brings a sense of longing to the soul of the listener. The universal humanity in the song’s five or so minutes is astounding. 

Wish You Were Here is on the 1975 album of the same name. It’s the follow-up album to The Dark Side of the Moon, which is often considered the greatest rock album of all time. It’s also the second release in an almost surreal string of four exceptional pieces of creative work Pink Floyd released in the 1970s. 

  • The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
  • Wish You Were Here (1975)
  • Animals (1977)
  • The Wall (1979)

These four albums are all stunning in their own right. The only downfall of the second, third, and fourth albums is the fact they weren’t the greatest rock & roll record of all time, The Dark Side of the Moon. Last week at work, I had an enormous amount of paperwork I’d been putting off for far too long. I showed up intent on sitting down and working through my self-imposed paperwork problem. So I opened Spotify on my desktop and played The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall in succession. 

Wow. 

That’s really the only word to describe the experience. The paperwork got done. The songs echoed past, present, and future in my brain. I’d forgotten how good and underrated Animals is. Hell, I’d forgotten how great all four of these albums are. I highly recommend revisiting each of these four records if you have the chance. Fabulous creative work.

Wish You Were Here is one of the songs that keeps bouncing around in my head. It hits my soul in a completely different way in 2023, at age 58, than it did in the late 1970s as a young teenager. That’s exactly what creative words do. They seep their way into your being, set root, and grow. 

Running over the same old ground
What have we found?
The same old fears
Wish you were here

A Word’s Look: Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from hell?
Blue skies from pain?
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange
A walk-on part in the war
For a leading role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year
Running over the same old ground
What have we found?
The same old fears
Wish you were here

Songwriters: Roger Waters / David Jon Gilmour

Delicate Sound of Thunder audio

Concert Video from Earl’s Court 1994

Leave a comment

Filed under Reads, Uncategorized, Writes

Advice on Oranges

I was never a big fan of oranges growing up. I liked orange juice. I liked orange jello. I liked orange soda. I also truly enjoyed putting quarter slices of oranges my mom put in our sack lunches into my mouth and acting like an ape. That was fun.

The idea of eating an orange did appeal to me, though. I just never could get past the white pith inside the peel and how dang hard it was to peel an orange. Seeds, although a pain, were tolerable since they could be spat out either as projectile weapons against siblings/friends or, like the watermelon seed of summer, expelled for distance.

As an adult, I’ve turned my childhood dislike of oranges into them becoming a seasonal staple of my diet. What changed? First, the emergence of the navel orange gave the consumer a seedless, yet, delicious citrus product. Sure, one lost the necessary basic component of seed-spitting but gained threefold in pure edible joy.

The second, and most monumental, change occurred early in my teen years when dad taught me an orange peeling trick. It was brilliant. It was effective. It transformed me into an orange-loving citrus-phile. This food hack my dad showed me was to gently roll the orange around on a hard, flat surface with slight pressure. When performed properly, the white pith loosens from the fruit and makes peeling the orange a breeze. Over the years, I’ve found the technique also works by rolling the orange between your palms. It’s magic. 

My dad was by no means handy or comfortable in the kitchen. He could hardly make himself a sandwich. When my youngest brother was born and mom had to stay a few nights in the hospital, I’ll never forget the meal dad made for the rest of us five kids that first night before grandma showed up to help. He browned a couple of pounds of hamburger. He put a piece of white bread on each of our plates. He scooped a serving spoon of hamburger on each piece of bread. To top off the delicacy, each plate got a healthy shot of ketchup over the mound of hamburger. We each put our heads down, side-eyed each other, said a prayer that mom would be home soon, and quietly and quickly ate.

Thanks to my dad, I have become a joyful eater of oranges. The fruit is one of the bright spots of winter for me and has been since learning the peeling trick. Dad simply taking five minutes one dark winter night after a long work day to show his kid a better way to peel an orange made a lifelong impact on me, my kids, and my grandkids. It’s one of the many pieces of him I carry with me to this day.

A small and seemingly insignificant piece of advice went a long way to enrich my life. 

Think about that little nugget for a minute.

Small kindnesses can make huge impacts on people’s lives. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Reads, Uncategorized, Writes

R.I.P. Franco

I was born a Kansas City Chiefs fan. I was five when they won Super Bowl IV on January 11, 1970. They were good for a year or two after that but began a slow decline into a miserable existence by the mid-1970s forcing many of us young football fans to alternate fandoms. Me? Like many, I turned to the Pittsburg Steelers under Coach Chuck Noll. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty of that era held tremendous appeal to a 10-year-old, football-loving, lower-middle-class kid from Kansas City, Kansas. They played aggressive and physical defense that earned the nickname, The Steel Curtain. They had an effective offense built on the legs of their running back Franco Harris and the arm of Terry Bradshaw. Most important to me, however, was the fact they beat the hated Oakland Raiders in several high-profile games, including the Immaculate Reception game (a life-changing event for this kid!).

Franco Harris passed away today at age 72. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Franco and the Steelers recently due to the NFL’s plan to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception game. It’s a sad day for this 58-year-old “kid”. Not only has another childhood sports hero died, but one who also appeared to have been as great of a human as he was a football player. I never met or saw Franco in person, yet I feel we lost a favorite uncle. 

That’s a great compliment to Franco and his Steeler teammates. They were Everyman’s Team. They were tough-as-nails and blue-collar. The team, like Franco Harris, wasn’t loud or outrageous as a general rule. They did their job and won football games with class and honor.

Rest in peace, #32! 

Jeno’s, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Leave a comment

Filed under Coaching, Reads, Uncategorized, Writes

A Privilege or a Right?

There are things bigger than sports.

Hard for some of us to believe perhaps, but it’s the truth.

Sports in high school are called extracurricular activities for a reason. They are activities students have the option to do outside of the classroom. They are not required. They are not the reasons our high schools exist. They are voluntary. Students aren’t entitled to participate in these activities.

There was a local incident this past fall where a student-athlete got into legal trouble but was still allowed to participate in an extracurricular activity. The situation was called out in public and it caused quite a heated debate in our community. I don’t know all the details, I don’t need to know all the details. What I know is there are a defined set of rules and consequences the school district put in place back around 2007-2008 to deal with these types of issues. However, in this case, it doesn’t appear to the outside observer these rules and consequences were enforced. 

One crucial piece was left out of the discussion and ensuing arguments, though. Extracurricular activities are privileges, not rights. Students who operate within the rules and expectations earn the privilege to participate. Students who fail to operate within the rules and expectations do not. They are not entitled to participate independently of their behavior. 

Being able to play a high school sport is earned. 

This type of behavior problem is something that has been around as long as there have been high school sports. I dealt with it as a player. I dealt with it as a coach. Teenagers don’t always make good decisions. When they fail to make good decisions, especially ones contrary to the rules, they should have to suffer the consequences. 

We, as parents, coaches, and administrators, don’t do our athletes any good to look the other way. We don’t help them to become responsible and productive citizens/team members by ignoring or selectively enforcing the rules. It’s not fair to the student-athlete involved or to their teammates. Part of our job as the adults in these situations is to help our young people make better decisions and show them the value of earning the privilege to participate. 

Personally, my philosophy in dealing with kids who get into trouble is to guide them through their punishment and make them earn their way back into the trust of their teammates and coaches. We used to have a hell-ish series of physical challenges the player would have to complete to go along with their game/event suspension. Once they served their punishment, all was good. They earned their way back. Their teammates saw firsthand the road to redemption the player traveled and, in the end, we were a stronger team because of it. 

We’ve seemed to have lost sight that extracurricular activities are privileges.

We’ve seemed to have lost perspective of the true endgame of high school.

There truly are things bigger than sports.

And that’s the damn truth.

Clay Center @ Abilene 2009. Photo credit: Logan Hays

Leave a comment

Filed under Coaching, Rants, Uncategorized

September 11, 2022

Sunday, September 11, 2022, was a good day. The sun was in full force after an entire Saturday of much-needed rain that brought home exciting victories for my two favorite Kansas college football teams. We had a great dinner with the family followed by some outside playtime with my grandsons. It was also opening day for the National Football League which I always look forward to with great enthusiasm.

While waiting for the Chiefs game to begin, I sat for a few minutes on the porch to read a book as research for a new writing project on French physicist, Léon Foucault. People were walking. Kids were riding bikes. Cars were out on Sunday drives. It gave me a good feeling. A beautiful day. NFL football. A good book. A full belly and a full heart.

All is good in the world but then the date wormed its way from the core of that full heart and into my thoughts. It’s still a tough day 21 years later even for someone like me, whose only direct connection to the victims and the heroes are the shared bond of being American. I wrote previously about the experience of being a high school football coach during that terrible week in our country’s history in a piece called, Game of Tears

21 years later I sit on my porch and think back on 2001. I think more and more with the recent dumpster fire of extreme political ideologies about 2001 and the aftermath of the September 11th tragedy. It was America at its best. Working together, helping each other out, consoling and comforting our fellow citizens. The “Never Forget” t-shirts and prayer vigils. The horrifying images juxtaposed with heroism by first responders, airline passengers, volunteers, and our leaders working together.

Where did that spirit, the spirit at the heart of this great nation, go? How easily did we allow the wedge driven by our enemies split us and fracture the “Never Forget” spirit of 9/11/2001? Can we ever get that back without enduring another national tragedy?

I hope so. I pray we can.

P.S. While watching the 60 Minutes piece on 9/11 yesterday after the Chiefs game, the video footage affected me not as it has in many years. It was tough, I admit it. I don’t know why it hit me harder in year 21 than it has in a while. I’m trying to figure it out.

The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center burning before they collapsed on September 11, 2001. This photo was taken nearby the Statue of Liberty. Via The National Parks Service and Wikimedia Commons.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Silver Lining?

I love good ideas. I love problems. I love trying to figure out ways to solve problems. It’s the coach, the competitor, and the scientist in me. Some people probably say that it’s mostly the a$$hole in me but I digress.

First, a huge “THANK YOU!” to people who read my previous post, The End of an Era. It was a post about the school district’s decision to sell the iconic football stadium in Clay Center, Kansas. If you wish to share your favorite Unruh Stadium memories or histories, please add a comment on the post. I’d love to learn more from your stories!

One of the comments on the post completely blew my mind. It’s a great idea about what to do with Unruh Stadium after the school district moves out. The individual points out that since the city pretty much gave the stadium to the school district by selling it to them for one dollar, it’s only right for the school district to give it back, especially as they’ve invested very little in its physical upkeep over the years. 

Basically, the community gave USD 379 a gift in the 1990s, and perhaps it’s time for USD 379 to return the gift. 

Give it back. What an idea!

Why?

The commenter suggested that once returned to the city, the stadium could be used for public recreation. One thing that has been on many citizens’ minds over the past 15 years is the need for a real and actual Clay Center City Recreation facility in town. A group did a study a few years ago and drew up some nice plans for a facility but, if I remember correctly, the location was an identifiable problem. I agree the current stadium complex would make the perfect home for a Clay Center City Recreation facility for decades to come. 

Picture three youth soccer/flag football fields on the current football field with seating and facilities already available. Next, imagine a future recreation building/parks department office complex with courts, classrooms, and community space at the south end of the Unruh Stadium. (The area currently being developed adjacent to the Clay County Fairgrounds could be sold, shared with the Fairgrounds Board, or kept for a future city development site.) With some time, investment, and TLC, it could be a stellar recreation facility. Just as important, it’s something our capable Parks & Recreation Department could maintain.

Taking a lead from the economic benefits that the Clay Center Aquatic Park brought to the local area, an even greater economic benefit can be tapped by making Clay Center an area hub for recreation activities. Youth sports, tournaments, leagues, adult activities, exercise classes, arts and crafts, and a place for the community to be a community. 

The western corridor entering Clay Center exudes much of what Clay Center is. The Aquatic Park, Huntress Park, Schaulis Field, Montel Field, Brade’s Park & Shelter, Campbell Field, and Otto Unruh Stadium. That corridor is as identifiable with Clay Center as the Courthouse or Downtown or Utility Park. 

It’s part of what we were as a community. 

It’s part of who we are as a community. 

It’s part of what the community will become.

Silver linings can be found in every cloud. One just has to be willing to rip the cloud apart sometimes to find them.

Finally, one also has to be willing to sit down, talk to people, and exchange ideas to solve even the most daunting of problems together.

That, my friends, is how communities move forward in a positive manner.

1 Comment

Filed under Coaching, Rants, Reads, Uncategorized, Writes

The End of the Era

The USD 379 Board of Education is moving forward on building a new football stadium and selling Otto Unruh Stadium. Unruh Stadium will likely be demolished as the land becomes a commercial venture. It’s a sad day for Clay Center and for an iconic community structure but we look forward with reserved optimism to what the future holds.

If my memory serves me, the City of Clay Center transferred stadium ownership to the school district for $1.00 sometime in the 1990s. Basically, the city (the community) gifted the iconic structure to the school district since they were the site’s primary users. 

I regret not trying harder over the past twenty years to convince USD 379 school boards and administrators to be better stewards of their stadium site. I apologize for not being a better advocate of Otto Unruh Stadium and demanding better from our local leadership. 

I dropped the ball on doing my part to improve things and rally community support for action. Several times while working at Campbell Field I’d walk past the rag-tag, chain link fence entrance at the south end of the football stadium and get totally pissed off at how bad it looked. If you’ve been to Unruh Stadium, you know this fence. It’s been bad since I attended my first Tiger Football home game in 1994. (Mini Rant: Couldn’t we have spent $20-30,000 at some time to have an exceptional local masonry company put in matching limestone walls and gates or, better yet, a limestone arch entry/ticket booth extension ramping up to an ADA-compliant seating area?)

Being pissed off on these occasions, I’d resolve to go to Stuart Administration Center and ask the superintendent to quit complaining about all that’s wrong with Unruh Stadium and do something right for the facility. I never did. I’m disappointed in myself for not taking a stand for our facilities and demanding more from the tax dollars being banked in the district’s capital outlay fund. 

Unruh Stadium is just a sports field. In the grand scheme of things, sports are not, and shouldn’t be, one of the top five priorities of a school district or a community. Nevertheless, Otto Unruh Stadium is a sports field that has deep meaning and history for our community. As the legend goes, it was built brick by brick by Clay Center citizens from locally-quarried limestone and funded as part of a WPA-related project.

The basic coaching tenet and philosophy “Brick by Brick”, which guided the latter half of my nine seasons as a Tiger Football coach, was based on the history and design of Unruh Stadium. To this day, I firmly believe we build better athletes, teams, and communities, and do better and deeper work when we create better bricks and build one brick at a time.

I’d hazard to guess I’ve spent more time in the shadow of Otto Unruh Stadium than many folks. As a fan, parent, coach, strength & conditioning coach, graduation speaker, baseball field volunteer, tour guide, etc. I’ve had a lot of experiences there. 

I’ve cheered in the stands, yelled at officials, been penalized, lost heartbreaker games, chased foul balls, won thrilling victories, dealt with gut-wrenching injuries, and ran the stadium stairs in Unruh. 

I’ve been a baton dad, band dad, proud dad, and a dad watching his kids learn to ride bikes there.

I’ve given tours to first graders and ended each tour with a session of top-of-our-lungs primal screaming underneath the stadium. I’ll never forget the pure joy and the smiles on the kids’ faces as our screams echoed off the walls. 

I’ve seen hundreds of senior pictures, team pictures, and family pictures taken against the backdrop of the stadium’s limestone walls.

I’ve dodged tornadoes, thunderstorms, power outages, sleet at March baseball games, and long 110°F summer American Legion tournament days inside the protection of Unruh Stadium.

I’ve “felt” the roar of the Tiger Bike Night event from the home locker room prior to a Tiger Friday Night in America football game.

I’ve “Touched the Sign”.

Many who read this will say, “Hays, you’re just a sappy, pigheaded, and sentimental old fool who needs to get with the times.” Maybe so. Oh hell, I’m about the sappiest, most pigheaded, and mega-sentimental old fool out there! It’s okay, though, because it drives my passion and sometimes drives that passion a touch too far. 

However, I’m also one who can recognize and see the potential in the people and the places we have in our community. I know the value of responsible leadership, the value of responsible tax dollar expenditures, and the responsibilities inherent in elected, paid, or volunteer public service. 

The ultimate trust must be earned by consistent action, not lip service. Lose the public trust and lose the ability to lead.

Good luck to USD 379 and to the Tiger Legacy supporters as we move forward on the new stadium project. Brick by brick. 

I’ll leave with one nugget of sports field wisdom I’ve learned over the years through time, trial, and toil:

Sports fields are easy to build. Sports fields are hard to maintain.

It’s up to us, the Clay County community, to be better stewards and demand better stewardship of our new and shiny things as well as our older and time-worn things. We cannot afford to sit back as we watch our community’s gifts deteriorate by design, lack of will, or lack of resources by our leadership.

Tiger Family always!

2 Comments

Filed under Coaching, Rants, Reads, Uncategorized, Writes

Red Beans, Rice, and Teenage Stupidity

Parents of teenagers, it’s midsummer and there’s a decent chance your teenage children might be on the edge of driving you mad. Teenagers have a knack for that. However, I’m here to tell you it’s perfectly normal not only for you to feel like blowing your lid but for teenagers to act with head-scratching stupidity. This is particularly true in the summertime. School’s out, no need to use all the brain at any given time, right? 

This will pass. Teenagers and the inherent behavior that defies all logic passes. Trust me. Despite being considered an average, well-adjusted adult of almost 58 years by most of society’s standards, I was once deeply entrenched in the world of teenage stupidity.

I was reminded of this tonight when I opened the pantry door. Staring at me from eye level was a can of red beans next to a box of rice. It immediately took me back to the winter of 1979 when I was a sophomore in high school. I went out one Saturday night with two senior linemen from the football team, Bruce and Ivan. These two guys, along with the other offensive linemen from that previous fall, were my idols. Man, those guys could block like SOBs. I tried to emulate what they did and how they went about their business. They were big, athletic, smart, and ornery as hell. My kind of people.

On this particular Saturday night, there was nothing to do. It was one of those dark and cold Kansas winter nights where there’s not a whole hell of a lot going on. We drove around and hit all the hangout spots which, just a few months ago, would have been packed with high school kids celebrating beautiful autumn nights. Each hangout was abandoned to the frigid elements. Bruce said, “You know what we should do?” I looked at him skeptically. Ivan shook his head expecting something which may or may not end up getting us in trouble. “We should make red beans and rice.”

Ivan looked at him sideways and said with his Polish accent, “You mean like the New Orleans red beans and rice? Cajun food?”

“That’s the one.”

I had no clue what they were talking about. I’m from a large Irish/Croatian Catholic family and my dad was a meat and potatoes guy by nature. Italian food and tacos were about as exotic as the Hays family went.  Red beans and rice could have been from Mars and I wouldn’t have known any better. Being the youngest member of the trio, though, I was allowed to ask stupid questions. “Bruce, do you know how to make these red beans and rice?”

“Of course I do. How hard can it be? Red beans and rice. The recipe is right there in the name.”

I shrugged. Ivan shrugged. Sounded logical enough.

Bruce pulled into the nearest grocery store, hopped out of the car, and jogged through the frigid air to the front door. In a few minutes, the automatic door opened, and out he came carrying one brown paper grocery sack with a huge smile on his face. He tossed the sack onto my lap in the back seat. I looked inside. One box of rice and two cans of red beans. Bruce put the car in reverse. “I hope you boys are hungry.”

Now, when you’re hanging out with Bubbas, hunger level never needs to be asked or addressed. With Bubbas, hunger is assumed. With visions of a Cajun delicacy dancing through my head, we drove to Ivan’s house for culinary magic. A boring Saturday night just took a 180° turn for the better.

Bruce carefully measured the water to boil and Ivan took care of prepping the proper amounts of rice from the box. I was in charge of the red beans. Two cans. No problem. My can opener skills were well-honed from years of kitchen duty and the red beans were soon ready. The rice cooked on the stove as we talked with lame, southern Louisianan accents while watching puffs of steam occasionally rise from under the pot lid. 

Images of Mardi Gras, one of the few things I knew about New Orleans or Cajun life, danced in my head. A subzero winter night in Kansas City morphed into a parade down Bourbon Street. Now all we needed to complete the vibe was just about ready. Red beans and rice.

Bruce’s watch timer dinged and he dumped the red beans into the rice pot. He stirred and covered the pot again. “Ivan, get out the plates while these beans warm up.” 

With everything ready, healthy portions were dished out. Bruce took a bite. Ivan took a bite. I took a bite. There were no colorful dancers, no jazz bands, no beads being tossed. Instead of a Cajun flavor explosion, our red beans and rice tasted like a chunk of Bourbon Street pavement. Ugh. Not good. 

Our red beans and rice tasted exactly like red beans and white rice. Duh. Who knew a spicy, Cajun dish would actually need…spices? Idiots. 

I still enjoy a good laugh forty-plus years later thinking about this act of teenage stupidity. In the ensuing years, I’ve discovered how awesome authentic red beans and rice are, especially the red beans and rice they used to serve at the Hibachi Hut in Manhattan’s Aggieville. As far as making further attempts to cook red beans and rice, I’ll leave that to my wife, Zatarain’s, or professionals for now. Maybe one of these days, I’ll recover from youthful stupidity and give homemade red beans and rice a shot. With spices this time, for damn sure!

Parents with teenagers who are currently doing ridiculous things, take a deep breath. Count to ten. Smile at your teenage offspring and envision a day when they too will be productive adults. All things must pass. And remember, it’s perfectly normal to laugh hysterically on the inside as you visualize the possibility the ridiculous teenager standing in front of you attempting to explain some recent head-scratching behavior may one day have teenagers of their own. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Rants, Reads, Uncategorized, Writes

What and Why?

I went to see my mom for the first time in a long while last week. She lives in a really nice assisted living apartment two and a half hours away from where I live. She’s in her upper 80s and doesn’t move around very well. As is probably a common theme across similar situations over the past two years, the pandemic times have taken a toll on her wellness. 

We had a good visit. I talk with her at least weekly on the phone and we tell stories about our household adventures when we six Hays kids were growing up. We laugh a lot about the old days. Although talking on the phone is a very good thing, it’s still nice to be able to see her in person.

Of course, during the visit last week, we laughed and told the stories as usual. She told me she was trying to learn to paint after they had a painting class a few weeks earlier. We watched the TV (an X-Files movie!) and she had her usual, highly entertaining running commentary, which let me tell you is even a whole higher level of entertaining during a science fiction story. Classic stuff. I wish you could have been there.

During our phone or face-to-face visits, we inevitably end up heading toward a tough conversation. Mom will turn a little sullen and say. “Michael, every morning I wake up and ask God why he keeps me here and what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Tough questions. They’re tough questions I’m never really prepared to answer and it leaves a hole in my gut. I often reply, “I don’t know.”

We had that conversation last week. I once again answered that I didn’t know. After a few minutes of contemplation, we were back to the movie and making fun of aliens buried under Antarctica. The movie ended, we said our goodbyes, and I headed home.

During the drive home, I couldn’t shake that conversation. I couldn’t shake the emptiness at not being able to provide an answer that could give my mother some peace of mind.

God, what am I supposed to be doing?

Today the answer hit me. It hit me in church during the funeral of one of the most selfless, kind, and giving individuals in our small town. His life was all about finding the things that needed to be done and then doing them humbly. He led a purpose-driven life at its very best.

The answer was right there all along in with my mom’s hard questions.

God keeps us here in order to find the things we’re supposed to be doing.

We are given the gift of a day. It’s up to us to find the best way to spend it. It’s up to us to find ways to be the best stewards of our world and our communities that we can be.

God keeps us here in order to find the things we’re supposed to be doing.

Thank you Mom for the question.

Thank you Dennis for a life well-lived. 

Thank you, God, for the gift of today.

Leave a comment

Filed under Rants, Reads, Uncategorized, Writes

The Favorite Place to Play

Coaches should always have a favorite place to play. This favorite place should trickle down to their entire team and organization. Everyone from the assistants to the players to the support staff should share a passion for this place.
What is the place?
Simple. It’s wherever the next game on the schedule is.
Because that’s what it’s all about. Getting your team ready to play the next game wherever it is.
Any other concerns, worries, or complaints steer the ship off course. There’s already a lot of other stuff to deal with in getting ready to play a game, especially at the high school or youth sports level, to detract from the goal of reaching that favorite place. A coach’s actions and demeanor matter. Negative thoughts spread to teenage athletes before anything can be done to prevent it and affect performance.
There’s a certain special feeling going to a game and seeing the field or the lights or the arena waiting ahead. A favorite kind of place lies ahead.
Anticipation. A touch of nerves. The heart quickens. It’s a special feeling.
So what’s a coach to do?
Put their head down and go to work whether you’re playing on the most pristine of fields or on something barely suitable as a landfill site.
Get ready for the next game, wherever and whenever it is.
Make the places and spaces we inhabit better. Leave a mark. All day, every day.
Isn’t that what life’s all about?
Above all else, enjoy the ride!

Leave a comment

Filed under Coaching, Reads, Uncategorized