ON MEMORIAL DAY V

May 31, 2021

June 1, 2021

How often do those in the reading audience give thanks for being an American? How many give thanks for having been born and raised in America? How often do we give thanks for our lifestyle – cars, TVs, restaurants, vacations, home(s), cellphones, etc? And how often do people around the world give thanks for their present-day lifestyle?

But, who should we and those around the world give thanks to? For some, the answer might be the bureaucrats, politicians, lawyers, etc. For others, it might be doctors or engineers or scientists. For me, thanks would be directed to those who have served or are presently serving in the defense of our great nation. I feel a pang of guilt every year when Memorial Day rolls around. I am 87 years old and never served America. Although I have been told that I am not in the “Jane Fonda” mold, this haunting memory shall not leave me, nor should it.

This is the 21st Memorial Day of this century. It provides us with another opportunity to reevaluate the meaning of this special day. It is a day we primarily pay tribute to those who have died in battle for our country. We also pay tribute to those veterans who have served our nation.

It is a day of reflection, and on this day of reflecting I am reminded of an old saying: “to live in the memory of a loved one, is to live forever.” It is appropriate that we pay homage to these men and women who have provided us with our present-day quality of life.

Twenty years ago, I attended Memorial Day festivities on our Village Green. I was treated to a touching and compassionate speech by Tony Cassella (former Mayor of the Village of East Williston). The speech was written by his son Paul. Tony graciously provided a copy of the speech to me. I would like to pass along (with permission) part of that speech.

“To me, Memorial Day, like Thanksgiving Day, is that day when we pause in our busy lives and think about all of the people who sacrificed so much so that we may enjoy our freedom in this wonderful country. When I think of Memorial Day what first comes to mind are the dramatic opening lines of Thomas Payne’s Pamphlet written during the Revolutionary War wherein he stated “These are the times that drive men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crises, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Those words were so powerful that our first President, George Washington, before crossing the Delaware to attack the sleeping Hessians on Christmas Day, read Payne’s pamphlet to all of his troops. Little did Thomas Payne know that from that time on to this very day the citizens of this country would never be summer soldiers or sunshine patriots. Throughout world wars and the many conflicts and police actions over the last years, our citizens have met their call to duty. It is because of their actions that today we honor those men and women who have made the supreme sacrifice and who have been injured in conquering tyranny. The actions assure that we today would enjoy the wonderful life that we have in these great United States, here in East Williston, and in villages like ours across the country.”

I also want to leave you with my thoughts for those who came before me and made the ultimate sacrifice:

  1. They fought for and defended our way of life over these past 2 ½ centuries.
  2. There were over 1,000,000 service members who didn’t make it back – American Revolution (4,500), WWI (110,000), WWII (400,000), Korean War (35,000), Vietnam War (60,000), etc.
  3. My gratitude is forever.
  4. I will never forget.
  5. Let us remember what they died for.
  6. Their sacrifice guarded and continues to insure our freedom.

For me, forgetting and not honoring our fallen heroes of the past provides strength to our enemies of today. Let us all help erase this advantage on this special day. It would be great if the Village Mall were jammed packed for this coming Memorial Day celebration. It is up to each and every one of us to help make this happen. It will serve as a reminder to all of the sacrifices made by the men and women who served our great country in the past and those who are serving today.

Have a great Memorial Day. Enjoy it as grateful and thankful Americans and let us never forget its significance.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

JULY 1:                      On Great Eats VI

AUGUST 1:                On Technical Writing

SEPTEMBER 1:         Zzzabuu V

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Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice various strategies when boxing out at the foul line.
  2. Practice various defenses when opponents are inbounding the ball from various locations on the court near the end of the game.
  3. Try to maneuver opponent near a corner in the back court if pressing.

On Hofstra’s 2020-21 Men’s Basketball Season and The East Williston School District Budget Vote

May 1, 2021

May 1, 2021

This is not an easy newsletter for me to write. There are two parts: one concerned with Hofstra’s 2020-21 basketball season and one concerned with the upcoming East Williston School District (EWSD) budget vote. There is bad news on both subject matters. In any event, here goes.

  1. Hofstra’s 2020-21 Men’s Basketball Season

In case anyone forgot, Hostra won its first Colonial Athletic Association (CAA Men’s Basketball Championship) in March 2020, defeating Northeastern 70-61. The teams’ combined wins over its past two years include 26 wins in 2019-20 and 27 wins in the 2018-19 campaign. These 53 wins placed them 14th nationally and was the main reason they won consecutive regular season titles. In addition, Isaac Kante was exceptional with a 65 percent field goal average – 9th in the nation. They were worthy champions in 2020 but, alas, the COVID-19 struck and the NCAA Tournament was cancelled.

The bad news continued following the conclusion of the 2019-20 season when coach Joe Mehalich took sick and has retired from basketball. The new season brought forth a new coach with Kante selected on the CAA’s preseason first team plus Jalen Ray and Tareq Coburn were preseason honorable mentions. I was pretty certain they were going to have another great year. But, the team’s performance turned out to be less than stellar. They arrived at the CAA Championship Tournament with high hopes but failed miserably.

My notes on this past season are listed below:

  1. They continued to play zone defense; even mediocre teams don’t play zone.
  2. There was no hustle on defense – a characteristic of many zone defenses with players confused at times as to who was guarding who.
  3. They couldn’t hit 3-pointers with any consistency.
  4. There was often poor shot selection.
  5. The other teams were simply better.

What makes for a winning team? Here is what legendary coach Rollie Massimino offered in my Basketball Coaching 101 book: “Every team has an identity and for me it is family. The magic word is WE. We are all together. Most of our family of players, coaches, etc., regularly contact each other for Christmas. I also still get calls from my gang at the beginning of each season wishing me well.” The Hofstra team? They looked like a pickup team; it was as if the 5 players had just been introduced. The bench? It appeared comatose most of the time. I once half-jokingly mentioned that “if you hope to win a championship, you’d better be with people you love.” Now I don’t think of it as a joke.

Next season? Look for them to rebound with a new coach. The new coach? What a great choice: Craig “Speedy” Claxton. Speedy played at Hofstra and won the Haggerty Award (top New York metropolitan player) as a senior. He followed that with 7 years in the NBA. Hopefully, he will not follow in the same footsteps as Chris Midlin. One thing we know is that Hofstra has had a really fabulous record of recruiting top guards and this included both Speedy and Juan’ya Green plus my favorite – Charles Jenkins. More recently, Speedy was apparently responsible for not only recruiting but also developing Justin Wright-Foreman and Desure Buie. Let’s hope the tradition will continue since it is guards who bring home championships. Regarding Speedy, my dear friend and mentor, Jack Powers, former Executive Director of the NIT, had this to offer: “He is a wonderful kid, a quality person, a credit to our sport, and certain to succeed. Rick Cole made a great choice.” My sentiments … exactly.

II. The East Williston School District (EWSD) Budget Vote

Over the years, I have been critical of teachers for taking yearly salary increases at a time when many people in the private sector are being laid off, taking salary cuts, or losing their benefits. Such is the situation this year.

A question we engineers often ask when evaluating a scheme, proposal, contract, etc., is as follows: Is it cost-effective and is there sufficient accountability? When applied to education, most school boards, school administrators, and teachers have conveniently avoided answering this question. In fact, these individuals continue to try to convince concerned taxpayers that taxes need to be raised further if our children are to receive a quality education. Our teachers also maintain that they are dedicated professionals. What in the world is the rest of the workforce? To hear the teachers you would think they were God’s gift to society. Regarding our teachers, I have more respect for the NYC teacher, who I believe is as dedicated, if not more, because they are exposed to combat duty, often on a daily basis. Furthermore, one need only compare the recent conduct of teachers with 9/11 first responders and the COVID-19 pandemic health care workers.

Needless to say, I shall vote against the budget since it contains increases and not reductions in teachers’ salaries and benefits. I suggest District taxpayers do likewise. Remember, it is Okay to vote NO on the budget.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

JUNE 1:                      On Memorial Day VI

JULY 1:                      On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXXI

AUGUST 1:                On Great Eats VI

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Technical Writing

OCTOBER 1:             Zzzabuu V

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Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Every attempt should be made to exploit the team’s offensive capabilities against the opponent’s defensive weaknesses.
  2. Players should learn to dribble with either hand.
  3. Players should learn to shoot with either hand.