The Clinics in Russia were FANTASTIC!!

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February 17, 2008...I'm on our "hometurf" now, having arrived on Thursday night from Beijing...Jet Lag? Hmm, listen to this schedule: Friday afternoon went to Bellevue Community College and took in the Skyline HS vs. Issaquah HS game...Issaquah won going away, but not without having to overcome a double digit effort...then visited Seattle to see my close friend, Dave B., and politely excuse myself as "another" game beckoned my desire to watch another student of mine perform...This time it was Kentwood vs. Kentridge, with the latter winning handily...The young fella who I was observing was Josh Smith, Jr...Joshua has been a student of mine now going on 4 Springs and Summers...he is a gifted, patient student of the game, and has many many more competitions ahead of him...Then on Saturday morning, Coach Ernie Woods and myself took in a 5th Grade Boys basketball game at Canyon Park Junior High in Bothell, watching a very young and talented basketball aspirant by the name of Sean Perry, whose Papa is Guy, and the youth coach of Sean's team...It was a fun game to watch, as one team's mistakes lead to another's treasure and the disappointment to many parents in the stands...YIKES!!...and then as IF I didn't have enough American hoops to absorb, I attended the Northwest University vs. College of Idaho game...There are two players on NU's team whom I have helped over the last couple of years, and I wanted to see them while their season was still underway...NU won by 20...David Rengo and Greg Peters, the two players I know, came off the bench and contributed solid defense and timely baskets when the opportunity presented itself...It was so much fun to watch this level of competition, as the players compete just as hard as any D-1 player; shoot with accuracy like D-1 players, the only thing lacking may be that there aren't ENOUGH D-1 schools for players today...Greg hails from St. Vincent Grenadine, and is not afraid of competition "indoors" , considering he's only played outdoors all these years...

The date has now fast forwarded to February 26, 2008...I am sitting in a Starshucks "thinking" that I'll be able to "hookup" free and go WiFi...UNTIL, Howard-baby is now providing a "pillow" from T-Mobile to his bed and, of course, somebody has to pay for it: US!! So, after being able to on occasion, WiFi in China FREE at most Starshucks, I now have to "sign up" and pay which collectively and figuratively means another FREAKN Password!!!!....Does anybody out there get tired of the same ol schtick that keeps pressing us daily when we "want" something on an interactive basis? I mean at what point does Bill G. and Steve decide to tell their R & D Boyz to "come up with a simple voice activator that a "User" can identify him/her self with their favorite song...I'll give you an example: I'm in Cali and need to go WiFi and the prompt comes up "Sign In with Password"...And of course, I start singin the Beach Boys "I get around...round round round round round r o u n d...I get around..."...Then my IE illuminates my screen, I'm "on" and life is good...Or, I go to New York and same thing applies there in Grand Central Station...The prompt comes on, I go ahead and start belting out, Frankie Blue Eyes fav jingle: "New Yahwk New Yahk...", and all is good...Or, I go to Hawaii and belt out, Don Ho's Island Classic: "Tiny Booobles..."...Do you agree with me, how wonderfully simple that could and WOULD BE?? I mean NO ONE on this planet sings as BAD as I do, therefore my datavoice would either work or CRASH if someone TRIED to impersonate me signing on...Just had to revisit that issue again...I find myself digressing, regressing and depressing sometimes when it comes to the technology and convenience issues today when I blog and/or signon with memorybanks, fingerstrokes and other means for being "wired"...

Okay, spent 4 wonderful days with our Grandson, Carter, who is all of two-and-a-half-plus now and his favorite word is "NO"...We learn the words "Listen...and...YES" while I was there...Ashleigh and Brian, mom and dad, respectively, are doing a marvelous job of raising their babyboy today...I had so much fun with them...One day we went bowling and Carter got a Strike to my none and his Daddy was like *** Webber, makin contact with pins like he's ready for the "Pro Circuit"...I've never been much of a bowler, more of a "bawler" in my early years, as I didn't have much pain threshold for failing to keep the ball out of the gutter...I was so bad as a kid, I thought a great way to keep score for numbskillz like me in bowling, would be to count the NUMBER of pins that still stand AFTER you hit the gutter and come out onto the lane again...Let's put it this way, most of the bowling balls I used back in the day, were "retired" early and probably have been recycled as anchors for small boats...Anyway, that afternoon was totally fun...The next day, Carter wanted to take me to the Zoo and let the Monkees look at me and see how I reacted to them...So we went to the Portland Zoo, and I gotta tell you, it's really a nice, well thought-out venue for people to "view" endangered and captive species from our planet...Carter had a blast, his Daddy, Brian, had a blast and I was in awe of the whole experience...the only downer being the captive Eagle in a net enclosure, which I am hoping the only REASON this great bird is there, is because it is recovering health-wise before taking off for the wild blue yonder, otherwise, I'm bummed over looking at that exhibit...Next we saw a Sumatra Tiger pen...The Tiger was kickin back, BUT checkin us out closely, and I reminded Brian Captive Tigers today are not really happy "campers" as evidenced by the Tiger escapes in SF and now Hawaii...So, here we are thinking like the Tiger on the OUTSIDE "how" would this Tiger decide to leave on a moment's notice...It wouldn't be that difficult as this lil puttytat could leap a building on a single bound, and with that we moved on...It was a great visit to the Portland Zoo, and again, I highly recommend it to any and all...I also was fortunate to visit my dear friends, Lee Larson and Jim Dail from Clackamas, Oregon...The two of them together, coupled with me, makes us the 3 Amigos (hold the "salt"), and we had some great laughs about my experiences in China...It's been a wonderful reentry, Folks, one that has basketball friends, parents, kids and coaches touching base with me and welcoming me back and also for me to see LIVE high school playoffs action again, especially at this time year...I was really excited to see two young students of mine named to the SeaTimes HS All Star Team...Josh Smith, 6'10" (with his shoes on...last time I looked, that's what kids play with on the court...) and Lindsey Moore, 5'10" -/+...both are from Kentwood High School...Josh is a Post Player, sophomore, and comes from a wonderful Family...his lil Bro, J-Mon (Jeremy), is an 8th Grader who is a talent in his own right as well...Josh has been a part of our weekend group now going on 5 Springs/Summers now, and I can't tell you how much fun it's been to watch him grow as young man and Team Player...This young fella "gets it"...His Parents are truly "models to follow" when it comes to the balance between books and sports...Their philosophy is simple: "eat the food on your plate and you get dessert...", in other words: "learn in class, study and DO your homework and you'll get to PLAY sports..."...NOW THAT is a REFRESHING perspective isn't it? Lindsey will be attending the 3 Spring/Summer program with us this year, having been introduced to me by Coach Barbara Berry...Barbara is the Director of "The Way to WIn...", and has a wonderful teaching skills program that complements each of her players' developing skills as Team Players...Lindsey has a "motor" for the game, no question...she competes at a high level, won't back down to anybody and is NOT afraid to make mistakes, take a critical shot with confidence and ultimately make her teammates better with a pass, screen or help on defense...She too has two wonderful parents who are also terrific support models for Lindsey and her teammates...I am blessed by their successes on and off the court, and know that the other kids I've worked with over the years have evolved in a positive, mature way towards improving their leadership and life skills on and off the court, and having a better understanding of the "purpose" of the game overall...

Okay, I'm back in the NW again, jet lag over, I think, although I still have afternoon yawnings that coincide with when I would be going to sleep in China...I've never been into power naps, per se, only on tarmacs and long train rides in the mid afternoons, but I'm beginning to think that it may not be a bad "add-on" to my daily schedule...better than "nodding off" at 60 MPH on I-90 somewhere...I gotta run, have a VIM (very important meeting), that I hope will be shared with y'all before too long...Been workin on this for awhile now, and know that you will be happy to read the progress and advance notice of this "NEWell" event...

To those students and other players whose sportslife I haven't had the opportunity to bless and share the game with, I hope you enjoyed the "moment" of your season past, and if you are so fortunate to continue towards "State", that you have a wonderful experience and more importantly, SEIZE the MOMENT in your young life to grasp the essence of being on your team and sharing in the emotions and anxieties of warmups, playing, sitting and competing for a Championship...I've always believed that any team at any level that EVER makes the "tournament" in anything should always be considered a "Finalist" and to hold one's head high for the "Kodak moment" that no one can ever take away from them: the experience...All the best, God Bless...Coach tom My next blogit will address the frustrations of accepting "your" coach as your son/daughter's leader today...Definitely a subject we ALL need to revisit and learn from...tn

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