"Coach B"

Call me sexist, old fashioned whatever you'd like, but when my wife and I were blessed with daughters who are definitely my princesses - well I never thought I would end up being a coach. I mean, I don't know anything about dancing, or cheerleading, or drill team, or... you get the picture.

Well I was wrong. (Yes again - go figure.) When my oldest was 7 she decided she wanted to play baseball in the local coach pitch league which prompted my youngest to want to play t-ball. Who knew? Alright I thought, - we'll watch them play for a year, be as supportive as possible, and assure them at the end of the summer that it's okay if they don't want to play anymore. I told myself I would just stay on the sideline, not be too pushy, you know one of "those parents." Then K's coach decided he could not coach. The team was left abandoned. "Do it Jim. You know you want to," I heard from more than one parent - and they were right. So, I got down on one knee and called the team together - "Hi gang," I said "I'm 'Coach B.'"

-I will forever be grateful for the privilege.

I coached in the coach pitch league for two years, both as a head coach and as an assistant for t-ball. I loved that it was a teaching league. We were in the field with the kids teaching them the game. It was incredible. I could write a book, (To be honest I have one started, though I haven't worked on it in years.) especially about that first year. But that was only the first chapter for "Coach B."

When the girls were done with baseball - I didn't know what might come next. K started volleyball the next fall. I knew she hoped I could help out with that. Eagerly she came to me and said "Daddy, I'm playing volleyball this year. Can you help?" I reached back as far as I could, looked down at my daughter, and gave her this sage advice -

"Don't spill your beer."


To me, volleyball was a backyard, family gathering, beach, at the pub game, usually played with beer in hand. I didn't know anything about "real volleyball." I explained this to K. She was cool with that. We moved on. Right about then I figured my time as "Coach B" had come to an end.

Basketball season started.

Now I hadn't played much organized basketball but I had coached one year in a rec league in my early 20's. Of course that ended with me getting thrown out of the gym. It's another story, I was perfectly justified, and I would do it again. Still, I didn't really think I was qualified anymore to be a "head basketball coach." As it turned out, I didn't need to be. Another Dad had the job already. When he asked for help at the team meeting - well I was drawn. I'm just fascinated with the game. I wanted to help, and you know be involved with my daughter. I showed up at the gym - Scott asked me to jump in and I became an assistant - which it turns out I liked even better.

I was the assistant for softball too, (Thanks Matt) and many of "my girls" played on those teams as well.

Yes, "my girls." For those five years, and even still today instead of 3 daughters I sometimes had, or have as many as 10 or 11. I love them all.

As it turns out, for "Coach B," (and later sometimes "Mr. B,") coaching isn't about X's and O's. It's about - well I'm not gonna sit here and blow my own horn...

Today's entry was inspired by this
story from one of Annette's co-workers. Believe me, it's worth the read... Go on, I'll wait.

I told you.

Last year, I had some idle time on my hands. My girls had all grown up. Then D's coach asked me to help. Since D has a mean jumper that I love to watch up close and personal - I jumped at the chance.

Who am I kidding I just love coaching. The girls have two years left. Who knows? Maybe then I'll have even more daughters.

I feel so lucky to be "Coach B."

Thanks Girls!

"Welcome Back" Wait a minute...?

Walking through the stacks at work today, I came across a co-worker from another division. I said "hi." He said, "hi," and then he said, "welcome back."

Huh?!! How'd he know I? ... - Wait a minute he's been reading my blog. That's kinda cool. I knew he had read the early post explaining the blog name - Jimmer, but he was coming back and reading my later posts as well. As I said, cool, but...

I admit that I think this blog thing is ultra neat, (I always wanted to say neat) but I have yet for the life of me been able to figure out why anyone would want to read what I have to say. I mean I get why friends and family read each others' blogs. They're keeping up with each other in a manner of speaking. And don't get me wrong, this fella, (Neat and fella all in one paragraph - you try it.) is a nice friendly guy, but I wouldn't say that we are friends - at least not in the sense of "family and friends."

Now before anyone starts thinking I'm feeding my ego, that's not my intent.

What fascinates me about this is the way that it brings people together. I now know things about friends, family, and yes co-workers that I might never have known about before. Their interests, what drives them, what holds them up. In the ever evolving to vanilla, politically correct, don't step on my neighbors toes, don't talk to my child, etc... and so on world we live in these days - I think that's pretty amazing. I think that's what finally brought me to this point. I place great value on relationships, and I'm drawn to things that allow them to be built.

I know there are some who are saying: "Duh Jimmer. Welcome to the party." But if they've been following along - they know I haven't always been on time.


A Meme

I found this on a co-workers blog, and thought I'd try it out myself.
TYPE ONLY '1' WORD. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

1. Where is your cell phone? belt

2. Your significant other? patient

3. Your hair? graying

4. Your mother? heart

5. Your father? distant

6. Your favorite thing? "smile"

7. Your dream last night? weird

8. Your favorite drink? coffee

9. Your dream/goal? a$$et$

10. The room you're in? office

11. Your fear? broke

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? home

13. Where were you last night? puttering

14. What you're not? ego

15. Muffins? no

16. One of your wish list items? car

17. Where you grew up? everywhere

18. The last thing you did? drove

19. What are you wearing? work

20. Your TV? left

21. Your pet? playful

22. Your computer? useful

23. Your life? conflicted

24. Your mood? winding

25. Missing someone? Netter

26. Your car? old

27. Something you're not wearing? watch

28. Favorite Store? Lowe's

29. Your summer? different

30. Your favorite color? purple

31. When is the last time you laughed? afternoon

32. Last time you cried? afternoon

33. Something you hate to do: drive

34. Something you love to do: teach

35. Something you wish you were able to do well: earn

Why a blog now Jimmer? CML Learn&Play 7

This is my post about technology for Thing #7 of CML's Learn&Play program. I'm going out of order, but this is a post I had planned on doing today so it will have to be ok.

So, for those of you who are co-workers, this is work related. For those of you who are friends and family, it's a chance to learn more about what is going on in my big empty head.

So, why a blog now? The truth is I started this blog in March of this year because some friends had told me I "should." Because it wasn't something that was at the top of my radar screen, it just wasn't a priority and fell by the wayside.

But over the course of the summer I found myself following a number of friend's blogs and seeing all the great things they are up to, and I thought, (you saw the smoke right?) "Hmmm, well it might be fun to blog and let folks know what we are doing as well."

And then CML started the Learn&Play program - well now I had to blog. I mean it's for work you know? (Disclaimer - the Learn and Play program is voluntary - but there are some really cool prizes.)

And then I added a post to my blog, and then another, and another - and: How in the heck did someone who likes to run his mouth as much as I do ever live without a blog? Craziness! I even have a list now of things I want to blog about, and of course I love telling people what is up with my family because my girls are my favorite subject of all time.

So there you have it - a blog now so I can run my mouth and talk about all my girls. As the sub-title says, this is all really just a collection of thoughts and stories from my cluttered mind - so I can't make any promises, but I hope that some may find it at least entertaining and somewhat interesting - and if you don't - well tell me, and tell me why.

I'm always open to edits

Rock can hit a curveball I guess...

The last few nights I have been posting from the porch of our cabin. Tonight I find myself tucked safely inside. All because of "Rock." It's not a very original name for a raccoon I suppose, but it at leasts sounds a little tough which helps one understand why he is scaring the bejesus out of me.

Night one - I posted my blog, sat by the fire, spent some time on the porch and went to bed. Half way through the night Annette and I heard this terrific banging coming from the corner of the cabin. The whole cabin is all of 10x12 maybe so we thought one of the girls was up and started asking loudly - "Are you okay? Why are you up? What's wrong?" etc... Suddenly we heard a tremendous thud. I jumped up and turned on the light. Both girls were sound asleep. I ventured outside and found that our trash can had been knocked over. I cursed the many cats that roam the campground, did what all men do when they are outside at night camping and went back to bed. In the morning Annette informed me that she had seen a raccoon, but didn't want to tell me during the night so as not to alarm me. Unhuh!

Okay - NBD I thought. Surely he won't come back. Wrong!!!!!!! As I was on the porch typing last night ol' Rock decides it's time to check out the trash whether I'm there or not, sneaking up on an innocent Jimmer when he was looking the other way, um at his laptop. I stomped my foot repeatedly and he went away. (Proof that there is a God?) Of course, Netter came running out to see if everything was okay and why was I stomping and I explained that Rock was a big ol' fella that needed to be scared, and I took care of it. Sure, yeah right...

He was not - tonight he ventured onto the porch while we were all still at the campfire less than 8 feet from his entry-way. Annette scared him away initially. (I do love that woman) Alas he was only away a moment. Kailey had positioned herself so she could see the porch and darned if Rock didn't come back. Holy Cow! We all jumped up to see him and he ran away. Okay, enough is enough right? No, I spotted Rock hiding under the cabin and as soon as all the girls walked away from the fire to get ready for bed, there he was again. I watched carefully as he checked out our pool supplies, but when he got near my grilling stuff, well I banged away and he ran. A man has to protect his grilling stuff right?

Only when it comes to outdoor stuff, I'm not so much the grill master, (though I really enjoy grilling) as the... well I can kill a spider pretty good. (At home, I usually curse said spider and tell him that unless he is ready to write a check for rent he has to go.)

And I married Ranger Annette. No really, my wife is all outdoors woman. She loves it. Well, except the crunchy bugs, but as I said I can kill a bug or two and curse them out for bothering my wife.

Over the years I've learned to make a pretty good fire, traverse my way through a hike or two and even to appreciate different kind of plants. Well, she tells me what type they are and I say "Yes, Honey that's really nice," and we move on. Hey if she can listen to my sports stories the least I can do is try some outdoor stuff right?

In fact, only one time before this have I not tried to go along and just deal with it. Annette's Dad was trying to teach me how to fish, cast, reel, and on and on. I was really frustrating him, and I was getting frustrated that he was frustrated. Finally, I looked at him and said "Dad, can you hit a curveball?" He looked puzzled. I said, "no really, can you hit a curveball because I can." I wasn't trying to be disrespectful because some things are just harder for some people or come more naturally for others and I wanted him to know that there were some things I was "capable of." I honestly don't know if he even heard me and it was very early in our marriage of course, and I have since learned all the things he was trying to teach me and if I may say so, make at least an adequate fisherman.

Anyway - I know tonight Netter is being nice and not laughing at me, but this is one time I could not just deal with it stand up and face the outdoors because I'm pretty sure Rock can not only hit a curveball, but can probably knock the thing right out of the park.

Typing safely from inside - Jimmer

Vacation part deux

We've been having a great time so far at Beechwood Acres.

On the way in yesterday we stopped at a local farmer's market and ran into this fella guarding the cash box. This was just the kind of mood we needed.

Later we headed for the pool and just some downtime. Ever seen a sky this blue?

(This was taken from the middle of the pool.)

Unfortunately, further pics and such are going to have to wait until we get home as we are discovering that while it is nice to have WiFi at the campground, it's not exactly the fastest connection and doesn't tolerate uploading very well at all.

We'll try again tomorrow, but may have to wait until we get home. Sorry 'bout that.

It's 11:07 and the ladies are all asleep. I slept in until 12:30 today and I'm a bit of a night owl. And to answer, yes it was very nice to have an air conditioned cabin, warm blankets, and no other cares in the world to be able to sleep that late.

Today was filled with more swimming, a nice hike to and along the beaches of Lake Cowan, and more good times with family. Although we are finding out that the girls are tied to their technology a little more than we thought as once the swimming ended today things got a little "boring" for them. No worries though it's a good lesson to learn.

As I close the day I'm struck with this thought - there is nothing like a time for reflection, a time to take stock, and I have so many things running around in my head and ideas for when we get back it's actually kind of scary.

Time will tell as they say...

I'm on Vacation

We are on vacation this week. Nothing big, we're at a campground near Wilmington called Beechwood Acres. It's very affordable, gives us a few days away and allows us some time with the girls before they go back to school.

Oddly enough, it doesn't take us away from our technology. They just added WiFi this year so here I am on the laptop with my new favorite thing - blogging, the girls have taken every opportunity to check their text messages, and even Annette has been fielding email and phone messages from her family as they work to plan a party to celebrate her parent's 25th wedding anniversary.

Me, I'm just checking in with the world because it's so much a part of my routine each day to check "all my sites" (thank goodness for Google Reader), 3 of 4 email accounts, and updates on the Learn & Play program at CML. Whew! Hardly time to vaca hey?!
No, I purposely made myself wait until late in the day to add this post and my Google Reader has many unread items left.

We will post some pics tomorrow, and I'm sure I'll have plenty of posts for the week as I have all these things I want to talk / post about now that I have a blog. Bet I'm not the first guy eh?! Good thing Netter has started a blog to keep everyone up with the practical side of our lives - check her out at practicallynetter.blogspot.com.

Now it's time to enjoy the fire and my girls.

Learn and Play post 1A

Easiest - Teach / Mentor others. This is what I do everyday.
Hardest - View problems as challenges. Though I get to this point eventually my heart on my sleeve style of doing things usually means I follow this pattern - "What the..? How the..? Who in the..? Do they really..? Alright, deal with it Jim. Fix it or find a solution.

Hmmm... Wonder if that makes me a good lifelong learner or not?

I will admit when it comes to some things I am late to the party. I might even say I'm stubborn. Some examples.

Remember when we had to pass a PC knowledge test at the library. Don't tell anyone but I only "passed" because the person giving the test was very kind and patient and said fun things like, "Jim, what is this thing here with the buttons that looks like it might be a small rodent?" No, I'm just kidding she didn't say that exactly, but she was very helpful and patient and I still barely "passed."

The first computer in my house came courtesy of my wife who said she was buying it whether I liked it or not. I only used it because it allowed me to play computer golf and I swore that was all I would ever EVER do on it. Ahem, yes I do now own 4 computers and I do teach people to use computers and I do work on the computers and they are all networked and... Yeah but you see what had happened...

I swore I would never have a cell phone, then I would never have a cell phone with a camera. I now have a cell phone with a camera that I use quite a bit and we are considering getting rid of our home phone. Stop laughing at me...

Okay - that's just a few, I'm sure there are more. Leave me a comment if you can think of more "Stubborn Jim moments."

I can handle it.


I know some will read this blog's title and wonder about the name "Jimmer." Here's the skinny -

As a kid several family members on my Mom's side called me "Jimmer." I was never really fond of it and I was glad to eventually grow out of it so to speak. And then -

Well - One year at the MJB, my Mom called me Jimmer in front of my hockey teammates. Oops! Hockey teammates by definition are required to hassle each other one way or another as much as possible - all in fun of course. Ever been in a locker room? Put it this way - I wouldn't let my kids anywhere near ours. But as I say it's all fun - until your Mom pulls out a nickname you just don't like - and the guys know it. Suddenly I was Jimmer on the ice and I did not like it one bit.

However - in the past couple of years I've spent a lot of time trying to measure the true intent of people as I interact with folks and it occurred to me that my teammates meant no harm - in fact quite the opposite is / was probably the case. And as I'm getting older I'm really more appreciative that someone wants to call me something besides a**hole, idiot, jerk etc...

So the nickname stays and as the true appreciation for the name starts with my hockey team - well -

At my core, I am a hockey player, not because I'm all that good at the game, but more because of my mindset - a certain set of values and teamwork that I've tried to develop over my almost 40 years. It's something that I'm passionate about and care about quite a bit. My hockey team is my second family - so as a call out to the fellas - the life of Jimmer goes into print.

learn and play at CML

So - I started this blog with good intentions back in March and like most of my projects it got shuffled to the back, bottom, off of my radar... You get the picture. I guess now that I can work on it at work I should take the time to clean it up and get it going again.

Here we go...