All posts by Zach Miller

Special Ed Field Day

Sports have been a part in my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up with a divorced family from the second I was born so sporting events were one thing that always brought both sides of my family together. When I was only six years old, my mom signed me up for my first soccer session. I played soccer from when I was five years old all the way up through my senior year of high school. I then started playing basketball in the fifth grade and always played that all the way though senior year. I played baseball for about four years and gave football a try once as a freshman in high school. Even though I played sports my whole life, I never really knew what it meant to be fortunate enough to partake in athletic events until the spring of my senior year.

Many of my friends through high school were a part of National Honor Society. I, however, was not. Due to being a part of NHS, they are required to do some sort of project before they graduated. My friends couldn’t think of anything so they came to me but I was clueless. We all went and talk to our gym teacher and he came up with the idea of holding a “Special Ed Field Day” at our school. They loved that idea and they asked me to be a part of this project. When hearing this idea, never did I imagine how big on an event this was about to be.

I won’t bore you with all the planning that went into this but we worked for many hours trying to get sponsors to donate money as well as contacting different schools in the area to attend our field day. We ended up having 13 schools commit to our event which totaled 81 participants. We were ecstatic but also nervous for how big this got.

All the schools arrived around 8:45 on a beautiful Friday morning in May. We had all different events set up such as 100-meter dash, little hurdles, football throw, and much more. All day long there was nothing but smiles on all the participants faces. I couldn’t believe how much of a success the entire day was so far. At the end of the day, we set up a podium for kids to walk up and we would hand them a medal for coming. We had someone over a loud speaker call the kids name individually, one by one, to receive their medals.

My three friends and I were the ones handing out the medals. It was now my turn to give out a medal to one of the kids. He came sprinting up to the podium with one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen. I put the medal around his neck and he gave me a huge hug. He then looked up at me and said, “I’ve never been a winner before.” I had to work so hard to hold back the tears. That one comment is what made that event so special and is why I will never forget that day.

What many people don’t realize is how fortunate they are. People take their ability to participant in sports for granted. They shouldn’t. There are so many kids out there that would give everything they had to be able to play sports. Personally, I look back to my high school career in sports and realize how selfish I was. I would complain about having to run during practice or do stupid drills when there are kids out there that dream about being able to dribble a basketball or shoot a soccer ball.

Coaching changes. Not as simple as it looks!

Many people have played some sort of sport in their lifetimes and played under the leadership of a coach. Some people have experienced a good coach that they look up to and consider a role model. Others, however, may have experienced a coach that they couldn’t stand and hope to never see again. Personally, I have experienced many that fall into both of those categories. I have even once had a coach that I loved and he stepped down from coaching and then I was stuck with a coach I hated. Coaching is like any other job regarding fulfilling the job description as well as making money doing it. Coaches may come across a better opportunity later in their careers that would cause them to leave their current team. When a coach leaves, it calls for many various parts of action to take place to replace the old coach.

Chris Morgan knows all about what it takes to replace a coach and all the challenges that come with it. Morgan is the Athletic Director for Division III Elizabethtown College, and has held the position title for about three years now. In that time, Morgan has been responsible for hiring coaches for eight different teams. People will either compliment the new coach or criticize them for their new coaching strategy. But they never realize all the tireless hours and energy that go into selecting a new coach, especially at the college level. Sadly, coaches are not staying at the same organization for the long amounts of time like they once did. “Ten years ago, I would expect coaches to be around for a long time,” Morgan said. “With today’s generation, many seem to be switching jobs more often.” Since coaches aren’t sticking to one team as long anymore, the steps for hiring new coaches are becoming more regular.

So much time and effort go into hiring a new coach. First, the college selects a search committee that will review the candidates and assist in making the final decision. The search committee consists of other coaches and faculty of the college. The ad for a new coach will be posted for about two to three weeks before being taken down. After it is taken down, the search committee and Morgan review the applications and narrow the list of applicants down to about six to 10 people. Then interviews are held via Skype with the applicants and the search committee. The interviews usually last about 25 minutes for each candidate. They are asked about 15, predetermined questions and then have a chance to ask their own questions to Morgan and the search committee at the end. The list of candidates is narrowed again, this time to around three people. Next, the candidates are invited to the campus, where they spend a full day. The visit consists of them meeting with the search committee, vice president of the college, and representatives of the particular team they are applying to coach for. The day then ends with them meeting with Morgan and talking about exactly what is expected of them if they are offered the job. The last step of the process is Morgan and the search committee will send a recommendation request for the final candidate to be hired to the president of the college. Once he or she approves it, a verbal offer is given.

Morgan explained how picking a new coach is something that is never on someone’s agenda. It always seems to happen at the most opportune times and piles up on all the other daily work that needs done. Athletic Directors, specifically, feel pressure when picking new coaches. “I don’t know if I’m supposed to or not but I feel a lot pressure when hiring a new coach,” Morgan said. “I’m building a team. We are all part of a team here as coaches and staff members to serve our students and I want to build the right team. I want to make the right hire because it’s a big decision that takes a lot of time and energy.”

A lot of people love to complain about having a new coach come into a program but in reality those people have it easy compared to the person who have to go through the process of hiring a new coach. “Many people just to conclusions on a coach as soon as they get hired,” Nate Butler, Warrior Run High School Athletic Director, said. “Many times, they bring up issues or complaints to me about the coach before they even give them a chance.”  Athletic Director’s go through many stages to attempt to find the most fit applicant for the job. Many factors are taken into play before making the final decision. People need to put trust in their athletic department to make the right decision because they work tirelessly and put in tons of effort in hope that they can find the “perfect” candidate for the job.

 

Could I ever be a journalist?

How can someone draw a line between what is ethical and not ethical to write a story about as a journalist? Is there any story worthy enough to write that may destroy a relationship that you have with someone? How can anyone make choice? These are just some of the things a journalist need to think about or ask themselves before they decide to write and publish a story.

In class today we discussed a few different ethical situations which is when I realized that I would never be able become a journalist. It is unfortunate for reporters and journalist because they have to cover stories that could potentially ruin someones life. They more unbelievable the story is, the more reads it will get. That’s how it works. On the other side of things, that “unbelievable story” may make someone else’s life go right to hell. Some journalist may even go too far and over step boundaries to get a juicy story that will be read by many.

Our professor asked us to give a rate of how ethical we believe that journalist are from a one being unethical, to a ten which is ethical. I was forced to give them a two. I have seen too many instances where a journalist just wanted to get a hard to believe story out and ended up ruining someones life. However, I have never been a journalist so I don’t understand how demanding the job is to get the juiciest possible story, but I think the journalist need to consider other people’s feelings to some extent.

I can see it from a journalist’s standpoint though. They have a job and that job is to report news and get people to read it. Nobody will read a boring story. Journalist need to make a living and get people to read their stories. However, where is the line between something you know everyone will read about and crossing an ethical line and ruining someones life. Personally, I could never determine that line and would never be able to ruin someone’s life just so I could get people to read a story. Journalism will never be a profession that I will enter into.

A Bad Attitude Can Ruin An Athlete

If you were a coach and got to pick an attribute for your star player to have, what would it be? Many basketball coaches would say, “I want someone tall, like 6-foot-8.” Soccer coaches would say something like, “I want someone really fast who can out run everybody.” Football coaches would say something like, “I want someone who is a freak in the weight room and can bench an insane amount.” If I were a coach, no matter what sport it was, none of those things would matter to me. One attribute that can take a star player in high school to a nobody in college is attitude.

 

I have seen so many great athletes let their poor attitudes take a toll on their performances. For example, there was a young man in high school who was extremely good at soccer and basketball in high school. They only problem was his attitude. He would always show up to practice late and even sometimes have the guts to not show up. Even though he was the star player of the team, the coach would make him run as a consequence for not being there or being late. He would run and not say anything about it. During practice, if he did something wrong and the coach would point it out, he always had an excuse or would argue with the coach. During basketball games, if he got the ball stolen from him, he would just stand there and watch the opposing player go down the court and score and never hustle back to play defense. If his team was even down by two goals in soccer or more than 15 points in basketball he would shut down and put his head down.

 

Attitude is a major key in being an athlete and being involved in sports. Most people don’t realize that but only see people by their athletic abilities. Having a good attitude will enable someone to become better at the game. Someone who has a good attitude and some sort of athletic ability is able to be coached unlike someone who thinks they are the best at the game and likes to continue in their bad habits.

Cinderella Story

“Why don’t you put your talent to good use?” my gram would always say. I played soccer ever from age six all the way up until I was 14 years old. Once I was in high school I decided not to play anymore. However, I always loved to play recreation leagues with my friends and always play pick-up games for fun at our high school on Sundays. There was just something about competitive soccer that I just didn’t like. Honestly, I think it was because of all the running that was part of practices. I would always be playing soccer in the backyard and it would always piss my gram off so bad that I wouldn’t play for the high school team.

In the summer before my senior year, my mom finally started to join my gram. She would always complain about how I should have never given up playing soccer and I am still good enough to be playing competitively. I started to listen to them both and told them I would give it a shot. The only problem was that the season was already three days in so I had missed three days of practice. My mom emailed the coach and the captains of the team had a meeting and decided to let me onto the team.

The first couple practices were a little rough because I hadn’t played in so long but after that, it was such a fun time. I made so many new friends. I played JV which I was fine with because I got a lot of playing time and did very well. However, one of the kids hadn’t been playing well so the coach benched him and gave me the starting spot in the second to last game of the season. I played well with the other varsity players and we ended up having a good enough record to make playoffs.

I started to first game of playoffs and had the game winning assist. The next game something happened that I will never forget. Our star played took a shot in the first half that hit off one of the defenders and came rolling back to my feet. I squared myself up the goal and took a shot that ended up in the back of the net. We won that game 1-0 with me scoring the only goal. The newspapers all had write up in the paper calling it a “cinderella story.” Ever since that time, I have never been scared to try something new. I always put my mind to something and get it done to the best of my ability no matter what it is.