My HOF Induction

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When I write, I try not to insert myself too much into things. Sometimes it is unavoidable, but usually I figure if you’re reading this, you’ve used the internet to find out more about me and what I do.

So, on November 16, 2022, I was inducted into the NJCAA HOF. Below is the speech I was permitted to give at the pre-tournament banquet. I suppose it fits in with this from when I was forced to step down from Lincoln Land.

When I say it is all about the girls and the work they put in, I mean that. I didn’t score a point or lift a weight. I got to sit and watch and make pithy comments from time to time. To be clear–I’m aware by the time you read this, I am a Hall of Famer, but this is SOOOOOO a group award.

The blog photo is the ‘infamous’ plaque with the typo…I like having the photo of it–because of Brian Swenty’s comment: “Yeah, because there aren’t that many Ls in your coaching career!”

At the end of the speech, I’ve added some stuff that couldn’t be put in the speech.

And after that is the actual ’10 minute speech’ that went 20 minutes. I don’t regret that. The speech doesn’t quite match the text…little in life goes as we prepare for it.

If you are reading this, you already know I’m calm and cool 99% of the time…but if I get emotional, I do struggle a bit…so enjoy the amusing bit at the start where I was going to wipe my eye and…threw the microphone about fifteen feet off screen. Really.

THE WRITTEN VERSION OF THE SPEECH:

You know, there are 500 NJCAA programs and across all three divisions, only 44 advance as far as you here have made it.  Congratulations but before you begin play tomorrow, take time to be thankful for this experience.  There are thousands of athletes across sports who would love to enjoy, just once, the experience you are privileged to have this week—the speeches, the banquet, the photos, and the competition, so I hope some of this sticks with you, makes you think in some way.

For the coaches, Maybe this applies to you, maybe it doesn’t.  You know if it does or does not.  I am up here because I was successful winning matches but ultimately, the cause for me being here is the least important aspect of what I did as a coach.  I truly don’t care about being remembered for that.  I want to be remembered for elping young people gain confidence and leadership skills they could use throughout life and being a role model for them in terms of ethics and integrity.

       I’m proud that over my 18 years in the NJCAA, my teams followed the rules in spirit AND letter, that we did not play in gray areas and take short cuts.  Doug Glanville, former baseball player and ESPN analysis noted regarding cheating: “when you undermine fair competition, you celebrate something that has nothing to do with competition or excellence in sport.”  Making concessions on your integrity is a slippery slope—once you’ve done it, what’s the harm in doing it again?  And again?  Besides—everyone else is doing it, right, NASCAR’s ‘if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’’?

       Coaches—if you are in the gray areas, you CAN change, you CAN and SHOULD do things the right way.  How you act sets an example—to other coaches and even more important to the young people you coach.  Volleyball is sport, not life.  There are dozens of things more important in the lives of your athletes—coaches often forget this for the sake of the scoreboard.  Your job, your responsibility is to make athletics a positive wholistic experience for the young people in your program.  What message do you send by breaking rules—starting practice on July 5th or changing player uniforms to confuse an opponent’s scouting report?  If you play an injured athletes at risk of it worsening, why?  If you regularly put your players in tears—is that coaching or are you really just a bully?

       Coaches, you KNOW if you ARE doing things the right way.  Don’t be tempted to sacrifice your integrity for the sake of the scoreboard because the example you set with your ethics WILL carry over to the next generation when your athletes become tomorrow’s coaches—because it’s absolutely tempting to start down the slippery slope.

For the athletes, there are three big things I told recruits and reaffirmed to my athletes once we reached August 1st.  The first was already mentioned—we ain’t breaking rules, no exceptions.  Rules are rules whether you are all-American or rarely get in a match.  Honestly, we missed out on trips to Nationals in 2013 and 2019 because of it. You maintaining your personal integrity is important because YOU are influential role-models for younger athletes, the HS seniors who will be your teammates next year and the pre-teens who come to your games dreaming of being you in just a few short years.  

       The second thing I always noted—the people you practice with should become your friends, the people you remain in touch with years down the road.  I hope this is true for you and your teammates, that the bonds of your friendship stay strong.

       *2010 text message group
       *Brenna/Sarah M unbroken snapchat streak going back to 2015
       *Beka’s wedding—with the team present

These friendships are more valuable than anything else you will get out of your college years.  I am thankful and privileged that my alumni consider me a friend now as well.

The third thing is an uncomfortable truth.  At some point, volleyball will end.  It may be sudden due to injury, it may be after you’ve squeezed out every possible year of eligibility, but it WILL end.  Have a plan.  When I was forced to step down, people worried what I’d do—but I told people who asked, “I have an exit plan.”   Have. That. Plan.  Work on it, revise it, write it down—just make sure you have it.  It will make your eventual transition to ‘former athlete’ easier…because you are so very much more than just your job description as ‘volleyball player’.

With every set of guidelines I’ve given teams over the years, one thing has been at the top of each, the priorities I expect players to have.  They are always the same:

1 – Family     2 – Academics     3 – Volleyball

Where I am proud, where I have a coaching legacy—so to speak—is with the players’ accomplishments, the work they put in outside of the gym because they took those guidelines to heart.  At LLCC,

95% graduated with an associate’s

95% of those graduates picked up a B.A

27% of those went on for Master’s degrees

And of those grad students, 20% went on for or are currently in terminal degree programs like Vet Med school.

31 academic all-Americans

80 academic all-conference

43 alumni now coaching, college-club-high school, including 13 who have spent time as college coaches (ranging from D1 assistant to D3 head coach)

I’m indebted to them for their work forever.

Don’t worry—we’re starting down the homestretch now.

Thank you to John Masterson and Allen County—Randy Weber, Todd Francis.  Allen County is a special place to teach and coach.  Mr. Masterson gave me my chance to be a college coach.  The support I received was wonderful—and it was great seeing a college president come to nearly every volleyball match.  The world needs more administrators like him.

Thank you to Ron Riggle for hiring me at Lincoln Land.  I know there was pressure to hire someone based on gender and you stood up for who you thought was the better coach for building the program.  Thank you for the support in both good and interesting times.

Thank you to every last one of the athletes who played for me.  I remember you all but I think they’d throw food at me if I listed you all and your accomplishments in life. 

And I’ll make a comment here for the NJCAA—please put Kiersten Anderson in the HOF.  She’s an exemplar of the two-year experience.  2x all-National Tourney, 2x all-American, 2x Final Four—on to NAIA as an all-American and all-tourney selection, graduating early and playing in two Beach Final Fours with a national title.  Oh, and academic all-American four times.

Thank you to Stephanie Leonard and Joe Reuben.  Thank you to Kelly Wajda who played then came back to help coach us to Nationals 10 years ago this week.  Thank you to Laura Payne who played then coached—and recruited the key players who led us to Nationals in 2015. 

Thank you to Kallie Sinkus who coached in those two final fours, then left to rebuild a HS program, leading it to an undefeated season in 2020 while increasing the kids in that program from 12 to 60.  Thank you to Will Clawson who helped with the third consecutive Final Four team.

Thank you also to Morgan Hauser for nominating me for this honor.  It means a lot to know I made that much of a difference for someone who played for me.


Thank you to Dave Pieart for bouncing ideas around for teaching and coaching for more than a quarter century.  I am honored you consider me a friend and I love you like a brother.

An extra thank you here—when I was forced to step away, though I’d been around a long time, there was only one coach in our region who reached out to see how I was doing—mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Mary Frahm from Heartland—thank you for your compassion and decency.  It is easy to talk about empathy and caring, but few walk the walk

Thank you to my son Erick—for being level-headed, a constant reminder that there is more to life than sports.

Thank you to my son Michael—your work ethic is amazing and I love that as a college student, you manage being a student AND athlete successfully—and that on top of track and field, you are restarting a men’s club team at your school.

Thank you to my daughter, Brigitte, the volleyball coach.  I’m glad you were there when I lost my temper at that ref—aren’t you glad you showed up that day, first time in your life you’ve seen me yell!  Your teaching skill with young athletes is amazing.

And last, the most important—thank you to Julie, my wife.  Thank you for the emotional support last fall when college coaching got chopped off.  Volleyball came into my life on March 6, 1990. You came into it March 14.  For 32 years, you have put up with me coming home frustrated, you have put up with late night returns from roadtrips, my inability to be at your own professional functions, all the myriad things spouses deal with when married to a coach.  Actually, let’s just be honest—thank you for just putting up with me.

So ladies, good luck this week.  Play hard and make sure to have fun.. MENTION TIME UNTIL TOURNEY START

***

The list of players…(I could give you the HS players I’ve been privileged to coach, too…)

The athletes who made this possible, listed once only/the last year I coached them…with three exceptions.

Allen 2004: Kylie, Ashley W., Holley, Nickey, Vanessa, Jini B., Shanan
Allen 2005: Ashleigh R., Melissa, Ashley Wi., Bailey, Ronnie, Clarissa, Tasia, Kaley–and Todd as ass’t coach
LLCC 2006: Lindsey, Bana, Melanie, Krista, Maris, Casey, Megan
2007: Kelly, Anna, Lauren, Amber, Cassie, Sarah
2008: Kate, Courtney, Lauren M., Britani
2009: Caitlyn, Megan O., Megan S. Amy, Nicky, Maggie, Ocie –Steph/Jesse as ass’t coaches
2010: Megan V., Laura, Brittany, Brooke, Beka, Shauni, Carrie, Becky
2011: Sammy, Abby, Katie, Megan, Mary, Paige
2012: Hollie, Haley, Emily, Jazz, Sarah, Dusty –Kelly as ass’t coach
2013: Lindsey, Kinzie, Kayla, Morgan H., Taylor, Mish, Jordan, Morgan C.
2014: Sammie, Andrea, Tessa, Hannah M., Britanny –Laura as ass’t coach
2015: Brenna, Taylor W., Hannah O, Brooke, Tiffany, Claire
2016: Syd, Talesha, Sarah M., Kendall, Izzy, Michelle, Summer, Kaley –Kallie as ass’t
2017: Kiersten, Kaylee, Brooke S., Addie, Brea, Sabria, Michaela, Bailey –Will as ass’t.
2018: Maree, Bob, Olivia, Kiley, Erika
2019: Jakya, Ashley M., Taylor, Molly
2020-21: Mary, Kate, Julia, Madison, Annika, Natalie, Kennedy, Sami, Josie, Emily V., Macey, Isabella H, Isabella W., Kylie M., Ray, Abby L., Makenna (moshing the group I had to give up due to COVID in with the COVID spring season) –Kaylee as ass’t, then taking on the role of ‘interim’

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Dreams – 12/8

12/8/22:

I was in a house with my wife but our little girl went into the woods alone which was bad because there were aliens out there. Our daughter found some of them. Some were the size of plums/small fruit and ‘harmless’. When I finally found her, we saw a big one. It was like a crab but squished flat and it had a diameter of a couple feet–like a half-spider? We rushed back to our cabin and my ‘daughter’ disappeared from the dream. My wife and I wanted to alert the authorities but realized if we talked, the aliens would find us–so instead, I fired a shotgun into the wall twice–because no matter what, authorities would come if there was domestic violence.

We went outside then to wait for the police–but instead it was an X-COM response team with helicopters–the men got out and instantly created a runway for a massive plane that had three hangars (looked like airscoops) on the bottom of the airplane. I ran towards the plane and a soldier on the ground waved his hand at me and then I was somewhere else. I was on an uneven beach with damp sand in three different shades of beige/khaki…that was next to beanfields of some sort and I was running towards a shack that was either selling t-shirts or serving as a military HQ.

12/8/21:

I was laying on a bed when Alyssa Milano came in and sat with me, then laid down next to me. We started talking baseball. Then she got warm and changed into a tshirt and shorts and then for some reason, we turned and were laying together across the top of the bed and then we were kissing. I realized she was wearing shiny lip gloss. Then I realized it wasn’t lip gloss–she had prosthetic lips. I also noticed the hotel room’s walls changed color from beige to Valentine’s Day Red.

Iowa State: Blizzard #2, December 1985

So, that first semester of college had two massive winter storms. The first was over Thanksgiving.

The second came during Dead Week if I recall correctly (Wednesday, I believe)–the second week of December, 1985. I was still at Towers. I wasn’t really an active participant in these events–still too shy and awkward. Also, I suspect there was alcohol use involved with some of this. I mean…it was Towers, after all.

The first bit was that in 1985, Domino’s had a policy of delivering your pizza in 30 minutes or it was free. Normally, that wasn’t much of an issue–they had quite a few ovens, kept pizzas prepped to go and employed multiple drivers. That’s all well and good, but when there’s snow coming down that’s going to wind up a foot deep and the roads aren’t plowed yet? Yeah…if you’ve read ANY of my Iowa State stuff, you should see where this bit is going. College students aren’t dumb.

As soon as the roads got a little dodgy, everyone in Wallace Hall had the same idea–order Domino’s. On Lancelot, there were at least six different orders…if that total was similar on all the other floors, that’s sixty orders to deliver. Four buildings–that’s 240 orders…and it’s not like the UDA and RCA residence areas wouldn’t have had similar thoughts. Initially, the Domino’s orders arrived on time…and then they were late…and free. Were most people happy with that? No…realizing that they had an opportunity to stock up a few days food at no cost, they buried Domino’s with orders. In the end, Domino’s stopped taking calls around 10pm. For posterity, yes, I ordered a pizza. Yes, it arrived late. Yes, I enjoyed that I scammed it for free.

This was the minor bit, though.

Towers’ reputation for drinking all days, all hours was well-founded. Dead week with no more assignments to go? More excuse to go drinking at the bars…except with all the snow, no one was going anywhere, so they just dug into their personal stashes…and man, did people have alcohol out there. So they drank. And drank.

And then they went outside and started a snowball fight…and then a few people decided to start building snowmen. This would’ve been near the road going past Storms and Wilson on their west side. Much like the subject of business history or empire, as these people began their snowmen, they decided to work together and consolidate their efforts…helped by alcohol. Rather than build an army of snowmen which makes me think of Calvin and Hobbes:

C+H…so many wonderful snowmen panels…

Rather than multiple snowmen, they pushed all of them together in the middle of the road–and their goal now changed. Instead of building a massive snowman, they decided to see if they could set a world’s record for largest snowball. They failed–like that’s a surprise with drunk people. But the snowball they DID BUILD completely blocked Hayward Ave.–so it was about 20-25 feet wide and it was probably 15-20 feet tall when all was said and done…so definitely not circular…more like a snow block.

I mentioned alcohol. Yeah. So someone out of that group decided they needed to try something else “awesome”. They went and got their big Dodge Ram truck at the south end of Hayward…and put the pedal to the metal, heading towards the giant snowball…accelerating as much as possible given the unplowed snow on the road.

He must have been an ag major (or well past .15 blood alcohol) because he clearly didn’t understand the physics of what was going to happen. He drove his Dodge into the snowball, expecting it to explode in a puff of fluffy whiteness. He didn’t consider that snow packed together is hard and that a 15x15x25′ chunk of snow (5,625 cubic feet) is heavy. (New wet snow weighs between 4-8 lbs/cubic foot). That’s 10-20 tons of snow there. He Dodge Rammed the giant snowpile completely crushing the front of his truck with negligible effect to the snow.

I don’t remember if he was hurt or not. I know he wasn’t killed–that I’m sure of.

The next day, ISU Facilities brought out a dozer, broke the giant snowball apart.

As always–funny what sticks in your mind–Domino’s free delivery in 30, that giant snowball. Do I remember anything specifically from my classes? No.*

*Actually that’s not true: S+H 230…a class where I didn’t expect to learn anything but in the end helped me become a better person…can’t ever forget that one.

Dreams – 12/7

12/7/22:

I was driving to meet two women at my house. I thought one was cute. I wondered if my wife was home. The dream cutaway to a floorplan of the house and it was much bigger than I realized my house was–then it was back to the dream in ‘first-person’ and I was washing my hands in a sink next to a refrigerator. I went upstairs, ducking through the doorway to the stairs which was built too small for me. The stairs turned to the right and I went up. I found a bedroom with the non-cute girl. She was in a bathrobe sitting in a chair on the far side of the bed. On her bed, there was a brown collie laying on its back. I jumped on the bed on rubbed its belly for a long time, then the woman got up and said “I know what you want” and I followed her out of the room, down a long hall. The dream again switched between the dream and the house floorplan and back but the layout didn’t seem to match our movements. At the end of the hall, she took me into another bedroom with walls with weird angles and a gabled ceiling and a triangle window with bright white light through it. My daughter was there with a friend, simultaneously a toddler and grown up. She kept talking into a white rectangular cellphone attached to a retracting coil to her shoulder. She looked at me and said, “This is what happens because of the last election.” She was sad. I left her, went into the hallway (which was now different) but I couldn’t find the cute girl.

12/7/21:

I was on a rooftop with a bunch of other men. We’d been called up by the reserves because of alien invasion. I was worried whether my brother would show up. We got news the aliens were on the way from Cincinnati and we started to arm ourselves and put on armor when my brother showed up. He was Channing Tatum. I was worried because we had to protect our children downstairs in the “Festung Basement”. Suddenly I was in the basement–it was the ‘play room’ I had as a kid in the basement in Davenport (except the walls were white) and we were VERY quiet because the aliens occupied the house and we knew we’d be there for a long time. Eventually I stuck a penlight through slats on the door and saw a dead alien outside, so we snuck out of the building.

12/7/20:

I was driving a generic white van. My co-pilot was Mike Pendergast, the PE teacher from sophomore(??) year of high school. We were carrying students home from someplace and it was raining.Suddenly he wasn’t in the seat but standing on the front bumper. He was keeping the windshield clean from the rain. I wondered how he was doing it in his blue sweatshirt and that it had to be cold since we were driving highway speeds…at which point I felt sleepy and there was a bump and he was gone. I hit the brakes and turned around to find him and ran into Jen Kusak running towards the van to tell me Pendergast fell off but was doing all right. He would just run the last 30 miles back to school.

12/7/14:

I was moving back into Friley because it was heated during winter. I was moving into the southeast section on the top floor, and they were putting four people into rooms the size of Westgate–and then they decided to make the rooms co-ed, so I decided I would write a history of Friley Hall instead, so that I got a single-room. Also of note–they replaced Windows with a recreational swimming pool and multiple Jacuzzis.

Dreams – 12/6

12/6/21:

James May was presenting a TV show about voting and there were all sorts of complaints about ‘having’ to vote rather than voting as a privilege. He went out at night and there were people protesting having to vote. We stopped at a convenient store and one of our group bought a large trash-bag filled with Orange Crush. He kept swinging it around and getting everyone wet with it. We went back to a nearby apartment building and I wanted to shower. May said we needed to back to Wembley at which point Jeremy Carlson started swearing that we all really lived over by Wimbledon and he was quitting to go home.

Dreams – 12/5

12/5/22:

I was in Steve Mayer’s basement sitting on the floor. We were playing an RPG except Steve and I were at a far end of the long basement, the GM was in the middle, and the two other players were at the far end where we could barely see them. It was my turn to roll, but I needed d100 and didn’t have any. I had dice in weird shapes (like the letter ‘T’) and ones with balanced sides that shouldn’t be possible. Mayer handed me a letter. It was from Paul Elkin and it contained powder-blue dice. They had twelve sides but Mayer assured me they were d10. Then I got more confused because we were playing Traveller which uses d6.

12/5/21:

I was playing “Third Reich” (again). It was still a huge room-size board like the previous dream, but this time I was in Las Vegas and gambling on boardgames was legal. With THird Reich, there were bets on which hexes would be moved through and certain actions generated playing cards for a game like poker/blackjack.

12/5/19:

I was back in grad school, but forced to go back to high school to finish my HS diploma [which I don’t have]…and I spent time bored, walking from room to room where students were reading but there were no teachers. I had to go to the bathroom, but it had 360-degree plate glass windows so everyone could watch. I didn’t go, but I realized it was in the middle of what was the school dining room.

12/5/10:

I was the studio keyboardist for The Go-Gos and we were working on getting “Head over Heels” correct.

Leadership and Coaching: Double Vision

There’s a dead German guy, name of von Goethe. He lived through a lot of upheaval–the American and French Revolutions, the Napoleonic Wars, etc. He’s an important writer and he’s famous for quite a few trenchant observations such as:

“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”

One of my proudest moments as a coach comes from this–finding a kid that my assistant coach didn’t want at all (the ass’t’s comment was “Are you f-ing kidding me?”) , seeing her potential–and now watching her on ESPN+ broadcasts playing D1 ball. Goethe’s quote fits with my beliefs–it’s why I wrote this book.

It’s a challenge as a coach–to see the players as they are now…and then for what they can become, what their potential is. Is there a way to stay focused on that potential? I worked in a club once where I had a disagreement with the director–there was a kid who made a couple bad decisions and the director flippantly said, “You can’t save them all.” My response angered him. I told the director, “But you have to try.”

How do we get past the here-and-now to keep focus on the future? I don’t know….but it raises a different question–>How do we not let the past shape our views entirely? How do we focus on the future of that young person when we keep thinking back to when they were caught by police shoplifting at age 14 or busted for alcohol possession at 15? No, those aren’t things within practice, but they shape our opinions. Is there a way to prevent having our opinions “fixed” into a specific mindset?

If we are thinking of an athlete’s potential, how do we handle the young person who makes numerous mistakes or repeats the same ones over and over and over? At what point do we adjust our vision of that individual’s potential, lowering it to fit what we see rather than what we think could be?

And writing all that made me realize–this isn’t anywhere close to a new problem. It’s the basis of Abrahamic religion. Look at Hebrews 11:1 – “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” Have we really made progress in this regard? Again, I don’t know.

Maybe that’s the problem with potential. It requires faith. There’s no science possible to guarantee young people reach their potential. I think everyone knows people who are ‘late bloomers’ or find their passion long after school is over; not everyone leaves school and walks straight into their dream career.

***
Coming back to this a while after writing this initially…

Believing in potential is tough for some coaches because their jobs are based on scoreboard success rather than player personal growth. It’s tough because some coaches find their self-worth in the scoreboard so that failure there is seen as a personal failure/loss of face.

Believing in potential is tough because kids are rebellious. They resist authority, they are 150% sure they have the answers–if only old people would get out of the way (to be fair, there are people who SHOULD get out of the way….). Those kids fight you even when you’re trying to help…and it’s exhausting to run your head into a brick wall hour after hour. Right?

So of course, I wind up back at two things, one old, one new.

OLD: “As a coach, if you don’t know what to do, ask yourself ‘Is this in the best interests of the young person?’ If it is, you do that. If not, keep thinking until you find the answer.”

NEW: Genuine concern.

I think ‘genuine concern’ is the best way to maintain double-vision, to worry about your athlete now as well as for where they will be in a year, five years, or even twenty years down the road.

***

One more revision as I think through things. When I wrote the first bit, I was not coaching at all. The second bit came once I started trying to assess my career and what I could do to improve myself moving forward. Now, I’ve returned to coaching–back to working with high schoolers (and junior high athletes), an opportunity to put so much of what I’ve been thinking about into practice. I’m worried that I’ll revert to old habits in so many things. ‘Double vision’ though–I think what I’ve done previously is the right thing…and I’ll use that to help young people grow into bigger Shoes.

Dreams – 12/4

12/4/22 #1:

I was in an oval arena–a rodeo-like area–and it was a political meeting of some sort. I was in charge but I was pinned to the floor because someone else was seizing power. I spotted the person walking the concourse. It was Russell Crowe. I waved my magic wand at him and pounded the ground with each step he took which made the stadium shake. He disappeared from view and then appeared in the balcony to give a speech. He was standing next to Adolf Hitler and I realized Nazis were taking over except it wasn’t Hitler. It was Terry Jones from Monty Python.

12/4/22 #2:

I was watching the Bears play football against the Bills. The Bills tried a fake field goal with their holder, Trevor Lawrence. He tried to run around the right end but bounced off a defensive lineman so he threw the ball at the lineman instead. The Bears then had the ball and Justin Fields threw it twice to Darnel Mooney but kept throwing behind the receiver even though he was wide open.

12/4/21:

I was part of a big group playing “Super Third Reich.” around a table the size of a volleyball court. I was controlling the northern half of the Soviet army, heading towards our goal of “Petrol City” [which seems like my dream ‘misheard’ Petra-grad…St. Petersburg]. I wound up not feeling good so I went to the public restrooms and it was a long lavatory–so long I couldn’t see the other end. I wound up sitting in a stall with a cell phone and moved my units remotely and I realized I could’ve still played if I’d stayed at home on my couch.

12/4/20:

I was invited to a Marine Corps event so I could enlist. I was there with two people from high school (Maria Deniston, Mara DeLeon) and we had to wear baseball caps and had to leave our coats inside-out on our chairs. To help us decide, they *resurrected* dead Marines who were dressed in all black and wore Oakland Raiders caps. They took us up some stairs to a casino and to reach our hotel rooms, we had to run over a defensive lineman dressed up to look like he was in the Air Force. I knocked him by blowing on him like a birthday candle. When I got to my room, I found the furniture was made from snow.

Dreams (CCCXII) – 12/3

12/3/22:

I was a tourist in downtown Moscow. I needed to catch a bus and saw several in a city square. There were long lines and police in yellow Polo shirts supervising. It was a tour group of Americans and you had to be registered with them if you wanted to visit the Kremlin. I didn’t want to register. I looked around and didn’t see many skyscrapers. I looked across the river at the rest of the city against a backdrop of mountains and there was a sudden mushroom cloud/geyser of an explosion but there was no sound or flash of light. Then there was a swept-wing silver bomber with red stars on it that flew overhead and banked away and I knew the Russians had dropped a bomb on themselves. I went into the nearby building and it was a video arcade. The games there were weird–things like horse racing but the players had to sit on actual saddles. Because of the bomb, I was assigned a hotel room to share with an American woman and all the walls were plexiglass and people could watch us in the room. She then said, “I bet you were cute as a boy.”

12/3/21:

I was with someone else in an industrial area. We entered a door and stepped into a brightly lit “residence”. We had to go down to the bottom of the house and outside. When we went into the house it was all messy and battle-damaged and I realized I was unarmed. We found some stairs but they were cluttered and there was blood everywhere. The person with me said “I’m not going any further. I give up.” That’s when I remembered there’d actually been more than two of us at the start but I kept going. Around the corner were more stairs. At the bottom, I saw my lunch cooler. I opened it and there were three breakfast sausage patties (the circular ones) floating around in grape juice from a broken juicy-box. I kept going for a while then sat down, wondering if I was a clone and if this was all just some sort of experiment. I decided to keep going when I heard a single gunshot from the first set of stairs because I knew the other person committed suicide.

Dreams – 12/2

12/2/22:

I was in a one-story school with a bunch of other people. We were trapped inside. If someone got out, they would win $5,000, but if you got near the exit, you had to fight off psychosis to escape. Everyone kept searching until Mark J. (a HS baseball coach/VB ref) decided to go through a door. I followed him along with one other person, then I decided to run because somehow Mark had a gun. I was right and he shot the other person, yelling “There can be only one.” I ran past two middle-aged women in a hall and jumped into a locker room, going past two people playing chess and then I was at the northeast door of my HS gym with three other people wondering if Mark J. would look for us in the gym or not. I told them they were safer in the locker room and that if I escaped alone, they would double my winnings to $6,000. [I’m aware of my dream’s bad math.]

12/2/21:

I was in a gray hallway waiting to conduct an interview watching TV. It was black and white. The person on it transformed from male to female and I realized I’d forgotten who I was interviewing. I left and down a country road came to West Point (the USMA). I stopped and walked up to a mansion which was a dorm called “Patton Hall”. They let me in because I said my uncle lived at “Pershing Hall”. There was a party going on with family members and everything but whenever I entered a room, everyone left for another room. I went upstairs and saw a bunch of people outside around a Christmas tree made of game boxes. I tried to help an old lady onto the porch but there was a three-foot “challenge” gap between the house and the porch she couldn’t jump and she didn’t want to go down the slide made of wood. I left her there and crossed the gap. After that people would talk to me.

Dreams – 12/1

12/1/22:

I was hired at “Allen College” to be an Admissions Counselor/Film Director so I walked around campus with a camera held at my ankles because that was where Spielberg would hold it. After work, I walked downtown and found my daughter there. I told her I was parked nearby on Cottonwood and would drive her home. While walking past storefronts, we passed a book store and then a place I KNEW I’d lived before–except on the other side of the door, most of the shop was torn down. I went through the door and it was still in business. I asked the guy there if he had an apartment to rent and he said no–I recognized him as the son of the owner from when I’d lived there before. I asked if he was 30–he said his age was a top-secret. I left and my daughter was sitting with four friends outside on the sidewalk. They all needed rides. We started walking–the street signs were all huge with black letters in all caps on white signs. Somehow time passed and I got lost and we were at a T-intersection at the basement entrance to the local high school. One of my daughter’s friends got mad, threw a fit, and decided to go back to high school. I promised the others I knew where we were and headed the other way.

12/1/21 #1:

Seven Toyota Priuses were lined up next to one another in a forest clearing then started moving around…I had not idea why and then suddenly I had a helicopter view and realized they were practicing football plays.

12/1/21 #2:

We were in a house in a strange town and we were tracking monsters–turned out to be vampires. One of the people in our group was working for the vampires. The doublecrosser was a little boy named Damon. He called us on his cell phone because he hadn’t doublecrossed us. He had infiltrated the vampire group…and told us the vampires would turn 10 people every day. Then Damon was caught by the vampire leader, actor Clancy Brown. I yelled into the phone that we’d rescue Damon–like Kirk yelling “KAHHHHHNNNN!” Then we drove around town looking for the lair but found it too late in the day–it was an orthodontist office on top of a hill. We went back to where we were staying and rounded up car batteries because the only thing that could stop vampires was if you had power cables and ‘jumped’ them.

12/1/20 #1:

My mom rebuilt my room back in Davenport. She took the narrow dormer and widened it and pushed a queen-size bed into it, then took out the walls and replaced them on two of the sides with ceiling-to-floor windows for a 180-degree view west on Lombard and to the north over the old Finkenhoeffer house.

12/1/20 #2:

I was teaching at a high school and it turned out the art teacher was Patrick Stewart (the actor) but he had 50 students pounding away on manual typewriters. He said it counted as ‘performance art’…but teachers thought he was having kids write scripts for him to sell. I couldn’t figure out why he had duct tape on several of his fingers and found out he was moonlighting as a computer repairman.