Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reflections on St. Mary's Class of 2003 (and college Class of 2011 & beyond)

In 1998, I embarked on a new journey.  For the first time in my youth basketball coaching career, I was working with a 3rd grade girls basketball team.  Prior to this, I had worked with boys and girls from 6th to 8th grade.  Coaching a 3rd grade team was both an exciting challenge and a daunting challenge as well.  Exciting in the sense that I got to mold the kids skills when they were young.  Challenging in that I didn't feel I had all the necessary experience to work with the younger kids.

Well, I did the best I could for three seasons (1998 to 2000) and compiled a 21-13 overall record including spending the 1999 and 2000 seasons competing in the top division of the basketball league we were playing in.   As the 2000 season completed, I stepped down from coaching as I had spent over 12 years as a volunteer coach with 7 different teams (boys/girls) in both assistant and head coaching capacities.   The team also broke apart as several of the kids left St. Mary's for other schools.  Another coach took over the next season as my former team merged with the kids from the upper grades for two seasons (plus their 8th grade season as an individual team again) and led them to several deserved championship runs.

My most enduring memory with this particular team is back during their first season in 1998.  The team compiled an 8-0 league record but unfortunately another team had also finished 8-0.  Instead of the usual 9 teams, there were ten teams and the schedule did not have my team play the other team.   With both teams tied, we had to play a tiebreaker which my team lost 14-9.  That send the other team to the championship game while my team was dropped into second place and awaited the winner of the 3rd/4th place playoff winner.

Even though my team was the second seed, we traveled to the opposing team's gym and engaged in a classic battle.  With my team up 10-8 in the closing seconds, the other team banked home a shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.   My team battled hard in overtime but ultimately lost a 13-12 heartbreaker to end our season.

Why would a loss be an enduring memory?  The reason is that my team was always resilient and it showed in the next two seasons.  We played against the best teams the league had to offer and we competed well.   Some of the other teams in the league had players that ultimately played varsity for some Catholic high schools out here and I believe one even played college basketball.

This reflection comes as I noticed on Facebook that a few of the nine players that played under me are GRADUATING from college in the coming weeks.   CONGRATULATIONS to all of the ones who are graduating this year.  For the others who may graduating later on or even on different track from school, best of luck!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Your Perception Is Not My Reality And Vice Versa (Personal Edition)

In the last few days, a double murder and suicide at San Jose State University (SJSU) has attracted a lot of comments and speculation.  Read the articles below for more information on the situation:

San Jose State killings blamed on domestic dispute

SJSU students killed in shooting to get posthumous diplomas

The comments and speculation surrounded on two items:

Why a 54 year old man and a 25 year old woman be married? Love?  Money?  Green Card?

Was the 25 year old woman and the 26 year old friend that were killed having an affair or were they just friends?  They were both married though the man had separated from his wife (at least for a time).

I'm not going to comment directly on either of the questions because I don't have the answers.  I'll leave that to the police / investigators to figure out.  However, what I can say is this case teaches us that "Perception vs. Reality" in friendships / relationships is an important thing to consider.

For me, it is perfectly normal to just be friends with people of the opposite sex.  I have plenty of friends of the female persuasion both single, attached and married (don't think I know any divorced female friends).  While having friends of the opposite sex is a good thing in my mind, I've learned that things change when they are attached and especially when they are married.

The main thing is that my female friend's significant other's take priority.   I don't take it personally because every other friend is probably treated the same way.  However, with me being a GUY, there is additional significance that I didn't think about in my younger days.

In MY REALITY (and all of my female friends realities), there is NOTHING going on between us.  That stuff we can control.  What we can't control?  The PERCEPTION of their significant others.  Therefore, when associating with your attached/married female friends, you have to tread carefully and not give any wrong ideas that something is going on.   There is no one right way to proceed as every couple of different.  My female friends let me know where the lines / boundaries are and I don't ever get close to crossing them!   The good news is that I know the husbands pretty well and that helps me out!

This "Perception vs Reality" issue could have been one of the things (among many others) at play here in the SJSU situation.  The husband's perception was of infidelity and affair.  The two young people indeed may have been just friends.  However, their actions (being in a car together at 8:30 PM in the evening) may not have portrayed reality and that caused the husband to lose his mind.

The husband definitely should not have done what he did.  It is unfortunate what has happened and that has caused the loss of three lives.  Best wishes to the families involved in this time of grief.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

I Am Not Young Anymore..........

As much as I like to think I am young, the fact is age is slowly creeping up on me.  The reason I say that is that my knees are screaming out at the punishment I put it through today:

1.  Officiated three basketball games from 9 AM until 12:30 PM
2.  Played pick up basketball with friends from 2 PM until 5 PM

In fact, this past Spring, I have put my body through some punishment:

Officiated a JV basketball game at 4:30 PM, played an adult league basketball game at 8 PM at one gym,  and played another game at 10 PM at another gym.

Played in TWO tournaments this past Spring plus played in a Monday night league.  That equated to playing FOUR games in 3 Days after the first tournament and playing FIVE games in 3 days after the second tournament.

I used to officiate and play basketball afterwards on Saturday frequently but I don't do it as much anymore.  My legs have trouble taking the punishment and eventually I'll have to figure out what I'm going to do in the future.

For now, I'll ice down my knees and get some rest.  :)

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Enjoying The Simple Things.....

Today was a great day and not because of anything super special I did.  Firstly, I met up an old friend for lunch and we caught up on our happenings over the past couple of months.  My friend had been busy with work and went on vacation while I had been busy with my various things so we hadn't talked on the phone or met in person in a while.   It didn't really bother me as my friend will always reach out to me when time permits and it was just a matter of time we met up again.

After lunch, I had to go home to take care of some personal business for a short while.  After that, I left my car at home and took a walk around my neighborhood.  I had planned to take a walk to the shopping center (2 miles away) but thought it might be too much effort to hit the mall.  Instead, I took a pit stop at a local strip mall.  There were some chairs so I sat down and just enjoyed the sun and the small breeze.

After a little while, I walked back home and got a call from another friend.  I chatted with my friend for a while before having dinner.

While I didn't really do anything particularly special, I loved catching up with my friends and having some solo time to myself.  :)

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Some Days You WIll Never Forget / Osama Bin Laded Killed

There are some days in your life you never forget.  For me, a couple of days stand out:

October 17th, 1989 - The Day of the Loma Prieta Earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area.   I was at the Polo Fields at Golden Gate Park in SF for a cross country meet when the earthquake struck at 5:04 PM.    Not being close to buildings, I wasn't aware at how large the earthquake was until my team and I left the park and saw the power out.  It took me several hours to get home due to buses getting delayed with power all over the City.

September 11th, 2001 - This day began as any other day for me.  I was up at about 4:30 AM and got on a commuter train to go to work at 5 AM or so.  I spent an hour on the train and another 30 to 45 minutes on a shuttle to get to my office.  Obviously, as I was commuting to work, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York had started but I had no idea.

I arrived at the office to a co-worker telling me that a plane had hit the Twin Towers in New York.  My co-worker thought it was a small plane.  As I tried to get onto CNN's website to see what was going on, I COULD NOT.  I tried a few other news sites and had the same problem.  Obviously something major had happened.  It would be a few hours later when the news finally broke.  My co-workers and I spent most of the day in disbelief.

May 1st, 2011 - Let's add May 1st, 2011 to the list of days you never forget.  On this day, President Barack Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden (leader of Al Queda and person who plotted 9/11 attacks) was killed in a US Military operation.  I'll save the whole political discussion about this news for a later time, but it definitely is a historic day.

The Introverted Extrovert

Recently, I received an email from an author.  The author had written a couple of books that I had read.  The subject was interesting enough that I took a class from the author about a year or so ago and he keeps in touch every now and then with folks who have taken his class.

In reading the author's email, I stumbled upon an interesting article published in the Boston Globe:

The Power Of Lonely (may require registration to read the article)

In this article, the author surmises that certain tasks and though processes are better done ALONE than other people around.  In fact, the article suggests that the most developed personalities and leaders are the people who devote the appropriate time to taking some solitude for themselves.

How this applies to myself?  I was a pretty shy and introverted kid during my early school years though I improved as I went through high school and college.   It wasn't that I didn't talk to anyone.  It's just that I talked to people I felt comfortable with but I didn't particularly branch out much.  Especially during my years leading into high school, I didn't have a lot of hang out friends.

Thanks to an old friend from high school, I broke the mold and she became one of my early friends that I hung out with and talked to a lot (though that friendship has since faded into the sunset).   It was from this friend that I met some people that are still my friends today.  With a few of the friends, we don't hang out as much as we used to because they have families and other things to concern themselves with.

The thing that has changed is that I am now much more of an extrovert.   I find myself curious about everyone I meet and I could hold a conversation on just about anything if given a chance.  So while some of my older friends are busy, I have simply branched out to other folks and life goes on.   The best example was during my birthday a few weeks ago.  I was out with no less than three groups of friends (with some friends crossing over into more than one group).  

I've got a reputation among some friends that I like to talk a lot.  It's a reputation that I've earned because in the past I have spent a ton of time with my friends on the phone (and still do with some people).   But as I have gotten older, I don't feel I need to talk to my friends as much.

I also need that ALONE TIME that is mentioned in the article above.    With this alone time, I do a great many things.  I read, I mediate, I write/blog, I take photos or just do whatever comes to mind.   I think this may surprise people for my reputation among my more recent friends is being a talker, basketball / sports person and or just a very socially active person.  All of this is true to a certain extent.

However, I am easily comfortable with being alone and going off to do whatever I want to do myself.   It's been a while since I've done so but I have seen movies alone previously.  Since I am currently unemployed, I may hit up some movies that have come out recently.

Everyone should take some away time for themselves.  I understand this more than I did when I was younger.  It's very beneficial and something you should work into your life schedule.