Sunday, December 31, 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
"Mighty, Mighty Matadors:  Estacado High School, Integration, and a Championship Season" by Al Pickett

Thursday, December 28, 2017

New Restaurants in 2017 - 54

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)
Bone Daddy's House of Smoke, Denton, TX (November/December 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)
El Fenix, Denton, TX (November/December 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)

, Lynchburg, VA (May 11, 2017)
Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom, Waco, TX (June 1, 2017) +
Oscar's Mexican Restaurant, Abilene, TX (December 27, 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) +
Stillwater Barbecue, Abilene, TX (December 28, 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)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

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.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Race Day Reflections: Post Race Ten For Texas

I’m a very fortunate individual and often times, it takes a little time to kind of decompress and take account of the day’s good fortunes.

I didn’t stumble on a pile of money.  No, something much greater actually.

Just a realization of all of the great experiences, opportunities and people that God placed in my path today.

I believe that we let our lives become so busy that we don’t take the opportunity to reflect upon the goodness of life that we sometimes miss in appreciating.

After Waverly and I went to get breakfast at The Egg and I after this morning’s race (Memorial Hermann Ten For Texas in The Woodlands), I came home and napped for a little more than three hours.

It was much needed after a long drive home from Decatur Thursday evening and a busy day of work, preparing to announce today’s race and covering Texas private and parochial high school athletics in the late evening.

However, when I got awake and checked my phone like so many of us do, I saw a post on Facebook from my Mom, who is back in Pennsylvania with my Dad to visit my 92-year-old grandmother, that her brother Fisher had passed away earlier on Saturday afternoon.

As I write, I don’t yet know all of the details, but my Mom is from a family of ten.

Seven of her siblings had passed on before.  Well, one of those seven – Tommy – actually nobody is quite sure because the family hadn’t heard from him in decades.

I share this not from sympathy for me – although my Mom and her family’s relatives would certainly covet your prayers, but rather to explain how we believe.

While I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior – something that I don’t share as much as I need to, and have to make an effort to have the personal relationship with Him, at times, I have questions that could best be interpreted as doubts.

Yet, most of those times, my doubts are put to rest when I see events unfold as I did today.

My parents simply went back to Pennsylvania three Wednesdays ago to visit my grandmother.

However, as they were a day or two from leaving to return this past Wednesday, my grandmother’s heart rate had fallen to 40 and while not in distress, she went to the hospital and was admitted.

They put in a pacemaker, but my parents changed their flight to return this coming Wednesday.

During their first two weeks back, my Mom went to see her brother before he passed today.

I believe that God puts us into positions that we can only explain are as a result of His direction in all of our lives.

While my Mom was there for my grandmother, she was able to see her brother what proved to be one last time before he passed – and had she not gone into the hospital she wouldn’t have been able to be back in our family’s hometown when he did.

Earlier today, I spoke with a fellow endurance sports athlete Peter Bardenhagen near the finish line of today’s race.  All of the runners from both the 10-miler and the 5K had left the start line area and were running their races.

It gave us about 20 minutes to carry on a great conversation.

Peter complemented my daughter, Waverly, who when the previously scheduled National Anthem singer didn’t show she stepped up and sang it today so very well.

As I spoke briefly about her, I explained that there was a moment that I realized that Waverly possessed a certain God-given ability to where I had the confidence that she could handle the moment that she did today.

It was of a young woman in our endurance sports community who had a special needs child who passed away more than six years ago before her ninth birthday.

I was friends with that woman at that time and she had asked me to lead her daughter’s memorial service and for Waverly, just a sophomore then, to sing.

I shared with Peter that I saw Waverly step up to the platform in front of a packed chapel of about 300 people, including the young girl’s classmates.

She placed sheet music – on the podium - with notes that had been marked after practicing the song with her Choir Director at Spring High School, as she needed to sing the song in a different key.

And she did so very well, even reaching down – in mid-song – for a tissue (which in the moment I thought she was needing because she became emotional but rather it was) to dab a running nose.

In that moment, I believed that she had a special “it” to be able to handle a pressure situation and perform with such poise.

What I didn’t know is that three years to the day, January 17, 2014, my sister would pass away and Waverly and I would need to perform the same roles in the midst of a storm with our family.

In 2011, we simply believed that God allowed for us to use our talents that He gave to us to comfort and help bring peace to a hurting family and friends, but He was preparing us for a day that we didn’t know soon would come.

It is times like these that we don’t often take the time to give God the glory in those abilities – and opportunities.

Waverly never goes to a race expecting to sing, despite what one race director this year believed.

And, in fact, there have been times – short of a pinch of a situation like today – that she’s either not been interested in singing or she just wasn’t feeling that she could do her best.

I’ve always appreciated her honesty in communicating effectively with me.

Yet we both know, especially with me announcing, that it allows – for a short period of time remaining – for us to share the Gospel in a soft, unobtrusive way with saying, “here to sing our National Anthem, Liberty University graduate Miss Waverly Walk from Spring.”

Many believers know that Liberty University is a Christian university.

Many who do not believe or have not heard the Gospel message may also have never heard of Liberty – and by hearing it today on race day, maybe they’ll see the commercials on TV for the University or Google it online when it crosses their mind.

We have to be willing to be ready to give witness when called upon or put ourselves in a position for God to take and use our effort to reach more for Jesus Christ.

I also had the opportunities to have two meals with my daughter today and we spend this time to reflect and discuss a lot of this – and these types of things.

The one thing that we’re both placed in is situations where people place a lot of trust not just in our abilities, but rather how we handle ourselves.

While, for example, I got paid as part of the race’s budget for the services I provided, The Township staff still places an incredible amount of trust in me to use wisely discern many different situations and to do so extemporaneously. 

I’m honored and humbled by the responsibility and trust placed in me.

Because I don’t have to be micro-managed, and am more than just a voice, it frees the team up to handle other situations.

I think people hear my voice on race day and see one thing, but there’s a lot more to what I do.

I was especially pleased that aside from two situations where The Township needed to ensure that the courses were totally clear, we basically got the races started on time and without major issue.

We had to juggle a little bit during the awards today, but let me provide a little bit of a background.

I certainly understand that athletes want to get their awards and go.

I also appreciated that it got hot today too

All of The Township races have an opportunity for a member of the Board of Directors to be represented.

At Muddy Trails back in April and today at Ten For Texas, it was Director Laura Fillault.

We also had the on-site representative from Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center, Linda Nelson.

While we wanted to get the 5K awards going first, we wanted to make sure that we had a picture opportunity for the sponsor and The Township’s benefit with our 10-Mile overall winners before Laura and Linda departed.

Then we shifted to the 5K awards.  We handled the overall, the masters and the grandmasters and were starting to work our way down the list starting with our most experienced athletes first – and there were 10-year age groups instead of five-year.

We had the timer reprint them, but in the meantime, transitioned over to the 10-Mile awards.

It pays to be able to adjust on the fly, keep things moving and to balance between adequately recognizing the athlete’s accomplishment while letting them get on with their day – especially given the conditions.

As a race announcer, I’m all about making that finish line experience as special as I can be.

However, I have my limits.

When I covered Texas private and parochial high school athletics from 1994-2001, I told myself that if I did anything that I was aware of that a young person got a bigger head from my efforts that I would back down or away.

It is fun to see the effect that recognition has on people, especially in a positive sense.

There was a female athlete today whose spouse gets recognized for his abilities day-in and day-out – and they’re certainly well deserved.

Yet, while she had already picked up her award, she, her husband and their two children stayed just long enough to her name announced.

It was cute, but I got it.  It is good to be recognized for doing well.

Although, some take it a bit too far.

I won’t mention the individual’s name, their gender nor their place, but simply that they asked me – in the moment – to present their position in an accurate and alternate way simply because “it sounds better that way”.

I was stunned.  And didn’t.

In actuality, although I wasn’t thinking on my feet then, I did present it the way that I was asked when the athlete crossed the finish line.

There were so many people that I came into contact with today.

I’m so grateful for those opportunities to interact.

I was especially excited for my daughter to spend time this morning with a couple of teachers who are athletes that were to provide her wisdom – for today – and an ability to call upon – in the immediate future – if she wanted to work in that teacher’s district.

Again, I’m just floored at how well people accept – and trust – my daughter.

I was on-site early this morning – arriving just about 5 a.m.

The first person I saw as I pulled into the Market Street garage before they started to control access to it?  My best friend, Bill Dwyer.

It is always good to interact with Bill as we’re able to help each other relax and get ready for a busy morning, given our different sets of responsibilities.

The final thing that I want to share, if you’re still reading, is in the preparation that The Township put in to today’s race from a safety and security standpoint.

As part of the race team, I was shared the race’s Emergency Response Plan.

All 42 pages.

In the post-Las Vegas world, the team was prepared for everything.

I had a woman get upset with me when I asked her to leave the start line area because she had gotten on the inside of the metal fencing before the start of the Kids’ race.

If she’s running with her child, that was one thing, but she wasn’t.

While not likely, she could have been strapped with explosives.  If she was and I didn’t take action, would I have been able to deal with knowing that I could have done something to stop it?

Honestly, having read the plan before the race, I was cognizant of the risks after waking and before I left my house, but once I got out there and going, I never really thought about the possibilities.

In hindsight though, I might have been one of the first persons that somebody could have picked off as I’m in front of the start line all the time before the start of the race.

So I’m certainly thankful that I’m able to sit here in my chair, write and share my experiences with you.

I try my best not to take any and all of these moments for granted.

Please don’t stop running races in light of the risks associated, but be vigilant in looking out for your safety and of those around you. 

It all can happen in the twinkling of an eye.

Monday, September 25, 2017

All-Time Airports Flown To or Through -- 82

Mobile (MOB)

Anchorage (ANC)
Cordova (CDV)

Bullhead City/Laughlin (IFP)
Phoenix (PHX)

Little Rock (LIT)

Bakersfield (BFL)
Burbank (BUR)
Fresno (FAT)
John Wayne (SNA)
Los Angeles (LAX)
Oakland (OAK)
Sacramento (SMF)
San Diego (SAN)
San Francisco (SFO)
San Jose (SJC)

Vancouver, British Columbia (YVR)

Denver (DEN)

Atlanta (ATL)

Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
Jacksonville (JAX)
Miami (MIA)
Orlando (MCO)
Tampa (TPA)

Honolulu (HNL)
Kona (KOA)

Chicago O'Hare (ORD)
Chicago Midway (MDW)

Indianapolis (IND)

Kansas City (MCI)
Wichita (ICT)

Louisville (SDF)

New Orleans (MSY)

Baltimore (BWI)

Boston (BOS)

Detroit - Metro/Wayne County (DTW)

Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)

Jackson (JAN)

St. Louis (STL)

Bozeman (BZN)

Omaha (OMA)

New Jersey
Newark (EWR)

New Mexico
Albuquerque (ABQ)

New York
Albany (ALB)
Islip (ISP)
John F. Kennedy (JFK)
Newburgh/Stewart Field (SWF)
New York LaGuardia (LGA)
Westchester County (HPN)

Las Vegas (LAS)

North Carolina
Charlotte (CLT)
Raleigh-Durham (RDU)

North Dakota
Bismarck (BIS)

Canton/Akron (CAK)
Cincinnati (CVG)
Cleveland (CLE)
Columbus (CMH)

Tulsa (TUL)

Portland (PDX)

Philadelphia (PHL)
Pittsburgh (PIT)

Memphis (MEM)
Nashville (BNA)

Amarillo (AMA)
Austin (AUS)
Corpus Christi (CRP)
Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
Dallas Love (DAL)
El Paso (ELP)
Harlingen (HRL)
Houston Hobby (HOU)
Houston Intercontinental (IAH)
Lubbock (LBB)
Midland-Odessa (MAF)

Salt Lake City (SLC)

Newport News/Williamsburg (PHF)
Richmond (RIC)
Roanoke (ROA)

Seattle (SEA)

Washington, D.C.
Dulles (IAD)
Reagan National (DCA)

Milwaukee (MKE)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Texas College and University Football Stadiums / Fields Visited

Apogee Stadium (Denton, TX; 9/14/13 - North Texas 34, Ball State 27)
Astrodome (Houston, TX; 12/4/76 - Houston 21, Miami, Fla. 16)
Bowers Stadium (Huntsville, TX; 8/31/13 - Sam Houston State 74, Houston Baptist 0)
Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium (Austin, TX; 9/30/89 - Penn State 16, Texas 12)
Farrington Field (Fort Worth; 9/9/17 - Millsaps College xx, Texas Wesleyan xx)
Floyd Casey Stadium (Waco, TX; 10/1/88 - Houston 27, Baylor 24)
Georgetown ISD Stadium (Georgetown, TX; 10/19/13 - Trinity 30, Southwestern* 0)
Gerald J. Ford Stadium (Dallas, TX; 9/17/16 - SMU 29, Liberty 14)
Gordon Wood Stadium (Brownwood, TX; 9/12/15 - Wayland Baptist 44, Howard Payne 34)
Kyle Field (College Station, TX; 9/20/80 - Penn State 25, Texas A&M 9)
McLane Stadium (Waco, TX; 9/2/17 - Liberty 48, Baylor 45)
Rice Stadium (Houston, TX)
Sun Bowl (El Paso, TX; 10/24/15 - UTEP 27, Florida Atlantic 17)

First game ever attended, if known, is listed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Punching It Out; September 13, 2017

I keep saying that I want to write more.

I'll just have to force it out in smaller pieces to make sure that I do it.

Just got done putting 45 minutes on the elliptical machine here at the Hampton Inn in Decatur this evening.

Wanted to make it an even hour as I normally do, but the pepperoni calzone from Verona Pizza was just a bit too filling.

I'm looking forward to running the Bismarck Marathon on Saturday.

I haven't covered 26.2 miles (or more) since last December and I'm not running this race because a woman that I know is running it.  Ha!

The goal was to run the Nebraska State Fair Marathon three weeks ago for a marathon in my 34th state, which would have made me a bit more ready given that I rarely follow any type of conventional training.

Run another marathon to get ready for the next one is how I used to do it.

My weight is up just a little bit, but nothing terrible.

I raced a pair of 10K's this past weekend that were a few seconds faster on both that I had run on the same weekend two years ago.

Call it progress regardless of the size of the time improvement, right?

Going to Bismarck comes at the expense of me not announcing the Toughest 10K Kemah for the first time -- well, since a long time.

There's a specific reason why I walked away, but at the end of the day what I did and do is a luxury to an event.

You can still get a race started on-time, recognize runners and get the awards done efficiently and quickly -- maybe or maybe not that you can get somebody who can do it as well.

At the end of the day, though, the majority of the runners really, really don't care who does that -- as long as it gets done.

My only disappointment is that I won't be involved in the race being the 2018 RRCA National Championship 10K.

It is a designation that I believed was completely achievable by the race production team and that I pushed the race director to bid on.

I'll take credit for that.

As I've said before, I can't work every race - and, quite honestly, I don't know that I want to anymore.

I'm actually enjoying a lightened load.

I turned in my bid for the Memorial Hermann Ten For Texas with The Woodlands Township Parks and Recreation Department this week.

If nothing's changed, it is a race that I am looking forward to doing for the first time ever.

This has come about as a result of the lack of involvement of one of their long-time sponsors.

I think I've also mentioned that I'm getting back involved with Texas private and parochial high school athletics.

In doing so, I just have to be careful how much time I spend on my butt preparing content to the promotion of the sports and the kids that play them.

I saw the headlines of articles about how sitting for prolonged periods of time could increase the risk of death.

The article recommend getting up and moving every 30 minutes.  I pretty much did that today at the office - and intend to stay as active in the future.

Although one item in my life hasn't gone how I had expected it to, I like my life - and I'm thankful for each day God gives me to live it.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Charitable Activity in 2017

I've been wanting to be even more charitable the last year or two than what I have been; therefore, I'm going to put myself to test to be more accountable.

This isn't here to brag at all.  Just to encourage myself to come here and see if I can more and to different organizations in need.

6/19/17 - $50.00 - The Houston Wellness Project (#11188)
6/26/17 - $50.00 - Catalyst Church, Altoona, PA (#11189)
7/  2/17 - $25.00 - Church Project, The Woodlands, TX (#11191)
9/  3/17 - $50.00 - Greater Waco Baptist Church (#11198)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Minor League Ballparks Visited


Ray Winder Field (Little Rock, Arkansas)

Spring Training

Al Lang Stadium (St. Petersburg, Florida)
Charlotte County Stadium (Port Charlotte, Florida)
Jack Russell Memorial Stadium (Clearwater, Florida)
Joker Marchant Stadium (Lakeland, Florida)
Osceola County Stadium (Kissimmee, Florida)
Tinker Field (Orlando, Florida)


Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium (Vancouver, British Columbia - Vancouver Canadians - Pacific Coast League - AAA)


Metro Bank Park (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Harrisburg Senators - Eastern League - AA)*
Mike Carter Field (Tyler, Texas - Tyler Wildcatters - Independent)

* Also saw a game there when it was known as Riverside Stadium from 1987-2004 (before a $45 million renovation)


Cohen Stadium (El Paso, Texas - El Paso Diablos - Texas League - AA)
Christensen Stadium (Midland, Texas - Texas League - AA)
Hi Corbett Field (Tucson, Arizona - Tucson Toros - Pacific Coast League - AAA)
Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium (San Antonio, Texas - San Antonio Missions - Texas League - AA)


Miles Field (Medford, Oregon - Southern Oregon Timberjacks - Northwest League - A)
Smith-Wills Stadium (Jackson, Mississippi - Jackson Generals - Texas League - AA)
Volcanoes Stadium (Salem, Oregon - Salem-Keizer Volcanoes - Northwest League - A)
Zephyr Field (Metairie, Louisiana - New Orleans Zephyrs - Pacific Coast League - AAA)

Time Unknown

Dell Diamond (Round Rock, Texas - Round Rock Express - Pacific Coast League - AAA)
Dr Pepper Ballpark (Frisco, Texas - Frisco Roughriders - Texas League - AA
Medlar Field at Lubrano Park (State College, Pennsylvania - State College Spikes - New York-Penn League - A)
Peoples Natural Gas Field (Altoona, Pennsylvania - Altoona Curve - Eastern League - AA)**
Point Stadium (Johnstown, Pennsylvania - Johnstown Steal - Frontier League - Independent)
Susquehanna Bank Park at Historic Bowman Field (Williamsport, Pennsylvania - Williamsport Crosscutters - New York-Penn League - A)

** Used to be known as Blair County Ballpark

1999 (During Trip to Cooperstown)

NYSEG Stadium (Binghamton, New York - Binghamton Mets - Eastern League - AA)**
PNC Field (Moosic, Pennsylvania - Scranton-Wilkes Barre Rail Riders - International League - AAA)

** Was then known as Binghamton Municipal Stadium


Recreation Ballpark (Visalia, California - Visalia Rawhide - California League - A)
Sam Lynn Park (Bakersfield, California - Bakersfield Blaze - California League - A)


Appalachian Power Park (Charleston, West Virginia - West Virginia Power - South Atlantic League - A)
Calvin Falwell Field (Lynchburg, Virginia - Lynchburg Hillcats - Carolina League - A)
Canal Park (Akron, Ohio - Akron Rubber Ducks - Eastern League - AA)
Constellation Field (Sugar Land, Texas - Sugar Land Skeeters - Atlantic League - Independent)
Frawley Stadium (Wilmington, Delaware - Wilmington Blue Rocks - Carolina League - A)
Prince George's Stadium (Bowie, Maryland - Bowie Baysox - Eastern League - AA)


BB&T Ballpark (Charlotte, NC - Charlotte Knights - International League - AAA)
BB&T Ballpark (Winston-Salem, NC - Winston-Salem Dash - Carolina League - A)
CMC-NorthEast Stadium (Kannapolis, NC - Kannapolis Intimidators - South Atlantic League - A)
Durham Bulls Athletic Park (Durham, NC - Durham Bulls - International League - AAA)
Five County Stadium
(Zebulon, NC - Carolina Mudcats - Carolina League - A)
Flour Field at the West End (Greenville, SC - Greenville Drive - South Atlantic League - A)
Hank Aaron Stadium (Mobile, AL - Mobile BayBears - Southern League - AA)
L.P. Frans Stadium (Hickory, NC - Hickory Crawdads - South Atlantic League - A)
LewisGale Field (Salem, NC - Salem Red Sox - Carolina League - A)
NewBridge Bank Park (Greensboro, NC - Greensboro Grasshoppers - South Atlantic League - A)
Pensacola Community Maritime Park (Pensacola, FL - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - Southern League - AA)
Pfitzner Stadium (Woodbridge, VA - Potomac Nationals - Carolina League - A)
Regency Furniture Stadium (Waldorf, MD - Southern Maryland Blue Crabs - Atlantic League - Independent)
Riverwalk Stadium (Montgomery, AL - Montgomery Biscuits - Southern League - AA)
Security Bank Ballpark (Midland, TX - Midland Rockhounds - Texas League - AA)


Fifth Third Ballpark (Comstock Park, MI - West Michigan Whitecaps - Midwest League - A)
First Energy Stadium (Reading, PA - Reading Fightin Phils - Eastern League - AA)
Huntington Park (Columbus, OH - Columbus Clippers - International League - AAA)
Jerry Uht Park (Erie, PA - Erie SeaWolves - Eastern League - AA)
Pohlman Field (Beloit, WI - Beloit Snappers - Midwest League - A)
Principal Park (Des Monies, IA - Iowa Cubs - Pacific Coast League - AAA)
Veterans Memorial Stadium (Cedar Rapids, IA - Cedar Rapids Kernels - Midwest League - A)
Werner Park (Papillion, NE - Omaha Storm Chasers - Pacific Coast League - AAA)


Boomers Stadium (Schaumberg, IL - Schaumberg Boomers - Frontier League - Independent)


State Mutual Stadium (Rome, GA - Rome Braves - South Atlantic League - A)
AT&T Field (Chattanooga, TN - Chattanooga Lookouts - Southern League - AA)
Coolray Field (Lawrenceville, GA - Gwinnett Braves - International League - AAA)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Managing Awkward; July 5, 2017

The bottom line is:  I have no idea how the person that I blocked last week really feels.

The most bizarre thing, however, happened on Monday.

The Monday before I had sent a text to her noting that I had updated her last name in the some of the race's pre-race materials, which recognizes runners who have run the race every year or multiple years.

She also had registered on the Fourth of July last year for this year.  She was still married then.

So the text included a reminder in case she wanted the results to be accurate on race day.

I didn't see or hear anything back.

No "thanks for the reminder" or any indication that she was upset that I reminded her.

I really try to stay out of other's business, but one of the earliest communications in January was a remark about how "her tribe would find her" now in the results with the name change.

So I knew at one point it was on her mind (or she used it for me to flatter her because she knew that for one race director's race I had all of the data).

At 1:50 p.m., I received a "Like" of the text.  (I later learned from my daughter that it is a newer feature of the iPhone - people can just like your text.)

Which with this individual, it seems to be their way of shutting down a conversation.

At 2:02 p.m., my race director received an e-mail from her to have the last name changed in the registration and/or the results.

He forwarded it to me and the timer at 6:50 p.m.

But the fact that a week later you finally decide to like my text ... why?

There was no need to, unless you wanted to get in my head.  And if so, you succeeded.

You could have just come, though, and seen me on race day and said "thanks for the reminder" in person.

Just because I block somebody on social media doesn't mean that I never, ever want to communicate with them.

It is just in matters of the heart, I want it to be in person and I don't want to be confused by other things that I see.

Race day came yesterday.

I didn't expect much.  I figured she's aware of the block on Facebook and she might have stumbled upon the previous entry.

Actually, I don't recall how much communication I had with her before she came up and asked for a picture at races in both October and November.

Must have been some.

I had even seen some pictures here in the last day or two from when she and her now ex-husband were married six years ago.  They ran the race as bride and groom.

I believe my race director pointed them out to announce because I didn't know either of them then.

I was busy, though, before the race, but I still say Hi! to people as much as I can.

When I called for clubs to get their pre-race team photo in front of the finish line, it was then that I saw her go to one of them.  (A later inspection today in somebody's album, I saw that she was standing by her ex-husband.)

The race starts and finishes in different locations.  So as soon as we get started, I have certain equipment to break down and go to the finish line location which is about a half mile away.

I generally know about when she'll finish.

So when her name came up on the screen, it was her former name!  I was thinking, "Crap, they didn't get it changed in time!"

I immediately, thought, "Well, I'm going with the current name."  And I did and I did it as professionally as I had on Saturday and every other time I've called her name.

Who ran her in for the second race in 16 days?  Her ex-husband.

She still had some friends that were going to be finishing behind her.  I wasn't surprised then to see her come back past the finish line to either go help run them in or cheer them on.

She did go down the other side of the street from the side I was announcing from.

There was a couple that I know she knows pretty well that finished, then a gentleman that walks more than he runs, I believe, and the female friend that she went to New Orleans with that one weekend.

I think I told her, "Good job" and said her name and she said, "Thanks, Jon."

The organization that I announce for is a 501(c)(3) and they have a Board of Directors.  One of the Board members relieves me on the microphone when I leave to go and announce the awards.

So she had the friend that was walking in come with her, and with her phone, to get a picture of her and the Board member, who was standing immediately to the left.

I was still working at that point, but, honestly, my awkward flag was flying really, really high in that she would want to get a picture with me.

So I might have turned to the right a little bit towards the laptop that was showing the names of runners on the screen.

But her friend looked at me interestingly when she kind of bolted stage left.

I don't know if he 1.) was surprised that she didn't take a picture with me or all three of us together or 2.) was told that she was also going to take one with me and that changed.

I was going to engage via text yesterday and even today, but I'm deciding not to.

I think my biggest fear is that I misread the whole situation from immediately after the birthday party in February.

However, a responsible adult would have given a clear indication that they weren't interested in anything more than a friendship.

I'll just continue to hope that at a future race where I'm announcing and she's running that there can be a friendly and non-awkward face-to-face conversation.

She's my race director's best customer over the years.  Literally.

Of the five races that he has put on prior to the start of 2017, where he has picked up three new ones, she had run them 32 times.

My race director would literally shoot me if I resigned.

Something will have to be figured out.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Anatomy Of A Block; July 1, 2017

I really don't like blocking people on social media, specifically Facebook.

Twitter, no big deal.  It isn't as commonly used by most  and even fewer actually like tweets as they do on Facebook.

Instagram, I just post pictures of interesting things that I see or places that I'm at.

With their algorithms, I'm not even sure more than a couple of people see things I post as it seems like I only see the posts of about 12 to 15 others.

So back to Facebook.

The latest person that was on the end of a block received it on Tuesday.

I have no clue whether they noticed or not.

I saw the individual at a race today, but it was as they came across the finish line - and they kind of stayed away.

Therefore, I'm suspecting they did.  Who really knows, though?

Here's the point, however:  Other than a comment on a Facebook post in a Houston area running-related Facebook group, they never, ever initiate any communication.

Unless you consider that they've on four occasions (five, if you count a few years ago) since last October that they come up late in a race and ask for a picture.

The first two, one in October and another in November, I didn't catch on.

And even then, I have no idea what message they were really trying to send.

I have some people that want a picture with me, because I announce races and make people feel special by the way I announce their name when they finish a race.

Once is OK.

More than that, then you begin to wonder the reason why.

I don't mind doing the bulk of the work, but even if you desire a simple friendship:  communication has to start freely from both directions.

What's so wrong with a, "Hey, how are you today?"  It doesn't mean that you want to get married.  Sheesh.  It is just being friendly.

We all need really good friends in life.  Life is way too short.

It is a long story, all in all, and, honestly, I'm just tired, exhausted of it.

It was just time to move on.

Again, I hated to do it, but I have my mental health and sanity to protect.

I've already positioned to the individual in writing - after attending a birthday party of hers - that I was made to feel that I didn't measure up to them with many things that they shared with me that evening at her house.

When I stated that, there was no compassion from her to say, "I'm sorry that I made you feel that way.  I really enjoy communicating with you.  How can I address your concerns?"

So what it did was further expanded that feeling of inferiority to them.

I'm perfectly comfortable with me.

I'm simple, and I'm cool with that.

I'm also busy.  If you walk in the front door of my house, what you can see is straightened up.

I do that to keep the visual clutter down, which, for me, reduces the stress of things appearing busy.

Behind closed doors, well, that's another story.

I was given a "tour" of this person's house by them when I was there in February.  Everything in the house, including, yes, the closets, were totally organized.

So, how am I to feel from that?

I could never, ever bring them here because I couldn't give the same "tour" without spending a good long time straightening every little thing up.

Things aren't unclean, but everything isn't perfectly filed, boxed up, etc.

Oh, I'd love for it to be, but I'm not there.  And I have no desire to get there tomorrow.

Again, there's no dialogue to understand where and why I feel that way.  Nobody saying, "that's not as big of a deal that you think that it might be."

So I went four months without seeing the individual in person until two weeks ago.

I often get data files from race producers so I can prepare notes to include in my announcing.

I realized that she was going to be at a race that I was announcing in Katy.

I reached out to her via text.

Even though I have the phone number, I've never been given the option to call.  In fact, when I was still friends with her on Facebook, there was once an e-card posted that talked about not answering phone calls - and to just text.

I had in the past, but conversations were very limited.  They got shut down, by liking a text and not continuing any dialogue.

After the party in February, I had kind of walked away from things.  Why?

Two reasons:

1.) Another male was there.  (There were many.)  After there was a group picture taken of everyone at her party, he went to leave.  Since there weren't a lot of people there that I regularly talk to - or even knew, I was having to fend my time for myself.  I noticed that he leaned down to kiss her, but she turned it into a hug.  That was really odd to me.

2.) Her soon to be ex-husband made a friend request on Facebook as I was standing on the patio outside of her house getting ready to leave.  That really freaked me out!

The issue with point number one is that in texts with me she said that "three of us" went to New Orleans to run the Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon and she mentioned one of the other two, by name.  A female.  She never mentioned his name.

I only saw later in pictures on her Facebook page that it was a male.

Ah, the same one that leaned down to kiss her.

I had originally received a Facebook invite to the party, but I ignored it for a few days because I couldn't quite ensure that I could make the logistics work with traveling that morning to Galveston to work a marathon.

I'd have to come all the way back to Spring to shower and then 65% of the way back south to attend the party.

However, I received a text from her with an image - almost like an invite card.

She wanted me to come, but why put me into that environment?

That troubled me and, in a way, still does to this day.

So back to two weeks ago.

I never saw her before the race, which I was amazed how she pulled that off because at some point she had to have gone by me to queue up to start the race.

Then again, I didn't see her this morning either, but honestly I wasn't looking very hard.

She and her daughter finished together.  I announced the daughter's name first and then hers.

Sometime later, I was still announcing and she came up and got a picture and mentioned a word, "Amazing."  I knew what that was about.  Or I think I did.

But who took the picture?  Her ex-husband.  That was really creepy to me.  Not him.  He's a nice guy.  I don't interact with him much though - and who in the world knows what he knows.

I get exes can still be friends, but it - and seeing post-race pictures that he went back out to run with her at some point - really pushed me over the edge to say, "It is time to move on."

I've told her that she's an amazing, smart, talented and accomplished woman, but you have to be open enough to be vulnerable and communicate.

I have.  I did on her front porch that night.

It wasn't enough to say, "I never want to communicate with you again."

Because that was never said.

Maybe she'll read this.

Maybe she'll get it.

Maybe not.

When do I get to deal with this again?

Oh, that would be Tuesday.

Both the man in item number one above and her ex-husband will be there running.

Otherwise, working the race that I did today was a complete and total joy.

As I said in my Facebook post, "Always appreciate all who make the effort to say Hi! even though I'm typically pretty busy."

That's very, very true.

Even today, they could have said, "Hey, I don't understand ...."

I would have said, "I'm sorry," and asked to get together to discuss things, but that didn't happen.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Miles and Miles

April 30, 2016 (Saturday) -- 6.2 miles (Fredericksburg Wildflower 10K)
May 1, 2016 (Sunday) -- 6.2 miles (A Noble Run 5K, Cedar Park and TWRC Sunday Night 5K, The Woodlands)
May 3, 2016 (Tuesday) -- 6 miles (Knox Jr. High track, The Woodlands; 4 run, 2 walk)
May 7, 2016 (Saturday) -- 13.1 miles (Revel Mt. Charleston Half Marathon, Las Vegas, Nevada)

May 27, 2017 (Saturday) -- 6.37 miles (Ennis Polka Fest 10K, Ennis)
May 28, 2017 (Sunday) -- 6.2 miles (Rogue Trail Series - The Ranch 10K at Reveille Peak Ranch, Burnet)
May 29, 2017 (Monday) -- 3.1 miles (Memorial Day 5K, Huntsville)
June 3, 2017 (Saturday) -- 6.2 miles (Heights Fun Run 10K, Houston)
June 4, 2017 (Sunday) -- 3.1 miles (Run For Wellness - Heights 5K, Houston)
June 5, 2017 (Monday) -- 3.29 miles (Spring with Waverly)
June 7, 2017 (Wednesday) --
June 8, 2017 (Thursday) -- 3.1 miles (Trinity 5000 Summer Series 5K #2, Fort Worth)
June 9, 2017 (Friday) -- 3.1 miles (Milk Run 5K, Sulphur Springs)
June 10, 2017 (Saturday) -- 3.1 miles (Tomato 5 - Tomato Fest 5K, Jacksonville)
June 14, 2017 (Tuesday) -- 4.19 miles (1.46 in Jacksboro, 1.5 in Throckmorton and 1.23 in Seymour)
June 15, 2017 (Wednesday) -- 3.21 miles (North Lakes Park, Denton)
June 16, 2017 (Thursday) -- 3.1 miles (Trinity 5000 Summer Series 5K #2, Fort Worth)
June 18, 2017 (Sunday) -- 3.1 miles (Run For Wellness - San Jacinto 5K, Houston)
June 18, 2017 (Sunday) -- 2.94 miles (The Woodlands Waterway with Waverly)
June 19, 2017 (Monday) -- 3.1 miles (Sea Rim Striders Summer Run/Walk Series #3, Lumberton)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Win For The Good Guys; March 29, 2017

I was told that I should go to Las Vegas soon.


On Monday, I was #65 in a 65-member jury panel for a criminal case in Harris County's district courts.

And I got picked as an alternate to a five-male, seven-female jury.

During voir dire, I was just amazed, when asked by counsel if they could follow the law regarding range of punishment and other issues, the number of people who said that they couldn't.

I just think it is a sign of the times that we live in.

Americans expect to be free from lawlessness, but they aren't willing to hold others accountable.

It isn't about judging others.

We have laws in our land and we've expected to abide by them or suffer the consequences.

Thankfully, there were still 12 - OK, 13 of us - who were willing and prepared to make the proper considerations based on what was presented.

Actually, as an alternate, I was not in on the deliberations this afternoon to either decide guilt or innocence as well as punishment (as guilt was found), but I can report that a dangerous man was taken off of the streets of Harris County today.

He will be spending 35 years in prison as the result of being convicted today on aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon - his third felony (all robberies).

The range available, because of the enhancement of having two previous felonies, was 25 to 99 years.

Really the whole episode was sad.

The man robbed a cab driver of his wallet and cell phone from the center console of the cab and refused to pay a $21 cab fare.

When an altercation ensued between the cab driver and one of two other passengers - one being the defendant's brother - the defendant held a gun to the cab driver's head as he was being held by the brother, then all three took off and ran.

During the punishment phase we learned that the defendant had 13 convictions in total, including robbery, theft, possession of a controlled substance and criminal trespass.

Five or six of these were in 1998 and 1999 when he was still a juvenile.

Additionally, an expert on gangs in Harris County was brought in to testify that the defendant was a member of a gang - based on their tattoos - one of 250 different gangs of all levels that operate in and around Harris County.

Thankfully, nobody was killed in this situation and hopefully by putting the convicted felon behind bars for a long time - hopefully - it will keep something from happening on our local streets.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Texas College and University Basketball Arena Rankings - 2016-2017

Four-Year Colleges
1.  Texas A&M University (Reed Arena)
2.  Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (American Bank Center)
3.  McMurry University (Kimbrell Arena)
4.  St. Edward's University (Recreation and Convocation Center)
5.  University of Incarnate Word (Alice P. McDermott Convocation Center)
6.  University of Texas-Dallas (UT Dallas Activity Center)
7.  Southwestern University (Corbin J. Robertson Center)
8.  Trinity University (Sams Gymnasium at William H. Bell Center)
9.  University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (Sam Williams Court at UTRGV Fieldhouse)
10.  Hardin-Simmons University (Mabee Complez)
11.  East Texas Baptist University (Ornelas Gymnasium)
12.  Texas Wesleyan University (Sid W. Richardson Center)
13.  Texas A&M-Kingsville (Steinke Physical Education Center)
14.  Our Lady of the Lake University (Mabee Gymnasium at University Wellness and Activities Center)
15.  Jarvis Christian College (Rand Gymnasium)
16.  Dallas Christian College (Gymnasium)

Two-Year Colleges
1.  Lee College - Baytown (Lee College Sports Arena & Wellness Center)
2.  Lamar State College - Port Arthur (Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center)
3.  San Jacinto College - Central (Anders Gymnasium)
4.  Angelina College (Shands Gymnasium)
5.  Weatherford College (Graber Athletic Center)
6.  San Jacinto College - North (Nichols Gymnasium)
7.  Blinn College - Brenham (Physical Education Building)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

San Angelo to Abilene to Fort Worth; February 19, 2017

Open weekends are fun.  That's actually a code word for "challenge".

So many options.  Not enough time.

One that popped up late in the week was that the top two men's NCAA wrestling teams were facing off in a dual meet in Stillwater, Oklahoma -- #1 Oklahoma State and #2 Penn State.

I couldn't figure out how to squeeze in a race and make it there before tickets went on sale for remaining seats at 1 p.m.

There were 5Ks on Friday afternoon on the Baylor campus and Saturday evening on the Texas A&M campus, produced by student organizations.

However, it was that Saturday race.  I really like to try to race in some place new.  Haven't been able to make that happen in four weeks.

As far as seeing a collegiate contest, the intrique of knocking out two arenas in four hours in Abilene was the most enticing.

Question turned out to be:  What was I going to wrap around it?

Had great Tuesday and Wednesday evenings this week, but Thursday night was the culmination of an emotionally crappy week.

I ran at the track and saw both of my good friends, Jim and Leanne Rosser.  Jim actually walked a mile with Mary Carter, while his wife, who's training for this year's Boston Marathon, knocked down seven.

Both nights included great dialogue and banter with my best friend - besides my daughter, Bill Dwyer.

Wednesday evening, I went to a reception that was being held at Whole Foods Market for USATF 100-mile National Champion Ronnie Delzer, who ran 13 hours and 44 minutes at Rocky Raccoon two weeks ago.

Then I went to hang out at the track and bantered a lot again with Bill and Layton Gill.

After talking with Layton, it seems like my trip planning has rubbed off a little bit on him!

Like I mentioned earlier, Thursday just totally sucked.

I definitely wanted to try and make sure that I was in church on Sunday morning, regardless what else I did during the trip.

A long walk Thursday evening, though, cleared up a lot of things.

Well, long, that is, for chilly temperatures walking The Woodlands Waterway.  While it wasn't any more than about 47-48 minutes, it was enough.

I had some work functions that I needed to attend to Friday morning.

I rented a car again to keep miles off of my car, this time from Enterprise close to the house.  However, I couldn't get on the road until about 12:15 p.m.

My plan was three baseball games, two basketball games, one race and one church service.

Because I didn't take the toll road in Austin on 290 and 183, it slowed me down a little bit as I ventured west to San Angelo.

Google Maps showed just under six hours, but I didn't pull onto Knickerbocker Road until about 6:35 - 6:40 p.m.

Lubbock Christian was playing at Angelo State and they were playing a doubleheader.  I could see the lights on, but I first needed to charge my phone (because my cigarette lighter charger wasn't working in the rental car that didn't have a USB charger).   Crazy iPhone5 that I have.

So I went to Chick-Fil-A to eat and charge the phone.  It wasn't enough.

So I literally drove a very short distance down Knickerbocker to the Fairfield Inn that I was looking at staying, went into the lobby with my laptop and made a reservation.

I checked in and continued to wait for my charge to complete enough to boot the phone on.  At this point, I just decided to forget the baseball game and get the rest I needed to run the Shannon Trail Race Series #3 15K at Burkett Trailhead State Park in San Angelo State Park.

The alarm was set for 6 a.m., but I was starting to toss and turn at 5 a.m.

I made it to the Park and was registered by about 7:20 a.m.

It was a little chilly so I decided to stay with my white long-sleeved USA Space City 10-Miler technical shirt and over top my blue Lunar Rendezvous Run tech shirt.

They had a trail briefing that said that the 5K course was about 3.45 miles and that the 15K would likely be about 9.8 miles.

The 5K didn't start until about 8:05 a.m. and then the 15K was 10 minutes later.

The trail set out before us was probably 30% technical, mostly rocks and/or gravel, 65% dirt or packed dirt trails and then another 5% park roads.

Maybe even less than five percent, actually.

They also told us that the water stop would be at about 4.5 miles and then there would be another one about two miles from the finish.  And the suggestion was made to carry water.

I had hydrated through the night pretty well and had downed most of the bottle of water, but I decided not to carry it.

We hadn't made it a mile and not only did we see a pretty big sized longhorn, but a cyclist came up behind a group of five of us that were trailing one section of the 15K.

He wasn't looking to try and get by us or anything, but after learning that I was new to the area he told me about the first technical section of the trail called "Playground".

More importantly, he also told me that when we got to Bell's Point that there was city water there.

By the time I got there, he was actually there and then I saw him at another spot before I made it to the 4.5-mile aid station.

There were lots of places to run, but also some challenging sections.  Nothing totally insurmountable, though.

My biggest fear was, of course, snakes.  It is why I tried my best to keep moving and not to walk too much or too long.

All was good.  I covered the 9.8 miles in 2:07:27 - so somewhere a little over 12 minutes per mile.

Given that it was a smaller field in the 15K, I might have placed in my age group, but I didn't stay as my plan was to be able to leave Abilene by 11 a.m.

I saw the cyclist, walked over, extended a hand of thanks and thanked him for being out there for me.  It literally felt as if he was an angel out there to watch over me.

That race was one in my 127th Texas city or town and 65th different Texas county.  I'll add another next Saturday in Victoria.

I got on the road for Abilene no later than 11:10 a.m.

You go north through Bronte, which I stopped at a Stripes store to grab a quick lunch to eat on the way, and then on into the city.

It was pretty easy to keep it at 75 miles per hour most of the way.  Only saw one DPS officer.  They had somebody else stopped.

What's neat about making the drive to these locations is that you see road signs to towns that you've only previous known because they play Texas high school football.

I ended up arriving at McMurry University before the National Anthem at 1 p.m. to see their women's basketball team wrap up the regular season in the American Southwest Conference against Concordia University (Texas), from Austin.

I left at about 2:40 p.m. to be able to make the short drive to Hardin-Simmons University.

I could have ended up staying as the women's game between the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Hardin-Simmons had gone long.

The men, though, eventually got their game started and blew through the first half.

And even though HSU had overcome a 10-point plus deficit to tie the game and take a brief lead, I left at 4:40 p.m. to be able to make the short drive to Abilene Christian to catch a baseball game there.

It was a very short drive.  Even shorter than it was from McMurry to Hardin-Simmons, but finding a place to park was another story.

I ended up parking on the far west side of the track and field stadium.

To get to Crutcher Scott Field, you have to walk by the new 8,500-seat football stadium that will bring football back on campus for the first time since 1942.

Michigan State out of the Big Ten was in town to play Abilene Christian.  They had won on Friday night and then the first game of a double-header earlier in the afternoon.

I sat for an inning or two on the Michigan State (first base) side of the field and then stood up near the top of the bleachers.

While there, a gentleman noticed that I was wearing my Liberty University baseball hat and asked if I had gone to school there.  I replied, "No, my daughter will be walking in May."

He had played college basketball, he said, with one of Liberty's former men's head basketball coaches, Randy Dunton.  I had known an individual, Stephon Leary, who coached for Dunton during his second stint at Liberty.  (Leary also played basketball for the Flames.)

I talked with him and another father of a Michigan state player.  One of their sons played second base and the other played right field, I believe.

Great conversation and was glad that I engaged.

It got to be about 7:05 p.m. and I was beat.  I went to the hotel, checked in, then left to go get a bite to eat and got to bed around 11 p.m.

I realized Saturday evening that the Penn State at TCU baseball game had been moved up from 12 noon to 11 a.m.

This meant that I needed to find a new church to attend on Sunday morning.  I had originally chosen Alliance Baptist Church, which is affiliated with Baptist Bible Fellowship International (BBFI), but with the time change I then selected North Fort Worth Baptist Church.

They had a worship service that began at 9:30 a.m. and it was a traditional service, meaning a choir, organ and sing out of the hymnals.

I set the alarm for 5:45 a.m., with a goal to be out of the hotel no later than 6:30 a.m.

I achieved that goal and had time to grab a little breakfast at McDonald’s.

I pulled into the parking lot a little after 9:20 a.m. and once inside, I was greeted by David White, who gave the opening welcome comments.  He saw my Liberty shirt and we traded some pleasantries about the University.  I was warmly welcomed for being in attendance, which I appreciated.

The church was in the middle of a series of sermons and this week’s was that “Saved people serve people”, which I believe to be true and something that believers should strive for daily.

I try to and believe that I succeed a fair amount of times.

Getting to Lupton Stadium wasn’t too bad as I got onto 35W and headed south to Interstate 30.  I exited off on to University Drive and went south to Berry Drive where I went west.

I had to park along the street in front of some homes west of the track and field stadium and walk all the way around to behind the dugout.

A lot of beautiful upgrades had taken place there I learned over the last 3-4 years.

TCU, of course, was at the College World Series again last year before losing to Coastal Carolina for one of the teams that made it to the Finals.

By the time I got inside Penn State was up 2-0 in the first inning.  TCU had won the first two games of the Series on Friday and Saturday.

And by the time I left near the bottom of the fifth inning, TCU had gone ahead 6-2 before Luken Baker, who hit 11 home runs in his freshman season a year ago after coming out of Conroe Oak Ridge, launched a shot just to the right of the scoreboard in left to left centerfield.

I made it home by about 5 p.m., got a bizarre text, spoke with my daughter for about an hour and 20 minutes and then visited my parents, grandmother and nieces before coming home to finish this blog post.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Texas College and University Basketball Arena Announcer Rankings - 2016-2017

1.  Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Women's  (Extremely professional.  Handles all facets very well.)
2.  University of Texas-Dallas Women's  (Great voice.  Professional.  Nothing alarming or annoying.)
3.  University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley Women's (Another incredible voice and great talent.  Pretty solid atmosphere; he just oversells it sometimes.  Needs to say first and last name of the opposing player when they score a basket, even if understated.)
4.  University of Incarnate Word Women's (One of the best natural voices I've heard all season, but he doesn't need to scream at times and "Cardinals Basketball", like "Aggies Ball!" is annoying until you can tune it out.)
5.  Texas A&M University Women's (Really, really good.  Excellent balance in his voice inflection for both teams, but the "Aggies Ball!" call is more annoying than Dave South himself.)
6.  Dallas Christian College Women's (Solid voice.  Does everything that you expect from an announcer.  Balanced.)
7.  St. Edward's Men's (Excellent voice.  Handles all of the calls well.  Actually, I don't think he ever announced who scored a basket for either team, which is not always a bad thing.  Needs to learn how to not sound like he's reading from a script at times that he is/was.)
8.  Texas Wesleyan Men's (Solid voice.  Very, very professional.  Basically wasn't even aware of him even though he checked off all of the important boxes.)
9.  Texas A&M-Kingsville Men's  (Great voice.  Over-the-top on player introductions and a few home team basket calls, but otherwise balanced and professional.)
10.  San Jacinto College - Central Men's  (Yoeman-like work.  Sound wasn't loud enough at times, but the young man is everything you'd expect from a solid announcer.)
11.  Our Lady of the Lake University Women's  (Strong voice.  Solid announcer.  Only announcer I've heard all year mention their name and that they were the "Voice of the ..."  As I was told once before, "Your job is to inform.  You are not the show.")
12.  Blinn College (Brenham) Men's  (Solid voice.  Over-the-top on player introductions, but nothing else detracts from an acceptable performance.)
13.  Southwestern University Women's (Clear voice.  Checks off all of the professional things you do as a basketball public address announcer.  Acoustics aren't the best in a great facility.)
14.  Angelina College Men's (Really good voice.  Just inconsistent on what is and isn't announced.  Therefore, hard to follow.)
15.  Lee College (Baytown) Men's  (Strong voice.  The acoustics in an otherwise beautiful facility don't help him; doesn't seem to adjust to that fact.  Hard to understand, as a result, at times.)
16.  Trinity University Women's  (Solid voice.  Just could hardly hear him.)
17.  San Jacinto College - North Women's (Solid voice.  Same thing as Trinity.  Could hardly hear him and he only made pre-game introductions and an announcement at halftime.  Believe he doubled as the official scorer.)
18.  Lamar State College-Port Arthur Men's  (Excellent voice, but doesn't announce everything and hardly anything for the opposing team.)

A.  Weatherford College Men's (No announcer.  Actually not a bad thing.  Better than a bad one.)
B.  Jarvis Christian College Men's (Actually no announcer.  There were player introductions, but they were using a Fender Sound System from a corner of the gym and you really couldn't make out a thing that was said.)

Unknown:  East Texas Baptist University Women's  (Actually.  Not even sure there was one!)

Busy February Weekend; February 13, 2017

I partly scheduled myself a busy weekend these last couple of days so maybe this coming weekend I’ll take break.  (Don’t put any money down in Las Vegas on that chance though.)

I’ve been working on trying to see many of the different Texas college basketball arenas or gymnasiums this season, which started in early November.

And, of course, as long as I’ve been running, I like to race in different cities – Texas or elsewhere.

When I can combine the two, I consider it a bonus.

The lynchpin to the trip was a race that was brought back after road construction cancelled it – the 11-Mile Race from Kilgore to Longview.  It was on Saturday morning.  (I’ll do a race report on a separate blog.)

I was able to get a hotel room at the Fairfield Inn on points for Friday night that ended up being about four miles or ten minutes from the race’s finishing location in Longview.

I had also noticed that Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, west of Longview, was hosting a basketball doubleheader against LSU-Shreveport.

Additionally, I realized that I could make it over to Marshall after the race and see a game at East Texas Baptist University.

Then I needed to be able to make it back to race announce the Galveston Marathon for the sixth time in seven years.

A friend of mine texted me over the weekend and said, “Lots of driving.”  (Yes indeed.  831 miles.  And I didn’t put them all on my car.)

I picked up a rental car from George Bush Intercontinental Airport location Friday afternoon and headed north up through Huntsville, Trinity, Crockett, Palestine and Tyler.

I made it to Hawkins (which is due north of Tyler) at about 6 p.m. and stopped to eat at the first local place that I saw, Richie’s Grill.  The game would start at 7:30 p.m.  I, therefore, had plenty of time.

When I travel, I like to eat at local, non-chain restaurants, if I can.  Sometimes I’ll use something like Yelp or Foursquare to look for places, but this choice was sight unseen.

I had an enchilada plate.  I’ve had better and much worse.  The waitress was friendly, the service was prompt and those both worked for me.

Pretty good basketball game as LSU-Shreveport’s men defeated Jarvis Christian.  They were favored, led most of the way and were pushed at times by Jarvis Christian.

It was the 25th college basketball game that I witnessed this year – all in different gymnasiums or arenas.  All but five of them were in facilities that were new to me.

It was about a 40-minute drive east on State Highway 80 over to Longview.  I checked in the hotel around 10:30 p.m., worked on the information that I needed to announce the Galveston Marathon on Sunday and went to bed around midnight.

I was up at 6 a.m. and out the door to the race location by 6:30 a.m.

I had a good race.  Saw Steve Allen from the Seven Hills Running Club in Huntsville and June Harris, a friend from Houston who does many of Robby Sabban’s Running Alliance Sport races.  I learned that she was from the Longview area originally.  I had seen her name in the race participant list online before the race so it was good to visit a little that morning.

I got some breakfast at Chick-Fil-A in Longview.  (Ugh.  They gave me the senior discount for the gray hair at the temples.)  And then was on my way to get showered, checked out, over to Office Depot to get my materials printed and laminated and on the road to Marshall.

I missed the first 45 seconds or so of the women’s basketball game between the University of Texas-Dallas and East Texas Baptist University.

On the way into the arena, there was a college baseball game about to get underway and in the parking lot there was a van from Centenary College of Louisiana.

The son of our church’s associate pastor just signed a letter of intent to play baseball at the NCAA Division III school next year and I texted my long-time friend, the associate pastor, to share.  (He already knew that they won Friday’s opener, 10-0 – which didn’t surprise me.)

Basketball contest No. 26 was a little sloppy.  The University of Texas-Dallas got up by about 20 early and then the margin didn’t change much the rest of the way.

I could have actually gone to two more games in Tyler at Tyler Junior College (at 4 p.m.) and Texas College (at 7 p.m.), but it would have made for a rough drive home when I had to get up early to make the trip to Galveston.

I headed home, got to The Woodlands around 7 p.m., stopped and got something to eat, made it home, loaded my vehicle with my speakers and such and was ready to go to sleep by 9 a.m.

The alarms were set for 3 a.m. and the goal was to leave by 4 a.m.

I don’t think I really ever got to sleep until about 10:30 p.m.

I was able to leave on-time, but I didn’t get to Stewart Beach in Galveston until about 5:45 a.m. as I took a detour – via 225, 146 and NASA Road 1 – to get around a complete closure of I-45 just south of Beltway 8.

I put in eight hours of work announcing the race and left Galveston at approximately 2:10 p.m.

Way, way too many stories to tell in the context of this post.

I had been invited to a friend’s birthday party, which was in the Clear Lake area.  There was no way I was going to show up in the condition that I was in.

So I drove all the way to Spring, arriving at 3:55 p.m., showered, took care of an item or two and was back on the road before 5 p.m.

I had mapped things out with Google Maps before leaving and found a little bit of a different route to where my friend lived, but I still didn’t get there until 5:55 p.m.

I had asked my daughter to change the time of our weekly Sunday night phone call from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. so that I could be there for a little bit and then step aside to talk to her.

There were some running friends that were at the party and I kind of stayed close to them for the first 25 minutes or so that I was there.

My friend started to introduce me to some of the others that were there.

It is funny.  I’m an introvert -- and in a fairly big way.

Am I uncomfortable in some of those settings?  I can be.  My friend told me later that they could see it.  Yikes!  

However, I do fairly well in making connections with people and establishing an even give-and-take with people to kind of share the conversation.

I think it worked fairly well though, but I tend to pick my spots.

It turned out to be a good evening.  I’m glad I went.

I had considered not going just because I’m not always the best in some of those situations.

Even though I can handle myself very well in front of large crowds announcing and produce in both my career field and outside of work, I don’t consider myself to be as “world cultured” as everyone else.

I watch very little television as I just feel like I have so many other things that I can be doing.

I’ve been trying to read more, especially since I have a lot of alone time.  But there’s just so much that I’m not “up on”, which leaves me at a disadvantage in some social settings.

I’m a simple person, plus an introvert likes to control their surroundings and use their alone time to recharge which, for me, includes documenting life like I’m doing now.

On the bus ride from the finish in Longview to the start in Kilgore, I positioned myself in the middle of the bus.

No sooner was I seated there was a group of runners, mostly women, that talked the entire 11-mile, 25-minute ride and at times loudly.

My senses were screaming at me when I got off the bus in Kilgore.

However, my friend made an effort to invite and include me – without pushing me.  I felt it was important to honor that.

I’m the type of individual that if you press the issue – even if you really enjoy my company (which I’m honestly flattered by) – I will recoil.

I think it all worked out good though.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Kicking Off February; February 1, 2017

Haven't written in a little while and not sure how much I will or want to share.

Still working through some things that are challenging to me.

As I shared from earlier in the month, I've really changed my incoming Facebook news feed.

I've disconnected from a few, unfollowed nearly everyone and have been unliking pages that I'm just not getting anything from.

Have also started to do the latter from Twitter too.

Unfriending.  Touchy subject, I suppose.

Outside of work, I'm involved in event production, specifically and primarily races (i.e. 5K's, 10K's and the like).

There was an event that I ran its first year and then announced its second and third year.

This race took place this past weekend, but I never heard from the event producer at all -- even after e-mailing them.

Thankfully, I don't need the money.

And my ego doesn't need to announce that race, specifically.

I just felt that after I took the courtesy to confirm whether or not they needed me that it was reasonable to expect a confirmation of some type even to say, "You suck.  You're really not that good!"

It was sad.  Disappointing.  Common courtesy gone out the window.

In that case, I simply disconnected.  There's a couple events later in the year that I'll have to work with them, but I'll cross those bridges when I get there.

The other is just a little strange for me.

It involves a woman.

Nothing has happened, nor will there ever be likely.

I didn't ask for it, but was given a phone number.

I've texted about once a week, had a short 7- to 10-minute exchange and the conversation draws to a close.

I never push any of it further, but communication is never initiated from their direction either.

Just too one-sided for me.

If you want just friendship, text me.  How else will you get to know me, even as a friend?

It tells me that you don't want anything more out of it, which is cool with me.

However, I'm losing or have almost lost all interest, even in just being communicative.

It's a shame.  They're a very intelligent and beautiful woman and I kind of feel like I'm playing out of my league anyway.

But I don't even know if any of that is why they gave me their number.

Thing is, I won't see them in person for quite some time as they've shared their race schedule through mid-May on Facebook and what I'm doing just won't overlap.

Oh well.  They flattered me by getting three pictures with me - one in October, one in November and the final one at the Expo in January.

I'm thankful for that, and always will be.

I have flaws just like everybody else.

Question is, can somebody understand them, look past them or help me with them?

Maybe there's nobody and if so, I'll continue to figure out the rest of life by myself - and some great friends who already, and easily, make themselves known and real to me.

More to come, I suppose, and thankful to God for every day I've given, even if I spend a good bit of many of those days by myself.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Processing The New Year; January 8, 2017

2017 has already been a little challenging for me.

Honestly, nothing earth-shattering.  But when you get to a certain point in your life, like a new age group, the process of filtering out the noise continues.

It's process of what to keep and what to discard in my life.  Maybe "set aside" is a better definition.

In doing so, my world is eerily quiet.

As I've stated before, as an introvert, I tend to withdraw when situations present too much stimulation.

I'm a simple person.  Being respected by people that others think well of is the greatest compliment that I ever receive.

So beyond that, I sometime question people's motives and reasons for what they do.

And it leads me to this "Why are people doing what they're doing?" phase/analysis and applying it to my life.

After a race last Sunday, I was talking with a quality friend of mine as we were helping the event producers clean every thing up in the park area where the start and finish lines were.

We had communicated earlier in the week that we both had either unfriended or unfollowed particular individuals on social media for the harshness of their comments and opinions during the recent election.

I decided to take it a step further in that I have nearly unfollowed everybody on Facebook.

What I've found is that there's a lot of stuff that I waste precious time on that I shouldn't.

If I'm not able to meet with somebody in person and I want to know what they're doing, I can simply go to their page and catchup.

And if they feel the need to do the same with me, fantastic too.

I don't post and share things to get likes.

In fact, they've probably gone down recently because I've limited what I post and I believe that the algorithms from Facebook push people's posts away if you've unfollowed them (but still remain friends).

I share because there are things in my life that I enjoy or simply think that they might be enjoyable or useful to others.

The other day I shared - for the first time since I can easily remember - a meme on Facebook.  It was regarding Lebron James and the Dallas Cowboys.

I got a good chuckle out of it - as well as a few of my good-natured, yet die-hard Cowboys fans.

But back to why people share some of the things they do and what does it mean.

I've seen one athlete who just recently acquired a video recording device - maybe used, but new to them - and they are posting pictures of themselves working out.

And these are things that aren't just off the cuff photographs.  Meaning that they've put some time in to creating the image to share.

And I am baffled as to why.

The individual is a beautiful person to look at and by all accounts is pretty intelligent, but while I don't get the impression that they're an ugly person inside you're left to wonder about what is going on in their soul.

Again, I'm simple.

Like my Mom.

My Mom grew up fairly poor and was one of 10 children.  Her father passed away when she was in the second grade and her mother when she was in the tenth grade.

I can't even imagine.  But she's the only one that can understand what my two nieces are with the passing of my sister, their Mom.

My Mom's birthday is coming up in a few days and she doesn't even look close to her age -- probably because she's lived her life pretty simply.

Nothing real fancy.  She's loved as best as she's known how to - and has done so with all of her heart.

And given what I've dealt with during my life, and the lack of love, I'm so thankful for her love towards me - as well as that of my daughter.

Back to the withdrawing part.

I've just noticed that in the last few weeks I've taken myself out of situations - even though I can talk on a microphone with a couple of thousand people around - that are easy and simple for others.

The event producers of the race that I helped out at last Sunday are notable for their orphan Thanksgiving and Christmas - meaning that they literally open their doors for their friends who might not either have family in the area (or family period).

Not that I fit into either of those categories, thankfully, I was still invited to drop by on Christmas.

After I left my parents and came home that afternoon, I thought about it, but because I didn't know who else might be there - and what idle chit-chat that I might have been forced to get into - I didn't go.

A week later, I was on my way to a training group's year-end holiday party.

I didn't spend quite the time that I needed to thoroughly research the address where the party was being held (at a good friend's home) and when I got out to that area (and one I hadn't been before), I basically got lost.

Yes, I could have inconvenienced the host by calling and asking for them to guide me there; however, it was easier just to say, "Thank you for inviting me", and to go home.

And probably the reason why I wrote this this evening, there was another function that I've always been generally invited to.

I really wanted to go as there are two people in the running community that are going to be leaving the immediate area in February and May, respectively.

When I pulled into the parking lot, though, a little early even, I was able to quickly discern that it was going to be a smaller function than maybe what I thought it was going to be.

I didn't want to be in a position to either feel like conversation was forced or that it was had with me out of pity because I didn't know a lot of other people.

Again, I left, found a place to get something to eat and then drove 40-45 minutes home.

I'm not distressed over any of these things, but it is all just interesting to note.

I'm just trying to understand and figure it all out.