HOPE, DREAMS AND LOVE

I am not sure how many of you are familiar with the North Carolina State victory over Houston in the 1983 NCAA championship game. According to Sports Illustrated, it was the most seminal moment in sports in the 20th century. It is also the story of Coach Jim Valvano and his travels from the ultimate in victory to his struggle with cancer.

On the tenth anniversary of the victory, he spoke to the crowd at the North Carolina State fieldhouse about his philosophy of life. Amidst the tears of his former players he told the crowd of the three things that made his life possible. He spoke of his dreams of winning the championship, the hope that he had for the future and the love he had for his players.

It was apparent, even 24 years later, that his words meant something to his former players. Although Valvano had succumbed to cancer almost immediately after his 10th year 1993 return to the NC State fieldhouse, his players took what he said to heart. Each of the surviving players (Lorenzo Charles, the hero of the 1983 game passed away in 2015) told of Valvano’s effect on them. They seem to remember all of the hopes, dreams and love that poured out of him, even long after his coaching days were finished.

Valvano’s influence still remains in the body of the V Foundation, which has raised over 150 million dollars for cancer research. His legacy is a gift that he has left for all of us.

There are many morals to this story. My own feeling after watching 30/30 on ESPN is that you should never give up. Don’t let anyone or anything deter you from your hope, your dreams or your love for people.

My feelings are amplified by the young men that I am working with at the Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School. As I watched them mentor 4th and 5th grade boys at the elementary school, I heard snatches of the same kind of words that Jim Valvano used. “Don’t give up on making the basketball (or football) team.” Somehow, these young men have absorbed these kinds of lessons from teachers, coaches, administrators, parents and friends.

As they filed out of the room that was used for the mentorship, wearing their Jasper Gentlemen red blazers, I could see the looks on their faces. They had transferred the lessons that they have learned in their lives to the youngsters in front of them. Maybe, in some way, as they meet with these boys, they will come to understand that maybe these boys will do the same thing when they grow up.

I believe that I can understand some of what Jim Valvano felt for these players. I am privileged to work with them and maybe be around when they become the men that they are destined to be.

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AGE IS REALLY A NUMBER AND 70 IS THE NEW 60???

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER or 70 IS THE NEW 60

Just got off the phone with a solicitor from a group that Carol supports. The first thing that teed me off is that I answered the phone (unknown number appeared on it); the woman asked if I was Carol. Not sure what this person’s hearing is like, but I really don’t sound like Carol.

She then went on to tell me that she was calling to get some additional funds for her organization and when would Carol be back. I told her that she was out of town and would not be back until next week. She then told me that my wife was probably having fun, drinking and carousing.

First of all, Carol has never caroused, even if I knew the actual definition of the word. Secondly, when you’re in your mid-seventies, your carousing days are at a minimum. She then told me the biggest alternative reality I have heard in a while. “Age is just a Number.” So what do the numbers 76 and 81 mean?

Since those are the life expectancies of men and women, are they just numbers. How about 70 is the new 60. What does that mean? Do people who pretend that stuff really feel like they are 60? Is that just a way of telling 70 year olds to act like they did when they were 60? Does that go for any age 60, 70, or 10 years old?

It really isn’t true that you are as old as you feel. You are your age, and depending on your health, you are the age that you are. I cannot imagine, at age 78 that I should act in way that minimizes my age. I am proud of my age. I think that it’s fine. I have learned a great deal during my 78 years and intend to learn more if I am given that chance.

Keep away from me your fakers of age.

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY WAS A WACKY DAY

I was sitting down at this very computer this morning. I had not planned on going out until about 3:00 this afternoon to see a college coach look at some of the Ridgeland Hardeeville High School basketball players. That meant I had a whole day to get myself prepared to finish our rural school’s website, contact legislators, get some personal stuff done that I had put off.

At 11:00 I got a call telling me that the coaches would be at the high school at 12:00 and that I should go around to the back door of the high school. Now, you must understand that it takes older folks a lot longer to get prepared to go out in civil company. First of all, I have to eat before take my myriad of pills. So I did all of the S’s, went to the kitchen and cut off a piece of Jarlsberg cheese and drank a bit of sweet diet ice tea.

After a brushing of the teeth, I headed out to the high school. The school is about one half hour away. I actually got there at one minute past twelve and was let into the school by one of the cooks. I went to the side door of the gym and ran into one of our Jasper Gentlemen. I asked if the coaches were there yet. I was told that they had not yet come. I got a bit panicked.

In another minute these two gentlemen arrived from Emmanuel College. They were there to look at the two backcourt players who can probably play almost anywhere. I sat next to our basketball coach. He had his eyes glued on the workout. First it was individual shooting, passing dribbling and other skills.

Next were some full court games between the total high school basketball team. There are other youngsters who will grow into fine basketball players. All of the kids are mindful of their manners, and as I described, the coach does not allow them to speak to referees or grimace when they do something wrong.

There were two games, in which all the players were involved and then a two on two with other fine, but younger players. The coaches appeared to be impressed. They finally sat down with each of the two players they were looking out for and had private conversations. I believe they left satisfied that these two could start for them next year.

This is a Division 2 college that is known as a Christian college. It does prepare ministers, but has many other majors. All students, no matter their major, must take 4 religion courses. Reminds me of Beaver College where Carol went. It was a Presbyterian school and one had to take religion courses. So, Carol took them and they tended to be interested.

As I was leaving the building, one of the young men I am working with approached me with a problem. I do get updates from each of those youngsters. I thought that Eric (not his real name) was all square with his future. He is a bright and articulate young man. Evidently, I had not impressed upon him the need to apply to multiple schools. He applied to one school and was rejected. He had not applied to any other school.

I stood there aghast. I could not even speak. How could this happen? Guess what, it happens all the time AND it happened to me. I never knew you had to apply to colleges. I thought the colleges called you. What a dummy!!!

Eric asked about the NASCAR institute of auto mechanics. The school had come to recruit students and Eric had many questions that he never got answered. The biggest problem was that he would not be guaranteed a job at the end of his training. For a fee of from 25-45k.

I thought that maybe our local technical college had an auto mechanic program. It did not. That was too bad, because Carol and connections there with the admissions people there. Where to go next? We went on the web and found a technical college in Savannah, which is only 30 minutes away. Eric will contact them either today or next week. Have no idea what the fees are and what disadvantage there will be for an out of state student. Hopefully, there is some reciprocity between states.

In this kind of mentorship, getting from A to B is the signal task.

TRUMP TWEETS OWN OBIT

 

News Release: 5 March 2017

In an unusual tweet among most of the President’s tweets, Donald Trump has written his own obituary. He did it this morning in a series of tweets that our staff has combined for readability. All hashtags have been removed.

“Donald Trump, President of the United States of America died peacefully in his sleep last night. The President’s family was notified immediately to come to his bedside. However, it was too late; he had fallen into a coma and then died at 2:05 a.m. March 5, 2017.

His first 44 days in office were the most productive of all of the other Presidents of the United States of America. Just as his electoral victory was the largest in history, he carried forth most of his campaign promises at a ferocious rate.

Not only was he the most ambitious of presidents, but he was the most effective. He was able to unite the country in those 44 days as they had never been united before. Men and women of good will gathered to praise him in their places of worship. Large crowds gathered in public places to praise the man who had led his country out of the carnage of the last administration.

His foreign policy gambits were seen as extraordinary by both foreign policy experts and the press. Foreign leaders could not believe how much he had effected the international situation with his creative ideas about how countries should get along. He used the U.S. as an example of reaching out to even the most bombastic of dictators to establish a positive dialogue. This was no mean feat for such countries as North Korea and Belarus. His movement toward Russia and establishing normal relations with Vladimir Putin put him on the list as one of our country’s finest diplomats.

On the economic front, he brought back thousands of jobs to the U.S. His plans for the economy caused a gigantic rise in the Dow (record highs) and the other measures of stock prices.

His budget plans, although unfinished because of his death were thoughtful and balanced. His increase in military spending coupled with elimination of redundant federal programs allowed the budget deficit to come under control. He also demanded that our allies pull their fair share of the load, as well as a well-timed directive to other countries to pay their dues to the United Nations.

Undoubtedly, Trump’s death will never be able to show that he was the best President of the United States that we ever had. His memory will live on in the hearts and minds of all the people of the U.S.A.

 

 

 

 

 

DINE-AROUND HI-JINX

I am trying to figure out whether this is a Woody Allen movie or a companion piece to the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup. It’s hard for me to type because I am laughing so hard.

My wife, Carol, in a fit of graciousness volunteered to become the maven of dine-around. The concept is well intentioned and pretty simple. Among the various communities in Sun City (Adult Disneyworld) there are various stages of livability. Some folks have been here a while, some are snowbirds, some have moved in recently and some are really agoraphobic.

The idea of dine-around is to get people to know each other. The people who have lived here for a while are sometimes gracious enough to participate. They have already established friendships and are not so anxious to make new friends to help newer people to acclimate to this massive 14,000 person community.

Our community is Garden Walk. It is composed of about 250 homes on a series of streets at the back of the community. We sometimes have gatherings that include everyone in the community. At one of these get togethers; my wife raised her hand at an inopportune time to schedule the folks in dine-around.

It goes something like this. People signed up for the events. It was Carol’s job to associate four couples in a group, and assign a leader. Each person took a turn to make a dinner reservation at a restaurant and contacted everyone getting a date. At subsequent dinners, people agree about the next restaurant. After three months, Carol reshuffles the group and we begin all over again.

Problem number 1- there are a number of single women in Garden Walk. I am sure you understand how that happens. The dilemma here is whether to put them with couples, or group them together. One person wanted all of the singles to go out together. The others did not care. After one turn in the barrel, all of singles decided to be mixed in with couples.

In another scene, a resident complained that she and her husband could not find the restaurant that they were to dine in. When she arrived at the restaurant, she discovered that she had to sit at a rectangular table, rather than a round one. She is most uncomfortable at a rectangular table.

Then there is the woman who would not go to a restaurant because she had not heard of it. “Why would you go to a restaurant like that if you had never been there?” “What if the food was not good and you had to pay for it?” “What if the service was subpar? It is silly to try out a new place when there are so many other places to eat at.”

Then there is the person who only wants to meet people who live here all year round. She has lived here since June of last year and has not made any friends. “The people around here are not very friendly. I don’t know any of my neighbors. It was not this way where I came from. This is not what I expected. Put me in a group with full time residents.”

The objective of this activity is to make new friends. So, contrary to the idea, one couple only wanted to go out to eat with people that they already knew. Carol intoned, “You can do that any time, just call them and make arrangements with them.” The couple retorted, “We’re not sure they would want to go out to dinner with us.”

Maybe this is really, “The Sunshine Boys,” with Walter Matthau and George Burns? “ Just say come in. Don’t say Enter.” ENTAHHH.