Happy Birthday, Princess!

Avaleigh,

Happy Birthday, Princess! You are one. Congrats! Making it this far alive with your Mom and me is no small feat. Your Mom only dropped you off the bed 2 times in the first year. She almost didn’t make it through the first year alive. It’s a good thing I love her.

I an’t begin to tell you the joy you have brought to my life. You gotta understand that I thought I had life put together. I was a good teacher. I was a good baseball coach. We won a lot of games. I became a high school principal at the age of 32. THIRTY TWO!!!!!!! I was on it. I was pretty successful and thought I had this “life” thing figured out. Then I had you…

I didn’t realize how insignificant my life was until you came along. You have only been here one year and you are my greatest accomplishment. Although you poop your pants and you said “Momma” first, I’m still so proud to be your Dad. I don’t know how I will do for the next 18 years, but I promise you I will try to make you as proud as you have made me.

Your Mom has planned a HUGE birthday party for you. Avaleigh, she’s awesome. She works so hard for you. I’m lucky. My job is to watch you and take care of you when we get home from work. She is doing all the little things that make sure you can stay alive the next day. She sacrifices some of that time to ensure that you will be ok. I hope you grow up to be like her.

There is a Bible verse that I want to share with you that describes my thoughts for today….

1 Samuel 1:27- “For this child I prayed and the Lord answered my prayer.”

One last thing….Elmo was your Mom’s idea. I wanted to get you a little motorized 4 wheeler. She shot that down.

Happy Birthday, Princess.DSC01507

I love you today, tomorrow, and forever,
Dad

Where have I been?

So, I started this blog a little over a year ago.  Shortly after creating this site (a few days later), I found out my wife was pregnant.  I didn’t quit writing, but I started writing her letters.  The following series of posts that you see over the next few days are some of the letters that I have written to her.  I have the handwritten ones that I plan on giving her later, but I wanted to have a backup.  You never know what’s going to happen….

 

Culture Counts

Yea, it’s cliché.  But I think anyone who works in a place the requires teamwork knows it.  It’s everything.

I’m a Red Sox fan (as well as Cowboys), so yea it was a pretty shitty year.  Just the other day, I read an article where Tito (Terry Francona, the former manager of the Red Sox) was bitching about the front office of the Sox.  In his last year, they wanted to bring in players that were “sexy”….could add sex appeal…

What did you say?

That’s right.  Sex appeal.  They said the Sox were winning “ugly”  Do what?  Well, Mr. Soccer (a shot at the owner), how is that winning ugly working our for you, now?  Winning ugly, really?  Really?

So the answer was to run out, buy some talent that would add this so-called sex appeal to the team.  However, the owners must not have thought about what it would do to the culture of the clubhouse.

Look at any team T.O. has been on.  Preferably, my Dallas Cowboys.  How did the work out for them?  T.O. had a couple of good seasons, but he was mixed with some questionable characters…Tank Johnson and PacMan Jones?

Hell, take those three and put them on the team with Pookie from Friday and Uncle Poodle from Honey Boo Boo!  Take them, throw them in a locker room of 50 guys and see if they don’t sick of them.

Do you remember TO’s time with the Eagles?  Has a situation ever ended worse?

So, let me take you to my time as a coach, one who was somewhat successful.  I’m not going to talk about the wins (174), district championships (5), regional championships (4), and our 5 straight trips to our state tourney….ok….I did….but I’m going to talk about philosophy.  Key phrases if you will….

No excuses, no explanations…..

Toes on the line, ready to go….

Keep your locker and your truck clean, keep your shirt tucked in, and take pride in your appearance…

No hats in the house….

Look, I know what you are thinking.  These are simple catch phrases, but it built our culture.  How does no hats in the house build culture?  It’s about discipline and respect.  Gentlemen aren’t supposed to wear their hat when they are building and doing this little simple rule  builds a little self-discipline.  Toes on the line, ready to go? Discipline, yep.  But it was also about being prepared.  My guys knew what we were going to do, they knew what our day would be like, and they knew when to be there.  Without fail, they showed up.  Keep your lockers and your truck clean?  There’s a little more discipline for you.  The curveball in that was paying attention to detail.  Gloves in one spot, cleats in another, sleeves and pants folded.  Organization.  Most of my guys hunted, they had trucks and they liked to play in mud. Good, I didn’t want their asses in the house playing video games.  But keeping the truck clean was more discipline and more attention to detail.  Pride in your appearance?  I would get so frustrated when kids would come to practice with their cocked to the side or try to sneak in an at-bat with their back pocket out because some major league idiot did it….it doesn’t look cool, it looks like a fucking slob. This rule…it addressed setting an example for others to see.  It says to them that you have class (even if you don’t, but it says that your first appearance is going to be good because you are going to see a guy that dresses in the way a player should). No excuses, no explanations…that’s a Tony Dungyism.  I don’t want to know why you didn’t do your job, just do it.  Shut up and step up.

So, you are sitting there thinking what the hell does this have to with anything you stupid, old high school baseball coach?  Nobody cares, this is supposed to be about culture, not your little peon successes as a coach.

Did TO make excuses?  Yeah, he wasn’t the one in the huddle throwing up!  Tank Johnson?  I don’t know him, but looking at him didn’t make me think he took pride in his appearance.  Tony Romo wears a hat backwards all the time!  What do you think when you see him…the leader of the Dallas Cowboys…on tv with his hat backwards?  Put on a damn suit or collar shirt on.  You want to be like Peyton Manning?   Dress like him (and please for God’s sake make the decisions he makes)!  These rules, they build culture.  Process equals product, don’t ever forget it.  If you have bad culture as part of your process, your product is screwed.  Plain and simple.

I was Tito (which is a cool ass nickname)  because I didn’t give a rat’s ass about how I won!  I just wanted to win!  Yes, it was ugly, but it was scrappy.  In case you didn’t know, an ugly, scrappy win beats a beautiful loss.  Been a few of those “beautiful losses” in Boston and Dallas lately?

Right now, I’m running a school that lacks professional culture.  Adults who don’t want to follow the rules….or enforce them with the students.  Some want to point fingers,some just want to sit idle, and some just want to work.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an awful situation.  But it does need some fixing.  To be frank, it pisses me off.  We are adults, we should know how to act.  The fact of the matter is that adults are just kids in big bodies and our culture, whether good or bad, is the foundation of everything we do.

Need more proof?  There are four teams playing this weekend in the NFL…San Fran, ATL, New England, and Baltimore. Think about what their coaches took over in terms of culture and how it was turned around. Mike Smith took the Bobby “I ride motorcycles in plain day-light with my 25  year old girlfriend that I hired to be my football ASSistant” Petrino’s mess, drafted well, and and started turning the culture around.  Harbaughs?  Amazing job.  But the best in my mind is what Belichick/Brady has done in sustaining the Patriot Way.

At the end of the day, whether on an athletic team, a school faculty, or even guys at a car dealership…you are going to accomplish something. You better have good culture….or you are going to end up accomplishing the wrong things.

Who goes there?

Husband first….educator second….sports fan third…

 That’s me.  I watch football…a lot of football.  It’s borderline inappropriate. You will see that here.

 I am a frustrated educator.  You will see that here.

 I love the Cowboys, so you will see profanity here.  If you don’t like it, I don’t give a shit.  You will see that here.

 I dabble in politics.  I like to hunt.  I’m southern.  I’m middle-age and middle class.  I’m easy-going.  You will see that here.

 I suck at punctuation, so you will …. in place you shouldn’t see … so you will see…..here…a lot.

 I like to blog, but my other blog is school affiliated and I can’t really put what I think, which frustrates the shit out of me, sometimes.  You will see that here.

 I love Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July.  You will see that here.

 Why did I start this blog?  I’m tired of my internet existence revolving around f’book. I wanted a private space to share my thoughts, reflect, be me.  But I wanted to do it in front of everybody and privately, both at the same time.

 This is my space, my world.  But I would love for you to come into it and have conversations with me.