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  • Kristen lays out for a catch

    Posted on July 4th, 2014 Alan No comments

    With bases loaded and two outs, Kristen makes this catch to end Texas Instinct 99′s rally.  Impact Gold went on to win the game 6-3 and play in the finals of the Taylor USSA.  They lost in the finals and took 2nd place.

  • Ellie

    Posted on May 28th, 2014 Alan No comments

    First days with Ellie.
    Don’t know what is cuter, the puppy or the kids.

  • Career advice from Mike Rowe

    Posted on May 5th, 2014 Alan No comments
    Hey Mike!

    I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time! Thank you!

    - Parker Hall

    Here’s Rowe’s genius reply:

    Hi Parker,

    My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.

    I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.

    “Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?”

    “How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.”

    “Not my type.”

    “Really? How do you know?”

    “I just know.”

    “Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.

    “Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”

    “Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?”

    “What? Leave San Francisco? Never!”

    “How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…?”

    She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”

    Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!

    I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?

    Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”

    These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you – especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…

    Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.
    Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.

    Good luck -
    Mike

    P.S. I’m serious about welding and North Dakota. Those guys are writing their own ticket.

    P.P.S. Think I should forward this to Claire?

    A dream job isn’t going to bring you happiness, so you shouldn’t “stand in your own way.” Rowe’s sound advice is legendary, and I think it speaks to the fact that welding in North Dakota – or any awesome job – is not what’s truly going to shape the way you feel about the world.

  • Kristen’s 2013 7th Grade Basketball Highlights

    Posted on May 1st, 2014 Alan No comments

    I was there at every game but putting this highlight video together, I realized how much I missed. What a great season she had.

  • How Texas Testing Bubble Popped

    Posted on May 1st, 2014 Alan No comments

    Great series written by Jeffrey Weiss appearing in the Dallas Morning News.

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3

  • Kristen Volleyball 2013-2014

    Posted on April 4th, 2014 Alan No comments

    Kristen’s Fall 2013 Highlights

    Kristen at the Lonestar Warmup Bracket Games. First time setting. LT Spikes final rank was 5th out of 17 teams.

  • Tying teacher evaluations to STAAR scores stirs controversy

    Posted on April 1st, 2014 Alan No comments

    Click here to view full article

    The policy aims to measure a teacher’s effectiveness by how much improvement his or her students make on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.

    Though still being finalized, the policy is already viewed warily by teacher groups questioning whether the STAAR can accurately capture a teacher’s effect on a student. The groups warn that the state cannot impose test-based evaluations on teachers and expect them to trust it.

    Anyone else see the irony in stating that the state cannot impose test-based evaluations on teachers, yet those same tests are suppose to evaluate the students?

  • Seek The Best Experience – Not Necessarily The Best Team

    Posted on April 1st, 2014 Alan No comments

    Nice article about the constant search by many parents and players to be on the “best team”.

    The article explains that it is all about learning resilience and you don’t get that opportunity if you are always winning.

    Instead of finding a better team to play on, find a way to make your team better – Trevor Tierney

  • How to combine multiple PDF files into one

    Posted on March 26th, 2014 Alan No comments

    This is very useful if you use a mac.  Just open the pdf files you want to combine into one using Preview.  Open the sidebar from each document and drag the page icons from one window to another.  Save the document where you combined the pdf files.  Be sure to view all pages before saving or you will only save the current page.  If you still get just one page, then simply select Print of your new document and save it back out as a PDF.

    Click here for details

     

  • Should kids specialize in one sport?

    Posted on March 26th, 2014 Alan No comments

    Changing The Game argues against specialization

    … [what exists is] an adult driven, hyper competitive race to the top in both academics and athletics that serves the needs of the adults, but rarely the kids. As movies such as “The Race to Nowhere” and recent articles such as this one from the Washington Post point out, while the race has a few winners, the course is littered with the scarred psyches of its participants. We have a generation of children that have been pushed to achieve parental dreams instead of their own, and prodded to do more, more, more and better, better, better. The pressure and anxiety is stealing one thing our kids will never get back; their childhood.

    We are so scared that if we do not have our child specialize, if we do not get the extra coaching, or give up our entire family life for youth sports, our child will get left behind. Even though nearly every single parent I speak to tells me that in their gut they have this feeling that running their child ragged is not helpful, they do not see an alternative. Another kid will take his place. He won’t get to play for the best coach. “I know he wants to go on the family camping trip,” they say, “but he will just have to miss it again, or the other kids will get ahead of him.”

    And yes, most importantly, it sucks for the kids. Any sports scientist or psychologist will tell you that in order to pursue any achievement activity for the long term, children need ownership, enjoyment and intrinsic motivation. Without these three things, an athlete is very likely to quit.

    Parents, start demanding sports clubs and coaches that allow your kids to participate in many sports. You are the customers, you are paying the bills, so you might as well start buying a product worth paying for. You have science on your side, and you have Long Term Athletic Development best practices on your side.

    The Bare Essentials: Three Things Every Athlete Needs to Succeed

    Elite performance is determined by a number of factors, amongst them innate talent and genetics, hours of deliberate training, coaching, and luck. But performance is also great affected by what is between an athlete’s ears: mindset. An athlete’s state of mind is perhaps the single greatest factor that affects performance. In his great book The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance, author W. Timothy Gallway writes the following equation: Performance = Potential – Interference What Gallway means is that an athlete will perform up to his potential (the combination of innate talent, training hours, playing hours, coaching) minus all the things that interfere with that potential, namely a poor state of mind.

    No matter how much talent your athlete has, no matter what level of coaching he or she receives, or how many championships that team has won, without intrinsic motivation, enjoyment, and autonomy, your athletes will never play long enough, train hard enough, and be gritty enough to become an athlete who performs up to his or her potential.

     

    Comment left in Hey Parents: Quit Raising Specialists and Start Raising Ominvores

    Terry Liskevich coached the 1996 USA Women to Olympic Silver in volleyball. He told a group of us that of the 16 players who trained for the final Olympic team, 12 were multiple sport athletes IN COLLEGE. The other four didn’t make the team. We asked, were they good because they played multiple sports, or did they play multiple sports because they were good?

    It’s not that simple; he said they work together. You play more sports because you’re a good athlete (as a kid) and you get better as an athlete because you play multiple sports all along.