Thursday, May 17, 2012

To Matthew - Be Great!

My oldest son signs to play college basketball today.

I am unbelievably proud.

And it's not just because of his accomplishments on game days. I watched this child work day after day to become a better teammate and player. He had no off-season. Basketball was a year-round endeavor.

And it's not just because he worked hard to improve his basketball skills. I watched him mature and step into a leadership role. He earned the respect of both teammates and rivals.

And it's not just because he's a leader. I watched him dream. I was there with him at Georgia College and State University his junior year after his team had been knocked out of the playoffs when he looked around and said that his team would play for the state championship in that gym the next year.

And he was right. He took it on himself to make that happen. His team caught the dream, too, and together they accomplished something special. What a great season, and what a great team!

I've told Matthew often that a good player makes himself look good, but a great player makes the whole team look good.

I've thought he was great since he was a little kid playing rec league, when he was the quarterback of the Pebbles football team in Graniteville, South Carolina. They went undefeated that year. The last game of the season couldn't have ended better had it been scripted for a movie. The game was tied. Matthew handed the ball off, and with no time left on the clock, his teammate ran the ball into the end zone for the win.

At the awards ceremony, Matthew's coaches gave him the highest honor, the award called "Mr. Pebble" and remarked that they'd never seen a more selfless player. He made his team look good.

A few years later, Matthew found himself on one of two baseball teams in a little town in North Georgia. As politics would dictate, one of the teams was stacked. Matthew was one of the better players in the county and found himself on the favored team. Not surprisingly, a number of people were upset. So was Matthew. It bothered him so much that he asked permission to switch teams. I can't remember if that team won or lost that season. What I remember is Matthew donning his new uniform and winning the hearts of every momma out there, including myself. He not only made his team look good, he made me look good. I had raised a good kid.

And that leads me back where I began: Matthew leading his team on the 2012 GISA AAA state championship run. Most people never saw his year-round workouts. Most people never knew about the practices he called even when coaches couldn't be there. Or the conversations with teammates. Or the goofy raps on bus trips.

Points, assists, steals, rebounds. The measurement of these causes us to determine how good a player is.

But some things are less tangible like heart, passion, and composure. Put them together with the above, and you have a great player. Multiply that, and you have a great team.

So, my prayer for you, Matthew,  is that in basketball, in life, in relationships, wherever you are, be great. I'm so proud and excited for you. Your dreams are becoming reality.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Matthew: Realizing My Dream

This is what my son wrote for an essay about how he believes his college will help him with his career path. I'm really proud of him. 

Just starting out.
Senior year of HS

Being a basketball coach is something that I have wanted to do my whole life. I have played basketball pretty much since I was able to walk. My parents bought me a plastic basketball goal for little kids, and I have never stopped playing. This year, I led my high school team to the state championship game in GISA AAA division. Coaches and announcers kept calling me the leader of the team, and some even said I would make a good coach one day. And that is what I would like to become.

The college that I will be attending is Shorter University in Rome, Georgia. I think Shorter will help me in my journey to become a basketball coach. The coach offered me the opportunity play basketball for the school. I hope that by playing on the college level, I will become a better basketball player and learn more about the game. That’s what the assistant coach said that he did. I hope to follow a similar path.

After I graduate from college I want to become an assistant coach for Shorter University or another college. As an assistant I want to learn under a head coach and take everything he knows and apply it. I think the coaching staff at Shorter University is a good group to learn from. They are knowledgeable, and they care about basketball and the players. They also stress positive values. 

I hope by doing all of this, I will get to be a head basketball coach one day. By getting the chance to play college basketball, it opens the door for me to hopefully coach at the collegiate level. This college will specifically help me in what I want to become. If Shorter had not given me the chance to come to their school and play basketball, I may have missed out on a great opportunity to follow my dream.  I look forward to being a Hawk. I think I am learning from the best. I know I will get a great education from Shorter University both on and off the court. And I will be able to pass my knowledge, passion and values to other kids. I will help them reach their goals and become better people.

This scholarship is sponsored by

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

To My Little Katybug

I had to write what I thought about my youngest daughter for her 8th grade scrapbook. She's such a wonderful little girl, so this was easy. Here it is...

Sometimes the best things in life are surprises.
No more babies.  That was my plan. I had three beautiful children, and I thought our family was finally complete. But God had other plans. He decided we weren’t quite finished yet, and he gave me a wonderful surprise – my sweet little Katybug.
Amazing. Kind. Generous. Athletic. Hardworking. Smart. Bubbly. Positive. These are just a few words to describe my baby girl. Katy is rarely seen without a smile, she has a good heart, and she doesn’t let circumstances or people get her down. She surprises me everyday with her abilities, her humor and her sweet personality.
I’m glad that God sometimes ignores our plans. I’m glad that sometimes he has something better in mind. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank him for little suprises. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank him for my little Katybug.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Just Say Yes

The world needs more people who find ways to make things happen instead of people who find  reasons to say no.

The world needs more people who actually give a crap, who care and are willing to make sacrifices to achieve greatness.

And the world needs more people with dreams.

Helen Keller is credited with saying, "The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision."

I was in my twenties sitting in a room with hundreds of others like me at a leadership conference in Atlanta when I realized that one of my biggest fears as a leader was getting older and losing my sense of adventure. I remember looking up and begging God to help me so that I would never lose my ability to dream, to learn, to say "yes." 

Now that I'm in my late thirties, I smile when I think back to that day. It seems that my prayer has been answered. I question and dream more than I used to, and I am proud to say that I'm also more adventurous than I used to be. 

And though my sight is becoming a little fuzzier, my vision is as sharp as it's ever been.

My brain may be getting older, but I pray my thinking never does.

A little parting wisdom for us all: Make things happen, give a crap, and dare to dream.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

And the Journey Continues

Life goes on, and so must I.

I considered starting a more professional blog and ending this one. Then I thought better of it. I just can't walk away from this. I know...I haven't posted anything since January of this year, but that's OK. We all need a break sometimes. 

Quite honestly, I was just busy living life. It was awesome! And I have so many stories to tell.

So stay tuned...I can't wait to start sharing my journey again.

By the way, I'm happy to announce that I graduate with honors in a few days from Georgia State University with a degree in journalism/public relations. Oh, happy day!