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Showing posts from 2014

Do You Have Something New?

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When I coached high school basketball, I would buy a new tie when district tournaments came along. Unfortunately, I didn't always get to wear it very long, as my teams were eliminated sooner than I would have liked. As a teacher, I often did the same thing--grabbing a new poster or something for the classroom at the start of the year.

As a professor, I do the same thing most years. A few years ago it was a cactus for my office. I figured I could keep a cactus alive, even through my fifth floor window that might or might not have been washed since the first Clinton Administration. More recently, it was a chute of bamboo. Both are struggling today.

A few months ago, I went with my son's club basketball team to Spiece Fieldhouse in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Felt like a basketball Mecca. While there, I took this photo


I'm not a huge Bob Knight fan, but I loved my first trip to Assembly Hall last winter and am a huge fan of this statement. Haven't seen much better.

Besides some …

In the Shadow of the Statue of Liberty

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I read a story online about how Rich Eychaner has launched a group called 1000 Kids for Iowa, aiming to house and care for some of the refugee children who have arrived at the southern border of the US. I've read about conditions south of the border--the poverty, exploitation, corruption, drug trade, human trafficking. I looked a little more and read stories about the journey across Central America and Mexico--in and on top of railroad cars, on foot, you name it.  I subsequently read about how Honduras is the murder capital of the world. This guy's blog is a great one, if you wanna think a little.

I thought about parents who, unlike me, are not reading about those conditions; they're living them. What must it be like to decide between  risking death and keeping a family together or sending your children cross country for the chance of life in a better place, knowing full well the dangers of the trip and that you may never see them again? What is it like the moment you dec…

Zach McCabe and Teddy Roosevelt

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I was disappointed but not surprised to hear about nimrods on Twitter attacking University of Iowa basketball player Zach McCabe for his performance in a recent game. And Fran McCaffery telling his players to shut down their accounts is understandable, though some have argued that doesn't really address the problem.

It is, however, good to see McCabe getting support from those who get it--his teammates, coaches, family, friends, fans, and others who know what it's like to put everything you have into something, only to lose and take criticism form a world of no-nothings and do-nothings.

I'm a recovering social studies teacher, which partially explains my affinity for quotes. All this reminds me of a hellagood one from Teddy Roosevelt. I had it hanging in my classroom when I was a high school basketball coach trying to build a new, positive winning culture in our basketball program. The sign was many years before Twitter, but TR's wisdom holds true today.


In a 1910 spe…

A Jolt and the Blessings

A little before 10:00 a.m. on December 6, I was working on some important stuff--feedback on student projects. I was working away, a little distracted by the weather, impending holidays, paying for our kids' college, wondering when the Panthers would play with more consistency. That's when my wife called.

She was with our son (15) at his sports physical, 366 days after the previous one. The doctor wanted an ultrasound done because he didn't like the feel of one of our son's testicles during that part of the exam. I was swamped, but didn't mind running across town to wait with them while we confirmed that we had nothing except a thorough doctor.

After the ultrasound, the lab called the doctor, who then called me. Not knowing I was already with my wife and son at the lab, he asked if I could meet them in his office. I asked if we could run our son back to school first. He said, "No, why don't all three of you come."

Pause. That's when you realize y…