Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Big man running

I've started another blog.  This one I call Big man running.  Maybe one day it will turn in to a good blog with advice, maybe it will only ever be a history of my success and failures.   At the moment its me just keeping track of what I'm doing and how I'm trying to get better.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


Coach.  It's a title that means a lot to me.  As a child I looked up to my coaches, especially my father.  My asthma was always too bad to be an athlete.  At the ripe old age of 13 I made the jump from athlete to coach.

At 13 coaching was more like playing with the younger kids and helping them improve in the few extra things that I had learned that they hadn't yet.   I started with Little League at 13.  I was not an official coach of the All-Star team when they went 2nd in state, but I had been to and coached at every single practice all year, and been to every game, and every all-star practice and helped coach there too.   Whether I was on the books or not, I was a coach of that team.  That was my first glimpse into how amazing coaching could be.

I remember the themes of the conversations with the other coaches, all of them men in their 30s and 40s.  We never talked about how to win a game or beat an opponent.  Our rules were simple.  We were going to teach the basics of baseball and drill it into them until it's 2nd nature.   I swear our team would take 30 minutes of ground balls from 2nd and short while the outfields had 30 minutes of practice judging and catching fly balls every day.  We would work on situations every day, and we would run every day.  We didn't hit every day.   Looking back it seems strange to realize that in a sport where the only way to win is to get on base and score, we didn't work on hitting every day.  Our focus was to teach the fundamentals so well that we would make fewer mistakes than the other team and they would lose the game to us.   And it happened, over and over.   As a coach I was never on a team with a losing record.

I've since moved on from my young beginnings in Little League baseball, to junior high girls softball, t-ball, soccer, junior football, and basketball.

Sports are an amazing outlet for me to reach out and teach kids not only about the fundamentals in the sport, but about how it's ok to make mistakes and to learn from them.   I consider myself a coach in everything I do.  As a development manager of computer programmers, I don't tell the team what to do, I work with them, and I coach and correct mistakes that they make.  I coach the kids in their sports, and I coach my own children in life.   In life I only have a few saying that I come back to again and again: "You don't have to be the best, but you should always try to be your best", "If you aren't failing, you probably aren't pushing yourself hard enough.  It's ok to fail, that's how you grow", and "It doesn't matter that you made a mistake or screwed up, don't give up, get up and try again".

I have my faults and I make mistakes, but I think if I can stick to those three fundamentals, then I'll come out on top.

How the green economy hurts the economy.

I love renewable energy.   Not biofuels, but actual renewable energy like geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind, tidal, and wave.   I also am very intrigued by the different micro energy generation techniques that can be used to harness human activity, like dance floors and gyms that generate their own electricity.

I believe that enough studies have been done to prove that air pollution causes breathing problems, which affect health care costs and people's quality of life.

I believe it's been significantly proven that being a coal miner is bad for your health and even in modern times coal mining accidents happen and black lung is still an issue.

The activity of mining coal and drilling oil also can tear the earth apart in other ways and cause other catastrophes like mountain top mining, the gulf oil spill, and the Juan Valdez oil spill in the arctic.  If we were not reliant on fossil fuels then these accidents could not occur, because we would not be dealing with transporting those items.

However, there are downsides to switching to an entire electric infrastructure, including transportation.
1. All of the renewable energy items require less employees to maintain them than the current fossil fuel infrastructure does.   Once the energy plant is producing energy, there is no longer a need for all of the employees that were used to harvest oil/coal, or to transport it.   The number of people employed by the energy sector would shrink.  The number of train cars and semi-trucks on the road would shrink, even the number of ships in the ocean would shrink because they wouldn't have to transport oil/coal/natural gas.  The greener the Energy sector is, the fewer employees that it will require.

2. Roads are currently paid for by fuel taxes.  An entire electric infrastructure, including transportation, would mean that the government is no longer collecting any taxes to maintain the roadways.

The positives outweigh the negatives.  Without even getting into why some people don't believe in global warming, there is no doubt that pollution is the cause of smog and health problems in large cities.  With that in mind some of the benefits are:
1. Cleaner air, especially in large cities.
2. Reduced health costs.  I understand that this point can be argued.  Only removing the pollution element may not technically reduce health costs because another factor could cause them to rise, but at the very minimum it would reduce health costs related to pollution.
3. If done right where each building has their own battery then power outages should be a thing of the past.  Even if a storm causes power lines to go down, there would be time to get them repaired while the houses run off of their own local storage of electricity.
4. If buildings can all store their own power, then we power companies do not have to be able to cover as high of a max capacity load.
5. If roads become solar roadways, as is being tested in France, and Iowa, then instead of fuel taxes roads could be paid for by the cost of the electricity that they produce.
5a. Roads should not stop with solar energy, kinetic energy has already been shown to be able to be generated in different tests, it should also be built into the solar roadway.  That would allow even more electricity to be generated from the same square footage.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Winning is not bullying, no matter what the score.

A parent of a child on the losing side of a Texas football game filed a bullying report against the coach of the winning team last week.  http://tracking.si.com/2013/10/22/tim-buchanan-aledo-bullying-rout/

I know that Sports are full of bullying, and hazing, and all kinds of bad things because the clique that's in power tries to show their worth to the newcomers or whatever other reasons that exist.   However, unless the coach of the winning team was taunting the players of the losing team, then it's not bullying.

Sport is a competition, it's a place where a team is supposed to go out and do their best.  Players are supposed to give it their all.   Yes there are times, lots of times, that one team is so much better than the other team that it reflects in hugely lopsided scores.

I've been on both sides of big losses.  As a kid my parents and sports taught me not to be a sore loser, and that you can learn from losing by studying the winner and improving yourself, and your team.  I've also played on and coached some very talented teams and we won games by a lot.

Aledo won 91 - 0.  Winning is not bullying, but losing and complaining that the winner is bullying IS whining.  The parent of the losing kid should be ashamed.  I hope his kids are ashamed for him.  Sports are not about making sure everyone has a chance to win, it's about trying your best.  Losing gracefully is sportsmanship.  

To the parent of the losing team that complained, you have a choice to solve the misguided perception that losing is being bullied.  You can pull apologize and encourage your kid and the entire team to improve, you can lobby to have the rules changed to include a slaughter rule in football like little league has in baseball, you can lobby your school system to cancel all sports, or you can pull your own kid out of sports.

Ultimately I want my kids to play sports and do their best every time no matter what the score.  I hope they have the opportunity to be on both sides of lopsided games so that they can learn how to win and lose with grace, something this parent clearly still needs to learn.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Is Cano worth $305 Million?

I read that ESPN's Buster Olney has found out that Robinson Cano is seeking $305 million over 10 years.

I'm a fan of Cano's.  I like watching him play, I love his approach at the plate.   He's a good hitter.  A solid 25-30 HR a year guy.  But I don't think he's worth $305 million over 10 years.

The real question, the question that the Yankees, and any other team out there looking for a hard hitting second basemen need to ask is, "is he worth it?"

I think that answer is no.

First for $305 Million over 10 years, you better be looking at a near lock for a first ballot hall of fame player.   I'm not sure that Cano will be.  He's a solid player, but I don't watch him play and think he's that much above the rest.  ARod when he was younger just made everyone else look like they were beneath him.  Pujols a few years ago did something similar with first basemen.

Second, ARod, Pujols, and even Alfonso Soriano, may have soured all of baseball on 10 year contracts.  It's just too much risk for a team to accept that they could be stuck owing $90 Million to a 37 year old player who is done.    Between ARod's injuries and drug scandals, and Pujols injuries, and Soriano's simple decline, the risk for a 10 year contract is so high that I don't think teams should take it.

Third does it meet the ultimate goal?  What is the ultimate goal?  I'm guessing for the Yankees, that ultimate goal is winning another world series.   He was part of the 2009 World Series, but he's also been there since then when they haven't been able to win it again.  Since he's already been with the Yankees, he's not the answer for winning another world series.   They may be better off letting him go, taking the loss on his WAR and replacing it in other positions, like pitching.

The ultimate question the Yankees have to ask themselves, is with ARod ailing, Rivera retiring, Petitte retiring, who knows what happening with Jeter, and Sabathia losing his edge quickly. Can the Yankees allow themselves to rebuild without throwing too much money at a position player that will likely not be the one to lead them back to the promised land?