Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Regionals

The Regional Wrestling tournament is one of the most exciting and heartbreaking events for me each year. The top 4 individuals in each weight class advance to the state tournament the next week. For the rest of the wrestlers, their season is over. For some, it's the end of their careers.

This year, we had 3 wrestlers advance to the State Tournament. I'm very excited for them, especially since they all have legitimate shots at placing in Greensboro. But I am deeply saddened for my non-qualifiers. I had 4 seniors fall short. Two of them were eliminated in the last round, the consolation semifinals. Win in that round and you're in the top 4.

You know, I like to win. I like to win a lot. But this job is special because of the relationships I build with these guys. Putting my arm around these guys to console them is the hardest thing I do in coaching.

Sure, it's just a match but you haven't met Ley Kicklighter. Ley was the worse athlete we had four years ago. Soft, uncoordinated, and not strong. But he connected with wrestling and each year got a little better. This year, he was solid. Not great, but solid. A kid who I wasn't sure could fight out of a wet paper bag when he was a freshman was about 2 seconds away from qualifying for state. Oh if only he could have held that cradle...

Or Robert Sprude. He left us for a year to attend the NC School for Science and Math. Then he got kicked out for academics. We have a phrase, "Sprude Rule", that means if a coach says it you must stop talking because Robert talks so much. Robert is cerebral and awkward as a wrestler. But he finds ways to win. He will never intimate you with his looks. He is actually the goofiest looking kid, not athletic but rather dorky. He was two points away from qualifying.

These guys are the reasons I coach and the reason, over 24 hours later, my heart is still broken. Brant Harris and Duncan Wilkie were two wins from making it. Their four years were not in vain because I believe wrestling teaches great lessons for young men. They've matured, been challenged and overcome obstacles. They've been a family. They'll be fine. I know it. But it still doesn't make it any easier for their coach to see them leave.

Minor Annoyance

This past week I stopped to fill up my car. It was a place in Shelby, NC. I put my debit card in like I almost always do and proceeded to fill the tank. Except I didn't...

The pump cut me off at $35.00. Apparently, that was the limit. I was annoyed. Whenever I stop for gas, I always fill the tank up. Here, I was about two gallons short.

I understand the need for prepay and even the need for a limit in case someone's account is short. But seriously, $35.00? When gas was $3.04 per gallon? I own a midsize sedan, but I'm not sure $35.00 would fill up a small car like a Honda Fit or Nissan Versa.

This was a photo I took on Feb 18, 2008. I guess gas prices aren't that much more three years later. Nevertheless, I'm glad I've got alternatives to the car if I need to get around.
49/366 - 18 Feb [sticker shock]

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I am utterly fascinated by the events in Egypt. It took 18 days and no military offensive to get Hosni Mubarak to step down. Egypt is at a milestone in its great and glorious history dating back as one of the world's first civilizations.

How will we remember Egypt? Will it be the new Berlin... when, in 1989, a fall of a wall led to a democratic revolution and reunification of a country? Or will we remember it more like China in 1989, where a group of students, if only for a brief moment, captivated the world? In one place, we see sweeping change and progressive improvement. In the other, we were left with continued oppression of the population.

Today, the military announced that parliament is dissolved and their constitution suspended. Egypt is at a crossroads. Beyond pharaohs, pyramids and the Nile, how else may modern society remember Egypt?

Egypt, it's your choice. Don't screw it up.

These photos were taken from flickr. I did not take these photos nor did Iask permission of the artists. Sorry. Click to see who deserves the credit.

Egypt Revolution , Power to the People .. for change
Revolution -268
27 January: Protesters spread images from the protests
Wrapped in sorrow
30 January: A man in a wheelchair talks to a soldier
25 January: The Tunisian and Egyptian flag held aloft
EGYPT-PROTEST/25january -يناير25- يوم الغضب المصري-
The messages on Tahrir Square