Sunday, December 15, 2002

Small School, Big Voice

If I could sit down and have dinner with any three people, other than family and close friends, Tom Brennan would be the first person I’d invite. Funny thing too because he cut me when I tried out for the UVM basketball team as a freshman. However, I always have admired Brennan's personality and lifestyle. What other college basketball coach ends his morning radio shows, “Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s a mystery, today’s a gift, that’s why we call it the present. So tear into it like a 5 year old on Christmas.”? He ended his 19-year coaching career at Vermont with three straight conference titles and the upset of Big East champion Syracuse. I interviewed him in his Burlington office in August 2002. I had written for the Burlington Free Press that summer, and did this profile on him in anticipation of when Vermont played North Carolina in Chapel Hill that December. After chatting with him for 50 minutes I told him I only had a couple more questions and, looking at the clock on the wall, that I was sorry for taking up so much of his time. He told me that I could take as long as I wanted and that “I don’t even see the clock.”

He can’t talk negatively, and frankly, he just can’t stop talking. When asked what he most dislikes about basketball, he’ll tell you recruiting. But don’t interrupt (not like you can) and he’ll confess how much he reveres his job – none of his players leave early for the NBA and he hasn’t been fired in 17 years as University of Vermont’s head coach. Not a bad scenario for someone
who enjoys writing poetry and co-hosts a morning radio show in Burlington, Vt.

Besides the fact that “it’s hard to be a 17-year-old’s best friend when you’re 52,” Tom Brennan may despise recruiting for another reason. Every basketball team in the America East Conference is given 13 scholarships except Vermont, which receives 10 and a half. While many coaches might use this discrepancy as an excuse, Brennan realizes he doesn’t have the enormous pressure to win like many other division one head coaches, such as UNC’s Matt Doherty.

“There’s no gun to your head saying if you don’t win X amount of games you’re going to go or if you don’t win a championship in a certain amount of time,” Brennan said. “So I always feel very blessed that I never got popped and to me that’s a big thing.”

Another big thing for Brennan takes place on Dec. 19, when UNC hosts Vermont in a contest scheduled because of unique circumstances on Jan. 19, 2002. The two teams stayed at the same hotel before their respective road games against Connecticut and Hartford the following day. Both coaching staffs hit it off, resulting in the Dec. 19 game.

“We’re very grateful that Carolina will play us because it’s such a prestigious school,” Brennan said. “It really helps us because it’s a big pay day for us and it looks good on your schedule. It’s just a great game until you have to play it.”

Last April, Brennan tuned into the McDonald’s High School All-American game on television. He soon discovered the talented Tar Heels’ recruiting class of Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants and Sean May. Overwhelmed by UNC’s gifted trio, Brennan changed the channel after the announcer indicated the third player attending UNC. Even while recognizing Carolina’s teenage flair and deep tradition may hinder his chances of winning, he still relishes the opportunity to coach in the Dean Dome.

Regardless of the game’s outcome, fans will get their money’s worth with Brennan on the sideline. Carolina fans will soon learn what everyone in Patrick Gymnasium already knows, that Brennan is just as much a cheerleader as he is a coach.

“In games you can just look over and he’s putting on a little show on the sidelines,” said UVM co-captain Andre Anderson. “He jumps around and sprints down the sidelines. He’s always got that fist in the air. He’s an exciting guy and fun to be around.”

It’s no surprise he raises his arms in the air every time one of his players launches a shot outside the arc – he’s a veteran coach who loves games. But Brennan’s love for games goes beyond coaching.

“I’m at the point in my life I wish we had 80 games and 30 practices instead of the other way around,” he said. “I just love watching everybody go and seeing how people react to different situations. I really enjoy the whole ambience of it, everything about it.”

Recruiting is nothing more than a necessary evil,
I hate it more than Texans’ hate boll weevils.
Hey, I know it’s nothing more than a means to an end,
But really, I’m too old to have 17-year-old friends....

Brennan’s notoriety has inflated statewide to the equivalent of Jim Calhoun in Connecticut or Roy Williams in Kansas. And much of this can be attributed to the free publicity on his morning radio show. His popularity is so eminent that his show, “Corm and the Coach,” has been rated number one for the past 10 years by The Reader’s Choice, beating Don Imus and Howard Stern.

One night this past August, Brennan was watching the biography channel in his newly built home in Colchester. During the program, blurbs of different people popped on his screen. And sure enough one of them was Howard Stern, the often controversial but always well-recognized American entertainer. As the show examined Stern’s book and movie, the man plopped on his couch reflected on his radio success.

“You’re just a little guy in Burlington, but he came up here and you kicked his butt,” Brennan said. “To me that would be like going to Carolina and winning. It’s hard to do, it’s really hard to do.”

Brennan acknowledges the uniqueness of his situation, given the opportunity to work on the radio before 9 a.m. – promoting the basketball program and school, while developing his poetry hobby. In many ways he is a combination of David Stern and Howard Stern. He has the wit of a seasoned coach and the disposition of an entertainer. While he brings a similar personality to both jobs, there is a difference.

“Coaching is very real,” Brennan said. “You’re dealing with good guys and guys you really love and want to see do better and want to make better. Radio, you’re trying to get people to buy something they can’t afford and don’t need. And if they do it and you make them laugh one time, bingo, you hit the jackpot.”

The Burlington community adores Brennan because altruism is a part of his program, not just a publicity stunt. Every year the Vermont basketball players raise money for charity by serving almost a thousand people attending the annual Kevin Roberson Spaghetti Dinner. Roberson, a former conference player of the year at UVM, was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 1993. The event couldn’t be better for Brennan.

“State police are involved and I’m the maitre d’,” he said. “And I greet people and host them. It’s really the only thing I do well. If there ever was a job I was born to do that was it. But unfortunately we only do that one night a year.”

As his popularity increased, so did his poetry, which he began reading on the air about nine years ago. His self-proclaimed “Nipsey Russell” style reveals Brennan’s spontaneous nature.

“It’s a thing I really enjoy doing, but I don’t take it seriously,” he said. “I don’t sit in a cabin and contemplate the world and come up with ideas. I do it between the time I get to the radio at 5:30 and leave at 9:00.”

He has accumulated about 600 poems, the best of which he plans on publishing in the spring and titling, “Poetry for the Unwashed Masses.”

I don’t have to make promises that I know I won’t keep,
Because my players are individuals, not some heard of sheep.
They’re here to learn life lessons, not just play ball,
And the group I have now has stood nothing but tall....

Growing up in Phillipsburg, N.J., Brennan enjoyed playing a variety of sports, but particularly excelled in hoops, graduating as the all-time leading scorer at Phillipsburg Catholic High School. He followed his stellar prep school career at the University of Georgia, competing against the legendary Pete Maravich and Johnny Neumann.

Brennan traded his jersey and high-tops for a coach’s suit and wingtips after he graduated from Georgia in 1971. He broke into the division one ranks in 1982 as the head coach of Yale and has remained at Vermont since 1986.

Although Brennan earned his third America East Coach of the Year Award and Vermont set several school records last season, including 21 wins and its first regular season conference title, success wasn’t always typical in Patrick Gym. The Catamounts won 14 games in his first three seasons.

“I was given great advice by one of my assistants when we first got the job,” Brennan said. “We were like 3-24 or 5-20 something and I said, ‘This office sucks.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, but it’s yours.’ And I thought, you know what, it doesn’t suck that bad after all. And I never forgot that.”

And when I went to recruit them, I faked a good cheer,
But to tell the truth, I’m really glad they’re here.
Because this group is special, they’ve stolen my heart,
Mostly of course because they make me look smart....

Five years ago Brennan learned of an eight-year-old boy from Enosburg Falls, Vt., diagnosed with leukemia. Moved by the prognosis, Brennan provided Thomas Cook a position on the baseline near the team’s bench, serving as the ball boy for all home games. Some of the players grew close to Cook and were devastated by his death a year ago November. Still, Brennan uses Cook as a reminder to his players ofhow blessed they are.

“I say: ‘This guy would kill to run up and down. I’m going to have to tell him to run harder?’ I would never have to tell him to run harder.”

Serving as inspiration, a strong work ethic has never been a problem for his players. Just like Cook, Brennan’s upbeat spirit rubs off on those around him.

“He definitely supports us emotionally,” said sophomore Taylor Coppenrath. “Just seeing him and the way he speaks gets me motivated. It makes me want to play harder and do better.”

When Brennan’s English bulldog, Gunner, died in November, his players witnessed his emotional attachment.

“The only time I saw him down was when his dog died,” Anderson said. “Other than that he’s always up ready to go. He’s not really a down guy, he’s an exciting guy. His personality makes him the kind of coach you want to play for.”

It will be hard for the Catamounts to perform better than last season. Despite bringing 11 players back from a team that broke numerous school records, Vermont lost two of its top three scorers, including Trevor Gaines to graduation and point guard T.J. Sorrentine, who broke both wrists in a scrimmage on Nov. 1. Anderson will take over at the point, filling in for last year’s conference player of the year.

“It’s a big blow obviously,” Anderson said. “Personally, I have to take it as an opportunity. And at the same time everybody else has to pick it up and make up for T.J. by committee because we got the guys that can do it.”

Brennan may be the ideal person to help the team adapt without Sorrentine, having witnessed almost everything in his extensive basketball career. The same man who adopts certain trends like a popsicle craze last summer.

“I’m a tremendous creature of habit,” Brennan said in August. “Like now, I’m on this popsicle kick. I’ve been eating popsicles since it got hot. I’m eating like 20 a day. I don’t know what the hell the problem is. But I know by September I’ll never touch another popsicle.”

While his potato chip and candy cravings pass, he has maintained a routine after moving into his new house by Lake Champlain in the summer of 2001. One day driving home Brennan began thinking about how grateful he was to own this home and reflected how it became a reality. The first thing that came to mind was Roberson. Brennan reminded himself of his star player’s legacy.

“Well, one reason it happened is because that guy came. Man he meant so much to us and so much to this program.”

Still contemplating, Brennan ironically passed 40 Henry Street, Roberson’s residence his senior year, and beeped his horn.
Since then his team went on a tear. Tears of joy flowed down his cheeks when he won his first championship as a coach last March. Now every day Brennan drives out of his way to beep.

Although middle-aged, Brennan is young for a man who has accomplished all of his personal goals in life – made possible by a small division one school in a town in Vermont.

“I feel comfortable with who I am,” he said. “I love where I am. I really feel that this community and university has given so much to me and I get to give back to it every day through the radio and through our program. Then again, I’m not for everybody. Not many people want a disc jockey as their basketball coach.”

This story first appeared at in December 2002, three months before the Vermont men’s basketball team won its first conference title in school history. Vermont won titles in 2004 and 2005 as well, and Brennan retired as a coach in March 2005.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

The Catcher In The Rye

I admit it. This is the first book of “literature” that I enjoyed. And I only picked it up in the first place because it was on a summer reading list for my high school English class. Since the story is told by Holden Caulfield, a sixteen-year-old, who is expelled from prep school and shares his universal male adolescent views with the reader, it's no surprise why I first liked this novel. Written by J.D. Salinger, it is a classic about a young man coming of age, but also can be appreciated on an intellectual level. Yet, if you're not an avid reader, you may like this book, especially if you're a young man.

Friday, August 2, 2002

Climbing Continues to Expand, Evolve

Interest in climbing has skyrocketed across the nation, but climbers like 14-year-old Burlington resident Nikki Whelan are rare in Vermont.

Why? It’s an interesting question to ponder, considering Vermont is not exactly Kansas. It is, after all, known as the Green Mountain State.

The best American climbers often come from places like Boulder, Colo. (The unofficial climbing capital of the United States) or New York, New Hampshire or other states with high peaks.

The popularity of climbing has increased greatly in the last decade. Climbing gyms popped up across the country in the early 1990s, and with greater access, popularity rose. The expansion of climbing gyms introduced younger people to the sport. That has transformed climbing from an adult sport into one now dominated by older teenagers and climbers under 30 years old.

Climbing was not always what it is today. The sport has evolved from mountaineering, where climbers just wanted to climb mountains.

“As people wanted to go up more difficult rocks on mountains, they decided they could train for that on rock at lower elevations,” said former world-class climber Hilary Harris. “And that was when climbing was born. Rock climbing was a way of training for mountaineering and then it became a sport of its own.”

The pioneers of the sport put pieces of equipment into the rock to protect them as they climbed. This was called traditional climbing.

During the 1980s the French transformed the sport similar to the way climbing gyms changed everything in America. They put expansion bolts, or permanent rods, into the rock, making it lighter and safer to ascend a cliff because climbers no longer had to lug a heavy rack on their harness. This new style was called sport climbing, and many traditional climbers have questioned its legitimacy.

Nevertheless, sport climbing spread throughout Europe in the late 1980s as climbers built performance training devices.

“People started building these plywood walls in their basements and made small holes in them and trained that way,” Harris said. “And that was kind of how indoor climbing started.”

Soon the sport became more popular in America. Today, children are training more than ever and the competition is getting stiffer. However, Vermont has seldom produced top climbers.

Whelan is the exception to the rule. She is ranked second in the nation for girls 14 and 15 years old and is headed to France in the fall to compete for the U.S. Junior Climbing Team.

“It’s very abnormal that a climber that was so serious about climbing would ever move to Vermont because there is no climbing here, really,” said Harris. “For some reason the quality of rock in Vermont isn’t very good. It tends to be crumbly.”

This story accompanied the one above it in the Burlington Free Press.

Climbing the Walls

The sport of climbing became much popular in America toward the end of the millennium. The best climbers come from states with high mountaintops. Vermont, ironically, rarely produces top climbers. Nikki Whelan is an anomaly. This is a story, which I wrote in the summer of 2002, of Whelan and a more experienced climber who met by chance and gained more passion for the sport because of each other.

Hilary Harris knew moving to Vermont would be difficult.

She lived in Boulder, Colo., for 14 years. Climbing was the passion of her life. She came to Vermont in April 2001, driven here by personal reasons and career endeavors, planning to abandon the sport she loved.

A few months after arriving, Harris decided to stop by a Burlington climbing gym. There she found a reason to remain passionate about climbing.

Harris stumbled upon Nikki Whelan, a 14-year-old Burlington resident who has been a regular at the Petra Cliffs gym since its doors opened in March 2000.

“I went to the gym just to see what it was about and I saw Nikki and a couple other kids climbing and they caught my eye,” Harris said.

Whelan says it was flashes of “youthful enthusiasm” that piqued Harris’s interest.

Whelan quickly learned that Harris had coached climbers in Colorado and owned a remarkable climbing resume. The pair soon established a mentor-apprentice relationship, bound by a devotion to the sport. Whelan sparked Harris to begin climbing again. Harris, in turn, has turned her protege into one of the top young climbers in the world.

A different track

Across America, young people are gravitating toward sport climbing. As a freshman entering Burlington High School in the fall, however, Whelan is the only person she knows from the school that climbs. Whelan acknowledges she strives to be different from her peers, and her mother, Christine Whelan, is appreciative that she doesn’t have to deal with typical adolescent girl issues.

“She doesn’t follow a trend,” Christine Whelan said. “She makes her own trend, which I like. Then when everybody follows her trend she drops it.”

Her commitment to constant practice and dedication to the sport is reflected in her maturity. After all, you don’t become obsessed with boys, movies and makeup hanging out with adult climbers.

In a sport that Whelan and Harris say is 90 percent mental, technique takes up most of the remaining 10 percent. Whelan isn’t lacking in either area.

She attributes much of her success to Harris.

“Hilary is basically the one that got me to the point I am now,” Whelan said. “Without her, I think I’d just be an average climber. I really don’t think I’m any more talented than anyone else, but because of Hilary I’ve been able to get to the next level.”

Those who have seen Nikki climb rave over her agile footwork and excellent technique. However, like most elite climbers, it is her ability to thrive on pressure and perform better during competition that puts her above the crowd.

How far above the crowd is she?

Whelan is ranked second in the nation among 14- and 15-year-old females. She plans to travel to France for the World Competitions in September with the U.S. Junior Climbing Team if she can raise enough money to fund the trip.

In short, she’s come a long way from her first time climbing at the Racquet’s Edge in 1999.

“I thought I was horrible at it,” Whelan said of her first experience. “I was shaking the whole way up the wall and I couldn’t get over the ledge. Everyone was making fun of me because I looked so awkward up there. I guess I got better at it.”

On the rise

Her initial debacle kept Whelan away from the sport until Petra Cliffs opened. She went with her sister, Claire, 16, and has been hooked ever since, climbing four to five times a week.

Chip Schlegel, the owner of Petra Cliffs and Whelan’s first instructor, said he knew she had potential, but did not expect her to improve as quickly as she did. Less than a month into the sport, the Whelan sisters were traveling with the gym’s climbing team to compete in competitions in New England. Schlegel said Nikki Whelan did not perform as well as she could have that first year, but her improvement would soon appear.

In the 2001 season, Whelan won every competition but one and Harris was brought on board as her mentor.

“A coach can only do so much,” said Harris. “She puts a lot into it. She’s responsive to suggestions and follows the suggestion I give her. Probably her biggest strength is she doesn’t get down on herself when she fails. That’s what really has pushed her farther along than other people.”

Despite all her success, Whelan has had her share of bumps and bruises along the way. In December 2000, she tried lead-climbing, instead of top roping, for the first time. In lead-climbing, the rope is coiled at the ground and the climber clips it into the wall as she climbs. Top roping is easier because the rope is already anchored at the top of the wall before a climber begins the ascent. While leading-climbing, Nikki missed a few clips and swung 20 feet below into the wall.

“She was afraid to lead-climb for a year,” Christine Whelan said. “She was so afraid after that experience I thought she would never lead-climb again.”

She did.

She defied her inexperience with mental toughness and smarter training at this year’s regional and national competitions. She followed a weekly climbing schedule with exercises designed by Harris. Part of this schedule included three days to let her muscles rest, something she wasn’t doing enough of a year earlier. Besides her gym, Whelan ventured to The Wall in Quechee and an outdoor cliff in Rumney, N.H.

Breezing through the 2002 New England-North regional competitions, Nikki finished second in her bracket at the national competitions. Not only was she one of four 14-to-15-year-old girls headed to world competitions in France, but she made the U.S.

Difficulty Team and the U.S. Speed Climbing Team. Difficulty climbing is an ages-old sport that requires tremendous technique to maneuver up various routes and angles along a wall or cliff.

Speed climbing is a novelty sport, created in the mid-1980s by climbing federations for entertainment. It is a race straight up a wall or rock face, measuring only speed. In her second time speed climbing, Whelan qualified for the national team.

“She has a tremendous amount of potential,” Harris said. “She exhibits that sort of mental toughness, or Yankee independence, that I feel is so criticial to being a good climber. When the time comes and she’s able to spread her wings, she’ll really have a chance to blossom.”

This story first appeared on the front of the Burlington Free Press sports section on Aug. 2, 2002.

Friday, June 7, 2002

Conditions Don't Dampen Anglers' Spirits

I've always liked to fish, but I never thought I would be writing about it. I covered my first fishing tournament as an intern for the Burlington Free Press in Burlington, VT. This article is short and sweet, just how I like it. Enjoy.

The constant rainfall and rising lake level did little to prevent anglers from casting rods into Lake Champlain on Saturday. Fishermen seemed to use the precipitation and an overnight cold front to their advantage on the opening day of the 21st annual Lake Champlain International fishing derby.

"The cool temperature and rain causes the coldwater species to be more active in this season," said Weston Davis, the Burlington weigh station captain, "so we're getting a lot of nice size lake trout."

Lake trout and salmon were prevalent in the Shelburne Bay area. Despite muddy water, anglers still found bass and bowfins in shallower waters.

Fishermen cited rivers and deltas as the most difficult places to catch fish. The extensive rainfall over the past two weeks in northern Vermont has left water murky and turbulent in these areas.

"I would say this year is more challenging because there are places that we fish off the mouths of the Winooski River and Lamoille River that are not fishable because of water clarity -- where historically we've caught a good quantity of salmon," said Dan Kiniry, who used a Needlefish and spoons in hopes of finding salmon.

"We've had fewer fish weighed in here than we usually do," said weigh captain Don Tobi. "I think that's because we usually get a lot of guys who fish in the rivers, and they can't fish in the rivers this year."

The 51-degree lake water was close to perfect for anglers like Kiniry who were chasing lake trout at various depths in the big lake. The salmon seemed more fussy.

Kiniry said he hooked, but lost, several salmon early in the morning along Red Rocks off Burlington, and decided to change his tactics at noon.

He had better luck with lake trout.

"I put one line down to see if we could get a lake trout and it took that one right away," he said.

Farther north, in the shallow waters around Grand Isle and North Hero areas, fishermen mostly reeled in largemouth and smallmouth bass with a significant number of bowfin as well.

The LCI reported large numbers of fish and high levels of optimism despite expected rainfall for the remainder of the event.

"The weather didn't bother me any," said David Slayton of East Ryegate. "The fish are still biting. You might get a little wet, that's it. I just want to get out there."

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Maples: "Mama's Boy"

This story was the biggest breakthrough for me as a writer. It was my final exam for a creative sports writing class. We could choose any then-current Carolina athlete and write a 2,500-word profile on that athlete. Tim Crothers, a former Sports Illustrated senior writer who graduated from Carolina in 1986, taught the class. I chose Chris Maples, who was drafted by the Detroit Tigers after graduation, for obvious reasons, one of which was his willingness to chat candidly with me for a few hours in the Boshamer Stadium dugout. This was the first story I am proud of and since then I knew I could be a great writer if I kept working hard and learning from other great writers.

Freshman Jeremy Cleveland had forgotten the significance of the day. It was April 1, 2001, and the UNC baseball team was preparing for a team lift before practice at Boshamer Stadium.

However, he was well aware that when Coach Mike Fox put a player’s equipment in a plastic bag in front of his locker it meant a player had gotten too far out of line. Because this was how another UNC teammate was dismissed earlier in the year, Cleveland was anxious as he approached his locker.

Sure enough all his belongings lay in front of his locker, his nameplate removed, with a note on the plastic bag that read, ‘See me. Coach Fox,’ written in big red letters. By then he feared Fox had discovered a minor infraction he committed off the diamond a few days earlier.

“I freaked out and I was asking everybody what’s going on,” Cleveland said. “Everybody was kind of snickering, trying to keep a straight face. I went to ask Coach and he just cracked up laughing at me. He said, ‘You need to go talk to your buddy Maples.’”

Junior Chris Maples had filled his teammates in on this April fools hoax earlier that morning.

Maples hasn’t played any jokes to that extent since, yet his shenanigans continue.

“He’s a big kidder, like practical jokes,” Bunny Maples, Chris’s mother, said. “And he can take jokes. He’s one that can dish it out and take it too. Coach Fox never knows what he is going to do. We (the family) don’t either.”

The number “one” doesn’t just refer to Maples’s practical joke ranking or uniform number. It also is where he stands on the UNC stat sheet, where he is tops in home runs (19), RBIs (58), ERA (1.10) and saves (4), while being the lone scholarship senior.

At a school that exalts two-sport athletes like Julius Peppers and Ronald Curry, Maples might be the most gifted of the bunch. Just ask his mother who watched in awe as two-year-old Chris tossed a baseball in the air to himself and hit it with two hands. Or talk to his high school coach, Dean Dease, who played him at six different positions in a seven-inning game. Chat with Fox, and he’ll boast of Maples’s natural ability to walk on his hands or do standing back flips.

You still don’t buy it?

His father, Eugene Maples, who introduced him to golf at age 13, said the UNC golf coach, John Inman, had tried to persuade Maples in the past to join the varsity team. Maybe its Maples’s 225-yard 6-iron shots that warrant Inman’s interest. Or perhaps his ability to consistently break 80 without consistent practice.

“You can’t give him any advice because his swing was perfect to start with, the first time he ever played,” Rick Overman, Chris’s uncle, said. “Oh, he’d hit it too. He hit it a mile.”

Maples’s attitude reflects his versatility as much as his God-given hand-eye coordination. “I just go along with what the coaches do,” Maples said. “We got one of the best pitching coaches in the nation, Roger Williams. So I just went along with him.” He started pitching this fall for the first time since high school, when he came in as a reliever. He also played some first base, but come spring, he started at second base and right field. Fox moved him permanently to third base the fifth game of the season, while utilizing his 94 mile-per-hour fastball as the team’s top closer.

And it’s not like the coaches haven’t seen Maples before. He is a four-year senior. “We really recruited him as a middle infielder – shortstop, second baseman,” Fox said. “But when you have that kind of athleticism, that kind of arm, it allows you to move all over the field and he’s basically done that. You can’t have enough of those players. I ought to have two or three like him.”

His value to the team can also be his personality. Making off-the-wall comments through a long and unstable seasonlike baseball has a positive effect on a team. “It’s stuff he says – whether it’s out of stupidity or he does it on purpose – it doesn’t matter with him,” center fielder Adam Greenberg said. “Even with serious talks with coach, he’ll crack jokes during meetings. And if anyone else does it, it’s what are you doing? But Chris, it’s expected.”

Cleveland agreed, “Whenever Coach Fox is having a rough day with us, he finds a way of making coach laugh and making us laugh at ourselves or him. He just makes everybody else feel a lot better.”

Last summer, while playing for the Durham Braves in the Coastal Plain League, Maples painted his spikes white with the paint used to draw foul lines. “One game I just got the idea that I’d paint my spikes white because Clemson has the white spikes and I think it’s pretty cool,” he said. “It kind of rubbed off and then I decided to spray paint the whole thing. It makes you look like you are faster, too, in white shoes.” In true Maples fashion, he gladly obliged to paint his spikes gold upon an ECU fan’s request a couple days later.

Layered beneath his antics exists compassion, which triggers his desire to be what he calls a “friendship-leader.” When asked how he feels about being the only scholarship senior on the team, he is quick to point out the dedication of walk-on senior Brendan Leonard. And despite his gaudy numbers on the mound and at the plate this year, Maples has remained as humble as his small-town upbringing. Maybe it’s a weekly Bible study meeting with 10 of his teammates that prevent his head from swelling.

Then again, it’s hard to maintain an ego living with a mother who grew up in the same town as you and was an all-state high school shortstop, which Bunny accomplished in rural Hillsborough, N.C. She also played on the U.S. National Softball team that finished second in the world championship.

From the age of 13, nothing could pull Bunny away from the ballpark. In 1979, 27 years later, she was six months pregnant with Chris, yet started at shortstop for a Hillsborough softball team. When he was born, she took Chris and his older brother Robbie to her church softball games, which Eugene also played in. Somehow she managed to watch the children while she played.“I tried to keep him into stuff if they wanted to play, but I didn’t make them play if they didn’t want to,” Bunny said.

Of course she never had to, Chris loved playing any sport with a ball. “If I enjoy it, I’ll pick it up quick,” he said. “It’s like reading; I never liked to read so I don’t read.”

While she didn’t force Chris to play a certain sport, she demanded discipline from her two sons. Her demeanor made her better suited for this job than her even-tempered husband, who worked as a supervisor for a Piedmont electrical co-op.

“My mom’s more like a man than she is a woman,” Chris said. “She would fight before most men would. You could call me a mama’s boy, but it wouldn’t be an insult. I’d come in there and stub my toe on the TV or something and I’d be crying. She’d come in and whoop my brother. I’d laugh at him, then she’d whip me.”

She felt the same way for school. “They’d probably say, ‘Mama, I’m sick, come get me’,” Bunny said. “I’d say, ‘Well, let me see if I can get off work. You just go back to class and if I can get off I’ll come get you.’ I wouldn’t even ask to get off. I’d just let them stay up there and if they were sick enough the nurse would call.” Apparently the nurse never called back because Chris ended up having perfect attendance from kindergarten through high school graduation. Always an honor-roll student, he learned to cope with opening his books. At UNC, he’s made the Dean’s list the past three semesters and won the team scholar-athlete award.

While remaining remarkably healthy, his Cal Ripken-like upbringing has carried over to the baseball diamond. Following the Seton Hall series this year, he sprained his ankle. “I was out for a day or two of practice, and then started hobbling around and said, ‘The heck with it. I can’t stand to sit here and watch.’” Unable to sprint, he played in the next series with a heavily taped ankle.

During middle school Chris gained weight, prompting his dad to nickname him ‘Chunker,’ which he still calls him from time to time. By high school that name no longer suited Chris. He not only lost the extra weight, but his nutty personality replaced his shyness. “I was the big goof-off in high school, like a whole lot worse than college because it’s high school. And I used to run laps all the time for doing stupid stuff.”

While starring on the Orange County High School baseball team in Hillsborough, Chris also played quarterback for the football team and guard for the basketball team. Unable to grip the ball well with his small hands, his athleticism only took him so far in the latter two sports. He decided to concentrate strictly on baseball his senior year.

Although batting about .400 during his three years as a starter, Chris was not recruited heavily until the end of his senior season. Fox took over the UNC coaching job on July 1, 1998 and saw Maples play an American Legion game a few days later. A single relay throw from Maples’s right cannon made him Fox’s first recruit as skipper. “I’ve been a big Carolina fan ever since I was old enough to walk,” Maples said. “So it’s like a dream to play here.”

The country boy with a contagious smile and a rocket arm would exceed everyone’s expectations, but not right away.

During his first season, 1999, Fox used him as a backup infielder in late game situations for defense. Next season Chris played in almost every game, starting nearly half. “He came off the bench as a sophomore against Florida State when the game was in doubt and actually won the game with a two-out hit,” Fox said. “And that showed us that he could come off the bench. He really had no fear.”

As a junior, Maples won his third team lifting award, given to the hardest worker during fall weight training. The extra effort paid off, as he started 46 games at third and seven at second, while tying for a team best seven homers.

Playing three summers for the Braves helped Maples elevate his skills. However, the weight room may have had the greatest impact. This season he benches 305; squats 370; power cleans 280; and can do 34 consecutive pull-ups. Not bad for someone 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds. “They call me ‘country strong’ just because I’m a little guy,” Maples said. “They don’t understand where it comes from...”

Even with his added strength and bigger bat, Maples’s most noticeable improvement this season may be patience at the plate. Always an aggressive hitter, he has walked more than twice as much as he did last season. He has worked on waiting longer for the ball and then using his quick hands to generate power. “One of my goals this year was to hit a homerun to the opposite field,” Maples said. He more than achieved that, smacking five homers to right field while increasing his batting average from .288 to .341.

Maples’s power helped turn a dismal 6-8 Tar Heel squad into a nationally ranked team, which was no more evident than on March 22 – the first of a three-game home series against then No. 1-ranked Florida State. Down 7-2 in the seventh inning, Maples led off with a solo shot to left, and punctuated a nine-run inning with a grand slam to right center. This propelled UNC to a series sweep and what would be a 13-game winning streak.

A day after the sweep, Maples was named ACC Player of the Week, compiling four homers and 14 RBIs with a .500 batting average in five games. “It looked like we were down for the count and he steps up,” Greenberg said. “And when the bases were loaded he fouls off a few pitches and hit a grand slam. It was awesome. That inning, I said, turned around our year and that was because of Chris Maples.”

While his bat turned the season around, it is his arm that may change the view of Major League scouts, who passed on Maples in last year’s draft. He has an arm that can throw a baseball from the right field bullpen in Boshamer to the clock resting atop the 42-foot high scoreboard in left field – about a 350-foot distance between the two. The same arm that threw a bullet from right field to first base last summer, beating the batter by a full stride. Then watch his fluid pitching motion and stunning confidence while factoring in the watered-down pitching Major League expansion teams generate, and his dream to play in the big show is even more likely to be realized.

But somehow Maples has a way of keeping things in perspective. He chose to major in exercise and sports science as a freshman because of his desire to coach baseball. Besides skydiving and eventually settling down with a wife and kids, he has other future plans. “I want to go into some kind of sales – like medical sales or pharmaceutical sales. And maybe down the road if I find out that I want to be a coach, there’s still time for that.”

Right now, he’s just happy being a college student – coming home and playing with his energetic 1-year-old Jack Russell terrier, P.J., or chatting with his family on the field after a home game.

Carolina batboy R.J. Overman is Chris Maples's first cousin.

“We’re proud of that boy,” Bunny said. “And he’s like a family person too. He likes being around older people. He enjoys coming over and hanging around, where a lot of kids wouldn’t come around. He can get along with anybody.”

While sitting forward in the Tar Heel dugout at Boshamer, Chris articulates the closeness of his family. His face exudes an aura of genuineness and sincerity that can only be expressed from the depth of his heart. The type of recollection that can be made from nearly losing brother Robbie, which happened to Chris as a 10th-grader.

“My brother was in a real bad accident,” Maples said. “He was in ICU for like a month with head trauma. He could have very easily died, because I think he ended up dying in their arms twice. He stopped breathing, heart stopped beating. That brought my family so close together.”

When asked how Robbie is now, Maples sits up, his face hardly unchanged. “Oh he’s fine now. Yeah, he’s back to retard.”

This story first appeared at in May 2002. A month later Maples was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the sixth round of the major league baseball amateur draft.

Saturday, February 23, 2002

The Last Shot

Timing is everything, as they say. I read this book as a sophomore in high school and couldn't put it down, carrying with me on a trip to Egypt with my mom. Darcy Frey chronicles the lives of the star basketball players at Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island, a notorious area for pick-up games and housing projects. The most compelling character, even more than Stephon Marbury, is a determined and eccentric Darryle Flicking (called "Russell Thomas" in the book), who so desperately wants to leave his Brooklyn ghetto, and views basketball as his only means to go to college; his last shot for a better life.

Wednesday, January 9, 2002

My Favorite Quotes

I am going to start compiling my favorite quotes, so you can check back to this page as I will update it every so often.


A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)
~ Dave Barry

It's not about what you're going to receive -- it's what you can give to others from what you've received.
~ Dwayne Wade

It may, after all, be the bad habit of creative talents to invest themselves in pathological extremes that yield remarkable insights but no durable way of life for those who cannot translate their psychic wounds into significant art or thought.
~ Theodore Roszak, In Search of the Miraculous


If you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, then someday you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.
~ Zig Ziglar


Any person who is educated is one who has learned to get whatever he or she wants in life wihout violating the rights of others. Education consists not so much of knowledge, but of knowledge effectively and persistently APPLIED. People are paid not merely for what they know, but more particularly for WHAT THEY DO WITH THAT WHICH THEY KNOW.
~ Napoleon Hill


Knowledge can be communicated but not wisdom.
~ Hermann Hesse

I found something wonderfully satisfying in the notion that you can attain Reality by knowledge. In later ages the sages of India in recognition of human infirmity admitted that salvation may be won by the way of love and the way of works, but they never denied that the noblest way, though the hardest, is the way of knowledge, for its instrument is the most precious faculty of man, his reason.
~ W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge (Larry)

When you hire people who are smarter than you are, you prove you are smarter than they are.
~ R. H. Grant

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
~ Helen Keller

The world isn't a creation, for out of nothing, nothing comes, but a manifestation of the eternal nature; ...evil is as direct a manifestation of the divine as good.
~ W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge

Everything had changed suddenly - the tone, the moral climate; you didn't know what to think, whom to listen to. As if all your life you had been led by the hand like a small child and suddenly you were on your own, you had to learn to walk by yourself. There was no one around, neither family nor people whose judgment you respected. At such a time you felt the need of committing yourself to something absolute - life or truth or beauty - of being ruled by it in place of the man-made rules that had been discarded. You needed to surrender to some such ultimate purpose more fully, more unreservedly than you had ever done in the old familiar, peaceful days, in the old life that was now abolished and gone for good.
~ Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

The Mind
Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
~ Napoleon Hill


Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity.
~ on the wall of a Jimmy John's restaurant

In life, do you ever really know if you're missing an opportunity? No, you really don't. And you're never really finished either, unless the finish is dying, and you don't really want to think about that too much.
~ Philip Seymour Hoffman


The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.
~ Mark Twain

Sincerity is more important than elocution.
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, an obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board. The hospitality was as cold as the ices.
~ Henry David Thoreau

It is true that many creative people fail to make mature personal relationships, and some are extremely isolated. It is also true that, in some instances, trauma, in the shape of early separation or bereavement, has steered the potentially creative person toward developing aspects of his personality which can find fulfillment in comparative isolation. But this does not mean that solitary, creative pursuits are themselves pathological....
Avoidance behavior is a response designed to protect the infant from behavioural disorganization. If we transfer this concept to adult life, we can see that an avoidant infant might very well develop into a person whose principal need was to find some kind of meaning and order in life which was not entirely, or even chiefly, dependent upon interpersonal relationships.
~ Anthony Storr, Solitude: A Return to the Self

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~ St. Augustine

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike.
~ John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

A journey is like a marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it. I feel better now, having said this, although only those who have experienced it will understand it.
~ John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

They spoke quietly of how they wanted to go someday, to move about, free and unanchored, not toward something but away from something. I saw this look and heard this yearning everywhere in every state I visited. Nearly every American hungers to move.
~ John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

"You going in that?"
"All over."
And then I saw what I was to see so many times on the journey - a looking of longing.
"Lord! I wish I could go."
"Don't you like it here?"
"Sure. It's all right, but I wish I could go."
"You don't even know where I'm going."
"I don't care. I'd like to go anywhere."
~ John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

Writers and Writing

An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate.
~ de Chateaubriand

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it.
~ Ernest Hemingway

Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.
~ Stephen King, On Writing

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around those two things that I'm aware of, no shortcuts."
~ Stephen King, On Writing

The novel's spirit is the spirit of complexity. Every novel says to the reader: "Things are not as simple as you think."
~ Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel (The Depreciated Legacy of Cervantes)

The paradoxical nature of action is one of the novel's great discoveries.
~ Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel (Dialogue on the Art of the Novel)

The quest for the self has always ended, and always will end, in a paradoxical dissatisfaction. I don't say defeat. For the novel cannot breach the limits of its own possibilities, and bringing those limits to light is already an immense discovery, an immense triumph of cognition.
~ Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel (Dialogue on the Art of the Novel)

A novel examines not reality but existence. And existence is not what has occurred, existence is the realm of human possibilities, everything that man can become, everything he's capable of.
~ Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel (Dialogue on the Art of the Novel)

The novelist is neither historian nor prophet: he is an explorer of existence.
~ Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel(Dialogue on the Art of the Novel)

What is action? - the eternal question of the novel, its constitutive questions, so to speak. How is a decision born? How is it transformed into an act, and how do acts connect to make an adventure?
~ Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel (Notes Inspired by "The Sleepwalkers"

Even if I'm the one speaking, my reflections are connected to a character. I want to think his attitudes, his way of seeing things, in his stead and more deeply than he could do it himself.
~ Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel (Dialogue on the Art of Composition)

The novel is the imaginery paradise of individuals. It is the territory where no one possesses the truth, neither Anna nor Karenin, but where everyone has the right to be understood, both Anna and Karenin.
~ Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel (Jerusalem Address: The Novel and Europe)

When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages a sick sense of failure falls on me and I know I can never do it. This happens every time. Then gradually I write one page and then another. One day's work is all I can permit myself to contemplate and I eliminate the possibility of ever finishing.
~ John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

"Happy," I muttered, trying to pin the word down. But it is one of those words, like Love, that I have never quite understood. Most people who deal in words don't have much faith in them and I am no exception - especially the big ones like Happy and Love and Honest and Strong. They are too elusive and far too relative when you compare them to sharp, mean little words like Punk and Cheap and Phony. I feel at home with these, because they're scrawny and easy to pin, but the big ones are tough and it takes either a priest or a fool to use them with any confidence.
~ Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, January 6, 2002

Inspirational Quotes

I am going to start compiling my favorite inspirational quotes, so you can check back to this page as I will update it every so often.

The Mind


Getting something done is an accomplishment; getting something done right is an achievement.
~ Anonymous

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.
~ Anonymous

These are the four steps to accomplishment: Plan Purposefully. Prepare Prayerfully. Proceed Positively. Pursue Persistently.
~ Anonymous


Don't wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it.
~ Anonymous

Failure is not the worst thing in the world. The very worst is not to try.
~ Anonymous

The surest way to go broke is to sit around waiting for a break.
~ Anonymous

As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.
~ Andrew Carnegie

Well done is better than well said.
~ Ben Franklin

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
~ Abraham Lincoln

Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.
~ Norman Vincent Peale

All glory comes from daring to begin.
~ Eugene F. Ware, American lawyer and poet

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
~ John Wooden, college basketball coach


Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it.

The only good luck many great men ever had was being born with the ability and determination to overcome bad luck.
~ Channing Pollock


He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions.
~ J. F. Clarke

The strongest single factor in prosperity consciousness is self-esteem: believing you can do it, believing you deserve it, believing you will get it.
~ Jerry Gillies

These, then, are my last words to you: Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.
~ William James

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt


When a man becomes pure and perfect the influence of his character spreads so that they who seek truth are naturally drawn to him. It may be that if I lead the life I've planned for myself it may affect others; the effect may be no greater than the ripple caused by a stone thrown in a pond, but one ripple causes another, and that one a third; it's just possible that a few people will see that my way of life offers happiness and peace, and that they in their turn will teach what they have learnt to others.
~ W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge (Larry)

I am a big believer in the 'mirror test'. All that matters is if you can look in the mirror and honestly tell the person you see there, that you've done your best.
John McKay, NFL coach


The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.
~ Vincent T. Lombardi


Doubt whom you will, but never yourself.
~ Anonymous


Ships are safe in the harbor, but that's not what they're built for.
~ Anonymous

It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been test your break through barriers.
~ Anonymous

He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he that loses courage loses all.
~ Cervantes

Those who never take risks can only see other people's failures.
~ Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

All our dreams can come true - if we have the courage to pursue them.
~ Walt Disney

One man with courage is a majority.
~ Andrew Johnson

Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared.
~ Eddie Rickenbacher

Progress always involves risk; you can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.
~ Frederick Wilcox


The truth is that when I'm writing, I write every day, workaholic dweeb or not. That includes Christmas, the Fourth, and my birthday.... For me, not working is the real work.
~ Stephen King

If you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, then someday you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.
~ Zig Ziglar


Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It's a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment.
~ Eric Butterworth

The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.
~ Napoleon Hill

Ignore what a man desires and you ignore the very source of his power...
~ Walter Lippmann


Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice.
~ Anonymous

Choice, not chance, determines destiny.
~ Anonymous


For the resolute and determined there is time and opportunity.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so.
~ Charles de Gaulle

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man's determination.
~ Tommy Lasorda, Major League Baseball manager


Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die.
~ Daniel H. Burnham

Some men see things as they are and say, 'Why?' I dream things that never were, and say, 'Why not?'
~ George Bernard Shaw


Any person who is educated is one who has learned to get whatever he or she wants in life wihout violating the rights of others. Education consists not so much of knowledge, but of knowledge effectively and persistently APPLIED. People are paid not merely for what they know, but more particularly for WHAT THEY DO WITH THAT WHICH THEY KNOW.
~ Napoleon Hill

There's nothing training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach. It can turn bad morals into good. It can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones. It can lift men to angelship.
~ Mark Twain


Enthusiasm is the propelling force necessary for climbing the ladder of success.
~ Anonymous

One man has enthusiasm for 30 minutes, another for 30 days, but it is the man who has it for 30 years who makes a success of his life.
~ Edward B. Butler, American scientist


The soaring eagle never worries about crossing rivers.
~ Anonymous

Concentration is the secret of strength.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.
~ G.K. Chesterton

It's important to really be focused into yourself and not draw comparisons with you and other people.
~ Jimmie Heuga


Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
~ Vincent Lombardi


When an archer misses the mark, he turns and looks for the fault within himself. Failure to hit the bull's-eye is never the fault of the target. To improve your aim -improve yourself.
~ Gilbert Arland

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.
~ O.W. Holmes

We cannot direct the wind... But we can adjust the sails.
~ Anonymous


Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.
~ Anonymous

Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.
~ St. Francis De Sales

What the superior man seeks is in himself: what the small man seeks is in others.
~ Francois La Rochefoucauld


Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
~ Anonymous

Real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determination.
~ Anonymous


Love is never afraid of giving too much.
~ Anonymous


A single conversation across the table with a wise man is worth a month's study of books.
~ Chinese Proverb

Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy after.
~ Goldsmith

The Mind

If you've made up your mind you can do something, you're absolutely right.
~ Anonymous

Winners expect to win in advance. Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
~ Anonymous

Impossible is a word found only in the dictionary of fools.
~ Napoleon Bonaparte

He will never be a tough competitor. He doesn't know how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
~ Billy Fitzgerald, known as Coach Fitz

Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right.
~Henry Ford

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
~ Napoleon Hill

There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an Idea whose time has come.
~ Victor Hugo

Little minds attain and are subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them.
~ Washington Irving

Nothing can stop a man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal.
~ Thomas Jefferson

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it - as long as you really believe 100 percent.
~ Arnold Schwarzenegger


Ingenuity, plus courage, plus work, equals miracles.
~ Bob Richards, pole vaulter, two-time Olympic gold medalist


Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.
~ Anonymous

I always view problems as opportunities in work clothes.
~ Henry Kaiser

All of the significant battles are waged within the self.
~ Sheldon Kopp


Great minds must be ready not only to take opportunities but to make them.
~ Colton

Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity.
~ on the wall of a Jimmy John's restaurant

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
~ Elmer Letterman

The harder you work the luckier you get.
~ Gary Player, PGA golfer

The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.
~ George Bernard Shaw


Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.
~ Liane Cardes

Never, Never, Never Quit.
~ Winston Churchill

The man who wins may have been counted out several times, but he didn't hear the referee.
~ H.E. Jansen

I've failed over and over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed.
~ Michael Jordan

All things are difficult before they are easy.
~ John Norley


When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it -- but all that had gone before.
~ Jacob Riis


To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson


The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.
~ Mark Twain


What is to give light must endure burning.
~ Viktor Frankl

I only wanted to suggest to you that self-sacrifice is a passion so overwhelming that beside it even lust and hunger are trifling. It whirls its victim to destruction in the highest affirmation of his personality. The object doesn't matter; it may be worth while or it may be worthless. No wine is so intoxicating, no love so shattering, no vice so compelling. When he sacrifices himself man for a moment is greater than God, for how can God, infinite and omnipotent, sacrifice himself? At best he can only sacrifice his only begotten son.
~ W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge

A lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run a race to see who has the most GUTS.
~ Steve Prefontaine

If you don't invest very much, then defeat doesn't hurt very much and winning is not very exciting.
~ Dick Vermeil, NFL coach

Pay now, put in the work now, or you'll have to pay later.
~ Denzel Washington


If better is possible, good is not enough.
~ Anonymous

It is a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.
~ W. Somerset Maugham


Act as though it were impossible to fail.
~ Anonymous

To succeed - do the best you can, where you are, with what you have.
~ Anonymous

Many of life's failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
~ Anonymous

The road to success is paved with good intentions.
~ Anonymous

The first and most important step toward...success is the feeling that we can succeed.
~ Nelson Boswell

The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give.
~ Howard Cosell, sports broadcaster

The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.
~ Bejamin Disraeli

To dream anything that you want to dream. That is the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.
~ Bernard Edmonds, American writer

Success is a journey, not a destination.
~ Ben Sweetland

There is always room at the top.
~ Daniel Webster


Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.
~ John Heywood

Always remember that your own resolution to succeed is more important than anything else.
~ Abraham Lincoln

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.
~ Vincent T. Lombardi

The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur.
~ Vince Lombardi, NFL coach

A will finds a way.
~ Orison Swett Marden

Friday, January 4, 2002

Baseball Quotes

I am going to start compiling my favorite baseball quotes, so you can check back to this page as I will update it every so often.


Progress always involves risk; you can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.
~ Frederick Wilcox