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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Lean On Me

(Register-Mail photo)

A sports expression is that "losing builds character." Others claim that "losing doesn't build character, it reveals character." Hopefully both statements are true about losing- "losing builds character and losing reveals character." But even that statement doesn't go far enough. Sports are in schools for claimed learning experiences that one gets from sports. Therefore, it would be more accurate to say, "Sports build character and reveal character."

But to grow and learn from sports experiences, athletes must be willing to grow and learn. They must want to learn. A player must be invested in the process.

None of us want to lose, but 50% of the teams in each game lose. Most likely, we will experience losses at some point. A key to success in sports is an athlete and a team's ability to take a loss and use the loss to grow.

To grow from a loss, three things must take place-

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Find A Way!!

Patriotism Questioned

While reading about the controversies of today, I reminded of my wife's uncle, William Allen. 

While fighting for the United States, William Allen, was killed in Germany in WW2 on April 19, 1945. A decade earlier, his patriotism was questioned.

In 1934, Knox College was proposing students take an Oath of Allegiance to America. William Allen, as editor of the Knox newspaper wrote an editorial protesting being made to take an oath. The following is part of that editorial-

“To us, the taking of an oath of allegiance has nothing to do with one’s being a good citizen. No amount of saluting or pledging will assure us that we can maintain a government that is based upon the principle of freedom of opinion. We thank God that ours is not “one nation indivisible.” It has been the constant struggle of a limited number of citizens for these ideals, that has made our government one which grants us the privileges which we enjoy today.”

“Just as soon as we reach this much sought-after Utopia, or just as soon as our patriotic organizations manage to get all of the residents within our boundaries fighting for a common cause, we will be conditioned for some dynamic leader of one of the isms who will step in and take all responsibilities from our shoulders.”

“If American civilization is to progress, there must always be maintained that group of communists, socialists, radicals, or what you will, who disagree with the flag-waving, speech-making, oath-taking D.A.R. type of organization made up of “citizens” who pay their servants and employees ten cents an hour and spend money putting up silk flags in churches and schools.”

After writing this editorial, William Allen was labelled as being a “communists”, by some students and some faculty at Knox. He did not fit their definition of “patriotism.”

William Allen was killed within miles of Berlin on April 19, 1945. Bill’s sister, Elizabeth, wrote following about Bill, “He died as he lived, believing in greater freedom of thought and action, greater tolerance and human understanding.”

Monday, September 25, 2017

Scott Kelley- From Galesburg to Kentucky

I am not sure what to do as an intro to my Q/A with Scott Kelly. There are so many directions that one could go.

I could focus on how Scott was one of those late maturing kids, who was the last player on his 7th grade team. He was excited to just be on the team. He developed a passion for the game, and worked hard to improve. And he went from being 6’0” in JH to 6’7” in HS.

Maybe a choice would be how Scott is not the stereotype of the big time athlete who was just there to play. He got advanced degrees after graduating from Evansville, and today is a professor at the University of Kentucky. And he helped developed and administer a program geared toward sports marketing, which was recognized nationally.

All of those are things that we “talk” about, and are great stories.

But for me, the intro is to talk about “The Game.” In 1976, Galesburg defeated Richwoods, who was the #1 team in the State in the Regional championship game at Thiel Gym. Many feel this was the greatest game ever played in Thiel Gym. The game featured four D1 players (maybe I am missing another). The next year, three of the players would start games for Big Ten teams.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

"They Are So Naive"

Last week I wrote about the finish of the 1998 season. We had lost to Loyola by 15 in the Elite 8. Loyola went on to win their second straight state title. Although we had everyone- not almost everyone- we had everyone coming back from the 1998 team. Unfortunately, Loyola had their key players coming back too. The question was whether our young players might be a little satisfied with their great success, and not get into working to improve.

The in the summer before the 1999 season, we started Streaks Camp by watching a video. The video was clips from our game vs. Loyola. It was labelled, "Streaks vs Loyola Low Light." It was not a long production, it was about 5-6 minutes long. The message was that Loyola was not going anywhere. If our goal is just to be good and go to State, we can do what we have always done. If we want to beat Loyola, then we have to get better.

Coach Peachey then talked to them about how big Loyola was. Sadly, we were not going to get any taller and Loyola was not going to shrink. So his message was that to handle their height, we needed to get stronger.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rules Changes for 2017-8

The NFHS has put in five rules changes for 2017-8. Among the rule changes are:

1- Officials can give a coach a warning for unsportsmanlike behavior or for violating the coaching box. The official will stop play and issue the warning to the coach. It will be marked in the scorebook. The move is designed to change the coach's behavior without a technical. There is not an indication if there is a penalty for the warning. An official can still issue a technical foul without giving a coach a warning.

2- The coaching box has been expanded from 14 feet to 28 feet. Which means it will extend all the way to the baseline.

Here is a brief description of the changes--

Difference in NFHS and NCAA--

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Coach Kelly Ricketts

Kelly Ricketts is someone who has never been afraid to work. Kelly played both basketball and volleyball in high school. She was talented enough to start on a varsity basketball team as a freshman. But it was not just talent which separated Kelly from the average athlete, it was her work ethic. Sometimes a multi-sport athlete uses one sport as “permission” not to do what is needed in another sport. Kelly never cut corners in either sport. For basketball, she never missed anything we did in the off-season.

But I think the big deal about Kelly is that she has always understood it is about “the process.”  She never took days off at practice- she was focused and worked every day. She accepted coaching, whether it was criticism or encouragement- she made eye contact and let you know she wanted to be coached. And Kelly did the “extras”, which separate athletes- she pushed herself in the weight room 12 months per year.

Why do I bring up her being into “the process?” "The process” is what coaching is all about. To be successful, the coach, and then the team must recognize they have to be willing to put in the grind. The old expression in sports- “everyone wants to win, only a few are willing to prepare to win.” Kelly is a natural for coaching because she is all about putting in the preparation to win.

I had a chance to do a Q/A with Kelly....

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sting of Defeat

1997 was a great year for the Streaks. They finished the regular season a perfect 27-0 on the way to 4th place in the State tourney. Four of the five starters were gone. Going into the 1998 season, the Streaks returned only two players who had played significant minutes.

The 1998 Streaks had no seniors on their roster. The starting lineup was made up of three sophomores and two juniors. The first players off the bench were three freshmen and one sophomore. It was certainly not a lineup that had the experience to bring fear to our opponents.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sabrina Clay- Impressive Start to College

Too often in “big-time” college athletics, we find sad stories of the athlete who is so invested in their sport that they don’t take advantage of getting an education and don’t position themselves for the future. The expression is “don’t let sports use you, you use sports.”
And sadly, we read stories of the athlete who feels entitled, people owe them something. These athletes never seem to give back to society or others, they are too busy expecting to be given something for their talents.
Sabrina Clay is not one of these negative stories about college athletes. Sabrina has used her passion and ability in basketball to further her education, and to help position herself for success. And while she was getting her education at Sandburg, she was giving back to her school and her community.
It is going to be exciting to follow her successes as she continues her education. She is not only headed for great things- she will make her community a better place.
I had a chance to do a Q/A with Sabrina.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Blue Streaks & Zephyrs At Thiel

The 8th grade girls teams from Lombard and Churchill practiced at Thiel Gym tonight. They both open up next Tuesday night.

Churchill will be hosting Orion on Tuesday.
Lombard will be traveling to Macomb.

It was a lot of fun to watch both teams practice. They both have great coaches, and they are really working hard. It will be exciting to watch how they grow as individuals and as teams over the next two months.