Monday, May 16, 2016

S7s- May 15: Hexed?

1) Yesterday was the Regional Track meet at AC Reynolds. We had one qualifier, Odyssey Gaines in the 200m Dash. She's our first stat qualifier in three season. She tried to get out of running the 200, but I made her run. She was in the slow heat and won. Better yet, her time was good enough to be second overall. I told her after her run that I was proud of her effort and she gave herself a good chance to qualify (finish in the top 4). After the fast heat, I told her she'd be close. I was surprised she was second, I would have been thrilled with third or fourth. 

We had some bad luck yesterday. Our 4x200 ran phenomenal. They went 1:49 and was the third team to cross the finish line. Then someone said there was a zone violation. Being the referee, I hustled to see what it was. It was lane 6, our lane. Heartbreaking. It would have been disappointing if we finished 6th and got DQed, but it was devastating because they went from being state qualifiers to being disqualified. As their coach, what can you say? Most of them were running again in the 4x100, so I told them to rally and be ready for their next event.

In the 4x100, we were running well and in the mix and the second handoff got dropped. I didn't even see it happen. It looked good and when I was looking for the third exchange, there was no North Henderson. Their spacing was good, they just dropped the baton. The thing is, these were what I consider my two most reliable athletes in terms of handoffs. If I had to pick two to do an exchange, it would be these two.

I'm proud of my kids. We were 5th in the 4x400 and 6th in the 300 hurdles. Some good efforts in the field events. Despite not qualifying our relays, I'm proud of their effort. There's a reason this happened. We were hit twice with really unfortunate luck in two of our best events-- the events we had the best chance to qualify in. I don't know why things work the way they do, but I'm confident we're all better people after this. Even if we're not happy people at the moment.

2) The 4x100 gave me flashbacks to last year's state championship tournament. Mitchel Langford loses an improbable match in the finals. I truly believe that if Mitchel and Mainz wrestled 100 times, Mitch would win 98 or 99 times. Mainz wrestled a good match and earned that victory but I don't doubt that Mitchel was the better wrestler. The same way that Dan Gable was better than Larry Owings. If my two girls do 100 handoffs, 95% of them are great.

I had a friend tell me that you've got to strive for 100%. 1% is bad. If 1% of parachutes failed, that would be terrible. In Mitchel's case and in the 4x100, we fell victim to that 1%.

3) North Henderson will be host for next year's track regionals. Why do I do this to myself?

4) Went out to dinner with the coaches after the meet. Had my bike. Headed over to Bent Creek to get a ride in. Towards the end, I lose a pedal. It comes off the spindle but is still clipped into my shoes. This is my fifth pair of Crank Brothers pedals and the newest. The first to fail. I slowly and awkwardly pedaled back to the car, just about a mile. It was hard with only one good pedal and trying to keep the other foot on the spindle. I was convinced someone had a voodoo doll of me or put some sort of curse on me.

I took a picture and posted it to Instagram. Also tagged Crank Brothers. They messaged me back and it looks like they're going to replace the pedal. That's good customer service!

 5) Spent the evening at the Grove Park for the WNC Sports Banquet presented by the Mountain Amateur Athletic Club. North Henderson was well represented, especially wrestling! Josh Blatt was a finalist for the 3A/4A Male Athlete in an Olympic Sport (Connor Fenn of Asheville School won), the team was a finalist for 3A/4A Male Team- Olympic Sport (won by Enka Wrestling) and Pete Willingham won a $1000 scholarship. Caroline Marsh, a volleyball player, was a finalist for 3A/4A Female Athlete- Major Sport.

6) "Are you interested or committed?" -Jerry Moore, former Appalachian State Football Coach and WNC Sports Hall of Fame inductee.

7) I'm really bummed out about the Spurs losing. I wanted Tim Duncan to win and retire. It will be an interesting off season for this team. Who do they sign? Who retires?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

S7s: May 8, 2016

1) With Ted Cruz and John Kasich officially suspending their campaign, Donald Trump is now the Republican nominee for president. I think:

  • The Cruz-Kasich plan to split states will go down as one of the worst play calls of all time. Granted, they probably would have lost if they did nothing, but it seemed desperate and played into Trump.
  • Carly Fiorina as the Vice Presidential candidate was another fumble for Cruz. As a friend pointed out, she brings nothing to the table. Her supporters were probably Cruz supporters anyway. And if Cruz is trying to pander to women, Fiorina did not help him with the female vote.
  • The same friend pointed out that Fiorina is now a failed CEO, presidential nominee and vice presidential nominee. Maybe she'll be the next Lincoln.
  • Trump is behind in most polls to Clinton and Sanders, but I think the election will be closer as we get to November. 
  • That said, unless Trump finds a way to win over groups he has alienated such as Latinos and women, then I find it hard for him to win the general election. 
  • But maybe Hillary is so unlikable that enough people don't turn out to vote and Trump steals the election. Clinton has to get out Hispanic, Black and women voters. If she doesn't she's in trouble.
  • I think Trump is going to disappoint his base if he is elected president. He says off the wall things and certainly "speaks his mind", but he's smart and is way more moderate (even left) than many of his supporters want to admit or care to see. Plus, he's friends with many of the people that he and his supporters demonize (including Clinton).
  • Trump has a chance. I wouldn't have said that two months ago. Running mates will make this election interesting. Unfortunately, no one is listening to policy. The candidate with the fewest gaffs stands a better chance. 

2) I've heard people lament that about the prospect of having to choose between Trump and Clinton. Some have said they are not going to vote, which is absolutely their right. But I still think it's important to make a choice. The problem is not that Trump and Clinton are our best candidates for the office, it's that they are the ones that want the office.

We the People, have created this. The office of the Presidency is not for the timid, shy or thin skinned. The office is so scrutinized, the campaigns so long and the spotlight so bright that it takes a certain person to want to be President. When you put yourself out there, you will be assailed on so many levels, but so will your friends and family. It's just not worth it for most people. It takes a certain ego, vanity and personality to embrace all the peripherals that are involved with running for any office, much less the President of the United States.

I said going back to 2000, that out of 300 million Americans, the best we could come up with were Al Gore and George Bush? They were not the best and we have had our share of underwhelming candidates but only because we're putting on the field the ones who want to play the game, not the ones who are the best at the game.

I think Joe Biden regrets not running. But I also believe that he's relieved he is not running, especially with all that his family has gone through. Very few people want to embrace the 24 hour news cycles, the lack of privacy and the critical opinion of the masses. In the age of digital communication and social media, I'm quite certain we would have villified George Washington and our other founding fathers that we hold in such high esteem.

3) Great weekend. Went camping Friday with Brian, Abel, Greg, Jordan and Tim. Good conversation and great weather. Mowed lawn Saturday, got a ride in with Dan, went to a 4 year old's birthday party, ate a Rocky's and saw my friends play music at Blue Ghost Brewery.

Today took the Ducati to Straightaway Cafe on HWY 9. Decent little place, nice to be out on bike. Tonight had dinner at Shawn and Amy's with the Ruiz fans. Amy showed us her bees, which a new hobby for her. It's really cool whenever you get to see people share their passions.

4) Happy Mother's Day. I miss my Mother but everyday I'm inspired by her and it's my goal that she would be proud of me.

5) We hosted the Conference Track meet last week. Boys finished 1st and won running away. It was a great meet for them. The girls had a great meet also. They finished 3rd, which was our goal. It was really close, there were 8 points that separated 3rd place and 7th place. On to Regionals next Saturday!

6) Best Sports moment in a while:

7) Keeping my neighbors up north in my prayers. This wildfire is massive and pictures heartbreaking. I have a feeling that we're in for a very bad wildfire season.

USA Today

Sunday, May 1, 2016

S7s: May 1- Springing into May

1) Kaida turned 4 last week. She had a party in SC yesterday. My brother, Chhay, also just got back from 6 months of deployment so it was a double celebration. And got to see a lot of other kiddos. It was great family time.

2) Speaking of birthdays, god daughter Sydney turned 9. She's growing so fast but she still thinks I'm great so I'll take that for now.

3) Yesterday was the North Henderson High School prom. I drove back from SC, got home around 9:00, changed and caught the end of the prom. I'm glad I made it back. It was great to see all the students dressed up and there were a few that I was very happy to catch. My wrestlers looked sharp and my track team was gorgeous. Everyone seemed to be having fun.

4) My favorite quote of the last week occured when we were outside I noticed what turned out to be fertilizer on the track. Not knowing what it was yet, I asked aloud what was on my track. One of my girls replied, "Grass seasoning". Dunno, I thought it was hilarious.

5)  We went to a meet at Western Carolina this week. The boys took first out of 15 teams. The girls placed 11th. I love WCU's facilities and Coach Williamson and his staff are great to us. The best thing about the meet is that, as coaches, we don't have to work any events or time. That's very rare. It was nice just to watch my athletes jump and throw.

6) I was really amazed by today's sermon. Charles McGowan was the guest preacher and he spoke on Matthew 16:13-17. 
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
I have read the passage before, but read it all wrong. In verse 18, I always assumed it was Peter that was the rock the church would be built on. It turns out that it's actually Peter's answer in verse 16 that is the Rock: Jesus the Messiah is what the church will be built on. 

Also, verse 18, about the gates of Hades... I always assumed that Hades cannot overcome the church. McGowan says that the church is marching on Hades and the gates built to keep the church out cannot win. The church is based on the Messiah  and Jesus cannot be held back by mere walls. 

7) NFL Draft thoughts:
  • Laremy Tunsil better be a game changer. If he flops, the Dolphins have wasted another first round pick, a la Dion Jordan. 
  • I don't love the Dolphins draft. But not being splashy sometimes is good.
  • Panthers took three defensive backs in a row. Josh who?
  • I hope Jared Goff is more Aaron Rogers than Brady Quinn.
  • I like Denver's pick of Paxton Lynch. 
  • I also love that Denver got Adam Gotsis in the second round. Go Jackets!
  • DJ White makes plays. I hope he makes the Chiefs roster.