Saturday, February 26, 2011

Getting Away

Work was especially stressful this week with the end of the month approaching and our sales team trying to close up deals. As someone who supports these efforts, I typically remain calm, cool and collected. Alas the strain did finally get to me and I felt some of the effects. It did not help I was busy with my after work activities.

So, after being asked, I am out of town with friends on a church retreat. I'm not that far from home (1 1/2 hours). However, It is welcome respite from work.

The point is that work isn't always everything. Good to get some me time which I will try this weekend.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Career Night On The Court

There some things that occur during your lifetime that cannot be easily explained.   There might some weird coincidence that happens which causes you to meet your future wife, get a job or something else.

Tonight, something weird happened tonight which I cannot easily explain.  Take a look at the following stat line from my adult league basketball game tonight:

23 Points (11-19 FG's, 1-1 FT)
7 Rebounds
1 Assist
1 Steal
1 Turnover

That stat line was MINE tonight.  There was a considerable buzz around the gym as I put up my 23 points tonight.  The reason was that I am not usually the main scorer for any of the teams I play on.  Secondly, while I am known as a decent mid-range (15 foot and in) shooter,  I can be streaky at times.
Plus, I've only scored 20 points in a game less than 10 times in all the years I played in league basketball (probably more like 3 to 5 times, though I don't remember exactly).

However, if I were to try and explain why I shot so well tonight, here's some possibly explanations....


We were missing our center (injury) and our young guard (illness) tonight.  Between those two guys, they probably would have gobbled up the majority of my 19 shots.  With the two guys missing, the remaining six guys had a chance to get more shots up.  Of course, with more opportunities, you still have to make the shots.  Fortunately, they were going in for me tonight!


I played in a weekend basketball tournament with some other guys.  My team didn't do too well as we lost all three games.  However,  I played quite a few minutes and got a lot of running in.  So that definitely helped me get in shape.

But the other thing was that I was hitting my shots during the tournament.  My overall shooting percentage wasn't that great because I forced some bad shots during the games.  However, when I was open and shot the ball in rhythm, the shots were going down with good frequency.  In fact, during the second game of our weekend tournament, I hit my first four shots of the game!  Overall, I averaged 10 points a game during the tournament which was solid.


My knees had been aching the past several week while playing basketball.  I thought it was just due to old age.  However, it never occurred to me that it was my basketball shoes.  The shoes I had been using looked great on the outside.  However, I wondered if I had overused it the past year or so with the number of league games I had played.

For my weekend tournament, I decided to break in my Li-Ning BD Doom shoes (Baron Davis's signature shoe with Chinese company Li-Ning).   Surprisingly, the shoes were comfortable and held up well over the weekend.  Of course, I played reasonably well and the trend continued into tonight.  I might need to order up another pair for backup!


It was great to have today off.  I got in plenty of sleep and didn't do a lot during the day.  I went to the mall and CostCo with my mom to get some shopping in.  Other than that, I just chilled and showed up at the gym pretty laid back.

One underestimates how much work stress can have on you for the other activities in your life.  Too bad I can't take days off every time I play basketball!


I could throw out my possible explanations.  But hey, it could have just been one of those crazy evenings.  Assuming our other two guys come back healthy, I'll probably settle back into my role as a bench player.

I should mention that it would have been nice if my team had won (we lost 64-54).  Career nights are great but not so if the team loses.  However, it was a fun evening and definitely one to remember.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chinese New Year Basketball Classic Tournament - Day 1

So the day is finally over.  After getting up at 7:45 AM for my team's 9 AM game and playing a second game at 11:30 AM, I stayed and watched the other games before returning home moments ago.

The day was tough for my team as we lost both games.  The first game we played some college kids and they jumped out to an early lead that they never relinquished.  We ended up losing 78-57.  The second game was better as our opponent was more at our level.  Alas, after taking a one point lead with 4 seconds left, our defense wasn't good enough as our opponents hit a shot at the buzzer to win 43-42.

With our record at 0-2, we will play tomorrow morning at 11 AM against First Chinese Baptist Church.  They are a pretty young and athletic team so my team will have to be at our best to have a chance.

As for myself, I actually had a pretty offensive day.  I scored 12 points in the first game and 8 points in the second game.  In fact, I hit my first four shots of the second game but struggled in the second half when the opponents went to a man defense.

All in all, while the record isn't great my team did have a good time and it was good to get my team onto the floor.  We'll do our best tomorrow!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Game Time!

In about 12 hours, a rag tag basketball team I put together will tip off in a Chinese New Year basketball tournament being held in South San Francisco.  The team comprises with 4 guys I played with in some leagues recently, 2 friends, and 3 other newcomers I have never met.

I have no idea how my team will do and the quality of the competition we will face.  It will not be easy though as we will play twice tomorrow (9 AM & 11:30 AM) and at least one game (hopefully more) on Sunday.

This particular tournament has existed for some 50 years.  From reading something online, this tournament could be the 50th Anniversary though the coordinators have not acknowledged it. The tournament started play at the Chinese Recreation Center in San Francisco's Chinatown and was played there up until last year.  Due to a remodel of the Center, the tournament has been moved to a high school in South San Francisco for this year.

Being a Chinatown kid and hanging around Chinese Recreation Center a lot, I had watched various teams play the tournament over the years.  Yet, I never actually played in the tournament.  I wasn't a huge basketball player in my youth though I always enjoyed watching it.   To me, this particular tournament represented a higher level of competition among Asian/Chinese players than I could ever be at.   Interestingly, I actually have officiated the tournament in recent years though will not be doing so this year as I am playing.

Many friends wondered why I decided to form the team and play in the tournament, especially since I am 36 years old and my knees have been aching lately.  Some thought it was because I am a basketball nut.  In a way, you could that is true.  However, I could have easily chosen NOT to form a team as I normally play basketball on Saturdays anyway. 

I decided to form a team because I felt this was one of my last few opportunities to play in the tournament.  Because of the move to another facility, there was enough space to host two tournaments.  There is the Upper Division for the more competitive teams.  Then the coordinators formed a Lower Division for the other teams who wanted to play but couldn't compete with the better teams. 

Seeing that there was a Lower Division compelled me to form the team and make perhaps my first (and probably last) appearance in a tournament that I have watched since I was a kid.   Playing this year is less about winning than about being part of a tradition that has existed for many years.  

Win or lose, I am going to enjoy this weekend with my teammates.  Wish us luck!  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Struggles Of Work / Life Balance

I'm a season ticket holder for our local professional basketball team and split the tickets among a group of people.  So, for my friends, they take their significant others OR other friends they know from church or other social groups  

For me, since I am not married nor do I currently have a girlfriend, I knew I had to find people to take to the games.  I had several friends in mind but not all the plans come to fruition.  The main problem is that the games are sometimes on weeknights which make it difficult for people to go.  Fortunately, my mom is around.  Since she is retired and likes basketball, I ended up just taking her instead.

However, for this particular weekend, I had a Sunday game with a marquee team and player coming into town.  There was one friend (call her Friend A) who I wanted to take.  She wanted to go but the timing (Sunday evening) would be tough because she had to work the next day.  Of course, I have to work too but I can deal with it better than others since I typically have more energy than many people I know.

So I had to go to a backup plan with another friend (Friend B).  This friend had already went to a game about a month ago.   While there was going to be some logistical things I had to address with this friend about the game, I figured it would be worth the effort.

Alas, all the plans got shot down.  Just like Friend A, Friend B has work issues.  Alas, Friend B's work issues were a little more pressing.  She was put on call for this weekend out of the blue and could not commit to making the game.

I admit to being frustrated at the time we talked.  This had nothing to do with Friend B and more so with the fact that it's just been one BUSY week for me.  I have had evening activities this ENTIRE week and not much downtime to myself.  While it's enjoyable, I haven't had much a chance to recharge.   Friend B's situation just muddled matters.  With me being tired already, I wasn't too thrilled to have think about what to do for the game.

After taking a nap to recharge, I feel better and thought I need to address the issue of work / life balance because of what I went through with my friends the past couple of days.

For me, work / life balance has always been important.  In the years I've been in the workforce, I've always done my 40 (and sometimes more) hours.   But after work, I've always had activities.  It could be something simple like just going to the gym to workout or hitting a bookstore to read which take a small amount of time.  Alternatively, I officiate, play or go watch basketball.

For Friend A, work dominates her life though she doesn't seem to mind and she cuts small time for herself to take walks.  I wasn't surprised at her for not attending the game.   Her life is structured around work and you have to fit into her schedule.  It's not always easy to do that.

Friend B isn't anything like Friend A.  In fact, Friend B is probably more like me in that work/life balance is important.   The major difference with Friend B and me?  Her work schedule is currently Tuesday through Saturday PLUS she works in an environment that operates 24 hours a day.

Thus, that is why Friend B's situation came up and I believe that is a source of resentment for her.  On one hand, you have to do the job you currently have.  On the other hand, she's already losing one weekend day.  Plus this weekend, our plans got shot down just because she MIGHT have to do work on one of her days off.

Since I am calmer about the situation now, I advised Friend B to start looking for a job that is Monday to Friend and does not operate 24 hours a day.    I am not thrilled that Friend B's job is going to make her miss the game Sunday.  We talk a lot but don't see each other much so any opportunity to see her is welcome.

But beyond that, work / life balance is important.  You need time to yourself and the fact is work is not everything.   Yes, we all need to earn money to support ourselves.  But work should not override your own personal time that you need for yourself.   Considering I know Friend B very well, this personal time is much needed, maybe more so than maybe your average person.

I went through what Friend B is experiencing now early in my career and I am quite understanding of what her situation is.  I worked in call centers with odd schedules like Thursday through Monday.  Fortunately, as time went on and I got seniority, I was able to get myself out of those odd schedules.  My current job is just Monday through Friday though I have to deal with odd hours every now and then.

All in all, I don't envy what Friend B has to deal with.  It's not fun.  For everyone reading, do what you need to do at work.  But make time for yourself and also try to avoid working on your days off.  All in all, I think it will allow you to enjoy your life much more.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Live from Oracle Arena

Blogging from the Warriors - Nuggets game. :). Warrior up 111-105

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Celebrating Chinese New Year

At a local casino, Chinese New Year is celebrated annually with a performance from a Chinatown Lion Dance Troupe. Here's a picture of their performance:

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Mostly 365: One Day, One Photo and lots of beauty at a time

Camera+ had been rated highly by many users but had been removed from the App Store for several months.  The reason for the removal was that the developers had added a hidden feature that violated Apple's guidelines.

However, I was poking around the Internet one evening in late December and saw that Camera+ had been added back to the App Store.  I was thrilled to see this and immediately bought the app for 99 cents.   With the app in hand, what was I going to do with it?

I've had an interest in photography for a while.  In fact, I am armed with my Iphone, two point and shoot camera (one older, one newer) and one Digital SLR.  The Digital SLR was purchased for the express purchase of learning to take better photos manually.  Alas, learning the basics and getting out to do photography can be time consuming.

However, I lucked out.  After purchasing Camera+, I was reading a blog posting by Lisa Bettany (developer of Camera+) discussing a project she called Mostly365.  The idea behind the project was to encourage everyone to take one picture a day for 2011 and share the picture with the world via a website she created:

Mostly 365 Website

For some reason, this project resonated with me and for the past month, I have been snapping away with my Iphone.  Check out my photos here:

coach41's Mostly 365 Photos

Originally, I was doing the project as Lisa had stated.  I was looking around for interesting things to shoot and I would share the picture.  However, a co-worker made an interesting point.  He saw one of my photos  that was shot at a department store and commented:  "Are you sure you want that to be the thing you remember from that particular day?  Try shooting things that would make your day memorable".

Since then, I've tried to shoot things in the locations I have been in.  This could be murals, food or just the scenery.  But the point is I am trying to capture a moment that I will remember at the end of 2011.  I can't say I've had fantastic success with all of my photos but I feel I have some nice shots.

There has been one additional benefit to participating in this project.  With my eye constantly looking out for things to shoot, I have noticed there IS A LOT OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS out there in the world.  It could be the sunset, a mural or just a small flower that maybe you otherwise wouldn't notice.

In our day to day lives, we tend not to appreciate the little things due to stress, work or other things.  With this Mostly365 project, I think I've certainly gotten back to appreciating some of the little things.   Beyond taking pictures though, I think everyone's lives would be improved if they slowed down and appreciated some of the smaller and beautiful things in the world.