Enjoy your rotations

Enjoy your rotations. Haven’t done one of these in a while, sorry dad. But welcome back to lessons from my father.

This one isn’t an old one but a newer one. I talk with my dad most days. And seek his advice on most things, regardless of if I listen or not.

There’s been quite a few things come my way this past month that I’ve sought his counsel on. Almost each of those ended with him telling me that I needed to enjoy my rotations around the sun and that none of us have guarantees. Time will only get faster as I get older.

I definitely have an appreciation for that adage, and think it’s a wise one for all.

Supporting a Dream

Hey all,

I’ve got a friend. Her name is Kristi. She was my better goalie half once upon a time. I could say a lot about her, but I’ll stick with one thing, there was was never a better teammate than Kristi.

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Kristi and me in high school(I smiled a lot back then too)

She’s now an Olympic Bobsledder.

She’s got some new teammates: Nicole Brungardt and Kyle Plante.

They seem like way cooler teammates than I once was. Their dream isn’t an easy one, and I feel the last thing they should be concerned with is the financial side of life while going out there to represent us. If you can help them by donating to their Gofundmes, you will have my appreciation, and have become part of something bigger than yourself. I know this is a hard time of year to be able to have spare funds, and if you can’t totally understandable, but please pass the post along.

If I can’t talk you into it as your patriotic duty, I will release every short story that is part of Stories of the Primal Age for free, if both these ladies reach their goals. I know not much of a prize, but it is the best I’ve got.

So, please join me in helping the #bobslaybabes reach their dreams.

To donate to Nicole Brungardt: https://www.gofundme.com/nicoleforgold#

To donate to Kyle Plante: https://www.gofundme.com/kyles-european-bobsled-trip/

 

 

Crap is a fertilizer:Be Brave

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January 1st, 2016 sometime after midnight, before sunrise:

While visiting one of my college roommates for New Years in Florida. I found myself over a fence to the pool in his community with two of my other roommates. We were chatting about life, and I had made a comment that I thought 2016 was going to be a great year for me.

Famous last words, right? One of the main reasons I prefer equilibrium to optimism, but I digress.

By the end of February my girlfriend of four years and I split. Her being the bread winner I moved out of the place we bought together, and back home to my moms(at the ripe old age of 28). Being the floater I had been my entire 20s I wasn’t able to get a mortgage. So, I picked up a full time job working for a friend’s landscaping company during the days, maintained my coaching at night, and then when summer came returned to assistant managing the pool I’ve always worked at.

I literally did nothing but walk my dog, work, walk my dog, work, go to sleep. I was growing fatter and unhappier. But a brief glimpse of good news, my second novel is releasing. This is awesome right?

Nada mucho. It was supposed to come out in August, but something went wrong with the preorders and they started shipping in June. I will spare you all the details about how that kills roll out and opening day sales and just say that it was DOA. Two years of work, just lost in oblivion. Good times.

In July I was returning to Florida for a water polo tournament. A 15 hour drive gives a guy a lot of time to soul search. I decided I was done. Turned in my two weeks the day I got back.

Now back to square one. Lost my primary income, job history, and no chance the second book is going to alleviate my financial burdens. Still living with my lovely mother who was kind enough to keep a roof over my head every time in my 20s I returned to square 1.

Prior to my relationship which had ended that February, I always had the goal of coaching water polo at the college level. In fact only ever been three things I’ve really wanted to do with my adult life: Coach Polo, Teach English, Write.

On a whim, I logged into a website that hosts the college openings. I saw there a tiny college that used to be an opponent of mine had an opening. Things are looking up right?

The job pays less than minimum wage.

But hey, gotta start somewhere, and I am good at living poor.

Within 8 days of finding the job I was officially hired and by the 13th day I was in WV.

Things are looking good right?

Still not quite. I have a job, that pays not a lot, and no where to stay. My head coach was generous enough to supply me a couch and my mom, again being awesome, kept my dog for the short term. Surviving but not thriving.

About two weeks later I convince a local to rent me a place. On the surface seems awesome. On a lake. Great views. Quite road. Ton of amenities.

Except I am paying 25% more than the asking rent, putting a rather large security deposit down, and finding out the plumbing doesn’t work, and neither do any of the cool amenities. But give him a week, the place will be cleaned up, and the plumbing will be working.

That weekend I return to my moms house to load up a car full of my stuff and she follows me back to WV to gladly pass my dog off.

We show up at my future place of residence. Landlord is there and apologizes that he wasn’t able to get any of those things done. Gives me the keys and leaves.

My mom steps foot inside this place, lasts about 90 optimistic seconds, and leaves the building. Now to understand the full effect of this next statement, you need to understand my mom is about as far from a dog person as one can get without actually hating dogs.

“I’m taking your dog home. Figure this out.”

After a rather stressful day, where again my head coach bailed me out letting me store my stuff in his storage unit, my mom left with the dog and I returned to figure my stuff out.

It took about two weeks to get a functioning house where I at least wasn’t handling 1 in the yard and 2 at work. Returned back to my mom’s yet again. Loaded up el Doggo and headed for wild and wonderful West Virginia.

My dog is a rescue. She’s got some issues. Separation anxiety is one of them. While I was at work, she tried to claw her way through the front door to come along, cause well, she likes to always be at my hip. Landlord didn’t think it was as cute of a trait as I did, and I was asked to remove the dog from the residence.

So, slight problem with this timing. My mother was with her friends vacationing in Ireland. I currently reside 4 hours from her place so I am not able to go back and forth to take care of the dog. I call up my middle sister and she agrees to take care of the dog for me at my mom’s until she returns(Surprise present for my mom who I don’t have a way to contact while she is in Ireland).

Upon my return to West by God Virginia, I let my landlord know than when my month is up I will be moving on. Not sure where to, since I literally can’t find any place in a hour radius of work that will allow a 90 pound mastiff mutt with a history of getting evicted, and at this point I am not even worried about the fact that I can’t afford them, just that  I can’t find one.

So for the next three weeks I plod through my work day, survive on my 2$ a day food budget, and try to figure something out. One of the graduate assistants I worked with let me know there were only five of them on their floor, so I went about coming up with a plan.

I eventually get permission to rent a dorm room, but not matter how many ways I try to swing it, convince it, charm it, or other wise force it the dog can’t come. I’ve been told my loyalty is almost a fault. So the phone call I had to make to my mom, asking her to keep my mutt was one of the harder calls I ever had to make(though in that calendar year it wasn’t the hardest, since I had to call and ask if I could move home after the breakup)

I did the math, with what I was saving on rent, I could buy my mom a fence. So that was our compromise.

So we are around Thanksgiving now. I finally have a place to sleep with running water. (I’d be lying if I didn’t say I enjoyed the Spartan lifestyle of the dorm room) My mom has the dog and a new spiffy white fence. I’ve completed my first season as a college assistant water polo coach. Have now talked my way into teaching some English classes with my Master’s degree. Things are looking up?

If you haven’t got a grasp on 2016 it wasn’t safe to look up.

Get a call from my mom saying that she can’t manage the dog indefinitely. She has to put a time line on it. August 2017.

I was a little angry, maybe a lot a bit angry, but she was buying me time, and you give me time and I can accomplish just about anything.

So on my 15 hour drive to Tampa for new years to close out 2016 I started planning. The crap-pile dumpster fire that had been my 2016 had been nothing but fertilizer. The seeds were planted for all my next steps. I had finally accomplished so many things I had wanted to do. Everything was in motion. I just had to keep moving.

My 2017 has been amazing. For those of you wondering I managed to buy a house in WV where the mutt and myself happily reside in a nice little town in Banjo-land. (Due to my closing getting pushed back my mom did end up keeping the dog until the first weekend in September)

What seemed like the worst year of my life while I was living it, was actually the best year of change for me in all my years on this planet.

So, are you still with me? (Yes, but we are ready to yell Get on with it!(bonus points if you get the reference))

Here as 2017 winds down, I want to remind everyone that when things aren’t going to plan, aren’t going the way you wanted or the way you saw, no matter how bad it gets remember that there are many different paths to get through this life, and the universe might just be nudging you in your new direction. When life takes a crap on you, put on the gloves and work it into a garden then watch what grows.

Be brave, my friends. Be brave.

p.s. Also be safe this New Years, but have an epic one.

Hold Your Line

Hold Your Line

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“Indiana-rural-road”. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Indiana-rural-road.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Indiana-rural-road.jpg

My dad has competed in a number of marathons, triathlons, and one Iron Man. When I was a kid I would ride my bike with him while he went for his runs. At the time we lived in Bloomsburg, PA which is smack dab between nothing and empty. The photo above shows what a well lined road in Bloomsburg would look like.

For those of you who don’t know you are supposed to run toward traffic and ride a bike with traffic. What this meant was my dad and I should have been traveling in opposite directions, but instead we traveled with traffic. (This might have been so I didn’t get spooked when a car came at me, but I am not sure)

Dad would always post himself in a position so that a car would have to hit him first. If the road was wide he’d beside me, about a stride behind so I could just see him if I didn’t turn my head. On more narrow roads he would set up directly behind me.

On the narrow roads it was crucial that I held my line. I couldn’t waiver or I’d end up in the berm, or worse, traffic. Neither of these were safe for a six-year-old on his hand me down girls bike that had been spray painted blue. It didn’t matter what was coming toward me, or what I saw in the woods, or whatever I was day dreaming about, I had to hold my line.

The cars that would be coming at me were a full lane away. That didn’t stop me from watching them until they passed, which would cause me to drift off my line. When this happened my directional velocity would be corrected by an equal and opposite force, which got me back on my line. Through classical conditioning I learned that no matter what happens you always hold your line.

As another round of unsuccessful job hunting comes to a close, I have to remind myself that I already have my career. I am a writer, that is my line, and I have to hold that no matter what.

 

You Will Get Scored On

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I do my best to never set impossible goals for my goalies. So I tell them that I don’t expect them to shut games out.

You will get scored on. I’ve never had a perfect game, and I’ve coached a few, and only see a couple more on top of that. The rules of the game are continuing changing to make it a higher scoring game(Your average game will finish around ten goals).

You aren’t perfect, and I’ll never ask you to be. I will ask for your best. Nothing more, nothing less.

The reason I don’t ask them to be perfect is I need them to be at their best when things are going wrong. If they give up three in a row, I don’t want them to shut down. I need them to be prepared to be scored on and still move forward without cracking.

In life things will never go perfectly. No matter how much you train or practice or try, things won’t go perfectly. Ever.

You’ve got to be prepared for things not to go your way. You can still get scored on and win the game.

 

If You Work Harder, You’ll Go Farther

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My dad has an undergrad degree in Criminal Justice.

He started out as a security guard at a power plant. From there he ended up working for Pennsylvania Power and Light. I’m not exactly sure how he ended up in sales, but he did. The next change took him to a AMP. After AMP he made the change from selling electricity to selling technology. (As he has always told me it doesn’t matter what you are selling, sales are sales)

His start with tech was at IBM(At this point he also acquired an M.B.A). From he went to Oracle, Oracle to Primavera, then the most impressive leap. In his 50’s he was hired at Google. When I would make the trek to visit him and hang out with his coworkers I was the same age as his sales team. I am pretty sure my dad might have been the oldest man in the building. He has since returned to IBM for a slower pace of life.

My dad has always amazed me by how hard he works. To be hired by Google. A company that you are an old man in if you are over the age of 25 my dad was able to get hired by, and then continued to succeed. He’s able to do this because he is a competitor. He will never be outdone. If someone else works for eight hours he’ll go nine. He never slows down and never lets up.

It is never enough to want something, or to work for something. You have to be willing to outwork and outlast everyone. Put in more hours. More effort. Give yourself fully to your cause.

You must work harder and longer if you want to go farther.

Goalie Love

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Goalie Love is a term that a fellow goalie of mine used to describe the unique understanding and appreciation of goalies by goalies. I have since carried the term with me into coaching and call my small group sessions with my goalies at the end of practice Goalie Love.

This year one of my goalies suggested I should write about the goalie lessons I tell them about. Having had far worse ideas in my writing career I have decided to give it a go.

Before I get into any of the lessons, I wanted to give a brief history of my passion for goalieing. One of the people I coach with described me as a bit “Goalie Crazy”.

I started as a goalie when I was 8ish in soccer. I pursued soccer through to high school. Sadly I was not good enough to make my high school soccer team, luckily one of the guys on my soccer team also played water polo and convinced me to come play goalie for them. I was extremely apprehensive about the change, but it was better to be a goalie somewhere than nowhere. The change of course into the unknown worked out as I went on to goalie in college and still to this day get in the cage.

There has been nothing in my life as consistent and frequent as goalie.

Though I miss my playing days I have found that coaching is far more rewarding than anything I ever accomplished in the water.

Doesn’t hurt that kids I train tend to be better than me.

Long story short Goalie is like a religion to me.