Monday, December 28, 2015

Sunday 7s: Dec 27

1) Last Sevens of the year. New year starts on Friday. I'm not much of  a New Year's guy. This year, we leave early on Friday morning for a tournament in Charlotte, so New Year's will be low key-- much like it is every year for me.

2) Christmas was grande around here. It involved some driving, but saw lots of the family and especially excited to see the kiddos.

  • Weird weather: I've been wearing shorts the last few days. And just a tee shirt. Highs in the 70s the last few days.
  • We've also had lots of rain. Got a break today and yesterday, but last week was basically a lot of rain.
  • Brother, Ang, made it in from Oregon on a last minute decision. We weren't expecting to have him around, so it was good for him to be able to make it home for us. I know he was happy to be around the family also.
  • We rocked Scrabble and laughs late into the night. It was fun. I lost because I had nothing but vowels. 
3) I ran in the 2nd Reindeer Run, hosted by North alum Ryan Jones to benefit the Jones Family Scholarship. Last year, it rained. This year, it rained. But it was a good time. I ran 26:28. I had three wrestlers also run, but they all beat me. Great turnout by North Henderson faculty and alumni.

4) I still have yet to figure out what exactly Boxing Day is. Happy Kwanza and Festivus to everyone else though.

5) We got a group ride in on Tuesday. Thought we were going to get rained out, but the rain held off long enough for nine of us to hit the trails. The route we rode was Spencer Gap, Fletcher Creek, back to Spencer Branch and the bottom of Fletcher Creek again. Brian fell, being his first ride clipless, and dislocated his shoulder. He had to walk out. Shawn dressed up as Santa. That's no lie; photos below to prove it.

6) I miss being around my wrestling team. I am thankful for a time of mental rest and recovery. We are back at it on Tuesday. Congratulations to Brandon Johnson for being the WNCAC Defensive Player of the Year and, announced this week: Times News Defensive Player of the Year and Citizen Times All WNC Team. Jacob Garrett made the Times News team and was honorable mention for All WNC.

7) NFL is close to ending it's regular season. 
  • Dolphins will once again be home for the playoffs and played inspired today.
  • Why would you not give the ball to Tom Brady in OT, Bill?
  • Panthers lost, which I argue is good. Too much pressure being undefeated and they are still in control of their destiny for homefield advantage.
  • I think Arizona is really, really dangerous. Don't overlook them.
  • I hope the story on Manning and PEDs is not true.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sunday 7s: Dec 20

1) Got sick yesterday and went to bed early. Stomach bug. So I didn't blog. This week's Sunday 7s is posted on Monday.

2) I subscribe to both Time and Sports Illustrated. I enjoy the Person of the Year and Sportsman of the Year Issues. History was made last week when, on the cover of both magazines, was a woman. Angela Merkel and Serena Williams made it a sweep for the ladies. Merkel is only 4th woman to be named Person of the Year by Time and the first woman in 29 years.

3) I love David Wilcox. It appears there is a documentary based on his music coming out. Appropriately, it's titled Eye of the Hurricane, after one of his trademark songs. Here's more information:

4) I was never going to vote for him, but I'm a bit saddened by Lindsay Graham's departure from the presidential race. Graham is out and Rick Santorum is still in? Amazing.

5) There was a GOP debate and a Democratic debate this past week. I watched neither. I had a match on Tuesday and I was just too tired on Saturday. I'll be more interested in the debates after the primaries are over.

6) 5 days until Christmas. Everything is here, just needs to be wrapped. I am really thankful for Amazon Prime. Looking forward to seeing the family. Thankful for a break. I am pretty tired and could use some mental rest.

7) Good week for Knights Wrestling. We went 6-1 this past week and our record is now 16-4 and 2-0 in the conference. Highlights:

  • Tuesday we went to Boiling Springs. We were missing some starters due to sickness and a band and chorus concert. A little undermanned, we still beat Dutch Fork and Clover and fell to Boiling Springs. The Boilings Springs match would have been interesting if we had everyone. There was also a punch thrown, but not by my wrestler. Pretty intense.
  • Wednesday we hosted Brevard, Hendersonville and Franklin and won all three pretty easily. Brevard and Franklin were conference matches. We're in a good spot right now, being 2-0 in the conference. Our next match is a big one: Pisgah!
  • Today (Monday) we hosted my good friend Todd Odom and his Robbinsville Black Knights. We were able to take that match 48-23 behind some strong efforts by my core. It was a good win for us, I have so much respect for what they do over there in Graham county.
  • Practice tomorrow morning and then we are off until next Tuesday. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday 7s: Dec 13

1) "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation" - Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I must have not been paying good attention in high school when we read Walden. I assigned an excerpt for my American History students and got to re-read some of it. Awesome. Unbelievable that it was written in 1815. Change a few words and it could be relevant today. Technology and conveniences have not necessarily made our lives easier or better. We become trapped by them. Thoreau escaped to Walden pond. I escaped to the Great Divide. Need a break from the distractions, but it's the things that are supposed to make us better that are the distractions.

2) Our local sports writer, Dean Hensley, writes an interesting op-ed on High School sports:

I was talking with one of our basketball coaches this week. We had a quad match that didn't get done until after 10:00. It was a late night for us, but not normal. A typical basketball game always gets done that late. 2 JV games and then 2 varsity games makes for a late night for the athletes and the coaches. All our coaches are teachers too, so sometimes their students suffer from a tired, overworked, underslept teacher.

Dean's proposal to play JV games in aux gyms might help in many places, but not North Henderson. The geniuses that designed our school made a second gym with no bleachers and little extra room. Playing a game with fans lining the wall would not be safe or enjoyable.

But I totally agree, basketball takes too long. We've gone an hour away, wrestled and been back before the end of boys games before. I feel for the coaches and the student-athletes.

3) Car update: new starter installed. $153 for the part. Thanks to Danny Williams for helping and to John Williams (no relation) for letting me use his truck for two weeks.

4) The US Forest Service is inventorying land in Western North Carolina for redesignation. It can range from become National Recreation Areas to Wilderness Areas. There's a lot to sort out because it is a government agency, but lots of outdoor, conservation and various interest groups are lobbying and commenting. Those groups range from conservation groups to organizations like the Sierra Club, Backcountry Horsemen of WNC and International Mountain Biking Association.

The thing that concerns some in the biking community is the potential to expand Wilderness Areas. Wilderness Areas like Shining Rock are closed to mountain bikes and are maintained differently from other areas of National Forests. The problem is that some of the best areas for riding are in the inventory, including North Mills River (Spencer Branch, Fletcher Creek, Middle Prong Trails), South Mills River, which has several great biking and camping areas (campfires prohibited in Wilderness Areas also), Laurel Mountain and Daniel Ridge. That's basically over 60% of the potential biking trails in Pisgah.

The latest proposals seem to have left the Wilderness designation off all of the above. Let's see how this all plays out. Here are some links:
Citizen-Times article
Singletracks blog
US Forest Service

5) Speaking of rides, took advantage of highs in the 60s to get out and enjoy Pisgah. Did the Cove Creek loop and added part of Daniel Ridge. Great ride, great weather and great friends. Brian Land got to ride with us. Noah took his new bike out on it's first ride. Shawn, Mr Reliable, was a part of the crew. It was a good time: 13 miles, 1,600 feet of elevation gained. Oskar Blues post-ride for Old Chub and Chub Burger.

6) Wrestling team had a full week of competition this week. Our issue is that sickness has been hitting us hard. We had a few kids out on Tuesday and then a few more out yesterday. One actually left during the tournament, he felt so bad. But here's what we did:
  • Tuesday, we went 2-1. We beat Mitchell and Erwin and lost to Eastside 33-31. Tough loss to a very good team. It was brutally close match that went back and forth. Erwin, we were actually down 28-6 before getting 6 pins in a row. Final score, 42-31.
  • Yesterday was a good day that started rough. We drew Jefferson City, GA and they have won 15 state titles in a row. They beat us pretty good: 59-16. We only won 3 matches. But the group rallied and won the next four matches to take third. I was really proud of the way they overcame adversity
  • Team is 10-3 for the season, with two losses by a combined 6 points and another to a juggernaut team. This week we have a quad a Boiling Springs on Tuesday and then  host Franklin, Brevard and Hendersonville on Wednesday.

7) I'm going to have to find new topics for number 7 since college football is wrapping up. Army-Navy was the closest game in years, but the Midshipmen still have the advantage over the cadets from West Point. Congratulations to Derek Henry on winning the Heisman, though I think the Heisman is the most overrated award in athletics. And it doesn't go to the best player in the country, it goes to the best player on one of the best teams in the country. Based on what I know, I like McCaffrey. Keenan Reynolds and Trevone Boykins would have been my picks, but Reynolds plays for a service academy and TCU lost down the stretch so they would never win.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Sunday 7s: 6 Dec

1) Tom Apodaca, our representative in the NC Senate, will not run for office next year. He's a powerful politician with a lot of clout, but I put many of the issues that NC has in education on him. Instead of using his position to help teachers and students, he's been part of a systematic dismantling of education in NC. I won't miss him in office. I hope we get a strong leader who cares for all people and wants to make NC better not just today but for many years to come.

2) San Bernardino. Tragic. By now we know that the suspects were Muslim. Muslim, Jewish, Christian--- it doesn't make the incident better or worse. I fear that this may become more and more common. Not Muslims shooting up places in America necessarily, but just an uptick in killing sprees. The reason is not too many guns (though I do believe that our gun laws are absolutely too lax), I believe that thanks to the internet and social media, fear and hatred are easily bred. And then people act on those festering fears and the hatred they harbor. That was true for San Bernardino and that was true for Colorado Springs.

I unfriended someone on Facebook a few days ago. His post consisted of several slurs and insults towards Muslims and the post was also vaguely threatening. The disturbing part were the people who commented in agreement or liked the post. It's this sort of attitude, this hatred, that will cause more violence in our society. It can be directed at Muslims, Planned Parenthood, various ethnic groups, different religious or political ideologies. I was dismayed at how many people supported the attacker in Colorado Springs and blamed the people working there. Our enemy is not Islam, Republicans, Democrats or the 1 percent. Our enemy is hate. And fear. And no one side is immune from hatred and fear. Each side has their extremists and their fear mongers and those guys make the most noise. Don't let the win.

3) Zack Grienke a Diamondback. I'll miss the 1-2 punch of Grienke and Kershaw.

4) Car update: Still not running. I am borrowing a truck from a friend for a few days. We pushed started it today and I drove it to the school. It would not start after I turned it off. I think it's the starter. My friend, Danny, our auto teacher, is going to take a look at it.

5) Got a ride today! Beautiful December day. We rode Maxwell Cove, Middle and Lower Black and Sycamore. I love Sycamore Cove and all it's roots and fun twists. I felt really strong and fresh, surprising since I didn't eat before. Just glad to be able to get out into the woods after a long week. 12 miles, 2,000 feet of climbing. Not bad.

6) Big week for Knights wrestling. Mark Harris, coach at Enka, calls this his favorite week of the regular season. There is our annual scheduled tri between Enka, West Lincoln and North Henderson and then the two day Falcon Frenzy tournament at West Henderson.

  • West Lincoln is the defending 2A State Dual Team champions. We wrestled them first. We beat them 44-25 and looked strong in the match. It was a great team effort. Butch Ross, the head coach at West Lincoln, is still one of my favorite people on the planet.
  • We lost to Enka 31-27. A very close and competitive match. They won 7 weights, we won 7. It was worth the price of admission. Enka is considered a contender for the state title, so we're glad to be able to compete with them. 
  • We placed 4th out of 28 teams at the Falcon Frenzy. We had four finalists and three champions. Josh Blatt beat a pretty good Charlotte Latin kid at 106. Morgan King beat a TN State Runner up at 113 in a very well wrestled match. Paul Searcy beat a kid from Pigeon Forge, TN that was 3rd in the state. The other guys wrestled really well to pick up team points. We're competing at a high level and that's exciting. 

7) College football playoffs are set. When all the games were played, seems like the best teams got in. Stanford might have an argument, but they should not have lost to Northwestern. Clemson was a no brainer. Alabama was an easy pick. Surprised that Michigan St jumped Oklahoma. I think most Spartans would rather play Clemson than Alabama. That said, here are my top 7:
1) Clemson 2) Alabama 3) Oklahoma 4) Michigan St 5) Iowa 6) Stanford 7) Notre Dame