X

Thought for the Week: The Long Way

I’ve arrived at a place in my life where I am frequently astonished
at how adept my parents were raising my two sisters and myself.

Over the last year my reflections of family memories and lessons beseeched
have become more frequent.

I once read, history is made up of memory, and memory is a storyteller.

I am certain over the next year I will write several “Thoughts for the Week” referencing something my parents instilled in me.
This week’s Thought happens to be one of them: The Long Way


The Long Way

There’s an old Chinese proverb:
“The short way is usually the long way.
The long way is usually the short way.”
Or as my father used to implore of me,
“There are NO shortcuts. Son!” and
“If it’s worth doing, then do it right”

Today’s world is full of books, videos and programs promising a fast-track
to almost anything from weight loss
to riches
to success and fame.
Regrettably, this happens to be true for youth sports as well.

But as both a coach and swim parent I am here to proclaim
that navigating a novice swimmer from blowing bubbles,
to feasibly competing in college,
is an extensive slow-burn process.

Which has led me to this very position;
There’s something exceptional about what I do for a living!
And every day seems to be a reminder.
To zoom out and focus on what really matters.

Whether we’re talking about how long it will take to help form healthier habits,
or boost lagging skills,
or adopt more positive outlooks,
we’re looking at years, not days, weeks, or even months.
Years of modeling for them,
supporting them, 
coaching them, and, perhaps most importantly,
meeting them exactly where they are.

And as Michael Harold Curley Jr. continues to preach to his namesake,
Invest the time to do it right the first time,
and you won’t have to waste time doing it over.

Whether you’re teaching kids, training for sports, studying for classes
or piloting your career, you’ll find a lot of truth in this.

Take Care, Are you willing to go the long way?

Coach Curley
Thanks Dad!



Thought for the Week: It's All About Them
As a naturally competitive person I continually ask myself,
"How can I become a more successful ________?"
On any given day I might enter the word Coach.
Or Husband.
Or teacher.
Or any number of other “roles” I play.
 
These self-questioning sessions come at many different times,
but essentially, I can sum up the gist of each the same:
“Me trying to find the most important factor I can, to improve.”
 
And you know what; the answer always seems to be the same.
It is not about me; it’s about them.
 
A number of recent instances arose reaffirming my supposition.
Two transpiring on the poolside of the black fence and one outside the
well-known barrier.

Due to various quirky school schedules and Driver B - aka Coach Todd Mann -
taking a quick weekend work sabbatical,
I had the pleasure of coaching different swim groups
several times last week.

Wednesday while coaching Age Group 2 (ages 8-12):
I noticed a young swimmer swimming while the rest of the group was kicking.
When asked why she wasn’t using her kickboard, she replied,
“I’m new to the group and I do not know how to open my swim bag.”
Realizing my audience I replied, “I’ll meet you at the other end.”
We gathered at the side of the pool where I demonstrated how to press the plastic gadget located on the draw string
of the new bright pink Speedo gear bag.
Her reaction, “Thanks, now I can get my kickboard out.”

And coaching the Senior Group Thursday,
I pulled up Pandora on my iPhone and enquired,
“What music do you guys want to listen to today?’”
To which I discovered there’s a band called One Direction –
For the next 120 minutes, I listened to the boy band and relentlessly teased the senior swimmers,
calling the English-Irish foursome,
“New Direction, Opposite Direction, Wrong Direction and No Direction”.

And the latest occurrence happened today, brought on by the opportunity to vote early…
With the humidity down and the closest polling office only ½ mile away,
I decided to walk.
In route, I cut through campus, crossing the football field,
where lower school students were engaged in physical education.
I stopped briefly and took in the scene.
I got the impression the coach knew the value of demonstrating leadership
by doing everything that he was asking of his students - including pushups.
 
“Down seventeen,” he shouted.
“Down, eighteen!”
“Down, nineteen!”
 
At 20 he was still “push-upping” and shouting out numbers,
But because he was so focused on his own effort –
and not paying attention to the group he was leading -
he didn’t notice that three-quarters of the group had stopped,
and were comfortably resting while he toiled away.
 
This of course got me thinking…
Are my leadership efforts focused on me - or them?
 
Take Care,
Coach Curley
#FightForIowa #SaveHawkeyeSports

Thought for the Week: New Beginnings
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm sure if we all thought hard enough we would realize
that we all have something in common.
Without too much thought I came up with one.

One thing we face day after day.
Most of us successfully,
and some not so effectively.

What is it?
Morning!
(And you thought this was going to be thoughtful and profound!)

Yet for most of us, except perhaps for those
who sleep ‘til noon or travel the redeye,
morning is inevitable.

And regardless of how life has treated you
or how we have treated our life,
when that cock crows in Iowa,
or when dawn breaks over the Atlantic,
up to that point in time,
morning marks a boundless beginning.

If recent past is something we’d rather forget,
today’s GOT to be better.
And if yesterday was your best day ever,
there’s no rhyme or reason to think that today will be any different.

Mornings: New beginnings.
Time to rock and roll!
Each and Every day.
Awesome!
Take Care, Each morning has infinite possibilities!

Coach Curley
#FightforIowa
#SaveHawkeyeSports
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
- Theodore Roosevelt


Thought for the Week: Gasoline and Gratitude



From the time we learn how to communicate,
we are being asked to remember to say, “thank you.”

The other day I noticed my scooter gas gauge 
teetering awfully close to the red "E".
Being the college-educated man that I am, 
I decided to find a nearby station.

I pulled in and yanked out my credit card.
I slid it in and out "quickly", 
just as the gas pump told me to do.

I then proceeded to pump the three plus dollars 
worth of high-octane fuel into my motorized velocipede.
And then a most unexpected thing happened:
A little message came back at me:
“You have just purchased the best gasoline money can buy! Thank You”

Now, most gas station pumps simply say (or spell) “Thank you,”
and we are left with only the Pavlovian response,
“You’re welcome.”

But much to my pleasure this machine went out of its way
to commend my college-educated, excellent decision-making abilities.
Gasoline Pump #7 essentially patted me on the back.
It proudly proclaimed with pride “Mike, Job well done!”
To which I responded,
“Well, yes I did, didn’t I?”

We now know that having good social relationships is as good for you
as things like smoking and obesity are bad for you.
It turns out that there’s an emotion that happens to be really amazing
at helping us solve this essential human problem of survival.
And that emotion is gratitude.

Research shows that experiencing genuine gratitude has immediate benefits.
Learning to harness this power and becoming more intentional about it;
improves our relationships, while bolstering our own health and happiness.

My cold, brief, anything but genuinely intimate interaction with the petrol pump
got me thinking about all the times when I thought a “thank you” was sufficient.
Perhaps it was.
Perhaps it wasn't.

Just suppose what I could have said.

Take Care and Remember true gratitude is the glue that can bring people together
as well as creating happiness from the inside out,
Coach Curley
Gas Pump #7 - I really appreciate our brief interaction, for giving me pause and an insightful idea for my Coach’s Corner.

#FightForIowa
#SaveHawkeyeSports

Thought for the Week: You Can’t “Shoulda Done” Anything
I ask:
Know anyone who’s perfect?
Unflawed, never made an error?
Neither do I.

So its baffling how many people tend to brood on past missteps
and deprive themselves of the brilliance of today.

“I shoulda done this,
You shoulda done that.”

It’s been articulated by Eleanor Roosevelt 
and paraphrased by Bill Keane, author of ‘The Family Circus’,
“Yesterday’s history.
Tomorrow’s a mystery.
Today is a gift.
That’s why we call it the present.”

And since at the present moment,
there’s no way to go back in time, and undo what’s already been done,
You can’t “shoulda done” anything.

Learn from the past.
Live in the present.
And build a beautiful future.
You deserve it!

Are you “shoulding” on yourself?
Are you “shoulding” on others?

Take Care and Carpe Diem,
Coach Curley

Bales: Do you know the phrase carpe diem?
Chris McConnell: It's, it's fish, fish bait, right?

-Roxanne (1987)


​Thought for the Week: Merging and Life


How often do we find ourselves driving down the interstate,
And from afar we see a sign:
“Lane Ends – One Mile – Merge Left”?

Driver A (for giggles) we will call Mike,
uses his blinker,
moves into the other lane immediately,
hoping to aid in avoiding a bottleneck.

Driver B (for more chuckles) we will call Todd.
Todd consciously applies pressure to the accelerator and
drives all the way to the end of the ‘waning lane,”
and merges at the last possible second,
creating more of a bottleneck,
but certainly getting ahead of those that merged earlier.

Two different drivers.

Both have goals.

Both impacting others.

Is it short-term gain for long-term pain
(personal comfort at the possible expense of others)
or short-term pain for long-term gain
(civility makes the world a better place to live)?

Often, the level of your success is proportional to your willingness to merge early,
At times, you’ve got to give a little.

On the highway of life, are you Mike or are you Todd?

Take Care and Don’t be like Todd!
Coach Curley
#FightForIowa
#SaveHawkeyeSports


Thought for the Week: Respect the Boss
 

Nice idea chief! 
If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t know the meaning of leadership.  
You’re an inspiration to us all! 
Because of you, our workplace feels like a community. 
I really love my job! 
 
Granted, it’s obvious that in order to achieve great things  
and move through and up any organization, 
this type of behavior is expected. 
 
It’s not only expected, 
but it is warranted and essential. 
It’s called ‘managing the manager’. 
It’s as simple as the psychology:  
Behavior that’s reinforced effectively will be repeated;  
that which is not, will cease. 
 
With that notion in mind, 
there’s another boss in your life who might not be getting the respect 
He or She so richly deserves -  
You! 
 
At the end of each day, 
The person to whom you must answer for all your missteps,  
and all your successes,  
is You. 
 
In order to respect others, 
you must respect yourself. 
 
And what’s not to respect? 
After all, you are the best YOU there is! 

Take Care and remember, respect the boss, 

Coach Curley 
#SaveHawkeyeSports 
#FightForIowa 

 

Thought for the Week: Rough Road Ahead

Rough Road Ahead 
 
Not sure I believe in re-incarnation, but if there’s even the slightest chance, 
In my next life, my intention would be to invent something that will always be in high demand: 
Like traffic cones or those annoyingly prevalent orange and white construction barrels that line I-4. 
 
Seems like we’ll never finish the roads in Central Florida. 
On the positive, it gives us countless opportunities to read the captivating signs that tend to accompany those traffic devices. 
 
The sign of the month for me  
appeared south of town heading west on I-4 just before the “Attractions” 
or the “Mouse House:” 

“Rough Road Ahead - Proceed with Caution” 

As I “proceeded with caution,” (is there any other way when navigating I-4?) 
I got to contemplating: The last 5 months hasn’t always been smooth. 
But as of late, schooling has resumed, with forethought. 
And as coaches we’re back, with mindful protocol in place, doing what we love to do. 
 
The thing that separates the successful from the not so successful,
is the act of “proceeding.” 
 
The next time your road of life becomes a tad bumpy, 
I’m encouraging you to remember the signs along that rough stretch of interstate; 
They don’t read “Stop.” 
They read “Proceed!” 
 
It's not a coincidence that “proceed” rhymes with “succeed”. 
 
Take Care and let’s PROCEED this week! 
Coach Curley 


Thought for the Week: The Power of Taking Responsibility 


I turned 56 in May.
I am not wise enough to know how much of the 20,500+ days
of my existence have shaped me,
However I can tell you that the last 160, has reaffirmed
that the kickoff to consciously making any change in your life
is to first "take responsibility".
Or at least take responsibility for that which you want to change.

When it comes down to making positive change,
almost all of the ‘experts’ talk about taking personal responsibility,
taking ownership.
They say, stop blaming other people.

That sounds straightforward, transparent, clean.
Yet we have to contemplate:
"Am I truly, completely responsible for where I am today?"
Think about it.
Raised by parents, taught by our teachers, influenced by coaches, friends,
and the ‘oh so prominent’ media.

WHO IS REALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR LIFE?

In the last 5 months I have watched uncounted hours of news
addressing the Coronavirus and more political ads than I have SportsCenters.
(believe me, that’s a grand number)
On the lighter side I have taken in several interesting documentaries on Netflix,
found new shows on Amazon Prime TV,
and most recently, caught up on every show Bobby Flay has
airing on the FOOD NETWORK.
(that might be an even grander number than the political ads)

So I ask, don’t these things influence me?
In truth, I believe that all of these things can have a tremendous impact
on where we are today.
BUT -
When I think about taking responsibility,
the question for me is not "Who is responsible for your current situation?"
BUT -
“Who will take responsibility for where you’ll be tomorrow?!”

The answer for each of us has to be, "I will."

Can we really give up this responsibility?
Does anybody else want it?
I don't think so.

I want to share with you a quote that brings home this point for me.
It's from Denis Waitley, the author of The Psychology of Winning.
He said, "There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist,
or accept the responsibility for changing them."
I hope you go with the second option.

Take Care and take responsibility for changing your conditions.
Coach Curley


Thought for the Week: Create a Ripple

Yesterday, while waiting for the PGA Tournament and Horse Racing from Saratoga to be televised,
I caught the back end of the movie "Pay it Forward".

This truly timeless flick stirred up memories from long ago...

Prior to moving to Orlando in July of 1993,
I was the assistant swimming coach at The Ohio State University ('89-'93).

Early each Fall the Athletic Director would address all of the coaches.
This normally took place right before the first home football game. 

I remember vividly the first time hearing Jim Jones (R.I.P. April 2020) speak;
I'm hanging on every word and he says something I will never forget,
"Coaches, you can never pay back, you can only pay forward, you will be asked to make a difference today and everyday." 


Over the course of the last 27 years,
I'm sure some of the kids have heard me use that line.

My attempt this week is to promote "paying forward and making a difference". 


Let's set a goal each day to have an impact on one person.
And encourage them to do the same.
Let's begin each day with the objective of making one person’s life
just a little bit better for them having come in contact with us on that day. 


Socially, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually or physically.

I’m not talking big, complicated, expensive things. 
Just plain ole' simple things. 

Like greeting someone with a BIG "Good Morning"! 
Like pausing an extra few seconds to hold the door open for someone. 
Like taking an extra few minutes to talk with that new student, employee or friend. 
Like telling that cashier at the food store that you honestly appreciate his or her efforts. 
Like saying "I Love You" to your kids or significant other. 

One person a day. Not much, you might say? 
But I say over the course of a year, that’s 365 people. 
Over ten years, 3,650 (plus a few extra for leap years!) 
Over a lifetime, tens of thousands of people 
feeling just a bit better about themselves and about life.

Now imagine if you, and everyone else within our Highlander family, did the same thing. 
Could we change the world?

Go on. Try it. You’ll like it. 

Take Care and let’s create ripples, 
Coach Curley


Thought for the Week: Stay on Track
Those that ‘really’ know me, know I despise driving. 
Maybe that’s why I live but 600 meters from my work environment. 
Maybe it’s indicative of why my 2005 Volvo station wagon has but 65,000 miles on it. 
 
If there was one small piece of advice, I could offer to our Sunshine State. 
It's to please move forward regarding public transportation. 
More specifically, by rail. 
 
Say what you will about the freedom of driving your own vehicle. 
But for me, life would be more splendid if I could zip to the airport via the Sunrail. 
It would be just grand if I could go through a turnstile, jump on train and head to Tampa to catch 
TB12 (Tom Brady) and the Bucs. 
 
On several occasions I’ve taken Amtrak from downtown Winter Park to Ft Lauderdale and Miami. 
It’s reasonably fast, 
It’s reasonably priced, 
And it’s amazingly reliable. 
It gets you from point A to point B. 
 
If the engineer/computer keeps the train on the track, 
and ensures that the switches are thrown correctly, 
the $27 Amtrak Silver Meteor ends up in Miami in just under 6 hours! 
 
The 'stress-free Wi-Fi equipped' train simply moves along the rails strategically put in place,
to keep the train moving in the right direction. 
 
Now for the BIG Analogy... 
A calculated goal-oriented life plan is to your life, 
What strategic train tracks are to the train. 
If properly followed and maintained, 
you’ll end up where you want to be. 
 
I ask:  Are you on track? Are you on the right track? 
 
Take Care and jump on board, 
Coach Curley 

 

Thought for the Week: It's the Little Things

How often do we dream of fame?  
Of hitting the big time?  
Winning a race, being the champion?  
Of developing something that will become world famous,  
and possibly leave a lasting legacy?  
 
Some achieve fame through sports, the media, via acting or,  
at the other end of the spectrum, a heinous crime!  
 
For others, it is their contribution, rather than their name,  
that touches people’s lives for years to come.  
Such is the case with a guy named Harvey Ball. 
 
Two weeks ago while visiting my father I sat on his couch  
and watched an episode of Jeopardy. 
As a contestant asked for “Famous Images for $800”, 
Alex Tribek replied “Creator of this 1963 image”; 
and up popped the photo. 
 
Maybe you have never heard of Harvey Ball.  
But I’m guessing you, your parents (especially your parents) and everyone you know,  
has been touched by his contribution.  
 
You see, Harvey Ball created the “smiley face” in 1963 . . .not Forrest Gump, 
for which Ball received the princely sum of $45.  
As a side note, when asked about his lack of financial restitution,  
Ball replied, 'Hey, I can only eat one steak at a time, drive one car at a time.' 

Later brothers Bernard and Murray Spain trademarked the image. 
In the 70’s they designed and sold products with the phrase "Have a nice day"   
Which itself has become a phrase in everyday use in North America. 
 
I know at least 5 times a week I preach,  
"It's the little things guys, that make the difference!"  
or “Let’s just do simple, better!” 
 
Coaches Ty Segrest and Lydia Tate certainly have the young  
ones dreaming of a "little thing" called tight streamlines in their sleep.  
 
And who would have thought that a "simple little thing",  
called the NCAA Fantasy Meet,  
put together by Coach Todd Mann could have been soooo much fun.   
And meant so much to the Highlander swimmers.  
 
Often, it’s the little things that we do that have the biggest impact.  
 
Take Care and What is - ‘Have a Nice Week!’ 

Coach Curley 


Thought for the Week: Leadership in Action

The great ones get it.

I know it because I’ve witnessed it - first hand.
Not often, but enough to recognize it when it’s there.


Contrary to some belief,
I believe good coaches and leaders are made,
Not born.

They read;
they study; 
they practice.


They listen;
they plan;
they respond.


They communicate; 
they welcome feedback; 
they “make” the time. 


They hire the right people; 
they train them; 
they coach them.

And all that, leads to a great “sine qua non”. (better look it up)

Quality leaders and coaches do all that, too.
But there’s one thing that separates the good ones from the great ones.

The great ones care about their people.

And as a result…
The warriors care about their Chief.
And 
The metaphoric soldiers show that they care by delivering 
what they need to deliver so everyone wins.

It’s a leadership lesson you must see to believe.
I witnessed it again recently.

Do you care?  Do you care enough?

Thank You Highlander Aquatic Staff and Take Care,

Coach Curley


Thought for the Week: Communication and You

As a teacher and a coach I like to think I'm in the "shun" business, 
communication, motivation, inspiration,  etc.

As a self-proclaimed aspiring writer,
my goals are self-exploration as well as the "shun" words above. 

With these ambitions in mind,
I'm in pursuit of potentially provocative concepts that are meaningful to me
and possibly purposeful to share.

I gather my inspiration and ideas from many different sources.

More times than not, my musings are not actually derived from what the sources have to offer,
but for the personal reflections and interpretations that are generated by those offerings.
Cause and effect; action and my innate reaction.

One such occurrence happened the other day.
The communication (aka the source) directed to me, was a mere 30 seconds in length.
It contained the word "you" 10 plus times.  

Having just begun to age gracefully into my middle-years,
I've learned that when I use the word "you," 
especially in a statement, 
it is oftentimes construed as thrusting a pointed finger.  

From consequential dialogue with my better-half, my sons and my swimmers,
I’ve come to the conclusion that not too many of us 
like to have fingers pointed at us.

Personally I'm OK with the "could you, will you and thank you!" 
use of the word "you",
but like most humans, I don't like being commanded on what to do.

Most of us are aware, “it’s not what you say; but how you say it”.
Still, it’s grander than that, it’s recognizing why we are saying it.
It’s accepting and taking ownership in what comes out of our mouths.

Communication should be about the listener and what they might find meaningful.

Is there a message here for you about the way you communicate?
I know there is for me.

Take Care and own your “why”,
Coach Curley


Thought for the Week: Stretch


Stretch

Having been involved in some form of athletics for fifty plus years
as either an athlete or as a coach,
I have always found that success is normally preceded by preparation.

And in most of the physical activities I have taken a part in -
swimming, water polo, baseball, football, basketball, ultimate frisbee,
running, Insanity (some of you must remember) and yes, YOGA -
stretching before taking part was and is essential. 

Whether you want to successfully compete in athletics
Or in life,
You got to  s t r e t c h.

When you dream BIG,
You stretch your mind.

When you try the UN-TRIED,
You stretch your horizons.

And once they’re stretched,
They never return to their original size.

Stretch just a little every day
And watch yourself grow!

Have you stretched today?

Take Care and it’s Time to Grow,
Coach Curley
#BetterTogether #ListenandLearn


Thought for the Week: You Make a Difference
Did you ever get to thinking?  
Ever ponder,  
“What’s the point?”  
“Why do I bother?”  
“No one really appreciates the effort.”  
 
It usually happens when you’re busting your tail  
day in and day out.  
And you know you’re doing exceptional things,  
yet not a sole make mention of it.  
 
Days may pass with no mention.  
Suddenly, a note of thanks,  
oftentimes from the last person you would expect.  
 
Unless you’re a recluse and live in a cave,  
you CAN make a difference in someone’s life today and every day.  
 
It’s swell when they show gratitude.  
And if they don’t,  
revel in the knowledge that you’ve done it.  
 
Have you made a difference today?  
 
Take Care and Let’s be of “USE” today,  

Coach Curley   
#BetterTogether #ListenandLearn



Thought for the Week: Eagles and Graduation
A Tribute to Seniors and Their Parents​


Interesting fact about America's bird -
The fact pertains to how eagle mothers build their nests.
Eagles and nests... 'what's up?' you might ask.
With the graduation season upon us, please bear with me.
 
Those who have studied the eagle found that
the "expecting" mother eagle begins building her nest
with all kinds of prickly and sharp things:
Briars,
Jagged sticks,
and other sharp objects.
These pointed and prickly objects are laid down first.
 
Next, the mother eagle fills this foreboding place
with the softest things she can find. 
Articles like wool,
feathers,
and fur from her kills.
 
This changes the nest into a place that is not only desirable,
but also inviting.
Here the babies grow in a very comfortable environment.
 
At the proper time, the mother reverses the process.
She begins to stir up the nest exposing the sharp items with which the nest began.
 
She throws the wool, feathers and fur to the wind.
Thereby making the nest not so friendly a place to be. 
 
After a short period of time, the babies,
now mature enough to leave,
cannot stand the discomfort of the nest any longer-
Simply wanting to be anywhere else.
 
This is the mother's way of forcing her babies to maturity.
She knows that if they do not get out on their own,
experiencing life,
and learning to feed and care for themselves,
they will have no future.
 
With this thought I both empathize and respect the parents of seniors.
May your babies sore to their highest potential.
 
Take Care and Congrats Seniors!
Coach Curley

Seniors -
This virus may have stolen the end of your senior year
but it cannot and will not steal your future.
Stay positive.
Work hard.
Look for opportunities.
What you believe will determine what you create.


Thought for the Week: THANKS!

So effortless to forget.
So significant to remember.

Because of IT, many men and women
brought their families here from a foreign land.

Because of IT, many Great-Grandfathers
spent their lives protecting it.

Because of IT, I was born at Camp Lejeune,
a marine corps base in North Carolina.

And because of IT, grateful men, woman and children spend hours
visiting memorials in Washington DC and Pearl Harbor.

What is IT?
Freedom.

And IT is not free.

Each November the place of my employ recognizes and expresses gratitude
to those that so bravely served.
This past weekend  as I bar-b-qued, watched "The Match" (w/Tiger, Phil TB12 and Peyton)
and live horse racing from Churchill Downs on TV;
An announcer brought up what I so easily forgot…
This was Memorial Weekend.
In memory of those that fought for our freedom.

After being jolted from “over-indulgence”,
I took the time to call my father and once again express my love and appreciation.

"Thank you" is only eight letters.
But to a vet,
it speaks volumes.

Have you said "thank you" to someone today?

Take Care,
Coach Curley
#BetterTogether #StayEmotionallyConnected 


Thought for the Week: Attitude
Not unlike an opinion or a certain body part, everyone’s got one. 
 
Explanation: A manner of acting, feeling, or thinking that shows one’s disposition. 
 
Some are good, some are poor. 
Some are excellent, and some are horrible - 
At least that’s our attitude about them. 
 
It’s a complex thing to discuss. 
Perceptions are made instantly upon hearing the tone of one’s voice. 
Assumptions instantaneous, upon witnessing  
body posture, gestures, eye movement and someone’s use of space. 
These impressions, based on basic senses, impact how we perceive attitude. 
But the fact remains that attitude is internal. 
 
So, what’s the big deal?    
Contemplate this, another definition of attitude: 
The position or posture assumed by the body in connection with an action, feeling or mood. 
This would imply that while we can’t truly see attitude, 
we can appreciate how the body responds to the attitude within that person. 
In other words, our attitude influences our demeanor and behavior, 
Which in turn impacts our results.
 
Does this mean, “Good attitude, favorable results?” 
Not automatically, 
But it certainly can increase the odds on desirable results. 
Personally, if I can increase the odds, 
I’m going for it! 

Take Care and choose optimism, the cost is the same as the alternative. 

Coach Curley 
#BetterTogether #StayEmotionallyConnected 


Thought for the Week: Keep Your Gas Tank Full
It has been brought to my attention that folks often think because of the topics I write about, that I’m always Mr. Optimistic.
But the truth is a bit ironic; I naturally go towards the negative. I think I often write “thoughts” concerning positivity because I have to work at it a lot myself. With that being said…


Keep Your Gas Tank Full 

There are a several things in this world I detest. 
Truth be told maybe more than several, 
but that’s perhaps a whole other “thought for the week”. 
 
On the despise list: 
Throwing up, Moving, Traffic, Apathy, 
And Car Shopping! 
 
Recently my wife convinced me go auto shopping with her.  
(No worries, I’m not giving up the Vespa, the potential purchase was for her) 
On Jan’s wish list, was a four-wheel machine with all the bells and whistles: 
Apple CarPlay, 
Automatic high beams, 
Adaptive Cruise Control, 
Push-Button Start, 
Passive Entry, 
Lane Departure Warning, 
Precise Internal Environmental Control System, 
Power seats with lumbar support, 
Front and Rear-end Cameras with Automatic Emergency Braking, 
and a kitchen sink... 

I started thinking, during what seemed like close to 10 hours,  
but was just under 120 minutes, 
despite all the new techno bells and whistles  ‘if we EVER leave this lot, Janny’s still gotta’ fill her own fuel tank.’ 
No gas no movement. 
 
So why did a mere 2 hours intrigue me to write a thought for the week about petrol?
Because with my attitude, I was draining my own tank. 
Rather than being supportive, I was secretly wishing I was anywhere else.   
Instead of investing in the process, I was moping. 
 
Significance of this adventure... 
Each time you think negatively, 
or listen to the negativity of others, 
you are draining your emotional tank - 
and when the tank is empty, 
you’re going nowhere. 
 

You have the power to create the environment 
that nurtures and supports your dreams. 
Positive, focused thought and action keep the needle of your soul’s 
gas tank on “Full” 

When you keep your personal gas tank filled, 
you can drive your life to the destination of your choice! 
 
Is your gas tank full, or are you running on empty? 
 
Take Care and as I continue to remind myself  
choose optimism over the alternative; it costs the same! 
Coach Curley 
#BetterTogether #StayEmotionallyConnected 


Thought for the Week: Let The Sun Shine

 
Perhaps there’s someone in your life 
who seems to constantly have those 
“Extra-strength Tylenol” days. 
 
Those are the days when nothing goes right; 
the days when it seems Murphy lives next door; 
(and I don’t mean the World Record holder of the men’s 100 Backstroke...) 
The days when, if it weren’t for bad luck, 
you’d have no luck at all. 
 
Perhaps there are days 
you’re that someone. 
 
The greatest lesson learned
is that those kinds of days are a choice. 
(The greatest power we have - the power of choice) 
 
Even when I can’t see the sun,
there are a lot less cloudy days in my life trusting it’s there. 
And that it will be more visible in a few short hours, 
makes all the difference. 
 
When the sun’s not shining outside, 
choose to let it shine inside. 
You will feel the difference! 
 
Are you willing to let the sun shine in your world today? 
 
Take Care and as Warren Haynes once wrote “Let Your Soul Shine”! 
It’s Damn sure better than rain. 

Coach Curley 
#BetterTogether #StayEmotionallyConnected 

 

Thought for the Week: The Pandemic and a New Dawn 
 
Those that know... KNOW. 
I’m a planner. 
I like order. 
I appreciate regiment. 
 
OK I’ll concede, 
I’m fine with spontaneity -  
if I know about it in advance. 
 
Sure, this Pandemic has been a wicked curve ball, 
but one positive for me has been the reaffirming of how important 
personal goals, regime and process are. 
 
It’s certainly comfortable when more times than not 
everything DOES go according to plan. 
But wouldn’t it be a smidge boring  
if everything always went exactly as planned? 
And wouldn’t you go mad 
if you were anticipating everything  
to go exactly as planned – all the time? 
 
When we arise at the dawn of a new day, 
or embark on a new year 
or begin life as we know after Covid-19, 
it’s astute to have a plan. 
 
With each new dawn comes the opportunity 
to move closer to your goal, 
regardless of what does or does not happen. 
And that my friends is the absolute beauty of it. 
 
Are you prepared to adjust your plan? 
Are you willing? 
 
Take Care and Keep Smiling, 
Coach Curley 
#BetterTogether #StayEmotionallyConnected


Thought for the Week: The Delete Button

I venture to guess most of us have one daily routine in common, 
The process of opening, reading, deciphering and responding to electronic mail. 
 
If you’re like me the process is not complete until
you delete the message from your inbox. 
At this point it’s still within the system as a deleted item (or Trash). 
And to get rid of it,
there is another step in the process... 
 
Before the final dump, (i.e., taking the trash to the end of the driveway) 
The once efficient and fast method of communication and message transferring,  
now a way of harassing with spam, credit card, insurance and “other” offers 
(wink, wink, nudge, nudge) asks: 
“Do you want to permanently delete the selected conversation?” 
Users of Microsoft Outlook will find this pop-up announcement familiar. 
Or  
“Selected messages are in "Trash". 
This action will permanently delete those messages.  
Click OK to proceed.” 
Upon seeing this notice, you’re either Mike Pence, an AARP member or Coach Curley.  
Because you still have an AOL Account! 
 
You’ve attempted twice now to purge it, 
but the system wants to make absolutely sure! 
So I venture to speculate the creators of Outlook and AOL  
had to be America's pastime fans, 
As that’s where “three strikes and you’re out” derived. 
 
Is there something in your life that ought to be moved to the end of the driveway? 
 
Mistakes you’ve made? 
People you’ve inadvertently bruised? 
Opportunities you’ve missed? 
 
To continue to grow we must “keep clicking on the delete button” of our lives  
until the garbage that’s holding us back is really gone – permanently
 
Trash clogs up our operating system. 
Clean it out, and things just seem to run smoother and faster! 
 
Cleaned out your operating system lately? 
 
Take Care and Crush IT this Week, 
Coach Curley 
#StayEmotionallyConnected #BetterTogether 



Highlander Quarantine Video
Wish You Were Here 

Dear Highlander Swimmers-
You have no idea how much we miss working with you.

I have put together a 5 minute video trying to "artfully", passionately and sincerely convey how much we "WISH YOU WERE HERE!"

A QUICK APOLOGY
To the Highlander kids that do not know the song nor the band.  The Band is Pink Floyd and the song, "Wish You Were Here". I couldn't fathom a song written within the last 5-10 years that would do justice to what I wanted portrayed, so I chose one from my wheel-house era.

I hope you enjoy and please continue to Stay Emotionally Connected we truly are Better Together.
Coach Curley

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opv5Ri6dzvQ&feature=youtu.be


Thought for the Week: What Will They Remember?

This quarantine has really got me doing some self-introspection.
So I ask…
What Will They Remember?

Have you ever stopped and thought about
your co-workers,
your boss,
your employees,
in my small world, my swimmers,
And what was their very last impression of you?
How about your friends?
Your loved ones?

Well my Better Half (a term of affection for us) and I
Make it a point to make
“I Love You”
The last words we speak when we part.

That goes for 2 - 3 day separations due to my attendance at swim meets.
Each morning when we head to work,
(yes, even though we work at the same address)
And every evening when we decide to close our eyes for bed.

I believe we do it for a collection of reasons.
Affirmation.
Routine.
Comfort.
And others I’ve forgotten.

But most noteworthy,
in the event these words are the last three we declare to each other,
they will be the last words most remembered.

I implore you with all this recess
Go ahead Call
Visit
Facetime
Zoom!
Say what you want her, him or them to remember.
We will all feel better for it.

What does your last acquaintance remember about you right now?

Take Care and Have a Great Week!
Coach Curley
#StayEmotionallyConnected


Thought for the Week: Find Your Own Fanatic
                                 

My research tells me that countless articles are written about how to motivate others.
Offerings like: Be the change you want to inspire.
Challenge and appeal to people’s value systems.
Empower people with trust.

Much less, however, is written about a question few people ask:
“Who motivates the motivator?”

True we all need a pat on the back,
We appreciate a round of applause,
And on occasion a bouquet of flowers for a job well done.

To be frank, I am beyond fortunate.
Why?
By virtue of staying in Iowa City the summer of 1986, I met a fanatic.
Three years later, I married my biggest fan and my soulmate.

Though the foam finger and pompoms are no longer around,
The undying support and cheering endures, for me, for us, for our family.

During the last 31 years my support system has taught me a
boundless amount about Commitment, Courage, Leadership and Love.

And believe me, We’re both still learning.
Have you found your fanatic?

Take Care and Make it an Outstanding Week,
Coach Curley


Thought for the Week: Leadership
      


Leadership is not about being in charge.
Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge. (aka Captain Brett Crozier)

The exceptional ones get it.
I know it because I’ve witnessed it - first hand.
Not often, but enough to recognize it when it’s there.

Contrary to some belief,
I believe good coaches and leaders are made,
Not born.

They read;
they study;
they practice.

They listen;
they plan;
they respond.

They hire the RIGHT people;
they train them;
They coach them.

And all that, leads to a great “sine qua non”. 
Quality leaders and coaches do all that, too.

But there’s one thing that separates the good ones from the great ones.
The great ones care about their people.

And as a result…
The warriors care about their Chief.
And
The metaphoric soldiers show that they care
by delivering what they need to deliver 
So everyone wins.

It’s a leadership lesson you must see to believe.
Do you care? 
Do you care enough?

Take Care, and Have a non-Ordinary Weekend!
Coach Curley
#StayEmotionallyConnected


Thought for the Week: Not Fair
          


Jan and I are being raised by three boys:
Harrison (27), Mitchell (24) and Hayden (20).
All you parents out there, can I get AMEN!
(Pendant your understanding of where I’m coming from)
 
When our three terrific young men were a bit younger,
we occasionally had to deal with issues of fairness,
especially when one received something the others did not.
The Christmas Santa brought Harrison a Vespa Scooter,
The birthday Mitch was gifted the PlayStation 3,
And of course on any occasion the youngest received a present at all!

In response to the tools that siblings so masterfully use
to negotiate satisfactory outcomes - whining, complaining and/or fighting -
Jan and I would respond, “OK. Next time Mitchell gets punished,
You all get punished too!”

The usual response: “But, Mom, Dad! That’s not fair!”

Eventually, they got it.
And eventually, We did too.

My sons were born, after their mother pushed heroically for untold hours,
while I stood bedside encouraging her to breathe
And offering ice chips.
By what stretch of the imagination does that seem fair?
 
Everyone knows that the genetic lottery is not based on
the principles of equality and justice.
Heck the very symbol of American ethics - Lady Justice - wears a blindfold
as she weighs the law on her impartial scale.

It’s not fair that some of the best ideas often get lost by lack of funding,
competence or experience.
Not fair that athletes that qualified for the NCAA Championships won’t get a chance to shine this year.
Not fair that the tastiest foods are unhealthy.
And of course it’s not fair that Tom Brady has to play his final two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!

It’s not fair. But life is not always fair.
In the end it's up to US to make chicken salad
from the chicken _ _ _ _ that life sometimes plops our way.

Is something in your life not fair?
Time to Make Lemonade!
And please remember Love trumps fairness every time.

Take Care and Have a Great Week!
Coach Curley
#StayEmotionallyConnected


Thought for the Week: Yesterday’s Tomorrow 2.0

"A positive attitude is a person's passport to a better tomorrow."
--Anonymous

Scientists have determined that every thought
creates an impression on the brain.
These impressions create mental tendencies,
and our tendencies create character, ability and purpose.
The combined action of character, ability and purpose determines our experiences in life.

Given the opportunity (see last week’s Coach’s Corner) of vast amounts of ‘free-time”,
I must confess this past week I have spent a considerable sum of time visiting various social media sites.
Some of that time, at least in my judgement, proved productive.
Looking for inspiration for my Coach’s Corner piece
I decided to check out quotes from Pinterest.

At the present time with a good portion of the world feeling stressed
I typed in the interest-sharing-search box ‘quotes about worrying’
There perhaps could have been as many quotes
as leaves currently resting in my gutters.

The one I chose is a smidge philosophical:
“Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday!”

After organizing in my brain exactly what I believe the quote meant;
I decided to use it in this week’s THOUGHT prose.

I turned to Mr. Webster for his take on what "worry" actually means.
In surmising, worry is to feel distressed, anxious, troubled or uneasy.
Today’s world-wide societal mindset in a nutshell.
 
Though Mr. Webster hits the nail on the head possibly encapsulating
the emotional state of over 7.7 billion people,
The notion of allowing one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles, is NOT good. 
 
True some folks probably did spend an exorbitant amount of their waking
and probably non-waking hours yesterday, worrying about today.

Thoughts like:
Will our Country go into a financial depression?
Are the Olympics in jeopardy?
Where’s Tom Brady going to play quarterback next year?
Do we have enough wine?
Is it possible to expel my own child from home-schooling?
Will the toilet paper be restocked at Walmart?
Well, I’ll leave you with another truth... 
Today is the yesterday you’ll reflect on tomorrow.
Whoa, talk about abstract maybe even transcendental...
 
I challenge you why not make that reflection a positive experience?
Use today to create the yesterday you’ll look back on tomorrow with pride and self-satisfaction.
You won’t have the time to worry about tomorrow.
Or the need.
 
Take Care and Try to Have a Great Week!
Coach Curley 


            

Now more than ever it’s important to have a strong immune system.
We know that stress weakens our immune system while a positive mindset boosts it.
We need to win the mental battle so we can win the physical battle.


Thought for the Week: NOW


So what are we going to do the next 4 weeks?

It might be said that everything comes to those that wait...
It is also true that good things come to those that initiate.

Me personally, I'm not the most patient sort.
I don’t believe ALL good things come to those who wait.
I believe more in what Abraham Lincoln proposed:
"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle."

Sometimes, we just have to go and get it.

When it comes to the next 28 days…
The promising news:
Opportunity
It’s time to discover extraordinary things.

Read books you should have read in High School and College.
Not just the Cliff’s Notes.
Pride and Prejudice
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Great Gatsby
Brave New World

Take steps to learn a new language.
Spanish
French or
Chinese.
Discover Crochet,
Quilting or simple sowing techniques.
Explore the world of cooking.

Begin lessons to play a musical instrument. 
Guitar
Piano or
Harmonica (one of my ambitions along with continuing to write)

Many people are waiting for the perfect time to begin a new journey...
The regretful news:  
The perfect time is now.
Regretful, because there are no excuses for not beginning right now!

We’ve been given a chance, an unexpected golden opportunity.
Do something right now to better yourself, move a little closer to your dream.
Do anything.
Act, even its frivolous – at worst, it’s a learning experience.
Right now is the first moment of the rest of your life.

Are you using the “NOW” in your life?

Take Care and Make IT a Great Week,
Coach Curley
Practice social distancing but make sure you stay emotionally connected.
 




Thought for the Week: Reading the Message

Just 10 days ago I traveled with my wife to watch our youngest compete at the ACC Championships.
After, I wrote an ode to my son in attempt to explain how much I enjoyed watching him swim.
“I smile because your wishes do not take the place of deeds.” I penned.
Rather prophetic considering the topic of today’s Coach’s Corner.

This weekend I attended the Florida Age Group Swimming Championships (FLAGS).
Again a sporting event.
When I wasn’t coaching,
Teaching,
Cheering,
Fist-bumping
Or flexing! (catch last week’s Coach’s Corner Thought for the Week)
I entertained myself between Highlander swims by reading colorful T-shirts.

There was an entire  team sporting T’s in club colors.
Going through a strict regime of ballistic stretching exercises.
Their cotton billboards exclaiming “Eat, Sleep, Swim, Repeat” - PREPARATION

A 10 year old boy with gold mirrored goggles donned in a shirt:
“Veni Natavi Vici” come to find out means “I came, I swam, I conquered” - PERSEVERANCE

A 13 year old girl easily close to six feet tall, with a neon pink T stating “Courage is Contagious”
She was bawling her eyes out because she didn’t achieve her best time. – COURAGE??

There was one parent with the Olympic symbols on his shirt.
He was sitting outside eating a doughnut and drinking a Mountain Dew.

There were two moms loudly questioning the chosen order for their girl’s upcoming relay,
One with “Shut Up and Swim” inked on her back,
With the other “I can wine all I want, I’m a swim mom”
Mom One certainly not showing any restraint.
Mom Two whining.

And then there was the 14 year old
After triumphantly winning the 1650 Freestyle last night bearing the brand:
“At Lap 20, I thought I was dead.”
“At lap 40, I wished I was dead.”
“At lap 60, I knew I was dead.”
“At lap 66, I realized I had become too tough to KILL

And it hit me: the message (wishes) is not what we say,
or how we appear,
but in what we DO (deeds).

What message will people read from you today?

Take Care and Have a Great Week,
Coach Curley



Thought for the Week: Where You Are


This weekend my wife and I traveled to Greensboro, North Carolina.
The occasion: A sporting event.
At 55 I’ve had the pleasure and chosen to attend my share of spectacular sporting events.

This past weekend was more than just an occasion to be in attendance.
It gave me a fortuitous opportunity to witness, observe and personally reflect.
My presence at the Men’s ACC Swimming Championships was My choice.

My Choice also gave me countless scenarios to witness where everyone else was at various moments in time.
The athletes representing 12 schools:
Periods of stretching,
Warming up,
Cheering,
Parading out for finals,
Racing,
Flexing!
At various times loose, smiling and happy, at others serious and stern.

The 50 plus coaches and supportive staff sporting colors from Louisville, Virginia, Notre Dame and NC State.
Teaching,
Encouraging,
Screaming,
And Flexing!
Sometimes loose, smiling and happy, other times serious and stern.

The thousands of spectators somewhat organized seated above the pool.
Friends and supporters in Carolina, Georgia Tech, Miami and Pittsburgh T’s.
Parents donning the colors of Duke, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Boston College.
Tailgating,
Praying,
Cheering,
Screaming,
And at times Flexing!
Sometimes loose, smiling and happy, other times serious and stern.

As for myself there were instances that moved me tears.
For the record: tears of pride and joy.

At the conclusion of the 400 Free Relay which culminated the Championship
I had an overall sense that most everybody was pretty happy to have been there.

Which made me reflect:
For me and for each of us,
We are happy because we choose to be.
We are where we are because we choose to be.
And if we’re not happy, nor where we want to be,
We simply need to start moving in a new direction.
It’s within your power to do it!

We call the shots.
Your life, your rules.
You, me, us… are responsible for our own happiness.
It’s the greatest power we have, the power to choose.

Are you happy?
Are you where you want to be?

I say choose to be HAPPY.
Choose to be where you want to be.
Choose happiness for your health.
Choose happiness for your relationships.
Choose happiness for the success of the world you live in.
But most importantly of all, choose happiness for the simple fact that this is YOUR LIFE.

Take Care and Have a Great Week,
Coach Curley

Thought for the Week: Door Openers

Call me crazy, but there’s something different about a business that has automatic door openers.
More welcoming.
More inviting.
More friendly.

And they’re just a little more appealing and
approachable than those businesses I frequent
where I have to  p u l l  the door open to cross the threshold,
And  p u s h  it to get out.

While the new Credit Union building is sleek and modern,
I have to share that it possibly has the most substantial door
I  have ever strained to enter.

I find there are people in my life who exude automatic door openers.
They’re more welcoming.
More friendly.
More inviting.

And there are people who are the epitome of my Credit Union ingress.

Take Care and Have a Great Week,
Coach Curley