Thursday, April 29, 2010

When it doubt -- Let the Holy Spirit Take Over

"Be quiet in your faith in Him who loves you, and would lead you out of insanity.  Madness may be your choice, but NOT your REALITY.

Never forget the love of God, Who had remembered you. For it is quite impossible that He ever let his son drop from the loving mind wherein he was created, and where his abode was fixed in perfect Peace forever.

Say to the Holy Spirit only:  "Decide for me" and it is done!

For His decisions are reflections of what God knows about you, and in this light, error of any kind becomes impossible.

Why would you struggle so frantically to anticipate all you cannot know, when all knowledge lies behind every decision the Holy Spirit makes for you?

Learn His wisdom and His love, and teach His answer to everyone who struggles in the dark.  for you decide for them and yourself.

In everything be led by the Holy Spirit, and do not reconsider. TRUST HIM to answer quickly, surely, and with Love for everyone who will be touched in any way by the decision. and everyone will be.

Would you take unto yourself the sole responsibility for deciding what can bring only good to everyone?  Would you know this?

Whenever you are in doubt what you should do, think of His presence in you, and tell yourself this, and ONLY this:

He leadeth me and knows the way, which I know not.
Yet He will never keep from me what He would have me learn.
And so I TRUST Him to communicate to me all that He knows for me.

Then let Him teach you quietly how to perceive your guiltlessness, which is already there.

Ask not to be Forgiven, for this has already been accomplished.

Ask, rather, to learn how to forgive and to restore what  always was to your unforgiving mind. 

Atonement becomes real and visible to those who use it.  On earth this is your ONLY function, and you must learn that THIS is all you want to learn.

Before you make any decisions for yourself here, remember that you have already decided against your function in Heaven, and then consider carefully whether you want to make decisions here.

Your true function here in only to decide against deciding what you want, in recognition that you do not know!

How, then, can you decide what you should do?

Leave ALL DECISIONS to the One Who speaks for God, and for your function as He knows it.  So will He teach you to remove the awful burden you have laid upon yourself by not loving your brothers. 

Give up this frantic and insane attempt that cheats you of the joy of living with your God and Father, and of waking gladly to His love and Holiness that join together as the truth in you, making you one with Him.

When you have learned how to decide with God, ALL decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer.

Only your own volition seems to make deciding hard.

The Holy Spirit will not delay in answering your every question what to do. He knows. And He will tell you, and then do it for you.

You who are tired will find this is more restful than sleep.

Your task is not to make reality. It is here without your making, but not without you.

You cannot understand how much your Father loves you, for there is no parallel in your experience of the world to help you understand it.

There is nothing on earth with which it can compare."


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Some Lessons Learned Early Stay with us a Long Time

I learned probably one of the greatest and most lasting lessons of my life as a youngster of 13 years old and as I think about my current life and situation, I cannot help but be reminded of how very relevant that lesson remains with me - to this very day!

It is kind of amazing to think that an event and a lesson from that long ago can still be utilized as a grown man - but it can indeed and it shows us how critically important our decisions as parents or mentors are to the youth of today.

What struck me today however, is the fact that a 2nd invaluable lesson came out of this formative event is it too is also true to this very day.

The year was 1982 and I was a 5 ft (if I was that tall) young man entering my sophomore year in High School. After having started organized basketball in just 8th grade, I was able to work hard and make my freshman team the prior year.

The team was quite good and competitive and I was thirilled to have achieved this accomplishment. I did not receive much playing time given my diminuitive height and relative inexperience up to that point, but was able to muster a few points during garbage time and a few blowout games.

The summer between my Freshman and Sophomore year were focused on a relationship with a young lady (as teenagers often do focus upon) and basketball could not have been farther from my mind all summer and leading up to tryouts that Fall.

Having made the team (and despite not having really grown much over that summer) the prior year, I was pretty confident that I was a shoo-in for the JV team.


Much to my devastation, humiliation and heartbreak, I was cut from the JV squad mercilessly and I cannot describe to you the pain and hurt I felt as a result. 

Now granted, I deserved to be cut. I did not play basketball over the summer beyond a few pickup games, I was small, I had not made a gigantic impact on the coach or team the year before, and I was terrible at the tryouts!  I left the Coach very little choice in his decision.

But as a 13-14 year old - the world had come to an end.

I credit my parents with keeping me afloat and recognizing the need to intervene and keep me up daily after that earth shattering event. They were remarkable - sensed my bitterness - and showered me with love and support beyond the normal pale.  God Bless them as they were burdened with the unenviable task of helping me work through the disappointment, anger, bitterness, and pain - and helped me focus my anger on something productive  - making the team the following year!

I  dedicated myself to playing basketball ALL THE TIME!  Unbeknownst to my parents, I had hooked up with a group of college kids who played hoop regularly at my neighborhood playground and began driving with them to other playgrounds in the area and playing better kids - growing and developing.

It did not hurt that I grew from approximately 5' 2" to 5' 10" since I was cut and my confidence and skill level had jumped through the roof!

I made the JV team my Junior year, worked up to the Varsity and Captained the Varsity squad my Senior year.

The first lesson I learned is one of perseverance, hard work - but mosty Faith and Belief in what you set out to do. My parents and my support network of friends and family were instrumental in my getting back on the horse and dedicating myself to the goal at hand - and pursuing as well as achieving that goal!

The second lesson I realize I learned was about what truly matters in all we do daily! 

As ecstatic, and proud and thrilled as I was for having reached my goal and seeing all of my hard work pay off, I willl never shake the overwhelming sadness I felt in my heart and deep into my soul for the other kid who was cut that year.

The feeling of sadness I experienced watching him scan the list they put up outside the locker room of the kids who would be invited to play on the team hits me like an anvil even today as I recall the story and that shared moment outside of the gym.

There was little I could say or do to assuage this other person's pain and humiliation and disappointment at that moment, and I KNEW what it felt like to be in his sneakers - trust me.

I learned at that point that winning is not everything in life. I am all about ambition and striving for success, however, we ought not lose the compassion and feelings that must accompany all winning.  Winning at all costs is a very shallow way to go through life especially when you discard feeling and pain of the so-called "losers".

I would have traded my "victory" right then and there to make that kid feel better and to help him avoid the pain that I knew all too well was coming and would be with him the next few weeks, months and possibly years.

As a youth coach now for kids ranging from 5-11, I have been blessed with the fact that I have not had to cut a single child from any team I have coached in any sport. I realized quickly that coaching to me was not that important compared to what a tryout/cut can do to a young person's spirit. But I also realize it is only temporary!

Any setback we experience can be used as a tremendous learning and teaching opportunity  - for our children as well as for ourselves! 

Many of the valuable lessons we learn early on in life - in fact most of them - stem from a negative event or incident!  This is not the end of the world - in fact, we NEED these events to teach us that no matter what we face in life can be overcome if we do not quit, surrender, or give in to weakness!

When confronted with a situation like these, we should embrace the lessons that can be taught and learned from them - as unfortunate and painful as the circumstances may be!  Do not push them away and sweep them under the carpet - FULLY embrace them and make the most of them in order to learn and to Stay Strong for a lifetime!

EVERYONE has it in them - but sometimes others are needed to show the way and keep us on the Right Path! 

Continue to Be that person!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Paul Cormier in the Ivy League; Tim O'Toole next?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Paul Cormier in the Ivy League; Tim O'Toole next?

It's been quite a month for former Fairfield head coaches.

After a decades-long stretch during which no former Stags coach moved on to another Division I head job, two of them -- Mitch Buonaguro at Siena and Paul Cormier at Dartmouth -- were hired to take over programs.

Buonaguro taking the helm at Siena -- a team that should contend, along with Fairfield and a few other teams, for the MAAC title -- will likely end up being the most talked-out hire in Stag Country.

But also of interest is the coaching picture in the Ivy League, which saw half of its coaches leave or get fired either during or after the 2009-10 season. First came news that Cormier was heading back to Dartmouth, where he coached the Big Green from 1984-91.

And according to a source familiar with the hiring process at Columbia, former Fairfield coach Tim O'Toole interviewed for the Lions' vacancy yesterday, meaning he's on a short list of candidates to replace Joe Jones, who left to join Steve Donahue's staff at Boston College.

Other candidates reportedly include NJIT coach (and former Columbia assistant) Jim Engles, Saint Mary's top assistant Kyle Smith and New Orleans coach Joe Pasternack.

O'Toole, whose contract wasn't renewed at Fairfield following the 2005-06 season, could be a good fit in the Ivy League. He's spent the last four years teaching graduate-level business classes at Fordham -- a rarity, to be sure, among coaches -- and is close friends with Harvard coach Tommy Amaker.

O'Toole, a color analyst on ESPNU's Ivy broadcasts for the past two seasons, comes highly recommended by former boss Mike Krzyzewski, who, though the Duke admissions office is surely more helpful than its counterpart at Columbia, knows a thing or two about recruiting players with strong academic backgrounds.

Engles, also a former top assistant at Rider, is 11-51 in two seasons at NJIT. He left Rider for Columbia in 2003, paving the way for Don Harnum to hire Tommy Dempsey as his new deputy.

posted by Ben Doody at 5:29 PM 0 Comments

Monday, April 12, 2010

For Coach O'Toole, it's all about passing the Torch -

Slice of Rye

For Coach O’Toole, It’s All About Passing the Torch –

“Hold it!” bounces off the walls of the Midland Elementary School gymnasium with such intensity that everyone stops on a dime and immediately looks up at the source of the command. In a flash, the coach responsible for this play stoppage leaps into action, grabs the basketball and with the energy of a whirling dervish on Red Bull demonstrates what he just witnessed and proceeds to calmly explain to this group of 7- and 8-year-olds the proper way to pass the basketball.

Although the venue this Saturday morning is a long way from the hallowed hardwood floors of Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium or Syracuse’s Carrier Dome, watching Tim O’Toole go about his business with these young players at the Rye YMCA youth basketball program, you would think he was right back in the middle of the Big East tournament or scrambling for a loose ball in the NCAA tourney at his alma mater Fairfield University.

The passion and energy for the game on display has not changed a bit since O’Toole’s coaching and playing days (it is hard to believe he no longer drinks three pots of coffee a day) and if you did not actually witness the audience of young basketball players he was addressing, you could easily assume they were college players with whom he was working. His approach is the same, filled with intensity and heart.

Since leaving Fairfield as head coach of the men’s basketball program in 2005, the former MAAC Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year has been in perpetual motion and shows no signs of slowing down.

The 19-year coaching veteran has taken a page from his father, the late Thomas O’Toole, an All-American basketball star and Hall of Fame inductee at Boston College, who instead of pursuing a professional career in basketball dedicated his years to coaching and mentoring at the high school and lower levels.

As his dad did decades before him, O’Toole continues to give back what he was blessed to learn over his career to the future stars of basketball.“I remember my Dad dedicating so much of his time to helping so many kids become better players, but more importantly to becoming quality young people. I guess I am hoping we can keep passing the torch, or in this case the basketball, so our kids and many other kids will benefit just as we did.”

As a member of the Rye YMCA’s Board of Directors, O’Toole has volunteered his time, experience and passion for excellence with young basketball players the past three years. He can be found almost every Saturday during the hoop season at the gym instructing, coaching and mentoring.

It is rare that a youth basketball program has such unfettered access to someone with O’Toole’s degree of coaching experience and knowledge; his was developed over a nearly twenty-year career at top Division 1 basketball programs like Duke, Syracuse, Seton Hall, West Point, Fordham, Fairfield and Iona.

O’Toole’s basketball résumé is not lost on the parents of these young players.

“It is wonderful to watch him interact with these children. He obviously brings a tremendous amount of hoop knowledge and experience to this program, yet he is able to translate that down to 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds and they really respond and get it,” says Shaun Lawrence of Rye, whose twin sons Cameron and Christian were both in the YMCA program with O’Toole.

Rye efforts aside, a mere glimpse at O’Toole’s weekly schedule is enough to make your head spin.

He currently works full time as the Director of Business Development at Classroom 24-7, a leading firm in the e-learning arena. In addition to that and being a father of three, O’Toole is an adjunct professor at Fordham’s Graduate School of Business, where he has written a book and presents seminars on “Allied Effort”, a refreshing philosophy he designed on how to create, build, lead and sustain championship-level teams in all aspects of life.

As if this were not enough to occupy him, O’Toole is also a television and radio broadcaster with ESPN, currently providing the color analysis for many NCAA games including the NIT Tournament, and several Big East games. He teamed up with Bob Huessler of WFAN to broadcast several Fairfield University men’s basketball games on the radio this past season.

One has to wonder if O’Toole looks to return to coaching basketball at the highest echelons.

“Coaching and teaching are in my blood,” says O’Toole. “The life lessons learned from being involved in team sports have tremendous ramifications for people later in life. At West Point, the Douglas MacArthur Monument reminds all the cadets ‘upon the fields of friendly strife, are sown the seeds that upon other days, upon other fields, will bear the fruits of victory.’” He adds, “I am glad that my many experiences in basketball can now benefit so many other young players, and I am always open to coaching, at any level of the game, where I can lend that experience and insight to help people achieve their goals.”

Author - Doug Flaherty, Rye, NY