Waiting to Exhale

April’s Fools Day came and went and I was only involved in 3 jokes. The first was using Spirit Post to say Varsity Brands was pulling out of the USASF. It was a short and sweet post that led to a firmly worded email from one of the higher ups at Varsity All Star along with a decent discussion on cheerleading message boards about whether or not Varsity pulling out would be good or bad for the industry. The second and third jokes started shortly after reading the email about the first while eating lunch. The second was a simple attempt to get Kat’s family to believe she just found out she is pregnant, while the third was an attempt to convince a male friend of ours that he got someone pregnant.

Kat’s joke started at lunch by having a friend, also at lunch with us, put a message on her Facebook wall saying how excited she was and hoping it was a girl. About 30 minutes later I posted on Josh’s wall, Kat’s fiance, that I just heard the news and I hope it’s a boy. This didn’t snowball as much as we thought it would, but Josh did get a message or two about it. The third joke took off as expected. It also started at lunch when we decided to ask a girl our friend got to know, in a biblical sense, a few months earlier if she was up for playing a joke on him. She said she was in, but we never gave her full details of what we were going to do, but told her we would send her text messages to send to him throughout the rest of the day. The first message just said she really need to talk to him as soon as possible and it was really important. She also said they had to talk in person. By the end of the day he was convinced she was pregnant and all of their friends knew it, despite us never having her say what she needed to talk to him about. We managed to increase his stress level enough that he was dialing his mom’s number to let her know the news as we told him it was all a joke.

My last judging event of the season was in Destin, FL. Leading up to the event I ate lunch in 5 different states in 5 days. Monday was Jackson, MS, Tuesday in Nashville, TN, Wednesday was Lexington, KY, Thursday in Birmingham, AL, and Friday I was in Destin, FL. The weekend in Destin was great in large part due to having a day with nothing to do on both sides of the competition days. All of the people were great, but Kelly, “Becky”, and “Sparky” led the charge. Kelly started it off by being completely unfiltered. It she thought it, she said it, and it was usually funny. Kelly was the cause of one of the most interesting and entertaining dinners I’ve had in a long time. Becky & Sparky kicked in after the event. What started as a attempt to have a low key night by cooking dinner and hanging out in the condo turned into a bit of craziness thanks to the do whatever the sheet of paper says to do game introduced to us by Becky and Sparky.

For my parting shot I want to remind people to live in the moment and to live in the present. By live in the moment I’m asking you to be involved with the people around you. Don’t sit at dinner with a group of people and do nothing but text the people that aren’t there. Enjoy the time with the people you are with. By live in the present I’m asking you to realize that the past is over. The good and bad of it is something to learn from, but life goes on. Don’t let it pass you by.

Chase-ing

After speaking at the Illinois Conference I went to St. Louis to visit my cousin, Sean, and watch basketball. Sometime during the visit and watching basketball with his old friends, and my new friends, we had 2 discussions about the best. One was who is the best player in college basketball and the other was about what is the best phone on the market. To make a long story short I’ll just point out there’s a reason other players were being compared to John Wall and other phones are compared to the iPhone.

Before leaving St. Louis I tried to find a Chase Bank. Actually let’s back up. Before leaving Lexington I used Google Maps to see if there was a Chase Bank in the St. Louis area because I knew I would need one and wouldn’t be back in Lexington for a while. Google Maps indicated there were some branches so I thought all was good. Back to leaving St. Louis. The branches Google Maps said were there weren’t so I checked online with Chase. When I checked there were none in St. Louis, but a few options about 40 miles away. The Chase website specifically said the ATMs were open 24 hours and could accept deposits. Sean and I decided to drive up to one to get there and not be able to get to it. Sure the ATM may have been open 24 hours, but the building the ATM was in was not. At this point I was only a little annoyed because Sean and I made the most of the drive.

The next day I called Chase hoping talking to someone would be useful. It was an absolute waste of time. The person I talked to was unable to locate a branch or ATM close to St. Louis and wound up transferring me to a branch in Chicago that was closed. Since I still needed an ATM I decided to detour by a different Chase ATM on the way to Mississippi. This detour was about an hour out of the way. I got to the ATM this time, but it did not take deposits. I stopped by 2 other ATMs on the Chase list of ATMs that were deposit friendly and neither accepted deposits. I left St. Louis ready to leave Chase.

I’m done for now, but there’s more coming soon. I haven’t yet made it to Destin or Atlanta or talked about any Cheer Drama. My ending thought is to remind people their first instinct is probably the best one to go with. The amount of information you can process without realizing you are doing it is incredible. This is what you first instinct is based on. Trust it. Trust in yourself and if you don’t believe me read Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink.

Perception

Perception is more about the direction your life is heading than where your life currently is.

Blue Versus Red

The hot topic in the news right now is Health Care Reform. It seems most people agree reform is needed, but aren’t sure the plan presented is the option we should go with. I really have no idea what the best route is, but I generally say change is better than doing nothing, especially when the path we are currently on doesn’t have a happy ending. Obama’s legacy will largely depend on what his administration does concerning Health Care. For that reason, along with reform being essential, I wish them luck.

Tonight Kentucky plays Cornell in the NCAA Tourney. Cornell is this year’s Cinderella, media darling, and David rolled into one. Neither team has much NCAA experience. Cornell is playing close to home, but Kentucky travels well. West Virginia and Washington fans are likely to side with the underdog, Cornell, in hopes that they won’t have to play Kentucky to advance to the Final Four. Kentucky will win and advance to the next round because they are a more talented team, but more importantly the team had a few days to properly prepare for Cornell. A lot of the “upsets” in the tournament come in the 1st and 2nd rounds because of preparation and the difficulty of properly seeding teams. Favorites seem to lose early because they aren’t familar with their opponent and don’t have much time to prepare for them, especially between rounds 1 and 2. With more time between 2nd and 3rd round games that 1st and 2nd round games, better teams tend to prevail because they have coaches that can better prepare a team and the underdog teams have used up their bag of tricks during the first weekend.

Last week I spoke at the Illinois Coaches’ Conference. The conference director, Pamela Dorner-Saxhaug, was great and easy to work with. She was one of the founding members of the Association hosting the conference because she wanted to help educate the coaches in her area. My topics at the conference were stunt transitions and maximizing you score. For the stunt transition sessions I got to work with the girls from CheerTime USA (United Starz Academy), pictured below. They were a talented group and I enjoyed working with them.

I’m not sure when the Kentucky women play again, but I know they have a Sweet Sixteen game in Kansas City. Hopefully between victories they’ll have a chance to get some Arthur Bryant’s. I think that’s all for now.

Tourney Time & Jealousy

The NCAA Tournament field has been announced and Game One has been played. A lot of Kentucky fans are upset about our path, but I’m not too bothered by it. Assuming the higher seeds advance, we’ll play East Tennessee State, Texas, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Duke, and Kansas. I’m not upset with this path because it’s the national championship tournament, meaning you are supposed to play tough teams, and I’d prefer to play teams from major conferences that I’m familiar with than the mid-majors and small conference teams that turn into Cinderellas. Given that no 16 seed has ever beat a 1 seed in the men’s tournament, I’m not worried about our only non-BCS conference opponent. I think the second round game, against Texas or Wake Forest, is a bit harsh for a second round, but both of these teams had less than spectacular endings to their seasons and slid down the seeding totem pole. Once we make it to the second weekend we are theoretically supposed to play the 15th, 7th, and 3rd ranked team to make it to the final game, which match up well with Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Duke.

I saw a kid with a Batman mask and white cape in Kroger the other day. I must say I was a little jealous because I wish I could still get away with a stunt like that. If I tried it people would probably grab their kids and cover their eyes like I was Cousin It or on the FBI Most Wanted list. I’ve actually had several conversation about being jealous of children lately because they are so carefree and easily entertained. We also had one about being jealous of Justin Bieber. How cool would it be to have done a video with Usher and Ludacris before you could drive?

Last weekend was Athletic Championships’ Gatlinburg/Sevierville event, which was a great event. At one point in time I was going to take my gym there and I think they would have enjoyed it. The hotel connected to the event center has a water park in it and I think it would have been a lot of fun for my Showtime girls. The event itself had some good teams from some well known gyms and a few from some smaller gyms I wasn’t familiar with. We did have a few legality issues during the event. Most of them involved when a pyramid connection needs to be made (at or below prep level) and what type of connection is required (arm to arm or hand to foot). Coaches, please learn the rules. It’s part of your role.

During the weekend in Tennessee we were reminded of Stephen’s fondness of Carrie Underwood and Chris Sipes’ ability to tell a story (not that we can repeat many of them, but they keep us entertained). The coaches party remained much more under control than I imagined it would. It was at a decked out cabin in the mountains and reminded me of a college house party. Since it’s still Lent I just observed the games and talked to people, some I’ve known for years, and some I met that night.

Congratulations to the Kentucky women for earning a 4 seed in the tournament along with numerous awards including SEC Coach of the Year, SEC Player of the Year, and SEC Freshmen of the Year.

Next is the Illinois Coaches’ Conference and some basketball with my cousin.