Wednesday, July 30, 2008

sports photographer??

Southside Baseball just hosted the Ohio Valley Regional bringing in the best all-star teams from Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia & Indiana. I put together the website & shot all the games with my new Nikon D40 (fabulous camera btw). Here are links to the best shots of each day's play:

Monday, July 28, 2008


There is this duality. It is on one hand this enigmatic free-flowing abstract relationship with Christ. This thing that keeps telling me that it’s not about logic and linear—it keeps calling me to break down all the walls and ways modern life seems to want to frame and define it. It keeps saying, “Be.” “Be with Me in the unique ways I have created you. No formulas. No secret code. In idiosyncrasy and oddity, be—you and me.”

And on the other hand is the structure of a church. Leaders in rank and groups assigned to tasks. And somehow this organization, these leaders, have to lead out of this place of the abstract “Be,” yet in organized unity and within the lines and definitions of an organization. It’s as if my life as a staff person is to live the abstract painting; yet within the confines of canvas and frame.

And in this duality it can be hard to draw my worth solely from Christ when at the same time functioning within an organization where we’re all trying to be very effective for Christ. It is in essence trying to “be” and to “do” at the same time. Yes, my being is anchored and has value only in Christ. Yet my calling, my job, is performance based—not just by human standards, for I shall in the future “give an account...”
All I really know after ten years is that this dance is easier said than done.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Oakbrook in the news

The Kokomo Perspective gave Oakbrook's summer 3 on 3 basketball league some great coverage. Way to go Monty Sanders for raising up & leading the league (& playing pretty mean hoops himself!). Check out the story. (photo by Perspective)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Youth League All Stars

First, I am happy that Slater was chosen and got the experience to play on the 12 yr old all star team. I am thankful to the coaches who thought enough to vote him in and to the great guys who coached him.

Why I’m not for all-stars

1. It’s for too few kids
With the city tourney followed by the all-star season, the majority of kids are done playing by the middle of June. So most kids are just a few weeks into summer vacation and there’s no baseball. If there were no all-stars, more kids could play longer or the season could start later. (As it is now the weather allows for very little quality outdoor practice before the season.)

2. all-stars, all-stars, all-stars!
We’re doing all stars to death----we now have all stars at every age starting with 8s. If all-stars were left for the 12s it would be more special. As it is, most of the same 12 kids play it every year.

3. money, money, money
We played two weekend tourneys; one in town and the other in northwest IN. We played Thurs-Sun in St. John IN. We spent $238 in gas and an oil change that weekend. That didn’t include incidental food or admission into the ballpark. We took coolers to cut down on our food expense. But what about families that don’t have the money for this? Or think how much money just one team spends collectively on just one weekend. We lost on Sun; had we won we would have gone up the next weekend too.

4. little practice time
After the city tourney ends there’s hardly any time for a team of all-stars to really practice together. Kids play positions they aren’t used to and with kids they aren’t used to. That doesn’t allow you to get the most out of your potential-packed team.

So what if we didn’t have all-stars?

a) We could start the season later and end later utilizing better weather; or we could extend the season for all kids.

b) We could add a week-long baseball camp or some clinics to the season.
For a fraction of what a family spends on a weekend of an out of town tourney, a league could hold a baseball camp and pay guys to come in & teach it. That would elevate the level of play of ALL the kids in the league. It would specifically help kids get sound batting, pitching, fielding and base-running fundamentals.

You could offer specific mini-camps for pitching---a skill that needs to be taught to more kids. The same could be said for hitting. I think the idea of clinics is much needed since I observe that even at the major league level, not all coaches are adept at teaching these skills to kids.

Bottom line--I think we could do things to benefit all the kids and elevate the overall skills of the league rather then just give a small miniority of kids an all star experience.

MLB All-star Whine ('08 vintage)

The last all star game at Yankee stadium was a historic midnight oil-burning 15 inning 4:40 contest, finally won by the American League.

Aside from the drama of the lengthy stalemate and the THREE errors of Dan Uggla, the story was the whine of having to use pitchers more than the expected 1-2 innings. Afterwards you would have thought they were asking them to pitch six innings, shine the shoes of the opposite team, sell cotton candy in the upper deck and then move a set of barbells up to Bud Selig’s attic.

“It’s unreasonable to ask these guys to pitch this much in an All Star Game—it’s ridiculous!” bemoaned the ESPN gallery. The announcers were talking about these multi-million dollar world class athletes like they were fragile antiques likely to break if used too much.

Are you kidding me?! These pitchers are world class athletes in their twenties. How dare they be expected to play a few innings in an all-star game? After all, they are only in unbelievable physical shape and getting paid multiple millions to play baseball far less than 12 months a year.

To be fair we should have expected employers in the U.S. to allow their employees Wed. morning off since they had to stay up and watch that game til 1pm. “It’s unreasonable to expect to stay up that late and still go to work the next day—it’s just too much!!” Yes, we laugh at the ridiculousness of that thought, but it’s not an unrealistic parallel.

Let’s get some of the baseball greats in a round circle discussion: Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig. Explain to these ghosts what the life of an MLB pitcher is like in lifestyle, salary, endorsements etc and ask them if pitching a few more innings in an all star game that the whole country is watching is unreasonable.

Enough already---let’s just expect MLB players to be big enough boys to play a few or few more innings if duty calls. I don’t think it’s too much to ask of a multi-million dollar world-class athletes.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Can't say that I'm a Styx fan but...I really dug seeing them play live with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland on VH1 Classic tonight.

Yeah, yeah, we've seen the rock band with the orchestra before--nothing new, but...this one was different. The orchestra was YOUNG people in t-shirts and jeans. Nothing stuffy--they were INTO it! And the band was digging that they were into it. There was interaction between the orchestra & the band that felt, fun, real--like rock-n-flippin-roll! There was really something different about this "rock band with an orchestra" from all the others I've seen before. I couldn't help but really dig it.

Styx's latest drummer is Todd Suchermann & he's ridiculously good--really caught my eye and ear. So much so that I got online during the broadcast to see who this guy was. Tommy Shaw & founder James Young were the consummate rock front men: leading it, digging it, interacting and seemingly loving every minute of it. I think the fact that everyone on stage (band & orchestra) was authentically loving it, made it compelling-- I just had to stay with it.

Here's a clip of it that gives you the feel of it. Notice the director of the orchestra & some of the facial expressions of people in the orchestra.

The keyboard player was a little hard to take. Don't know why they can't just play their parts without hamming & schticking it up. It's a keyboard--how sexy is it going to be?! ;-)

So there it is. Me in my living roomed surprised by how much I enjoyed Styx w/the Contemporary Youth Orchestra. Check it out--it may surprise you too.

Peace & rock on.