Monday, November 28, 2016

A Science Guy's Almanac - Coaching Memories - Track & Field – Girl’s Track

Coaching Memories - Track & Field – Girl’s Track

I described a bit of my experience with the male distance runners on . Female distance runners proved to be as different from their male counterparts as the female shot putters were compared to their male counterparts.

An aside. 
  • When I was in Little League, I was slightly overweight and not fast. My dad told me I was big, but I should be fast, too. I ran laps around our 0.3-acre backyard for most of a year. I got faster. In 8th grade, I set the school record for the 100-yard dash.
  • There is scientific evidence that white muscle fibers—also known as “fast twitch fibers,” think chicken breast—contract quickly for speed applications. Evidence also indicates that a certain amount of red fibers— also known as “slow twitch fibers,” think chicken thigh—can be converted to white fibers if they are used for speed applications. The converted fast twitch fibers convert back to slow twitch if you don’t sprint.
  • I didn’t sprint much after I ruptured the disk in my back at age 18. By the time I was coaching most of my converted fibers had backslidden into their previous state.
  • In theory, I should have been a reasonable distance runner. 
  • I wasn’t.

The girls were after me to run with them during workouts. I put them off for a while. Finally, I asked where they wanted me to run with them. The ringleader pointed to a water tower in the distance.

While I didn’t know the exact distance from the school to the tower, I knew it was uphill over half the way. I told them I’d run the next time they were running a flat distance.

That day soon came.

We start “running.” 

I run at one pace. 


The girls rotated back to where I was for about fifteen minutes. By then, we were at a fork in the road. They started down the right fork.

“Hold it,” I called.

They stopped.

“How far down that road are you running?” I asked.

“All the way to Campo Road,” they answered.

What they were running was known at that time as “Olsen’s Block” after a very good cross-country runner from early in school history. The block was over six miles long.

“I’ll be turning here,” I said, pointing at the left fork that looped back to the school.

“Okay,” they called and headed off.

About twenty minutes later I made it back to the school’s track. Not all that much later, the lead runners from the right fork arrived. 

I shook my head in a combination of disbelief and admiration.

On the days of track meets, the first event was always the girls’ two-mile race. The goal was to finish that race before anything else began. Since track meets are l-o-n-g, every chance to cut some time was appreciated.

One of our meets was on a day when there were no school district busses available in time to get our girl 2-milers to the track in time to warm up and run before the meet began. I volunteered to take our three runners in my car.

I was driving a 1965 VW bug at the time. I’d painted it yellow and had red Naugahyde seat covers put on to match the Monte Vista Monarch’s crimson and gold.

We got to the track.
They ran.
We won. We probably swept or took 2 of the first 3 places. They were excellent runners.
Once all the distance events were completed, I offered to take them back to Monte Vista.
They accepted.
I dropped them off and drove home.
As I turned into my driveway, the right rear wheel fell off the axle.
It turned out that the cotter pin holding the wheel on was missing.
Clockwise from top left. Cotter pin--note the shape. A notched nut on an axle without cotter pin. Installing the cotter pin. All's right with the world.
  • In VW’s the axles have holes through them near the ends. Wheels slid onto the axles. A nut with notches in it is tightened until one set of notches aligns with the hole in the axle.
  • A cotter pin—upper left photo—is dropped into the hole and through the notched nut--photo below right of the cotter pin.
  • The cotter pin is a single piece of metal that is folded back on itself. It has a loop in the end so it won’t slide through the hole in the axle.
  • This step is CRITICAL. You have to bend one leg of the cotter pin once it’s through the hole in the axle—far right photo.
  • The correctly installed wheel looks like the blue rim shown in the lowest photo.
  • If you don’t bend the cotter pin—or don’t install one—the nut loosens over time.
  • When the nut is loose enough, it comes off the axle.
  • The wheel follows the nut soon thereafter.
  • I found the nut in my hubcap.
  • I never found a cotter pin.
  • I did use one when I put the wheel back on the next morning.

I thank God to this day that the wheel didn’t fall off while driving at 50 mph with the girls in the car.

Next Almanac: Coaching memories – Soccer, the first go-around

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Expressions of Faith: Happy Hospitality

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
(1 Peter 4:9 NIV)

Happy Hospitality

Before dementia took it’s toll, my mom was the embodiment of this verse.

Even now, although she may not know who you are, one of her first questions when you enter the board-and-care home in which she live will be, "would you like something to eat?"

Thanksgivings at “Owen and Burdie’s” (my dad and mom) home meant as many as 40 people gathered in a giant potluck and fellowship.
  • Not all were family.
  • Some years, not even half were related to Mom.
  • Every year included what she sometimes called “strays”—those without another place to land for the holiday.

As long as I can remember, over 65 years now, she has hosted travelers and fed those without family to support themselves—any week of the year.

I never heard her grumble once.

Next Friday's Expression of Faith Series: Love Deeply

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Timeless Truths – Don’t Forget to Say Thanks

I hope you have/are having a 
Happy Thanksgiving Day!
This is from a sermon on 11/24/2002

We need to take time to reflect on God’s provision for us

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Deuteronomy 8:10

Thankfulness is rooted grammatically in thoughtfulness. They have the same root word. 
Hmmm. That might be significant . . . 
Ya think?

The Message of Moses
If you THINK, then you will THANK!

Be careful that you did not forget the Lord your God… Deuteronomy 8:11


1. Things money won’t buy.
No amount of money can purchase peace.
“A heart at peace gives life to the body…” Proverbs 14:30
The desert was designed to teach the Children of Israel about depending on God.
Other things money can’t buy:
  • Health. This is something we usually take for granted until it’s gone.
  • Happiness. Money buys moments of pleasure, not happiness.
  • Prayer. Fortunately, no money is needed to approach and speak with God.
  • Purpose. You cannot buy God’s plan for your life.

Bottom line: The most reliable things can’t be purchased.

2. Things you won’t always have.
Things like:
  • Family.
  • Friends.
  • Opportunities to give money, time, skills.

One man gives freely, yet gains even more…
Proverbs 11:24

3. Things time might steal.
Things like:
  • Memories. Not only positive memories.
  • Possibilities.

Don’t get caught up with trying to impress others so much that you forget to give thanks for what you have.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13
4. Things that are eternal.
Eternal life does not begin with our death.
Eternal life begins with our salvation.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…
John 3:16
Things like:
  • Jesus.
  • Salvation. This is based on our relationship with Jesus.
  • Hope of heaven.

It’s much easier to be thankful for the temporal rather than for the eternal.


No one can force you to be grateful.

Gratitude comes from the heart,

through the head,

when we think about eternal things.

Special thanks to Dr. Keith Newman for the primary teachings used in this post. I invite you to his blog, which he's titled Curious Sojouner.

We're back to our Body Building series next week.
Next Thursday's Timeless Truths Series: Body Building - The Workout Part 3

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