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SEVENTEEN INCHES

March 19, 2017 By: bob Category: Culture, On Bob's Mind, Something To Think About

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home plate

I received the following in my personal email from a friend.  It was sent to me without attribution but I was so impressed by it that I researched it and found that the article is credited as having originally been written by a person named Chris Sperry.  Coach John Scolinos (1918-2009) was a real coach.

I am reprinting it here because it is important and says something really important that I could not begin to say as well.  Enjoy and be enriched by the truth that it gives.  Bob

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In Nashville, Tennessee , during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA’s convention.

While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh, man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who is John Scolinos, I wondered.

In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.

Seriously, I wondered, who is this guy?

After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage. Then, finally …“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility.“I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.” Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?”

After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches?”, more of a question than answer.

“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?” Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?” a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear.

“How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.

“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison. “

“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”………..“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?

“Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause.“They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”Pause.

“Coaches…” pause, “… what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate?” The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold.

He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”

Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag. “This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”

Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross.“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate for themselves! And we allow it.”

“And the same is true with our government. Our so called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply to themselves. They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer serve us. And we allow them to widen home plate and we see our country falling into a dark abyss while we watch.”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curve balls and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded,“you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools & churches & our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”

With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside, “… dark days ahead.”

Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach. His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players—no matter how good they are—your own children, your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”

Here’s how to fix what’s wrong with our country today.

“Don’t widen the plate.”

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Exiled In The Land Of My Birth

August 11, 2016 By: bob Category: Culture

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Once upon a time there was a war.  

Not the traditional type of war involving uniformed armies using real guns and bullets to shoot at each other.  

This war was about values, family, honor, morality, self discipline and culture.

On one side  were those who believed in tradition and the practice of proven rules, values, principles and self discipline handed down from generation to generation.

On the other side were the “Secular Humanists”.   Those who believed that “anything goes”. No self discipline or personal responsibility was required and consequences were not important as long as they only applied to others who were required to pay the bill.

If you were a member of the first group you were made fun of, mocked and marginalized by members of the second group whose goal was shutting you up and getting you to comply with and accept the agenda of the Secular Humanists.

To a very large extent the Secular Humanists, aka “Progressives” owned the education system, the news media, entertainment industry, courts and justice system.  

“Political Correctness”  was metastasized to the extent that the First Amendment was compromised.  A mob could march down the street shouting “Pigs in a blanket – Fry them like bacon” or “What do we want – dead cops – when do we want it – now” and that was considered protected free speech.   But, if someone questioned  the “official”  position on such things as “Man Made Global Climate Change” and other popular political agenda issues, such as even late term abortion, it was considered “hate” speech.  Such an individual was made the subject of public ridicule and in some venues even subject to legal and civil penalties.

The weapons of the Secular Humanists were varied.  From half truths (lipstick on a lie) to junk science to propaganda and intimidation.  Their desired ends justified their using any means to accomplish their political and social agenda.

I ended up not as a “Stranger In A Strange Land*” but as a “Stranger In My Own Land”. Or, to paraphrase the title of this little essay:  “An Exile In The Land Of My Birth”. 

My only comfort lay in the knowledge that ultimately I would not be a citizen in this fractured land.  

“This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through………” (Albert E. Brumley – copyright 1965)

Bob Bandy

* Stranger In A Strange Land – A Novel by Robert A Heinlein

 

 

 

 

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SACRIFICIAL ALTARS

September 26, 2014 By: bob Category: Culture, On Bob's Mind, Something To Think About

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 HAVE WE SACRIFICED THE FIRST AMENDMENT ON THE ALTAR OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS?

Recently I was talking with a good friend of mine about his experiences as an Associate Professor at one of the more respected colleges you see advertising on television.  During our conversation he happened to mention something to the effect that we still have our First Amendment Right of Free Speech.  It got me to thinking.

Do we?

It seems to me that as a nation we have “sub-divided”  ourselves into various racial, ethnic and cultural groups that, all too often, seem bent on finding things to be offended by.  Just some of these divisions are political, racial, cultural, economic and lifestyle.

Often, saying something, even innocently, is perceived as an insult or “hate speech’ though no offense was intended.

If  one groups beliefs or code of conduct disagrees with the lifestyle of another groups, they risk being labeled as “haters” or “phobic”.

On most college campus’s, which are in theory citadels of free thought, tolerance and the exchange of ideas, some groups “need not apply” and their ideas and beliefs are ridiculed, mocked and laughed at.  Conservatives, for example, are not welcome and Conservative “guest” speakers are shouted off the stage.  Free Speech?  You might ask Condoleezza Rice.  Where is the tolerance and free exchange of ideas?

Some groups are politically protected, others are not. Free Speech?  Some religions you must speak respectfully of or face potentially life threatening consequences while others, such as Christianity,  are not a protected group and considered “fair game”  and “targets of opportunity” to mock and make fun of.

In my opinion Political Correctness is not an equal opportunity employer.

I also fear that we are, one by one sacrificing our Constitutional Rights in the name of “Big Daddy” Government and Political Correctness.

Are we going the way of Canada and some other countries where you can be jailed if you offend some protected group with “Hate Speech”?

Bob Bandy

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Stop Pulling – Start Riding

March 07, 2014 By: bob Category: Culture, Something To Think About

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I DON’T MAKE JOKES.  I JUST WATCH THE GOVERNMENT AND REPORT THE FACTS.

WILL ROGERS

When I started this blog it was with the view that there are fewer and fewer of us who are pulling Societies Wagon and more and more who are simply willing to ride in the wagon and let someone else do the work of pulling the wagon along the road of life.  

My goal was to perhaps inspire myself and others, with some goodwill and humor, to find ways to spend less time pulling an overloaded wagon while encouraging others to spend more time pulling their own wagon.

However, in the last five years I have noted that the number of people riding in the wagon has grown  significantly, while the number pulling the wagon has shrunk by an equal or greater percentage.

Some of this change is no doubt a matter of choice.  It is well documented that many have simply taken an “if you can’t beat-em, join-em attitude”.  I remember some years back that I owned a T-shirt with the slogan “I have given up in my search for reality and am now seeking a good fantasy”.  

Others have diligently searched for work and opportunity only to find there is little of either available in the environment created by the Clowns, Criminals and Lunatics running an overbearing, overreaching and corrupt government in Washington D.C. that wants to regulate every aspect of life while taxing any kind of success into oblivion.

Many of these folks don’t really think in terms of wagons, pullers or riders and instead have gone into a survival mode where they are not looking to ride in my wagon but have become simply willing to vote for whoever will give them a free ticket for a ride on the gravy train without worrying about who will pay for the ticket.  It is hard to blame them.   

The problem with the above is that what looks like a free ride is in reality often a one way ticket into a form of slavery.  Any time we surrender our independence to the supposed good will of others providing for our needs we become dependent and a kind of slave.

We see this in signs at National Parks that tell us not to feed the animals.  This is because if we feed them they become unable to feed themselves.  We see examples of this in our society in multiple generation Welfare families.

Think about it.

Bob Bandy

 

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Becoming The Invisible Man

June 20, 2013 By: bob Category: Culture, Humor, In the News

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Years ago I had a car that was ugly but wouldn’t die.  I finally put a bumper sticker on it that said “please steal this car”.   I am beginning to feel the same way about my identity.

I have always suspected, but we all now know as fact, that our government cannot be trusted at any level.

The IRS can and will target you for any reason they choose including, but not limited to, holding political views not shared by their labor union.  And, lets remember the IRS will be the chief enforcement arm for the “(un)Affordable Healthcare Act”, aka: Obamacare.  And, they get (taxpayer paid) bonus dollars for making our lives miserable.

The National Security Administration has the capability of monitoring virtually all forms of communication we use.  Cell phones,  email, web browsing, land line phones plus they claim they can observe our movements with the use of the millions of observation and security cameras everywhere.  They brag that they can determine not only where you are but often what you are doing.  Is that really just a “regular” mirror in those public bathrooms?

Its like living in a fish bowl.

I am working on a plan to become a 21st century “Invisible Man”.

A first step would be to duct tape my cell phone to the bottom of a Greyhound Bus departing for a Mexican Border city in Texas.  After doing that I would use only disposable cell phones purchased while in disguise under an assumed name at Walmart stores.

After that I have a question.  If someone steals my identity would that mean that the IRS, NSA, Justice Department and a whole host of other government agencies that take joy in making my life miserable would  now pursue the new “owner” of my identity and leave me alone?  Could I just claim to be an undocumented  person seeking a new life in America?

Maybe I could just let not one, but many, people steal my identity and really drive the “Feds” crazy.  Maybe I could form an identity exchange where like minded folks could trade identities every few months or weeks.

How about having an identity “Swap Party” where everyone comes in and puts their identity in a big fish bowl and at the end of the party they are blindfolded and pick out their new “identity” before leaving?

Hey, this could be fun.  Sort of like cluttering up a crime scene with several bucket loads of evidence leading investigators off on a hundred or more “rabbit trails”.

If called in for questioning I could just do what IRS Director Lois Lerner did and state that I have done nothing wrong and broken no laws but will take the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer any questions.

It could even reach the point where even I no longer know who I am.  A truly Invisible Man.

Am I Bob Bandy?

 

 

 

 

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GOING TO THE ECONOMIC MATTRESSES

July 19, 2012 By: bob Category: Culture, Something To Think About

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I remember in the movie “The Godfather” when the son Michael killed the “bad” cop and the opposition mobster, how the male members of the Godfathers organization “went to the mattresses”.  Lying low and staying out of sight of their enemies.

I believe that if things continue on their present course in this country with business stifling regulations, high taxes and an all powerful and oppressive government we may see the “producers” in this country simply get fed up and go to the economic mattresses.

Large numbers of former taxpayers may just decide to adjust their lives in such a way as to remain below confiscatory tax thresholds and live simpler lives with lower  economic resources.

I remember a happy young father who worked for me once.  He had a large family and a stay at home wife.  I once asked him how they “made it”?  He told me that they did just fine.  Had an older but serviceable car,  a modest residence and that they lived their lives with a basic but wholesome diet using discounted and coupon items as much as possible.  They rarely bought new consumer items.  They felt no need to impress anyone.  Whenever possible they shopped at thrift stores, yard sales and the like.  When they did shop for “new” items they generally only purchased items at discounted or “sale” prices.   Not a lifestyle for everyone but they were happy, had lots of time for each other, content with their lives and had no debts.  They also paid very little in the way of taxes.  Were they “poor”?  You decide.  It seems to me that they had figured out a way to “Stop Pulling The Wagon” to a large degree.

What would happen if large numbers of  hard working, tax paying members of our citizenry were to adopt similar lifestyles?

Bob Bandy

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