Mike

What We Talk About in Locker Rooms

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Oct 122017
 

After basketball, the guys like to hand out a minute or two in the locker room to catch up. We talk about the game and our particular prowess that day. Ha! We also get serious and other topics come up. One team member mentioned that a friend had gotten mugged and that he had surprised the attacker with mace. I am one of those self defense novices who doesn’t even know the difference between mace and pepper spray so a heated discussion ensued about which is worse.

Mace is actually a brand that usually rolls off the tongue when discussing tear gas and pepper spray. They are used in warfare (according to movies and TV) and by the police. They are one of the most popular modes of self defense for ordinary citizens. The old chemical mace is off the market due to reported injuries. The brand now covers all the related products.

I was surprised to learn that mace and tear gas are not effective on people under the influence. How odd. Pepper spray, on the other hand, does work. I wanted to know more so I looked it up online when I got home from the game – here’s the source I found: https://www.selfdefenseguide.org/mace-pepper-bear-spray-differences/. Pepper spray will render a robber incapacitated for up to an hour. As an inflammatory agent, it will provoke coughing, choking and nausea. Plus, it dilates the capillaries of the eyes causing temporary blindness. It is a pretty scary experience.

Tear gas is an alternative that is composed of a white crystal in sec-butanol. Here’s what happens: the eyes water and burn and the nose and mouth feel like they are on fire. It is awful to say the least. Coughing and choking follow. I am not sure why assailants who are high do not respond. Nor do people who are violent and insane. They just don’t feel the effects. Pepper spray for some reason works on all these individuals who are otherwise impervious to pain. It lasts longer and causer greater discomfort. Thus, it makes the better choice and is legal where tear gas is not always.

Wow. I have said a lot. Do you want more? While we are on the subject, I want to mention that I read how important it is to learn the right way to use pepper spray, whatever the brand. You can practice ahead of time. I also read that nothing works if you don’t take it with you and this seems like very wise advice. Keep it in your backpack or pocket if you are concerned about personal safety. Training and education about self defense will help make the spray work for you.

 Posted by at 10:33 am

The Comforts of Home

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May 092017
 

The first I ever heard of a germaphobe was when watching reruns of the old TV series, Monk. The quirky character, a private investigator and police consultant, was an obsessive compulsive who was terrified of getting sick. He wouldn’t touch anything without gloves and drove everyone around him crazy. I looked up the word and found that it means an obsession with sanitation and keeping clean, which includes the environment. Although the gentle detective worked the filthy San Francisco streets, he managed to avoid contamination. By scrubbing is hands after shaking hands with anyone, he felt in control. Monk triumphs in spite of his condition and solves crime after crime.

I see a lot of myself in this gumshoe. While I don’t have the rituals of washing and cleaning constantly, I do have one bugaboo. I don’t like to use any toilet except my own. It is not that it is unique – just a run-of-the mill model, but I keep it scrupulously clean. I often spend hours maintaining it and I Rate My Toilet as the cleanest one I’ve ever seen. On that note, I will use no other facility. This means no travel and staying close to home. Fortunately, I work in the vicinity and my gym is around the corner. It has a full-size basketball court so you will find me there most nights, even for a quick game after work. As you know, this sport can get competitive and intense. I love to work off all the day’s anxiety. Plus, it is a great social occasion as I see my buddies and it keeps me in shape and at the right weight for my height. I take a shower before I leave. You might think this is odd for a germaphobe, but somehow I believe they are sufficiently clean. I will wait until I walk in my front door before I think about heading to the bathroom.

Yes, it can be an inconvenience. I don’t drink much water during breaks in the game as a result. This poses a problem for the times when I am pouring sweat. I imbibe a bottle or two after the game as I change my clothes. One day I almost didn’t make it home. I was walking at a fast pace, my usual gait, but when I reached the corner, I heard sirens and noticed that the walkway was blocked. There had been an armed robbery and no one was allowed to pass. We were signaled to halt our progress by a couple of beat officers. I was asked to move aside until the detective on the case could question me. I stared blankly into space, afraid to mention that I needed to relieve myself ASAP. Finally, I blurted it out and an officer pushed me into a doorway of a café. How could I explain to him that I couldn’t use the toilet?

“It’s new,” he muttered. “I’ve used it.”
“I don’t care,” I said.
“Don’t kid around. We have a situation here,” he said with irritation.
“Do you remember Monk?” I asked. “Need I say more?”

 Posted by at 8:09 am

Horse at 2 AM

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Feb 112017
 

Any form of basketball is okay by my, even playing a night game of horse at 2:00am after watching a couple of old videos of great games with the guys. It puts you in the mood and if there is an outdoor court nearby you can illuminate it with the headlights of a few cars and add the illumination of a bright tactical LED flashlight. This is my idea of fun at odd hours of the night when you feel no desire to sleep. Are you familiar with the game? I have provided some basic rules.

You can play horse with two or more people. The guys just have to decide the order of play—who goes first, second, etc. Or if you prefer, you can take turns shooting from the same location and the player who gets the most baskets goes first. This is a simple way to start.

At this point, the first player takes a shot. He can decide where on the court as he wishes and it becomes a challenge shot. The only rule here is that he must announce any contingencies for the challenge before he tries to make the basket. A contingency could be “I am shooting with my eyes closed” or another such statement.

After this challenge shot, the next player in turn gives it a try. If the first attempt was successful, this second player must perform the same action at the point where the first was standing on the court. But if the first player missed, the second has the option of shooting now from any place he likes and now he invents a new challenge.

The game continues on in the same manner—a player makes a shot and the next must copy it unless he missed. A new challenge is invented in the course of the game. After the last player has taken his shot, it now reverts to the first one.

If a player fails a challenge, meaning he misses the basket, he gets a letter beginning with “H.” Every mistake entails a new letter until the word “horse is spelled out. At this point, the player involved loses the game. The only rule to know here is that a player inventing a challenge cannot get a letter. This means that if he misses his shot, the ball passes to the next person on the team with no penalty. It’s not as confusing as it sounds. Another point to remember is that if a challenge is invented, and all players ensuing make their turn at shooting, you get to invent a new challenge. This keeps things interesting.

The play goes on until there is but one person remaining. If a player gets a “HORSE,” he has to leave the game. The rest of the players continue playing according to the rules. Thus, at the end of the game, there is one winner left in the game. He can now rejoice and buy the next round of drinks or go hope happy.

 Posted by at 9:30 am

Fascinating and Fun Facts About Basketball!

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Mar 162015
 

Fascinating and Fun Facts About Basketball

I just love basketball trivia.  For some reason, the silly unimportant little facts are amazing to me.  Perhaps it’s because I love the sport so much that these little things matter.

Going back to the beginning, a doctor invented the first basketball.  Right after that, a YMCA teacher by the name of James Naismith invented the game in 1891.  He had grown up in Canada playing a makeshift basketball game by nailing up a peach basket to use for a hoop.

Basketball was initiated into the Summer Olympics in 1936.  They debuted in Berlin, Germany.  It wasn’t until 1940 that the first game aired on television though.

At first there were two leagues in the sport, the National Basketball League and the Basketball Association.  They merged in 1949 and became the National Basketball Association, or NBA.

Who has won the most NBA championships?  The Boston Celtics, of course.  In fact, they won seven straight ones.  A total of 26 teams entered which made it the largest number of team sport players in one even.

Check this out.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the current record to date for the most career points scored in basketball.  He topped out at a total of 38,387 points.  Speaking of points, it was a great day in history when the legendary Wilt Chamberlain scored a round 100 points in a single game.  That remains the most points to be scored in one game.

On March 2, 1962, Philadelphia center Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in one game against New York. That is the most one player has ever scored in one game.

How did the three-pointer come to be?  It was actually an idea that was taken from the ABA and was put into play in 1980.  Believe it or not it was the Garrett Falcons Varsity Boys team that maxed the three-point shots in one game.  They had 32 shots total and it all took place in 1998.

USA has won 13 Olympic basketball games.  They have presided in gold medals at the games too.

It was in Dallas, Texas on Valentine’s day in 2010 when the largest crowd ever assembled to watch a single game with 108, 713 looking on as the NBA All-Star game took place.

If you have ever been to a game you thought would never end, get this…in 2010 in Hungary, one game lasted for 107 hours.  There was not one single rest or break that took place the entire time.

Records aren’t always set by professional teams or professional players.  Elan Buller who attended Campbell Hall Elementary School made the longest shot ever, a total distance of 104 feet.  That happened in 2011.  He never went on to play professionally but does teach P.E. at that same elementary.

I just love basketball trivia.  I could read the fun facts all day and never tire of it in the least.  It’s just silly little things that mean nothing at all…but to some of us die-hard basketball enthusiasts, they mean…everything.

 Posted by at 1:01 pm

What it Takes To Live the Basketball Life: Everything and Then Some

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Feb 162015
 

What does it take to be great in the sport of basketball?  More than you may ever know!

Basketball is one of those sports that can look really easy when you are just watching.  Unless you have ever played, you may not realized just how much concentration, preparation and determination it takes.  And physical strength…just running up and down the court is enough to wear even the best fit athlete out.

First things first.  If you are going to play, even in middle or high school, you will have to make the grade.  You will be held accountable to keep your school grades high enough in order to make and stay on the team.  College is no exception.  Gone are the days, for the most part, where athletes got passed just because they were athletes.

Next up, you will need to be a team player.  You are only as good as the worst player on your team.  If you cannot get along with other and cannot work to help make them the best they can be, you are not a valuable player for your team.  Basketball is a team sport and you must be a team player.

You will also have to be teachable.  There will be coaches and managers and even other players who will be instructing you.  You have to listen to others and have a great attitude about it in order to make it as a basketball player.

Dedication is another key factor.  You will have monotonous practices and it will be tempting to skip them at times.  There will be days you don’t want to play or perhaps you really are under the weather.  That’s when you have to suck it up and do it anyway.

Being competitive helps to set your sites to do what it takes to win.  If you don’t care if you and your team win or not, you are going to be hard-pressed to find enough reason to give what it takes to succeed in the sport.

Another very important thing in the game of basketball is that you will have to make sacrifices and lots of them.  Especially if you go on to pro basketball, the things you will have to give up are endless.  You may have to relocate, spend time away from your family and a long list of hardships.  It’s all chalked up to dedication and giving all you have and that means…everything.

There are so many things aside from just the physical that basketball will require of you.  It will push you to your personal limits mentally and emotionally and even spiritually.  And, something many don’t consider is if you do make it big and you make the big bucks, can you handle yourself and your money.  There have been countless athletes who could not.  They end up in deep depression or down and out with drug and alcohol problems.  Some have even gotten lost in gambling and other evils that having lots of cash can bring.

But if you find that you are made of what it takes to make it in basketball, congratulations.  It’s a wonderful, wonderful world!

 Posted by at 1:00 pm

My Account of the Greatest Basketball Moments Ever!

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Jan 302015
 

Greatest Basketball Moments

If you are a basketball player, or perhaps an avid basketball fan, what moments in basketball do you find to be the all-time greatest?

Aside from those that I have personally experienced, I have a bucketful of greatest moments I can pull from the hat.

I guess I’m a sucker for the “olden days”.  Of course I wasn’t there to witness this firsthand, but I love to hear and read about Howie Dallmar way back in the 1940’s.  He was a great assist, with over 100 under his belt but the play of the day was when he was injured and talked his way back onto the court despite his feet ailments.

Dallmar went in and scored the two points that won the game but only after the ball had bounced around from the outside about four times, leaving everyone on the edge of their seats.  He and his teammates were awarded $2,000 and a diamond chip ring.  The fans left with a memory never to be forgotten.

You can’t talk about great basketball historical moments without talking about the inventor of basketball, Naismith.  He had grown up in Canada where they nailed a peach basket up for the make-shift basket.  I can just see it clear as a bell in my mind.  He then went on to play for the University of Kansas and then coached Kansas for a whopping 771 wins.  Now, that’s peachy!

Another great moment in basketball history was when Wilt Chamberlain was at his peak.  In 1962, on March 2, he racked up a round 100 points in a single game for a win of 169-147 over the Philadelphia Warriors.  That was the NBA record for single-game scoring and the fans were thrilled.

I also like the one, back in the 70’s when Jerry West of the Lakers threw a 60-foot sinker.  The fans stood to their feet and you can only imagine how excited the team was as well.  It was a nail-biting game and the long throw made it all the more suspenseful.

It was those great plays and many others as well that infatuated me as a youngster.  I had the pictures embedded in my imagination of Wilt, standing at 7’1”, playing for the Globetrotters or Bill Russell with his 11 championship rings.  They were the best of the best and the games were the best too, in my book at least.

What about Buddy Jeannette, one of the National Basketball League’s first players back between 1938 and 1948.  You could count on excitement wherever Jeannette played and so it was with so many of that generation of players.  I just can’t get enough!

There have been tons of present day great plays and I have personally been there to witness a number of them.  But there is something about the days of old in basketball that just entrances me.  It’s an undying romance I have with those who played the courts before me whose shoes I could never fill.

 Posted by at 12:58 pm

The Worst Locker Rooms

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Jan 282015
 

Talking about locker rooms is infinitely less interesting than talking about the game. On that subject, you can drone on for hours. That said, there are times when a mention or two is in order. Basketball players, like other athletes, usually travel whether they are amateurs in a league or pros. And when they do, conditions are not always optimum. You get used to it. When you win, who cares? You are on a high. But when you are down, less than cleanly surroundings become very noticeable.

Home games are a treat for this reason. You can count on spick and span floors, shining chrome shower heads, and pristine toilets. There is no motivation for the opposition to provide A-one conditions for your benefit. You get what you get and if their habits are nastier than yours, so be it. On more than one occasion, while playing far from home, my team has feared and experienced the worst: going home with a bad case of toenail fungus from the showers. We hate it, we loathe it, and we avoid it. When it is handed to us on a silver platter, we politely say no. But it is forced down our throats, all the way to the bottom so to speak.

So you get it anyway. Even clean showers have secret stashes of the moldy stuff. Out come the creams, the sprays and the powders in defense. There are lotions and potions just for this purpose. They work to a degree, but we would rather not get the fungus in the first place. Some of us have resorted to flip flops. They are a great solution and highly recommended. Run out and get them no matter where you play, even if you are certain nothing is growing in your home gym shower stall. Locker room etiquette is what it is about and taking precautions is not wimpy at all.

Have you seen the yellowish-black disease? It invades the insidiously and stays put forever. The nail bed love onychomycosis, which is also known as dermatophytic onychomycosis or tinea unguium. Sounds bad and it kinda is from an aesthetic perspective. It can deform your nails and cause ingrowns that hurt. It is unpleasant and unwanted. Athlete’s foot is very curable, but a real deep down fungus takes a lot of time and effort. Some take pills, some daub on prescription drops, some give up. It must be common because there are at least a thousand touted magic remedies on the Internet. Is it all from locker rooms? Maybe. They are the hot bed of fungal germination.

So, in sum, while locker rooms are not top on my list of sports topics, they do remind me to remind you to watch out where you tread. You can’t be too careful or you will be 1. Grossing people out from here on out and 2. Shelling out a lot of wasted cash. Personally I go with doctor’s medications rather than lemon juice and vinegar. Somehow that stubborn mess is resistant to anything natural.

 Posted by at 4:45 am

The Sports Smoothie

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Jan 282015
 

Health, wealth, and happiness. That’s what we all want, and plenty of it. Today’s topic is health and it centers around smoothies. I love them and you will to if you learn to make them right. Get out the trusty immersion blender. It will become your favorite kitchen appliance. Get out some fresh fruit, plain or flavored low-fat unsweetened yogurt (coconut or key lime for example), and a knife. Then at the last minute get some ice. Start cutting the fruit in large pieces suitable for grinding and you are on your way to a yummy healthy snack. Add protein powder for that extra punch. Whir away and enjoy.

For those who wizen at the thought of fruit, you can make vegetables smoothies, but they will be less of a treat and more of a diet emulsion. Protein as always will help your stamina and your game. Indulge as often as you like. There are no restrictions about vegetables that I know of. You usually stop imbibing when your taste buds are nicely quenched.

Kale is tops on the list of new popular ingredients. It also blends well with pine nuts and pieces of fruit like watermelon, persimmon or apricots. Aficionados swear by anything with blueberries and bananas in it. So get some recipes and get stoked on sports smoothies. The protein powder as mentioned is what gives them their claim to fame.

Modern blenders are so powerful that they make the drink in seconds. Learn how long to keep it on. 30 seconds is more than enough. You can keep extra ingredients in the fridge so you only cut stuff up once. Really lazy people buy cut up fruit at the market, but it will cost you. And the best part is that you don’t have to worry about calories unless you use regular sweetened yogurt or you add honey. It’s nice, by the way, so I don’t disdain it.

You can also add vitamin powders, Ginseng, ginkgo biloba, and any other health supplement you see fit. Add a laxative if you must or extra fiber. Think about flax seed oil or brewer’s yeast. If you couldn’t hack it before, you will now. That way you do your personal health regimen is a one-step process. You can also buy great smoothies in specialty stores and markets, but really, there is nothing like fresh. Ok, so you have to clean up. Yes, that goes with the territory. Besides, you might get fattening ingredients like corn syrup and the pounds will then add up fast.

Some smoothies can contribute to muscle building. That doesn’t mean hormones, mind you. It means it is made with beaten eggs and orange juice. It’s pure nutrition in a glass. You feel strong just looking at it! Peanut and almond butter go into another variety in this category if your taste leans more in this direction. The ladies like to use chocolate protein powder with bananas and peanut butter. Not bad in my book. You get a meal, such as breakfast, or a snack, depending on the quantity you make. Keep your calories the same as you normally do to avoid weight gain.

 Posted by at 4:43 am

Shower Room Stories

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Jan 282015
 

Someone asked me a rather weird question. Does anything interesting go on in sports showers? Any secret handshakes or odd rituals? Something suspect or salacious? The answer is no, happily no, not surprisingly, no. I am not sure what the person was looking for exacgtly. Maybe an exposé of some type. If it were possible to recount some dicey stuff, we would all know about it by now after over a century of sports and the subsequent ubiquitous shower time. They do come in all shapes and sizes, just like the guys, but that is as far as it goes. I, for one, have no knowledge of a secret cabal or mad knifing.

The game is everything and you give your all. If you do, you are darn tired. Then its’ shower time. End of story. Some of you have seen too many movies, or high school escapades that just don’t pertain to grown men. Someone’s imagination has been working overtime. Sometimes you are just too tired to bother with anything but the high pressure shower head and its steady steamy stream. If the water isn’t hot, there may be some minimal revolt.

If someone is obnoxious, they are stifled mighty fast. Throwing anything isn’t much fun. Jokes are not to be tolerated, nor pranks, nor barbs and slings of a verbal nature. As for anything physical like duking it out—as previously stated, the answer is no.

So is it all boring and staid? Yes. Does it mean it is uninteresting? Yes. I was asked to tell tales and frankly I couldn’t come up with any. Maybe you can. I think better of athletes than to assume that people are tormented or mocked in the shower stall. Guys aren’t that petty. Don’t translate those women’s prison movies to men. It just doesn’t apply. It does make for good drama however. But if you are looking for tips to put in your screenplay script, kindly go elsewhere.

The most exciting thing I’ve seen lately is that one player slipped and fell. It was due to a slick soapy floor. We rushed to the rescue and did not let him wallow in water for long. No harm done, just a milk sprain. No medics or EMTs. No ambulance or panic. Now we watch the soap and keep it under thumb so to speak. We watch where we step and upon whom. We are considerate and kind. No surprise.

I do recall a few times when playing out of town and encountering less than clean facilities to my chagrin. Does that count? I could describe the layers of dirt around the drain, the telltale footprints, the grimy sink. A few of the shower heads sprayed in wildly different directions and we all had a good laugh about it—and not more. Grubby gyms are not unfamiliar and no one likes to frequent them. Complaints are definitely in order. So nothing to get excited about unless you find mold magical.

So…no secrets…no lies….nothing at all to hide. If you think otherwise, stand corrected.

 Posted by at 1:47 am

Basketball…It’s THAT Great!

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Jan 232015
 

Basketbal It’s THAT Great!

Basketball…it’s the greatest sport in America!  Why?  Let me name the reasons!

First off, the basketball itself was invented by a doctor, Dr. James Naismith.  That, to me, is pretty astounding right there.  It happened way back in the late 1800’s.  The game came about right away and the rest is history.

You’ve got to give it to basketball, it’s not a real dangerous sport.  While accidents can happen, they are far less likely to than in football, ice hockey and some of the more physically aggressive games. Don’t get me wrong, it takes a tough guy to play basketball.  But, in my opinion, professional basketball players make it to retirement with less serious injuries.

Plus, you can play it in any kind of weather.  Rain, snow, sleet or shine, basketball is generally played in the comfort of an indoor court.  Of course it can be played outside too which is just icing on the cake.  If it’s a nice day and you want to enjoy some fresh air, catch a court and hoop it up!

Basketball has to be great.  It has been an Olympic sport since 1936 and has been an organized national sport since 1949.  It is a multi-billion dollar industry to date and has millions of fans beside.

So often, when a basketball player is telling his story, you will hear how he was saved from a life of violence, crime and drugs by his love for the sport.  The game helps youth detour from taking the wrong road so many times.  Why?  It not only gives them something they love to do, it offers exercise, socialization, a feeling of satisfaction and self-worth and so many other positive benefits.

Basketball is a game of skill.  It takes personal strength, focus and coordination.  It takes determination and dedication.  But, it is a game that can be learned.  It is not a respecter of persons in that although it helps to be tall and quick, you don’t have to be.

Avery “Little General” Johnson was one of the shortest pro players ever.  Standing at 5’10” tall, he had an outstanding 16 year career and went on to help coach the Dallas Mavericks.  There have been many pro basketball players that were only 5’7” like Anthony Webb and Asian NBA player, WataruMisaka.

Basketball isn’t difficult to learn.  Even fans can easily keep up with a game.  The scoring is a cinch as are the rules and regulations.  I remember hearing an older woman say that she used to go to high school and college football games all the time to watch her boys play but she never knew how the game was played.  “I just watched the cheerleaders and hollered when they did,” she said.  “But basketball, I know.”

I guess the thing I love most about basketball is that it is addicting.  It gets in your blood and becomes your life.  It’s not illegal and doesn’t require a 12-step program but it’s so good…maybe it should!

 Posted by at 9:52 pm

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

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Jan 192015
 

When you have a passion, such as basketball, it becomes a priority and the focus of everything, even my philanthropic activities. Imagine my surprise when a friend touting water sports hit the nail on the head with the new sport of stand up paddle boarding. It was like “aha” and a light bulb went off. I don’t have to explain it to fans. It has been around for ages and has lots of practitioners. I can, however, advocate a few pieces of equipment so if you live by the sea, a lake, or a river, or are flying there shortly, you are ready to go.

Gear for Paddle Boarding

  • Select the gear for the water destination of choice. There a multiple options of boards. A set comes with paddle, leash and roof rack. You will want easy gliding materials and a removable fin. Set a budget of $500 or more for a classic model.
  • Think about a buckle nylon vest for men and women or a reversible pullover for warmth and wind protection.
  • Consider waterproof accessory cases for cell phones and other necessities. You don’t want water, sand, or dust to penetrate at all! A plus is that they float.
  • An underwater camera is a nice gift to ask for. It goes without saying that they are waterproof and produce high-quality images. This item can run as much a board, but photography buffs will be in heaven.
  • Inflatable belt packs are also a nice accessory to tote with you to hold small personal items.

You can view anything on YouTube including how to ride a paddle board. This did it for me. I was convinced after one video and sought more. I see that there is an art to the right body position, balancing techniques, and paddle strokes. Practice is part of the fun. In a nutshell, you stand in the center of the board with feet shoulder-width apart and parallel. The knees are bent slightly. If you move your weight side to side, you will rock the board. It is a simple principle of balance and counter balance. When enough muscle memory sets in, you can try the smaller waves to start.

Now for the paddle. You grip it with the opposite hand. You will aim for efficient, long strokes for best mobility. The direction of the board will change as you learn proper strokes and go from side to side. The paddle should cut through the air like a knife as you use the core of your body. Be sure to angle forward. You will want to learn to turn (watch those videos!) by walking backward on the board.

You might not yet be ready for crashing waves (I’m not), but you get the general drift. Advanced paddle boarding in white water is a different game. You don’t head out into the waves, for example, but rather the shoulder area where they peak and peter out. It’s all about catching the perfect wave and staying clear of other surfers. There are times to stand up and times to paddle on your knees depending on the conditions. Aficionados of course go with the former stance. This is a thrill like no other!

I am set for some exciting times head, along with you I hope. Let’s literally get on board.

 Posted by at 11:40 pm

The Gift and The Giver

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Jan 152015
 

Mike Miller, a professional basketball player in the NBA

My fans know that I am big into charity.  I am all about giving!  Paying it Forward is not only good for the person or persons you are blessing, it’s good for the soul too.

When’s the last time you gave without the person you gave to knowing who he or she was blessed by?  I remember years ago, I took some advice on personal betterment.  One day my assignment was to do random acts of kindness for people…anonymously.  The key word is…anonymously.  Believe it or not, that really helps knock our pride aside.  It just keeps us honest and it also assures that the person you are giving to does not feel indebted to you in any form or fashion.

Charitable organizations are a great way to give.  They also allow the giver to remain anonymous.  The problem with giving through an organization is that sometimes, too many people have their hands in the cookie jar.  That’s why it’s important to do your homework and to know just how much of the proceeds to the cause you are supporting.  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is one that I found to be upstanding.  You are sure to find those that you feel comfortable with as well.

You can chose to give as an individual too.  You can directly or indirectly give to the person or group.  And don’t think that all you can give is money.  That is far from the truth.  You can give of your time or bless someone with a personal gift like for me, I like to give game tickets, autographs and things like that.  You really can’t go wrong when it comes to giving, especially when it’s done anonymously.

One of the most rewarding things I do is to host a charity event for a cause or organization.  That can be a sports-related event, a banquet or dinner, a car wash or a number of things.  Raffles are another great way to drum up funds.  If you are gifted with organizational skills or are good with the public, this will be right up your alley.  If not, you can easily incorporate the help of others who are.  You will be surprised how many people may donate their time and skills to help you help.

Having a name for yourself, like I am blessed to have, helps get people to participate in fund raisers you may want to throw.  If you are not a sports star, celebrity or famous person, try to round up someone who is.  Again, you may be surprised who is willing to help when it comes to charitable events.

Helping others definitely helps you.  Chalk it up as karma or back it up with Bible scripture, it is true that the best way to help yourself is to help others.  Does it mean everything will be peaches and cream if you do so?  Definitely not!  At the same time I was raising money for some great organizations (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital being one of them), I was released from Miami.  It might have been easy to wonder why negative came my way when I was doing such a positive thing.  I had to examine my heart and to resolve that I am not giving for any motive and expecting good in return for good is…a motive.  It wasn’t a pleasant thing but I was able to personally grow from the experience.

As Maya Angelou put it so eloquently, “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”  Maybe that is why it is said that it is better to give than to receive.

 Posted by at 9:50 pm
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