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Archive for the ‘Lessons for’ Category

A follow-up to Saturday’s entry in re: Finn’s Zeeks Pizza Panthers team winning Northeast Seattle Little League’s Farm Division championship.  The theme of my victory speech yesterday was simple: we won the championship — and never lost a game in two years — because of the players’ willingness to work just that much harder than the next guy.  I did not realize how true that was until today.

To wit:  All year long our achilles heal was base running.  Too many instances of running off the base on fly balls resulted in double plays.  By no means were base running problems unique to us, but it troubled me a great deal.

The extra work Finn and his buddy Carter Ellis did the night before the championship game contributed mightily toward the Panthers’ championship.

On the evening before the game, during Laurelhurst Elementary’s ice cream social, I called a special practice.  Finn and his teammates Mats Bashey and Carter Ellis were the only ones who showed up.  We hit a little — I had to throw ’em a bone — but 90% of our focus was on fly ball base running (run off the base just far enough to get back if it’s caught, etc.)   That practice built on our pre-game practice before our previous playoff win.  We later supplemented it with another ten minutes before the championship game.

In the 5th inning of Saturday’s championship game, Carter was on 2nd base.  Wyatt hit a fly ball and third base coach Rick Frederking mistakenly told him to get flyin’.  Carter led off generously, but didn’t do what his coach said and, consequently, got back to second base as soon as the ball was caught.  As Carter was not doubled up, the inning continued with two outs.  Jack Frederking followed that up with a single that turned into a home run thanks to three errors.  Elias Lara followed that up with the same thing.  A 12-6 lead and thanks to the five-run limit rule, we were champions

Had Carter been doubled up, the Bombers would have batted in the sixth inning down 9-6.  I have no idea what would have happened, but I do know the Bombers really wanted to win.

None of this donned on me until Monday night, when Rick Frederking opined that Carter “bailed (him) out” on the aforementioned play.  I pieced it all together and asked Carter’s dad to ask Carter what gave him the presence of mind to run the bases as he did.  His answer: “I remembered what we had worked on the night before.”

Wow.

By no means was Carter the only one who went the extra yard during the season.  Many guys did it throughout this season and last.  In Saturday’s game, however, it is literally the case that his willingness to go the extra yard — during the ice cream social, no less — played a huge part in our victory.  It may not have won us the game, but it certainly prevented the Bombers from getting another chance to win, and knowing how good that team is, that was almost as good.

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The kids frequently ask me about the differences between “the left” and “the right.”  Usually I say something like “lefties are intolerant and have no problem behaving like juveniles.”   But recently I stumbled on a left v. right primer from conservative commentator Dennis Prager and I thought it worth memorializing here:

 

Source of Human Rights

Left: government

Right: the Creator

 

Human Nature

Left: basically good (Therefore, society is primarily responsible for evil.)

Right: not basically good (Therefore, the individual is primarily responsible for evil.)

 

Economic Goal

Left: equality

Right: prosperity

 

Primary Role of the State

Left: increase and protect equality

Right: increase and protect liberty

 

Government

Left: as large as possible

Right: as small as possible

 

Family Ideal

Left: any loving unit of people

Right: a married father and mother, and children

 

Guiding Trinity

Left: race, gender and class

Right: liberty, In God We Trust and e pluribus unum

 

Good and Evil

Left: relative to individual and/or society

Right: based on universal absolutes

 

Humanity’s Primary Division(s)

Left: rich and poor; strong and weak

Right: good and evil

 

Ideal Primary Identity of an American

Left: world citizen

Right: American citizen

 

How to Make a Good Society

Left: abolish inequality

Right: develop each citizen’s moral character

 

View of America

Left: profoundly morally flawed; inferior to any number of European countries

Right: greatest force for good among nations in world history

 

Gender

Left: a social construct

Right: male and female

 

Most Important Trait to Cultivate in a Child

Left: self-esteem

Right: self-control

 

Worth of the Human Fetus

Left: determined by the mother

Right: determined by society rooted in Judeo-Christian values

 

Primary Source of Crime

Left: poverty, racism and other societal flaws

Right: the criminal’s malfunctioning conscience

 

Place of God and Religion in America

Left: secular government and secular society

Right: secular government and religious society

 

American Exceptionalism

Left: chauvinistic doctrine

Right: historical reality

 

Greatest Threat to the World

Left: environmental catastrophe (currently global warming)

Right: evil (currently radical Islamist violence)

 

International Ideal

Left: world governed by the United Nations, and no single country is dominant

Right: world in which America is the single strongest entity

 

Primary Reason for Lack of Peace in Middle East

Left: Israeli settlements in the West Bank

Right: Palestinian, Arab and Muslim denial of Jewish state’s right to exist

 

Purpose of Art

Left: challenge status quo and bourgeois sensibilities

Right: produce works of beauty and profundity to elevate the individual and society

 

Guns

Left: ideally universally abolished, except for use by police, the armed forces and registered sportsmen

Right: ideally widely owned by responsible individuals for self-protection and the protection of others

 

Race

Left: intrinsically significant

Right: intrinsically insignificant

 

Racial, Ethnic and Gender Diversity at Universities

Left: most important

Right: far less important than ideological diversity

 

Black America’s Primary Problem

Left: racism

Right: lack of fathers

 

Greatest Playwright

Left: entirely subjective; there is no greatest playwright

Right: Shakespeare

 

War

Left: not the answer

Right: sometimes the only answer

 

Hate

Left: wrong, except when directed at the political

Right: wrong, except when directed at evil

 

Cultures

Left: all equal

Right: some are better than others

 

America’s Founding Fathers

Left: rich white male slave owners

Right: great men who founded the greatest society

 

Purpose of Judges

Left: pursue social justice

Right: pursue justice

 

National Borders

Left: a relic of the past

Right: indispensable for national survival

 

View of Illegal Immigrants

Left: welcomed guests

Right: illegal immigrants

 

Nature

Left: intrinsically valuable

Right: made for man

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Ski Etiquette

With all the skiing we’ve been doing this year, I thought this would be an appropriate post:

Ski-Etiquette-2

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I quite like these:

Rules33

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My favorite happy people.

My favorite happy people.

More and more often I’m finding useful tidbits showing up in my Facebook newsfeed.  The latest: a piece entitled “8 Habits of Happy People.”   They are:

Figure out your strengths, then engage them: According to “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work“: “When 577 volunteers were encouraged to pick one of their signature strengths and use it in a new way each day for a week, they became significantly happier and less depressed than control groups. And these benefits lasted: Even after the experiment was over, their levels of happiness remained heightened a full month later. Studies have shown that the more you use your signature strengths in daily life, the happier you become.” I can vouch for this one — a year ago I started a project to engage my creative, visual side, and it is the single greatest joy-bringer to my days outside my partner (and my cat!).
Spend time outside: If you can clock 20 minutes a day outside, studies show you’ll not only maintain a better mood, but your mind will be more open and you’ll improve your working memory too. Sunshine (even the brightness of a cloudy day is often brighter than indoor lights) and fresh air feel good too.
Put effort into being happy:Two separate studies in the Journal of Positive Psychology have confirmed that when people actively try to be happy, they raise their baseline moods, making them feel, in the end, happier than those who do not try. According to a release from Taylor and Francis, “In the first study, two sets of participants listened to ‘happy’ music. Those who actively tried to feel happier reported the highest level of positive mood afterwards. In the second study, participants listened to a range of ‘positive’ music over a two-week period; those who were instructed to focus on improving their happiness experienced a greater increase in happiness than those who were told just to focus on the music.”
Exercise regularly: All exercise releases endorphins in your brain, which directly leads to a better mood, and if you workout regularly, this mood boost even carries over to non-workout days. Don’t just take my word for it; according to research from the University of Bristol: “On exercise days, people’s mood significantly improved after exercising. Mood stayed about the same on days they didn’t, with the exception of people’s sense of calm which deteriorated.”
Protect your health: Good health, on average, leads to a 20 percent gain in overall happiness, so spending time and money improving or prolonging your good health is a wise investment in something intangible but incredibly important.
Care for others: People who spend time every month helping others (whether that be animals, people or a space or place you love) are happier. There’s even an immediate effect, similar to a high, that most people feel directly after doing good — including random acts of goodness. “Volunteer work was good for both mental and physical health. People of all ages who volunteered were happier and experienced better physical health and less depression,” says Peggy Thoits, a Vanderbilt University sociologist. Other studies have shown that it’s not just happy people who are volunteers — depressed people who do work for others show an elevated mood from the work.
Cultivate strong social relationships: whether you have a few close friends, a large and loving family, or strong ties to the community, almost any kind of connection to a social group can improve happiness, according to “The Happiness Advantage”: “Turns out, there was one — and only one — characteristic that distinguished the happiest 10 percent from everybody else: the strength of their social relationships. My empirical study of well-being among 1,600 Harvard undergraduates found a similar result — social support was a far greater predictor of happiness than any other factor, more than GPA, family income, SAT scores, age, gender, or race. In fact, the correlation between social support and happiness was 0.7. This may not sound like a big number, but for researchers it’s huge — most psychology findings are considered significant when they hit 0.3. The point is, the more social support you have, the happier you are.”
Hang out with happy people: This can be hard to do at work, where you don’t always choose who you are working with, but you can control the people you spend time with outside your job (and who you pass your lunch hour with!). Just as studies have found that people who exercise with a motivated partner are more likely to stick to workout plans, so do the people around you impact your mood — which means you also impact those around you with your attitude.
Feeling like you want to make some positive changes? Here’s a few more — mix and match, and find what works for you. And oh yeah, don’t forget to get some sleep — sleep deprivation bums everyone out.
Missing from this list: keeping a family blog for six-plus years and counting.  😉

 

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Hoping most of these lessons stick.

Hoping most of these lessons stick.

 

Every so often I stumble on something on Facebook that’s worth reprinting.  It happened a few months ago and this morning it happened again.   The piece, which was published on the Huffington Post, was entitled “8 Lessons I Want to Teach My Daughter” but it applies to sons just as well:

These are eight lessons I want to teach my daughter. I have learned these through many mistakes, periods of introspection and learning in my life.

My hope for her is to live authentically, passionately and gracefully.

1. If someone hurts you, don’t take it personally

Chances are, they have been hurt themselves. In fact, never take anything personally. Don’t let compliments get to your head and don’t let criticism get you down. It is a known fact that most people can only give others what they have received themselves.

All your actions and words should come from a place of love. But not everyone will be loving back. And that is OK.

As Miguel Ruiz explained in his book The Four Agreements, when you do not take anything personally, you are in a place of liberation. You can interact with the world through the lens of an open heart, not having to worry about what others will say.

2. Keep a portion of what you earn for saving and another for giving back

Learn to see money as a tool with which you can achieve your greatest dreams. But it is also a tool that can be used to do tremendous good in the world. If you are blessed with a lot of money, do not waste this opportunity. Use it to change a social condition, to uplift a community and to inspire others.

Someone once gave me some great advice about money:

With every dollar that you earn, keep one third to spend, one third to save, and one third to give back to the world.

3. Live every day as if it was a Friday

Speaking of money, do not trade money for meaning in your life. Hopefully you will find a career that gives you meaning and all the money that you need. Finding meaning is the only way to live every day as if it was a Friday.

You cannot live your life just waiting for the weekend. Find something that excites you. As Dr. Wayne Dyer once said, “Do not die with your music still inside of you.”

Your job in this life is to find your music and go about the business of sharing it with the world.
If you have not found your music yet, keep searching. Do one thing everyday that makes you happy. Make it a Friday, every single day.

4. You do not need anyone’s approval

The need for approval is like an addiction. If you base all your actions on the approval of others, ultimately you will sacrifice your own happiness. Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket. Learn how to say “no” to people and obligations that do not add value to your life.

Your time on this earth is precious. You must invest your time like you invest money. Invest in people and activities that uplift you. As the saying goes, “What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.”

5. In every tough situation, try kindness first

People may make ugly comments. The airline may lose your bags. Another driver may cut you off. These situations will happen everyday. How are you going to respond?

Although your first response like many others will be to get angry, why not try a different approach? Anger in these situations rarely solves problems. People are more likely to respond to kindness. And you can be kind and be firm.

Get your point across without sacrificing your integrity. It is the only response that you will not regret later. No matter how upset you are, always treat others with respect. You will be surprised at how much can be accomplished with kindness.

6. Do not complain unless you can suggest a solution

Do not be a constant complainer. No one likes that person. If you do not like your current situation, work towards changing it. But don’t sit and complain about it. Complaining will get you nowhere. In fact, it will only make others not want to be around you. Be someone that looks for the positive in every situation. And if you do find a problem, be someone that can suggest a solution.

You will never get to where you want to be by complaining about where you are now. Each step in your life is preparing you for the one that comes after it.

7. Learn to be present

While technology can be life-changing in many great ways, there is an aspect to technology that interferes with our relationships. Do not be so addicted to a screen that you miss enjoying real life happening in front of you. Learn to disconnect everyday.

Learn to slow down. Give people your full and un-divided attention. Do not seek mindless stimulation on a screen and learn to make real human connections.

8. Don’t let the world make you bitter

The world can be a difficult place. You may experience suffering, heartbreak or the loss of a loved one. All of these things can take a toll on your soul. But do not lose hope.

Think about the Yin and Yang in Chinese philosophy, which states that opposite forces are often interconnected. In suffering, you can find great strength, in heartbreak you can find resilience and in loss you can find a renewed appreciation for life.

Life comes with Yin and Yang. The two opposites are interdependent and interconnected. And you do not need to be afraid. In every difficult situation, you are being tested. If you become bitter and angry, you have lost.

Stop to notice each flower, each weed that is breaking through the cement to find the sun and each butterfly that has found it’s wings. Learn to see the beauty around you.

Iaian Thomas wrote:

Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard.
Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness.
Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree,
you still know it to be a beautiful place.

Keep your sweetness. Be soft. And know that the world is a beautiful place. Always.

All well said.

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My favorite player's words about golf etiquette: more important to know than actually playing.

My favorite player’s words about golf etiquette: more important to know than actually playing.

 

No doubt an important part of being a good golfer is, well, being a good player.  But the far more important part, in my opinion, is being a good playing partner.   That’s why I found this piece from Arnold Palmer worth reposting here:

10 Rules for Good Golf Etiquette

I. Don’t be the slowest player

In my casual games at Bay Hill, we get around in under four hours — and that’s in fivesomes. Evaluate your pace of play honestly and often, and if you’re consistently the slowest one in your group, you’re a slow player, period. Encourage everyone to move quickly enough so you find yourself right behind the group in front several times, both early and late in the round.

Remember the old staples of getting around in good time: Play “ready golf” (hit when ready, even if you aren’t away) until you reach the green, be prepared to play when it’s your turn on the tee and green, and never search for a lost ball for more than five minutes.

II. Keep your temper under control

In the final of the Western Pennsylvania Junior when I was 17, I let my putter fly over the gallery after missing a short putt. I won the match, but when I got in the car with my parents for the ride home, there were no congratulations, just dead silence. Eventually my father said, “If I ever see you throw a club again, you will never play in another golf tournament.” That wake-up call stayed with me. I haven’t thrown a club since.

Throwing clubs, sulking and barking profanity make everyone uneasy. We all have our moments of frustration, but the trick is to vent in an inoffensive way. For example, I often follow a bad hole by hitting the next tee shot a little harder — for better or worse.

III. Respect other people’s time

Because time is our most valuable commodity, there are few good reasons for breaking a golf date. Deciding last-minute to clean the garage on Saturday, or getting a call that the auto-repair shop can move up your appointment by a day, just doesn’t cut it.

Always make your tee times, and show up for your lesson with the pro a little early. Social functions are no exception.

IV. Repair the ground you play on

I have a penknife that’s my pet tool for fixing ball marks, but a tee or one of those two-pronged devices is fine. As for divots, replace them or use the seed mix packed on the side of your cart.

Rake bunkers like you mean it. Ever notice that the worse the bunker shot, the poorer the job a guy does raking the sand? Make the area nice and smooth — don’t leave deep furrows from the rake. Before you exit the bunker, ask yourself, Would I be upset if I had to play from that spot?

V. Be a silent partner

During one of my last tour events as a player, I noticed another pro making practice swings in my field of vision as I was getting ready to hit a shot. I stopped, walked over and reminded him (maybe too sternly) that it was my turn to play. The point is, stand still from the time a player sets himself until the ball has left the club.

Even with the advent of spikeless shoes, the etiquette rule of never walking in someone’s line of play on the putting green is an absolute. The area around the hole in particular is sacred ground. The first thing to note when you walk onto a green is the location of every ball in your group, then steer clear of their lines to the hole.

Know where to stand and when to keep quiet. Position yourself directly across or at a diagonal from a player setting up. Never stand on the line of play, either beyond the hole or directly behind the ball. When a player is about to hit a shot, think of the fairway as a cathedral, the green a library.

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