Thursday, January 8, 2015

Social Media

Social media plays a big part of our day to day life this day and age.  Just like anything it can be used in a positive or negative way.  I recently came across an article that did an excellent job of speaking to the issue and thought it was worth sharing.

The article, written by Jeff DiVeronica of Houston, TX 10 days ago, features input from high school coaches and athletes, as well as college coaches and how they have stopped recruiting student/athletes after looking at some of their social media posts.

One of the quotes in the article that stood out to me by a college basketball coach was "Never let a 140 character tweet cost you a $140,000 scholarship".  There are many good points in the article so I am posting a link for those that would like to read it.  I would especially encourage those that are hoping to play college sports to take the time to read it and read it to the end for some good "Do's And Don'ts.

One Bad Tweet Can Be Costly To A Student Athlete


Monday, September 8, 2014

Heroes Game Coming On Sept. 12, 2014

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On Friday, Sept. 12th Norwalk and Carlisle will open District Football play.  It will be a fun and entertaining game between the two Warren County rivals.  The kickoff and excitement of the game will start shortly after 7:30.

We hope what we do for a few moments from 7:15-7:30 will be a special tribute to some very important people.  Our Heroes, the Heroes from Carlisle and Norwalk.  We will honor our Veterans, Police, Fire, and EMS personnel at 7:15 during a special ceremony.

Some might say that heroes are people who play professional sports, have a fantastic music or acting career, but, while there are certainly good people in those professions, I would argue that our heroes are people who have served our country or put themselves at risk every day to serve our communities and keep us all just a little bit safer.  Those Heroes are who we will honor before the game on Friday night.

If you know of any people from these groups that may not have heard about this, please let them know.  We would like to register everyone by 6:45 inside the gate of the baseball field just south of Hakes Stadium.  We will have them lined up and enter by around 7:05.

We look forward to honoring our Heroes; the people who have fought for our freedoms and protect and serve our communities each and every day.  We hope you'll join us this Friday, enjoy the evening festivities and a great night of Friday Night Football.  

T-shirts are on sale in the high school activities office.  They are $8 and feature the logo at the top of the page on a white t-shirt.  Adult Small-XXXL are available.  

The sign below was created by Todd Hugen Photography and we thank them for their fantastic work on this.  This 3' x 5' vinyl sign will be raffled off, and winner announced on Friday night.  Raffle tickets will be sold for $2 or 3 for $5; these will be available all week in the activities office and on Friday night at the main gate.  

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Friday, August 22, 2014

2014-15 Here We Come!!

Welcome To The 2014-15 School Year Wildcats!!

What an exciting time of year.  Things start new.  New buildings for some.  Some teachers starting their careers for the first time, or changing schools.  Even if you're a senior and you've been here your entire career it's the start of something new.  No matter where you are in that spectrum, I hope your year is a great one. 

We're excited about some new programs and things going on in the Activities Department.  Here are a few highlights.  

The Wildcat Way

We're excited to launch a new program that will help us to emphasize character development in our programs, and in our school.  We believe in educational based activities and we've adopted the Wildcat Way to help us teach, and live, in a way that makes a difference.  Here it is: 

  • We Respect All, Fear None
  • Integrity Above All Else
  • Live With A Commitment To Excellence
  • Dream and Believe
  • Control What We Can Control
  • Aspire To Be Better Every Day
  • TEAM First
We believe that if we can work to practice, live, and compete this way we will continue to grow our programs and our people at the same time.  I'll speak more to each of these as the year progresses, but for now I'd encourage each of us "Live The Wildcat Way"

Carlisle Athletic Hall of Fame

The Carlisle High School Athletic Hall of Fame is being established to recognize and honor outstanding achievements of athletes, coaches, teams, and others who have made significant contributions to the athletic program and have promoted the growth of the athletics at Carlisle High School, as well as, Hartford High School, which closed in 1962, and became a part of Carlisle High School.  

The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held each year at a home basketball game.  This year's induction will be on January 30, 2015.  

For more information please visit and click on the Carlisle Hall of Fame section on the home page.  

Wildcat Athletic Council

The Wildcat Athletic Council is comprised of a group of students who will meet with Mr. Gordon once a month.  One junior and senior student athlete were selected by their coaches to serve on the council. However, any high school student athlete who is interested in being a part of the program is welcome to attend.  Our first meeting is Monday, August 25th at 7:00 A.M. in the HS auditorium. 

Meetings will consist of updates on the happenings going on within our different sports, discussion on leadership issues, sportsmanship, local and state rules, policies, and procedures, as well as, ways that these students can help to serve our entire athletic program.  The goal is to develop leaders that will help to serve our programs now, and our communities and society in the future.  

As you can see we have many new things happening this year in the Activities Department.  I'm excited every day to come work with our students, coaches, directors, and sponsors.  It's a fantastic group of people and together I believe that our potential really has no limit.  Sometimes the only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves.  

If you need information on schedules, forms, or happenings going on within the Activities Department be sure to make a bookmark and frequent stop.  For updates and news as it happens follow us on Twitter @chswildcatpride.

Here's to a fantastic and exciting year Wildcats!  


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Good Luck Class of 2014

As we approach The Day, Graduation Day, on Sunday, May 18th, just a few thoughts for the Class of 2014.

Good Luck as you move on to the next phase of your life and begin to chart the course for your future.  Your journey will be just that, Your journey.  It will contain many things, many emotions, and some twists and turns.  It is our hope that some of the things you've experienced by being a part of athletics and activities will help you navigate though some of the life decisions you will make in years to come.

Some of the qualities that we hope were developed, and taught, were personal responsibility for decisions and actions, the value of hard work, and the value of being a part of a team or group and doing your job, or role, the best that you can.  Values like that are what people, your future employers are looking for.  Yes, education and "book smarts" are very important, but the people skills and integrity with which you live your life are equally, if not more, important, in my opinion.

So, if I were to give you three pieces of advice here's what I'd offer:

1 - Find what you're passionate about and seek to make it your life work.  The goal is to not feel like you have to go to work a day in your life.  Think about what your strengths are and use them.  Chances are it points you to what you're passionate about.

2 - Don't rush.  Enjoy the process.  You can't have right away what your parents, or other adults, have worked a lifetime to get.  This may be in the form of a job, the place you live, and some of the things you are able to have and do.  Good things take time.  What you've been put here to do may take some time too.  Learn from every experience and don't waste the tough ones.  They're there to learn from as well.

3 - Treat others how you want to be treated.  You know, the Golden Rule.  The rule I talked about with Kindergarten classes when I taught elementary P.E. isn't a bad way to live.  Whatever you do, wherever  you go, put others ahead of yourself.  Your family, your friends, your coworkers, even the people that are difficult.

One part of the journey is being completed.  Another exciting one awaits.  You never arrive, just keep travelling on your journey and making a difference.

Good Luck Class of 2014.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Random Ramblings-2014 State Tournament

Each year the IGHSAU allows each school to select one adult fan to honor with a sportsmanship award.  After discussion with our coaches we were all in agreement that we would have Al Moreland receive this honor before our opening game.  Al is big supporter of our programs, travelling all over to watch our teams.  He is also a major player in many of our events as a volunteer, keeping clock at all levels of football and basketball games, in addition to, keeping the scoreboard at JV softball games.  Thanks Al!

What can you say about our crowd?  Unbelievable. The support that the Carlisle community has shown to this team has been beyond anything we could have imagined.  Our school community thanks the larger Carlisle community for your support.  You've made a difference in the tournament run and had an impact in the last two games for sure.  Thank You!!  

Our student section?  Let's be honest, we've gotten so much better.  We were struggling with sportsmanship a little bit for awhile.  We've worked on it, tried to be more in line with what we strive to be in high school athletics.  We've worked on cheering for our team, not so much against the other team.  I think one of the things I've seen in high school crowds in general, not just at CHS, are modeling major university crowds. They are two different animals. Anyway, enough of that for now.

NOW, I can't wait to talk about our student body. You've received high praise from all over the state for what you did by helping the North Scott crowd at their opening game when they were split up having to be in Des Moines and at a boys sub state game in Clinton.  We've received several e-mails complimenting you on what you did, and how you did it.

In our game you helped to create what some have called the "best atmosphere at a girls state tournament game since it came to Wells Fargo Arena".  And, you did it with class, organization, and enthusiasm.  Oh yeah, and you were LOUD!! I see a whole new level of camaraderie in our students, a great spirit, and most of all, I see you having fun, and not at the expense of others.  It's created a fantastic atmosphere.  

One security worker, who was down in front of our crowd, told me that Carlisle had the best student section he's ever seen at a high school tournament game.

A media person in front of our students said he has never seen anything like it before, and couldn't believe how well done it was, and how class it was.

A Carlisle fan told me that she was sitting close to you on Tuesday night and couldn't say enough of how proud she was of your spirit and the way you did it with class.

Catching a theme?

High Praise!  Well Deserved! Well Done CHS Student Body!  We're very proud of you.  Keep up the fantastic work.  You're making a difference by what you're doing, and having a lot of fun in the process.

And, oh yeah, there's this team.  A team that has been playing at a high level for several weeks now, and has allowed us to share in the memories they've been making.  Here they were on Tuesday night in a tough spot again. Down by 14 midway through the first quarter to a DC-G team that was clicking and had beaten us soundly in November.  

They were on the ropes, but fought through it, and slowly worked their way back into the game.  No panic.  Just consistent effort, defense, and execution until an Agatha Beier lay-up with 2:45 left in the game gave us our first lead.  From there, a lot of stops, a perfect in bounds play, and a few free throws, and for the first time since 1967, the Carlisle Wildcats are playing in the State Semi-Finals.  Actually, another first, because the last time would have been during the 6 on 6 era. 

And wasn't this one of the best moments of the night? 

Well Done ALL Wildcats!!  

So, we'll see you all Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena as we face the Harlan Community Cyclones at 6:45.  Do you Believe? 


Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 State Tournament - Carlisle Girls Basketball


You may have heard about it:  A team going from 1-22 to 19-6 and a spot in the Class 4A State Tournament.  A team going 0-16 in conference play a year ago, to winning a share of the conference championship on the last night of the regular season.  Did you happen to hear about that?  If not, you may have been under a rock, or out of the country.  OK, maybe that's a bit extreme, but chances are if you're reading this, you've heard about it, and possibly have been witness to it, in one way or another.

A lot has been written by media and a local TV station (WHO) will be running a lengthy segment on the team before they begin the state tournament run, but I want to briefly write about something that has stuck out to me in the last few weeks.

TEAM!  The Carlisle Girls Basketball Team bench. I have enjoyed watching how engaged they have been in the last four games.  As a guy who did his share of coaching for 27 years, I always believed that the team was going to be no more successful than the sum of all of its parts.  I believe that to be true of any successful team, organization, or business.  Sure, there are people that our out front, who get bigger chunks of praise or attention because of the talents they've been blessed with, but the entire team cannot achieve success, unless everyone does their job, and is engaged in the process.

In this instance, basketball, the 2013-14 Carlisle girls basketball team has achieved what they have done so far because the entire team has been doing their job.  This is a tribute to the players, coaches, and parents who are part of this year's team.  I believe this is one of the beauties of what we do in high school activities, and one of the great life skills that will serve our young people well in their future.

Case in point, a business that I know of has a philosophy of hiring the best people that they can, and then training them to do the job they need them to do.  Sure, there are some skills their employees need to have, but their goal is to hire people that are going to be good teammates in their organization with the belief that they will be good workers.  What's the result of that business philosophy?  Being named the "State Champions" in the State of Iowa as the best workplace for small companies in 2012.

You see, what this team has done is set the bar, and been an example, of what a TEAM should look like.  Many of our other sports and activities have experienced it over the years, but our goal is to make this a consistent quality in all of our programs.  It takes coaches able to define players roles on the team, players willing to accept and fulfill those roles with pride and enthusiasm, and parents who accept the role their child has been given, and supports them and the team.  When those three things come together, excellence is possible, and winning can happen.

Good Luck to the Carlisle Girls Basketball Team at the State Tournament.  It's been a great season. Thanks for letting us all enjoy it with you.

Enjoy some of the photos that I think define this group.  Thanks to Jamie Fitzgerald for taking and sharing them with us.  



Monday, February 17, 2014

A Game And More Than A Game

Photo courtesy of Jamie Fitzgerald

Friday, February 14th, 2014  

Where were you?  If you weren't in the Carlisle High School gym, you missed one of those moments in time that you will remember for the rest of your life.  Our Carlisle girls basketball team completed a fantastic regular season by winning a share of the Raccoon River Conference Championship with a 47-42 victory over #3 Ballard , in front of a near capacity crowd.  The win finished a season that saw the team go from 1-22 a year ago, to 15-6 in 2013-14, and a conference championship.  Pretty remarkable and inspiring.  Hats off to the coaches and players for showing us that if you work hard, believe, and do it together, great, and some might say, improbable things, can happen.  A season of memories has already been created, with the post season yet to come.  

What's awesome is that even though we could go on and on about our girls basketball team, it's what happened at the end of the boys game, in a 20 point game, that will be etched in our minds for years to come.  It was the last shot of the game, and what led up to it, that makes athletics at the high school level special, as it continues to teach us about values like cooperation, self sacrifice, and sportsmanship.  It's about taking advantage of the moments given to us to make others around us better.

(From Andrew's first basket at JV game in December)
Photos courtesy of Tracy Rector
Edited print by Vicki Born

Andrew Sharp, a young man with some special learning needs, decided he wanted to go out for basketball his senior year, when he's never been out before.  To be honest, I didn't know if he'd show up the first day, or if he did, if he'd last the entire season.  But, and lucky for us, he did.  Andrew got into several JV games. Each game day he would be dressed up, usually in a tie, and ready to discuss the day's upcoming game at lunch.

As this year's Senior Night approached Andrew wasn't sure that he wanted to be a part of it.  As Coach Nelson talked to Andrew for a second time, Andrew confided in him that he didn't want to play in a varsity game.  Coach assured him that he wouldn't have to play, but we just wanted to introduce him with the rest of the seniors before the game.

For this all to happen, another important thing needed to happen.  Someone had to give up a uniform for Andrew.  Into the story stepped junior Noah Smith.  In a classy display of sacrifice, Noah volunteered to give up his uniform for Andrew.  Noah set an outstanding example of self sacrifice and servant leadership for all of us.  Elements of character that will serve Noah well for the rest of his life.

As the game worked its way toward a 20 point margin, I started to watch Andrew with about 4:00 to go. You could tell he was now thinking he might want to get into the game.  Our student body was starting to chant his name, and the gym was starting to get a bit of a buzz.  As Andrew entered the game, the CHS gym erupted.  He got up a couple of three point shots thanks to all of the players on the floor, but as time was winding down, it looked like he probably wouldn't score.  Enter the Ballard team into the story.  I can't be sure if their Coach told them what to do, but it seems like he probably told them to do all they could to get Andrew a basket.

With Ballard inbounding the ball on the baseline under the Carlisle basket, a Ballard player, along with a Carlisle player, gently pushed Andrew up toward the ball so he would be guarding the ball.  Andrew got to the inbounder, and while guarding the ball, forced a bad pass (that's how I remember it), grabbed the ball, and made the short shot as time ran out.

The moment was one of the best I've witnessed in 29 years of being involved in high school athletics.

THANKS to the Ballard coaches and players for playing a part in creating a memory; to Noah Smith for giving up his jersey so Andrew could have his moment; to the Carlisle coaches and players, who worked with Andrew throughout the season, and probably were blessed more than he was; to the Carlisle student body for fantastic support of Andrew and to the Ballard crowd, who joined in chanting "Andrew" at the end of the game.  It was a magic moment.

And finally, thanks to Andrew for teaching us a few things by what you did.

You showed us courage by being brave enough to do something you had never done before.

You taught us to be excited about every opportunity by being excited about every game.

You faced the fear of senior night, and then embraced the moment when it was presented to you.

You've taught us that there's always time for a high five, and plenty of them.    

We could all be a little better at what we do by following Andrew's lead in four areas of our lives.

  1. Don't be afraid to try
  2. Be excited about every opportunity
  3. Embrace the moment
  4. Don't forget to celebrate the good things in life.