As I start to reflect on the past 26 years it reminds me of all the great places we've been, but also how I believe God took us to these different schools and the things that he taught us and provided for us there.
It's a reminder to me of how God has worked and in the process I hope it helps you see how God has worked, or may be working, in your life. I may not have always seen it at the time because I was making a selfish decision, but somewhere along the way God showed up and went to work in spite of me, not because of me. He's pretty awesome like that. Why? Because He knows the plan, we've just got to get on board sometimes.
So, where did this journey begin?
Fresh out of Northwest Missouri State with a degree in Physical Education and a minor in Psychology there weren't many jobs open. Just so happened there was a job in Walnut, IA, 22 miles from our hometown of Griswold. It was really the only option I think we had. It wasn't even teaching PE, but being an aide in a special education classroom and doing some teaching under the supervision of the Special Education teacher. One of the funniest things I remember is that we had a "new" computer lab that the school was able to get through some FFA funds. 25 Apple IIe computers. Wow, that's right and with Double 5.25 disk drives. For those of you who don't know these were disks about the size of a CD, but they were floppy and could be written on from the computer. It was quite the set up. When they were all fired up it sounded like a jet engine. The game of choice? The Oregon Trail.
Coaching wise I was coaching more than one guy should probably be allowed to coach. I don't think we would dare let people coach like this these days but back then you didn't have as many coaches and more coaches just coached more sports. I cut my basketball coaching teeth by being the head girls coach which meant I was coaching the old 6 on 6 game. Half court 3 forwards and 3 guards, 2 dribbles, couldn't go past the half court line or it was a violation, and the forwards couldn't hit the ball out of the guards hands as they held the ball. And officials had to be good too because after a made basket one official would grab the ball and throw it to the other official (only a 2 man crew) who would throw it to a forward from the other team as she stood unguarded in her half of the circle at half court. Talk about a learning curve. But, back then 6 on 6 girls basketball was huge in Iowa and I am glad to have coached it and had the experience that I did. I coached some great girls who are now great moms and members of their communities. Once in a while I get to see one or two of them and they are now great young ladies.
Below is a short video about the 6 on 6 game.
In addition to the girls basketball I was also the boys assistant basketball coach so I'd go from one practice to the other and the girls game to the boys game. Busy, but no kids, and I was in the gym with a game that I loved.
But, that's not close to being all. In the fall I was the Head Volleyball coach. That was quite an experience too. I don't remember who I talked to preparing for that, but I know I didn't do that on my own. Buy a book or two and away we go. There's another game that has truly evolved into something more in the past 26 years. In those days you didn't have backrow specialists or middle blockers. Girls basically played the entire rotation with possibly someone coming into serve once in a while.
After basketball season, it was onto coach track where I was the Head Boys and Girls Coach. I played golf in high school so you know what that means? More books. There was no internet, so it was just turning pages and talking to other coaches. To top it off, I started doing some baseball and softball umpiring in the summer as well. I'm tired now just thinking about it.
So, there's the coaching, but where was God? He was there, but I wasn't very interested. Most of you know I grew up with my dad as a preacher so I was in church most of the time if the doors were open. I knew about God, knew right from wrong, and basically lived a good life. Deb and I still went to church in Griswold every Sunday,but at this point there was no relationship and I was just too stubborn to do anything about it.
One thing that is so cool about God is that He's always there, but He doesn't stomp His feet and force us to go to Him. It's still always our decision. It's always a choice.
Nothing really changed in my life until what could be called a selfish decision turned into one of the most important moves in my coachng career and helpd me Find THE Way. More on that next time.......