Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday 7s: Oct 25

1) One nine weeks down. Proud of a lot of things that are happening. Need to do some things better. Teach smarter, not harder. Blessed to be part of a great school. Here's our social studies department showing our support for cancer awareness. Haake didn't get the memo :)

2) I wonder if in a decade whether we'll look at the Bengazi hearings the way we view the McCarthy hearings of the 1941? Will Trey Gowdy be the modern McCarthy? If the goal is find Hillary of criminal charges, it seems that they are far from it. If their goal is to hurt her presidential campaign and smear her, they've seemingly failed there too.

3) World Series Prediction- Royals in 6. I've been way off on all my baseball stuff, so don't quote me on that.

4) a) Congratulations to my friends Emily and Aaron of Alaska and the birth of their new baby boy.

    b) Godspeed to my brother who left on Tuesday for a six month deployment to the Middle East.

5) Friday was a teacher workday for us. I went in at 5:30 and worked so I could leave early and take advantage of a beautiful fall afternoon and hit some trails before wrestling started. Hit some great Pisgah singletrack: Cove Creek, Daniel Ridge, Butter Gap. They had done some work at the top of Cove Creek and it's a great little change. Now you can ride a lot of it instead of dismounting for the creek crossings. Butter was so fun and we had a blast on Cat Gap trail. But my favorite part was stopping for a break and watching the leaves fall around us. It was tranquil and magical. Pisgah is a special place.

6) I've long said that Georgia Tech-Clemson in 2004 was the most improbable win I've ever witnessed live. Teams scored 5 touchdowns in the last 8 minutes. GT had 3 in the last four and half minutes. But all Clemson had to do, up by 3 points, was get a punt off with 23 seconds left and Tech having no time outs. But they didn't and the legend of Calvin Johnson was born:


Saturday was one of the most surreal sports moments of my fandom and may have topped 2004. Georgia Tech beat FSU on a miracle play. This GT team has gotten no breaks or balls bounce their way this season. But it finally happened last night. The place went crazy. When FSU lined up to kick, I figured we would lose then or lose in overtime. But crazy things happen in sports and this was one of the best. They're calling it the "Miracle on Techwood Drive":

It reminded me of the last time Georgia Tech hosted Florida State in 2008, a game I was also at. Down by 3, the Noles had the ball on the Tech 3 and looked sure to score. But Cooper Taylor was having none of it, stuck a helmet on the ball and caused a fumble. I remember screaming at the defense to fall on the ball because it looked like they were trying to pick it up. Thus the "Miracle on North Ave" was born:

And just because it's Florida State week and it's a great play from one of my all time favorite players, here's Josh Nesbitt fumbling the ball and stealing it back from the defense.

And since yesterday was a top 10 team coming to the Flats and a night game, it was a fantastic day of tailgating, including some friendly FSU fans joining us. I even got a nap in.

7) Apparently, there were other games played yesterday besides the GT one:
  • Polls are starting to shape out better now that we've seen a body of work from teams, so I won't post an under rated or overrated opinion this week. I will say I feel vindicated. I've long said FSU is not a top ten team. Even if they won yesterday, I would have stood by that statement. 
  • Top Seven: 1) Clemson 2) Ohio State 3) Baylor 4) TCU 5) LSU 6) Michigan State 7) Notre Dame

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday 7s: Oct 18

1) Just left a congregational meeting at the church. Our pastor is resigning. Everyone is heartbroken. Some are angry. Dave Desforge has taught me so much about the Gospel. He's one of the reasons I love Grace and keep coming back. It will be strange not have him giving the sermon, but I am reminded that Jesus is bigger than one man. Or one church.

2) Jesus + nothing.

3) This experience has made me contemplative. I understand the inability to manage people and the constant risk of burnout. I wonder if or how long my heart can continue to pursue this passion (teaching) with the energy, commitment and love that I need to for my students and co-workers. It's tough to admit that you might be in over your head. I often feel that way.

4) Today's sermon was by my good friend Brian Land. He spoke on Hebrews 12:1-3, which is one of my favorite passages.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
  • Jesus runs with us. It's an endurance race and we're not alone.
  • I love that not only does he "author" our faith, he also is the "perfecter:
  • I made it into the sermon today. Me, Reese Witherspoon, Liam Neeson & Robert De Niro, King Leonidas and Neo (the Matrix) all make their way into the sermon. Obviously, I was the star...
  • Brian used my bike journeys to illustrate the endurance aspect of the race that must be endured. Also, he said that if he were to ride the Great Divide, he has a reference that he can trust-- a wealth of knowledge. Jesus provides that for all our races.
  • Talked to two friends who recently moved. They both commented on how much stuff they have and they are trying to lighten the load. Ironically, that's one of the messages in the sermon: we carry heavy burdens that make our race harder. Reese Witherspoon in "Wild" had too much stuff and she couldn't hike the Pacific Coast Trail. Robert De Niro's character in "The Mission"-- he literally carried his burdens and was trapped by them until they were cast into the river. Both my friends are at a point where they are realizing that the stuff the accumulate to make their lives more comfortable only burden them and weigh them down. But getting rid of stuff and lightening the load is difficult. In one friend's words, "It takes radical heart change."
5) Went to Columbia yesterday. We had a party for my older brother, Chhay, who is being deployed to the Middle East for 6 months with the Air National Guard. His brother in law, La, who is the only person I know with a hibachi grill on his porch, cooked up dinner. We played with the kids, ate and celebrated a great brother, dad and husband who will be missed while deployed. 

6) Rode Spencer Branch Trail today. It was the last run down Spencer as we know it. Tomorrow, they are closing it and the new re-route will be the only way down from Spencer Gap. The old trail was technical, with lots of roots, rocks and decent drops off water bars. I'm not a great technical rider, but I love to ride this trail and have no shame in walking when necessary. It will be greatly missed. I hope the new one is as fun and challenging.

7) Another crazy week in College Football. Michigan-Michigan St was nuts! Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech look bad. Ole Miss lost to Memphis. 
  • Overrated in this week's Poll: Florida St (9), Houston (21)-- I know they are undefeated, but I still haven't seen a Top 10 performance from the Noles. Houston is beneficiaries of a soft schedule (though they did beat Louisville).
  • Under rated: Oklahoma (17)-- they are better than Iowa and Florida in my opinion and that throttling of K-State was impressive. The Texas lost, while not pretty, might be an anomaly. North Carolina (NR)-- shows the lack of respect the ACC gets. And the ACC deserves no respect, even though Clemson is really good and UNC isn't bad.
  • Top 7: 1) Utah 2) Baylor 3) Ohio St 4) LSU 5) TCU 6) Clemson 7) Michigan St.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday 7s- Oct 11

1) "The ground of Liberty is to be gained by inches". Thomas Jefferson
Good reminder that change doesn't happen overnight. It's more trees growing than it is weeds sprouting.

2) Went and saw "I Once Was a Beehive". One of our former students, Kaley McCormack, has a role in it as one of the campers. It's a feel good story, with some intense parts and several messages of faith and family. Overall, it's just a cute picture. I was extra excited to see Kaley on the way out of the showing and get to give her a hug and congratulate her.

3) My brother came up this weekend. We got some good family time and I got to hang out with the niece and nephew. That's always worth it. They're pretty cute.

4) Stephen Willis came up this weekend also and brought some friends. We rode in Pisgah. Weather had been great all week until Saturday. All day rain. We rode anyway. About 21 total miles. Lots of fun and good people. Some trail notes:

  • Daniel Ridge is so fun. The hike a bike going clockwise is tedious at times, but I always forget how fun the downhill is: lots of twists and turns, nothing too technical, some creek crossings and then you finish at a cool waterfall.
  • Looked for Cove Creek Connector. Went up one trail and it was all wrong. Found it on the second attempt. I had heard of this trail but never seen it before.
  • Butter Gap was a river at the top. But that's such a great descent. You definitely appreciate full suspension. I was really surprised at how well the trails handled the rain. There's a terrific waterfall on Butter about 2/3 of the way down. 
  • Longside is a tough little trail climbing away from the intersection with Butter Gap. But we cleaned most of it. Rode down a forest road back to the main road. 
  • Davidson River Trail will always be one of my favorites. You can go fast, it doesn't have many obstacles and it's where I put in a lot of miles when I first learned to mountain bike. I also have a scar from a crash on that trail.
5) May not seem like a big deal, but North Henderson was one of 139 schools in North Carolina to go ejection free for the school year 2014-2015.

6) Hero of the Week: Doug Draper. Draper is heading to Australia tomorrow to compete in the world Duathlon Championships. We wish him the best as he represents all of us. And Doug is a serviceman, friend, teacher, riding buddy. Great guy to have around.

7) Did anyone think that Florida would be undefeated, Michigan looking like the real deal, Auburn and Georgia unranked and Oregon with two losses at this point in the season?
  • Tennessee fans deserved and needed that win. Congrats.
  • Is there a more disappointing division than the ACC Coastal? No offense to Duke or UNC, but Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Miami all look miserable and that makes the division miserable.
  • Overrated this week: TCU (3). I have been on the Horned Frogs bandwagon all season, but their defense seems suspect and there have been too many close calls. They are top 7 for sure, but right now I'd have them out of the playoffs. 
  • Underrated: Temple (NR). I just like the Owls and their 5-0 record. 
  • Top 7: 1) Utah 2) Baylor 3) Ohio St 4) Clemson 5) TCU 6) Michigan St 7) LSU

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sunday 7s- Oct 4

1) Hurricane Joaquin did not make landfall but push a lot of rain into the Carolinas. Western North Caroling was spared the most devastating rain, but we still got enough to cause localized flooding. South Carolina, however, was not spared. The footage from Columbia, Charleston and other coastal communities are mind boggling. Streets and buildings underwater and roads, bridges and other buildings washed away. It's going to be a mess down there for a while.

2) Went to Atlanta for the Georgia Tech-North Carolina football game. I've experienced over 10 days of almost constant rain. Got one small dry window on Wednesday and I snuck a quick ride to Jump Off Rock. It was raining in the valley below when I got to the top. Hustled back to my house just in time to beat the rain.

Our grounds are pretty saturated. Rain put a damper in the plans of our golf weekend last week and, while it didn't pour on us in Atlanta, we did get constant rain during the tailgate and the game. And the Jackets laid an egg after getting ahead 21-0. But that was nothing compared to the rain that was happening during Clemson-Notre Dame in Death Valley. Ryan flew in from Colorado to cheer for the Tigers with his buddy Nick (a ND fan). They hung out with us in Duluth on Friday before heading to Clemson on Saturday. That game looked both miserable and fantastic-ly fun to be at. Brought back memories of the monsoon game that was Georgia Tech-Clemson in 2002. That might of been the wettest I've ever been.

3) North Henderson's home football game on Friday, September 25 was postponed because of the field conditions. It was played on Monday, Sept 28, unfortuately, in the rain (which we lost in a defensive struggle). Last week was our homecoming week. We postponed homecoming festivities for Friday's game until later in October, but the game against East Henderson that was scheduled to be played on Friday is being played tomorrow.

May seem like no big deal to reschedule but a lot of people do not realize that football pays the bills. I often have to correct my students who sometimes say that we should spend less money on athletics and more on arts or other programs. While I don't necessarily disagree, in Henderson County, athletics gets no money from the county outside of activity bus, some facilities maintenance and coaching supplements. Each high school supports it's athletic programs through gate revenues and fundraising. Basically, football and basketball keep many of the other programs afloat. Those reschedules will cut into the the gate and concession revenue that we would have made on a good Friday night.

So, that being said, you can help us by supporting our Drawdown. For $100 you get two steak dinners catered by Outback and a 1/300 chance to win $5000. Best of all, almost all the money goes back to our athletes. There's no middle man or anything like that such as when you sell other items. We also need donations for door prizes and auction items. If you can help or want a ticket, see me.

4) Another week, another mass shooting. Common routine in that we mourn the victims, we blame the shooter and the various sides present their beliefs and arguments on guns. Same thing happens every time.

  • I've refrained from commenting or liking pictures, links and memes that pertain to the shooting or the issues of guns on social media. I've also avoiding posting my any of my own. At this point, many people are entrenched in their beliefs and I'm probably not going to change their mind. In truth, I probably just need to take a social media fast from everything. I did enjoy being disconnected while I was one the Great Divide.
  • I don't have answers. I wish I did. Gun advocates make some valid points but where I get lost is the instant, knee jerk reaction that any effort to have a conversation about guns means an effort to take guns away. It kills dialogue, which is what we really need. 
  • Personal accountability is a part of the equation. I'm sure there are mental health issues (though when you say that you stigmatize all people who have mental health issues who might not be dangerous but are definitely hurting in ways we cannot understand or we don't care to empathize with). Poverty is an issue, as is bullying. Let's enforce gun laws and increase the penalties for using a gun in crimes. We can even bring up violence in video games and movies. I think we should talk about all those things. But to talk about any of these issues and totally ignore guns is putting our head in the sand.
  • I posted last week that I am not against guns, I'm against our obsession with guns. We glamorize them. We have more places to purchase firearms than we have public schools in America. Only 1/3 of Americans legally own guns, but that 1/3 owns enough to give the United States the highest per capita ownership in the world (88.8 guns per 100 people).
  • Americans should be allowed to own guns. That's fundamental. We lead the industrialized world in firearm homicides, 30 people will die in the USA today from gun homicide and nearly 60 more will because of firearm suicide. That's factual. I don't know what what to do, but I do know that a Newtown, Umpqua, Aurora will happen again in the near future and we'll feel sad and angry and then nothing will change.
5) Baseball season ended today. I hate how long the season. Cut 20-25 games and get the World Series done by mid October. 
  • Dodgers will host Mets. I don't think they can win because they don't like to get hits to support two of the best pitchers in baseball. 
  • I pull for the Dodgers but I would have no problem if Jake Arrieta won the Cy Young over Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw.
  • Incredible stat I read: last 15 years, 585 pitchers have thrown over 200 innings. Lowest on base percentage in that time: 1) Zack Greinke, 2015 2) Clayton Kershaw, 2015 3) Jake Arrieta, 2015
  • World Series prediction from a non-baseball watcher: Blue Jays over Pirates in 6.
Amanda just finished the Great Divide. She was a Blackburn Ranger, sponsored by Blackburn through an application process. You have to use their stuff and they give you a Niner bike. I meant to apply but never got my ducks in a row. Don't think I would have beat her though, she has her act together more than I ever did. Good reads (from what I've read) and nice to relive the journey.

Speaking of which, I spent some time today since it was raining reassembling Hulkbike. She basically has sat in the basement since I've been back. Cleaned her a little and looking forward to taking her out soon.

7) College Football is a mess and it is so much fun. Who's number one? There's no clear answer, every team can be picked apart and some of the favorites have struggled mightily in wins.

  • Overrated in this week's AP Poll: Florida (11). Great win over Ole Miss, but too big a jump. Maybe mid teens. Ole Miss got too much credit for that win at Alabama. Were they really that good or did everything just bounce their way?
  • Underrated: Boise St (25)- I like the Broncos. That loss to BYU was a tough one, but they're better than some of the teams ahead of them. BYU (NR)- sure, they have two losses, but both to ranked teams. UCLA is still a top 20 teams and it's looking like Michigan is getting better every week.
  • Top 7: 1) Baylor 2) Utah 3) Michigan St 4) TCU 5) Ohio St 6) Clemson 7) Oklahoma