Tom Newell At Large: March 2008

Seattle, Washington...March 23, 2OO8...

Okay, I'm over my "rants"...maybe...I think that sometimes the World is flat when I read the papers and see the stories and comments of educated people (or are they?)...When I have been to various parts of the world, teaching the game to kids, players, coaches and parents, and complete my sessions for the day, I always have been able to collect my thoughts and reflections of the day by looking up at the stars and seeing the Big Dipper, Lil Dipper and other reminders of the universe bigger than our planet...And during these quiet moments, I remind myself just how small I really am, kudos to the late Buckminster Fuller, Astrophysicist, MIT, who inspired my mortality many moons ago when I lived in Belgium, when I could get up and down a basketball court professionally...He was a Professor of notoriety at MIT, and architect (Geodesic Domes) when he saw what was happening to our planet as he knew it back in the day (early 70's), and would greet his "new" enrollees with this provocative introduction to "life" as they didn't know it at the time: "Today, we learn about the universe..."...He would pull down a white screen in his auditorium and have the lights turned out and then project a slide of the universe on the screen...He would then take a pointer and explain the mysteries that they were about to engage upon and point to a "speck" on the screen and reflect: "this is Earth...so for anyone here who thinks they are significantly important in the grand scope of their existence...you're not..."...And that is his introduction to "his" world and theirs, and he would begin his class for the semester...I have never forgotten that simple explanation to our world and the universe in general, so now whenever I pause and reflect with my eyes towards the heavens, ol Bucky Fuller comes to mind, not a jump shot that Michael Jordan hit to win a game or a Home Run by Mickey Mantle...Little did I realize that my "awakening" would carry over from one continent to another, reminding me of my quiet reflections from years past to this present moment in my life...The last two weeks have been a burden of sorts, knowing that there is a region in the world whose people are suffering for being independent, meditative and most definitely peaceful...They too look to the heavens above, reflecting, wondering why they are tormented and abused by educated literates, censored for asking people in the "free" world to hear their pleas for help and assistance...I could name the country and the small region, but knowing that my blog is monitored and that I may someday return to this large country, I think it is best to not engage in a political war of words and critique, but trust me, as an Ambassador to the world in my small but effective way, I have some unfinished work to be done there in a peaceful application, and through that model, believe that one can do more with a ball that bounces and can be shot at a basket than a "scope over"...I pray for peace, world peace, and know that this summer of sports regalia will go on, but not without a distraction or two by the world's athletes in their own way...Let us all hope that their voices, performances and competitions will acknowledge the freedom of speech and expressions in non-violent manners will hopefully do more for affecting change than the other alternatives...Had to get that off my chest tonight so I can rest peacefully...

Hope all are well who take the time to read my musings and what knots now and then...have a great week and I'll try to blog again tomorrow...Happy Trails to you...until we read again...Coach tom 

March 3, 2008...San Diego, California...

I am blessed to have this opportunity to be with my family and visit my father, Pete Newell, 92 years young, over this past weekend and tomorrow night's festivities of him being honored into the San Diego Hall of Champions program...He once was the General Manager of the San Diego Rockets before they relocated to Houston...He is very excited to be able to "live" this experience tomorrow night and we're so happy that he is with us now...Should be fun...

Now to the "heading" aforementioned...I am really REALLY concerned about the level of play that I have witnessed recently in high school basketball, both boys and girls at the 3A and 4A levels...First off, why is it that kids don't know how to make a correct CHEST PASS, BOUNCE PASS, OVERHEAD OUTLET PASS, PUSH PASSes, left hand/right hand? Why is it that kids don't understand that once you pass the ball YOU MUST MOVE WITHOUT IT or you might as well hold a Polaroid Camera and take pictures of the plays 'cause you're NOT a part of the motion any longer...Why is it kids don't talk on defense or anticipate helping a teammate when they get beat one on one? Why is it kids don't block out in late February when you know the coaches have taught them in October? Why is it kids hang their heads when they come out of the game and don't accept the fact that they're NOT helping the team with their mistakes or ineffective play and cast a dirty look at the coach or want to SIT at the end of the bench? Why is it kids who do start and then come out don't "cheer" their teammates who are still on the court competing for the TEAM? Why is it that some kids LOOK to the stands for support of their parents when they can GET ALL the support in the world from their coaches and teammates? Yeah, I'm BACK and not a "Happy Hooper" with the model I see on the courts today...Y'all need to listen to my podcast and hear my rant and suggestions to overcome the negativity that is surrounding our game today at the interscholastic levels...If I "stir" your emotions, good...If you think I'm "losing it"...you better have someone "film" you in the stands and YOUR son/daughter when they play or sit, then we'll see who's "losing" it...I am really upset at this time with what I see as a terrible slack-state of fundamental skills in interscholastic basketball in the NW...The "hype" that is being put upon young people today in newspapers and magazines, is unfortunate and setting up kids and parents for a "free fall" that is bungeecordless and doomed for a "post mortem" on one's high school basketball experiences IF the "expectations" are unfulfilled...Those of you, Parents, Coaches (all levels), Student Athletes and Administrators who KNOW me and my passion for the game, realize that I speak from my heart and trust me, my heart is hurting after watching basketball over the last three weeks in the NW...Listen to the Podcast to hear my feelings if you dare...Nobody ever said "Oral Medicines" were "sweet tasting", and trust me, this "prescription" is not sweet, BUT can HELP overcome the "nausea" that you (parent(s), student athletes, administrators and coaches) felt after the last defeat that eliminated you from District, Regionals, State and in State Finals...

Now I feel a whole lot better after getting that OFF my chest...thank you!! Okay, where do we go from here...Stay tooned, as I have a couple of events coming up for announcement that may or may not interest the parents and their student athletes...a Novel approach once again on my part to share with Family Sports Life Today in the NW...

I am soooooooooooo happy to be back in the NW and with Family and Friends...I thank you each and every one for emailing me over the last several months, encouraging my weblogits, and of course keeping me posted on your lives as well, on and off the court...Drive safe, buckle up and all the best, God Bless...Coach tom