Monday, March 28, 2016

S7s: March 27: Break

1) Spring Break has begun. I have no plans really, I am going to the be at the track a few days. Suelee and her kids are in town for the week. She's transitioning between jobs. I'd like to camp, backpack or get out of town for a few days, but who knows. There's lots of stuff that needs to get done around here too: yardwork, fix washing machine, sort clothes and other things to give away. My big hope is that I and my students mentally recharge and my athletes heal up from their injuries and afflictions.

2) Today is Easter. This day means everything. It gives purpose to my life. There is a purpose. There's a seat for us as the table and we are not chained by our sins.

3) One of my favorite paintings is Caravaggio's Supper at Emmaus as told in Luke 24:13-35. The painting has so many gorgeous aspects, but perhaps my favorite is that it is an invitation. There's a open spot for us. We are welcomed at the table.

4) NC Passed House Bill 2 this past week. Basically, it's the state's response to Charlotte's city ordinance that allowed transgendered people to use the restroom of the gender that they associate with, not necessarily the gender they are born with. The framers of HB2 say it is about protecting women and children but the bill does seem overreaching and has implications that go beyond just bathrooms and who gets to use them. It overrides all local ordinances that protect certain individuals. I do have some issues with the bill, mainly:
  • It will get challenged in court and cost the state lots of money.
  • They called special session that costs about $42,000 just for this bill. It was that urgent?
  • I don't think it's just about bathrooms.
  • It runs the risk of affecting many people adversely, not just gay, lesbian and transgendered people.
  • Written into the bill was also a stipulation that local communities could not set a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage. 
  • For a party of small government and local control the GOP in NC sure is legislating a lot and taking away the ability of local municipalities to craft local ordinances that are good for their communities. 
5) Terrorists attacks in Belgium on Tuesday and Pakistan yesterday. Tragic and heartbreaking, as it always is. I don't want to write much because I don't know what to write. What else do you say. I'll share this link from NPR because the photos tell a much better story than I do.

6) NCAA Basketball tournament is down to four: UNC, Villanova, Oklahoma and Syracuse. I have no preference. I still don't know if the upsets are a result of parity or poor seeding.

7) Went on an epic bike ride with Stephen Willis, Robert Duggan and Robert's friend David yesterday. We started at Andrews Geyser and rode up to Ridgecrest. Then we went up Rattlesnake Trail and hit the Toll Rd. Rattlesnake was super steep and hard. I pushed. The Toll Rd was not too bad, just long. At the top, the rocks became loose and larger, so it was hard pedaling sometimes.

After almost 16 miles of climbing, we reach Heartbreak Ridge. What a fun downhill! Long and mostly rideable. It was a great time! We were so tired though from the slog. We thought that we'd shuttle Kitsuma, but I was hungry and everyone agreed, so we went up to Black Mountain and had food and drinks at Fresh Wood Fired Pizza. It was pretty good. Great route, I can't wait to ride Heartbreak again.

A photo posted by @heanguy on

Monday, March 21, 2016

S7s: 3/20- March Madness

1) NCAA Wrestling from Madison Square Garden this weekend. I watched some of the semifinals on Friday and was amazed. The Finals last night were terrific.

  • Nolf vs I-Mar, Snyder vs Gwizz both lived up the the hype.
  • How good is Nashon Garrett? A pin 21 second in the semifinals?! Against the defending national champion! 
  • NYC was a great venue, despite my skepticism going into the tournament. 
  • I am so impressed with Penn State and the level of wrestling they are able to achieve. Cael Sanderson has become a legend as a coach as well as a wrestler. And they're loaded for a good run for a few years. 
  • Congratulations to Virginia Tech for finishing 3rd and NC State for a top 10 finish. 
  • No champions for the Iowa Hawkeyes, but three finalists and a top 5 finish for Coach Brands' team.
  • He didn't wrestle last night but he was interviewed several times: Jordan Burroughs is a winner, class act and great ambassador for the sport of wrestling. 
2) There was another national tournament happening this weekend. I followed very little basketball. I know my bracket is in the 12th percentile right now. Wrestling was more compelling to me.

3) Lady Knights Track had two meets this past week: the Jus Running Relays on Tuesday and Times-News Invitational on Saturday. Some solid performances. 10th place yesterday at Times-News. We're still a work in progress, but you can see we've got some great athletes. We need to get healthy. Spring Break will be much needed for my athletes. 

4) All Area Wrestling Teams announced by our local media outlets.
  • Times News Wrestler of the Year was Josh Blatt. Well deserved and great honor for Josh.
  • All-Area Wrestlers for the Times-News: Morgan King, Will Baldwin, Paul Searcy.
  • Basketball teams had 17-18 players on the Times-News teams, while wrestling only had 9 total. Wrestling has 14 weight classes, basketball has 5 positions. Seems Daniel Dowling, Cele Cardenas should have made it. Possibly Pete Willingham, Damian Murphy and Joshua Feliz. Rosman High School underrepresented also.
  • Citizen-Times All-WNC: Josh Blatt, Morgan King, Will Baldwin
  • Searcy one of the best wrestlers in WNC but I can't argue with having Wilson on the team-- they split this season, but Conan placed higher at Regionals and State. 
5) I read this article the other day: In Love with Donald Trump

It's so good. Christians don't agree with Trump, his character or his morality. But people love his message. Why? Because we pursue the things we love and he's selling us what we love. And the love of many Christians is less in Christ and more in the offerings of the world.

6) Obama made an appointment for the Supreme Court. I know nothing about Merrick Garland. He may or may not be a good Justice. I do believe that the Senate has a duty to hold hearings on Mr Garland. It doesn't mean that they have to appoint him, but his case to be Justice needs to be heard.
  • There's the argument that if the roles were reversed that Democrats would block the nominee from being confirmed or heard. It's like gerrymandering: just because the other side does it doesn't make it right. The nomination process can take months, so if we're looking at the next president appointing the next Supreme Court Justice, we're looking at the Supreme Court sitting with one Justice short for nearly two years.
  • Any wonder why Congress has an 11% approval rating according to the Pew Research Center? 
  • In case you're wondering, Gallup Poll for March 13 had the President at 51 percent approval.
  • The Republicans are going all in, especially if they have to nominate a third party candidate or block Trump at the Convention. Between that and the refusal to hold hearings on the President's nominee, they are playing a dangerous game with perception. If enough moderates are turned off by the stance of the GOP led Senate, they may be putting their majorities in the House at risk. A longer shot is that they lose their Senate majority. 
7) Speaking of the President, he made an official visit to Cuba today. I am looking forward to more normalized relationships with Cuba. The policies of the last 60 years haven't worked there. I can't wait to visit the island. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

S7s: 13 Mar

1) Watershed Youth High School Retreat was this weekend. The place was Carolina Point, a camp run by Young Life on the NC/SC border near Brevard. It's a beautiful site and still growing. We had the camp to ourselves and were blessed with great weather. The theme of the week was the Wedding Feast in Matthew 22. God clothes us in his garments and invites us to celebrate with him. It's good stuff. The kids were amazing and there were some changed hearts. I'm always fortunate to get to share in these opportunities and experiences.

2) NC Primary is Tuesday. I can't wait to vote. Not even decided which primary I'm voting in yet. It will be a last minute decision.

3) NCAA Basketball tournament is ready to roll. I have followed very little college basketball, but I'll still make a bracket. Right now, Let me study the bracket and get back to you on who I think will win.

4) Here's one reason why wrestling is so great-- Seth Curry would never give this interview:

5) More sports: what a huge loss for the NFL-- Marshawn Lynch, Peyton Manning and Calvin Johnson all retire in the same year. Megatron will always be my favorite, I got a lot of joy watching him play while he was at Georgia Tech:

6) Just when you thought you knew it all:

7) Track season has begun. We had our first and second meets last week. The weather was great. Not brutal like March often is. The team is deeper that we were last year. We don't have the top tier talent, but we've got some strong performers. And I'm really impressed with some of our new kids. We placed 6th at Reynolds on Tuesday and were 3rd in a home meet on Thursday.

My old Dell died, so we tried to pair two new computers to time and score. It didn't work perfectly. We had a system that was fine, but my project before April 7 is to make sure that our computers are communicating. Hosting meets is an ordeal, but we have great facilities and the right equipment. It's just a matter of having all the pieces in place (technology, volunteers, weather).

Sunday, March 6, 2016

S7s- 6 Mar: Make up edition

1) I missed last week. My Sunday was just too busy. Did a long ride in Pisgah, had to take wash to laundromat since washing machine is dead and worked on getting things ready for our team banquet on Monday.

2) Our team banquet was on Monday. Just another reminder on what a great group of guys I have. We ate lots of food and share some laughs. I handed out awards and recognitions. Our superlatives were as follows:

  • Most Valuable: Paul Searcy
  • Most Outstanding: Josh Blatt
  • Coach's Award: Will Baldwin
  • Most Improved: Daniel Dowling

Last night also took a few of our kids to the Southern Conference Wrestling Championships. What a great time and great tournament. The last match at heavyweight was between Appalachian State and Chattanooga. Chattanooga led by 2.5 points in the team race, so the winner of the individual bout also clinches the tournament for his team. Appalachian got a late takedown to seal the win and the the team title. Fantastic finish!

3) Track is off and running. I am having a blast with a great group of kids. Hopefully, we'll have some success. Our meet on Thursday was cancelled due to snow. Everyone is itching to compete. We'll be at AC Reynolds on Tuesday and hosting a meet at North on Thursday. 

This was a great image my assistant coach took.

4) Super Tuesday was last week: Trump and Hillary had good days. Sanders is still in the mix, especially after Saturday's caucuses in Kentucky and Kansas. Cruz is surging, Kasich hanging in there and Rubio slipping. Here are some political thoughts:
  • Trump basically advocated war crimes by increasing torture and bombing innocent targets. He rescinded the next day, but the damage is done. I think that helped Cruz yesterday.
  • Kasich, if he hangs around long enough, may get the nomination. The question is, can he make it to the convention?
  • I was getting text updates from my friends in Colorado on their caucus experience. First, no caucus for the Republicans. Second, the turnout was super high! The fire marshall forced Steve out of the Middle School they were in and onto the soccer field.  
  • One of the reasons for high turnout was Colorado Cares. Colorado is looking to possibly go single payer for health care. Steve said that 3% salary tax would cover everyone, along with a 8% rate from employers. That's cheaper, by a lot, than most premiums. 
  • Trump nomination, or being blocked at the convention could be bad for the Republican party. There could be a shift or split. The GOP as we know it could meet the same fate as the Whigs. 
  • Another thing to consider is that the longer Trump stays around, the more it could hurt the Republicans. And he may very well win the presidency, but he may cause the party to lose their House majority and close Senate races. I really think it would be bad for the Senate to block an Obama Supreme Court nominee if the Republican party wants to keep their majorities in Congress.
5) Enjoy your next career, Peyton Manning. He'll be great in the booth or as a coach. He didn't need to play another season. Thanks for the memories.

6) Man, what a tough week for losses: Pat Conroy, Nancy Reagan. Two wonderful part of American history.

"I wanted to become the seeker, the aroused and passionate explorer, and it was better to go at it knowing nothing at all, always choosing the unmarked bottle, always choosing your own unproven method, armed with nothing but faith and a belief in astonishment."
Pat Conroy, "Lords of Discipline

7) Brian Land spoke today on Mark 5. The story of the bleeding woman who touched the robe of Christ has long resonated with me. She reaches, in desperation. Her faith was enough to heal her. Everyone wanted signs and miracles and she, a shunned woman, knew that Jesus was the miracle. 

"Love Alone" my favorite Caedmon's Call song. The chorus sings "Love Alone is not enough/to hold us up/ we've got to touch your robe/so swing your robe down low

All we have to do is believe and reach for his garment and He can heal us. "Don't be afraid, just believe" - Mark 5:36