Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Ties That Bind / 25th Anniversary Of The Class of 1988

Tonight, my old middle school had it's 30th Annual Benefactors Banquet.  Additionally, as it was my class's 25th Graduation Anniversary (Class of 1988), we were asked to attend.  Despite some efforts by me and some of my classmates, only two of us attended the banquet.  

Because of this, I wanted to briefly comment on the 25th Anniversary of my graduation from middle school.  After attending a K to 5 public elementary school, I went to a Catholic school from 6th to 8th grade.   

A lot of my friends from the elementary school went on to public middle schools.   Some of them questioned why I went to a Catholic school (it wasn't my choice, it was my parents).   My public school friends looked at the Catholic school students as "rich snobs".  

I had a difficult time adjusting as I was socially awkward as a youth.  I didn't fit in with some of the more popular kids and was bullied a bit.   I'll admit that I remember these experiences quite a bit.  Though if I do take a step back, I'll admit that I did have some friends and things were probably better than I remembered. I did get tired of being bullied and started pushing back though!  :)  

One positive experience was being part of the school's basketball and baseball teams.  The school had not formed teams during my three years there.  It seemed like they hadn't had teams in quite a while.  But a new teacher from another school noticed and started forming teams at the school. 

While our class team's (boys basketball, girls basketball and boys baseball) did not do anything spectacular in one year of participating in athletics, the school has retained it's sports program in the 25 years since. 

So while our teams will not be remembered for it's accomplishments, we can all feel proud to having been the ones that RESTARTED the sports program. 

Lastly, I'll have to talk about my relationships with my classmates.  While I did have some negative experiences, those are long in the past.  I have met up with a few of my former classmates over the years for many reasons.  I'll admit that it is good to see people and catch up.  From my perspective, I don't share a ton of experiences with my classmates due to being at the school for only three years and not being a "popular kid".  

But all of that doesn't matter now.  I take away my own positives and I know my classmates will do the same.  No matter where we are and what we are doing, the Class of 1988 will always be tied together in that particular moment in time.  

Happy 25th Anniversary to all of my classmates.  


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Boston Marathon Bombings: Making The Best Of A Bad Situation

It was a quiet day at work as a good number of people are on a company sponsored trip for the week.  I took an opportunity to grab some lunch with some co-workers.  When we returned to the office, the TV had news of some explosion.  I initially did not pay attention until I went to grab some water and saw that the explosion had occurred in Boston!  

It was then I got the full scope of the situation.  I was a little stunned at the events and wondered why or how this happened.  My thoughts immediately went to a couple of people I know in Boston.  One is an old high school friend that I haven't talked to in many years.  The other was a guy friend of my high school friend that I met years ago.

While I am not going to comment on the actual situation, I will say that technology and social media helped me get a good grasp of situation and check in on a few people.

I emailed the two people I knew in Boston and the guy friend responded a few hours later.  He indicated he was fine which was good.  Through social media, I found out an old co-worker just happened to be traveling to Boston for work.  Her plane could not land for a while but she was otherwise ok.

I also texted and later talked one of my close friends.  The friend lives alone so just wanted to see how they were.  We didn't chat too much about Boston but it was good to chat regardless.  Never underestimate having some good friends around you.

I send my thoughts and prayers to everyone involved with this situation.  It doesn't just involved people in Boston but also runners from many different locations.  While this is a difficult time, please understand that there are people, friends, and family from all over the world ready to support you.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Jeremy Lin And Taylor King

In 2006, an underdog Palo Alto high school boys varsity basketball upset a highly regarded Mater Dei high school team in the California State Division II basketball championships 51-47:

Jeremy Lin's NBA 3-pointer broke Mater Dei's back
By now, most of you know the story.  Palo Alto was led by Jeremy Lin and this game has been mentioned many times over as part of Jeremy Lin's journey to the NBA.  While most stories reference Mater Dei as a powerhouse, they don't mention how much of a powerhouse.

Palo Alto had only one player on a Division I college basketball roster (Jeremy Lin) while Mater Dei had EIGHT players that made Division I teams including one Taylor King.

King was a big 6'7" kid that was well known throughout Southern California and apparently had committed to Duke as an 8th grader.  When Palo Alto faced Mater Dei, much of the focus was on how Palo Alto would stop King.  Jeremy Lin was mentioned but not prominently.  

For all of the Lin fans out there, we all know Lin's journey.  For me, I always wondered happened to Taylor King.  Here is a recent article updating everyone what happened to him:

Back from the depths, ex-phenom Taylor King finding himself, looking for his game

The main point in talking about Taylor King?  Jeremy Lin recently went onto 60 Minutes to talk about his experience getting to the NBA.  He talked about how there may have been some discrimination because he was Asian American.  Indeed there may have been, but this path had made Jeremy Lin appreciate where he has gotten. 

In the case of King, it's an example of how much pressure highly touted players go through.  Jeremy Lin may not have gotten a lot of recruiting attention but that may have been for the best.  College basketball recruiting and NBA scouting is purely a business affair.  Jeremy Lin didn't have to fight off tons of colleges fighting for him, agents trying to get him to sign, etc.  

It is entirely funny how King and Lin's paths have diverged.  I'm thrilled Lin got to the NBA and is doing well.  I don't know King but sounds like he's had some struggles.  I hope he does get his life straight and if can get to the NBA, it would make for an interesting reunion between Lin and him (not sure if they would even remember each other). 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Maintaining Your Social Circles As You Grow Older

This probably could belong on my officiating blog but it doesn't really matter!  Tonight was the "End Of The Year" dinner for my high school officiating association.   For me personally, it was a rather quiet year of high school officiating.  After taking last season (2011-2012) off, I returned for the 2012-2013 season.  I was rather busy at work BUT still managed to work around 25 to 30 games.  I did some good games though had no playoffs.

The dinner is usually a time for many officials to catch up with other officials.    In a group of 160+ officials, you don't always see everyone during a season.   I got a chance to take to a lot of folks today which was good.

Among of the officials I talked to was an older guy (turning 60 this year though he doesn't look it).  We've always had good conversations and among the things we talked about was maintaining social circles as you grow older.  We discussed this due to some things we've seen within our friends and/or family.

Many people (like me) have a core group of friends that you talk to or hang out with.  However, as time progresses, you will have to adjust.  For example, many of my friends are now married with kids.  I don't spend as time playing video games or doing other things as much with these friends.  Fortunately, with my office moving downtown, quite a few friends are quite nearby.  So we end up just meeting up for lunch every now and then.

I'm also fortunate that I'm fairly active in other activities such as officiating (as noted above) and playing a lot of basketball.  My officiating and basketball provide me social interaction, exercise and the opportunity to see different gyms, courts and cities that I might not see otherwise.

The main point is that if we get into a habit of adapting and creating new social connections when we are younger, it will be much easier as we get older.  I see that older folks who aren't as social when they are younger have a more difficult time adjusting when they get older.

So while my core group of guy friends don't together as much as we'd like at the moment, I do my best to stay active with other people.  I'm lucky to have that opportunity.   I hope that everyone can do that as well.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Equal Rights / Those Who Don't Know History May Be Doomed To Repeat It

All this discussion on the rights for gays to marry got me to think about how we are still fighting for "equal rights" here in 2013.   Everyone is entitled to their opinion but sometimes I feel people have forgotten history.

In 2013, we take it for granted that we all have "equal rights".  However, did we forget that African-Americans had to right for their civil rights?  Or that Japanese Americans were interned in camps because of World World II?  How about the Chinese Exclusion Act that prevented Chinese from immigrating to the United States in the 1800's?   All of these things don't exist anymore because people realized they were wrong.

Yet, we are here discussing whether to "discriminate" against yet another group of people.   You don't have to agree with the gay (or LGBT) lifestyle.  But what someone else does is not really any of our business.

I'm not particularly political.  However, I do believe everyone deserves to be treated equally.

Monday, April 01, 2013

April Fool's Twins

For those that don't know, today is my birthday.  Yes, this is not an April Fool's joke.

Someone asked me on Facebook today if I was going to post something about my life experiences or things that I've learned over the years.  The answer is no (at least not yet).  I will post about something else that is still related to my birthday.  

Many years and a few jobs ago, I met this young lady that worked in our department.  She was an admin for our department's director and so she had frequent interactions with everyone that worked in our department. Most of our initial interactions were just "work related".  While the young lady was friendly, it was more of a business like manner than being super outgoing.  

Over the course of time, we got to know each other a little better and started talking about things other than work.  One time the discussions turned to birthdays.  I cannot remember how or why the discussion turned there.  I seem to recall the young lady mentioning she was born on "April 1st".  I went "Me Too".   To make a long story short, the two of us shared the same birthday (month, day, AND year).  

While sharing the same exact birthday (month, day and year) is not common, it's still possible.  Meeting someone that has the same exact birthday is a little unusual.  Because of this unusual thing shared between us, that led to another discussion:  "Where were you born?" 

This was where the surprise really kicked in.  Not only were the young lady and I born on the same month, day, and year.  We were born in the same CITY and the same HOSPITAL.  The only difference?  As we would find out later, I was born 1 1/2 hours ahead of her. 

It took some time but the "young lady" is now a close and trusted friend.   Despite our "shared birthday", we are quite different.  I'm the outgoing / energetic sort.  She's remained the quiet and more reserved one.  But we've learned to meet in the middle.  

I've shared this story verbally to a few people over the years.  I figured this year would be a good time to share to the "general public" as a feel good story.  I've muted a lot of details as my friend likes her privacy but I'm sure she doesn't mind me sharing the general details. 

I've always wondered WHY my friend and I crossed paths this way.   Really, it doesn't matter.  The friendship we share is all that matters.   However, one does have to admit that this story is definitely an unusual one.