Thursday, May 29, 2008

North Henderson Senior Athletic Awards

Tonight I got to present two special awards during our annual recognition of Senior Athletes. These were special presentations because these two kids are so extremely special to me. It's crazy to think that just a few years ago, they were freshmen in my World History class and on my wrestling and track teams. Now they are adults, ready to head off to Campbell (Luke) and Western Carolina (Fe).

Luke received the Knight Courage Award. Two years ago, Luke had surgery to fuse vertebrae in his lower back. Contact sports were out. Unfortunately, Luke loved wrestling. He made it his goal to return. Defying doctor's expectations, parental concern and coach's better judgement; Luke returned to wrestling his senior year. Despite a lot of pain, Luke was an amazing leader and earned All-Conference honors. He got the Courage Award because he faced adversity and overcame it. He did things that no one thought he should do and did them courageously in the face of difficulty.

Fe was the Most Valuable Senior Athlete for females. 2 State Championships, 5 school records, great student, wonderful person to coach and I could go on and on. For more on Fe, there is another post on her further down. She's just phenomenal!

These two are truly like my own children. I will miss their presence and leadership; but I have been proud to be a part of their maturing and growth over the past four years.

Monday, May 26, 2008

New Day [Morning Light]

I was waiting for my carpool buddy to swing by my house and stepped outside and saw the morning light filtering through the trees behind Hillpark Dr. I snapped this quickly with my new Canon 40D.

I love this photo. It's a new day. The light has chased out the darkness. What will I make of today's gift? Look closely, the picture initially looks black and white. But you can make out the colors of the light if you enlarge.

Carpe Diem, friends!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Addition by Subtraction

To add means: to unite or join so as to increase the number, quantity, size, or importance

To subtract means: to withdraw or take away, as a part from a whole.

Everyone once in a while, you get those situations where withdrawing from a whole causes an increase in the number, size, or importance. I am no math teacher (my students know I can't even count years in history), but I can think of several examples of "addition by subtraction".

For example, everyone once in a while on one of the teams I am coaching, a certain student-athlete will chose not to participate. Usually, this is someone that could help the team. But often times, that same athlete will possess less than desirable leadership skills, crappy attitude, poor work ethic or some other negative trait that could potentially become cancerous and spread to the rest of the team. So by that athlete not coming out, we end up having better quality in the long run without their negative selves and poopiness coming through and infecting us.

With that being said, below are my random list of examples of where we would be better off by taking away. More will probably come later:

1) US States-

Seriously, what good is Florida?

They messed up the 2000 election where we learned everything about "chad" except it's capital (N'Djamena, pop 721,000).

They screwed up this year's Democratic primary (can you really do that... yes, if you are FL!).

Tricked us into a war with Spain (1898 Spanish-American War) for Cuba which never really got us Cuba but did get us a great friend and colleague to the south (Fidel was so jk about those missiles, he loves the Yankees too much to blow up New York). btw, does it surprise you that Castro pulls for a team owned by a Steinbrenner?

Gave us bad taste in clothes: thank you Crockett and Tubbs
I was once in Jasper, Alberta in CANADA and was driving my Chrysler rental and came upon a slow moving car that was not pulling an RV or anything large. Nor did it have a moose or giraffe in its front grill. As I approached the vehicle driving WAY below the speed limit, I noticed it had Florida plates. In freaking CANADA. Have you ever been to Florida? They can't even drive right there. They are all going 40 over the speed limit (drug runners, college football players and people from NC late to catch cruises) or 40 under (the rest of the population).

Florida's redeeming value is in its football. But FSU and Miami only make me angry at how great athletes can be so poorly coached (plus, have you ever sat with Miami fans at a college football game? I have!) Then I have to hear about how great U of FL is because they won football and basketball championships in the same year. I think I'll be fine without any of these teams anymore. I am a lifelong Dolphins fan, but I can learn to love the Panthers more!

Runner-up: Delaware - quick, name one fact about the "First State". You couldn't and neither could I. They were so desperate for status that they quickly ratified the Constitution, lest they be conquered by Maryland. When I think Delaware, I think George Washington crossing the Delaware River. Oh wait, he crossed from PA to NJ on the river, making the state even more irrelevant. If California is 5000, Colorado 1155, Alaska and Hawaii combined for 1312 and Florida is minus 1000 in my arbitrary state value index ( Heang's ASVI), Delaware has to be at least minus 700.

2) Footwear:

Who ever thought this was a good idea: Let's put wheels on shoes so little kids can skate everywhere unattended by their parents and much to the dismay of everyone around them.

Honestly, I wish I had thought of this first. Though I would be the scorn of an entire nation of sensible people, I would be a rich scorned person.

Runner-up: Crocs - no matter what color they are, unless you are under the age of 12, I think they are ugly.

3) World Countries:

Imprison Nobel Peace Prize winner: check!

Rule through military junta: check!

Shoot monks: check!

Deny aid to starving and sick ravaged by cyclone: check!

The true crime is that they are allowed to still be a country.

Runner-up: tie North Korea and Monaco - seriously, somebody conquer these places. China? Spain? anyone?

4) Holiday:

Labor Day- Who really celebrates Labor Day? Labor Day is the way the rich tell the rest of us that they are being nice to us with a day off. While we are off, they are watching the interest on their various diversified portfolios compound exponentially to dizzying degrees of infinity. My solution is simple: I would replace Labor Day with Super Bowl Monday.

Runner-up: Valentines Day - if you need a day to tell someone you love them or to be told you are loved, you fell victim to the greeting card conspiracy. Our most impacting businesses are not ExxonMobil, Microsoft or Apple, Coca-Cola or Walmart. The truth is, the most influential company in America is Hallmark.

5) NFL Football Team:

Chased off Barry Sanders, believes that receiver is the only position worth drafting, is mismanaged and misguided and if they were any other business would have been restructured or shut down years ago.

Runner-up: Atlanta Falcons - Name a successful quarterback from Atlanta? Don't even say Vick. Billy Joe Tolliver? Jeff George? Chris Miller? The best, Brett Farve, got away in a trade. Future not looking so bright for Matt Ryan.

6) US President:

William Henry Harrison: died a month into his term in 1841. I am sure that there were a lot of people who wished they could have had a "do over" in this election.

Runner up: Grover Cleveland- He couldn't just be our 22nd president, he had to be our 24th too!

7) Pastime

Anything fringe or "xtreme". I realize you have to start somewhere, but does it really gain my respect when you say you are one of the top ten ultraextreme [insert sport/activity here] athletes in the world? What, top ten out of eight? I just read that tree climbing is a growing sport along with mountain unicycling. Go get a frisbee, bike or ball and play. You'll make more friends.

Runner-up: Blogging - where do these pompous jerks (like this one below) get off thinking they know so much?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


One of my favorite movies of the last year came from one of my favorite books. Senn Penn made John Krakauer's "Into the Wild" into a movie and I really enjoyed it. I thought Chris McCandless was well portrayed as a bright and engaging young man but I also thought the movie did a great job of not glorifying him into a heroic figure. It's as if Alexander Supertramp stepped right out of a Greek tragedy: in many ways mighty and brilliant, but ultimately flawed.

Eddie Vedder does the entire soundtrack and I highly recommend it. My favorite song on the soundtrack is "Society", track #8. I can't get enough of it.

The irony is great. Here is Chris McCandless, saying goodbye to society and hoping it's not too lonely with him gone. In the movie it's McCandless, the Supertramp, who is "scared" and "lonely". That's the most haunting scene to me, because I see a lot of myself in McCandless: the wanderlust, fascination with nature, rejection of the "rat-race", infatuation with Alaska, love of Jack London and Russian authors. While all of that is great, it means nothing if we do not have others to share it with.

We are made for relationships; I truly believe that. From small interactions with the cashier at Target to friendships, family and love, we are not supposed to be alone. We can only enrich our lives so much on our own, but it's the relationships we have with others around us that ultimately bring us fullness.

Here's a clip if you have not heard the song, the lyrics are below. Get the entire album, it's worth the 15 bucks.

Oh it's a mystery to me.
We have a greed, with which we have agreed
And you think you have to want more than you need
Until you have it all, you won't be free

Society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely, without me

When you want more than you have you think you need
And when you think more then you want your thoughts begin to bleed
I think I need to find a bigger place
cause when you have more than you think, you need more space

Society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely, without me
Society, crazy indeed
I hope you're not lonely, without me

There's those thinkin' more or less, less is more
But if less is more, how you keepin' score?
It means for every point you make, your level drops
Kinda like you're startin' from the top
and you can't do that

Society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely, without me

Society, crazy indeed
I hope you're not lonely, without me

Society, have mercy on me
I hope you're not angry, if I disagree

Society, crazy indeed
I hope you're not lonely...without me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fe- State Champion!

Felisha Garren is the 2008 2A State Champion in the 400m Dash from North Henderson. What a well deserved honor for a great, hard working student-athlete. She finished 2nd in the state the last two years, so nice to see the persistence pay off. Her time of 56.75 is a new school record (she broke her old one).

Fe leaves North Henderson with the following accolades:
State Champion 400
State Champion 4x400
State Runner-up 400 (2x)
State Runner-up 200
4th in state 4x200
2x Conference Runner of the Year
School records: 100m (12.54); 200m (25.48); 400m (56.75), 4x200 (1:46.06); 4x400 (4:09.32).

Congratulations on a great season and an outstanding career! Best to you in whatever you decide to do...