Americana: Letters From Home

Today my wife and I were cleaning out some old boxes at out house that we plan to sell soon. As I was looking through these boxes for like the fifth time to see what we really need to keep or get rid of. I ran across a series of letters my mom wrote me when I was in college back in the 1980’s. My mom went on to be with the Lord in 2017 and I miss her dearly but know she is doing great and living a great spirit life with God and my dad whom passed away in 2009. Anyways, as I was looking in a box I found these letters that she wrote me every week. We did not have cell phones, internet, snap chat, texting, face time and all that fancy stuff college kids have now to instantly talk to their parents. I lived in Boone, NC in college which was about two hours from home and rarely got to come home especially during football season and in the summer because I was active with the team or working.

I got hurt playing ball and had a severe head injury that caused me to have migraines, loss of concentration and kind of shut me down on many days. I write mostly about being motivated, inspired and living your best life. During that time I was struggling with life, struggling with my health and struggling to keep my school work up. Mom would write each day for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and mail it on Saturday morning. She would write down what she and dad did each day and it could be as simple as what they had for dinner, her washing clothes, how work went and about the dogs. As I read her daily updates from 1986 I got to the part of the letter where she began to tell me to hang in there, stay strong and overcome the injury and my concerns. We often need motivation in life and today I was inspired by a letter my mom wrote me back in 1986 that lifted me up then and did again today.

My mom loved to write letters, send cards, send notes and mail them. She loved to share her feelings, talk to people and take care of them. She knew that I was struggling and took the time to write me a personal letter every week to lift me up and communicate with me. We talked on the phone once a week and I came home about once every five or six weeks with an occasional visit from my parents coming to games or campus to visit. I brought those letters home and will use them as part of my blogging to share my moms story. Share my moms love, patience, kindness, concern and care for fellow human beings. She was more than a mom. She was more than a cafeteria lady at school. She was more than a Sunday school teacher. She was more than a housewife. She was more than a community volunteer. She was a loving, warm and kind soul that prioritized everyone above her own needs and wants.

She was a motivator. She was inspirational. She was wonderful. She was beautiful. She was outstanding. She was a super mom, super person and I was blessed to have her in my life and she continues to check in on me from time to time. She actually saved my life more than once. Most recently she did it in September of 2020. Go read my story Miracle on Old Town Road and you will see how powerful and awesome she truly was.

Miss You mom! Coach B!

Coaching: Five Ways to Identify A Quitter

Quitting in life is a habit that people learn from an early age. As they get older and grow up they learn that it is OK to quit sports teams, school, jobs and on family. There are signs that will give you an idea that someone is about to quit on you, your company, your relationship, your family, their kids, their job and life. I talk to my students about this a personal dilemma they may face in life. As a wrestling coach I see it every year. Kids quit mostly because wrestling is hard, practice is tough and it requires a winning attitude to face down all the potential serbacks it offers. I had a kid quit this week after a few minutes. He asked me to join the team so I let him come out. We warmed up doing some tumbling and exercises and within 20 minutes he asked to go to the bathroom and never came back.

I saw him today and asked him what happened and instead of just telling me it was hard or he didn’t like it he gave me a bunch of excuses about he had to go home, his mom called, etc. I asked him to come back and well, he must have forgot because I have not seen him since. I know why he quit because it is hard. Wrestling is a very mentally and physically challenging sport. It was hard so he walked away. He gave up on it. He quit without a good effort. He gave into his self doubt. He was lazy and wasn’t used to the effort required. I am not sure which one of these is the real answer but I do know that this kid has quit more than one sport, quit on clubs and other groups at school. He has learned a behavior and built a habit that it is OK to just walk away.

There is a likely hood that when he becomes an adult he will quit on jobs, family, friends, and give in when life gets tough. Quitting on life blocks people from being there best. They think it is the easy way out, but reality is it just makes things worse. Quitters show signs and could see them in this kid as he was stopping during team activity, wanting to go get extra water, sitting around while the others were standing up. I saw the signs but still tried to save him. I wanted him to stay, overcome and be a better person and athlete. But he choose to quit, walk away and give in. Below are some signs that someone may be getting ready to quit on you.

1- They stop working hard or hardly give an effort.

2- They quit attending functions, events, meetings and required activity.

3- They have a change of attitude about work, life and play.

4- They want it easy and desire instant gratification.

5- They show weakness physically, mentally and spiritually.

My dad always told me that winners never quit and quitters never win. That still stands for me today and I hope more of the younger parents begin to teach their kids to stick with things. Give things a fighting effort. Work hard and work smart for what you desire. Not just give up, quit, walk away, shut down, run from problems and be a quitter.

Coach B

Americana: Things I Want My Grown Children To Have

Today I was thinking about how grateful I was for all the blessings in my life. Blessings like my wife, grown children, career, health and financial wellness. These things were taught to me growing up by my mom and dad. They were middle of the road Americans that worked hard, helped people and lived their lives based a solid foundation of morals. My brothers and I learned from them and we are pretty much the same and that is not a bad thing. I started thinking about my grown girls who are soon to be 25 and 27 years old and what I wanted for them all these years. We always had a plan to give our girls the best start in life with an educational opportunity, friends, family, fun and guiding them to become good citizens.

Now that they are older and I myself have reached my mid fifties I was writing about how those things I want for my grown young adults that no longer live at home with me. These things are similar to what my parents wanted for my brothers and I . We all want or should want what is best for our kids whether they are babies, elementary age, teenagers or young adults. We can desire these things for our kids, do what we can to get them to their goals but ultimately once they are grown and on their own it is up to them to chase their dreams, be happy, find love, work hard and do whatever they want to do. With this in mind, I put together a quick list of the things I want my grown kids to have.

2- I want them to have true friends. Friends that value them, love and support them that will be there. Not just friends but true “friends”.

1- I want my girls to have a healthy relationship with God. They grew up knowing Gods grace and have witnessed it many times during their lives. I hope they continue to see the “hope” in that relationship with our creator.

3- I want them to have success in life. Both of my girls work very hard and have accomplished some awesome things already. I want them to chase their dreams and live their best life.

4- I want them to have purpose. This means that they live a fruitful and productive life that benefits others, their families and themselves.

5- I want them to have kids. I cannot wait for that first Grandchild to see and hold. I have plans to spoil the little rascals as much as I can without crossing boundaries that my daughters set with their kids.

6- I want them to find the love of their live. I pray that they find their true soul mate and live a long and prosperous life married, raising kids, working, loving, living, laughing and all the other things involved in a family life.

7- I want them to be healthy. I want them to be fit, healthy and live a life of energy and fun. Being healthy is a priority and one of my things I regret not teaching my kids better on.

8- I want them to be financially secure. With hard work, sound financial management, saving, investing and chasing their dreams and visions they can have the income they desire to live a great life.

Lastly, I want them to live their best life. Have hope, faith, inner peace, motivation, self-respect, determination, dedication and discipline to live that best life.

Coach B!

Daily Bread: Teach Me Lord To Live By Your Word

This is part 2 of the previous blog post entitled Teach Me Lord To Know Your Ways. Today we are talking about the next phase of knowing Gods will in your life and that is to begin to live by that word. As we begin the process of spiritual growth and awakening by diving into the word, reading, praying and asking for guidance. We then must take the next step in the process and that is to begin to use that information to shape the way we think, act, behave, react, and respond to people, life and its challenges. As humans we have restrictions and limitations that come from areas of weakness, self doubt and Pity.

God is perfect and wants us to live the best life we can as he feeds us his love, mercy and grace. My wife loves lighthouses and I wrote a piece back a year or so ago about how a lighthouse is a beacon of light and hope for the world. By beginning to live by the word we open ourselves to the many blessings and power that God bestows upon us. If your working the process in your spiritual life I am writing about then you are now doing two very important parts of the process of spiritual growth and change. You are seeking his guidance and trying to use that guidance to live by.

As a teacher, coach and family man I am called to serve the students, community and my family with the best principles I can. I am expected to fulfill the honor of helping to show young people that living a good life, being honorable, trustworthy, loving, compassionate, kind and forgiving is a good way to live. We can all become a shining beacon of light for our students, family, co-workers, community and friends. Let your light shine by seeking Gods grace and mercy. Let your light shine by diving into his word and then living it the best you can. Go live your best life and help others live theirs and that will grow you and all those around you.

“To teach you that man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” Deuteronomy 8:3

Coach B

Health: 10 Ways To Improve Your Physical and Mental Health

Today we are looking at ten ways you can improve your physical and mental health. I have been a on reboot of sorts the last several months due to some major health issues and two close calls with death. I actually did many of these during my adult life but had let some things skip and after a heart issue and nearly checking out with Covid I have put much thought into my emotional, physical and spiritual well being going forward. I have as I stated rebooted my systems, hit the reset button and am pushing forward with life to accomplish my goals and dreams. I had to ask myself “why” am I where I am at and “why” should I make the needed changes to get to where I wanted to be. My “why” is that I want to enjoy my retirement years coming up sooner than later. I want to be healthy of mind, body and soul. I want to have the energy to live my best life. That is my “why”. Check out these simple changes or things to do to live your best physical and mental healthy life and give them a try. Then write down your “why” and find a way to make it happen.

1- Eat healthier foods. It is OK to splurge on occasion but unhealthy eating habits will eventually take a toll on your health. If it taste really good, chances are it is not so good for you. Make small changes to your diet and watch your energy levels and overall health improve.

2- Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol and drugs. Do you but be careful as to how much you consume. I never was a big drinker and have not once put a drug into my body. But that is me and as I said do you but do it with caution and an end goal in mind of enjoying it and not using it as a tool to cope or just feel high. Best scenario is just not doing it at all.

3- Stop smoking, vaping and chewing tobacco. These things are very dangerous for the body, have chemicals in them that are addictive and will eventually take a toll on your health. Relying on them to relieve stress and anxiety will not fix your emotional stability.

4- Manage stress- Keeping a check on your stress levels is important. Stress takes its toll on you physically, emotionally and spiritually in life. Mange it the best you can without turning to drugs, alcohol. addictive’s substances and bad decisions. Find a way to get rid of it by walking, hiking, sleeping, running, listening to music, traveling, etc. When you are stressed those around you know it and feel it also.

5- Activity and Exercise. Be an active person and find ways to use energy to create energy. Walking is a great way to do that. You do not have to be a gym rat or the most fit person. Get a bike and take bike rides around the neighborhood. Go to a park and take a mile or two walk. Go to the gym and go hard. Do something active and watch how good it makes you feel.

6- Do something you enjoy. What are the things you enjoy doing outside of family, friends and work. Find a hobby that relaxes you and allows you to just chill and be you. Solve puzzles, draw, write, cross stitch, build things, work in the shop, work outside, have a garden, hang with friends, go shopping. Find your “why” and go do it.

7- Connect with family and friends. Do not get caught up in the day to day busy lifestyle that leads to boredom and the same old thing. Yes we have to go work, go to the store, clean the house and all the other responsibilities. But finding time to text, talk, hang out with or just visit with neighbors is important. Having a solid inner circle of people around will help you be more emotionally and physically safe and stable.

8-Volunteer/Serve Others- Find a local charity, church, community out reach program to get involved in. Helping others will help you. It fits the bill for many of the thing listed above. Being active, giving, living a healthy life and doing something you enjoy. Serve food a a food bank. Serve on a church council. Raise money for a good cause. Coach a ,little league team. Use your talents and skills to serve others and the payback is much more than any paycheck can offer you.

9- Ask for help. Do not be afraid to ask for help from your loved ones, friends, family and mentors. Those people have resources, experience and background to help you. It might be just to talk to someone. It might be to reach out to a friend that you highly trust. Ask for help, do not try to do it on your own.

10- Pray, Pray and Pray. Connect with God on a daily basis. Seek his guidance, grace, mercy and leadership in your life. If another entity is your thing, then seek it and do it wholeheartedly. Enhancing your spiritual life enhances all the other parts of it.

Find your “why” and go after it. Make small changes and live your best life!

Coach B!

Americana: Four Wheeling Fun, Family and Friends

The old saying is that money cannot buy you happiness. But it can buy you a four wheeler and everyone I know that has one rides with a smile on their faces. My wife and I bought new four wheelers last year and have had a great time riding them on the property. We go out every now and then and just go for a casual ride through the woods, on some trails and down the road. Four wheelers are relatively inexpensive and can be maintained with regular servicing at a local shop or dealership. The weather here in North Carolina today was awesome with 78 degrees and blue skies everywhere. So we jumped on the four wheelers and rode around for a few hours enjoying the weather and laughing at the dogs as they ran all over the yard trying to keep up with us.

We rode the trails, seen a couple of deer and a cow. Yes, we saw a rogue cow from the neighbors farm that likes to break out of the fence and roam our yard eating flowers and plants. We got him moving back towards his farm and went on our way running the dogs for another hour or so. I got a little mud on me also and the four wheeler needs a bath tomorrow when I get home from work. My daughter and her husband have four wheelers and come over and we ride all summer long, especially on Saturdays. I have heard about a few small towns in West Virginia where you can camp and ride your four wheeler around town and all through the woods so that is now on our to do list of places to go and enjoy.

Four wheeling allows you to relax, laugh, get dirty and just have some clean fun. Four wheeling allows you to spend quality time with your family and friends. We have a pool and lots of people come over during the summer so we get them out and people swim , ride four wheelers, play volleyball and enjoy a nice fire in the pit. Four wheeling gets you out of the house and is a great cure for covid lock downs. If you live in an area where four wheelers are not able to be used, then go rent a couple of them and spend a weekend in the woods away from home. Four wheeling if done safely is fun, entertaining, active and a great experience.

Coach B!

Sports: Breaking Up Your Unplowed Ground- Bobby’s Story

Ever reach that point in life where you are not reaping the product you are desiring. Not getting the results you wanted to achieve? Many times in life we find ourselves cultivating our dreams, goals, desires and visions in a field of thorns. In the bible Gods word tells us; that we often reap what we sew. In Jeremiah 4:3; it states that we should “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns”. Addictions, self loathing, deceit, anger, resentment, sexual desires, self doubt, crime, hate and so many things often get in the way of what people want or desire. I am preparing for another wrestling season and as I was reviewing some notes I had my guys send me about what the wanted to accomplish this season it made me think about a wrestler I had several years back and his plight.

This young man came out as a freshman and like most typical first year kids he was learning the ropes of the sport. That involved building a base of basic moves, counters, and take downs that he could use to try and win as much as possible. He worked his tail off in practice but was just a little heavy for his class so he had to wrestle bigger, stronger and older guys. That frustrated him but he never quit, kept working and understood the value of gaining experience whether it was a win or a loss. Every second in the practice room and every second on the mat during a match made the difference and could help him close the gap. His 9th grade goal was lofty and it was to have a winning season. Well, he fell short of that goal and had a record of 6-14 overall. He finished the season with a couple of good wins and knew his one main weakness was strength and being on his feet in what wrestlers call a “neutral position”.

Along comes off season workouts and camps and “Bobby” decides he will have a winning season his 10th grade year so he kept working on moves and getting better but didn’t focus on his glaring weakness which was strength and neutral position. For those not familiar with the sport, when you are neutral you and the opponent are on your feet and both have no advantage and can score a take down. Takedowns was Bobbies weakness. He did not have the confidence to go for it and didn’t work at it because of that lack of confidence. 10th grade year comes along and now Bobby is 10 pounds heavier and moves up a weight class. Many of his opponents were once again bigger, stronger and older and his year goes against his plan. He keeps working hard and wrestling hard and gets much better. However, his failure to attack his weaknesses in the off season come back to bite him once again. Bobby finishes his 10th grade season with an improved record of 13-18 overall.

Junior season is now on the horizon and he is really frustrated so I sat him down and explained to him where he was falling short and gave him some ideas to improve in that area. If Bobby was a better neutral wrestler he probably would have been 18-13 instead of 13-18 as a 10th grader. He had spent two years getting better at everything other than his weakness of strength and neutral wrestling. Bobby had been sowing his seeds into the bushes and briar patches and was reaping a limited crop because of it. I gave him some specific workouts to do at home, took him to a great local summer camp, got him to summer football weight training and off season workouts. Now Bobby is working on his area of weakness which was his strength and feet movement. Bobby came to workouts, lifted weights, ran and went to a summer camp to learn more moves.

11th grade season comes along and Bobby grew a few inches and is now a 215 pound kid that was a skinny 160 as a 9th grader. He is in a class where the boys are big and strong and can weigh up to 220 pounds. Bobby set his goal of getting his weight down to 195 so he could wrestle in that class. As football season is coming near an end Bobby starts what I call Sunday running. That is going out on Sunday afternoon and running five to ten miles to shape, strengthen and make the body lean and ready for wrestling. Bobby has a good football season but at 5’9 215 he was limited to what he could do with that so he turned his focus on wrestling and his new goal. That new goal was not to have a winning season, but to actually make the regional and state tournament. Big goal in a tough class in our area. Bobby ran, did body weight exercises and cut out all sugary drinks.

11th grade wrestling season comes and Bobby has been on a three week running binge, doing body weight exercises and eating right and now he is a lean and mean 192 pounds at weigh in. Bobby also found time to pull his teammates and friends over to roll around in the yard or wherever they could find a place to get better. Bobby has a great 11th grade season with a winning record of 35-7. Bobby also met his main goal of placing in regions and making the state tournament. He finished 3rd in regions and 8th in states. He was disappointed by that last lost in what we call “blood rounds” in the wrestling world. Once you lose once you then have to battle all the way back to the medal rounds without losing an match. Bobby battled all the way back to the consolation semi-finals and lost in overtime 6-5 to the eventual 3rd place state finisher; Bobby like most people was highly upset and distraught over losing out. I coached him up, told him to be proud and use that feeling to inspire him going into his senior season.

Bobby did just that and he kept plowing “unplowed” ground learning new moves, technique and built his ability as a neutral wrestler to his advantage. He refused to keep going back to that infertile briar patch and instead choose to sow good seeds in fruitful producing land. Along comes 12th grade and wrestling season comes along. Bobby comes out of the gate 5-0 the first week of competition and in the process beat a real good kid from a higher division in the 220 pound bracket. Bobby now stands 6’0 tall and weighs every ounce of 220 pounds. He is strong, agile on his feet and loved to attack the other wrestler. All that work, time, patience and energy was now paying off. Fast forward to the end of the season and Bobby is on a tear with a record of 41-0 and has whipped everyone he wrestled. He had become very dominant and a great wrestler on his feet in neutral position.

Bobby won every tournament we entered, became a conference and regional champion and a 2X state qualifier. Difference is this time he was regional champ and went into the state tournament 44-0. Bobby wrestled well and worked his way through the field in route to the state title match. He was now 47-0 and sitting right at the verge of that goal he had set way back when he was a 9th grader. His opponent was a stud also with a 51-0 record and was the defending state champion. Bobby and this kid beat on each other for three rounds for a tie at 1-1 each. This kid was just as big and strong and great on his feet also. Here comes overtime and the first person to score wins. The referee blows the whistle and they go after each other. They are wore out, sweating, breathing hard but still attacking one another. Bobby now a confident take down wrestler attacks that other kid and goes for a take down and as they get close the out of bounds line the other kid counters Bobbies move and finds a way to score two points winning the match 3-1.

Bobby was heart broken but what a great year he had. He had a great career and is now part of history and did something through sowing good seed and working hard that few can accomplish. As I said above, if we sow good seeds in good ground we will reap a healthy, happy and prosperous crop in life. Those that choose to sow the same seeds over and over with addictions, poor decisions, bad behavior, crime, hate, anger, resentment will continue to get limited crops until they change over to the unplowed ground. There is so much potential in that unplowed ground just sitting there waiting to be plowed, sewn, cared for and reaped.

God Bless! Coach B!

Writing: Reasons To Write A Book/Blog

Let me begin by stating that if the #1 intention of writing a book or blog is to make a bunch of money then you might want to check yourself. I am not saying it cannot happen, but if you go into it with the goal of making $ then you might be off track from the get go. I know some very qualified and experienced writers/bloggers that write and never make a dime. There are literally millions of books and thousands of blogs on the internet to read. I write my blog and have wrote two short books because I like to write, share life stories and motivate others to become more than who they are. Along the way, if I gather a small or large following and sell a few books then great. If not, then I will still sit down, seek inspiration and write daily. Writing is my therapy and something that allows me to bring back old memories, good times and get inspired for life.

So know you know my reason for writing a blog which again is to share, motivate, inspire and offer general guidance to people that like to read what I write. Writing and blogging takes practice and just as I have done for over 20 years in the coaching and educational industry I blog daily to get better. Practice may never make you perfect, but it can make you much better than you were yesterday. I write things down to seek inspiration and guidance. Today for example, my wife and I were cleaning out our garage and I found a box full of old GI Joes, Hot Wheels, Match Box Cars, plastic soldiers, and other things I collected and played with as a child in the late 60’s and 70’s. That inspired me to write about those memories, toys and growing up in the 70’s and 80’s.

Enough of my blabber about why I blog and my inspiration. Now I will give some sound, basic reasons why you should tell your story by writing a book or blog.

1- Everyone has a story to tell. We all have a story to tell and it will help others to read it. \

2- Writing is therapy for the mind, body and soul. Writing clears the mind and allows you to just sit down, relax and put your thoughts on paper.

3- Writing can be a part time or fulltime gig. You may make money and you may not. Either way it can be developed and with the right connections, focus and a bit of luck you can hit it big.

4- Writing a blog forces you to confront your past and think about your future. Writing your story and putting it all out there helps you heal.

5- Writing is challenging and fun. I love to write and never will claim to be a great writer. I am beginning to build a decent following, but as stated above if I was after money I would open a business and dedicate the time I put into writing into that instead.

6- You are an expert at something. I know people that are experts at teaching, coaching, mentoring, preaching, making things, cooking, business ownership, being a mom and so many other things. Use that platform to reach people and give them advice and knowledge.

7- Writing and blogging is part of life long education. You do not have to be a professor of English Literature to be a writer.

8- You can tackle new challenges, conduct research and write about human interest things. People love a good story so tell them a story (hopefully true stories).

9- You discover hidden talent and grow as a person.

10- Writing develops people skills, communication skills, thinking skills, soft skills and many other qualities we need in life.

Grab a pen and paper or your laptop and start jotting thoughts and ideas down. Next thing you know, your a blogger/writer and will see people reacting to your thoughts, ideas, advice and life story. Happy Writing!

Coach B

Americana: Testing Your Patience- Me Versus a Weed Eater

Yesterday I needed to go and purchase a new weed eater to keep the yard work done. I have a gas powered weed eater that has seen its better days and a battery powered one as well. We have to maintain five acres of land and that requires lots of weeding, spraying and mowing. After getting about halfway through the weeding and the battery powered weed eater dying twice I got really frustrated so I decide it was time for a trip to the store to get a new gas powered weed eater. My wife had been telling me to go get one for awhile (don’t tell her she was right). I get to Lowes and go back and start looking at weed eaters and they have like five brands, gas powered, different motors, different attachments and all those hard decisions. So I enlisted the help of the expert nearby and a few other guys standing around like me doing the same thing, getting a new weed eater.

As we were all talking, comparing and giving one another advice two major themes came to light. 1- Weeding and maintaining a yard sucks. 2- The frustration of a weed eater or small engine is nerve racking. So I make the decision based on best price, best power, best line and best adaptation of the weed whacker. I bring it home brand new in the box with five gallons of pre-mix fuel oil and am ready to knock the rest of the yard out. I had accomplished part of the process by getting a new weed eater to take care of this big yard. I get home and take it from the box and begin to assemble it. I actually read the directions and put it together based on that 1-4 step process.

Bam, weed eater is assembled and fueled up. I again follow the directions on how to fuel it, prime the fuel line, check the line and follow the process to start it. Put it in position #1 and pull five times, check. Put it in #2 and pull three to five times- check. Put in #3 and pull until it starts. Once it starts let it run for two minutes without pumping the gas handle to engage the cutter. I follow the directions and after building a complete sweat, about passing out from pulling on the darn cord for five minutes I have no weed eater power. Now my frustration is setting in and my patience is being tested really hard. I once again as the directions say do the 3 step process and this time it almost starts.

I go to the internet for help now and see the hacks available to check it out. I check the fuel and it is good. I check the muffler and it is good. I check the carbonator to make sure it is set to factory specs. My wife is over there mowing away and I am trying to get this darn thing started. I continue to follow the directions without it starting so now I had said several choice words that I feel bad about saying (had to tell God I was sorry). I have gotten all red faced and pissed off over this freaking weed eater not starting. I am thinking, great now I have to take it back to Lowes, exchange it or get a return. So I sat it down and walked away for a few minutes. Came back after calming down from losing the war with the weed eater and followed the process one more time. Bam, it finally started and ran about 10 seconds but it showed me there was light at the end of the tunnel.

I tried to stay calm, patient and watch my tongue and about an hour into this battle the darn thing starts and ran like a charm. It weeded the yard like a monster and did a great job so I was thankful it finally started. The moral of the story is that starting and maintaining a weed eater or small engine is like life. You have expectations and ideas. You go head into it with hope, aspirations and focus. Then bam, life decides to take a different direction and give you a hard time. And during this time you might lose patience, get tired, frustrated and even get a few blisters (I have three today and they are sore as crap). We keep pulling the string in an attempt to start the motor of the weed eater and life motor. Walk away, clear your head and stay with it and eventually you will be able to weed out the issues of life just like that new weed eater gets rid of those unsightly weeds in the yard.

Patience, Understanding, Attitude, Focus, Determination and Dedication will get that weed eater going every time.

Proverbs 15:18; A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

Coach B!

Sports: Five Stitches and a County Title- Winners Never Quit, Quitters Never Win

Five Stitches and a County Title- Winners Never Quit, Quitters Never Win

When I was fourteen years old I had a ball game on a Saturday afternoon and it was a huge game.  I grew up playing football, basketball and baseball and after advancing into pony league ball I was a pitcher for the local school team.  Back in the day everyone played for their local elementary school distinct teams regardless of age.  Most started playing coach pitch, then moved to pee wee.  Next came a little league where the competition started getting better.  Then came pony league and at the time that was the oldest ages in my county about 12-14 years old.  I loved playing baseball and was a big kid so I learned to pitch the ball when I was little so I could use my size to an advantage.  

By the time I reached pony league I was 14 years old in the 8th grade and stood 6’0 and weighed 190 pounds,  Back in the late 1970’s that was a big kid for the age.  Now kids are like 6’2 240 at that age and many claim it is hormones in the hamburgers.  I just think kids just have gotten bigger over time as advances have been made in sports training, foods, and eating habits.  Anyways here I am on the big day.  A day I had worked for since I was seven years old.  I was the number one pitcher on the team, I was the ace on the mound and had a great season going.  Well, the morning of the county championship game I was in the dirt road playing with some friends and as I rode down the road on my bike a local dog ran under my wheel throwing me off the bike over the handlebars.

If you have ever experienced that you will know that crushed granite rocks on a dirt gravel road are not very forgiving with the skin.  The skin loses that fight and my hands, elbows and face got all scratched up.  I got up and went into the house to show my dad waiting on him to get me for being stupid on a game day and not relaxing like I should have.  Mom checked me over and my left (glove) hand had a big cut.  A cut under my thumb that would require stitches.  The game was at 5:00pm across the county and it was like 2:30pm.  Mom took me to the doctors office and they put five stitches in my glove hand, cleaned the wound and sent me home.  I was mad because the doctor said not to play that day because I would tear the stitches out and get an infection.

Well, we went home dressed and all the time my dad was very quiet and not saying much,  I could tell he was concerned about my hand, but also the team as I was the number one pitcher.  I was 8-0 that season in games and was scheduled to face the best team we would see all season in that championship game.  They had a pitcher that was really good also and he could really throw the ball hard for a 13 year old 7th grader.  He was tall and lanky and could bring the heat with an occasional breaking ball.  I was a fire baller.  I threw heat and tried to move the ball around and had no off speed pitch.  

We load up, get dressed and drive across the county 30 minutes to the game site.  Back then we had home phones so none of the boys or parents knew I was hurt until we pulled in and got out and here I am standing there with a wrapped up hand.  I instantly saw the stress on my teammates’ faces and tried to field their barrage of questions as to what happened, could I play, who was going to pitch for us.  My dad and a family friend named Leon were the coaches so they started warming up my friend Chris and he was a pretty good pitcher also.  He wasn’t very fast but threw strikes.  Chris warmed up and I begged him to let me play.  She told me the doctor said no game today.  

As fate would have it I was standing there beside the other pitcher talking to him and our catcher threw the ball back a little wildly and it came right at me. Out of instinct I reached out and snagged the ball with my glove and in the process the stitches out of my hand.  And it didn’t hurt too bad (well honestly it hurt bad) but I wasn’t going to tell.  I proceeded to warm up and get ready for the game.  My friend got real nervous and started the game and after a few batters was in trouble.  All I could do was stand and watch in the dugout with my torn stitches and open cut.  Chris ended up having to come out and we were in a bind with nobody better than him. I told my dad to let me throw.  If I hurt bad enough I would walk away, hand him the ball and we could go with put #3.  

I walked to the mound, threw a few warmup pitches and the catcher threw the ball back to me very easy each time.  The umpire called the game back into action and here I am on the mound 8-0 with no outs and bases loaded.  I had a torn hand, busted stitches and was hurting real bad.  I looked at my glove and many years earlier my dad had written this in the glove.  “Winners never quit and quitters never win”..  It hit me that I had to do this, I had to take one for the team,  I had to survive and try to help us win.  I went on to pitch the best game of the season.  Struck out three straight batters to end the first inning and avoid any runs crossing the plate.  I finished the game with ten strikeouts and no hits allowed with one walk.  

We dominated the game and won 16-0 in five innings of play called due to the lead being more than 10 runs after five innings.  My teammates did a great job making a few key outs when the ball was hit by the opposing team and we smashed the ball at the plate for 16 runs.  I was the #4 hitter in the lineup (cleanup hitter).  I didn’t bat until the 4th inning as a teammate pinch hit for me.  I went to the plate with my old wooden monster named bomber.  Tom, the opposing pitcher, had gotten tired and walked the bases full.  Well, he hung one of his curveballs over the plate and I got it all.  Old bomber sent it over the left field fence for a grand slam which made the score 10-0 and blew it wide open for the win.  This story is not about how great a pitcher or hitter I was.  It is about the power of positive thinking, working hard and pushing through life events that can get in the way.  Winners never quit and quitters never win!

Coach B!

Americana: Old CR and Rhinehart

When I was in college in the Banner Elk, NC up in the mountains there was a small store in that little one stoplight town. Everyday the local college students would flood that small community store getting drinks, snacks, food and other items to take back to the dorms on campus. Sitting outside of that corner store right across from the one stop light everyday was two old timers named CR and Rhinehart. These two appeared to be in their mid 70’s and were locals that had lived up in the North Carolina mountains all their lives. They would sit around about all day and eating nabs and drinking soda.

As the college kids and locals came in and out they would always ask with a mountain accent “how are yau’ins doin today”. For those that do not understand what that means let me explain. That was the local way of saying “how are you guys doing”. IF you needed to know the weather and how it was going to be just ask CR and Rhinehart because they had it nailed. One time I ask CR if it was going to snow and he looked at me and said, “son, its goin’ snow like crazy in a lil’ bit”. The skies were about as clear as could be so I didn’t think much of it. Well, a lil’ bit later it snowed about a foot and the clouds rolled in real fast.

A few days later we stopped by to grab some food to take on a weekend camping trip and I ask old CR how he knew it was going to snow. He told me he had lived there all his life and could smell the snow in the air and felt the temperature changing. His life experience was invaluable and was a tool he had developed over time through the years. My roommates and I played football at the college and both men were big fans so we often had great conversations about football, life, family, friends, the weather, the mountains and many other topics.

Fast forward a few years and my roommate and I had transferred to another school down the road and one day we went to the pet store and got two hamsters for the apartment. We named them CR and Rhinehart in honor of those two old geezers that always took the time to talk to everyone, give advice and came to every home ballgame on Saturdays to root for the Bobcats. We all have people like CR and Rhinehart in our lives. They are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends of the family. These old timers have experienced life seeing all kinds of ups and downs.

Their value to us is invaluable as they offer what we all need. That is wisdom, work ethic and values from a different time. Most of these old timers grew up hard working their tail off to make ends meet. They defended their country, took care of family and valued friends. They believed it took a community to raise children and would bust your tail on a heart beat to help you understand life. I am quite sure old CR and Rhinehart are long gone as it has been over 35 years since I was in college up there. So now I carry their memory with me and the times they just boggled my mind knowing all about nature, weather, animals, people, mountains.

They taught us when and where to go fishing, how to catch a trout and how to cook one over an open fire. All you have to do to learn living history is to ask someone that has lived that history. This posting is in honor of all the CR and Rhinehart’s in the world that made such a wonderful difference in the world.

Coach B!

Americana: Jacks Corner Store

Growing up we had a small store up the road a ways where we could go and get a soda, some crackers, peanuts, candy and other snacks after school. Jack was an old man that had a little store next to his house. It was a small block building and about a two minute bike ride or five minute run from the house. Going to Jacks Corner Store was always a treat and it was where the local retired men hung around and told stories, talked about women, weather, politics and life. It was also where the kids gathered to meet up and get some much needed snacks before we took off for the afternoon to play in the woods, the creek or someone’s backyard.

I looked forward to going up to Jacks store and getting my favorite which was a soda and a small bag of peanuts. I would then take the peanuts and pour them into the soda and listen to the fizzing action. Once the soda, peanuts and salt mixed I would drink it all down. I also loved a pack of nabs (cheese crackers) for you young people that missed growing up in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s combined with a orange or grape soda. Jack had all kinds of candy that might be considered bad now like candy cigarettes, wax bottle candy filled with sugary liquids, Astro pops, bottle caps, Boston baked beans, and much more.

I recently rode by there and the old building is now been converted into a small house and I am pretty sure that happened 20 years or so ago. All the kids I grew up with are older and moved away now with exception of 1 o 2 people. We all loved going to Jacks Corner Store to hang out, chill, relax and get life lessons from the old timers hanging around there. Those men knew everyone in the community and would whoop your tail if you were disrespectful or got out of line with them.

Back then the people used to say “it takes a community to raise a child” and they meant it. We learned life lessons, manners, respect, social skills and work ethic at Jacks. The old timers all farmed so they would take us with them to pull tobacco. mow, plow the fields, weed the yards and other physical labor that taught us the needed skills to survive and be a productive citizen.

Riding by Jacks old store made me think about growing up and all the memories I made and share with many life long friends. Old man Jack and the other Old timers are all gone now, but the influence they had on my life and my friends will last forever. God bless America and every small neighborhood store!

Coach B!