Coach

Coach: (n) a person who teaches and trains the members of a sports team

The same tenacity and grit which is necessary to make one successful can just as easily be used to commence a life of crime.

This is the difficulty the adults in our lives face when they train us, and of course, coach us.

They certainly know that initiative, spunk and creativity are essential for forming the building blocks of a prosperous lifestyle. Yet in the moment, these particular attributes, especially when spoken from the nasally nastiness of adolescence, can be obnoxious.

So our instructors often have to find out whether our conduct, being sweet and kind, is a foretelling of goodness or brain death–and if our unwanted opinions prophesy greatness or the possibility of time spent “upstate.”

Let me give you an example.

During a football game, when we were losing 48 to nothing, I ran to the sideline and said the following to my coach: “Come on, coach! This defense you put together for us is just not working!”

I was fourteen at the time, and he was probably in his mid-twenties, trying desperately to survive the humiliation of being drummed by his rival on this field of debauchery.

I noticed that my coach’s face began to twitch. His eyes expanded. The veins in his head popped out, and his countenance became crimson as he slowly said, “Please sit down. Our defense is fine.”

I noticed that he avoided me for the rest of the game, as I avoided many tackles.

Fortunately, he did not personally address my inadequacies and focus on them because of my snippy, snarky comment. He restrained himself, and therefore, I believe I grew up using my precocious nature for good instead of joining forces with the villains to destroy Batman.

It’s not easy being a coach. You don’t always win, but end up stuck with your team, no matter what the score. You can’t blame them or you look like an idiot. You can’t accuse the referees or you appear to be a sore loser.

All you can do is teach what you know, and hope, by the grace of God, it’s enough.

 

 

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Bonfire

Bonfire: (n) a large open-air fire

As the president of my Junior Class in high school, I was constantly being challenged by the adult advisors to be “more active” or come up with creative ideas.Dictionary B

I was perplexed.

After all, I thought I had done quite a bit in succeeding to get the majority of the votes from a bunch of fickle sixteen-year-old classmates.

But the grownup dictators didn’t see it that way. They expected results. One of their favorite words was “initiative.” (To this day, I refuse to use it.)

So during football season I brainstormed and decided that before our homecoming game, we would have a bonfire out near the football field, and cheer, celebrate and do whatever one does in front of such a blaze.

My thought was, “You just burn stuff.”

Well, it became problematic. What were we gonna burn? I had a chemistry book I was willing to donate, but others thought it would be better to take some of the leaves which were freshly fallen, pine needles prevalent in the area, and branches, and pile them up together to ignite the inferno.

But it was difficult to get started.

So since I was the leader of the Junior Class, I suggested gasoline. Before it could be approved by an adult, we doused all of our flammables in the fluid and lit it.

It was three hours before the bonfire was supposed to take place, and basically we burned up all of our stuff in about twenty minutes. What we had left might be referred to as a bon-ash.

Realizing this would not have much appeal, we scurried around town to find more stuff to put on the second fire and finally accumulated enough trash that when the student body arrived, we lit it once again (this time without gasoline) and everybody gathered around.

Well, considering this was Ohio in September, it was a little chilly. People were already in coats. So when a hundred folks gathered around a blazing fire in their coats, the sweat began to flow, and what was intended to be a pleasurable or intriguing experience turned into a journey to the sauna of hell.

Everybody started to complain, backing away from the fire. Some girls were crying, and all the adults turned to me, seeking my leadership on what to do next.

I shall always remember the experience as a perfect example of over-reaching.

I can truthfully tell you, it was nothing more than the bonfire of my vanity.

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Age of Consent

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Age of consent: (n) the age at which a person’s, particularly a girl’s, consent to sexual intercourse is valid by law.

I am thoroughly convinced that a conservative philosophy would work beautifully if those who pursued it were actually faithful.

Likewise, I have no doubt that a liberal agenda would be equally as positive if the people adhering to its tenets would not swerve from their conviction.

The problem is inconsistency–and nowhere does this show up in our society any more than in our dealings with our children–and especially with our teenagers. Let me give you an example.

Teenagers are supposed to have the wisdom to study for school, take care of their lockers, drive a car, decide what college they want to go to, study for the SAT, make good choices on not drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, and control their hormones.

Yet by the same token, we turn right around and say they are irresponsible, childish, silly, that their brains don’t fully develop until they’re twenty-five years of age, and that they are just as capable of lying as they are of breaking out in acne.

We have to make up our minds.

If our children are able to drive a car down the street, are they not also mature enough to make decisions about their own sexuality?

We don’t want our children to be drug dependent, while simultaneously living in a society that has a free flow of alcohol and is discussing legalizing marijuana–to further deaden their personalities.

They can’t drink until they’re twenty-one, yet in every movie or television show, we see high school students freely consuming alcohol products, as if they just stopped off at the local party store and picked up a bunch.

Somewhere along the line, we need to get a handle on what we really believe the young humans are capable of achieving and what we think they aren’t.

I firmly believe that the teenagers who came through my house were capable of doing anything at all–as long as they were adequately motivated and supervised. I believe they were nearly worthless if left to their own initiative.

I don’t know whether that is a positive or a negative–it’s just my finding. To me, young humans are very similar to guns. In the hands of the right individual, who is responsible and willing to point the implement in the correct direction, there can possibly be a powerful use. But guns left lying around will always fall into the wrong hands.

Such is the case with the teenager.

So it is time for our society to realize that when puberty is striking people at the age of twelve or thirteen, to ask these individuals to withhold their urges for ten years in order to complete a college education is not only ridiculous, but may be the definition of impossible.

So what am I saying about the age of consent? I know we have to have a legal number so as to run our society in a prudent way–but I do think it is the duty of all parents to sit down with their children and candidly walk through the entire process of human sexuality–and let them know the consequences of all actions.

So what is the age of consent?

I really do not think human beings are able to consent to their own choice in sexuality until they have been taught what is destructive and what is valuable. For some folks, that means they probably shouldn’t kiss until they’re thirty. But for other kids, it could be much younger.

Our culture is desperately in need of some consistency. I welcome the concept of freedom … as long as it is intentionally and ferociously linked to responsibility.