Sunday, December 10, 2017

Books Read in 2017

"Woodlawn:  One Hope, One Dream, One Way" by Todd Gerelds, Mark Schlabach
"Finding My Road" by Ino Cantu, Thomas Woltz
"And The Walls Came Tumbling Down" by Frank Fitzpatrick
"Behind The Wall To The Boston Marathon 2016" by Bill O'Shields
"Unsportsmanlike Conduct:  College Football and the Politics of Rape" by Jessica Luther
"Living Out Loud:  Sports, Cancer, and the Things Worth Fighting For" by Craig Sager with Craig Sager II and Brian Curtis
"The Baseball Whisperer:  A Small-Town Coach Who Shaped Big League Dreams" by Michael Tackett
"Son of Bum:  Lessons My Dad Taught Me About Football and Life" by Wade Phillips with Vic Carucci
"The Plot To Scapegoat Russia:  How The CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Villify Russia" by Dan Kovalik
"Crisis Of Character" by Gary J. Byrne
"Big Data Baseball" by Travis Sawchik
"Coach Wooden And Me:  Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off The Court" by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Churches Attended and Visited in 2017

Worship Services
January 1 -- Absent (Working the Texas Marathon, Kingwood)
January 8 -- Attended North Park Baptist Church, Humble, TX (Jerry Thorpe)
January 15 -- Absent (Covering the Chevron Houston Marathon)
January 22 -- Visited First Baptist Church Waco, Waco, TX (Mark Snowden)
January 29 -- Absent (Ran the USA Fit Half Marathon in Sugar Land)
February 5 -- Visited Blue Ridge Community Church, Forest, VA (Woody Torrence)
February 12 -- Absent (Announced the Galveston Marathon)
February 19 -- Visited North Fort Worth Baptist Church, Fort Worth, TX (Dr. Stephen Lowrie)
February 26 -- Visited University Heights Baptist Church, Huntsville, TX (Richard Rogers)
March 5 -- Absent
March 12 -- Absent
March 19 -- Absent (Announced the Seabrook Lucky Trails Marathon)
March 26 -- Absent (Ran the Lookin' Good Shamrock Strut 10K)
April 2 -- Absent
April 9 -- Absent (Ran the Ponchatoula Jaycees Strawberry Strut 10K)
April 16 -- Absent
April 23 -- Absent (Worn out from announcing at Ironman Texas aid station on April 22)
April 30 -- Absent (Attended Texas 10 Sienna, Missouri City)
May 7 -- Absent (Worn out from announcing CB&I Triathlon on May 6)
May 14 -- Absent (Traveling to visit Gom)
May 21 -- Attended North Park Baptist Church, Humble, TX
May 28 -- Absent (Ran the Rogue Trail Series - Reveille Peak Ranch 10K in Burnet)
June 4 -- Absent
June 11 -- Absent (Announcing Sylvan Beach Triathlon)
June 18 -- Attended North Park Baptist Church, Humble, TX (Kirk Godkin)
June 25 -- Visited Catalyst Church, Altoona, PA (Mike Blackie)
July 2 -- Visited Church Project, The Woodlands, TX (Trace Howard)
July 9 -- Absent (Ran Burn Your Half Off Half Marathon, Chattanooga, TN)
July 16 -- Absent
July 23 -- Absent
July 30 -- Visited First Baptist Church of Texarkana, Texarkana, TX (Jeff Schreve)
August 6 -- Absent
August 13 -- Absent
August 20 -- Absent
August 27 -- Absent (Hurricane Harvey)
September 3 - Visited Greater Waco Baptist Church, Waco, TX (Gerald McKelroy)
September 10 - Absent (Ran 10K in Austin, Texas)
September 17 - Absent (Returning from Bismarck, North Dakota)
September 24 - Absent (Returning from Lynchburg, Virginia)
October 1 - Absent
October 8 - Absent (Announced Space City 10-Miler at UH-Clear Lake)
October 15 - Visited Church Project, The Woodlands, TX
October 22 - Absent
October 29 - Absent
November 5 - Absent
November 12 - Absent
November 19 - Absent (Ran La Porte By The Bay Half Marathon)
November 26 - Absent
December 3 - Absent
December 10 - Visited Church Project, The Woodlands, TX

Church Services Listened To
1/15/17 (2/9/17) - "Purpose Over Popularity", North Park Baptist Church, Humble, TX (Kirk Godkin)
1/22/17 (2/9/17) - "Surrender Over Control", North Park Baptist Church, Humble, TX (Sandy Beard)
8/13/17 (8/22/17) - "Church 101:  Purpose - Why Do We Exist?", Southview Baptist Church, Lincoln, NE (Aaron Householder)

A Good Day; December 10, 2017

I figured it out.

Yes, I figured out what I did today -- sometime between 4 and 7:30 a.m. this morning, that is.

Perhaps my best friend, Bill, was going to the B-CS Marathon in College Station to support the approximately ten runners in his training group that were running the marathon or half marathon.

I always enjoy the time that I get to spend with him.

And was possibly looking forward to hanging out with him earlier today.

Meanwhile, the 30K in Sugar Land is a race that I announced a couple of years for race director Andy Stewart.

I haven't continued just because I didn't have fun as there were a number of impediments - and absolutely nothing negative on Andy - for me doing the things I do well.

The biggest is Sugar Land's noise ordinance and no amplified sound prior to 7 a.m.

There's a rhythm that eminates from making pre-race announcements into the rest of the day and without being able to do that, it takes a lot of the good feel out of the job that I was doing.

I was meeting and exceeding Andy's expectations, but I didn't enjoy the process with the site logistics.

I had a friend that was participating in it and, of course, I knew many people that were running it.

To be in College Station for the 7 a.m. start, I would had to have been up and leaving shortly after 4 a.m.

And the time logistics were similar for the 30K and its 6:30 a.m. start.

As each half hour passed laying in bed, while still needing more sleep to recover from Friday evening and Saturday's adventures, the goals for the day changed.

At about 7:20 a.m., I realized that I could get up, get showered and make it to The Church Project for their 9 a.m. service.

I texted my friend Leanne and asked if she and her husband Jim were going to be there and she affirmed that they were.

I arrived just before the service started and a few minutes later, a mutual friend, Dawn, showed up.

While I have always enjoyed being in church - and sitting - with my family, especially my daughter, there was a different comfort in worshipping God together with my friends.

Even though I have visited there two or three times before, I had never heard their Pastor speak before and his message didn't disappoint.

It was from John 1 and spoke about how darkness is real, being without Jesus is being in darkness and that our entire life is darkness unless we let Jesus into it.

It supported his point that in this Christmas season that we as believers and followers of Jesus Christ have the light that the world needs - and that we need to share it more than we ever have in the past.

Leanne was adamant about me getting to meet their Pastor and I enjoyed the exchange.

They invited me to go to lunch with them at Cilantro's and as always, we had a great visit.  Like Bill, Leanne and Jim are among my very best friends.

I made it home, visited with my daughter for a little bit and then went to a pair of women's college basketball games.

First, I saw East Tennessee State University take on the University of Houston at Texas Southern University's gymnasium as Hofheinz Pavilion is undergoing renovations.

Then I went over to Houston Baptist University to watch them host Huston-Tillotson University, which is located in Austin.

The trip in for ETSU was so that Montgomery HS star Malloree Schurr was able to play in front of family and friends.

That's one of the college basketball traditions that I love.

It was really no contest as UH, which is pretty good this year, easily won a physical 88-69 contest with the Buccaneers.

Over at HBU, the Huskies struggled against Huston-Tillotson, which is a member of the Red River Athletic Conference.  (Prior to returning to NCAA Division I athletics, HBU was an RRAC member.)

Huston-Tillotson held the lead early in the third quarter and then later tied it at 70-all before dropping a 76-72 decision to the Huskies.

I then made stops at Barnes & Noble - to pick up a new book after finishing my most recent purchase, "Coach Wooden And Me:  Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off The Court", written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - and HEB before making it home.

I had dinner, helped Waverly with some HR forms that she needed to complete (more on that in a week or two) and sat down to punch out the content here.

I'm glad I made it to church.  I need to be there more often.

If you're willing to allow God to feed your soul, it is a place to be fed, spiritually.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

What Am I Going To Do Tomorrow?; December 9, 2017

How do you solve the "What do I want to do?" problem?

Or "What makes me happy?" dilemma.

I struggle with these two constantly it seems, but I'm not unhappy or depressed.

It is just that I don't have the same type of drive that others do.

I'm around endurance athletes alot.

I did what I originally set out to do and that was run a marathon.  I'd like to get one more in, but I'm thinking that it might not happen in January.

I can live with that.  I will support my daughter's effort to do her first completely.

I've finished 54.  That's more than some people who would like to finish one have done.

I'm thankful for the resources that I've been given to do those.

But it just doesn't mean anything to me to do an Ironman or qualify for Boston.

I think a large part of it is that in doing some of the things that I enjoy - writing, announcing, promoting others, etc. - my skill set is as strong as there is (when I want to do those things).

Meaning I'm in a higher percentile of those with my same interests.

Again, I'm thankful for those abilities and opportunities to use those skills.

Yet I sit here at 8:30 p.m. and ask myself, "What am I going to do tomorrow?"

Plenty of options, but I can't say that one is going to make me any more happy than the other.

Thus the dilemma.

Today was good.  I ran a 5K last night in La Porte, then drove to Lake Charles before the roads possibly froze (not that there was any precipitation or anything).

I ran the Swamp Stomp Half Marathon.  I ran OK.  I've got some issues I'm trying to figure out.

I was disappointed with the visibility or existence of mile markers on the course.

Never saw three of them before mile 7 (the only one with a sign).

Never saw eight or nine.  Time between seven and 10 seemed acceptable, but 15 minutes between 10 and 11?  I wasn't walking, which would have produced that.

And 2:31 for the last tenth of a mile?  No way.

Drive home was brutal coming across FM 1960 from Atascosita all the way to Cypresswood where I turn to go to my parents.

My grandmother was there.  She's 92 and got cleared to travel after some of her recent health challenges.  It was great to see her.

My cousin and his wife and their two girls were there.

Waverly came over and spent time playing with Aubree and then we had a good dinner at MOD Pizza over here by the house.

I have nothing to complain about.

I have much, much more than many people.

And with everything, I'm really, really thankful.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Weekend Musings; November 20, 2017

Sunday I ran a race that I had been part of its event production team for a very long time.

I left the group in July four days after the annual Fourth of July race it puts on.  It was over a switch of the finisher's item that runners would receive for completing three of its races.

To me, it was bait and switch and I couldn't stand with a microphone in my hand and extol the virtues of the organization with that business behavior.

Secondarily, I didn't know about it ahead of time.

And when I raised the issue of it being "bait and switch" I was told that I "think too much" and that if people wanted refunds they would be granted them.

It was just a cavalier attitude that wasn't consistent with who I am - and the things that I stand for.

I signed up to run with an individual that is a respected leader in our running communities as he moves closer to his 1,000th race finish and 101 half marathons to go with his 101 marathons.

However, he was sick and couldn't make it on race day.

I chuckled, though, five minutes before the start when the race announcer, who had taken my place, was going through all of his accomplishments without even confirming that he had shown up.

Since I was the last one to cross the start line, I knew that some point in the race I would come in contact with an individual that it would be good to have a conversation with.

It came within mile one.

I could have ignored the individual and later claimed that I never saw them.  That, of course, would have been a lie.

I could have just said "Hi!' and kept running.  I thought about this and it probably would have been OK.

I ran up behind and to the right of her and joked about it being bad karma to wear the race giveaways on race day before finishing the race.

Long story short, over the next twelve and a half miles, our discussion covered a lot of ground and it was a good one to have.

I'm glad that I made the effort and I'm thankful of her willingness to share and be friendly - and to forgive me of any errors.

Within the next 24 hours, I cleared the way on my end for communications via Facebook.

They sent me a friend request and I accepted it; however, I pretty much immediately unfollowed.

Am glad they're happy, but there's things that I just don't want to see.

They're "great people", but a particular line was crossed regarding feelings through it all and it isn't one that I can easily come back from.

Back to the race, I started last so as to not attempt to draw any attention to myself, given that I had worked with the team before.

The initial plan was for me to announce right up to the start time of all three races and then run them as this was the year that I turned 50.

I saw numerous people that I knew out on the course.

Really got the biggest kick out of my friend at the first water station near the race's finish.  I always get a hug from her when we see each other.

She's very empathetic to my personal situation, and I appreciate it.

There were some folks that were surprised to see me, including the producing organization's CPA.  He was one of the strongest in saying how much I was missed.

I really appreciated that too.

Obviously, people didn't know the reason why.

Others were like, "Why weren't you announcing today?"

I looked to give my medal to somebody from the team who just comes out and does what needs to get done without any fanfare, but they didn't appear to be there.

I'll have to figure out how to get it to them sometime soon.

And finally, I was appreciative of the individual who walked back to the parking lot with me.

One runner commented on a Facebook post, "It's always good to see you running and not announcing.  I'm glad you left the fun to somebody else."

I responded with, "Even though I announce better than I run, I enjoy putting on a bib as much as you do."

And that's the truth!

Looks like I'll sign up for the 25K on Sunday.

I did, but missed the HARRA discount code in the HARRA weekly e-mail because Houston Masters Sports Association doesn't state on its website that it is where it is going to be.

Again, I'm thankful that I have the money to do these types of things, but it is just a shame that you can't go to the race web site and get an explanation of everything that's needed to know.

It also wasn't explicitly in the Constant Contact mailer that HMSA sent out.

Otherwise, the weekend was pretty good with doing the broadcast with Dan Morgan over the Lone Star Christian Sports Network and the Texas Sports Radio Network of Houston St. Pius X and San Antonio Antonian on Friday night, then announcing the NXN South Regional at Bear Branch Sports Park in The Woodlands on Saturday morning.

Was very thankful for my daughter cooking me dinner Saturday night before Sunday's race and then enjoyed her company for a meal Sunday evening before we went and visited my Mom.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Texas College and University Basketball Arenas Visited - 42

Arenas Visited
Angelina College (Shands Gymnasium) - 2016-2017
Blinn College (Physical Education Building) - 2016-2017
Dallas Baptist University (The Kenneth E. Burg Center) -2015-2016
Dallas Christian College (Gymnasium) - 2016-2017
East Texas Baptist University (Ornelas Gymnasium) - 2016-2017
Hardin-Simmons University (Mabee Complex) - 2016-2017
Houston Baptist University (The Frank and Lucille Sharp Gynasium)
Huston-Tillotson University (Mary E. Branch Gymnasium) - 2004-2005
Jarvis Christian College (Rand Gymnasium) - 2016-2017
Lamar State College - Port Arthur (Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center) - 2016-2017
Lamar University (Montagne Center) - 2014-2015
Lee College - Baytown (Lee College Sports Arena & Wellness Center) - 2016-2017
McMurry University (Kimbrell Arena) - 2016-2017
Our Lady of the Lake University (Mabee Gymnasium at University Wellness and Activities Center) - 2016-2017
Prairie View A&M University (William J. Hicks Building) - 2014-2015
Rice University (Autry Court at Tudor Fieldhouse)
St. Edward's University (Recreation and Convocation Center) - 2016-2017
Sam Houston State University (Bernard Johnson Coliseum)
San Jacinto College - Central (Anders Gymnasium) - 2016-2017
San Jacinto College - North (Nichols Gymnasium) - 2016-2017
Southern Methodist University (Moody Coliseum) - 2014-2015
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (Sheaffer Center) - 2004-2005
Southwestern University (Corbin J. Robertson Center) - 2016-2017
Stephen F. Austin State University (William R. Johnson Coliseum) - 1995-1996
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (American Bank Center) - 2016-2017
Texas A&M-Kingsville (Steinke Physical Education Center) - 2016-2017
Texas A&M University (Reed Arena) - 2016-2017
Texas Southern University (Health and Physical Education Arena) - 2014-2015
Texas Wesleyan University (Sid W. Richardson Center) - 2016-2017
Trinity University (Sams Gymnasium at William H. Bell Center) - 2016-2017
University of Dallas (Maher Center) - 2014-2015
University of Houston (Hofheinz Pavilion)
University of Incarnate Word (Alice P. McDermott Convocation Center) - 2016-2017
University of North Texas (The UNT Coliseum / The Super Pit) - 2017-2018
University of St. Thomas (Jerabeck Athletic Center) - 2014-2015
University of Texas-Arlington (College Park Center) - 2015-2016
University of Texas-Dallas (UT Dallas Activity Center) - 2016-2017
University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (Sam Williams Court at UTRGV Fieldhouse) - 2016-2017
University of Texas-San Antonio (Convocation Center) - 2005-2006
Weatherford College (Graber Athletic Center) - 2016-2017
Wiley College (Alumni Gymnasium) - 2015-2016

Former Arenas
Texas A&M University (G. Rollie White Coliseum)

Still to Visit (31 college and universities / 28 junior colleges)
American Southwest (6)
Concordia University, Howard Payne, LeTourneau, Mary Hardin-Baylor, Sul Ross State and UT-Tyler

Big 12 (4) - Baylor*, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech

Conference USA (1) - University of Texas-El Paso

Heartland (4) - Lubbock Christian, St. Mary’s, Texas A&M International and UT-Permian Basin

Lone Star (6) - Angelo State, Midwestern State, Tarleton State, Texas A&M-Commerce, Texas Women’s University and West Texas A&M

Red River Athletic (2) - Paul Quinn College and Texas College

Sooner Athletic (1) - Wayland Baptist

Southern Collegiate Athletic (SCAC) (3) - Austin College, Schreiner and Texas Lutheran

Southland (1) - Abilene Christian

Sun Belt (1) - Texas State

Independents (2) - Arlington Baptist College and Southwest Adventist (Keene)

NJCAA Region 5 (20)
Brookhaven College (Farmers Branch), Cedar Valley College (Lancaster), Cisco College, Clarendon College, Collin County Community College (Plano), Eastfield College (Mesquite), Frank Phillips College (Borger), Hill College (Hillsboro), Howard College (Big Spring), McLennan Community College* (Waco), Midland College, Mountain View College (Dallas), North Lake College (Irving), Odessa College, Ranger College, Richland College (Dallas), South Plains College (Levelland), Southwestern Christian College (Terrell), Temple College and Western Texas College (Snyder).

NJCAA Region 14 (8)
Coastal Bend College (Beeville), Jacksonville College, Kilgore College, Navarro College (Corsicana), Panola College, Paris Junior College, Trinity Valley Community College (Athens), Tyler Junior College

Monday, November 6, 2017

New Restaurants in 2017

Across The Street Diner, Corsicana, TX (May 27, 2017)
Babe's Chicken Dinner House
, Sanger, TX (October 11, 2017)
Bakers Ribs, Inc.
, Weatherford, TX (April 27, 2017) +
Beer 88, Lynchburg, VA (February 4, 2017) +
Blue Baker, College Station, TX (September 3, 2017)

Bodacious Bar-B-Que
, Tyler, TX (August 12, 2017)
Bolivar Street BBQ, Sanger, TX (October 4, 2017)
Burger Time Machine, Denton, TX (July 12, 2017)
Casa Torres Mexican Restaurant, Decatur, TX (July 25, 2017)
Cowboy Chicken, Waxahachie, TX (September 28, 2017)+

Dix Coney Island
, Denton, TX (May 24, 2017) +
Dos Chiles Grandes, Bridgeport, TX (July 11, 2017)
Five Boys Ranch, Bridgeport, TX (April 18, 2017) +
Grumps Burgers, Cleburne, TX (May 10, 2017) +
Hamburger Depot, Lumberton, TX (June 19, 2017) +

Home D Pizzeria, State College, PA (June 24, 2017)
Joe's Pizza & Pasta, Decatur, TX (May 3, 2017)
Julio's Mexican Restaurant, Chico, TX (May 23, 2017)
Keller's Newberry Diner, Newberry, PA (June 24, 2017) +
Kincaid's Hamburgers, Weatherford, TX (June 22, 2017) +

Koffee Kup Family Restaurant, Hico, TX (July 22, 2017)
Kroll's Diner, Bismarck, ND (September 16, 2017)
Leeper Creek BBQ, Decatur, TX (September 26, 2017)
Little Frilly's Tex-Mex, Decatur, TX (October 3, 2017)
Luigi's Italian Restaurant, Denton, TX (October 17, 2017)

Lupi's Pizza Pies
, Chattanooga, TN (July 8, 2017)
Mama Juanita's Mexican Restaurant, Huntsville, TX (May 29, 2017) +
McKenzie's Barbeque, Huntsville, TX (January 12, 2017)
Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse, Elgin, TX (May 28, 2017) +
Mi Casita Mexican Food, Waco, TX (January 21, 2017)

Mighty Fine Burgers
, Round Rock, TX (May 27, 2017) +
MOD Pizza, Spring, TX (October 6, 2017)
MOOHYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, Denton, TX (August 1, 2017)
O'Charley's, Lynchburg, VA (May 11, 2017)
Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom, Waco, TX (June 1, 2017) +

Pancheros Mexican Grill
, Bismarck, ND (September 16, 2017)
Pastafina Italian Ristorante, Weatherford, TX (May 31, 2017) +
Plaza Mexican Bar & Grill, Goodlettsville, TN (November 5, 2017)
Ray's Drive In, Lufkin, TX (January 9, 2017) +
Richie's Grill, Hawkins, TX (February 10, 2017)

Rio Mambo
, Weatherford, TX (June 21, 2017) +
Rock City Burger Company, Bridgeport, TX (April 26, 2017)
Rooster's Roadhouse, Decatur, TX (June 6, 2017)
Slovacek's, West, TX (May 18, 2017) +
Sweet Boy's Diner, Bowie, TX (May 16, 2017) +

Verona Pizza & Italian Restaurant
, Decatur, TX (Spring 2017)
Village Kitchen Restaurant, Jacksboro, TX (May 17, 2017)
Waverly House Restaraunt, New Waverly, TX (October 28, 2017)
The Woodhouse Restaurant, Bismarck, ND (September 15, 2017)
Yesterday's Diner, Bridgeport, TX (September 20, 2017)