BACK ISSUES - JULY 2001
*********** A youth coach writes that at his league's recent sign-ups, "One parent reported his child was autistic. Our League Rep. called the 6 coaches together to inform us accordingly and added, 'I don't know if y'all know what it means to be 'autistic but if you saw 'Rainman' with Dustin Hoffman, you'll know that it means he will remember all the plays.' - Not what "autism" means to me!"
Nor me. First of all, there is a broad spectrum of what has come to be called "autism," ranging from the mute, banjo-playing kid in "Deliverance" to the sort of person who can tell you instantly what day of the week you were born on if you just tell him the date and year. My wife has had autistic children in her class for the last few years and has become something of an expert on aspects of it, especially Asperger's Syndrome. She assures me that there is a whole lot more to it than "remembering all the plays," which, since we are talking about "Rainman," is an aspect known as "Idiot Savant" and isn't likely to be the case here.
In general, these have been some of her observations:
Autistic kids tend to be normally intelligent kids. They are not stupid, but autism is not a guarantee of genius, either, as some people would have you believe.
They have difficulty communicating their thoughts and feelings. They are not always able to put into words what they want to say.
They have trouble with relationships. They don't know how to cope when they have problems with other kids. They may act inappropriately. They may strike out, or cry. They just don't know how to react. For them, this is a complex skill that they actually must be taught - and must practice.
They do not seem to have the normal need for affection, and may object to being touched - even when you're praising them.
They do seem to crave attention, though, and often enjoy acting the clown.
Unusual sounds - rhyming, rhythmic, repetitious, alliterative - such as poetry, Indian chanting and foreign words and phrases may provoke uncontrollable laughter. They might find certain football terminology to be very humorous at first. If they do, understand that they are not making fun of you or mocking what you are trying to teach them.
They seem not to understand emotions or to interpret the meaning of facial expressions and body language. They may not understand that they have done something that ticks you off.
Routine is essential. They are not very flexible or adaptable. They do not react well to change. They can focus intensely on an activity and be very reluctant to break it off before they are ready to, just because you say it is time. It may take you a while until they are able to make smooth transitions from one drill or activity to the next.
Simple, easy-to-understand directions are extremely important. If you give three instructions, they may not get past the first.
They are visual learners - drawing or demonstrating works a lot better than telling.
They tend to be perfectionists. They may stick with a job, doing it over and over in hopes of doing it perfectly, even when perfection isn't at all important. If an answer eludes them, they could conceivably spend an entire test period on Problem Number One and never get to Number Two.
It is reasonable to hold them to the same standards as other kids. It may take time for them to measure up to those standards, but they can learn to do so. They may try to get you to cut them some slack by telling you, "I'm autistic - I can't do that," but don't buy it. Somebody has fed them that. Tell them, "Yes, you can."
They can deal with consequences for their actions, provided that the consequences have been clearly spelled out, and provided they follow closely behind the actions. Do not tell them that they are being punished for something they did three days ago, and do not defer rewards for something good they have done. (Actually, that's good advice for dealing with any young kid.)
Bottom line: they will almost certainly cause some headaches for you because of their differences, but they are not "bad" kids. They are not trying to be "bad."
Recommendation if you should have an autistic kid on your team: Make sure you confer with his parents. Make sure that you're all on the same side - the kid's. The parents are used to fighting for their kids. They have probably run into resistance from the education establishment, and they may be expecting more of the same from you. They have undoubtedly been through quite a bit already and they will know a lot about his condition - what works with him and what doesn't. They may sometimes have what seem to you to be unrealistically high expectations for their child, but at the same time he may also pleasantly surprise them by some of the things he will do for you.
Further recommendation: Assign someone - one of your better kids - to be his "buddy" and to serve as his guide throughout practice.
*********** Listen to all the "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender activists" trying to tell you that it is merely about equal rights. Then go to www.parentsrightscoalition.org and see if you agree with them. Read why a Massachusetts woman has been raising hell about the "reading" assigned to her son's summer school class by an "activist" teacher in the town of Newton. Perhaps when you read some of the excerpts and realize that this garbage could be assigned to your kids - we are not talking Huckleberry Finn here, folks - you will get a better idea of what the school voucher argument is all about, and why more and more people are choosing to home-school their kids.
*********** Really? Hmmmmmm.... " Wrote Jim Kuhn, of Greeley, Colorado, as he sent this in:
"As Denver Bronco defensive end Trevor Pryce arrived in Greeley, Colorado for the 2001 training camp, he said: 'No one wants to come to Greeley, but it's part of life. It's better than being in prison.'" (At least, once camp is over, the people of Greeley won't have to worry about Trevor Pryce stalking their streets..)
*********** Hooked on Phonics. I am not kidding. On the Finnish football site, someone said something about a certain "Coach D." Back came this response, in phonetic English "Huu thö fak is Dee?"
*********** Your own dog will sometimes bite you in the ass. Back when Paul Allen, richest owner in sports, agreed to "save" the Seahawks and keep them in Seattle, provided the taxpayers would build him - a man with a net worth equal to that of the entire population of Seattle - a new stadium, he ran into resistance. Taxpayers had already voted down a stadium for the Mariners, only to watch their show-boat politicians make an end run around them and build it anyhow, and they weren't about to roll over for Paul Allen, the Microsoft billionaire.
So Mr. Allen's lackeys put together and mailed out a beautiful brochure, selling the taxpayers on the benefits of the new stadium, and referring to it as a "soccer/football stadium." That was actually a soccer game being played, in an artist's rendering of the new facility. You know why they did that, don't you? If you had said that the stadium was needed by a rich owner so that he wouldn't have to spend his own money paying outrageous salaries to millionaire professional athletes, you'd be dead meat. But if you used the kinder, gentler approach, and suggested that it was for soccer, then you'd have all those suburban mommies stopping by the post office to mail in their pro-stadium ballots on the way to taking little Trevor and Chelsea to soccer practice.
The tactic worked. The stadium passed. It will be ready for the Seahawks - and whoever the hell needs a stadium that size for soccer - in time for the 2002 season.
In fact, it is now at the point in its construction where it is time to select the playing surface. The Seahawks, who everyone knows will be the primary tenants, want to lay down Field Turf (or however it's spelled), the cushiony, state-of-the-art artificial surface.
The soccer people are pushing for natural grass.
I say it's time for Paul Allen to get serious - buy the rights to all soccer programs in the US and shut them down.
*********** Perhaps some Title IX fan out there can help me. A local softball team made up of girls 11 and 12 years of age has continued to win its way through one tournament after another. The local paper interviewed the coach, who said these girls had been working together since October. Now... I've heard all these people talk about how Title IX has benefitted girls, by providing equal opportunities for them in schools, etc. Can someone please tell me how these girls, very good softball players who have managed to play as part of a privately-funded team, would be disadvantaged if their school didn't provide softball for them?
*********** Talk about stereotyping. Many white people are hesitant to criticize the hip-hop culture for fear of being branded racist. But in a survey conducted by the Urban League, 65 per cent of African-Americans questioned said they think rappers are bad role models.
*********** Don't know how long you'd last - or should last - if you as a teacher of young men were to use the "N-word" professionally. Do it and then try telling people that it's "absurd and hurtful" for anyone to suggest you're a racist merely on the basis of what you said. Good luck. But that seems to be what singer Jennifer Lopez is going to get away with. "You know," she said, "the use of the word in the song ("I'm Real") was never meant to be hurtful in any way to anybody."
********** Maybe it's redneck hip-hop... "It's hard to believe how politically incorrect Nascar gets away with being: starting every race with a prayer, flaunting its connections to tobacco, flying the Confederate flag, letting the infields fill with fans lugging coolers of beer. It's also hard to believe that corporate America, the repository of image weeniness, has been eager to associate itself with so many otherwise unaccceptable tastes and habits." Holman Jenkins, Jr., in the Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2001
*********** Drew Dyck, a student at Portland State University, wrote in the Portland Oregonian recently about a class he is taking. His sociology professor was discussing "contemporary marriage," and used her own daughter's wedding vows as an example.
Rather than the usual for-better-or-worse stuff, they went with a sort of contract, containing such wording as "We will be close, but not too close. We will love each other while still giving the distance necessary for our separate lives..." (The professor actually read this to the class.)
While his classmates sat there "in awed silence," Mr. Dyck says he decided to be the one to rain on the party.
"Are they still together?" he asked.
'Well actually," said the professor, "they're not."
*********** By the way, we started with footballs last night. Started teaching the Wyatt method of snapping and it took a few reps but the kids seem to be catching on. Ran the Powers and Wedge from tight and spread. Third night running plays and the other teams have not had one rep yet. Coach in the Division below me was conducting throwing drills, long passes even. What is wrong with this picture? The NFL influence I believe. He asked me more than once in the preseason if I thought he could throw the ball in his age bracket. I said more than once, NO! He quit asking. I will keep you posted on our records as the season progresses. I offered to teach him a few double wing plays and though I thought at one point he wanted to learn some, I believe some other fathers convinced him that the DW wing offense was not right for them. It is a dang shame when the kids will have to pay for "Daddy's" mistakes and egos. John Torres, Manteca, California (I guess some of these people think that Earl Woods started Tiger out with a man-sized driver. HW)
*********** Noted chairman Jack Welch of GE has been praised for his company's evaluation process that in effect requires its managers to continually weed out the bottom 10 per cent of their performers.
Ford has tried the same thing, though, and is catching all sorts of hell for, among other things, supposedly using the policy to get rid of older workers.
Regardless, here's something a coach ought to bear in mind: surveys show that even those workers with the highest morale are troubled by employers' reluctance to crack down on poor performers.
Sadly, they don't have a lot of faith in management's willingness to do it. In fact, most workers don't think management even knows who the poor performers are: a recent poll of managers at big companies conducted by prestigious management consultant McKinsey and Company revealed that only 16 per cent of them believed their company could tell the difference between top performers and slackers.
His teams played in six Rose Bowl games (winning four) and eight other bowls.His overall bowl record was 10-4. His nine straight bowl games (from 1979 through 1987 are a Pac-10 record. His 1991 team was 12-0, including a 34-14 win over Michigan in the Rose Bowl, and was voted national champion in the coaches' poll. He was named Coach of the Year in 1977, 1984 and 1991.
In 1974, the year before he arrived in Seattle, the Huskies averaged 51,250 a game for 6 games; in1992, his last season, they averaged 72,100 for 7 games, with season ticket sales of 60,000.
87 of his players were drafted by NFL teams, and seven of them were first-round choices.
At one time, Washington had more quarterbacks in the NFL than any other school. Quarterbacks recruited and coached by Coach James who went on to play in the NFL are Mark Brunell, Chris Chandler, Cary Conklin, Billy Joe Hobert, Damon Huard, Hugh Millen, Warren Moon, Tom Flick, Steve Pelluer
Several Don James assistants later became head coaches, including Dennis Fitzgerald (Kent State), Jim Lambright (Washington), Gary Pinkel (Toledo, Missouri), Chris Tormey (Idaho), Skip Hall (Boise State), Jim Mora (Indianapolis Colts),
Coach James served as President of the AFCA in 1989.
Disenchanted by what he believed was his administration's failure to defend his program against charges that Hobert had received illegal loans from an alumnus, Coach James resigned just before the 1993 season, and never coached again.
In 1997 Don James was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
In a very emotional moment, at the Huskies' first home game following his "retirement", the entire Washington squad paraded onto the track in front of his box, looked up at their former coach, and saluted him with helmets held high.
Helmets. That's another story. Grrr. When Coach James "retired," his successor, a long-time UW guy named Jim Lambright, decided he wanted to put his personal stamp on the program, and ordered a return to the purple helmets the Huskies had worn before Coach James came in and redesigned them along the lines of his Kent State helmet. BIG mistake. Alumni and fans raised hell. Hey - good teams with established programs don't change their helmets. (Unless, of course, they're Oregon, and Nike offers them a free makeover backed up by all sorts of research showing that young kids go nuts over it.) First thing Lambright's successor, Rick Neuheisel, did at his very first team meeting as new Huskies' coach? He reached under the table and produced a helmet - the Don James gold helmet. The players knew what that meant. They all stood and applauded.
*********** "...when I was in the service, I'd often come back to the barracks after a real hard, long day which was pretty productive, feeling good about things. Then, after sitting down on the cot, someone within earshot would start to complain. Before you knew it, there would be a whole group of guys complaining and bitching. Before they started, you were feeling good about the accomplishments of the day, even though it may have been a gruelling one. But the attitude of many was changed because of one or two guys telling everybody how you were being overworked, how hot it is, how wrong it is, how bad it is.
*********** I was watching TV news the other night and they did a feature on the Oregon state police's cracking down on HOV (High Occupany Vehicle) lane violations. If you are not aware of HOV's, they are a special sort of abomination designed by the anti-car elitists in our Big Brother Government to tantalize ordinary drivers.
While you and I are stuck in no-go traffic, HOV lanes - paid for by our taxes - stand relatively unused, except for the occasional "High Occupany Vehicle" (a car with more than one occupant) whizzing past us.
The temptation to stop being a chump and get into the HOV lane, single occupant or not, is too great for some drivers, and they succomb. They're the ones the police were nailing.
I sympathize, and wish that when they were arrested these guys would treat what they did as an act of civil disobedience. But, no - they all sound like a bunch of whiners. One guy said he thought it was past seven o'clock, the time that the HOV regulation goes out of effect. He missed by 10 minutes. He blamed it on a faulty watch. "I'm not rich enough to own a Rolex," was what this guy had the guts to tell a TV reporter.
*********** "Coach - Just finished day 3 of youth football in Northern California. Rules here are different than the ones I had in L.A. but we are making do. For example, we cannot touch a ball for the first 10 hours of practice or 5 days. Though I would have preferred to have a real football I have been able to get a lot accomplished regardless. For example, we have devoted a good amount of time to the "little things" and I believe it will pay off. We have been able to initiate our tackling drills using your methods and have been practicing blocking, using both techniques (blocking/tackling) intermittently. It has been very productive. Get this, tonight we "simulated" a 2-wedge play. Though we did not have a ball to give the B-Back, everyone else had a job to do and did it very well. Though this was not big deal to me since we have been running 2-wedge early in the summer for years, some parents seemed astonished that 8-10 year olds were already running plays. Thanks again and thought you may want to hear a good story with a different "twist" like the 'no-football 2-wedge'. " John Torres, Manteca, California
*********** "Coach, Your article concerning heat exhaustion and stroke are very timely and important. There is still an "Old School," mentallity about conditioning football players. I was talking to my son's Middle School Coach the other day about their upcoming 2 a day practice schedule. A father of one of the players came up and said that the coach should run them and not give them water breaks to toughen them up like his coach did to him. It is this mentality that hurts football and kills children. Fortunately the Coach won't take this guys advice.
As you mentioned, there are some articles on the internet related to this subject. The National Federation of High Schools website has two excellant articles. One is actually a quick reference sheet on fluid intake. The links to these articles are at http://www.nfhs.org/sportsmed.htm. Thanks for covering the important subject. Greg Stout, Thompson's Station, Tennessee
*********** A coach in another part of the country who is interested in running the Double-Wing contacted me, and I told him he was very fortunate in that not too far from him was a friend of mine, a Double-Wing coach who I was sure could be of help to him. I told him that I'd gotten to know the coach well because he'd been to at least one of my clinics every year for the past four years, that he had been running the Double-Wing at his high school for four years, and had been a good wing-T coach at another high school for several years before that, and that we corresponded regularly and I knew him to be knowledgeable. Wouldn't that sound like a recommendation to you? I also told him I'd ask my friend to contact him.
So here's the upshot of what happened.
"I contacted coach --------- the other week. He wanted me to come over and I just had too much going on to make it over. His eagerness for my help cooled when I reminded him that I coach the Double-Wing on the ninth grade level and not the varsity level. I guess he felt that an old fat ninth grade coach couldn't help him."
Oh, yeah. I guess I didn't mention that right now, he's coaching a ninth-grade team. I didn't think that mattered, but I guess that disqualifies him from helping a high-and-mighty high school coach who not so long ago was e-mailing me and begging me for help. A high school coach who's too proud to take advice from a lowly ninth-grade coach. Screw him. He's a loser.
*********** Several of you who read my story about Coach Bryant getting ready for Tennessee and not being too proud to get an idea from a high school coach have also mentioned the book "The Junction Boys", about Coach Bryant's boot camp out in the hill country, and Coach Bryant's relationship with a Texas high school coach named O.A. "Bum" Phillips, whom the football world would later get to know quite well.
WHILE THEY LAST..... GREAT COACHING ATTIRE!!! 2001 Clinic ("IT TAKES A SET") Tee Shirts (gray) Specify sizes (L, XL, XXL, XXX) $15 each, including shipping.
*********** Little Welshman Ian Woosnam is a very good golfer. So good that he hit his tee shot within six inches of the 206-yard opening hole on the final round of this past weekend's British Open. And when tapped in his putt, he pulled into the lead in one of golf's most prestigious tournaments.
And then, as he was preparing to play hole number two, his caddy came up to him and said, something like, "Uh... you're going to go ballistic..."
"Why?" asked Woosnam.
"You've got too many clubs in your bag," the caddy told him. Seems the caddy had failed to do a routine check of the bag, and had failed to remove an extra driver that Woosnam had been experimenting with on the practice tee.
In golf, carrying too many clubs means an automatic two-stroke penalty. For every hole played. Now, Woosnam still had 17 holes to play, but considering the number of the other players contending closely for the lead, two strokes at that point quite likely meant losing the tournament.
He might have tried to keep it a secret. It's possible that no one would ever have found out. Football players get away with holding all the time. There are even coaches who teach it. What receiver doesn't jump up, indignantly protesting the official's decision that, in accordance with what all the rest of us could clearly see, he trapped a ball?
But this is golf. Golf is self-policing. That is because it is presumed that golfers will be sportsmen, and that they will put the integrity of golf ahead of anything else, and leave a better game for the people who come after them. So far, the win-at-all-costs philosophy of our culture - even when the cost is loss of integrity - has not yet made its way into tournament golf.
So Woosnam reported himself. And took the penalty. And, yes, went ballistic. And then, although understandably rattled at such a horrible turn of luck, he got himself together, sucked it up and competed. He didn't win, but he didn't play "poor me" either. In going down as a competitor, and in his gracious comments afterward, he demonstrated the dignity of a champion.
*********** One of the great things about women's athletics, I've heard, is that it enables females to see themselves as something other than mere sexual objects. Okay by me. But in this Tuesday's USA Today, the WNBA is portrayed as being very gay-friendly, and some among its legion of lesbian fans are expressing suprise that none of its players or coaches have yet "come out." Uh, wouldn't you say that sounds as if the women of the WNBA are right back to being sexual objects?
*********** The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has a web site for a special group of veterans. "Disturbed by What You Saw in the Film 'Saving Private Ryan' or Know Someone Who Is?" it asks, then adds, "VA Can Help." Evidently the old geezers it's directed at are tougher than the kinder, gentler weenies who created the page, because it's coming up three years since the page first went up on July 28, 1998, and the page counter shows that in all that time it's received exactly 25 hits- and the person who notifed me - definitely not the sort of veteran who was disturbed by what he saw - assures me that he acounted for two of them.
*********** Just in case you wonder why advertisers pay for all those decals on stock cars and patches on drivers' uniforms: a full 75 per cent of Nascar fans surveyed say that they will go out of their way to support their sport's sponsors. That's twice the percentage of football or basketball fans.surveyed
*********** The latest tip (See TIPS) is a favorite drill which I have often used to introduce kids to real football.
For eight years, I coached at Hudson's Bay High, in Vancouver, Washington. Our arch-rivals - it got downright nasty at times - were the Fort Vancouver High Trappers, so it made sense to us to call it "Trapper Drill." It was always the first full-contact drill we held on the first day we were allowed to put on pads.
For several years, we were a three-year high school, and we drew kids from five different junior highs, so we really didn't know which incoming sophs could play. Trapper Drill told us a lot. We seldom had many big kids, but one year, for some reason, we had an unusually large number of very big sophs coming in. We were excited. We finally had some big guys! And then we took a look at them in their first Trapper Drill - and if we'd put a dozen eggs in a bag in the middle of them we wouldn't have broken one.
On the other hand, there was another year when we'd graduated a large bunch of very talented seniors, and the class behind them, not a particularly physical bunch as sophs and juniors, had not been very good as jayvees the year before. But they'd been working hard in the weight room, and I'll never forget seeing them run the Trapper Drill for the first time as seniors. Those kids were flying all over the place, knocking the crap out of each other. We coaches just looked at each other and said, "Holy sh--!"
After the final game of the 1983 season, we stood as a team out in the middle of the stadium, none of us ready yet to head into the locker room and call it a season, when one of my senior leaders, Damon Schafte, said, "I want to play some more football." Others began to pick up on it, and suddenly someone said, "Trapper Drill!" Someone else said, "Hey - could we?" And I said, "Why not?"
We persuaded the custodians to leave the lights on, and so, for the next half-hour, as mystified parents looked on, the kids went at it in the Trapper Drill, out in the middle of an near-empty stadium, playing football the way it was meant to be played - rough-and-tumble, for the sheer fun of it.
*********** BLACK LION TEAM: Hello Hugh.... I'd like to add my team to the Black Lion Award list. It's the Hanover Park Hurricanes 115 lb-ers. We're looking forward to a great season starting this Monday. I had the opportunity to visit the Vietnam travelling wall in a nearby town. I visited Don Holleder's name on panel 28E, and was also able to find my cousin's name on the panel right next to his. I found it very ironic that the only person that I knew personally that died in that ugly war, was so close to Major Holleder. Literally inches apart. It had a very profound impact on me.
I wasn't very close to my cousin Eddie, even though his father was my Godfather, and never knew the circumstances behind his death, other than an Asian sounding name in the battle he died in. You can bet I'll treat this award with the respect and reverence it deserves. And pass it on to the kids as well. I tried to make a scription/etching of his name on the wall but it just wouldn't come out. I wanted to include it in a frame with the award you would provide.
Thanks in advance for your help in everything. I'll let you know how we do. Regards, John Urbaniak, Hanover Park, Illinois
THERE IS NO COST TO YOU, AND NO ONE WILL TRY TO SELL YOU ANYTHING!!!
Time for those "Football Player Dies" headlines to start appearing.
Time for all of us coaches to realize that many of those "football deaths" headlines that terrify moms and keep them from letting their kids play football are caused by heat.
And yet, despite all that we have learned, every year, in the beginning of the season, there are coaches who still think it's sound coaching to "separate the sheep from the goats" - to put poorly-conditioned kids through death-defying drills, pushing them to the point of exhaustion in heat and humidity that would kill many a well-conditioned man.
From the 1930s to the mid-1970s an average of four football players used to die every year from heat stroke. Since the mid-70's, though, that number has been cut in half, thanks largely to three basic changes in coaching: a liberal approach to the use of fluids during practice; more frequent rest breaks; and more sensible practices on hot, humid days.
Nevertheless, every year we still read about those one or two kids whose deaths might possibly have been prevented.
Protect your kids , protect yourself, and protect our game!
First of all, coaches must allow their players to gradually acclimate themselves to the heat. The body's sweat glands will become more efficient as the body becomes more used to the heat, but they are not prepared to work properly if a kid is not in shape. It is insanity to run "Burma Road" drills on the first day, before you have had a chance to assess your kids' condition. It is sadistic any time to try to test your kids' courage or endurance by pushing them to the limit in hot, humid conditions.
Second of all, it is essential to give kids frequent water breaks, and allow them all the water they can drink. As a general rule, all the water they can drink, every half hour. (Actually, mere thirst-quenching doesn't totally satisfy the body's requirements for fluids.)
There are two factors that coaches need to bear in mind:
First, it normally takes 24 hours for the body to fully replenish its water stores after a day of heavy sweating. Therefore, day after day of repeated heavy sweating, rather than "getting the player in shape," actually aggravates matters and requires even more fluid intake.
Second, competitive athletes tend to be people who push themselves, even beyond the point of safety.
A coach needs to do more than just explain to his athletes about the risk of heat stroke. Whenever weather is hot, parents and coaches must insist that players look for symptoms &emdash; such as loss of coordination, weakness, large weight loss &emdash; and bring them to the attention of the coach or another adult.
And, realizing that competitive kids are often reluctant to take themselves out of action, coaches can't simply look the other way and accept a player's word that he's okay, when symptoms indicate otherwise.
Big, heavy kids especially bear watching in hot weather because they tend to tire fastest anyhow, and when they begin to appear to struggle, it is easy for coaches to jump to the conclusion that they are just out of shape, rather than in danger.
At the slightest suspicion of illness due to heat, physicians insist that the coach take immediate action: Get the player out of the sun, remove his clothing, cool the skin and call for emergency help.
From the Warren Clinic of Northeast Oklahoma:
Sweat acts like our natural air conditioner. As sweat evaporates from our skin, it cools us off. Our personal cooling system can fail, though, if we overexert ourselves on hot and humid days. This can result in heat exhaustion or a heat stroke, which is life-threatening.
Heat exhaustion takes time to develop. Fluids and salt are vital for health. They are lost as children and adults sweat a lot during exercise or other strenuous activities. It is very important to drink lots of non-alcoholic liquids before, during and after exercise in hot weather. As strange as it seems, people suffering from heat exhaustion have low, normal or only slightly elevated body temperatures.
Signs and Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
Cool, clammy, pale skin... Sweating... Dry mouth... Fatigue, weakness... Dizziness... Headache... Nausea, sometimes vomiting... Muscle cramps... Weak and rapid pulse
FIRST AID: (While awaiting emergency care)
Move to a cool place indoors or in the shade... Loosen clothing... Take fluids such as cool or cold water. If available, add one half teaspoon of salt to a quart of water and sip it or drink sport drinks... Have salty foods such as saltine crackers, if tolerated.... Lie down in a cool, breezy place.
Heat stroke, unlike heat exhaustion, strikes suddenly, with little warning. When the body's cooling system fails, the body's temperature rises fast. This creates an emergency condition.
Signs of heat stroke include:
Very high temperature (104 degrees F or higher)... Hot, dry, red skin... No sweating... Deep breathing and fast pulse - then shallow breathing and weak pulse... Dilated (unusually wide) pupils... Confusion, delirium, hallucinations... Convulsions... Loss of consciousness
Chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, use of alcohol, and vomiting or diarrhea can put children and adults at risk for heat stroke during very hot weather. Heat stroke in children is not only due to high temperatures and humidity, but also to not drinking enough fluids.
FIRST AID: (While awaiting emergency care)
Do CPR if the person is not breathing and has no pulse.... Do rescue breathing if the person is not breathing, but does have a pulse.
Until emergency care arrives, it is important to lower the body temperature. To do this:
- Move the person to a cool place indoors or under a shady tree. Place the feet higher than the head.
- Remove the clothing and either wrap the person in a cold, wet sheet, sponge the person with towels or sheets that are soaked in cold water or spray the person with cool water. Fan the person. If using an electric fan, use caution. Make sure your hands are dry when you plug the fan in and turn it on. Keep the person with wet items far enough away from the fan so as not to cause electric shock.
- Put ice packs or cold compresses on the neck, under the armpits and on the groin area.
*********** And some of us worry about irate parents...
None of us likes being bothered once practice is underway. Few of us, though, are interrupted by murders-for-hire.
But John Torres, youth coach in California, is also director of the ATF's San Francisco field division, with charge of the agency's activities in most of Northern California, and he had two such cases to deal with this past week, his first week of practice.
In one case, a guy is accused of arranging with an undercover agent to kill his ex-wife, her attorney, and the ex-boyfriend of his current girlfriend. (Still with me?)
"This one still makes me cringe," said Coach JT.
In the other case, a guy is accused of soliciting someone to kill his estranged wife and her brother. Also under arrest is a guy who was serving as the "middle man" in the search for a killer.
But for all his faults, though, the hubby did specify that the murder not be done in front of their two sons.
"So powerful is the fear by Los Angeles high school administrators that were they to select a single valedictorian for a school, it would hurt other students' feelings, that Granada Hills High had 44 valedictorians this year, Chatsworth High 31, Cleveland High 20, Monroe High 17 and North Hollywood High 10, according to a New Times Los Angeles report in July. Said one dissenting teacher, sarcastically: "If one person got very, very good grades and was singled out as valedictorian, we might be saying they are better than other kids. And we can't have that." [New Times Los Angeles, 7-5-01] Submitted by Derek Wade, Tomales, California
*********** TROPHIES FOR EVERYBODY (From a coach who is a veteran)
Hey - looks like I earned some recognition and didn't even know it!!
are you kiddin' me??? is this the new military's version of a "show up" trophy that is so popular in youth sports? "I know your team lost every game Jimmy, buy YOU deserve a trophy!"....
I should stay away from govt web sites..they depress me!
Cold War Recognition Certificate
In accordance with section 1084 of the Fiscal Year 1998 National Defense Authorization Act, the Secretary of Defense approved awarding Cold War Recognition Certificates to all members of the armed forces and qualified federal government civilian personnel who faithfully served the United States during the Cold War era, from Sept. 2, 1945, to Dec. 26, 1991.
*********** "Dear Coach, I read with great sympathy the responses of the fellas regarding how a high school program would respond to a Pop Warner or Youth Program Coach's teaching of the your double wing philosophy. Here in Susanville at Lassen High School, that's exactly what we did. After installing the program in our newly formed Pop Warner Program, we were fortunate enough to have a Head Coach at the High School who honestly believed that, "if you think you know all there is to know about football, it's time to retire". Tom St. Jacques allowed me to run with this approach initially taking our freshman program to an 8-2 record and their first league championship ever. Since that time we took the J.V. program to 2 undefeated seasons and the varsity program to a 10-1 mark. This coming year we're looking at a varsity squad that never lost a game as J.V.'s using your version of the Double Wing. They are looking forward to a run at the Section title for Large Schools here in Northern California. Trust me fellas, if a coach wants to win, he'll listen." Tom Pipes, Former Midget, Freshman & Head J.V. Coach - Susanville, California
*********** A buddy of mine was talking to a sub-varsity and junior high football coach about the value of youth football. He said they both told him they would prefer boys NOT play youth football and in fact would rather they play soccer. Having coached youth football for 6 years I don't subscribe to that thinking but since I've never coached junior high and high school kids I basically have no ground to stand on. I personally have a strong distaste for soccer and "soccer people's attitude" but I do recognize it can develop useful athletic skills. What are your thoughts on the subject?
Honestly, I can't think of a thing other than possibly soccer skills that kids learn from most soccer programs I am aware of. In many - not all - cases, I have seen even good kids act like jerks when they get on a soccer field.
Just as one example of how soccer kids seem to be missing out on the lessons that football players get routinely - in Washington, which I would think would be fairly typical of most states - soccer consistently leads all other sports in ejections from high school athletic contests.
Football doesn't even come close.
Now I ask you - which players are being taught the importance of self-control? Which players are being taught to put the good of the team ahead of themselves?
*********** I don't know why it is that people complain about being stereotyped, but when one of their kind goes against the established way of thinking - breaks the stereotype, in other words - he or she is vilified. For some reason, some of today's most eleoquent conservative writers are people who break stereotypes. Women are all liberal, right? Not Kathleen Parker. Black Americans are all liberal too, right? Not Thomas Sowell. Not Walter Williams. And certainly not Ken Hamblin, the self-proclaimed "Black Avenger" (www.hamblin.com), whom I first came across in the Denver Post. The following is his:
The Bill of No Rights
We, the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some sembalance of justice, avoid any more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional, and other liberal, bedwetters.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim that they require a Bill of No Rights.
ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.
ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone-not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc., but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.
ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free of harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.
ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who will achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes.
ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free healthcare, regardless of what Hillary thinks. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public heath care.
ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.
ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you won't have the right to big screen color TV or life of leisure.
ARTICLE VIII: You don't have the right to demand that our children risk their lives in foreign wars to soothe your aching conscience. We hate oppressive governments and won't lift a finger to stop you from going to fight if you'd like. However, we do not enjoy parenting the entire world and do not want to spend so much of our time battling each and every little tyrant with a military uniform and a funny hat.
ARTICLE IX: You don't have the right to a job. All of us want all of you to have one, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful.
*********** "You may remember that I'm a Wishbone coach. I know about labels. Even though we have evolved into the spread version, people still want to know why we do want we do. I tell them it's what I know and what I can teach and what the kids believe in." Dennis Metzger, Connersville, Indiana
*********** I was watching your Installing the System video, and I was wondering if you still advocate the rolling of the wrists (when blocking) as opposed to the "stabbing with ice picks". I know they seem similar but when demonstrating it to myself it seems as though when you "roll" your wrists that you automatically deliver a pop- but when you stab with ice picks you don't have the extension of the forearm as with the roll tech.....
Is this just semantics or do you believe one method is better than the other?
I have found that although you can probably strike a harder blow by rolling the wrists, there is far more likelihood of the hands getting away from the body and up under an opponent's face mask.
I don't teach that kind of football, and trying to prevent it can get old.
I have adopted the "stabbing the chest with the ice picks" technique, which is what we have always taught (with one "ice pick") when we are down blocking, and by stressing "keeping the ice picks stuck in the chest" we are better able to coach keeping the hands in.
Also--- measure it yourself... it spreads the kids "wings" and makes his blocking surface about 4 inches wider.
Bear in mind that I'm just explaining what I now do and my reasoning for it.
But I know that the wrists-crossed method works well for plenty of other coaches, and I am not suggesting that other people should change something that works fine for them. The wrists-crossed method has worked for me, too.
*********** Coach Wyatt, Please sign us up for the "Black Lion Award" program. I had debated about whether to register my team for this award as Pop Warner rules (as well as my own organization) prohibit "individual" awards. However, since this award celebrates "teamwork," I think the award does not contradict the intent of Pop Warner's rule book. NAME WITHHELD
I applaud your decision and I agree. Unlike the "individual" awards that Pop Warner opposes - a stand I agree with, by the way - every kid on a team can aspire to winning the Black Lion Award.
This is not intended to glorify an individual, and it is not awarded based on God-given ability or on personal stats or on a coach's decision to showcase one particular kid.
It can just as easily be won by a center as by a quarterback.
*********** BLACK LIONS TEAM- Coach Wyatt, Count us in!! The Benilde-St.Margaret's "Red Knights" of Minneapolis, MN would be honored to be included in the Black Lions Award program which honors the memory of Don Holleder.
Each year we give a coach's award to a varsity senior who represents each and every part of what it means to be a Black Lion. Might as well rename the award after such a distinguished group of men, and a very heroic young American.
Yours truly, Joe Gutilla, Head Coach, Benilde-St. Margaret's School, Minneapolis, Minnesota
*********** On the subject of those lazy high school coaches who wanted to change the Double-Wing blocking, because, they complained, it was "too hard to teach," I predicted that youth and middle-school coaches would laugh out loud when they read that:
When I was reading this story -- LAUGHING MY ASS OFF, and wondering "if this is too tough to teach, what is it that they are possibly teaching their kids?..." I tell ya what..if they think teaching this O is too tough, I promise you they aren't teaching proper tackling techniques -- that, in my opinion, it the toughest aspect of the game to teach (if done properly, that is) --- I'm glad MY kid doesn't play for that group! Scott Barnes, Rockwall, Texas
HA,HA,HA,HA,HA. I guess that's how you would spell laughing out loud. Boy, does that sound familiar. I have pleaded, begged, I would even pay to have our high school coaches just give me 1 hr. in a room with a blackboard. But who ever heard of a youth coach giving high school coaches a clinic? If they did I doubt you would have an open mind among them. Frank Simonsen, Cape May, New Jersey
*********** Regarding Coach Simonsen's complaint about some high school coaches' lordly rejection of anything coming from a youth coach, I remembered reading somewhere about Coach Bear Bryant getting an idea from a high school coach, so I did some searching and I found the story.
It was told at a clinic back in 1976 by Jerry Claiborne, then the very successful head coach at Maryland. Coach Claiborne had been an assistant to Coach Bryant at Kentucky and Texas A & M, and he told about being at Kentucky and getting ready to play Tennessee back in 1952. Kentucky rarely beat Tennessee, and hadn't done so in six years.
"We were sitting in there wondering what we were going to do against their single wing and Paul Dietzel, one of the assistant coaches on the staff at that time, said, 'You might think this is crazy, but I have been fooling with this defense a guy showed me at a clinic last summer. It's called a straight line defense.'
"Coach Bryant said, 'We are playing Tennessee. We'll try anything. Put it up on the board.'"
Coach Bryant was what you'd call open-minded. And wise. Kentucky wound up using it and holding Tennessee to a14-14 tie.
*********** It is nice to be able to recognize good kids.
For the last year, three Vancouver, Washington youngsters, Michael Gipson and Garret Riley, both 10, and Ryan Rigali, 9, have been doing chores for their neighbors, some of them older folks, free of charge.
They call themselves The Helpers Club, and they have ten regular "customers" for whom they do such jobs as weeding, carrying in groceries, sweeping driveways, washing cars and washing windows.
They do have one hard and fast rule in taking on a new "customer" - one of them has to know the neighbor. Says Ryan, "The rule for safety is, we don't help strangers because we don;t know them." But, he adds, "When new people come, we try to start helping them right away so they're not strangers."
"People try to give us money," said Garrett, "but we don't take it. We just like to help around. We enjoy doing the work."
*********** For years, Richland, Washington has proudly claimed its place as one of the least politically-correct places in the US. The nearby Hanford Works produced the plutonium used to make the atomic bombs we used to win World War II (Yes, win. We won. I know, I know - I should feel guilty about winning, because when somebody wins, somebody else loses, etc.), and ever since, Richland High School teams have been known as The Bombers. How cool is that? (Their helmet decal used to be a mushroom cloud.
But other, darker clouds are one the horizon, even in Richland.
Back on July 1, as a way of honoring Hanford's role in history, a group of alumni at the high school donated a 10-foot tall bombshell to the school and erected it in the lobby area between its two gyms.
But now the superintendent has ordered it removed. He says it is a simple matter of the group's not having the school board's permission to install it, but the alumni think it's something else.
"Politically correct garbage," is what it is, says the leader of the group. "This country is to the point where everything has to be okay with everyone else."
My question for the Supe at the next school board meeting: didn't anyone notice that group of guys slipping into the school with a 10-foot long green and yellow (school colors) bombshell? Didn't anyone think to ask them why they were drilling holes in the floor? Did they just decide one night, on the spur of the moment, to jimmy the locks and slip into the school unannounced with their, uh, "mascot?"
*********** As the NFL teams head into camp, there is quite a moving story in this week's Sports Illustrated (July 23) about Bob Kalsu, a very good football player from Oklahoma and the Buffalo Bills, who was the only professional athlete killed in Vietnam. I won't ruin it for you by telling you any more.
*********** Gunther Gebel-Williams, the animal trainer who died recently, spent 30 years with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus - and never missed a performance.
*********** I think I know who this guy voted for... I swear I saw this. KATU, the ABC outlet in Portland, was interviewing people about their expected tax refunds. One guy was a little ticked, because he discovered he won't be getting one. He went to H & R Block, which prepared his return, and - "They tell me it's because I didn't pay any taxes."
*********** I know that many Canadians rue the day their ancestors decided to locate next door to the United States, but they haven't seen anything yet - now, Canadian lawyers have evidently seen enough of American TV to realize that there's money to be made in Canada, as well, by convincing Canadian juries that when something bad happens to somebody, it's not his own fault up there, either.
Seems the family of a young drunk who evidently didn't realize that you shouldn't try to deal roughly with a soft drink machine that takes your money without giving you something in return is suing the soft drink manufacturer because its machine fell on the lad and squashed him. The Canadian lawyers still appear to have a bit to learn, though - the parents are "only" asking for something on the order of $600,000 or so.
*********** On the other hand... say this for trial lawyers - they have more than enough guts to make up for what our politicians lack. New York's politicians, showing how brave they are and how interested they are in protecting that state's citizens, outlawed cell-phone use while driving, and then pulling any teeth out of the law by calling for a meaningless, slap-on-the-wrist fine.
But count on the pit bull-trial lawyers to take over where the poodle-politicians left off: a woman - a lawyer, ironically - was driving in Northern Virginia, talking on her cell phone (and racking up billable hours for her law firm) when her car (a Mercedes) swerved and struck a kid, killing her. But so engrossed in business was our lawyer that she was unaware, she later testified, that she'd hit someone.
Only the the next day, as she watched TV while dressing for work, did she realize what she'd done, and she turned herself in immediately, pleading guilty to hit-and-run.
But wait - the family of the victim is suing her law firm for $30 million in damages. Part of the claim is based on the demands the firm makes on its lawyers, including, it is charged, "encouraging" them to make use of cell phones without setting safety guidelines.
So while the politicians blow-dry their hair and suck up to big donors and spin, spin, spin to make everything look as if they are saviors of mankind, the trial lawyers stand poised and ready to write the real law, by letting a jury decide the penalty.
*********** "I had another one of those magic moments today, sitting in the same room with John Landy, Ron Clarke and Herb Elliott. (Three os history's greatest milers. HW) Pretty amazing really when you think about the talent there. Herb Elliott is really impressive. He said he doesn't begrudge today's athletes anything at all. He said that in his day there were all sorts of "shamateurs" (his word) that did deals on the side anyway, so to bring it out into the open was more honest in his opinion. Did you know he retired at age 22? Unreal. And did you know that his time for the 1500, when he won gold in 1960, would have won in Barcelona in 1992? Fascinating, really. When asked about it, he said that the 1500 is all about tactics and rarely do the guys go out just "to win." He mentioned last year's Olympic 1500 when Hicham El-Garrouj of Morocco (the best runner and the favorite) lost because he didn't run his race and got too caught up in tactics." Ed Wyatt, special correspondent, Melbourne, Australia
*********** The Lovely Lesley Visser is back on Monday Night Football. But there'll be no laughing at her goofy-ass hats this time, mainly because you won't be able to see her. She'll be on radio. What a team - Howard David, Boomer Esiason and the Lovely Lesley Visser.
*********** A coach wrote and mentioned that in looking at pre-season write-ups of various college teams, it seemed that an awful lot of them claim to run "Multiple" offenses.
What a joke. It is getting to the point where there isn't much more offensive diversity in major college football than there is in the NFL. But calling the offense "multiple" is a good way for a coach to keep alumni off his back. Homer Smith, who probably knows as much about offensive football as any man alive, told me that when he was Terry Donahue's offensive coordinator at UCLA, Coach Donahue insisted on calling the offense "multiple."
That way, he figured, it didn't have a label. It wasn't identifiable. The alumni couldn't flood the L.A. Times with letters asking why UCLA insisted on running that stupid wishbone, or veer, or I-formation. By calling his offense "multiple", he made himself a moving target.
I often think that if I had called my system the "Double Multiple" or the "Multiple Multiple" or some such, I would have saved a lot of coaches a lot of grief from parents who are prejudiced against anything that doesn't look like what the pros run.
*********** BLACK LION TEAM: Hugh, I have read I don't know how many times about this award and have never applied for Black Lion status.
I would be honored to help you in your quest to honor Mr. Holleder and the Black Lions by honoring one of our varsity athletes this fall and each fall I continue to coach high school football. I will be more than happy to teach them through this award, traits that are all to often lacking in our high schools, especially here in Keokuk, leadership and personal sacrifice and the important of each, to a team.
I'm sure I join many high school, middle school, and youth coaches when I say that these and many other traits are mentored by all of us. However, with the onslaught of "parents" and their concern that we not be too overbearing or zealous in our teaching all too often they coddle and protect their children from learning these valuable traits through their participation.
The story of Mr. Holleder's unselfishness as a collegian and then again as a soldier are testimony enough of the kind of leadership potential a young man has with involvement in football and team sports. Now we can duly honor those in our programs who measure up to such a sacrifice. I am anxiously awaiting the opportunity to share Mr. Holleder's story with our players and finally awarding one young warrior his honor.
I only wish I had this award to give out years ago. Each year we honor a young man with a coaches award and will continue to do so, however, this one will count for certain things that will make us all proud to have coached the honoree.
Thanks for this opportunity and count us in! Keokuk Chiefs - Keokuk High School - Keokuk, Iowa - Don Capaldo, Head Coach (Don Capaldo has attended four of my clinics and, at my invitation, has spoken at two of them. What do think of him as a coach? Let me put it this way - at a camp I helped put on in Wisconsin a few years ago, I brought along four of my own kids and, because Washington regulations prohibited my coaching them, I left them in Don's hands.)
DON'T MISS OUT!
MAKE SURE A PLAYER ON YOUR TEAM RECEIVES THE BLACK LION AWARD! SIGN UP NOW
THERE IS NO COST TO YOU, AND NO ONE WILL TRY TO SELL YOU ANYTHING!!!
LEO NOMELLINI - http://www.profootballhof.com/players/enshrinees/lnomellini.cfm JOE PERRY - http://www.profootballhof.com/players/enshrinees/jperry.cfm HUGH McELHENNY - http://www.profootballhof.com/players/enshrinees/hmcelhenny.cfm
Those 49er teams of the late 40's and early 50's were some of the best pro teams no one has ever heard of, mainly because it was their misfortune to have played second fiddle in the old AAFC to one of pro football's great dynasties, the Cleveland Browns. The 49ers were the only team to come close to the Browns, finishing second to them in 46-47-48-49.
Gordie Soltau, a World War II Navy Frogman, was an All-Pro end and placekicker who led the NFL in scoring in 1952 and 1953.
Quarterback Frankie Albert, a slick little left-hander, probably is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame only because of his relatively brief career: he played just the four years in the AAFC and three in the NFL. His 88 touchdown passes from 46-49 were tops in the AAFC, surpassing even the great Otto Graham.
Albert was the first modern college "T" quarterback. With him under center, the 1940 Stanford team was 10-0 running Clark Shaughnessy's innovative T-formation. (Although some give Shaughnessy credit for "inventing" the modern T-formation, there seems to be some slight disagreement over whether Shaughnessy got it from George Halas, Halas got it from Shaughnessy, or the two collaborated.)
Albert was fourth in the Heisman voting in 1940 and third in 1941 and is a member of the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame.
CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING THE 49ers' TRIFECTA: Adam Wesoloski- De Pere, Wisconsin... David Crump- Owensboro, Kemtucky... Alan Goodwin- Warwick, Rhode Island... Mike O'Donnell- Pine City, Minnesota... Whit Snyder- Baytown, Texas... Keith Babb- Northbrook, Illinois (1) Hugh McElhenny who was a rookie in 1952 and scored on a 40-yard run the first time he touched the ball in a game. 2) Joe "The Jet" Perry, the running back from Compton JC who was "discovered" while playing for a service team. And, 3) Leo Nomellini who was the 49'ers first ever draft pick after they joined the NFL)... Kevin McCullough- Lakeville, Indiana ("mr.nomellini's picture on the hall of fame web site makes him look rugged.....he looks like someone who could play 14 years in a row without missing a game.....i would think who ever lined up across from him paid the price every play")... Mark Kaczmarek- Davenport, Iowa...
*********** Most of the controversy surrounding ESL (English as a Second Language) in our schools is perceived by the general public as being about Spanish-speaking kids and whether they are learning English fast enough. But for many schools, the challenge is a lot greater than that. For example, in the Vancouver, Washington school district, where my wife teaches, students speak 38 different languages. In Los Angeles, it wouldn't surprise me if it were double that.
For some reason, the Vancouver area has experienced a large migration of people from Russia, the Ukraine and other parts of the former Soviet Union, creating something of a language crisis in schools that thought they were reasonably well prepared to handle an influx of Spanish-speakers.
Coping with English is tough enough for the kids, but at least they get instruction; it is a lot tougher for their parents, many of whom come from countries where dealings with authority are generally to be avoided.
One mother, an Estonian native who has been here for five years now and serves as an assistant in a local "Newcomer" program, said, "I know how scared you get (here in America) when you get a piece of paper from the school. Do I have to sign it? Do I send it back?"
Even reading the lunch menus can be a problem, she said. For instance, "Who is this Sloppy Joe?"
(In case President Bush asks... here's my take on the immigration issue - can't we start bringing in a few kids who play something besides soccer?)
*********** "Had a great story yesterday...a guy from Sacred Heart Missions (helping the homeless, drug addicts, etc) has organized a footy (Australian Rules Football) league. He has no pretentions about "saving people" but says the practices and games provide the guys with a chance to exercise, a chance to socialize, a chance to feel good about themselves and a chance to be accountable to show up for something every week. I've gotta say it was impressive...a bunch of down and out, "disenfranchised" (to use a popular word) guys going really hard on a footy field, running, kicking, and tackling. They may not give up their lives on the street, but they were out doing something and working at it. As this guy said "boredom is a killer." And unlike most American places where it's just a free meal and a chance to crash, these guys were out and running around. Pretty cool." Ed Wyatt, Melbourne, Australia. Ed added, "One other thing about the mission guys and the pervasiveness of footy culture...the skills were unbelievable! Guys who looked like they would stumble down the street were kicking and handballing like AFL players!"
Great idea. Too bad we no longer have a pervasive "football culture." We once did. There once was a time when "The Longest Yard" was halfway believable. Now, though, I would be willing to bet that 99 per cent of our down-and-outers are guys who never played football.
*********** Ray Normile died Saturday at 89. In 30 years o in the state of Washington, he never won a state title, and in 16 years in Seattle he never won a Metro League title, but he sounded like one of those guys that many of us were lucky enough to have as a coach.
"He was a coach who really kept track of his guys long after they graduated," said Bill Knight, now retired as sports editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Knight played for Normile in the late 1940s, along with Bob "Hooks" Houbregs, who went on to become an All-America center at the University of Washington.
Normile graduated from Central Washington University, where he starred in football and basketball, and earned his masters' degree from Columbia University. He started teaching and coaching in tiny Benton City, Washington, then moved to Kennewick where he served as both coach and principal, until World War II intervened.
Following the war, he moved to Seattle, and coached at Queen Anne High from 1945 until 1966, when he left to become a counselor at another Seattle high school.
"Ray was notorious as a talker," said longtime Ingraham coach Walt Milroy. "If you got cornered in a conversation, you were going to hear about the times he coached in Kennewick, and all about Houbregs."
Think he didn't miss coaching? He hadn't coached in over 30 years, but all he wanted to talk about was his coaching days!
Think about that, the next time you consider bailing out of coaching before you're really ready to.
*********** It used to be that in the pre-season the NFL went barnstorming, much in the same way that major league baseball teams used to work their way north from spring training, stopping the train along the way to play exhibition games and give the local yokels the only look they'd ever get at real big-leaguers.
The NFL once played its exhibition games in smaller cities. It was a good way to reach out to fans in the hinterlands, and, just as Broadway plays used to try out in New Haven before moving on to the big time, it was an opportunity to get their early mistakes out of the way before playing in front of the home fans.
Now, of course, NFL teams have no compunctions about sucking in front of the home fans - and charging them full fare at that. As evidence of the final triumph of greed, only three exhibition - sorry, "Preseason" - games will be played this year in other than NFL stadia, and one will be the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. The second will be in Mexico City, between the Raiders and the Cowboys, and the third will be in San Antonio, with the Minnesota/San Antonio Vikings, owned by San Antonio resident Red McCombs, trying on the Alamodome for size in a relocation bowl game against the New Orleans Saints.
Don't bet the farm that if another city offered them enough, the NFL wouldn't move the Hall of Fame game - and the Hall of Fame itself - out of Canton.
*********** "Hey- how did that get in there?"
An Olympic bobsledder named John Kasper was suspended for two years for testing positive for a steroid. Don't ask me what a bobsledder would need steroids for. Don't ask him, either.
"I have no idea how the substance got into my system," he said. "Obviously, it was inadvertent."
His position on the bobsled team?
I swear this is true - pusher.
*********** While in the Twin Cities not so long ago, I heard a lot of talk about Hastings, Minnesota and the great program they run. Must be a pretty good school to teach in, too - one of the assistant principals is the head football coach; the other is the head wrestling coach.
*********** Reasonable men can disagree... "My kids put up with my demands of discipline, dedication, very hard work, and a love-hate relationship all season long. If they want to dump a bucket of ice water or Gatorade on my head, after winning a championship- 'have at it.' I have enough sense and confidence to bring a dry shirt and jacket to the Championship games." Frank Simonsen, Cape May, New Jersey (Coach Simonsen, a veteran youth coach, has won his share of championships.)
*********** The final game of the recent rugby series between the Australia Wallabies and the British Lions set records for TV audiences and libe attendance. It is estimated that more than 3,000,000 Australians watched the game on TV - nearly half of them in the two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne - and the crowd of 84,188 was the largest ever to watch the Lions.
*********** A coach I know who runs the Double-Wing on his middle school team wrote and asked me what I thought about using zone blocking with our offense. He said some of the coaches at his high school were planning to do so.
I wrote him, asking, Do you mean for our offense? Insanity.
How will they pull both backside linemen when there are defenders in both A gaps?
Zone blocking is not intended to work with offenses that employ pulling linemen.
I hope for the high school team's sake that these guys don't really think they are going to "improve" on something that's already proven to work. For the most part, our blocking is Delaware Wing-T blocking, which has stood the test of time and doesn't need improving on.
He wrote back to say, "the coaches talking about zone blocking don't like the way the offence works - it is too hard to teach! By going to zone blocking, they think it will be easier to learn. My thought is, 'If I can teach my middle school kids, you should be able to teach high school kids.' But, you see, I'm just a middle school coach, what do I know? The difference is, Coach ------ (the other middle school coach) and I have watched your tapes and studied your playbooks for more hours than we could even begin to count. The coaches most interested in zone blocking don't really start thinking football until the season starts. I think what they like is what is easy for them to teach. They can't teach the DW because they don't understand it."
You and Coach ----- both know something that those guys don't. My concern, for the HS head coach's sake, is that he seems to have guys in there who have not bought in, and now they are putting their personal comfort ahead of the good of the kids.
Hundreds of coaches across the US who have taught the Double-Wing successfully to youth and middle-school teams would laugh out loud if they heard that business about it being too tough to teach to high school kids. What a joke.
It is always disappointing to hear that head coaches allow people who don't put the time in - who don't have an understanding or appreciation of what is being run - to nonetheless have input.
I often tell people that working on a staff that runs the Double-Wing has got to be lead, follow, or get out of the way.
I would watch out for those guys. They don't know what they are talking about but they are not letting that stop them, and that is dangerous. They have the potential of ruining the offense, if not the whole program. If there is something they don't like about the way the offense works, it is too late in its development to blame the offense. It has proven itself. If it is "too hard to teach," the fault lies with the teachers.
*********** Doctor Feelgood... Paging Doctor Feelgood... Since Oregon passed a medical marijuana bill in 1998, 2,227 Oregonians obtained cards, available only through doctors, allowing them to use marijuana legally. One Portland doctor alone approved 890 of those people. He is now under investigation by the state Board of Medical Examiners.
*********** Coach Wyatt, I've noticed it mentioned by coaches that one way to stop or at least slow down the DW powers is for the LB or DE or another D player to cut (I'm assuming that by definition this is a block below the waist) the B back. Just got my 2001 HS rule book and it looks like a rule change was made that clearly defines it as illegal and restricts blocking below the waist further." Greg Stout, Thompson's Station, Tennessee
Thanks to Coach Stout for bringing this up. Unless you coach in Texas or Massachusetts, your state's high schools play by National Federation rules, which this year were changed to remove any possible questions about the illegality of a defender's "cutting" our fullback at the knees. (There never was much question about the ethics of it.)
OLD RULE, WHICH CERTAIN PEOPLE SEEMED TO THINK JUSTIFIED "CUTTING" OUR FULLBACKS:
Blocking* below the waist is permitted in the Free Blocking Zone when the following conditions are met:
a. By offensive players who are stationary and in the zone at the snap.
b. By defensive players who are in the zone at the snap.
c. All players involved in blocking* are in the zone at the snap.
d. The contact is in the zone.
NEW RULE 2 - 17 "Blocking* below the waist is restricted to only players who are on the line of scrimmage and in the free blocking zone at the snap."
Blocking* below the waist is permitted in the Free Blocking Zone when the following conditions are met:
a. All players involved in blocking* (including the object of the block - in this case, your fullback.) are on the line of scrimmage and in the zone at the snap. (So much for "cutting" your fullback, who is not, unless you are running a very strange version of the Double-Wing, lined up on the line of scrimmage.)
b. The contact is in the zone.
*"Blocking" as defined by the rules is NOT solely an action by an offensive player. It applies to defensive players as well: Rule 2 Section 3 Article 1: "Blocking is obstructing an opponent by contacting him with any part of the blocker's body."
(Double-wingers should note that this rules change also means that your wingbacks, although they might be in the free blocking zone, cannot legally block below the waist unless they also line up on the line of scrimmage - our "up-tight" or "double-up" call, Page 8 of the playbook.)
*********** Single-wing enthusiasts and Double-Wing guys, too might want to check out Coach John Aldrich's new site: www.singlewingoffense.com . Coach Aldrich, a member of the Iowa Coaches Hall of Fame, is the author of "Single Wing Offense With the Spinning Fullback," and is considered the leading expert on that particular version of the single wing.
*********** BLACK LION TEAM: "Coach, Galva-Holstein High School Football would LOVE to give this award. I have stressed sacrifice and comittment to teammates since my first day here. The kids have really bought into it for the most part. Thanks, Brad Knight, Holstein, Iowa"
We have come a long way, technically-speaking, from the early days when players used plain old grease, but just like lard or goose grease, silicone is illegal:
*********** Coach- I loved the story about Mac (July 16). Its men like these that make up the backbone of the great nation we are all able to enjoy. I noticed at the end of the article, you made reference to "no beer." (In Heaven there is no beer/That's why we drink it here/And when we're gone from here/Our friends will be drinking all the beer.) The alma-mater of 4 family members of mine, Michigan Tech University, lives and dies by this song. Located in the keewanaw Penn. of the UP, there is not much to do in the winter besides the pleasures of malted hops and barley, so this great song has become the defacto school anthem. I dug up a link to the MTU band where you can download "no beer"(http://www.sos.mtu.edu/dawgs/Music/music.html) ...hope it brings back some memories for ya. Keep up the great work- Brian Rochon, Livonia Mi (I guess we'll just have to overlook Mac's preferred method of "deer hunting," because that's the way some of those country boys have been doing it since their ancestors first settled back in those hills. I'll tell you what - I'll take my chances with them against the Russkies or the Chicoms any time.)
*********** Dear Coach Wyatt; Since I know that you are a staunch supporter of the military, I thought you might be interested in hearing my views, and why I am so proud to be a part of this.
Ashley Weir is four years old. A few months ago she was diagnosed with a heart condition that required open heart surgery. Her tiny heart actually had a hole in it that required patching.
Ashley's mother, Lori, is a member of the United States Coast Guard. She's a firefighter at the base I am attached to. When the doctors told her that her little girl needed open heart surgery they also told her that they wouldn't even begin the paperwork unless Lori had the blood on hand and ready to go.
Blood Bank of the Redwoods, perhaps the most mercenery and dispicable organization in the history of blood banks, informed Lori that IF she found the donors herself, and IF they came in to the Bank on their own time, and IF they passed the "A" list requirements, she would be charged $230 per pint of blood for drawing, and an additional $55 fee to transport the blood to the hospital.
The Red Cross blood drive was "too busy" to hold an on-base drive to draw the blood for Ashley, even though they would also likely get around 150 additional units. Even if they had held the drive, they would have required an $80 storage and transport fee per pint to get the blood to the hospital.
Enter the Coast Guard. A Bosun's Mate Second Class (E-5) sent out a basewide email asking for donors. Of 500 people attached to this training command, about 160 were the correct type to donate for Ashley. Of these, about 60 passed the "B" list requirements, and about 30 passed the "A" list requirements.
Of these, ten people braved the traffic on hiway 101 to drive to San Francisco and give blood for Ashley on their own the week before the surgery. Six more rode in the command sponsored van authorized by our Commanding Officer, and fourteen trickled in over the weekend.
There can't be more than five pints of blood in Ashley's little body, but there were 30 pints of COAST GUARD blood waiting for her when she went into surgery yesterday. She came through the surgery with "best case scenerio" written all over her, and will be discharged in four days. In 45 days she'll be running and playing like other four year olds, except she'll have a part of us with her always.
I'm glad I happened to be A pos, and I'm damn proud to be in the Coast Guard.
Very Respectfully; Derek Wade. Electronics Technician 2nd Class, UNITED STATES COAST GUARD! (Derek Wade is also an assistant football coach at Tomales, California, High School)
*********** "Ann Landers' column today has some interesting comments about the dumping of water on coaches after victories. I have been the victim of several of these pranks myself. I expect my players to enjoy victories and celebrate with their teammates but I hate being soaked then taking the bus back to our school soaking wet. I believe that coaches need to discuss the proper manner to celebrate victories and defeats with their players. Coach, what do you suggest is an answer to this stupid ritual or am I being a little uptight?" Dan King, Evans, Georgia
I think that that damn Gatorade bucket stunt has turned into just about the phoniest thing I have ever seen. Far from being a spontaneous expression, to me it is sort of symbolic of the underlying contempt for leadership of most pros, and like just about everything else the pros do - much of it bad - it has made its way into our game. Of course, I'm not too big on anything that demeans authority, including the trend, always good for a picture in the local newspaper, of school principals agreeing to shave their heads, or let kids throw pies in their faces, etc., if they read a certain number of books or whatever.
I think the answer to this is not to go overboard in trying to be the players' buddy. Obviously, it is important to be approachable, but I don't think our kids are well-served when we try to act like one of them. Just because they walk all over their parents doesn't mean they should expect to do the same with teachers and coaches.
I was reminded of this when I read an article recently about Tennessee's plans to honor its 1951 national championship squad at its home opener this fall. Gordon Polofsky, an outstanding linebacker on that team, told how close the players became, as a result of Coach Bob Neyland's rules. "We were a family," Polofsky recalled.
Granted, Gatorade wasn't invented until 1968 or so, but somehow, I doubt that it ever would have occured to a Tennessee football player to douse General Neyland (he was a general in the US Army) with anything.
General Neyland required all Tennessee players to live together in the stadium, and eat all meals together. Players were not allowed to marry or to have cars. Polofsky recalled that All-American tailback Hank Lauricella arrived at school with a 1948 Ford convertible, and it stayed parked the entire season. Why the no-car rule? Polofsky was asked by John Adams of the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
Replied Polofsky, "You didn't ask General Neyland why."
*********** On the Red and Blue pass plays do you have the tight ends catch the ball to the inside or outside? Every time we ran it last year it seemed to be interecepted or broken up by a LB. How wide should he take it? It could also be that we are not selling the fake to the FB. What do you think?
The answer on RED or BLUE, or for that matter any pass play from this offense, is that it is either there or it is not.
And unless you have good reason to believe that it is there, I think it is safe to assume that it is not.
*********** "Coach Wyatt, Greetings from one of your former players with the Van-Port Thunderbirds of 1980. My name is Jake von Scherrer and I was one of the WR's until injuring my knee in the 3rd game.I really enjoyed the brief time I was with the team and remember using many of your terms and techniques when I was starting out as a coach myself. I've now been coaching and teaching for 20 years with stops at almost every level from Jr. high to Division II. Hopefully I can stay in the game another 20 years.
"I'd like to sign my "new" team up for the Black Lion program.I have just taken a position as AD and HFC at Coral Springs Christian Academy, a 1A school just North of the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area.
"Hope everything goes well for you this Fall, and thanks for helping me get a good start in coaching. Jake von Scherrer, Ph.D"
*********** "Guess who I just talked to.............? Mr. Charlie Powell. What a great guy. I explained how I found out about him (due to you and your legends of the week)- he chuckled. You could just hear the history in his tone...........Long story short is that we have made tentative plans to meet on the 21st of July after our mandatory coaches clinic. He asked that I call him on the 20th and he will come down after we are done and we'll do a lunch or something............Isn't that great! The first time that I will sit down with someone like that...Oh man I can't believe it......!
"Mr. Powell said he does a lot of running around, working with the NFL and the retirees. He said that the NFL is just starting now to do more (compensation-wise) for the "old timers", but they still have to cross some T's and dot some I's. I asked him about how he feels after all those years of competitive sports and he says he feels fine. His knees squeak and he has to have surgery to remove a slight blockage in one of his arteries, but other than that he feels good.
"Anyway once again thank you, Coach, for having Mr. Powell on your site and for the idea of meeting him. You know I will keep you informed. I told Mr. Powell that I would copy the NEWS you wrote about him so that he could read it... Bill Shine, Van Nuys, California (How cool is that? A young coach takes the initiative and calls one of our "Legends" and introduces himself and now he will have the great honor of sitting down and talking football and who-knows-what-all with him. I told him I'd love to be a fly on the wall when he and the great Charlie Powell get together. See NEWS - June 8)
*********** Brian Maxey, a Double-Wing coach (11/12 years old (5th/6th/7th graders) in the greater Houston area, is interested in scrimmaging another Double-Wing team. I told him that it's my policy not to give out people's e-mail addresses, but if you are interested in getting together with him, e-mail me and let me know and I will put you in touch with him.
*********** God help us all... There was an increase of 19 per cent this June over last June in the number of students taking the LSAT - the Law School Admissions Test.
*********** Where is the NEA when we really need it? A group calling itself the Council for Excellence on Government reports that teachers rank dead last among all occupational groups in how well they are portrayed on TV, below businessmen and even below such esteemed groups as journalists and elected officials. The Fox series, "Boston Public" gets a lot of the credit.
*********** If an NBA or NFL coach were to refer to league officials as "imbeciles," "jerks," and "dingbats," he'd be fined enough to feel the pain - maybe called into the commissioner's office, even.
Yet that's exactly how Malcolm Blight, coach of Australian Football's St. Kilda's team described Australian Football League officials recently, and he got - nothing.
League official Andrew Demetriou, who once played for Blight, said he told Blight "he's obviously mellowed since he coached me in 1981, because his language then was far worse than that, " adding, "I've got a thick skin... you've got to when you work for the AFL."
*********** Interested in the coaching experience of a lifetime??? How'd you like to have coaches coming up to you and asking you, "what was it like?" The California Quakes, a Long Beach-based startup team, are looking for a head coach. They are anxious to fill the spot ASAP. The head coach will answer only to the owner and will have complete responsibility for the overall football operations of the team. Players have already begun to work out on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and one day on the weekend. Mini-camp is scheduled to start in mid-September and league games will begin in mid-November. Although most games will be played against other California teams, there is the possibility of a game in Hawaii. Coach's pay will be based on profit-sharing. I have been involved in similar ventures, and I can say for sure that this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It is not even get-rich-slow. But if you are looking for a unique coaching experience, this one would be hard to beat. Did I mention that it's a woman's team? So what? They need coaching, too. If I lived in the LA area, I would take a look at it myself. Contact Sandy Kaneko - email@example.com
*********** BLACK LION TEAM: Coach Wyatt: I would like to register the LeRoy-Ostrander High School Football Cardinals. I was stationed for two years at West Point beginning in 1970. I'm a firm believer in the ideals that they teach there. I would love to present a worthy player of mine the "Black Lion Award." Stan Olson - Head Football Coach - LeRoy, Minnesota
*********** A coach wrote me the other day and mentioned that he had passed up a chance to take a job back in his home state, nearer to his folks. It would have meant a significant increase in pay, but he said he turned it down because he liked the place where he was now coaching, he liked the guys he worked with, he liked the kids, and he had his wife's support.
I've lived long enough to know that money, overall, is not a bad thing to have, but somewhere between the job that you despise but you can't afford to quit because it pays so well and the job you love so much you'd do it for free is the right job for you.
If you're paying your bills, you like the men and the kids you work with, and your wife understands and supports you, and you're appreciated for what you do, you are a fortunate man.
*********** Coach, Had 35 kids on the beach last Tuesday night. It looks like most of the big boys can move. I will get a better look tonight on the grass, when we run a few sprints. I didn't want to run them too hard first night in the sand (don't need any pulled muscles).
First night and they already understand the numbering system.
*********** Mac was the toughest man I've ever known.When I first met him, it was the summer of 1970, in Hagerstown, Maryland. I'd called a meeting for any newcomers interested in playing football for the team I'd just taken over, the Hagerstown Bears. The men who showed up came in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors, but this one guy stood out. He was very short, and very wide, with hair down his back and over most of his face. He looked like a biker, which, it turned out, he was. He sat in the back of the room and didn't say a word.
Afterwards, I introduced myself, and he told me his name was Terry McElfish - pronounced "MACK-elfish" - and he said he was from Cumberland, Maryland, over the mountains about an hour west of us. I knew they turned out some pretty good football players in Cumberland, but this guy?
When practice started, though, he was there. But he was in awful shape, and I didn't know where to put him, so I stuck him at linebacker. He wasn't very good there. Did I tell you he was short? He wasn't a fraction of an inch over 5-7.
Somehow, he managed to make it through our practices, held every midsummer evening in the kind of hot, steamy weather that that part of the country is noted for, but in our first exhibition game, in early August, he nearly died . I can still remember seeing him staggering off the field.
He began to get himself into shape, but he still wasn't that good a linebacker. And meantime, we were getting our butts beaten.
Now, I believe that a major key to success in coaching is getting people into the right position as soon as possible, and Mac, as we began to call him, was kind enough to give me an assist in that area. We were sitting around after practice one night early in the season, and we'd had a few beers, and I could tell he had something to say to me, because he took a puff on his cigarette and leaned over and began to mutter something conspiratorially. Actually, everything he said was muttered - he wasn't much of a talker, and when he spoke, it was in a low, gravelly voice, with as few words as possible. What he said was, "Y'know, I'd sure like to run the football."
Mac? Carry the ball? He had to be kidding. He wasn't fast enough. Running backs, based on everything I knew to be certain, in the way that only an inexperienced coach can know things to be certain, had to be fast. But we weren't doing much on offense anyhow - I had even been forced to play one game at quarterback myself until I could find a real one - so I told him I'd give him a shot. And the rest, for us at least, was history.
He was an instant hit. We were a passing team, and you can imagine what kind of a pass protector a guy 5-7, 225 might be. Try getting around, over or through a guy like that. He had good hands, too, and wound up averaging more than three receptions a game over the three seasons I coached him. But the fans came out to see him run. No, he wasn't fast, but he was very tough and extremely powerful and built low to the ground, and he knew how to punish tacklers, with his shoulders, his knees, and his enormous thighs. He was hard to wrap up if you hit him high, and murder on anyone who tried to hit him low. He was a truck. In fact, in hopes of getting a little more money out of our town's biggest business, we nicknamed him "Mack Truck" McElfish. (It didn't work.)
As I got to know him better, I discovered him to be a truly unique individual. He was a mountain man, a native of a tiny hamlet called Beans Cove, Pennsylvania, tucked away in the hills just over the state line from Flintstone, Maryland, and he'd gone to school at La Salle (now Bishop Walsh) High School in Cumberland. He'd played some football in the service, in Okinawa, and had served in Vietnam where he'd been wounded. In fact, he showed me the scars on his legs, where he still carried shrapnel. He was a "Sky Soldier," a member of the 173rd Airborne, and it is believed he was the very first of his brigade to be wounded after landing in Vietnam. When he got out of the service, in stereotypical aimless fashion, he hooked up with a motorcycle gang operating around Cumberland and neighboring Ridgely, West Virginia. That was his life when I first met him - riding his bike, drinking beer and playing bumper pool in taverns. And God knows what else.
Lord, he was tough. Not being fast or quick, he took a lot of shots - I'll bet an average of three guys hit him and bounced off him every time he carried the ball. But in three years of playing for me, he never missed a play because of injury. Only once did I ever hear him come close to complaining. We were outmatched, up against a very, very good team from Connecticut, the Hartford Knights. They were a pro operation, and we had zero chance of running the ball against them. So we wound up throwing 57 times, and Mac spent the night blocking a defensive end named Harry Gooden, from Alabama A & M or Alcorn - I forget which. He was 6-6, 245, and like most of the Hartford team, he had played briefly in the NFL. Mac said to me a couple of times as he came off the field, "this guy's tough."
And could Mac place kick! It wasn't fun to watch him, because he kicked it the old-fashioned, toe-punch way. Barefoot. I am not kidding. Not soccer-style. Toe-punch. Big, tough men would look away, unable to watch, whenever it came time for us to practice field goals on those cold nights in November, but he claimed it didn't hurt. Said he learned to kick that way "Kickin' frozen cow turds, back home in Beans Cove."
He was an ice-man, too, winning two games for us with last-second field goals. One of them ended a fierce, scoreless struggle in a downpour against our archrivals from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
He came by his toughness honestly. Following one of our games, a woman came up to our team owner, Red Hipp, and introduced herself to him. "I'm Terry McElfish's mom," she said, and holding her flexed biceps in front of him, said, "feel that muscle."
One time, I took him with me to scout an upcoming opponent in Minersville, Pennsylvania, and as we drove there in the dark, in those days before twist-caps and open container laws, I heard him ask, "You got an opener?" I told him to wait a second, but before I could find one and hand it to him, he said, "Never mind," and I heard the "pffft!!" of a bottle opening. He'd opened it with his teeth. Later, following the game, he entertained a group of locals in one of Minersville's many bars, demonstrating a talent for yodeling that I'd never known he had.
Another time, following a game in Binghamton, New York, a few of us went out for a post-game beer, and we wound up in a place in which, as we began to look around, there were no females, and other than us the rest of the clientele seemed to be, uh, male only up to a point. By the time we'd noticed where we were, though, we'd already paid for our beer, so we decided to drink up and then leave. As we sat there drinking, out of the blue Mac looked over at me and said, "Y'know, I'd hate to live in Russia." Now, that seemed to go without saying, and although it didn't appear to have much bearing on anything we'd been talking about, it did strike me as unusually profound coming from Mac, so I said, "Well, yeah, no kidding... but why do you say that, Mac?" And he said, "You know, all them guys kissin' each other and stuff..."
Once, before a particularly big game, the local TV station arranged to have Mac come into the studio for a live interview on the 11 o'clock news. It didn't go well. Mack was nervous enough as it was. And I believe I said before that he was not articulate to begin with. His part of the interview consisted largely of "Well, I mean, y' know... I mean, y'know... " and so on. The words came with great difficulty, and I felt sorry for him.
I figured the guys on the team must have felt the same way I did, because at practice the next evening nobody said anything about the interview. But then we lined up to run the first play of team offense, and Dickie Keats, one of my tackles, got down in his stance, and just before the quarterback began calling signals, turned and looked back at Mac, there in his fullback spot, and said, "Well, I mean, y'know... I mean, y'know... I mean, y'know... " and the entire offensive line collapsed to the ground in hysterical laughter. Pretty soon, the whole team was laughing, Mac along with everyone else.
There was only one thing I ever knew Mac to be afraid of - spiders. He said it was because when he was a little kid his brother had ground up a spider and put it in his mouth, but whatever the reason, it was his Achilles Heel, and the other guys on the team knew it, and seldom passed up a chance to try to get a rise out of him with it. I can still see a big defensive lineman named Joe Mason, extending his cupped hands as if holding something, and saying, "Look, Mac - a spider!" And Mac muttering, "I ain't shittin' you, Joe - you come near me with that and I'll kill you."
And that was always as far as it ever went. We had some big, tough guys on those teams, but nobody pushed Mac too far. And Mac, fortunately, was good-natured, and good enough to let people know when they were getting close to the line.
The last time I saw Mac was in 1975, before I left for the West Coast. I haven't been back to Hagerstown more than a half dozen times since, and it has been hard to keep track of guys who were once such a central part of my life.
But when I heard last Friday, from a friend back East named Don Shipley whose late dad, Dick, had coached me and coached against me, that Mac had died this past winter, I decided to do a little investigating.
As I learned to my dismay, he met his fate in violent fashion. The official web site of the 173rd Airborne said he was "killed while deer hunting," but that puts a gentle spin on it. According to police, he and another guy had spent some time in a Cumberland bar on New Year's night, when they decided to drive to Pennsylvania and shoot some deer. Loading a car with two guns and a spotlight, they headed toward Beans Cove, but they began fighting along the way, and somewhere around midnight, on a remote, two-lane country road about a half mile north of the Maryland-Pennsylvania line, the car went off the road and became stuck into a snow bank. They continued fighting, though, until the friend ended it by shooting Mac in the head.
*********** Say what you will... when Dennis Erickson arrived at Oregon State two years ago, the Beavers hadn't had a winning season in 28 years, and they'd never sold more than 10,000 season tickets. Now, after kicking Notre Dame's ass in the Fiesta Bowl, they are picked in the top ten in some pre-season polls, and as of Friday they were 50 season tickets shy of the 23,000 at which they will cap sales.
*********** A coach wrote, "Had a guy ask me, 'Well, most backs are told to put their head down.' How do you use your tackling technique against that?"
Teach your kids to get low. I'll bet that if you get a kid in a good, low hit position, nobody can run full speed and get any lower than him while still maintaining his balance.
And by all means remind the officials of Rule 9 Section 4 Article 2 j - "No player shall intentionally use his helmet to butt or ram an opponent."
But the answer is not to tell your kid to lower his head on a runner who runs with his head down. (Although I actually think some coaches fully expect me to say that it is, so they can say, "See?")
*********** Be still, my beating heart! WUSA, the women's pro soccer league, has played 51 games, in which a grand total of 137 goals - an average of 2.7 a game - have been scored. The Atlanta whatchamacallits sit atop the league with a commanding six wins against only one loss and just six ties.Ties? If you like 'em, his is the league for you. Of the 51 games played, 14 - more than one in three - have ended in ties.
By comparison, the men's game, MLS, is much more exciting. Its teams have played 98 games in which 306 goals have been scored. That's a thrilling 3.1 goals per game.
*********** Remember my mentioning class action lawsuits last week? Get this one: lawyers sued American Airlines, "on behalf" of four million frequent fliers. Of the $95 million American settled for, $25 million will go to the lawyers, and $70 to the frequent fliers. Divided by four million frequent fliers, that works out to $17.50 each. Now who did those lawyers say they were suing on behalf of?
*********** What are friends for?
A guy in Medford, Oregon was borrowing a friend's car last Wednesday when he was pulled over by a state trooper for speeding and illegal lane changes. He was one of those guys who don't seem to think it's necessary to have a driver's license, and when he was asked to identify himself, he showed what a good friend he was by giving his friend's name.
Trouble was, the friend was wanted on an outstanding warrant, and when informed of this, our driver changed his tune in a hurry. Nevertheless, charged with driving uninsured, driving without a license, and providing false information to an officer, he was arrested and jailed and the car was impounded.
When the car's owner showed up the next day to get his car, he was arrested and jailed, too.
*********** When Bert Roberts, offensive coordinator at Woodbury, Minnesota was a kid growing up in International Falls, Minnesota, one of his youth coaches was the great Bronko Nagurski.
THERE IS NO COST TO YOU, AND NO ONE WILL TRY TO SELL YOU ANYTHING!!!
Coach Dietzel was only 31, and he was the head coach of LSU, an SEC school whose program was in need of rebuilding.
He injected new life into the Tigers, and devised a new, exciting way of circumventing the limited substitution rule then in effect, by rotating three entire units - the "White Team," which consisted of his best two-way players, the "Go Team," made up of offensively-skilled players, and a primarily-defensive unit, whose name - the "Chinese Bandits" - became known nationwide.
He is said to be the person behind the LSU tradition of wearing white jerseys - home and away - when before the 1958 season he said he was "tired of losing in purple jersies."
LSU won a national title that year, and so a tradition was born.
It was only his fourth year as a head coach, but at age 35, he was coach of the national champion and was named Coach of the Year. At LSU he coached four All-Americans and one Heisman Trophy winner, Billy Cannon.
Three years later, though, despite having said publicly that he'd never leave LSU, he left to become head coach at Army; and three years after that he moved on to become head coach and athletic director at South Carolina.
He coached at USC (In the South, that's South Carolina, Trojan fans) from 1966 through 1974, compiling an overall record of 42-53-1. So involved did he become in the program that he even wrote the lyrics to the school's fight song, to the tune of "Step to the Rear," a Broadway show tune - leading some cynics to say he was a better songwriter than a coach.
Clemson's crusty old Frank Howard, a true southern country boy if ever there was one, was openly scornful of his slicker, more polished in-state rival, whom he enjoyed referring to as "Colgate Paul."
"Don't you mean Pepsodent?" a reporter asked him the first time he said it.
"Hail, no," said Ole Frank. "When he was at Army, he couldn't even beat Colgate."
It was true - Coach Dietzel's last team at Army went 4-5-1, including a 29-28 loss to Colgate, which in the two weeks prior to the Army game had been shut out by Princeton and Brown.
After nine years at South Carolina, Coach Dietzel returned to LSU as athletic director. There, where he had enjoyed his greatest success as a football coach, he did not display the same touch as an athletic administrator, leaving under somewhat unpleasant circumstances after being relieved as AD and shuffled aside into a relatively meaningless job.
*********** Coach Keith Babb (above) is so right about Paul Dietzel and the shambles he left at LSU. My friend and former boss from the World Football League, Bob Brodhead, was hired to replace him. Bob cleaned up the financial mess, hired such coaches as Bill Arnsparger and Skip Bertman, had the overall LSU program so strong that it won the Bernie Moore Trophy for all-around excellence in SEC sports, and saw a year in which the football team went to a bowl game, the basketball team went to the Final Four and the baseball team went to the College World Series. (How many schools have ever done that?) But he made some enemies in the process, enough of 'em that they set him up in classic Louisiana style and fired him. They play with real bullets down there.
*********** Think about this, the next time you pay your dues to those bloodsuckers at the National Education Association: one of the resolutions considered by the NEA at its convention last week would direct pro-gay propaganda at public school students, K-12.
Despite the fact that a Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll shows that 63 per cent of Americans oppose "treaching about the gay and lesbian lifestyle as a part of the curriculum in public schools," the NEA resolution, since "tabled" (mark my words: it will be back), called for "programs and information that include the contributions, heritage, culture and history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people."
As a part of the "education" of America's kids, the NEA calls for "involvement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees as role models," working in "coordination with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organizations."
*********** Four firefighters have been killed trying to put out a huge forest fire in the Northern part of our state, up near the Canadian border. So now, I wonder if the freaks who live on welfare high up in the trees in our Northwest forests, eating, sleeping and defecating up there because they know that this is 2001, and logging companies don't dare cut down the trees as long as they're up there, would consider climbing down from their lofty perches and getting out and helping fight those fires. That way they could show us how much they really love those trees. Might be the first real work any of them have done in their lives. And if we have to lose somebody in a forest fire...
*********** I was lying in bed, listening to the radio Wednesday morning, while a couple of DJ's went back and forth about whether Cal Ripken had been thrown a meat ball, big and fat, so he could hit a home run in his final All-Star Game appearance. "Well," said one of them, as if it didn't matter anyhow, "It's just an exhibition."
I sat up straight. "JUST AN EXHIBITION?!?!!" I shouted. Tell that to Ted Williams. Or Carl Hubbell. Or Pete Rose. Shoot - tell Ray Fosse, the guy Rose slammed into at home plate, the better to score the winning run. Is this what baseball has finally degenerated into, its All-Star game "just an exhibition?"
Baseball's All-Star game used to matter. It was once the only game of its sort that players really cared about winning. Maybe that all went out when free agency came in, putting an end to the days when a player would spend his entire career in one league or the other, and the All-Star game was one of the few ways of measuring the relative strength of the leagues. Regular-season inter-league play has diluted the rivalry of the All-Star game even further.
Now it, too, has joined such nail-biters as the NBA All-Star Game, which comes as an anticlimax to a slam-dunk contest, and the NFL Pro Bowl game, which those millionaires wouldn't be caught dead playing in were it not for the free vacation in Hawaii. (Actually, the NHL may very well have something with its North America-versus-the-rest-of-the-world format; there is a chance that players might actually take a little pride in their performances. )
Australia has the best idea, with its "State of Origin" matches, pitting all-star teams made up of natives of each state. They really get after it in those games, because there is so much pride at stake. But then, Australia has only six states. Those State of Origin matches are almost like international contests, or super-sized versions of our summer high school all-star football games, such as that between North Carolina and South Carolina. Except that the Aussies are pros who really care (imagine that, if you can).
Unfortunately, with 50 states, varying in athletic talent from California to Vermont, that format wouldn't work in the US, but just imagine such games in the US, with pros from the NFL returning every year to represent their respective "states of origin."
*********** "Just read an interesting paragraph in a 1998 Coach of the Year Clinics Manual. It was by Spike Dykes of Texas Tech, and he said that Douglas McArthur spoke at the American Football Coaches meeting in New York several years ago and he spoke for one hour and forty seven minutes. In his last public speech, he said, "I don't know how important football is, all I can tell you is 96.3 percent of the commissioned officers in WW II played football." - Coach Ron Timson, Umatilla, Florida (USAF Retired)
The interesting thing is that that is the way most TV stations handle high school sports; but in Portland, one of the highest-rated shows in the fall is the "football extra" that comes on every Friday night at 11:30, right after the news. It tries to cover one or two games in each of several leagues around the Portland-Vancouver area, and does only a so-so job, but still gets the ratings.
The L.A. Times claims that it is a cost-cutting measure. Hmmm... wonder how much money it spent sending reporters to London to cover Wimbledon? Wonder if it has a beat reporter following the WNBA around full time.
Those of you in the Southland can air your grievances by e-mailing the LA Times: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pass that address along to your kids and their parents, too, because the new policy certainly will affect them.
And remind them, if they write, not to be abusive. A rational appeal by a lot of coaches and parents might make a difference.
*********** If you are a tennis fan, the recent Wimbledon tournament was... smashing!
I saw a promo for the WNBA that said something about its players being "the best female athletes in the world," and I wanted to say, "Have you guys by any chance seen Venus Williams?"
I watched Andre Agassi play a great semi-final match in a losing effort against Australian Patrick Rafter, then take his place alongside Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe as one of the three biggest *'s in the history of tennis, when he stood at the net following the loss and fired a shot at a baseline umpire who'd reported him earlier for swearing. And then, instead of at least owning up to what he'd done, the little wuss claimed he was just trying to smash the ball into the net. Right. Apart from that fact that that would have been churlish enough, is there anyone in the world who thinks that a pro tennis player would miss if he stood three feet away from the net and tried to hit a ball into it?
And then, on Monday, my wife and I and our daughter, Vicky, got up at 6 AM Mountain Time to watch the men's final, a match between Rafter and Croatian Goran Ivanisevic that had already been going on for an hour when we turned it on. What battlers! What competitors! What a match.
And when it was over, Ivanisevic, the winner who had barely made it into the tournament as a wild-card selection, was as gracious as a winner could be. And several members of my family were moved to tears when he invoked the memory of a deceased fellow countryman - "there's one more person I want to thank... back in 1993 he lost his life in a car crash... the greatest European basketball player ever and my good friend... Drazen Petrovic...he's up there watching."
As my son, Ed, a resident of Melbourne and an impassioned fan of everything Australian, wrote, "it was worth having Goran upset Rafter just to remember the image of Petro blazing away from the three-point line."
*********** But what about his self esteem? Patrick Rafter's nickname among his friends is "Skunky," because of the white patch (natural) in his otherwise dark hair.
*********** "Hey, we saw some of that Australia-British test match Sunday on Fox Sports International. My nephew (visiting from Ft. Worth) and my boys were lounging around watching some nonsense when I walked in and announced that only sissies watch that but REAL men watch (in my best Scottish accent) .... RUGBY! We were into it pretty good for awhile then my wife caught me and I had to get after a few things." Whit Snyder, Baytown, Texas
*********** The Wallabies and the British Lions go after it for the third game in their down-under rugby series in Sydney this Saturday. The series is tied, 1-1.
Australia has rarely seen the likes of the British-Irish invasion, which resembles an American bowl-game crowd as much as anything. The British Lions, made up of stars from the best teams in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, come together only every four years for a tour of a southern-hemisphere rugby power. Four years from now they will tour South Africa and in eight years they will tour New Zealand. Not for another 12 years will they return to Australia.
Last Saturday's game in Melbourne got under way to an incredible cascade of noise from both sides, as the Brits, an estimated 20,000-25,000 in the crowd of 56,600, shouted and sang at the top of their lungs, and threatened to make the Aussies feel like the visitors at their own home match. But as the Wallabies took control of the game, the fervor of the British fans subsided, and some in the Aussie crowd, perhaps in emulation of the Brits, began to sing. "You're very, very quiet over there..."
Nevertheless, as Rod Nicholson of the Melbourne Herald Sun observed, for the British fans - "Poms (Aussie for Englishmen), Scotsmen, Irishmen and Welshmen" - the bowl-game spirit prevailed, and the disappointment of last Saturday's loss quickly gave way to the anticipation of "a new city to discover and new brands of beer to swill."
He was only 31, and he was the head coach of an SEC school, one whose program was in need of rebuilding.
He injected a new life into the Tigers, and devised a new, exciting way of circumventing the limited substitution rule then in effect, by rotating three entire units - the "White Team," which consisted of his best two-way players, the "Go Team," made up of offensively-skilled players, and a primarily-defensive unit, whose name - the "Chinese Bandits" - became known nationwide.
He is said to be the reason why LSU began the tradition of wearing white jerseys - home and away - when before the 1958 season he said he was "tired of losing in purple jersies."
LSU won a national title that year, and a tradition was born.
It was only his fourth year as a head coach, and at age 35, he was coach of the national champion and was named Coach of the Year. At LSU he coached four All-Americans and one Heisman Trophy winner, Billy Cannon.
Three years later, though, despite having said publicly that he'd never leave LSU, he left to become head coach at Army; and three years after that he moved on to become head coach and athletic director at South Carolina.
He coached at USC (In the South, that's South Carolina, Trojan fans) from 1966 through 1974, compiling an overall record of 42-53-1. So involved did he become in the program that he even wrote the lyrics to the school's fight song, to the tune of "Step to the Rear," a Broadway show tune - leading some cynics to say he was a better songwriter than a coach.
He ended his athletic career as athletic director at LSU, where he had enjoyed his greatest coaching success.
When a U.S. study was published back in February, showing that a kid who drinks just one extra soft drink a day has a 60 per cent greater chance of growing obese, trial lawyers everywhere must have raced to the phone to call realtors about vacation homes in Aspen, because, as any fool - er, juror - can see...BIG POP IS KILLING OUR KIDS!
It won't shouldn't surprise anyone if a reporter uncovers evidence of a secret plot by Big Pop to make kids addicted to their product. Why else would they spend millions in advertising, even stooping so low as to have Britney Spears doing soft-porn stripteases during Pepsi commercials? Why else spend additional millions to make sure that their products have a taste that kids crave? Why else encourage people to buy soft drinks in super-duper-size servings called "Big Gulps." (Ever try buying a "small" soft drink at McDonalds or Seven-11?)
In the last ten years, the study reported, soft drink consumption among American children has more than doubled; the average teenager now consumes 15 to 20 extra teaspoonsful of sugar every day, all of it hidden away in carbonated soft drinks, "thirst quenchers," sweetened ice tea, and sugared fruit drinks.
And it's all the fault of those corporate devils at Big Pop! See, those kids have no choice. They are being manipulated, tricked into spending the money they've been saving for college on liquid candy! It's not as if the poor kids can afford to spend all that money on soft drinks. And worst of all, Big Pop is doing an end run around American parents, marketing directly to the kids, because we all know that the way kids these days are supervised, their parents would never let them drink all that pop otherwise.
*********** A 19-year-old Missouri fisherman lost his hands when his fishing tackle exploded. (The "angler" was fixin' to throw a pipe bomb.)
*********** Is nothing sacred? A Minute-Maid commercial - Minute-Maid is part of Big Pop, owned by Coca-Cola - featuring Popeye and his former nemesis Bluto as best of buds has certain groups in our population claiming the two guys as their own, hinting that Popeye and Bluto may be a gay couple.
*********** A Washougal, Washington "teen" (ever notice how the papers like to call them "teens" to make them seem benign, incapable of anything more serious than a prank?) was sentenced to 50 years in prison for taking part in the killing of his girlfriend's father.
"I don't think Mr. ------------ is an individual we want walking around on our streets," said the prosecutor, in an understatement for the ages.
Perhaps you remember my writing about the crime, in which the "teens" hacked away at Dad as he sat at his computer, smiting him more than 75 times with swords and machetes.They even had to resort to the use of a stun gun when, Rasputin-like, he refused to cooperate and die. (Wonder why he didn't want little Sis going out with the guy.)
You may also remember the comic side of this whole bizarre story, in which one of the schemers couldn't take part in the murder because he had a curfew, and if he missed his curfew he'd be in real trouble. The prospect of going on trial for killing someone didn't seem to bother him nearly so much as being grounded for missing curfew. Ever the loyal friend, though, he did what he could to make it up to his buddies by returning to the murder scene with them and helping them clean up the bloody mess they'd made.
So boyfriend went on trial, during which his mother concocted an alibi that had him with her the night of the crime, suffering from a high fever. The jury didn't believe her. She told the court that her son, a high school dropout, was a genius. The judge didn't believe her. "You're not a genius," the judge told him during sentencing. "You're a sham. You're a fraud. You failed to accomplish even the simplest acts - like going to school."
And what do you know - while in prison awaiting trial, our young man found God. Or so he said. He even trusted Him to the point where he asked the judge to consult the Almighty before sentencing him. "I ask you to ask God what should be done," he said, expressing his gratitude to the justice system for providing him with the opportunity to meet his maker. "I thank you for that," he said. "It's made me a better person."
Which, if true, is a very good thing, because according to the testimony of his friends, the murder of Dad was just the first step in his plot to take over the world, next breaking into the Camas, Washington armory and stealing weapons, then killing 90 per cent of the students and staff at Washougal High School. (A small start, admittedly, but if your goal is to become "Chancellor of the World," you gotta start somewhere.)
His defense attorney, meanwhile, attempted to use the "teen" copout: "This was an amateur-hour act," he said. "This was a teenage crime."
I always thought buying a six-pack with a phony ID was a teenage crime, but I swear - that's what the guy said.
*********** We were able to go 5-4 this past season. This doesn't sound great but it was the first winning season for Annapolis HS in 18 years. We lost one game by 1 point and several others were close as we lost in the fourth quarter.
I believe that switching to the Double-Wing played a key part of helping turn things around at Annapolis. Keep up the good work.
Thanks, Coach Scott Wiemer, Annapolis, Maryland
*********** Community service, certainly a good thing, has been getting a bad name. Most of the time when we hear about it now, it's as a slap-on-the-wrist "punishment" of wrongdoers we don't have the guts to send to jail, or it's an extra burden imposed on teenagers as another graduation requirement.
But it needn't be that way, as nine football players at Woodbury, Minnesota High have demonstrated.
The nine - Colin Charlson, Jay Greavu, Mark Jundt, Joe Lepsche, Justin Lockrem, Jake Porter, Rickie Sabo, Dave Ugai and Steve Yohay - participated as a team, wearing their Woodbury football jerseys, in their town's Relay for Life. The event, designed to be a community-builder as well as a fund-raiser, required teams to solicit pledges of contributions and then have at least one team member walking along the designated route between the hours of 6 PM Friday night, June 22, until 9 AM Saturday morning.
It was the first step toward fulfillment of 1,500 community service hours pledged by the Woodbury team in a letter to the local newspaper, the Woodbury Bulletin, by Justin Lockrem, and it resulted in 16 hours served and $1,000 raised.
I have had the pleasure of working with quarterback Lockrem and his teammates and their new coach, Paul Herzog and his staff. They are good young men, doing something on their own initiative - that's the key - that can only give Woodbury football - and high school football in general - a good name.
*********** I haven't taught in a high school in three years now, and now that the Supreme Court has agreed to take on a case that originated with a woman in Owasso, Oklahoma, I wonder whether I'd ever want to do it again.
Are you kidding me? Taking home 120 tests to grade every night?
The woman brought a lawsuit against her local schools on behalf of her three kids,, claiming that their teachers' practice of having the kids in the class exchange and grade each other's tests violates their right to privacy.
Hey - I gave my students a lot of tests, and we always corrected them in class, since it was my belief - still is - that a lot of teaching goes on when you discuss the answers with kids who are paying attention because another kid's grade depends on it.
A federal judge threw out the woman's case, but the 10th US Circuit Court in Denver overruled the judge, saying that the practice violates the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, which prohibits schools from releasing students' records without their parents' consent.
It is hard to say what can happen once the Supreme Court, as insulated from the real world as it is, gets involved in anything involving our modern-day definition of rights, but it seems certain that a ruling in favor of the Oklahoma woman would bring an end to classroom volunteers helping teachers by grading papers.
Some school districts already foresee the end of publishing honor rolls or "Student of the Month" lists, as well as posting graded work on school walls.
What amazes me is that as hard as I would try to keep kids' grades confidential, calling them up to the front of the room and showing them their individual line in my grade book, using numbers instead of names when I posted grades on the board, they woould immediately announce to the world what their grade was,
But I do think that if you were to assign your kids numbers, you might be able to get around this dumbass ruling.
I guess it will still be all right to print the box scores of high school basketball games in the local paper.
But I suggest that before you give parents one of those "My Child Is An Honor Student At ---------" bumper stickers, you first ask them to sign a release form.
He was only 31, and he was the head coach of an SEC school. In only his fourth year there, he coached the school to its only national championship, for which achievement he was named Coach of the Year. Three years later, though, despite having said that he'd never leave, he left to coach at a service academy, and three years after that he moved on to become head coach and athletic director of an ACC school.
He ended his athletic career as athletic director of the school where he had enjoyed his greatest coaching success.
*********** A coach wrote me recently: If you don't find an agressive quarterback with what you have, do you suggest the power instead of the super power? I have a very young team and none of my quarterbacks are very interested in contact. Or would you suggest staying with the super power and just hope your quarterback gets in someones way? Run the Super Power anyhow. It really doesn't require much of a block by the QB, and they may learn to like it. None of those kids has much of a future if they don't like contact. What makes you think that they are quarterbacks, anyhow?
************ The greenskeeper at a Colorado golf course thought it would be a nice patriotic gesture on July Fourth to replace the flags on all the holes with American flags. It caused a bit of a problem. Evidently a lot of his players must be old geezers like me, who had flag etiquette drilled into them in school and by that bunch of homophobes known commonly as the Boy Scouts, because nobody couold figure out what to do with the flag stick when they pulled it out of the hole. (For you younger guys who were never taught it - you never let the American flag touch the ground.)
*********** You will have to know a little about Texas to understand this fully (my apologies to Texas Aggies, as this undoubtedly was the work of a Longhorn):
HURRICANE PLANS FOR HOUSTON: City officials just announced the Houston Hurricane Evacuation Plan today as follows: Cajuns use I-10 East to Lafayette... Rednecks use 59 North to East Texas... Republicans fly Continental to Washington DC... Yankees and Democrats use 45 South to Galveston... Longhorns use 290 West to Austin... Aggies use 610 Loop
*********** At our July Fourth party, I was talking with Greg McNeer, a long-time friend of my son-in-law Ken Timbers. Greg is a native of Huntington, West Virginia, so naturally the talk got around to Marshall University - its great football program and the way it literally rose from the ashes of the plane crash that nearly wiped it out.
Greg was only seven at the time, and but for the grace of God his folks, big Marshall boosters, would have been on the ill-fated flight. But his dad, an attorney, had to prepare for a trial on Monday, and just couldn't afford the time away. So his mom and dad stayed home in Huntington, while dozens of their lifelong friends travelled with the team and perished on a mountaintop as the plane was landing in Huntington.
Greg recalls going with his parents to visit the home of their best friends, who had both died and left little kids at home. He remembers vividly their little boy coming to the door and saying, "My mommy and daddy are dead."
Over the course of the next two weeks, he said, his parents attended 34 funerals.
Lean - very, very lean - years followed for Marshall football. But the old-time Marshall people never lost faith. Greg recalled going to a game with his dad and watching the other team return the opening kickoff deep into Marshall territory. He said something like, "Here comes seven," and he looked over and saw his dad, talking softly to himself through gritted teeth, saying "Goddamnit - I hate people that give up."
The Marshall people didn't give up. When they finally won a game, over a good Kent State team, it was the only game they won that year, but it was like winning the national title.
And when they won their first national title, young people poured onto the field and danced and shouted for joy.
And up in the stands, older people hugged each other and cried.
*********** From the "Class Notes" section of the May/June Issue of Stanford magazine, that noted university's official publication, comes this note regarding a classmate of my son: "Sharon Minsuk is living in Indiana, studying sea urchin embryos, greatly missing the Bay Area and teaching her own aikido (martial arts) class in he so-called "spare time." Fold who knew Sharon way back when will remember her as Steve - because she was male then..."
*********** The Vancouver, Washington clinic last Saturday brought together quite a mix of guys, some from close by, some from considerable distances. Some were guys I'd come to know pretty well through e-mail, some were guys I'd never met before, and others were people I'd known for years.
In the latter category were Gary Garland, who was my AD at Washougal, Washington and before that was a very successful coach there; Art "Ozzie" Osmundson, with whom I worked at Ridgefield, Washington for four years; and John Lambert, who succeeded me at LaCenter, Washington, and before that was a player for me at Hudson's Bay High in Vancouver before going on to play at Western Washington and then serve as my right-hand man for two years.
"Farthest Distance Travelled" award went to Brian Moreland, of St. Stephens Episcopal School, in Austin, Texas, with Al Andrus of Salt Lake City in second place.
*********** "I have the unique ability to give undivided attention to what I'm doing. If I'm making a speech, there's nothing else on my mind but making that speech. When that is over, I look at what I have to do next. When I go to the football field, I am totally focused. If I'm going to play golf, I'm not going to be on the golf course and worry about doing this or doing that. Intensity sometimes is not the fact that I'm so fierce inside, but that I give my undivided attention to what I'm doing. I'm intense. I think if you are going to do something, you ought to try and do it as well as you can." Lou Holtz
*********** A parent in Martin County, Florida is accused of hitting an umpire and cutting one of his truck tires during a Little League baseball game. The parent is believed to have been drinking.
*********** A few people have written me with the said news that they will be having to face another Double-Wing team this year. Some of them even ask me the question I refuse to answer" How do you stop them?
First of all, if I ever discover a good answer to that question, I will take it with me to my deathbed.
Here is the best advice I can give you:
If you have to play a Double-Wing team, make sure you run your Double-Wing so well that when you get your hands on the ball you don't give it up. That means hard work on avoiding turnovers, missed assignments, penalties and foolish calls.
Remember, just because they are running the Double-Wing doesn't necessarily mean that they will pay the same attention as you to those all-important details.
In other words, just don't let them break serve.
*********** Years ago, back in the mid-60's, I knew an Englishman named Peter Gleve. He was a great guy, but he seemed to enjoy the fact that America at that time was going through the sometimes-painful era of the Civil Rights movement. He seemed to take delight in our racial troubles, since everyone knew that the English had never had comparable problems. Nor, being naturally superior to us colonists over here, would they ever.
He was wrong, of course. Now that people "of color" have arrived in England from India, Pakistan, the West Indies and assorted other parts of the former British Empire, the Brits find themselves dealing with the sort of racial strife we should all pray is behind us. I don't gloat at the irony of it all.
I was reminded of all this while watching the tennis from Wimbledon this past weekend. For years, we've heard how dignified, how sportsmanlike are the crowds at Wimbledon, made up as they are of Englishmen of the highest type - especially when compared with the rabble one sees at other major tournaments, most notably the U.S. Open.
English fans applaud good play by either player, keenly that tennis etiquette prohibits taking delight in an opponent's misfortune and cheering at his mistakes.
But we'd also been told, over and over, that it had been 63 years (or something like that) since an Englishman had won at Wimbledon.
So Sunday, when an Englishman named Tim Henman found himself fighting it out in the semi-finals against an - ugh! - foreigner named Goran Ivanisevic, the English, suddenly forgetting who they were and where they were, turned into the ugliest sort of tennis fans imaginable - the sort that delight in the opponent's misfortune and cheer at his mistakes.
Always a joy to find that the guy who's been giving you a stern lecture has forgotten to zip up his fly.
*********** I am not sure of all my facts. This is all I know: Woody Paige is a Denver sportswriter, and Invesco is a big company with a lot of money, so much money that it is able spend some of it just so its executives can say, "See- we have so much money we can spend some of it to have a stadium named for us, which is important because otherwise nobody knows who the hell we are."
Spend the money is what Invesco did, even though it didn't purchase a lot of goodwill for it in a community which clearly expressed its wish to refer to its new stadium as Mile High Stadium, just like the one it is replacing. The dumbass compromise, something like "Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium," isn't likely to make people feel any warmer or fuzzier about the company.
And then - here's where I don't have all my facts - Woody Paige (the sportswriter, remember?) wrote last week that few people inside Invesco itself really wanted to do the deal - that evidently it was solely the big boss' idea - and, in fact, company insiders sneeringly referred to the new stadium as "the Diaphragm."
Almost immediately, the PR people at Invesco fired back, claiming that the story was just not true, or Paige violated the secrecy he was sworn to, or the stadium really isn't a giant diaphragm, or some such. They should have just kept their mouths shut, bearing in mind that (1) nothing you tell a sportswriter is going to remain a secret - it is his job to tell people things they wouldn't find out if he didn't know them; and (2) you can't win a fight against someone who buys ink by the barrel.
But they not only felt compelled to tell their side of it to the news media, they have also announced that they are suing Woody Paige and his employer, the Denver Post.
More good will, sure to come Invesco's way. You know, Invesco - the folks the stadium's named for. The folks who bring us... hey - come to think of it - what the hell do they bring us?
*********** Rugby update: The Wallabies - Australia's national team - beat the British Lions in Melbourne Saturday to even their series at 1-1. The rubber match, for bragging rights throughout the rugby world, will be played this coming Saturday in front of 109,000 in Sydney's Olympic Stadium.
Correctly indentifying Red Sanders- Adam Wesoloski- DePere, Wisconsin... Alan Goodwin- Warwick, Rhode Island ("In the 1954 national championship season Coach Sanders' Bruins beat the Beavers and the Ducks by a combined score of 102-0. Ouch! Only the UW Huskies scored more than a touchdown against them that year, losing 21-20. This was exactly half of the total 40 points scored against UCLA in 1954. Musta been some defense.")... Mark Kaczmarek- Davenport, Iowa ("A winner at every level and at many schools.")... Greg Stout- Thompson's Station, Tennessee ("As you know I live in the Nashville area. With Vanderbilt in Nashville I thought it would be easy to get this answer from the local residents I work with. Wrong. This is still Tennessee Big Orange Country. His name is Henry "Red" Sanders. From my research he actually said, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing," though Vince Lombardi is credited with the quote.")... Mike O'Donnell- Pine City, Minnesota... David Crump- Owensboro, Kentucky ("I read a very good article several years ago about coach Sanders and that 1954 team. I also believe that Tommy Prothro was an assistant under coach Sanders if memory serves me correctly. I would like to see some film on those outstanding UCLA teams! It would be fun to watch. I still enjoy the single wing offense.")... Kevin McCullough- Plymouth, Indiana... Whit Snyder- Baytown, Texas ("In addition to being a great football coach, Henry Russell "Red" Sanders, as designer of the "shoulder loop" jersey stripes - still worn today by UCLA as well as LSU, the Indy Colts and others- was a sartorial innovator. Sanders was also the man who clad the Uclans in light blue - which he referred to as "powder keg blue" - so they could be better seen on the field and on film.")... John Reardon- Peru, Illinois... John Bothe- Oregon, Illinois... Greg Laboissonniere- Coventry, Rhode Island... Keith Babb- Northbrook, Illinois (" I noticed he died the year after his last season at a relatively young age. Did he retire as a result of failing health?")... Dave Potter- Durham, North Carolina ("66-19-1 is unbelievable.")...
*********** On July 7, just three days after we ate our hot dogs, watched fireworks and celebrated our upset victory over the Brits 225 years ago, 12,000 British fans have taken over the city of Melbourne, Australia, hoping to erase the embarrassment of the loss of their American colonies with a big rugby win.
Saturday night's rugby union Test (international match) between the Australia Wallabies and the British and Irish Lions at Melbourne's Colonial Stadium was a sellout within 18 minutes of tickets going on sale on June 7.
8000 of the English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh visitors have already been in Australia for a month on package tours. Many have paid about $7,500 in the US dollar equivalent for the six-week tour, and are spending about $100 a day, on average, taking in as much of Australia as they can.
To rugby fans, it is a very big deal. The Lions, made up of players from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, tour only once every four years. They haven't been to Australia since 1989, and now they face the Wallabies, considered to be the best team in world rugby.
According to a manager of a large tour agency, the English fans live in a cycle of saving for four years, touring, then saving and touring again. Some, he said, had resigned their jobs to make the trip; others have mortgaged their homes to finance the trip..
To prepare the Brits for the match, Gulliver Tours has transformed the Royal Exhibition Buildings into a giant British beer hall to accomodate more than 2000 fans. Since the typical British rugby supporter is a professional with a private-school education, rugby fans are not rowdy in the manner of British soccer or even cricket fans, but they are, according to an Australia Rugby Union spokesman, "highly motivated".
So "highly motivated" were they that to many observers, last Saturday night's game in Brisbane, an upset win by the Lions 29-13, gave the appearance of a home game for the Lions, as TV cameras focused on the red-shirted Brits in the stands, loudly booing the Wallabies.
Australian fans among the 52,000 expected Saturday night are being urged to show their support by wearing gold.
But should the Lions repeat last week's win over the Wallabies, the cit of Melbouorne will brace itself for the kind of celebratory revelry the Brits are famous for.
*********** My prediction is that college football's greedy big guys, by shutting the so-called "mid-majors" (the WAC, Conference USA and the Mid-America Conference) out of the Bowl Championship Series, have brought upon themselves a monster that could devour them. Tempted by ESPN money (trace it to its source and you'll find the friendly folks at Disney), the WAC, C-USA and MAC folks decided to play - and televise - games on Friday nights. At least six games have been scheduled so far. UNLV is the host of two of them.
Maybe they'll hurt high school football and maybe they won't. They certainly won't be helping it. But the colleges haven't seen anything like the carnage that could result if this whole thing plays out to its logical conclusion. Says Mike Clary, executive director of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, "If colleges do not protect high school football now, there would be little the collegiate community could do in protest if the NFL decided to play any of its games on Fridays or Saturdays."
*********** "Regarding The Houston Chronicle reporting that in a little more than four years, between December 1996 and February 2001, at least 64 Texas high school and middle school coaches lost their jobs as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct involving students. At least 13 cases were reported of coaches losing their jobs because of such allegations being hired elsewhere.
"Coach - this is a problem with the ministry as well..my dad told me that towards the end of his ministry he was leary about even hugging the small kiddos..and if you knew my dad, you'd know that he is just a real emotional/physical guy..never afraid to hug me regardless of my age..heck, I remember most of the parents who came to see their sons graduate from boot camp at Parris Island just shook hands with their young Marine sons..not my dad -- a big o'l hug came my way..and let me tell ya..he ain't no sissy boy! but to think that he could no longer hug the youngsters that were part of his congregation just saddened his heart - but the facts were that he had a good friend(and fellow pastor) not only lose his job, but receive a criminal record for alleged misconduct with a child. As a good friend, Dad supports his friend to the end - who knows, but based on his side of the story, seems like our courts are itching to find adult males "guilty".
"Now, I know it happens, but man..I just can't believe the numbers you give regarding the Texas Coaches! my gosh - I think the problem is that we (adult males) are considered guilty until proven innocent, and the school system is so afraid of litigation that they hammer the accused without any real evidence. For someone planning to enter that world, it's REAL scary - cause I'm like my dad - I hug my boys (football players included) all the time - if I have a player who is having problems, I put my arm around them and talk to them...wonder if that would get me "fired"???- Scott Barnes, Rockwall, Texas
(Coach Barnes has a point. Coaches - and teachers - are in precarious positions, out on the point in a society in which the mere accusation - of abuse, harassment, racism, homophobia, etc. - is tantamount to conviction. My wife's school district cautions teachers about excessive physical contact with kids. She still hugs her third-graders. The caution extends to being alone in a room with a student of the opposite sex. and giving any kid a ride. Right. Like I'd watch a kid trudging to school in the rain, splashing him as I whizzed by.
A very successful high school football coach in Tigard, Oregon has recently been accused of "verbal abuse" by a number of parents, who have engaged a lawyer to go after him. He does seem to have a reputation for being somewhat, er, forceful in his motivation, but he has a large number of supporters, many of whom suggest a relationship between the accusers of abuse and their dissatisfaction with the playing time their sons have received. Rightly or wrongly, though, the accusation is out there, and it is hard for the coach to prove a negative.
As to sexual misconduct by a teacher or a coach - if it's proven, I say string the bastard up. That sort of depravity reflects on - detracts from - all of us. (Now, maybe it's me, but honest to God, while I do recall one or two football coaches who couldn't resist proving what studs they were by hitting on cheerleaders, I seem to notice that the chief perps are soccer coaches and guys who coach girls' sports.)
*********** Not a bad little way for football coaches to get kids to give them the feedback needed to run the best program possible: Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill was CEO of Alcoa before joining president Bush's cabinet. At Alcoa, he came up with three questions that workers should ask themselves every day: (1) are they being treated with dignity and respect? (2) are they being given the tools they need "to make a contribution that gives meaning to their life?" (3) When they made such a contribution, did somebody notice?
*********** You may talk about pressure all you like, but I have never experienced pressure quite like that which I encountered in my first coaching job. I had played two years for the Frederick (Maryland) Falcons, before moving 30 miles away to Hagerstown, Maryland, to coach and manage a team called the Hagerstown Bears. The Bears had been 1-13 the previous year, and it took us a little while to get respectable, but once we did, we had some incredible go-rounds with the Falcons. And just 20 miles to the north of us was Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, passionately devoted to its team, the Cardinals. They actually became our biggest rivals, mainly because so many fans of both teams worked together, side-by-side at the big Mack Truck plant north of Hagerstown. Guys would come up to me before a Hagerstown-Chambersburg game and tell me that they'd bet their paychecks on the game. Whew. Thanks for telling me. Just the incentive I needed.
*********** "Hi Coach, I liked the quote by Lou Holtz about the 7 plays. I think a main reason our Freshmen offense was so effective was that I stayed with the same 6 (Double-Wing) plays (7 if you count my pass off the punt formation), all year. We averaged about 20 points a game, even though our defense was on the field so much. Staying with those six plays, I learned very quickly how my team was going to do, and what I had to fix. "Less is more" really works. After your clinic, and watching your "installing the system" video, I will be adding the wedge this year, but I'm going to specialize in running it from one side, and the trap from one side as you suggested. (the superpower, sweep, and the counter to both sides). This still keeps the same number of plays." -Paul Smith, Bridgeport, Connecticut
*********** "We now have 185 kids signed up for football. This is compared to 130 last year." Keith Babb, Northbrook, Illinois
*********** Coach Wyatt, Read the news about the National Anthem sung at Indy. I spend quite a few minutes every year preaching the importance of the Anthem and what it stands for. I saw the assistant director of our rec dept. lower the state flag and drop it on the bushes then proceed to lower the American Flag and had it hanging on the ground and also laid it over the bushes. It was outside after a league football meeting. A couple of us wanted to string this guy up.
Although he was young, I witness many men and women being disrespectful during the Anthem. Men that are of the age to know better. To have witnessed the spoils of war,,,,,,,,,,,,,etc., etc.......
Also, went to your clinic in Rhode Island. It was nice to meet you and I learned a lot and am getting ready to start our 1st yr. of double wing football.
Sincerely, Coach Dave Marcotte Seabrook New Hampshire Rams
*********** "In 1966 I went to South Carolina as an assistant coach. My wife was eight months pregnant with our third child and we spent every cent we had as a down payment on a home. I was there one month before Marvin Bass resigned to go to the Canadian League. Paul Dietzel became the new head coach, but he kept only a couple of coaches off the previous staff. In my interview, he said, 'I'm going to do you a favor. I think you're in the wrong profession. We don't have a place for you. But we can put you in the P.E. department until the year is over.' I'm going to tell you, I was really downhearted and disappointed. But he called me in about a week later and told me, "If you'll take a $4,000 salary cut, from $11,000 to $7,000, you can handle the academics and the scout squad,' which is what I did. Two years later I was at Ohio State with a team that won the national championship and a year after that I became head coach at William & Mary. It wasn't easy to hang in there back then, but I owe an awful lot to Paul Dietzel and to South Carolina." Lou Holtz
*********** "Coach: I can testify from my two-year stint in Melbourne (1988-90) that the Magpies of Collingwood have a ferociously loyal fan base, whether they are fighting for the Grand Final or the "wooden spoon" (last place in the AFL). Collingwood's roots (I know, I'm being careful) are solidly and proudly working class, allowing them to sneer at yuppy-come-lately sides like the Carlton Blues even if Carlton is in first place and Collingwood is dead last.
Carna 'Pies! ("Come on, Magpies!")
Regards, Ted Seay, U.S. Embassy, Ljubljana, Slovenia
(I actually saw a videotape of a
*********** The Houston Chronicle reported that in a little more than four years, between December 1996 and February 2001, at least 64 Texas high school and middle school coaches lost their jobs as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct involving students. At least 13 cases were reported of coaches losing their jobs because of such allegations being hired elsewhere.
*********** It is no wonder that the water levels behind our dams are at record lows. Water in single-serve bottles is now the second-largest beverage category in the US (carbonated soft drinks is the largest), with sales of $6 billion a year. At close to $2 a pop in some places, the price of water has reached the point where instead of taking empty bottles back to the store for the deposits, it makes more sense for winos to fill them with water and sell them in airports.
*********** A study released last September entitled "Fool's Gold: A Critical Look at Computers in Childhood," argues that emphasis on computers in kids' education "does not meet the developmental needs of grade-school children." The Alliance for Childhood, in College Park, Maryland, author of the study, says that computer use by children can cause repetitive-stress injuries and social isolation.
*********** For some unexplained reason I happened to be going through the Movies section of our local newspaper when I came across the reactions of some old-timers who'd just seen "Pearl Harbor." John Bruening, of Vancouver, Washington, was a 19-year-old army private in 1941, and he said, "If something were to happen today, I don't know if this younger generation would stand up and fight. After watching this movie, I'm 82 years old but I would put on my uniform and fight again."
And then it hit me. Faced with near-impossible recruiting quotas, while at the same time having to confront the declining fitness of our youngsters and the perceived desirability of admitting more members of a certain gender that will go unnamed, our armed forces keep lowering the physical standards.
Not to worry, we are told - modern warfare doesn't demand as much physically of military personnel as it once did.
If we can believe that (and who in our government would lie to us, just to advance their narrow interests?) then I say we ought to go a little further in relaxing our physical requirements, and make it possible to recruit some real warriors like John Bruening.
*********** My son, Ed, told me that he and his wife, Michelle, who work for different TV companies, were both sent to cover the same event - an Australian Rules Football clinic attended by more than 800 kids. It was put on by one Melbourne club, the Collingwood Magpies, and Ed said it was amazing in the way the entire Collingwood squad, quite unlike most of their counterparts in American professional sports, took an active part in conducting drills and working hands-on with the little tykes.
Now here's the real significance, from the standpoint of their sport's future: when Auskick, the junior "Footy" association, had kids all over Australia sign up for the clinics, they were required to check a box indicating which team they "barrack" (root*) for.
Now, I don't know about Footy's other 15 teams, but every single one of those 800 little nippers out there getting instruction had indicated that they barracked for Collingwood. 800 future Magpies out on the field, mixing with their idols.
Footy would seem to have a sound future, at least in Collingwood.
*"Root" is a term to be used very carefully in Australia, as it means "have sex"
*********** Coach Ross Woody, of Vallejo, California, and his wife, Tina, are the proud parents of Hannah Michelle, born Monday. She joins brother Ross, Jr. and sister Alexandrea. Ross writes, "It was pure luck that she waited until Little League was finished, and prior to football starting." (I beg to differ. It was not luck. It was timing. In football, timing is everything. HW)
*********** "I got an email from a local coach who asked me if I could help him with the DW. I of course said I would. He coaches an 11-12 year old team in a different league and said he ran some DW and some Wing T. When I hear a coach say this, to me it means he runs some plays from some DW formations, but not the DW. He said he was more interested in learning how to stop the DW. He told me he runs a 9 man line with all of them in a linbacker stance and has them crash the TEs and WBs and QB. I told him I could not help with stopping the DW, but I would love to scrimmage him and run the Wedge about 25 times in a row against those standing up linemen." Greg Stout, Thompson's Station, Tennessee (Screw him. Let him find out for himself how to stop it. Matter of fact, long as he ain't a Double-Wing guy, tell him that he's already got the answer - tell him to stick with those stand-up linemen - tell him all us Double-Wingers know that's the answer to how to stop us, but we've been hoping no one would find out.)
*********** "Have you ever read John Feinstein's book about the Army -Navy game, "A Civil War"? Just finished his golf book, "The Majors," and was wondering if theother was worth reading?" Adam Wesoloski, DePere, Wisconsin - I have read it and it is excellent. I would recommend it to anybody. HW
*********** Years ago, when he was a lieutenant colonel, Secretary of State General Colin Powell began writing down his rules to live by. He wrote them on small pieces of paper which he then slipped under the glass on his desk.
One of them: "It ain't as bad as you think."
Another: "You don't know what you can get away with until you try."
Lesson Number One on his list at the Department of State: "Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off."
*********** "Coach Wyatt, I found it highly interesting to see what Whit Snyder of Baytown, Texas had to say regarding the political aspirations of Marty Akins. I remember being tremendously impressed with the way Akins ran the Texas offense as we, at Idaho State University, were getting ready to play the University of Wyoming in Coach Freddy Akers' first year which was in 1975. Because of this being the opening game for both squads, we broke down quite a bit of Texas football film from the previous fall during the summer and it was amazing what Akins was able to do with the wishbone offense that had some excellent performers but not the explosiveness of previous years nor the surprise of the triple option. It was apparent that Akins, as Coach Snyder stated, ". . . was the catalyst" for the offense.
"I also remember reading an article at the time from Sports Illustrated about the Bluebonnet Bowl matchup with Colorado. Supposedly, Akins' nickname was "The Governor" because that was one of his life's goals. Now, a quarter of a century later, he has remained focused on this vision, and will be running for the top political spot in Texas. I think that certainly says something about desire, determination, and dedication - three strong attributes of successful football players (and leaders) everywhere." Mike O'Donnell- Pine City, Minnesota
*********** "Hugh: Thanks for mentioning this engaging Professor Ellis from Mt Holyoke who lied to his students and the public about serving in Vietnam. There are a number of these pathetic phonies in our country, like tough Brian Denehey, who took credit for Vietnam service until it caught up with him. There is an unheralded book named STOLEN VALOR by B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley published by Verity Press,Inc.,PO Box 50366,Dallas, TX 75250;(800) 253-6789;www.stolenvalor.com . This book,692 pages, outlines many of the phonies.
Shakespeare had it right in Henry the V in Henry's immortal speech at the Battle of Agincourt:
This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian (feast day) shall ne'er go by From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered,---We few, we happy few,we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me, Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition: and gentlemen in England, now a-bed, shall think themselves accurs'd, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks, that fought with us upon St. Crispin's Day.
"Those who try to put themselves up as having served in war when they did not are among the most despicable persons I can think of. Their egos will not allow them to honor those who served---they try to include themselves in the honor without having placed themselves in harms way. I hope that every one of these incredible phonies are found out and hounded for what they are. I find their weakness and foul claims almost more than I can bear when I think of those brave men who did what their country asked. Thanks, Hugh." Black Lions. Jim Shelton, Englewood, Florida (General Shelton has quoted one of the most stirring passages of all of Shakespeare; if your players can understand what King Henry is saying, they will recognize the truth he is expressing: that in fighting together, men forge the bonds of brotherhood; that those who don't take part in the fight can never be a part of that brotherhood, and will forever regret the fact.)
*********** It is hard to believe that Alabama and Auburn, the parties to one of college football's fiercest and most natural rivalries, once went 41 years without playing each other. When they couldn't agree on how much expense money to pay their players for the trip to neutral Birmingham, or on who should officiate, they decided not to play the game in 1908, and that was that until 1948, when an act by the state legislature brought them together again. But get this: in 1944, Alabama's board of trustees opposed an Alabama-Auburn game, saying that it would bring about "an accelerated over-emphasis of football in the state." I had to read that two or three times to make sure I was reading about the same Alabama I know.
*********** Two Iowa high schools, Van Meter and Martensdale-St. Marys, tied a national single-game home run record, hitting 16 between them in a 17-15 Van Meter win. I suspect there was a time when Van Meter didn't need that many runs to win. Van Meter is the home of strikeout king Bob Feller, one of the great pitchers in baseball history.
*********** The British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) say it's true. Richard Williams says it's a lie. Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena, had been making a lot of noise about the way poor inner-city kids are overlooked by the people who run tennis. He makes a lot of noise about a lot of things, making life tougher for his daughters than it needs to be, and in this case, the LTA people asked him to take part in a program to promote tennis in some of London's tougher neighborhoods. They say that Williams' response was to ask for $400,000 to do the job.
************ A coach asked me why I prefer to have my wingbacks in a two-point stance, and this is what I told him: The major advantage for me is that (1) they keep their eyes up- I am afraid whenever a guy gets in a 3-point stance that he will look down and I believe when a kid does that he may begin to think about things other than his assignment; (2) I want them to be able to see what they are going to be blocking; (3) they have to get up to do anything they need to do anyhow; (4) I think they can run pass patterns better from 2-points; (5) I think they can run rocket and lazer motion better; (6) I think they can reach block better. But that's just me. Plenty of teams have had good success with their wingbacks in three-point stances. One very successful Double-Wing coach, Mike Emery of Groton, Connecticut and his offensive coordinator, Mike Campbell, employ the classic Delaware technique, with the wingbacks in two-point stances, facing straight ahead with the inside foot back. It works for them: they have won two straight Connecticut state championships.
*********** Just got done reading your news page and noticed your comments on digital cameras. The Canon ZR10 is a nice little unit. I have one and use it on my Mac to edit video. Works slick and has all the features you'd consider important (RCA adapter jacks, etc.) The only thing you might consider a knock is the tape gate, it's on the bottom just like your Sony. Retail was $759.00 when I got it last Christmas." Kevin Thurman- Tigard, Oregon
*********** Frank Simonsen, of Cape May, New Jersey, for my money one of the top youth coaches in the business, has been at it for over 20 years, and since I've known him, he's been pushing to get into a conference with no weight restrictions - one that wouldn't exclude bigger kids. (If you have been away for a while, our kids are getting bigger.) Now that he's finally been successful, Frank wrote me recently to let me know how things are going. "Coach, We have 35 kids signed up already, 10 that have never played football before (always been too big). All but one are 7th graders, 2-200 lbers. 3-180s., 2-170s., and 5-160s. I hope I can teach them enough to get some help from them this year. I think this Junior High League is one of the best thing to happen for youth and high school football. We will be playing junior high teams from all over South Jersey. They already have the word, That's the team from down in Cape May that runs some goofy "O".
*********** Many of you have probably never heard of John Landy, but shortly after Englishman Roger Bannister became the first man to break the four-minute mile, Australian Landy burst on the world track scene with some unbelievable sub-four times. But in those pre-jet plane days, the two men had to settle for competition at a distance, as they took turns posting record times. Finally, though, they met in the Empire games in Vancouver, B.C. in 1954, in what was called "the mile of the century." No mile race since has had the significance or drama, so the name must stand. Shortly after we'd moved to the West and my son Ed was still in high school, we drove to Vancouver to watch the B.C. Lions play, in the same old Empire Stadium in which the greats, Bannister and Landy, first met. There was an impressive statue of the two runners outside the stadium entrance.with oen record-breaking performance after anotherhe two men. So it was a great honor for Ed to meet and interview the great John Landy recently: "Taped the John Landy thing today...he was very nice, very gracious...had good things to say about Vancouver and the statue...he's 70 years old and getting on a bit, so it was a little hard to strike up a real conversation with him...but it was a treat to meet him and especially to put in context that statue we used to pass every time we went to a game at that old stadium (which no longer stands).
*********** My daughter-in-law Michelle, Ed's wife, is an extremely creative and efficient TV producer, and this football season (Australian Rules), one of her jobs has been to produce the pre-game shows on the giant sceens at Melbourne's huge stadiums. Ed wrote about the difficulty of her assignment this weekend: "Michelle has Essendon v Fremantle this weekend...that's like Florida State v Columbia in football..."blowout city baby." (Fremantle, or "Freeo", has yet to win and has already undergone a mid-season coaching change)
*********** I think I may have found the latest class-action law suit to enrich America's trial lawyers. You know the guys - the ones who find that some big company or industry has been allegedly shafting people over the years, then, enticing those people with visions of big cash, they try to recuit large numbers of them to form a "class." Then they sue the company or industry on behalf of the class. If they can put together a large enough class - a million people or so - they can turn small individual damages into lawsuits for serious money.
And when they win (in our nation of stupid jurors, when was the last time they lost?) they take their legal fees, say 33 per cent of the total settlement, and divvy up the rest among the members of the class. It really doesn't matter what the class-action suit is all about - the lawyers will put together a class of 1,000,000 people, and then let's say they persuade a jury to award their clients $10,000,000. That doesn't seem to be all that tough these days. So let's see... 33 per cent of $10,000,000 for legal fees is $3,333,333 for the lawyers. Not bad. That leaves $6,666,667, to be divided up among the 1,000,000 members of the class. What do you plan to do with your check for $6.66?
Well, here it is...DVT. Deep-vein thrombosis. A killer that stalks the skies.
It does appear to be a real problem. It appears to threaten any of us who flies long distance. And it does appear to have the potential to bring airlines to their knees, whether or not it is their fault.
The problem is that when you fly long distances, you tend to stay in one position for long periods of time. And, just as with a person who lies immobile in a hospital, there is a danger of blood clots forming. What happens is that sitting for long periods of time causes the legs to swell because the blood doesn't get completely pumped out of them, and clots may form in the veins of the legs. If a clot should dislodge and move through the bloodstrteam to key parts of the body, it could prove fatal. A blood clot that lodges in the lungs can cause what is called a pulmonary embolism, blocking a person's airflow.
This is no kidding. A 28-year-old woman died of a blood clot last September on a Sydney-to-London flight. A hospital near London's Heathrow Airport has documented 30 such cases in a three-year period in which people died of pulmonary embolisms after long flights; 10 of them had flown Sydney to London. A hospital near Tokyo's airport found 25 such deaths in an eight-year period.
The ever-tighter seating of most airliners and the immobility it imposes on passengers would appear to be a major factor, leading some people to call the condition "coach class syndrome."
Dry cabin air is also a possible contributor, because when a person becomes dehydrated, the blood, with less water in it, becomes thicker and more likely to clot.
Comsumption of alcoholic beverages and drinks containing caffeine while flying is also a factor, because they will dehydrate a person
Medical experts suggest the following precautions for those flying long distances (apart from the obvious suggestion that you spend another couple of thousand and fly first class):
Drink a lot of fluids but avoid caffeine or alcohol. Drink something at least every hour.
Especially if you are older, take aspirin before flying to thin the blood.
Wear elastic, below-the-knee compression stockings.
Exercize. Get up and walk about the cabin ever couple of hours.
"There is no evidence establishing that DVT is caused by air travel," said a spokesman for the Air Transport Association, which represents major airline companies.
Whoever you believe, he won't be coaching in Edmonton. "My days with the Eskimos are over," he told a news conference.
Matthews had been taking medication to treat a thyroid deficiency first diagnosed years ago, but evidently decided to stop taking the pills last spring.
"I just didn't want to take pills for the rest of my life," he told the news conference. " I said: 'I don't think I need this little yellow thing. I don't know what good it's doing. I feel fine.'
In May, though, he discovered he was no longer able to work his customary long hours - surprise. "A few months later, it creeps up on you that you don't feel fine. It was a stupid thing to do," he said.
Matthews went back on the medication, but still didn't return to full health. His doctor said he suffered from another deficiency in his blood, one Matthews coach refused to divulge.
Matthews said he had begun to take a new form of medication that was expected to restore his enegery levels to normal within a fews weeks, but Eskimos' management, for what has to be a reason other than concern for Matthews' health, was unwilling to wait for the return of the winningest coach in CFL history.
Matthews has had other health problems. Several years ago, while coaching in Toronto, a blood clot from his leg went to his heart. Since then, to relieve the pressure on his legs, he has managed practices while driving around in a gold cart. (I have watched him operate. He didn't appear hampered in the slightest.)
Matthews and Eskimos' President Hugh Campbell have a long friendship going all the way back to 1977 when Matthews assisted Campbell in Edmonton, but something smells fishy here.
"Do I think I have the energy to coach a football team? Yes. But coach Campbell did not think that. And I learned, in the football world, what I think really doesn't matter. Could he be over-protective of an old friend? Maybe."