Childhood acquaintance battling cancer

P was a kid from another neighborhood but who’d we bump into from time to time in sports.  THere were a million such kids who were long ago forgotten but P was memorable because he was a plus-sized kid (had metabolic issues) who was a fantastic athlete.  He scored every point on his basketball team because of a deadly shot and hit long home runs in little-league baseball.  When we were adults we played softball with him; he was still plus-sized and still a great athlete – he was a great infielder and hit long towering home runs once or twice every game.  Later, he helped lead another team to a state softball championship…  He wasn’t a happy-go-lucky guy, but *was* easy going and pleasant to be around, and I never remember him being angry or frustrated, not once… Just learned he is battling cancer that is likely terminal.  Bleh.  And double bleh.

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Childhood acquaintance battling cancer

Eight years later, I still love the song Poker Face :)

I think it is hilarious that eight years later I still love the song Poker Face by Lady Gaga.  The first time I heard it I didn’t even know who Lady Gaga was – I was driving on the freeway late one January night when it was playing on the radio, and I loved it’s energy.  It gave me goosebumps, but I forgot about it for a couple of weeks when Wife M brought it home on a compilation CD her friend J made for her – it was my favorite song that year.  ALthough I don’t seek it out, 8 years later when it pops on Spotify, I turn it up and enjoy it.  I love that song. It literally makes me want to run sprints and makes me miss playing sports.

Eight years later, I still love the song Poker Face :)

It is amazing how much the moments before a Job Interview are like the moments before a sports game for me

Before lung disease forced my retirement, I loved play softball and flag football.  And when I was a kid I loved playing basketball.  What I remember are the day and moments before games: I’d control my diet, pre-game activity and mindset all day long, and then in the moments before a game I tried very hard to focus on the game, to visualize it, to not allow myself to get distracted by chores, work, etc.

When I interview for a job, it is the same way.  I make sure I get enough sleep the day before, I try to rest as much as possible the day before, then the day of I regulate my caffeine, diet and exercise to maximize my performance at the time of the interview.  In the moments before the interview, I think through all the questions, I put away my phone and I focus on my breathing/energy so that when the interviewer arrives/calls and starts asking me questions I am at 100% of all I can possibly do.  For awhile, before my illness, I didn’t have to worry about it quite as much, but now all those things are extremely important.  The actual job can be done with inertia and experience, but the interview takes 100% clear thought and energy.

I am glad I played sports.  I feel like it was a good prep for interviewing.  Along those same lines, one of my favorite feelings in life are in those final minutes before tip-off in basketball: the sounds, smells (of oiled hardwood), and the possibility of a great game.  My favorite moment in sports has always been lacing a line drive over shortstop where I know I have a chance to turn a single into a double, and when a shot basketball starts to fall through the rim into the net.

It is amazing how much the moments before a Job Interview are like the moments before a sports game for me

Kenny Easley — my favorite Seahawk and possibly my favorite football player of all time – nominated for the Hall of Fame

Growing up in a family of Seahawks fans in the 70s and 80s, there were three things I always looked forward to on Sundays: how many yards would Curt Warner rush for, how many receptions would Steve Largent have, and just watching Kenny Easley play. I loved Kenny Easley.  He was so fast and so smart and so good, and it seemed like he was always around the ball, and it was as much fun to watch him play in Seattle in the 80s as it was to watch Ken Griffey Jr. play centerfield in the 90s. So I am thrilled he was at last nomiated to the Hall of Fame.  Possibly the only other player I enjoyed watching play as much was John Elway, which is funny to think about since I was a Seahawks fan… If I could pick any NFL player to watch play again on any given Sunday, it would be Kenny Easley in the kingdome or John Elway in mile high stadium.  

Kenny Easley — my favorite Seahawk and possibly my favorite football player of all time – nominated for the Hall of Fame

Science of a knockout punch in boxing

Every time a boxer receives a punch, potassium rushes out of cells and calcium rushes in, creating an imbalance in the electrolytes, which the brain must work to offset.  when the damage is greater thant he brain’s ability to repair the damage, the brain shuts down (knockout).  THe feet are a good indication of this happening, as the boxer loses his abilty to stay in balance and so is more flat footed.  Usually a knockout punch isn’t one punch, but the accumulation of punches.Source: Popular Mechanics.

A punch to the jaw causes a knockout because the acceleration then sudden decceleration overloads the brain, causing a concusion and the brain to temporarily shut down.

Science of a knockout punch in boxing

1990 was an aspiring time to be a 6′ basketball player

I was in college in 1990, and the group of guys I hung out with all loved basketball.  We played ever day, and we watched both college and NBA hoops.  Michael Jordan was a young player who’d not yet won a ring, Magic Johnson was still leading the Lakers to NBA Finals, and everyone I knew played basketball.  But it was especially a great time to be a 6′ guard, I think.  The 3-pointer was fairly new at the college level, and teams were utilizing it but not relying on it, so the game was still a mixture of speed and shooting; because the shot was new, there weren’t a stable of 7’ers who could shoot 3-pointers – most of the long-range shooters were guards.  So it was kind of the hey-day for 6’ers.  Additionally, the college game had a plethora of “little” (i.e. not 6’5″) guards leading their teams: Kenny Anderson, Chris Jackson and (my favorite) Bobby Hurley to name a few.  This was inspiring, and I think created some enthusiasm for us average guys who watched college ball…  I like the game a lot less now – it is a *lot* more stationary, where players sit in spots and wait for a 3-point shot.  I was a fan of the run-and-gun where the 3-pointer was used as a Plan B – much more exciting to watch and play. 

1990 was an aspiring time to be a 6′ basketball player

Read about Nick Saban in The System – I respect him, but I would not be him.

Nick Saban is highly respected in the football ranks, and I read about him a little bit in The System and other sources (Google Search)…  

He is known for his attention to detail – if a player is expected to put his hand on the line, he puts his hand on the line — period.  He highly values conditioning, and has four strength and training coaches at Alabama while having intense conditioning work outs.  He emphasizes that recdruiting starts with deciding who they should recruit, and has certain profiles he looks for.  He is highly engaged on the field, making the rounds, and expects perfection. He is not afraid to bawl out a coach for not expecting perfection from the players, which in turn keeps the coaches tuned into the players.  He is efficient, and has coaches down the ranks who scrutinize specific aspects of film looking for trends and schemes.  He also flat out understands football.  

I have fairly high energy and I like people who have high energy and good work ethic.  But I have always been 80-90% on detail, figuring that for most things 80-90% is good enough,// and I’ll compensate for the 10% with extra work effort.  In all honesty, I could not — and would not — want to be Nick Saban, to man the details so closely in a football game, to spend most of my life worrying about a football game.  I have a hard time taking life — and silly man-made details in life — that seriously, and enjoy a little more balance in life.  

But I do respect that in NIck Saban.  But then again, I am not sure that means he should be paid 5M a year.  No one should be paid 5M a year.  🙂

Read about Nick Saban in The System – I respect him, but I would not be him.