Winter Is What You Make Of It…..


Ryan taking his hacks on February 5, 2017

To a typical Midwesterner, Winter in Ohio means cold and snow.  Bundling up, shoveling snow, snowball fights and forts, ice fishing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, and sledding are just some of the activities Ohioans get to enjoy.  Growing up in Northeast Ohio, snow and ice were commonplace.  If memory serves, I do not remember the last of the 9 foot tall snow piles from the Blizzard of ’78 melting until April.

However, living in Southwest Ohio for the past 2o winters, we have the cold temperatures, but not much snow.  If we’re going to have cold weather, I want the snow too.  A couple of inches of snow in SW Ohio, is cause for alarm, while this amount in NE Ohio is a mere nuisance.

The winter of 2016-2017 has had little snowfall, some cold, and some exceptionally warm days.  There have been numerous days in the 40’s, some in the 50’s, and a few in the 60’s.  The picture above was on one of the high 50 degree days.

With unusual circumstances, comes opportunity.  These unusually warmer days have allowed us to spend more time outside playing (it seems during bone-chilling weather, parents spend more time bundling and unbundling their youngsters than the actual amount of time they play outside).  Here are some of the activities we have had the chance to do often rare in this time of year:

  • camp outside
  • night crawler hunting (the evening of February 7th was incredible, night crawlers were diving back into their tunnels with every step we took)
  • play baseball
  • take a long bike ride through town
  • hikes
  • water balloon and water gun fights
  • playing on the playground

I wrote this article on a day that we had enough snowfall to cover the ground.  I am not sure who’s hoping more for a snow day tomorrow, myself or my boys.  Thank you for reading and I would love to hear your favorite winter activities.



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Ryan has mastered the delay game……

During his legendary coaching career, Dean Smith of North Carolina developed and mastered the Four-Corner Offense, a delay game designed to protect a lead late in the game.

By spreading the floor and developing skilled ball handlers, defensive teams were forced to chase the ball.  North Carolina was able to draw fouls or get dribble penetration for layups.  They often were able to build on the lead they had when they started the Four Corners.

In high school, Triway was our opponent that had mastered this offense, coached by legendary coach Randy Montgomery.  We could never beat Triway, because they were good enough to go into this offense just leading by a couple of points and maintain or build on their lead.  His players were exceptional at handling the ball and making free throws down the stretch.

Recently, Ryan has developed his “delay game routine” during bedtime.  He doesn’t want to get out of the bathtub…. Then he brushes his teeth for two minutes… Then he goes to the bathroom… Then he wants to play with his toys..  Then he wants to read 4 books….then he wants a drink….a snack….say two things we are each thankful for….then prayers….and the bathroom again….take something downstairs….bring something from downstairs….

The thing is….these are all things we have encouraged…..What are the alternatives?

  • he is a dirty, smelly kid
  • smelly breath and filthy teeth
  • wet the bed
  • no imagination, plays video games
  • no desire to learn through reading
  • wakes up in the middle of the night because he is thirsty/hungry
  • has no sense of gratitude or appreciation
  • doesn’t think of others
  • takes out clutter
  • bring up a comfort item

When I look at this list in this way, do you think I mind the delay game in the grand scheme of things.  Absolutely not!  I never wake up feeling angry that I had the opportunity to spend extra time with him.  These delay game items are teaching him values and the thrill of learning.  These are foundation pieces.

I would love to hear about your children’s “delay games”.  Have a great day!


Here are a couple of my most viewed posts.

Click here for my book review of Toughness:  Developing True Strength On and Off the Court by Jay Bilas

Click here for my book review of The Power of Negative Thinking by Bob Knight

Click here for my book review of Bo’s Lasting Lessons:  The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership

Brothers should bunk

I am the author of The Basketball Match Up Zone and Multi-Purpose Basketball Offense ebooks.



Kids do say funny things….and hurtful things….

Ryan (our three-year old) is saying some very funny things everyday.
Not having much of a filter at this point, he says some hurtful things
as well without understanding the ramifications.  I plan on
periodically posting some of these gems to remember and show him in
the future.

Here were some lines from this week:


On traveling back to our house from our family trip to Northeast Ohio
last weekend, Ryan said “Daddy, come in the backseat and play with
me”.  A lovable request that I normally love to accommodate, however I
was driving at the time.

I replied “Ryan, Daddy is driving the van.  I can’t come back there.
I am sorry.

As he burst into tears, Ryan stammered “The, the, the car can drive
itself Daddy”.

Maybe in the near future Ryan, but not possible in a 1999 Honda Odyssey……


“Daddy can I have some medicine?”

“Ryan, you are not sick.”

Ryan starts coughing and says “Yes I am Daddy.”

Funny…and hurtful

Later in the trip, Ryan was getting somewhat grumpy.  I suggested “Ryan, why don’t you go to sleep for a little while, a nap will really help you”.

Ryan replied, “I don’t want to go to sleep, you go to sleep Daddy you silly silly meany.”

“Ryan, daddy can’t sleep while he is driving”.

“Daddy, quit talking to me and YOU go to sleep.  The car can drive itself.”

“Ryan, we already had this conversation, the car cannot drive itself.”

“Daddy, quit talking and go to sleep.”

Great Imagination

On the ride to Northeast Ohio, we were driving along a semitrailer loaded with steel beams.  I asked Ryan “Do you see the steel beams on the truck Ryan?”

“Yes, Daddy, that is neat!”

“What do you think the beams will be used to build?”

“They are going to build a museum Daddy.”

“What do you think will be in the museum Ryan?”

“Lots of neat things Daddy.  Probably trains, dinosaurs, and animals Daddy.”

“I hope you’re right Ryan, that would be a neat place to visit.”

“I AM right Daddy, it will be neat!”

It’s all neat………..

I would love to hear about funny things your kids have said.
on truck, museum, lots of things

So glad it’s so, Joe!

“Say it ain’t so, Joe” is a well-known saying from a young boy to Shoeless Joe Jackson walking out of court after admitting to have thrown the World Series.  My Joe story is different, and I am glad for it!

I was pleasantly surprised today to get a call from a former student named Joe, who graduated a few years ago.  He had been a wonderful student employee, fun to be around, and always willing to serve others.

My greatest connection to Joe came during a difficult time in my own life.  Jen’s father had suddenly passed away.  We needed someone to watch our house on short notice and take care of our two labs Woody and Lucy during the week it would take to travel to northeast Ohio and mourn.  Joe was so gracious in answering my call for help and did a wonderful job while we were gone.  His willingness to assist in a great time of need is something that I can never repay.

As the academic year drew to a close, I was able to provide references for Joe to prospective employers.  He eventually got a job and I knew he had a bright future.  As so often happens, we had some contact, but didn’t much from each other for long periods of time.

Joe’s voice mail this morning indicated that he was looking for new employment opportunities, and he wanted to check if it was okay to still use me as a reference.  I called him intending to tell him that was fine.  Come to think of it, I don’t think we ever spoke about this in the next hour and a half.

Our conversation was a collage of challenges, states of mind, our successes, and our efforts to find peace.  Joe shared that he was reaching for a dream to become a professional golfer.  He is working with a transformational golf coach who is teaching more than how to swing a club.  As Joe was making analogies between golf and life, I kept thinking that he needs to write this material down, write a book, and developing a speaking platform.  Joe has such clarity in his thinking and purpose in his life that he is developing a message that needs to be shared with others.  His message of dealing with adversity and growing into the person that he is today will resonate with others.

As we shared our stories, we inspired each other to keep pursuing our hopes and dreams.  We have pledged to talk once/week in the early morning and keep each other moving forward.

I have a feeling this phone conversation was a game-changer.  Most importantly, renewing and strengthening our connection will help us serve each other and others.

I would love to hear reader stories about renewed connections and relationships.  Let’s inspire each other!