Leadership: “C” Words That Define Great Leaders

I am continuing my series of alphabet words that best describe great leaders, coaches, teachers, mentors, business and family leaders.  I talk about leadership alot but it has a special place in my heart and has been engrained in me since I was a child.  I grew up watching my dad be a man that led in the community on the job, as a volunteer and as the bread winner of my family.  My dad had all of these qualities and I often say that if I can become half the man, father, friend and community leader my dad was then I will live a great life.  My dad and mom worked hard to provide for my brothers and I and set the example for us as adults and how we manage out lives.

My dad always seemed to be composed.  He stayed calm when things went south or got shaky.  He kept his mind and focus on the problem and did not let them see him sweat.  My dad was committed to his family, friends, job and community.  Even after he retired and lost his vision and could barely walk using a cane he still served the community with meals on wheels, the Lions Club and at the local high school.  He was committed to the causes that were important to him.  My dad was generally a quiet man, but when he did speak he communicated his words well.  He could get his point across and make people understand what he wanted, was saying and he meant business.  

When we talk consistency, I am going to switch over to my mom.  Dad was consistent, but my mom was always right on task, on track and on top of things.  She treated everyone the same, loved them took care of them and was a great mentor to myself and my friends.  That consistency was one of the traits that made her so loved and a second mom to so many people.  Charisma is a trait that both my parents had, but I would say my mom in her later years became more charismatic in her thoughts, actions and behaviors.  Both of them were charming, fun to be around and devoted to living a great life full of service, helping others and would stand up and take action when needed.  

Now let’s finish with confidence.  As parents it was important to my folks to make sure they raised well rounded, confident children that could go out and tackle life.  As a teacher, coach, mentor and parent my goal is to make sure I am giving those I impact the tools and knowledge to be a confident person.  Coaches and leaders that win are confident in their ability to lead, put a plan in action and see it to the finish.  There are other words that could be placed here to replace those I used and I will leave that up to you.  But these are my words that I feel are important when describing leaders and the kind of people, family and friends I want to be around. 

Be composedcharmingcommittedconsistentcharismatic and confident person that can communicate their vision to an organization, family, team, school staff and other groups of people. 

Coach B

Leadership: “B” Words That Define Successful Coaches. Leaders and People

Today in my mini series of successful words that describe great coaches, leaders and people in general I am using the letter “B”.  The other day I posted words on the letter “A” if you would like to go back and read that posting.  There are all kinds of words that start with B that help describe or define a person that is dynamic and a super leader of people.  A person does not have to be a coach, teacher, business owner or leader of an organization to possess these traits.  However, I am focusing this series on coaching, leading, mentoring, guiding and helping people become better than they are and how they are built up by these leaders.

I have worked with all kinds of people and most would get many of these B words as a descriptive to define their personality, behavior, actions and results.  While a few, well lets just say would be defined with other B words that are not so nice.  I choose personally to set a standard of being defined by positive words through my actions and behaviors (though sometimes I fall short).  Below are your B words for the day so try to think about which applies to you as you work to become better today than you are right now.

1- Leaders believe in themselves, their people and their goals and dreams.

2- Leaders are brave.  They take risks that others are not willing to take to accomplish their dreams and goals.

3- Leaders know how to balance work, home life, family and other obligations.  They have to maintain some form of normalcy to keep up with the daily grind of all the obligations set before them.

4- Leaders are often the best at what they do.  They shine, they outwork people, they utilize their skill set better others and it helps them be on top of their game.

5- Leaders are bright.  They are sharp minded, quick witted, smart, and use their experience, background, education and training to better others around them.  

6-Leaders are beautiful people.  I am not talking about looks, I am referring to personality, energy, excitement, shining light, bubbly and so many other ways.  People want to be around them, work and play for them.  

You can put together your own list of B words that describe you or others around you.  I hope those are positive words because we all know there could be some “b” words used to describe a person and their actions that are not so nice.  So lets be positive and keep it clean! 

Coach B

Leadership: Eight Practices of Successful Leaders and Coaches

Today we are continuing the series on successful coaching, leading and mentoring of people.  Being successful as a leader, mentor, father, mother, coach, teacher, pastor, business owner or whatever your title is requires a skill set that is constantly developed as you become the best you can.  As I look back at my career as a teacher and coach and as a business professional I am grateful for the people I was blessed to work with that had these qualities.  They were successful at what they did and were so consistent with the habits they had to remain on top of their game.  I have tried to be the best leader I can and at times sure I failed at one or two of these qualities somewhere in the process. 

The key is knowing where you are, where you want to be and how you will get there. You don’t have to be a leader to maximize some or all of these qualities.  I have worked with front line teachers, sales people and other peers that exhibited many of these traits.  They may not have wanted to be a leader, but in their own way led and inspired people by their actions, habits and behaviors.   As you can see I have put eight qualities above for leaders, coaches and others to exhibit, practice, portray and model to get people to take action and follow them.


1- Success comes to those that teach their students, employees, family and friends with a passion.  You do not have to be a certified school teacher to teach people.  

2- Success comes with inspirational actions.  Successful leaders inspire action, behavior and focus by modeling expectations and leading out front.

3- Successful people have goals.  They plan ahead, set short and long term goals and track the results making sure they are working towards accomplishing the goals they want and need.

4- Successful leaders motivate their players, employees, family and friends with their behavior, work ethic, integrity and actions.

5- Successful leaders “led by example”.  They would never ask you to do something they would not or have not done themselves.  They are out front and set the pace for the organization with passion and commitment to the team, brand or company.

6- Successful leaders mentor their players, staff, personnel and employees.  They teach, train, share, show, and guide those around them.  Sharing knowledge, experience and background engages people and grows their skill set.

7- Successful leaders/coaches emphasize teamwork as a requirement for success as a whole.  It takes teamwork to accomplish goals, complete task and grow the brand, business and win.  It takes teamwork to win, whether that be in the company itself or working with customers, recruits, players and family members.

8- Successful leaders have vision for the future.  They realize that having a vision is  part of the model for success and instilling that vision within the organization, team, or company.  I have worked for head coaches whose vision was lacking and it worked its way into the locker room and on the assistant coaching staff.  I have worked for others that led out front, had high expectations of everyone including themselves and the vision of where we were going was quite evident in their work ethic, actions and behaviors.


In life we wear many hats as professionals, business people, workers, teachers, coaches, lawyers, doctors, parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, and all the other hats we could wear in life.  Growing our skills and becoming a leader at work, at school, in the community or at home is a constant and evolving process that we work on to become the best we can be at what we do.

Coaching: Four Things Great Coaches/Leaders Have In Common

Coaches hold the key to make or break a teams success. Coaches that have poor interpersonal skills, have huge egos, don’t care about their student athletes and just use power to bully their way with the athletes put a sour taste in the mouths of the players. On the flip side, a great coach inspires, motivates, leads, guides, teaches and mentors his or her players. 

They can inspire a love of the game and a life long relationship with the players they impact.  There are plenty of good sports coaches out there that keep the season humming along, but it’s those great sports coaches that kids (and parents) will remember and love forever. Here are four things those great sports coaches have in common that make student/athletes want to play for them.

1- They love to teach: A great coach loves to teach the sport and does so with passion.  They use the game and its learning to teach life skills, build relationships and build the skills of each individual athlete.  They inspire the players and coaching staff to get better by sharing knowledge, experience and the background they have attained from that sport.  

2- They take time to build relationships with each individual and learns their skill set: Great coaches can take average players and make them very good or even great.  Great coaches see things in the players and maximize their potential to be successful as a student athlete.  They build on the strengths, coach up the areas of opportunity and put the player in a position to be successful.

3- They are passionate about the game, the athlete and life: Great coaches build programs by getting those around them to buy in and work hard.  Great coaches show passion for the game, passion for the players and the organization.  Their passion trickles down into the organization, the coaching staff and locker room which creates a winning attitude and high expectations driven by the coaches passion.

4- They have very high expectations: Great coaches have extremely high expectations of themselves, the players, the staff, families and community.  They set the tone from day one and hold everyone accountable to team rules and are very consistent with the way they deal with people.  They are goal driven, want to win, show passion and expect results. 

I have been blessed to work with what I consider great coaches.  In my opinion, you do not have to be a national championship coach, state title level coach or have all time winning records to be great.  I think you need to have the above traits to be or become a great coach.  You can also apply these to regular life, work, career, family and how you play.

As my dad once told me, “find something you love and do it with al your heart, passion and commit to the process” and the rest will take care of itself.

Americana: Losing My Dad- My Hero

I was coaching at my old high school in 2009 and in the middle of the season I suddenly lost my dad. My dad was a 30 year retired police officer who also served over 30 years volunteering at the local high school as president, vice president and secretary of the boosters club.  My mom and dad along with several great parents had helped raise millions of dollars and build most of the very nice athletic facilities the school has today. 

They loved to go to football games home or away.  For over thirty years on Friday night if they were not rotating in the concession stand they sat in the same seats at home games every Friday night. My dad sat on the top row, on the brick at the corner.  I can see him now sitting there watching me, my brothers, cousins, and nephews playing football on Fridays.  

Dad and mom were road warriors and followed the football team wherever they played.  They went to every game home or away for a minimum of 30 seasons. Even when their health started to fail them, they continued to go to games. Dad has become legally blind and could barely see anything much farther than six feet away.  He mostly relied on voice to identify who he was talking with.  Dad would sit in the car and watch the games with his binoculars and enjoy it the best he could with what little vision he had.  

Someone in the family would drive them to away games and mom would drive to home games.  My wife Cindy was a road warrior and drove them a bunch and she has so many special memories from all those away trips to watch me coach and the team play football.  The opposing school would always graciously make arrangements for mom’s car to be pulled into the stadium so he could have the best possible view of the games from the car seat.  Dad had gotten to the point where he could barely walk, working so hard all his life supporting and taking care of his family had finally caught up to his knees, ankles and feet.  

I am not sure he could see very much, but he was determined to not miss a game. With this background you can imagine what he meant not only to me, but to the local community and county as a whole.  He was a very respected man, great father and leader of people.  I often say “If I end up half the man and father my dad was, I will do well in life”. At the time of his death, I was coaching at the high school I graduated from as an assistant when dad passed away.  He was a mover and a shaker and even with his struggles to walk he was determined to live his life to the fullest and he always wanted to try and walk out to the mailbox to grab the mail. 

He knew it was a struggle, but did it anyways because he didn’t want my mom to have to do it herself.  He took a bad fall Oneday trying to go to the mailbox and busted up his ribs.  My dad was bigger than life literally at 6’4 and 350 pounds he was a man’s man.  As he stepped out into the yard he slipped and fell, busting his ribs up and it caused some internal bleeding and breathing issues that the doctors were struggling to find and fix.  Due to his size, they had trouble seeing his internal organs to access the damage and correct it.  He was in tremendous pain so my mom called me and I called the ambulance to have him taken to the local hospital for treatment.  

His injuries were really bad and before the hospital could figure out what was going on, he died due to the internal injuries a few days later while getting some x-rays.  Losing anyone close is devastating, but to lose your hero was literally a gut punch for me and my family.  I was in shutdown mode emotionally and was helping my mom with all the funeral arrangements, flowers, and service arrangements. 

Obviously, I couldn’t find the time to go to football practice that week and we had a huge game that Friday night with playoffs on the line.  We buried my dad and I was just staying away from life, thinking, grieving and recovering mentally, physically and spiritually from the loss of my dad, mentor, father and hero.  My mom told me all week that daddy would want me to be at the ball game and I needed to go.  But I felt like I couldn’t do it. 

I feared looking up and not seeing him sitting there beside mom watching me coach and the boys play.  It was enough to shut me down, the fear of facing reality that he was gone and I would never be able to hear his voice again giving me the best advice.  Mom kept on me all week and I had told the head coach on the day I buried my dad, a Thursday that I would not be attending the game Friday night..  The funeral had over 400 people come through the line and instead of ending up at 8pm, it was almost 11pm before we got done and home. 

That speaks volumes for who my dad was and the impact he had on people’s lives.  The team and coaches showed in force to support me and I will never forget that, it was very supportive and special that they thought that much of my dad and family to do that.  That is what being a part of something special is and what makes it a memory I will never forget.  Game day came and about 5:00pm a dear friend of mine called and said, “hey, get dressed we are going to the ball game”.  I told him I couldn’t and he said I am on the way, so get dressed buddy.  I reluctantly dressed knowing that I was about to face reality and try to coach without my dad watching for the first time in years.  A few minutes later he picked me up and we took a quiet long 45 minute drive to the school.

As we arrived I could feel the emotions swelling up inside me and did not want to face reality that my dad was not going to be at the game for the first time in my life.  I had buried him the day before and knew he was gone, but to accept that was a different story.  We pulled in the parking lot and the Athletic Director was standing at the football field gate.  He opened the gate and motioned us through.  My friend and head coach had made arrangements to get me to the game and knew that for me to move on and begin the process of healing, I had to go coach that night.  As I got out of the car and walked towards the field, the team came over and we all hugged and they walked me onto the field.  

As I write this I am tearing up as this was a memory I had put away and not thought much about since 2009.  I realize now that it was a gesture of love and compassion from my team and part of the healing process we go through when we lose our hero, parent or dear loved one.  I could feel him with me and we went to work and the boys played hard and I coached as hard as I could.  I knew my dad would want me to be on the field, coaching and getting results.  Not sitting at home feeling sorry for myself.  I am forever thankful to my friend, head coach and players for the awesome contribution they made in my life the week I lost my dad. 

Life Lesson- Even in death, our loved ones are right there with us protecting and helping outMy dad and friends helped me to overcome fear of the unknown.  Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a terrible thing and we must rely on God’s word to get through it.  Being part of something bigger than you like a team is instrumental in that process. I give thanks to God for all his mercy, grace and strength he sends us.  Ask him to take our fears away and know that in his word our loved ones are safe and with us.  Dad was a strong spirit in life and now in his heavenly form.

Americana: Sundays At Grandma Smiths

Right After Church-

When I was a kid growing up we would all go to church on Sunday and then head straight over to my Grandma Smiths house and spend all afternoon eating lunch, playing outside, watching football and fellowshipping with family and friends.  When I say family and friends, I mean the entire extended family of at least 20-30 people.  My grandparents were not rich so I do not know how they fed all of us every week like that.  We did have some great fresh garden veggies, potatoes and corn that was grown on the property.  It was the coolest place to go and spend time growing up.  We had all the outdoor activity a child or teenager needed.  

Summertime Fun And Sports-

Summer time was my favorite season as the grass was nice and green and much softer to land on when your cousins and brothers piled on top of you playing tackle football.  Of course, we played with no pads and you got busted up good on most Sundays.  We played every sport you can think of, football, soccer, softball, baseball, basketball.  It wasn’t just the kids playing, the adults played also and I remember some collisions with my aunts and uncles while chasing a ball or going for a goal.  We would help each other up, laugh, and keep playing. 

We had a basketball goal that was about 8 feet high and you could run and jump off the little hill behind it and try to dunk the ball when you got older.  But, you had best watch out because someone older was going to try and stuff it back in your face and likely knock you down doing it. My brother Jerry loved to put it back in your face and did so to his son and daughter many times.

Cowboys vs. Redskins-

We watched football on the three main channels on that old box shaped television and if you were the closest to it, you became the remote control turning that little clicker button to change the channel.  After changing the channel you had to adjust the rabbit ears to get the signal just right.  Sometimes you had to freeze and not move so everyone could see the game or the Disney movie of the week.  The family was divided between Cowboy and Redskin fans mostly. 

Might have been a few Falcon fans here and there and we didn’t have the Panthers to root for back then.  The best seat was at the table near the television and nobody sat in grandpa’s chair.  That corner chair was his, as I type I can see him sitting in that chair eating and watching football. It got loud at times and you couldn’t hardly hear from all the smack talking going on, and sometimes we had to go outside and settle it on Grandma’s football field.

Grandma’s Biscuits-

My Grandma made the best biscuits ever.  She did not make them real big, but they were just right and tasted so good.  She wasted no batter, mix or dough and would cook every piece of that bread, even the little pieces that were left from cutting the round biscuits out of the dough.  Those little ends were fabulous and hit the spot, especially with some good gravy, home made jelly or honey on top.  You better not be the last few people through the line or you didn’t get any biscuits.  We had a a saying around the house, “last one to the trough, don’t get fed” and that was the truth.  

With all those children and teenagers the food got gone quick.  The stove would be full of food and it was a treat to look in and see what that weeks surprise was.  After lunch, we would have some nice cool watermelon that had been floating in the creek spinning as the water flowed cooling it off.  My grandpa would put the watermelon on top of the old well house and cut it and you better get it and run or it was gone just like the food.

Hair Cutting Time-

My Aunt Shirley would cut hair on the back porch on Sundays.  We would go one a time to get trimmed up and stay high and tight as young boys did back in those days.  She would talk to us, tell us stories and cut our hair.  Getting your hair cut was something you looked forward to because it meant something to the family and was an expectation.  We all got our hair cut by mom or dad with the trimmers back then. 

You sat down and about a minute later you had some short hair like an army or marine.  The girls had it a little better and Aunt Shirley kept them cut nice and neat like Marsha Brady.  Shoulder length and cut straight across and beautiful.  She could have made a fortune if she had spent all that time working in a salon cutting, but it was her way of giving back and taking care of us.

Playing in the Creek-

We had a small creek on the property that always flowed well and had some minnows, small fish and crawdads in it to catch.  We would build up a damn on the creek so the water would get a few feet deep and then swing on the rope and fall into the water or see if we could swing all the way across the creek and land on the other side without getting wet, especially in the winter when the water was freezing.  We would slide around on the ice in the creek during the winter playing hockey and laughing at each other for busting our tails. 

When it rained real hard the creek would flood and the yard pitched in so all the water would lay there and I remember it being 2-3 inches deep and man we had a good time in that flood water.   It seemed like a lake when you are a child, even though it was just a few inches deep.  Either way, it was nice and cool, dirty, sloppy and fun to roll around in.  I miss those days and the flooded yard on rainy days and Sundays.

Wrestling-

We took our wrestling serious and you better not tell my grandpa it was fake.  We would watch wrestling on television and then go outside and bust each other up with the moves.  I have been body slammed, back dropped, closed lined and every now and then caught a kick off a tree limb or a running drop kick.  Yes, it was rough and we didn’t know how to fake it very good so some of us ended up bruised, battered and occasionally broke an arm or got a few stitches.  Of course, when someone got hurt nobody would tell how it happened, even though the adults knew it was the result of kids being stupid.  

We were invincible back then, well at least we thought we were anyways.  My brothers, cousins and myself did some high school wrestling so there were a few of those matches in the yard also.  I remember my uncle Robert challenging my brother Dale to a match and I don’t think it worked out too good for him.  

Pecking Order-

There was a pecking order back then.  The way it worked was by generation and age.  We ranged in age from toddler to twenty five and if you were the little brother, little cousin or youngest you got busted up, beat on, picked on, knocked down, dragged around the yard, buried in the garden head deep and other stuff I better not mention.  If you got hurt, you better not go cry to mom, dad or grandma or else.  It would be worse for you once they found out who snitched and the older ones got in trouble.  

When we ran over into the neighbors garden to grab a watermelon, it was always the young ones that got sent into enemy lines. The older ones were the commanders and the younger ones were the grunts.  We all knew our place in that pecking order until we got old enough to fight back or be promoted from grunt status.  This continued for many years as we were all close in age and typically there were 3-4 of us about the same age all the time. My cousin Russel (I hope we did not scar you for life) got it bad when he was little.  I apologize to you on behalf of Scott and I for carrying on the family traditions on you.  I know you pushed it on down the line as well.

GI Joe, Hot Wheels and Tonka Trucks-

Man we had a good time with GI Joes, the old 12 inch kind that I wish I had to this day.  We setup camps and everything to play with GI Joe, Big Jim and other action figures.  Once they started making the smaller ones, I remember my cousin Shane and Nephew Jeremy playing with those toys on Sundays.  Us older ones would throw firecrackers into their GI Joe camp and blow up the Joes and vehicles.  You could sit in the creek or dirt pile and play for hours with hot wheels, GI Joe, Tonka trucks and other toys. 

Junk Yard Finds and Dirt Clods- 

Right across the street from Grandma Smiths house was a junk yard.  Actually it was a trash dump and you would be surprised the cool toys, finds and contraptions we found raiding the junk yard every weekend.  We were young and knew there was some cool stuff over there and the owner, even though he had a sign up saying to “keep out” was a family friend and distant kin so he knew we were going to be in there.  There was lots of dirt piles from his construction company and we would hide behind them and play war. Some reading this may remember being hit by a dirt clod in the face, neck or back a few times.  If you stood up to throw and a cousin timed it right, you were going to get hit and hit hard.  You shook the pain off, rubbed the dirt off your face and attacked back.  Man I miss those dirt clod wars!

I could go on and on about those good old days and probably make it a book.  My friends, family and neighbors made so many memories on that property and in those woods.  The main thing it taught me was that God gave us nature to explore, enjoy and experience.  My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles taught us to work hard, play hard, have good moral values and how to take care of one another. 

I still to this day want a property with an awesome stream that flows so sweetly.  So I can Oneday watch the next generation play in the water, the mud, the woods and have the awesome life experience my family did. I wrote this one in honor of all my family, friends and those that grew up playing outdoors, in the creek, in the woods making all those wonderful memories you now can share with your kids.

God Bless!  KB

Americana: Sundays at Grandma Smiths

When I was a kid growing up we would all go to church on Sunday and then head straight over to my Grandma Smiths house and spend all afternoon eating lunch, playing outside, watching football and fellowshipping with family and friends.  When I say family and friends, I mean the entire extended family of at least 20-30 people.  My grandparents were not rich so I do not know how they fed all of us every week like that.  We did have some great fresh garden veggies, potatoes and corn that was grown on the property.  It was the coolest place to go and spend time growing up.  We had all the outdoor activity a child or teenager needed.  

Summertime Fun And Sports-

Summer time was my favorite season as the grass was nice and green and much softer to land on when your cousins and brothers piled on top of you playing tackle football.  Of course, we played with no pads and you got busted up good on most Sundays.  We played every sport you can think of, football, soccer, softball, baseball, basketball.  It wasn’t just the kids playing, the adults played also and I remember some collisions with my aunts and uncles while chasing a ball or going for a goal.  We would help each other up, laugh, and keep playing. 

We had a basketball goal that was about 8 feet high and you could run and jump off the little hill behind it and try to dunk the ball when you got older.  But, you had best watch out because someone older was going to try and stuff it back in your face and likely knock you down doing it. My brother Jerry loved to put it back in your face and did so to his son and daughter many times.

Cowboys vs. Redskins-

We watched football on the three main channels on that old box shaped television and if you were the closest to it, you became the remote control turning that little clicker button to change the channel.  After changing the channel you had to adjust the rabbit ears to get the signal just right.  Sometimes you had to freeze and not move so everyone could see the game or the Disney movie of the week.  The family was divided between Cowboy and Redskin fans mostly.  Might have been a few Falcon fans here and there and we didn’t have the Panthers to root for back then.  The best seat was at the table near the television and nobody sat in grandpa’s chair.  That corner chair was his, as I type I can see him sitting in that chair eating and watching football. It got loud at times and you couldn’t hardly hear from all the smack talking going on, and sometimes we had to go outside and settle it on Grandma’s football field.

Grandma’s Biscuits-

My Grandma made the best biscuits ever.  She did not make them real big, but they were just right and tasted so good.  She wasted no batter, mix or dough and would cook every piece of that bread, even the little pieces that were left from cutting the round biscuits out of the dough.  Those little ends were fabulous and hit the spot, especially with some good gravy, home made jelly or honey on top.  You better not be the last few people through the line or you didn’t get any biscuits.  We had a a saying around the house, “last one to the trough, don’t get fed” and that was the truth.  

With all those children and teenagers the food got gone quick.  The stove would be full of food and it was a treat to look in and see what that weeks surprise was.  After lunch, we would have some nice cool watermelon that had been floating in the creek spinning as the water flowed cooling it off.  My grandpa would put the watermelon on top of the old well house and cut it and you better get it and run or it was gone just like the food.

Hair Cutting Time-

My Aunt Shirley would cut hair on the back porch on Sundays.  We would go one a time to get trimmed up and stay high and tight as young boys did back in those days.  She would talk to us, tell us stories and cut our hair.  Getting your hair cut was something you looked forward to because it meant something to the family and was an expectation.  We all got our hair cut by mom or dad with the trimmers back then.  You sat down and about a minute later you had some short hair like an army or marine.  The girls had it a little better and Aunt Shirley kept them cut nice and neat like Marsha Brady.  Shoulder length and cut straight across and beautiful.  She could have made a fortune if she had spent all that time working in a salon cutting, but it was her way of giving back and taking care of us.

Playing in the Creek-

We had a small creek on the property that always flowed well and had some minnows, small fish and crawdads in it to catch.  We would build up a damn on the creek so the water would get a few feet deep and then swing on the rope and fall into the water or see if we could swing all the way across the creek and land on the other side without getting wet, especially in the winter when the water was freezing.  We would slide around on the ice in the creek during the winter playing hockey and laughing at each other for busting our tails. 

When it rained real hard the creek would flood and the yard pitched in so all the water would lay there and I remember it being 2-3 inches deep and man we had a good time in that flood water.   It seemed like a lake when you are a child, even though it was just a few inches deep.  Either way, it was nice and cool, dirty, sloppy and fun to roll around in.  I miss those days and the flooded yard on rainy days and Sundays.

Wrestling-

We took our wrestling serious and you better not tell my grandpa it was fake.  We would watch wrestling on television and then go outside and bust each other up with the moves.  I have been body slammed, back dropped, closed lined and every now and then caught a kick off a tree limb or a running drop kick.  Yes, it was rough and we didn’t know how to fake it very good so some of us ended up bruised, battered and occasionally broke an arm or got a few stitches.  Of course, when someone got hurt nobody would tell how it happened, even though the adults knew it was the result of kids being stupid.  

We were invincible back then, well at least we thought we were anyways.  My brothers, cousins and myself did some high school wrestling so there were a few of those matches in the yard also.  I remember my uncle Robert challenging my brother Dale to a match and I don’t think it worked out too good for him.  

Pecking Order-

There was a pecking order back then.  The way it worked was by generation and age.  We ranged in age from toddler to twenty five and if you were the little brother, little cousin or youngest you got busted up, beat on, picked on, knocked down, dragged around the yard, buried in the garden head deep and other stuff I better not mention.  If you got hurt, you better not go cry to mom, dad or grandma or else.  It would be worse for you once they found out who snitched and the older ones got in trouble.  

When we ran over into the neighbors garden to grab a watermelon, it was always the young ones that got sent into enemy lines. The older ones were the commanders and the younger ones were the grunts.  We all knew our place in that pecking order until we got old enough to fight back or be promoted from grunt status.  This continued for many years as we were all close in age and typically there were 3-4 of us about the same age all the time. My cousin Russel (I hope we did not scar you for life) got it bad when he was little.  I apologize to you on behalf of Scott and I for carrying on the family traditions on you.  I know you pushed it on down the line as well.

GI Joe, Hot Wheels and Tonka Trucks-

Man we had a good time with GI Joes, the old 12 inch kind that I wish I had to this day.  We setup camps and everything to play with GI Joe, Big Jim and other action figures.  Once they started making the smaller ones, I remember my cousin Shane and Nephew Jeremy playing with those toys on Sundays.  Us older ones would throw firecrackers into their GI Joe camp and blow up the Joes and vehicles.  You could sit in the creek or dirt pile and play for hours with hot wheels, GI Joe, Tonka trucks and other toys. 

Junk Yard Finds and Dirt Clods- 

Right across the street from Grandma Smiths house was a junk yard.  Actually it was a trash dump and you would be surprised the cool toys, finds and contraptions we found raiding the junk yard every weekend.  We were young and knew there was some cool stuff over there and the owner, even though he had a sign up saying to “keep out” was a family friend and distant kin so he knew we were going to be in there. 

There was lots of dirt piles from his construction company and we would hide behind them and play war. Some reading this may remember being hit by a dirt clod in the face, neck or back a few times.  If you stood up to throw and a cousin timed it right, you were going to get hit and hit hard.  You shook the pain off, rubbed the dirt off your face and attacked back.  Man I miss those dirt clod wars!

I could go on and on about those good old days and probably make it a book.  My friends, family and neighbors made so many memories on that property and in those woods.  The main thing it taught me was that God gave us nature to explore, enjoy and experience.  My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles taught us to work hard, play hard, have good moral values and how to take care of one another. 

I still to this day want a property with an awesome stream that flows so sweetly.  So I can Oneday watch the next generation play in the water, the mud, the woods and have the awesome life experience my family did. I wrote this one in honor of all my family, friends and those that grew up playing outdoors, in the creek, in the woods making all those wonderful memories you now can share with your kids.

God Bless!  KB

Football: The Final Drive

Below is a peak at the final chapter of my book about Football, Faith and Family. This is some of the last chapter that discusses the close to my career as a football coach. Enjoy and please go take a look on amazon or kindle it you want to see the other twenty four chapters.

Chapter Twenty Five- The Final Drive

My coaching career all started with an severe playing injury that I thought was the end of the world. I had lost the one thing I held near and dear to my heart. The game that I had worked so hard to be the best I could was done. No more helmets, no more hits, no more pre-game national anthems. However, in reality it was the beginning of something even bigger and many more Thursday and Friday night national anthems. I started coaching as a college volunteer assistant line coach in 1989 and ended my career as a high school coach on a cold Friday night over 25 years later in 2019.  Through the process it was rewarding, fun, challenging, frustrating, hard, never easy and so many other words I could write. 

After that last game I knew it was time to go, time for another generation of coaches that I had been part of mentoring to take over and run with it. It was time to seek other opportunity. That last loss hurt me more watching the seniors cry about losing and playing their last game as a player than the sting of taking a loss as a coach. I may step back out there one day, but it will be on my terms.  My family spent many years on Friday nights sitting in the bleachers watching me coach, watching the boys play and waited at home for me until 8-9 o’clock every night to get home from practice and 1:00-2:00am on Friday nights.  

I had lived my dream as a player and coach and it was time to walk away and spend time with my family.  I loved the game and it had loved me back.  It had given to me ten fold, what I had given it. I am grateful for the opportunity it provided me as a player, coach and fan.  But I am even more grateful for all the Godly men that coached and mentored me through the years.  My teammates, players and peers are what made the game special.  God is the one that made it all happen, he put me where I needed to be in my career and I tried to always honor him in everything I did.  There were ups and downs along the way, but it was exciting as each season came and went.

I am sure I failed at times, but it was all in an effort to be the best person I could be.  I prayed daily to the Lord to guide me, lead me, mentor me and give me grace beyond all understanding.  For my coaching friends, never forget where you came from and how you got where you’re going.  Winning is great, but making sure our young men and women know how to win in life, battle through tough times and push onward towards goals is our main purpose.  As my dad once said, “find something you love, do it with passion and purpose” and all the other stuff will take care of itself.

I want to thank my wife, daughters, family and friends for always being there and supporting my football playing and coaching career.  I want to thank my brothers and cousins for whooping on me and breeding the passion for the game in me on those Sunday afternoons at Grandma Smith’s house.  Those hard hits, tackles, bruises and breaks gave me the foundation to play the game and later coach it.  I love you and look forward to the many years of family time, travel and relaxation.  

Lastly, I thank God for his grace, guidance, mercy and forgiveness.  Without his eternal heavenly love I would not have made it through any of the situations life as a coach, teacher, parent and husband presented me.

The End or is just the Beginning!  Time will Tell, Only God and I know!

Coach B

Football, Faith and Family- Life Lessons Learned in the Trenches

Wanted to share chapter one from my amazon book about my life as a football player and coach.

Chapter One- My Football and Faith Beginning

I grew up in the sport of football, my dad, uncles, brothers and cousins all played football.  We played on Sunday afternoon at my grandma’s house and boy, those were some rough games.  We tackled, blocked and played just like we had pads on.  Football was a tradition in my extended family.  On top of that, my brothers and uncles coached me in little league.

As I got older and made it to high school all of them were there on Fridays watching the games.  So Sunday after church, I got coached up, told what I did and didn’t do and how to get better.  It’s not easy being coached by your relatives and critiqued.  However, looking back I certainly appreciate it now. It was life lessons I needed and something I take with me to this day. 

I always wanted to be a professional football player from the time I was seven years old playing little league.  I worked so hard for many years trying to be the absolute best I could.  I lifted weights, ran laps, ran up and down hills, and played year round sports to become a better athlete.  I had a very good high school career making all conference, all county and all district honors in football as an offensive and defensive lineman.  I was also a three time conference champion wrestler and state qualifier. 

While many of my buddies parties and chased girls, I focused on my academics and sports training.  I was a typical teenage boy, so I will not claim to be innocent by no means.  But I did focus on my goals and aspirations of being the first in my family to attend college on a scholarship.  I did not want my parents to be burdened financially no more than possible.  

All that focus and work was paying off by the time I went into spring of my high school senior year.  I had seven offers to play college football with one of those being NC State. I also had four offers to wrestle in college.  I grew up a North Carolina Tarheel fan (Wolfpack fans please  don’t stop reading)!  I had decided to go to NC State, Western Carolina or Mars Hill College for football. 

My best college wrestling offer was a small school in Pennsylvania and I didn’t want my parents to have to travel that far for matches so I chose football.  Football was my passion and I had goals to accomplish.  Little did I know that football, faith and family would be a journey of ups, downs, curves, trials and triumphs.  

Life Lesson #2- You don’t always get what you want, so put your big boy pants on and push forward.  Life throws ditches, bumps in the road  and what can seem to mountains at times.  As stated above, we don’t always get what we want.  However, that doesn’t mean we stop trying to get to where we are going.  In life, we have to pick ourselves up off the ground, regroup, rebound and push ahead.  We cannot let life get us down and sit on top of us like a bully.  I have had those times and pushed through them.  But there were times when I just wanted to stop, give up and let it go.  The devil wants us to be quitters, he wants us to give up, lose hope and leave our mission.  God wants us to come to him, walk with him and push through the tough times so we can reap the great times.

Football: Winning in Life Attitude

Do you have a winning attitude about life. What is your definition of winning? That all depends on your personal views, background and experience with winning and losing. As a long time career football, wrestling and softball coach I have had to look at winning from two perspectives. One of those being actual W’s and L’s. How is my football team competing or how is my individual wrestlers doing. Are they beating people on the field or the mat. That is a statistical way to view winning and many coaches only view it that way. I know Hall of Fame coaches that have win totals I would love to attain. They are are well known for those stats during their career.

The other way to look at winning is “winning in life” and life after death. As a coach it is my job to mentor my student/athletes to be active hardworking and goal oriented adults. Adults that learned through competition, winning and losing to overcome and push forward. I love seeing my former students go into adult life and succeed on the job, in marriage and whatever they venture into. I love to watch them reap the success of competing at a high level as a wrestler and making the state tournament or winning the ultimate prize of a state championship. I have been fortunate to have a few of those special wrestlers and they are few and far between.

God is like a coach that pushes us, mentors us and teaches us how to be productive in life. He especially wants us to be productive Christians that seek his guidance to live a fantastic life full of success. Living his word and seeking his guidance and coaching will allow us to get the ultimate win. God is consistent and walks with us through life with our success. He carries us through the losses and always thinks of us above all. How do you try to win at life and how do you want to win with God?

  1. Will you be coachable and work hard to overcome losses and gain more life wins?
  2. Will you be coachable by God and allow his spirit to guide you to afterlife success?

Proverbs 21:31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.

Dear Lord, please come into my life and allow me to be coached by you. Show me your wisdom, grace and mercy all the days of my life. Show me through winning and losing that I can always look to you for motivation and consistency. Amen

God Bless! KB

Sports: Talk is Cheap, Action Speaks

Talk Is Cheap, Action Speaks

During my coaching career I have heard many inspirational sayings from coaches before games, during meetings and at coaching clinics.  A few of my favorites that stuck with me are “Don’t talk about it, be about it”, “Talks cheap, action speaks” and “Don’t tell me, show me”.  I have said these many times to my football players, wrestlers and team members.  We say these things to our athletes to inspire them to be more than talk, to be more than they currently are.  We want to challenge them to become bigger, stronger and faster and tougher.  We want to show the opponent through our play that we are tough, will battle and fight to the last whistle.

In today’s world of social media many athletes ;ike to talk trash.  They post  about who is going to to win, lose and all that hype.  It isn’t a bad thing and is designed to encourage competition.  However, when the whistle blows, many of these tough talkers falter and fall short of their own expectations.  They get whipped, pushed around and often make excuses for those shortcomings.  They point the finger at the coach, the referee, the team or whatever it is that diverts the blame from them.  

Many times I have told athletes, “if you were as tough as you think you are, you would be a champion and unstoppable”.  Some may say, why would a coach say that to an athlete and may think it sounds like an insult.  In reality it is designed to say to them, man you talk a big game but what you’re doing in practice, on the field of play or wrestling mat does not back up all that smack talk.  As a coach it is not my job to pamper athletes, to make them feel good about themselves by lying to them. It is my job to mentor, guide, lead and coach them up and being honest is part of that process.

Being a Christian is the same concept.  As Christians we often talk a big game, but fail to live up to that standard that God put in place for us.  It is easy to talk a big game and act all Christian around people, but turn around and do the opposite.  God has huge expectations for us and made us in his image.  He coaches us, teaches us and guides us to be strong in faith.  He wants us to inspire others through our actions, thoughts and behaviors.  We obtain spiritual growth and success by putting into actions the living word he gave us in the bible.  God’s word clearly identifies that standing up for what’s right, being strong of will and following his word are what measures us up.  

So let’s all stand up, talk about it and be about it.  Let’s take action and show others through our spirit that God is the way, the light and the truth.  Don’t talk about it, be about it.  

  1. Are you a sayer or a doer?
  2. How can you become a doer?

God, please open my spirit, mind and soul to your word.  Show me how to be an active Christian that is strong of faith and show your light to others through my actions.  Guide me, lead me and strengthen me to not only talk about, but be about your work.  Amen

God Bless! KB 10-23-2020

Daily Reading- 2nd Timothy 3:16-17

Faith: God Given Gifts and Talents

God Given Gifts and Talents

The bible tells us that God awards gifts to everybody.  We are born with these talents. These gifts vary and are expandable by our actions and discipline to use them for his glory.  We can grow these talents and must appreciate them.  It takes courage and patience to multiply gifts and use them for God.  God’s plan for you has a beginning and ending and he seeks you out to expand and grow these gifts and talents.  Your gift may be intellectual, physical, spiritual or a mix of all.  What gift did God give you, what talents do you have and are you using them to spread his word, love and light to the world?

To use these gifts we have to identify them and make them a priority for the good of all; otherwise we are wasting God given talent.  As a career coach in football and wrestling, I have seen my fair share of wasted gifts/talents in student athletes.  I have had gifted athletes that could play any sport and be great at all of them.  However, those athletes fell short of using that talent due to a lack of goals, work ethic and planning.  I saw the talent, teachers saw the talent, but they themselves did not.  I have had others that were probably lucky to be on the team at the beginning of a season end up some of the most talented players/wrestlers I ever coached.

The difference was how they applied those gifts and talents.  They set goals, worked hard and utilized what they had.  To expand these gifts/talents we must seek God’s grace and guidance.  We must pray for help with our gifts and be patient with that.  As I previously stated, the bible tells us that the beginning and end is predetermined by God. We are born with gifts we do not know we had.  I use myself as an example, in my mid 50’s I have suddenly realized a talent I have that was in me the entire time.  Thing was, I was seeking my path more than I was his.  

Now, an awakening of sorts has occurred and suddenly I can do things I never knew I could.  It all is a gift of God, just like his only son Jesus was.  Know that God will watch over you, protect you and give guidance.  We must want to glorify God with what he has awarded us.  Make the world a better place by taking your gifts and using them to help others.

Dear God, we know you have a plan for all of us, we know you seek us out from our beginning and are with us until we take our last breath.  Help us to seek your  guidance through prayer and be obedient in the use of these gifts. Amen

God Bless! KB

10-22-2020

Reading: 1st Corinthians 12:4, Jeremiah 29:11