My name is Kent Newsome. I love Wake Forest University. And I support this video.
My name is Kent Newsome. I love Wake Forest University. And I support this video.
The latest issue of The Southwest News has an article about Delaney’s cross country season.
Click for a larger version
Here’s a video of the conference finals
In addition to her cross country, Delaney is swimming for Rice Aquatics. She had a meet last weekend, and got three 4ths and an 8th. That’s as an 11 year old in the 11-12 division, populated by serious, year-round swimmers.
And while I’m bragging, she recently won the Sugar Tri Kidz triathlon, one of the largest kids triathlons in the country, for the second straight year.
Yeah, I’m pretty proud of her.
The New York Times has a long article about local runners and triathletes, 12 year old Kaytlynn Welsch and 10 year old Heather Welsch. It is a great read, and much of it is very positive, as it should be. These girls work hard, and are unbelievable athletes. But there are also some critical parts. Specifically, whether their parents are too hard on them. Whether they should be allowed to run, swim and bike as much as they do.
I get that extra care needs to be taken with young athletes. That’s a given. But in my opinion, anything other than effusive praise for the Welsch sisters is misguided. We should be having parades for them, not directing them back to the kiddie pool.
Delaney competes often with the Welsch sisters in triathlons. One of the many things I enjoy about watching these triathlons is seeing the Welsch girls bike or run by. It is poetry, pure and simple. They always win their divisions, and Delaney, happily between them in age, almost always wins hers. When I see these girls go by, I don’t see children being browbeat into racing as some proxy for a tyrannical parent. I see young women who are really, really good at something, who know that being the best takes work, and who will benefit from the resulting mindset for the rest of their lives- whether they continue to race or not. I see poetry. Girl power. I see kids who understand the joy that comes from doing hard things well.
I don’t see kids being forced to do something they hate. I see kids being supported in doing something they love. And learning how to work hard and succeed in the process. I see hundreds of kids who got up really early on a weekend to swim, bike and run. I see parents nurturing an active lifestyle that will pay a lifetime of dividends. I see awesome.
Delaney swims at an elite level, does triathlons, runs cross country and plays basketball. Not because Raina or I want her to; because she’s good at sports and she likes to compete. She is willing to work hard to be good. Sure, at the end of a long race, she’ll say she’s never doing another one. Sure, she’ll cry sometimes if she gets beat. I have a great video of her friend and teammate, Emily, running one of the strongest cross country finishes I have ever seen. Right across the finish line, someone asks them how it went. ”Terrible,” replied Emily as she tried to catch her breath. Then the next race rolls around and they’re out there ready to go. Doing work (to quote our oft used phrase) and enjoying it is a mindset.
I don’t know the Welsch family personally. Other that an encouraging yell as they fly by, I’ve never spoken to the girls. Raina has talked to Rodney Welsch a few times, and found him to be friendly and helpful. I have seen them at many races, and nothing I have seen looks remotely wrong. It looks right. Hard, but right.
And as far as the whole motivation thing…
I always ask Delaney how she did after a big swim meet. If she didn’t have her best race, I ask her if she needs floaties. She knows, beyond a doubt, that I love her like crazy and that the only reason I can be (or more accurately appear to be) hard on her is because I know she is good. If I came up to her after a bad race and didn’t ask her- yes, with a smile on my face- who put that boot in her rear end, she would instantly realize that something was wrong. You simply don’t motivate an elite athlete solely by telling them it’s OK, you tried. One of the best examples of coaching Delaney has received was when her Rice Aquatics coach got in her grill about something she did wrong, in a race she won. Or the other day, when she was scheduled to swim a 100 meter freestyle race an hour after winning a cross country race. Delaney walked up and started to tell her coach she was too tired to swim and wanted to scratch. He cut her off mid-sentence, telling her that the race was about to start and to go line up. When she told me this story afterwards, she was grinning ear to ear. She got it. She gets it.
Granted, athletes have to know that you can be very good without winning every race, or any race. Missy Franklin knows that. Delaney knows that. The Welsch sisters know that.
They just want to win.
Delaney competed in two triathlons this weekend.
On Saturday, she won the first race in the 2012 Kiwanis Kids Triathlon Series.
This morning, she placed second in the 2012 TKC/ERJCC Family Triathlon. She was in the 11-12 division, which meant she was competing against girls a year older than her.
Not bad for a weekend.
Delaney finished 2nd in the 2012 Kemah Kids Triathlon, this past Saturday in Kemah, TX. She was a minute and 16 seconds behind the winner, Heather Welsch- who won her age group at the 2011 USA Triathlon Junior and Youth National Championship. That’s some pretty good competition. In addition to finishing 2nd in her division, Delaney finished 6th overall, which means that only 5 kids, including boys and girls and all age divisions, beat her.
Check out the video on YouTube (it won’t let me embed it, because of some of the music I used).
Delaney and Luke competed in the inaugural Houston Kids Triathlon at the University of Houston last weekend. It was the largest kids triathlon in Houston history.
Delaney finished second, adding another medal and trophy to her immense hardware collection.
Luke finished 13th, in only his second triathlon.
It’s really cool watching a thousand kids swimming, biking and running early in the morning. Big fun.
I’m not big on internet affirmations, because most of them are trite and uninspiring. But this is the opposite of that.
This, friends, is why winners never give up when things go wrong.
More info here.
I’m a big college sports fan. But when I was a kid, we didn’t have the internet. Or many television channels. So my generation’s perspective of colleges and whatnot was much narrower than that of today’s youth. What I’m trying to say is that because we didn’t have the ability to see as many college football games, sports was big, but not like today. So it never occurred to me that by electing to spend four happy years somewhere, I might be sentencing myself to decades of pulling for a perennial underdog.
And my dad went to Wake Forest, for about a minute. Before he left to fly a Hellcat from an aircraft carrier. To shoot and be shot at by other young dudes in other planes. He got a bunch of medals, including a DFC, but no college degree.
So I went to Wake Forest. I had a blast, and loved just about every minute of it. But let me tell you, it is hard to be a WFU sports fan. You experience brief moments of ecstasy surrounded by long periods of frustration. There is, for sure, something noble in that. But I can’t say I’ve never wondered what life would be like as an LSU fan or (God forbid) a University of Texas fan.
Among the big-time college football programs, LSU has long been my favorite. I’ve spent a lot of time in Louisiana, and some of my closest friends are Cajuns. Hard core, French talkin’, LSU lovin’ Cajuns. And some of the coolest people- and best cooks- in the world.
So I hope LSU wins tonight. But there’s a little problem.
In a magical occurrence that even Wake Forest fans don’t completely understand, Wake is playing Notre Dame tonight. At Wake Forest. Yeah, I know. But it’s pretty cool.
It also starts at the same time as the LSU Alabama game.
My kids tolerate the Deacons, because they know how sadly passionate I am about WFU football (I am bored to tears with WFU basketball, but that’s a topic for another say). But this LSU Alabama game has mad traction, even with the middle school/junior high crowd. Delaney and most of her friends have been squarely in the LSU corner, taunting and being taunted by the “Alabama girls” at school. I’ve heard my kids talking about the game all week.
Delaney’s bedroom door
I want to watch the Wake Forest game. There is zero chance that any of my kids will agree to watch the Wake game in lieu of LSU Alabama. And I want to share the game experience with my kids.
So, I had to set up some supplemental audio video gear in my study, where we watch most of our sports. I set up a crappy little Vizio TV I bought from Woot a year or so ago for a dollar or two.
We’ll start off with Wake Forest on the big screen, and my fingers crossed. If Wake can hang with the Irish, we’ll have to squint a little to see the LSU game. If Wake gets clobbered, I’ll swap screens.
Either way, this will be a great night for college football.
They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues
~ Steely Dan, Deacon Blues
It’s hard to be a Wake Forest basketball fan. Almost perfectly hard. You suffer through long periods of frustration, interspersed with brief moments of sheer joy. The most joyful being the Tim Duncan/Randolph Childress fueled back to back ACC Championships of the mid-nineties.
That was a long, long time ago, so let’s look back at a wonderful moment in time.
Those were good times. Many fans thought they were the beginning of a long period of WFU hardcourt dominance.
It didn’t quite work out that way.
Later, Skip Prosser led Wake to some good (but again not quite great) seasons. Skip was 126-68 during the regular season, but alas had mixed post-season success.
Skip died tragically, and his top assistant and close friend Dino Gaudio took over. Dino led WFU to a 61-31 record in 3 seasons, but the post-season collapses that pre-dated Dino continued, ultimately leading to his sacking after last season.
I was very worried when it became clear that Athletic Director Ron Wellman was bound and determined to hire his old friend Jeff Bzdelik to replace Dino. The same Jeff Bzdelik that had a 36-58 record at Colorado, and has never won an NCAA Tournament game. In fact, if anything his post season record made Wake’s look better.
Others shared my reaction. It was, at least by objective measures, a strange hire.
But I was willing to take a wait and see approach.
I’ve waited, and what I have seen so far is nothing short of a complete train wreck. Wake has gone from a team that was a contender in the ACC and ranked no. 1 in the country to having to scramble to nip a previously winless UNC-G team. At home.
Sadly, that UNC-G win was a high point of the early season, compared to home losses to:
Stetson (Atlantic Sun). Currently 3-7 with losses to Bethune Cookman, Palm Beach Atlantic (whoever that is) and Jacksonville.
Winthrop (Big South). Currently 5-6, with losses to Hampton, Belmont and Liberty.
UNC-W (Colonial Athletic Conference). Currently 5-5, with a loss to N.C. A&T.
And then, tonight, a home loss to the 5-6 Big South juggernaut, Presbyterian (whose losses, in the interest of fairness, are better than many who have beaten Wake this season).
It would have been unreasonable to expect Wake to be really good this year. But it would be selling Wake short to believe that this is OK. It’s not, and if you really believe Wake can be good, if you’re really a fan, you should not suffer quietly. I want to make it absolutely clear to anyone who will listen that I- and many other fans- expect more than this. It’s OK to have a bad year. It’s never OK to have this bad a year.
Those whose psychological makeup won’t allow them to face reality argue that Wake Forest has a young team and does not have a true point guard. True enough, and that will be a great oft-used excuse when Wake gets beat by 40 or 50 once the ACC games begin next month. But to say that Wake’s roster, with highly regarded recruits, point guard or not, should be a cellar dweller in the Big South Conference is absurd and indefensible on its face.
Jeff Bzdelik is in all likelihood a really good guy, and I mean no personal disrespect to him. But no one forced him to take the Wake Forest job, and he is highly paid for his troubles (I have long been fascinated by the coach-as-a-proxy-for-the-program transference that leads some to defend a guy they’d never heard of a year ago like he’s the Pope, Gandhi, Santa Claus and their favorite uncle all rolled into one). At the end of the day, there are two possibilities. One, all of Wake’s recruits were greatly overrated, not only by the prior coaching staffs, but also by most of the national recruiting services. Two, Bzdelik is not, as it turns out, the second coming of John Wooden. Occam’s razor precludes me from believing the former.
The thing is that I am a Wake Forest fan. Not a fan of whoever happens to be the coach at the moment. It would be cool to be excited about both. At the moment it’s really hard to be excited about either.
And if Bzdelik and crew can’t manage a victory over Presbyterian at home, how’s it going to go when Wake plays Duke? Call me Chicken Little, but I’m thinking not too good.
Those who try to keep their eyes closed and their chins up have provided a mountain of anecdotal evidence in support of the proposition that Bzdelik is a great game coach. That’s it- he’s an Xs and Os wizard who will coach up his players to compete with the Dukes and the UNCs.
First, he has to coach them up to compete with the VCUs and Xaviers.
As I have said to other Wake fans: Bzdelik may be a great coach, but nothing I have seen so far proves it. He better be a great recruiter, for all of our sake. Crazy thing is that few have tried to argue that he will be. Many have hung their hats on the great game coach peg.
Yes, yes a million few times yes, it’s early. Time will tell, but no one who is being even remotely honest can say that this season so far is anything more than a complete disaster- point guard or not.
Equally as frustrating as Wake’s dismal pre-conference record is the fact that the Deacons look fundamentally unsound and unprepared, and are unbearably boring to watch.
I completely realize that if Bzdelik turns Wake around, this year (fat chance) or another, this post will be constantly tossed in my face as proof that I am a “bad fan,” whatever in the hell that is. If that happens, I’ll be happy to admit that Wake is good again. I’ll even admit that I could have kept my mouth shut and suffered through a dismal season or two so I could claim to be a loyal fan when WFU wins a few games. What I’ll really be is happy, because I’ll once again be able to look forward to watching games.
I won’t even go into the ancillary marketing and branding effects that flow out of a successful sports program. I just want Wake to have a good team so it will be fun to watch the games.
Here’s the thing. Maybe when you’re in college you have some implied duty to support the team, keep a positive attitude no matter what and attend the games. But when you’re middle aged, with a job, family and a million other things competing for your time, you have absolutely no obligation to sit in front of the TV game after game watching your team get dismantled by lesser competition. You just don’t.
And I’m not. I’m calling a TKO on this season.
Maybe next year will be better, more fun. It can’t possibly be any worse.