Doing More With Less Since 1972

Tag: sports (Page 1 of 2)

Why I’m Glad I Started Training BJJ In My 40s

One year ago today I started training Brazilian jiu jitsu.

After training BJJ for a couple of months, I had a thought I’m sure many people who pick up the sport at this point in their lives have:

“Ugh…I wish I would have started this 15 years ago.”

Picking up BJJ at 43 presented (and still presents) some challenges that didn’t exist for me 15 years ago. At 28 I was a well-employed single guy living in a low cost part of the country. With no family obligations or kids’ books to read at bedtime, I had nothing but time on my hands for training. I could have easily trained 6 days a week and still had plenty of time to rest and recover between sessions. I even had time to augment my training with yoga and lifting. There wouldn’t have been many financial restrictions either. Want some new gear? Done. Want to travel to the Caribbean for a week long camp? Done.

Ok, being honest, I do wish I could go to those camps.

Then there are the physiological realities of participating in a combat sport that I have to overcome at this age . Speed (ok, I was never fast, but I was faster than I am now), ability to physically recover, better coordination and agility, and the sheer amount of testosterone coursing through my body would have made jiu jitsu a blast at that age. And it’s a little frustrating to think about where I could be in my progression if I already had 15 years under my (blue/purple/brown/black) belts.

I’ve also reflected back on the number of nights I spent at Duff Field with 5 or 6 other guys wishing we had enough warm bodies for a real rugby practice. If I’d been training BJJ back then, all I’d really need for a productive training session is one other willing person.

All of these thoughts haunted me for a while.

“What if?”

Then I realized that BJJ came into my life at the perfect time and place.

It’s crazy to think about the things I wouldn’t have done if I’d started training BJJ in 2001. I would have missed out on a few really good years of rugby. Peak years. And if I’m being honest with myself, I’d probably be skipping BJJ and playing rugby today if my body was physically able to handle that sport 3 days a week. But it’s not just the matches I’d have missed out on–some of the most fun times I’ve had in my life were during those few years riding up and down the roads to matches with my friends and enjoying the “social” aspects of the sport as well.

Those rugby years weren’t really conducive to living with and supporting a family, but jiu jitsu life fits our family just fine. Everyone can train. Everyone loves it. Competitions are something we can all participate in on the same days.

Then there’s that post-rugby/pre-BJJ cardio base I got to build.

The eventual “backy-no-likey” resulting from rugby led me to years of training for endurance sports. Of course, some people train a lot more than me, but I did more than my share of time and miles swimming, cycling, and running. All the time I invested there served me well for building a good cardio base I don’t think I’ll ever lose.

Maybe the biggest thing I got out of all those years of running and triathlon is a big time ego check. I realized a long time ago that I was never going to win a race. Ever. Winning my age group? Maybe one day after everyone else that age is dead. Guess what else–I’m going to get slower as I get older. It’s already happening. I’ve come to terms with it. I’m good with it.

The biggest realization I had during my endurance sports years is that I just like to train.

When I was 28, I loved to train too. I always loved going to rugby practice and lifting. But I liked to train to compete. I was training for the pissing contest. There was a fire in the belly and desire to beat someone else that I just don’t care that much about these days. I’m a lot more motivated now by learning something new and improving.

This was made even more evident after competing in BJJ recently. I did well at the competition, but came away from it sort of wishing I’d spent the time training (and getting beat/schooled) instead.

Daily Reading List — December 18th

The 16 Best Books Read by the AoM Team in 2014 – Need to get my nose back into some books as well now that things have settled down with the move a little.

Why a Hyped New Lottery Game Went Bust in a Hurry – If only they'd rented a hot air balloon…

App Calculates Where You Need To Go And Sends You A Bike Or A Tesla In Five Minutes – I got to go by and see Shift's place a couple of weeks ago, and they have a really cool model. One of the most innovative ideas they have is to include Shift memberships as part of ownership in high-rise condos–saving the builders a big chunk on dedicated parking spaces for each tenant, and eliminating the need of car ownership for residents. There would always be an appropriate vehicle available for use in your building's garage if you had to drive.

Finding the Right Metaphor – This one resonated with me like an episode of Grizzly Adams!

Can IBM’s Mountain Of Data Fix Your Email Nightmare? – "Everyone is doing something about solving email nightmares. Except the people who are responsible for causing email nightmares." Mark Twain (paraphrased)

An Exercise to Become a More Powerful Listener – Wait…what'd you say?

5 Sun Belt Getaways for Trail Runners – Coming to an out of shape jabroni like me this weekend!

F1 Race in Las Vegas? – I'm not big on auto racing at all. But..

This. Would. Be. Awsum.

Daily Reading List — September 12th

The Launch Meeting – This couldn’t be more pragmatic.

  • What are the six things most likely to go wrong?
  • What will lead us to go over budget? Over schedule?
  • How will we communicate with one another when things are going well, and how will we change that pattern when someone in the room (anyone in the room) realizes that something is stuck?

A Bunch of Kids Adorably Mistook a ‘Game of Thrones’ Character for Elsa From ‘Frozen’ – A really cool addendum to this story…

Carrie is a friend of our niece. When they left the event, she came over to our kids’ birthday party (at a climbing gym). Those little girls were so ecstatic to see “Elsa” walk through the door for their birthday.

Big thanks to Carrie for making their day really special!

4 Unavoidable Steps To Building An Entrepreneurial Organization – That’s it. Just do these four things and you’re done. Can’t argue with any of these, but they are much easier said than done for sure!

The Simple Technology That Accidentally Ruined Baseball – Not sure about this. If enforced at all levels (big “if”) batters will catch up pretty quickly. I actually like the idea of using technology to analyze umpire/referee performance after the fact, but the instant replay stuff during the game is horrid. The call is the call.

The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your Life – Definitely outsourcing oil changes. But I do most of my own stunts otherwise.

Tweet Activity Analytics – Twitter’s analytics tool is super cool. But…yeah…probably not going to change the way I use Twitter at all.

Kuddle – Kid-safe photo sharing app. We’ve been reading the “Little House” series, along with some biographical information about Laura Ingalls Wilder. My offspring are keen to document their childhoods. Great tool!

Cloud Storage Is Eating The World Alive – Yes please. More please. Faster please.

Unschooling Youth Sports

We’re big on unschooling. If you aren’t familiar with that concept, let me use a more friendly term. I actually prefer the term “child-led learning”.

“Unschool” sounds like a lot of sleeping late and watching Diego. Wait…maybe that is what we’re doing.

Nah…what actually happens with child-led learning is that you observe what your kids are interested in, then provide them with resources and opportunities to learn more about it. They get to  go as far as they want to go with it–maybe they’ll move onto something else in a week or two, or maybe they’ll become passionate about it and do it for the rest of their lives. The general idea is to let them learn about what they want to learn about instead of deciding what you think they should learn and pushing it on them.

Maybe it doesn’t work if you’re dealing with a kid who really hates to learn, but I haven’t met one of those yet. I’ve seen lots of kids who aren’t interested in some of the things they are being forced to learn, and I’ve seen lots of kids who have been convinced that it isn’t cool to learn, but I’ve never met one who didn’t clamor to find out more about something they are interested in.

I don’t know any adults like that either. I’ve seen lots of adults who hated school but are experts on classic cars, gardening, home brewing, photography, fishing, etc. Once we find the things that strike a chord with us, we will go out of our way to learn as much as we can about it.

No force feeding necessary.

What we’re trying to do is nurture that love of learning and provide options from the get-go. What they learn isn’t nearly as important as the process of learning something…and loving it.

Ok…not on an unshcooling soapbox, because that’s not really what this post is about. There’s plenty more information about unschooling out there, and plenty of places to argue about it with other people if you are so inclined.

What I’m actually interested in is how this concept applies to kids’ sports. We were talking last night about how much our 3yo loves to play soccer. The immediate idea (even for us) is to put her on a soccer team. But wait…why? This is completely contrary to her personality. She has absolutely zero interest in being on a team, going to scheduled practices, wearing a uniform, etc. She just loves to go out and kick the ball around the yard with her sisters and neighborhood friends.

So why should we introduce all the things she would hate about playing in an organized program and place limits on the parts she loves?

Instead of hauling her to a practice where she can be told what to do for 45 minutes (and when she has to stop), why not let her play for 15 minutes or an  hour and a half the way she likes to play and decide for herself when she wants to stop? I think she’ll end up with more time kicking and running, have more fun, and have the aspects of playing soccer that she loves nurtured. If she’s really into it and decides she wants to compete later on, she’ll let us know. That’s the time to get her into a program. Until then, why not just let her have fun and get better at the same time?

If a love and passion for the game grows, she’ll ask for the structure. She’ll crave it. If she gets structure too soon, that love may never get a chance to grow.

Some people (“people” here means adults, but kids are also people) run just for the heck of it. They don’t use watches, distance, pace, or anything. They just run. Not for a race or any kind of competition. They just love to run. What do you think would happen to their passion for running if you forced them to enter 5ks and placed them on a program with a coach? I mean, most of them could probably be better runners with coaching and a training program, but is that what they want? If so, they’d already be doing that.

I’m not saying organized youth sports are bad. I loved playing organized sports when I was a kid. But I was a different kind of kid than she is. I was really into the competition side of sports, and I wanted that trophy*. But I spent many more hours playing baseball and football in the yard than I did on organized teams. I played in the backyard because I loved baseball and football, and I’m pretty sure the backyard was the place I made my biggest gains, not at practice 2x a week for a few months.

Every kid is different. If we were dealing with our 5yo, who actually doesn’t give a flip about soccer, she’d be all about the team. She enjoys running and loves entering races. She likes running on her own, but entering a race ignites something extra in her. She doesn’t  win, but she’s ok with that. She loves the idea of being involved in a big event. If that’s what does it for her that’s great, and we’ll pursue it that way.

Even as unschoolers, I think we can sometimes fall into the trap of putting that approach into a box, labeling it “Education”, and forgetting it can apply to everything else.

*Back then, only the champions got trophies.

Michael Phelps Rant

Dear citizens media of the United States,

Michael Phelps doesn’t owe you a damn thing. He doesn’t owe you/us/anybody another gold medal or an explanation about “what happened”. Stop using words like “disaster” and “disappointing” to describe anything he does or doesn’t do at the Olympics.

Ditto for every other athlete competing there in every other sport.

Ditto for every other athlete competing at any other level.

I swim, but I’m not really a swimmer. My longest workouts of an 18 week triathlon training plan are about what real swimmers–even the ones who are a long way from being Olympic athletes-do as a warmup before their main set. And I go about half their speed.

And they do this daily.

At 4:00 am.

And again at 4:00 pm.

For years.

With no real off-season.

What these athletes do is nothing like the trip to the gym that most of us take to “work out”. They aren’t chatting with friends between sets, listening to a 10 song playlist and calling it quits, or watching “Saved By The Bell” reruns on the screen of the cross trainer while they work to the point of almost sweating. I’ve had swimmers who weren’t even D1 level tell me their stories about swimming through their teammates’ vomit floating on the surface of the pool and having their goggles fill with tears from the pain they were suffering during training.

During the cycling road race, I heard one of the commentators mention an East German training tactic of putting a cyclist on the trainer in front of a concrete wall and having them ride for hours looking at nothing, just to build mental toughness. How mentally tough do you have to be to spend all your training staring at a black line on the bottom of a pool?

So, in closing, get off the guy’s ass. He’s been staring at the bottom of a pool for 20 years. So what if he wanted to coast into this Olympics with (relatively) little training and just enjoy the experience of being there and have some fun? He’s done this long enough to know he’ll get what he earned, and that’s something he has to come to terms with on his own (*UPDATE* Coach Vance points this out better than I did after Phelps’ post-race interview).  He’s smart enough to know that he isn’t going to be the best in the world for the next 300 years either.

He doesn’t have to answer to anyone but himself.

The second we see swimmers jump into the pool and splash around like idiots instead of actually trying to win a race, it will be time to complain. Until then, anyone who is “disappointed” when watching (from their sofas or broadcast chairs) any of these athletes’ performances should hit the off button, get up , and go do something about it themselves.

Rinse and repeat for NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA sports, and all little league competition.



I’m reading– December 7th through December 12th

‘Vocal Fry’ Creeping Into U.S. Speech – Combine this with the growing tendency to make declarative statements sound like questions, starting every sentence with the word “so” and inserting “like” every few words as if it’s a punctuation mark and you start getting really annoying.

Can UT Afford Not To Spend the Money for an SEC Contending Coach? – They are. They’re just paying him to stay home. #fulmer

Woman caught making meth inside S. Tulsa Walmart – HT @joelance “I was too broke to buy the products and take them outside to manufacture the meth.” That’s a sound defense if I’ve ever heard one.

And to think, people in Atlanta worry about small things like needles in the clothes at their WalMart.

Walt Disney’s Five Greatest Innovations – Disney believer right here.

Your Community’s Gem Is Lurking Right Over There

Greatest Spits From The Last Few Days

Google’s cloud music service. Request an invite to the beta. 20k tracks stored for free isn’t a bad place to start!

Shit My Students Write – Best new (to me) website I’ve run across in a while

Apple Trumps Google as Most Valuable Brand – Shocked Coca-Cola doesn’t trump both. The carbonate sugar water industry is much more stable than technology. Do you think it’s even within the realm of possibility that someone could knock KO from its perch? Can you say the same for Google and Apple?

Here’s my most successful tweet recently:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/sadcox/statuses/67615378800513024″]

Celebration standout wins 100, 400 at 3A state track meet – My buddy Ryan’s little brother.

Online Poker Caused Osama Bin Laden’s Destruction? – A little out there, but you never know.

What’s high school for? – This is the best post on education I’ve ever read. Seriously.

Password Manager Last Pass Possibly Hacked – Let thy password algorithm reside only in thy head.

Save Your Own Football Season!

Remember paper football? It’s that game we played in middle school where we’d fold paper into a triangle and bump it back and forth across the table until part of the “ball” was over the edge of the table but not falling off. That game curbed much violence at lunch time.

Now you can get one of these table top kits and play for real…as real as paper football gets.  They even come with the logos of your favorite NFL teams. I know. What a shocker.

I know what you are thinking…”Can’t I just play with the paper football app on my iPhone?”, “What about the risk of paper cuts?”, “What if I’m not able to reach up to the fast food window to get my dinner because I’m sore from playing paper football?”

These are all legitimate concerns, but there’s no other way to get the thrill of paper football without throwing all caution to the wind and jumping into the game.

Possible uses:

  • Team building money at work purchases one for your office. You can run tournaments at lunch time.
  • Share the joys of paper football with your children. This way, you won’t have to go outside or move your body too much, but can still claim quality sports time.
  • Drinking game at what used to be a Super Bowl party. Loser has to do a shot when he gets scored on and has to stay at the table.
  • Perfect gift for someone who is committed to sitting in a chair every Sunday from August to December no matter what.

Don’t be surprised to find many athletes from the professional leagues turning to paper football to stay sharp during the lockout.

Tennessee Football Training Center Virtual Tour

This is pretty cool. My guess is that there aren’t any other departments on campus that could afford to do this. When I say “do this”, I’m not talking about building the Training Center…of course they couldn’t do that.

I mean that I doubt they could afford to produce this video. Maybe the Film Studies Department could do it on the backs of undergrad labor as a special project.

HT Michael Silence

Stuff You Should See– May 24th through June 29th

Understanding Your Motivation – I stay in all 6 states at all times.

FamilyShield is a No-Setup Adult Content Blocker for Your Router

Best Place to Set Up Shop Online?

Greener Than You — Entrepreneurial Foraging – This is nothing new. Broke college students have been foraging in bars for half drunk bottles and in the student ghettos for morning-after "yard beers" for decades.

Banksimple – Long overdue, and supposed to be launching in 2010. You can sign up for an invite right now. Loooooong overdue.

The Breaking Point for Children in Sports – The middle ground between letting kids live a sedentary lifestyle and pushing them to the point of injury and psychological distress is pretty wide. I can see where parents at both extremes would point to the opposite extreme for justification, but it's only a justification.

Soluto – This looks like a promising solution to help you diagnose and end PC problems. I'm signed up for the beta, hope to get my account soon, and will let you know!

Mark Twain autobiography to be published in November – Can't get enough. This is one I'll be looking forward to.

Stuff You Should See– January 26th through February 1st

The Death of Global Warming – I don’t think it’s dead just yet. Just like in a bad horror movie, it will make one last effort to grab us by the ankle and stab us in the knee. Or something painful like that.

Iran News in February. – If this involves a Segway or an iPad I’m going to be very disappointed.

The 25 Hottest Olympians To Watch For – Ok.Fine. I’ll watch.

Wanna Buy Lane Kiffin’s House? – I propose a group of boosters get together to purchase this place. Then invite 100,000 of their closest friends over and roast marshmallows as it burns to the ground. 😛

Free in Tennessee – German Homeschooling Asylum – Speechless. For whatever reason this family chose to homeschool, I’m glad they found a place they are allowed to do so.

Stuff You Should See– December 30th through January 3rd

Do More, Buy Less – A huge positive from a recession. This goes hand in hand with the fact that people are saving more. I’m still amazed that people at the top continue to contend that the answer is to “get credit flowing again.” Well, I’m not really shocked that they say it. That’s what benefits them and their friends. But I am amazed that so many people buy it hook line and sinker.

Google and HTC Working On a Chrome OS Tablet – Want.

Crunchy French Toast – This is now the official French toast recipe of our household. We’ll only be using the cream after long runs though.

50 Things we know now that we didn’t know this time last year – To be honest, I’ve suspected at least 34 of these things for a few years. I just wasn’t able to prove them.

Global Warming Won’t Prevent Ice Age – If it ain’t one thing with these climate fanboys it’s another.

Four UT basketball players face drug and weapon charges – I have an idea for college basketball players with aspirations of making it to the NBA. Lay off the weed for just four years. Once you get into the NBA you can do pretty much anything you want. I don’t really care what you do as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, but if you’re going to take the money you have to play by the rules made by the people who write the checks.

Web 2.0 Suicide Machine – What we really need is a Web 2.0 homicide machine. Only those with strong passwords survive!!!! I predict Web 2.0 homicide will be a big trend in 2010.

10 Things From 10 Years Ago I’ll Never Get Back

Are we any better off now than we were 10 years ago? Ok, just had to ask that because it seems like the thing to do. I know that for a lot of people the answer is a definite “no”. As for me, I’m infinitely better off than I was then. The last decade has been one of tremendous technological advancement, but there’s plenty to lament. Here’s my list of 10 things I had 10 years ago that I’ll probably never have access to again.

  1. The ability to remember phone numbers. I still remember both of my grandmothers’ phone numbers from when I was a kid, but thanks to these fancy schmancy mobile devices, I can only remember a handful now. And if I met you in the last 10 years, you’re lucky if I can even guess your area code.
  2. Mix tapes. Yeah, we could burn CDs for some of the 90s, but what the hell were you supposed to listen to in the car? Because chances are you were driving a car made in the early 90s at the latest, and it didn’t have a CD player in it.
  3. My knees. This one is obvious. There’s nothing worse than tackling a young guy, hearing the breath leave his lungs as his back slams into the pitch, then watching from the ground as he trots away on his springy legs. The only thing that keeps me going is the fact that he’s going to get old too and probably won’t fare as well as I have.
  4. Bill Clinton as President. As much as it pains me to type it, I’d prefer any Clinton (Bill, Hillary, Chelsey, George, any of them) to what we have now. Sure, it’s not the optimal situation, but beggars can’t be choosers.
  5. My Thursday afternoon job bottling beer. One of the best jobs I ever had was helping the guys at New Knoxville Brewing Company bottle beer on Thursdays. There was no money involved, but I was promised I’d achieve total inebriation on my death bed. So I got that going for me, which is good. Fortunately, that’s yet to come to fruition, but we were allowed to carry out a couple of cases of “shorties” (bottles that weren’t completely filled and weren’t worth a label) every day. Good times.
  6. Waylon Mothergrabbin’ Jennings
  7. Tables. Back in the 90s, you could load a website down with embedded table after embedded table, then fill those tables with sliced images that the browser magically placed back together and no one thought a thing about it. Put just one table into a site now and you are getting beat with a USB cable.
  8. When a girl could still cook, and still would. I had to throw that in there for Merle Haggard, but actually, this one happens to be the opposite for me. I don’t think I knew a girl in the 90s who could really cook. Not so now. I’m very well fed, and I look the part. But my girl couldn’t cook back in the 90s–this is a newly acquired skill. So if I could go back to the 90s version of her (the one that was over 18), I’d probably be much thinner. That’s logical, right?
  9. New episodes of Seinfeld. I have some of the seasons on DVD. It’s not the same. Scott is gettin’ angry.
  10. Free international travel. During the 90s I got to go to Europe and Asia to work on projects for weeks, which meant weekends on vacation in Europe and Asia. Even better–the companies I was working for footed the bill and provided per diems for expenses. Damn you Webex and remote login. Damn you straight to hell. Just kidding…except for the travel thing, Webex and remote login have made my life better in more ways than I can count.

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You Speak For All Of Us, MJ

On behalf of bitter old men everywhere, I’d like to thank Michael Jordan for participating in the 2009 NBA Hall Of Fame speechin‘.

When Jordan should’ve thanked the Bulls’ ex-GM, Jerry Krause, for surrounding him with championship coaches and talent, he ridiculed him. It was me, Jordan was saying. Not him. “The organization didn’t play with the flu in Utah,” Jordan grumbled.

Club sports will one day reign supreme.

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