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A person attending a convention in 1996 listened to the following speech on values that were needed to impact the children of his day. He has currently shared it with some comments before and after the speech. This magnificent talk needs be passed around for years to come. Today, our children, youth, and young people, are being cheated, and mislead, by society, their parents, and our educational system, from K through college. A simple change, using the 17 inch rule, which the speech describes, could make a drastic difference in the future of our county.
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 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 the heck is John Scolinos, I wondered. Well, in 1996 Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. No matter, I was just happy to be there.
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. Pointed side down.
Seriously, I wondered, who in the hell 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. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility.
“No,” he continued, “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 question than answer.
“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”
Another long pause.
“Seventeen inches?”came 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?”
“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”
“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 these 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, Bobby. 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 throwing the ball over it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”
” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? What do we do if he violates curfew? What if he uses drugs? 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.
Then 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!”
Pause. 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….to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”
“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!”
I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs 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 and churches and 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, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches”.
Talk about hitting the nail squarely on the head. I agree with this assessment.
The mayor of Livermore, California, explains Trump’s popularity & success. This is perhaps the best explanation of Trump’s popularity.Marshall Kamena is a registered Democrat & was elected mayor of Livermore, CA. He ran on the democratic ticket as he knew a Bay Area city would never vote for a Republican. He is as conservative as they come. He wrote the following:Trump’s ‘lack of decorum, dignity, &statesmanship’ – by Marshall Kamena, Mayor of Livermore, CA.My Leftist friends (as well as many ardent #NeverTrumpers) constantly ask me if I’m not bothered by Donald Trump’s lack of decorum. They ask if I don’t think his tweets are “beneath the dignity of the office.”Here’s my answer: We right-thinking people have tried dignity. There could not have been a man of more quiet dignity than George W. Bush as he suffered the outrageous lies &…
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A group of Congressmen are trying to seek justice by trying to get a Special Investigation, citing that the DOJ and FBI are not capable of investigating themselves, especially in view of their current attempts to slow walk and cover up their actions during the Obama years. That cover up has spilled over to the Trump presidency. The first 49 minutes of this video are Congressmen speaking and giving their reasons for this request. The rest of the video has questions and answers concerning this move by these Congressmen.
This video is a great outline of the wrongs that have been covered up by the Obama DOJ and his FBI. Sessions has been dragging his feet and supporting the cover up as seen by his actions or lack of trying to uncover the truth. I think Sessions is ONE of Trump’s most disappointing appointments to date.
America needs to know the truth as soon as possible. This struggle to find the truth has gone on long enough.
I have added two links below for the call for a second Special Council. Sometimes YouTube removes a video. The second link below is the best view but might be removed from YouTube. The first link is from C-Span and should be safe. C-Span’s is about 50 minutes. The second is longer with a question and answer period.
There is a relatively new blog which amongst other subjects covers child sexual abuse.
The author, Jason says he was inspired to cover child sexual abuse by Sammy Woodhouse and her courage in going public about her abuse in Rotherham.
This courage of Sammy’s to take a step into the poisonous pit of the vipers of mainstream corporate media is huge. They build you up only to knock you down and you have to develop the thick skin to take what is thrown at you.
Hopefully along the way the fact that child sexual abuse is happening is conveyed and how it can happen and the problems for the victim/survivor and the objective of most survivors is to avoid it happening to other children. Well done to Sammy for her bravery and helping to inspire others.
The decision that Jason has made to blog on child sexual abuse is also…
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There was a school shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas recently, and it happened in a Gun Free Zone. Ten were killed, and another ten were wounded. The shooter, a 17-year-old student from the school, wore a trench coat, in 98 degree weather, which should have triggered a concern. He used two fire arms, owned by his father, that were purchased legally. It is reported that several kinds of explosives were found in and around the school, in a vehicle, and at his home. Plans for the attack were found on his phone, and on his home computer. There were pictures of the shooter wearing a shirt that said, “Born To Kill”. He was known to be obsessed with violent video games.
No matter what we learn about this shooter’s past, I can guarantee, there will be an outcry for gun control, and school safety will take a back seat. The second amendment will again come under attack. Emotions will drown out common sense thinking, and real solutions. Here are some recent comments I read after the attack, that make sense to me.
Rand Paul said that we don’t want signs like “Gun Free Zone” saying we are defenseless. Homicide, crazes, and mentally ill are not so crazy that they shoot up the sheriff’s office. He noted that Hollywood hates guns, yet they have armed guards for protection. They produce massive films that glamorize gun violence. He also said that with the 330 million of Americans it takes a fraction of a fraction of a percent of crazy people to commit these kinds of crimes. It is like finding a needle in a haystack. He said that we need to secures schools, pin point dangerous people, and separate guns from them. He mentioned the phrase “See Something, Say Something”. But he noted that it has been verified that there were 58 opportunities missed or over looked where the Parkland, FL shooter was concerned. He ended by saying that removing guns from law-abiding people was not the answer.
Dennis Bates, a Facebook friend said, “Banks, airports, office buildings, power plants, courthouses, and sports stadiums, are all protected by armed security. The president, and members of Congress work in offices surrounded by armed Capital Police officers. Yet when it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family, our children, we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters, and predators of the world know it, and exploit it.
Andrew Pollack, father of daughter Meadow, a victim of the Parkland shooting, has been very vocal with his views. He thinks schools should have the same security as airports. And he thinks the focus should be on safety and not on guns. He believes the second amendment is a good thing, and that the negative attack on the NRA is misguided.
Another great thinker, and friend of mine named Richard, said, “The problem is that the blame for this shooting rests with the shooter. Most of the liberals in the media blame the NRA, some school instructors who are accused of bullying the kid, etc. They are always blaming someone else. Gun control would not have prevented this tragedy. This nut committed a crime, and did something that was wrong. He killed a lot of innocent people. In all of these shooting, the liberals blame society, white privilege, the NRA, and guns. But they don’t blame the criminal, who committed the crime. Also, officials don’t allow teachers to defend themselves by carrying a gun or have armed officers on Their campus”.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbot said, “The answer to gun violence is not to take guns away. The problem is not guns, it is hearts without God”.
James Alan Fox of Northeastern University, who has studied these shootings, has this to say. “The thing to remember is that these are extremely rare events, and no matter what you come up with to prevent them, the shooter will have a workaround”.
Thoughts and prayers are not enough to keep schools or students safe. Schools need to be secured with officers at every entrance and scattered throughout each campus. Having metal detectors and bullet proof glass seems like a no-brain-er. Teach students the concept of SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING , and RUN, HIDE, FIGHT. Removing guns from innocent people is not the answer.
Home grown terrorist, whose Facebook pages are all about guns and killing people are part of the problem, maybe as dangerous as not having a wall to block illegals.
Mental Health issues need to move to the head of the line. It is sad that it has taken school shootings to get this idea across. This subject needs to be addressed at all levels, Federal, State, County, local, and in each and every home and school. Pretending that it is not the problem, or that it does not exist, is not working.
The Supreme Court of the United States has affirmed that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right of the individual. Remember, if we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.
Let us throw away ideas that look more like band-aids. Let’s tackle workable solutions that produce a safe environment for students and our communities. Make schools secure, and focus on finding the dangerous and mentally ill, and keep them from ALL FORMS of destruction, including blocking them from having firearms.
The ultimate job, that requires the most on the job training, is being a mother. No matter how many books one reads on the subject, or how much advice is given about the task, a mom ends up with a one of a kind bundle of joy. It is her job to figure it out, and guide the child to maturity.
No matter how many other children a mom has been around, hers will be full of surprises. Even if she has other children, the new one will be unique. She will see differences between her own experiences as a child and this “Jewel in her crown”.
She will have to wear many hats for this unbelievable task. A mom needs to be loving, understanding, and patient. She gets to be a cheerleader, a nurse, a mediator, and referee. She sometimes has to be firm when teaching boundaries. Teachings at many levels is on going. She may even have to be the breadwinner or co-breadwinner. She has to be a manager of time and money, and is the main one who guides the family unit, hopefully with the help of their father. Her jobs are endless.
No matter the size of her brood, each child will be her favorite, no matter that the kids will never believe this.
She does not give it a thought, that some day after her children are grown, she will wonder where all the time went. When the transition hits her, that her role has changed from active parenting to friend, she will probably be hit with a lot of surprising emotions. Probably pride, when she sees who her children have become under her guidance. But the empty nest is not always comfortable. Putting one’s self on the front burner may seem a little strange.
This description of motherhood is one reason we celebrate Mother’s Day. We get to say, as a nation, and as individuals, a special THANK YOU. We get a change to celebrate mothers, present and past, young and old. Families have never been more important to our nations than they are today. Strong families help make strong communities, that lead to a strong nation. I see families as the path to helping America become great again. Mothers are a huge part of that picture. I hope this special day reminds us of how strong families are badly needed, and mothers can play a huge part in nurturing strong, educated, and responsible, children, who can become great leaders.