My Carnival Career is Back in Business

After my PTA Carnival days ended approximately 4 years ago, I vowed I was finished with the carnival planning “business” (you’ve heard what volunteers get paid, right?).

BUT…Coach and I are super excited about chairing the 2017 Tulsa Walk to End ALZ, and it’s time to really begin our Walk efforts so we are kicking off the fun in the best way we know how: a party at the football field ❤️💛💙💜

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We’ve already confirmed with several Walk teams and Walk supporters to join us for the fun:

  • a local radio station to provide live music
  • Barre 3 Tulsa will be teaching a free community class in the south end zone
  • our TU Spirit Squad will be on hand giving out free t-shirts and Golden Hurricane goodies
  • my Tulsa football boys will be on the field passing the ball and teaching impeccable touchdown technique with the kids (of all ages)
  • there will be more than one fun photo opportunity to enjoy
  • Verdigris High School Softball Team wants to see just how fast you can pitch a baseball or softball with their handy radar gun
  • the Cascia Hall Cheerleaders are setting up sidewalk chalk for everyone to dazzle us with their creations

We will offer a very reasonable dinner purchase (I’m thinking a BBQ plate or hamburger basket), water and soft drinks, and definitely some sweet treats like maybe an ice cream stand or son-cone truck.  Or a CAKE WALK – that would be perfect!!

And, of course, there will be help on hand to get you registered for the 2017 Tulsa Walk to End ALZ.  You are always welcome to join our team (TEAM SANDRA JEAN), or you can start your own.  We will also have information about the many services and programs available to help those you love who are dealing with Alzheimer’s.  You are not alone, and we want to make sure you know what assistance is out there and how to access it!

Let me know if you have a Walk team, church or neighborhood group, civic or social organization, company or business that would like to participate in our kickoff carnival.  Hey, I’ll take individuals and families and flocks of friends – anyone who wants to help out is greatly appreciated!! We are open to all kinds of fun booths and games to attract and entertain the community.

My vision is BIG, so come one, come all, and let’s have some fun!

Love and hugs,

Ashli

PS:  Please like and share our Facebook event to help advertise the fun: 2017 Tulsa Walk to End ALZ Kickoff Party – June 21st

Graduation is not for wimps.

We are one week out from my SonShine’s high school graduation, and the tears have started to flow. Yesterday was his Cap & Gown Ceremony at school, and I am proud to say that I have already steamed both and hung them aside to be called into action next Friday.

Cascia Hall colors: navy, red, and white…Grad Regalia: black, royal, and silver…Must make sense to someone…we just go with it 🙂

Yesterday was also his last day of classes, but since final exams go through next Wednesday, I refuse to concede that his “last day of school” is yet upon us.

Since today is our last Friday morning of school together, I surprised him with a final “Donut Day” which has been our weekly tradition for the better part of the past 13 years.

Breakfast of Champions, of course!

I have his Senior Board ready to deliver tomorrow morning:

Nothing is nailed down or screwed into the wood board yet, but that Coach’s job 😉

This is a Cascia tradition which requires parents to sum up their student’s life-to-date in 864 square inches (exactly and not a smidge more than 2 feet by 3 feet). I’ve been documenting his life-to-date all year with an incredibly special scrapbook undertaking, and I can’t get it all done. It’s a tough failure to admit on my part, but I won’t have the project done in time for graduation.  We’ve simply enjoyed his childhood too much (as if there is such a thing).  There have been an infinite number of precious times, countless trips and vacations and days spent together, a myriad of treasured people, and more love than words and photos can accurately illustrate.  If I haven’t managed to corral all that joy and and growth and accomplishment on a year’s worth of scrapbook pages, how in the world does one do so in 864 square inches??

But, graduation is not for wimps, and I am not a wimp.  So, I prevailed.  I’ll proudly deliver his board to school Saturday morning just as requested.

And I’m sure a tear or two will escape my eyes.

A few more will roll the next day: Senior Sunday.  The day will begin with all the graduates at our church being recognized and honored and blessed by prayer for the next phase of each students’ journey.  Then we head straight to the dorm to deliver the first load of college “stuff” and begin the move-in process.  After that, we have Baccalaureate Mass and Dinner at Cascia Hall (another fun and fabulous school tradition in which the junior class hosts and serves dinner to the seniors and their families).

My boys helping as junior class servers at last year’s Baccalaureate.

Maybe more than just a “few” tears will roll on Sunday.

Monday is set aside to shop and prep for GradFest.  This is our version of the all-night, seniors-only, lock-em-in party to keep the kiddos safe as they celebrate their success and freedom.  I’m on the food committee, and I can attest that we will not let these sweet babies go hungry their first night post-childhood.  In fact, I’m in charge of the 3 am breakfast, and if I’ve ever taken you to Tally’s here in Tulsa for monster cinnamon rolls and big, fat breakfast tacos, then you know that the Cascia Class of 2017 is in for a treat!

Tuesday is his graduation practice which I, happily, have no part in whatsoever.

Wednesday is Senior Scholastic Night.  My SonShine says not to expect any academic awards, and I have assured him that the diploma is award enough for me and Coach.

Family begins to arrive on Thursday.  Graduation is Friday.

Saturday we are hosting a family get-together to celebrate this phenomenal young man.

Sunday will be brunch before family hits the road, and then we finish moving in the last bits of what he is taking to summer school.

And then I leave him there to start his new life, his new chapter.

So, yeah, a whole lot of tears are going to flow.

Before you condemn me for being THAT mom, the “helicopter mom” who can’t let go of her children or [re]accuse me of being too attached, let me assure you that no one is more excited for my graduate than I am.  No one wants more for him than I do.  No one will cheer harder or support greater than I will.

It does not matter if he is moving 5 minutes down the road or 5 hours across the country.  My sadness at the end of this chapter of his life is not actually about my graduate.  It’s about ME.  That’s right, I just confessed that I have thoughts and feelings and weaknesses and fears for myself and about myself, and I did it right here in front of God and all to see.

Here’s the thing, I absolutely, totally, and completely adore my family.  I think we have a truly perfect family dynamic.  So, yes, I am sad to see that change.

If you find that silly or ridiculous, I don’t care.  Your judgement does not bother me anymore.  In fact, I am sorry that you weren’t able to enjoy your kids more because I have been engaged, I have been present, I have been an integral part of my kids’ lives, and I would not change THAT for anything.  This kid and his baby sister, these last [almost] 19 years as a mom, my Coach, and the world we’ve created together is stronger and more meaningful than any other thing on this physical earth.

You can rest assured that THIS mom, the one with the red nose and splotchy eyes from crying, is the luckiest, most blessed lady you know!

Happy Graduation Week, and here’s to the Class of 2017!

With love and hugs,

Ashli

The Tulsa Opera Ball

 

Spring Break in Grand Cayman

 

Cascia Hall Junior/Senior Prom

 

CH Class of 2017 Senior Breakfast

 

Silly Selfies on Mom’s phone (Happens weekly and usually without Mom’s knowledge!)

A Tale of Three Shirts

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane and I are going PURPLE to End ALZ on Saturday, September 23, 2017…so, of course, I’m making a shirt.  Which design is your favorite?

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Click here to vote as many times as you want before midnight on May 31st, and I will reveal the winning design at our 2017 Tulsa Walk to End Alzheimer’s KICK OFF PARTY on Wednesday, June 21st.

The kick off party takes place at the Thomas Plaza of H.A. Chapman Stadium from 4:30 – 8:30pm so bring the family and all your friends out after work, on the way to church, or when it is time to grab dinner.  My vision is that of a super, summer evening filled with music from a local radio station, $5 BBQ baskets from one of Tulsa’s best, booths on the concourse, and games on the football field for the kids – and the “older kids” – to run and to jump and to hop and to skip and to play…think back to my ol’ PTA Carnival days and you’ll get the picture.  All the details are in the works, and I can promise fun for the whole crew!!

So, here’s what you do:

  1. Put ALZ WALK KICK OFF PARTY in your calendar for June 21st
  2. Save the Date to spend September 23rd #tacklingALZ
  3. Vote, vote, vote for your favorite shirt design before midnight on May 31st

Thanks for all your love and hugs and support as Coach and I fight to END ALZ,

Ashli

Taking AIM

I often get the question, “Is there anything I can do?” when I share my work to end Alzheimer’s Disease. Yes, there is: take AIM.

AIM stands for Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, and it is the Alzheimer’s Association political action campaign partner. Officially from the AIM website:

AIM is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization working in strategic partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association to make Alzheimer’s a national priority. AIM is a membership organization and we ask you to join us! The annual membership fee is $20.

Members have access to member exclusive benefits and opportunities, and only members may contribute to AIMPAC. AIM relies on the support of its members to advance the Alzheimer’s agenda in Washington.

I am a number’s gal, and I firmly believe there is strength in numbers.  Let me put it to you straight: we need bigger numbers (which means more members).  The beauty of AIM is that for a political organization, it is actually – at least in my mind – very non-political.  Because Alzheimer’s Disease does not discriminate in any way, form, or fashion, it is the definition of apolitical.  In other words, the fight to #ENDALZ reaches every single person on capital hill, it reaches across party lines, and it does not care about one’s race, or sex, or age.

Beating Alzheimer’s is one – maybe the only one – issue that everyone can agree must be a priority.  Best of all, our elected officials (from all parties) see that importance.  Their struggle comes in with time.  There are only so many hours in a day, in a week, and in a legislative session; the senate and congress depend upon us to know how to fight this truly atrocious disease.

That is where AIM, with a strong membership core made up of hundreds of thousands of Americans, comes in.  The greater our numbers, the more influential our voice.  As a collective group, AIM presents bills, research needs, and battle plans to legislators.  Because AIM partners with the Alzheimer’s Association and gathers “intel” from all over the world, they are the most knowledgeable voice for what needs to be done.  By joining AIM for $20 per year, you are speaking directly to your elected officials.

Just this week I had the opportunity to meet with an amazing, smart, savvy, and precious (I’m sure “precious” is not how she wants to be described, but it is true) legislative assistant for one of my Oklahoma senators.  My big “ah ha” take away from our conversation is that Senator Inhofe oftentimes has challenges getting other senators to support Alzheimer’s funding and programs because of the time it takes to see results.  In fact, Jennifer mentioned that if it takes longer than 10 years to see a dollar’s return on investment, politicians are hesitant to support spending that dollar in that particular way.  This is because they want/need to show their constituents progress today, not in 15-25 years (isn’t that just the world we live in…instant success, immediate gratification, and all that now, now, now junk…grrrrr).

Here’s the truth:  it WILL take 15-25 years for us to find a treatment so that people can live a normal, healthy life with Alzheimer’s Disease.  It might take 50+ years to find a cure.  This disease is that much of a monster.  BUT…if we don’t fund the science now to start that timeline, in the future we will regret having not started much earlier.  By building AIM, we prove to our elected officials that we want them to make those tough, long-term decisions and that we support them for supporting the battle to beat and end ALZ.

When I was in Orlando for the Alzheimer’s Association Summit this past January, one of the presenting doctors made a profound statement:  “We are all going to die, that’s a fact. I want to die of something else, with my memories intact.”  To that I say, “ME TOO!!”  But to make that an option in my future – in your future – we must come together today.

Please use this link to place your $20 annual AIM membership:

https://www.alzimpact.org/join/join_aim/code/ba7df2e558/method/link

I usually don’t ask this, but please also share this post via email to your family and friends, a retweet, or posting it on your Facebook wall.  This small step in fighting Alzheimer’s is critical, and this is how you can help.

With love and hugs,

Ashli

PS:  In 50 years, my beautiful Angel Girl will be 66 years old.  Right now 1 in 10 Americans age 65 and over have Alzheimer’s.  2/3 of those are women.  Those statistics are only getting worse.  I really, really want that cure to be ready when she needs it!

Team Sandra Jean, 2017 ed.

SAVE THE DATE:
The 2017 Tulsa Walk to End Alzheimer’s is set for SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23rd.

Coach and I are your 2017 event chairs and WE NEED YOU THERE!!

Last year Coach served as a “Celebrity Captain” to use his name recognition as the head coach of Golden Hurricane Football as a springboard to raise awareness and interest in the event. Both of us were completely overwhelmed and very appreciative of the great response, and yet we both felt like there was more we could do.

So, we asked to chair the whole kit and kaboodle 🙂

We also asked to move the event on to campus at the University of Tulsa, so the entire walk route will wind through our gorgeous TU campus.

Then we asked to move the date to correspond with a Golden Hurricane home football game, and now the Tulsa Walk to End ALZ will kick off a day full of fun and football on September 23rd.

Finally, we asked to make that our annual “Alzheimer’s Awareness Game” so be watching for announcements about tailgating deals, game day t-shirts, ticket promotions, and much more as the plans for this day-long party are finalized.

For now, more than anything we need you to sign on to be part of the party…

* Our team, TEAM SANDRA JEAN, is active and ready for teammates to join and support through donations. Our family of four has committed to raising a minimum of $2500 via our personal fundraising pages. Just click on the photos below to visit any of our four individual pages:

* Start your own team by visiting TulsaWalk.org – it only takes a minute to get your team registered and click the button to make your team page live online. You can set fundraising goals for your entire team as well as your individual goal that will count towards your team totals:

TulsaWalk.org and click REGISTER

* Reach out to me or to the Oklahoma Alzheimer’s Association if you need any help getting started, if you have questions, or if you are available to help us make this event a major success. Volunteers are needed throughout the planning process as well as on the day of the event:

Email or call for help to get signed up for this year’s Walk to END ALZ: http://www.alz.org/oklahoma/

There are so many fabulous ways to help us battle this devastating disease, and I am here to help you find the perfect fit for you. Thank you for standing with us!

With love and hugs,
Ashli

Wednesday Awareness: Every Minute Counts

Friends, family, and faithful blog readers,

Good Wednesday morning, January 25, 2017!

Tonight at 9 pm (CST) PBS is airing a fabulous documentary titled “Every Minute Counts” that you need to see.

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The Alzheimer’s Association was quite integral in the making of the 60 minute film, and it is well worth your 60 minutes.  Please set your DVR to record it, and do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you have after watching it tonight (and anytime, of course).  If you are not in Oklahoma, I will be sure to put you in touch with the right people at your nearest Alzheimer’s Association chapter to get all your concerns addressed.

Also, please take a moment to register for the Alzheimer’s Association “Trial Match” program:  TRIAL MATCH LINK

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Trial Match profiles link research projects with willing participants.  Everyone is needed in the database because projects are out there looking for all ages, all ethnicities, all people to best study this disease.  They are looking for those with, as well as WITHOUT, the disease, those with ties to it, and those who are the lucky few and have not yet been touched by this death sentence.

When you go through the Oklahoma chapter to create your Trial Match profile before the end of the month, you are entered to win a stay at the very beautiful, very relaxing Artesian Hotel, Casino & Spa.

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Take a look at its luxury…I could handle two days of pampering there, for sure!!

Here is a link to an email with further information on everything I’ve shared for this edition of “Wednesday Awareness” as we gather the troops, circle the wagons, and wage war to #ENDALZ:

Every Minute Counts – Alzheimer’s Association

So, please – go set your DVR (PBS tonight at 9 pm), go create your Trial Match profile, and go have a Wonderful Wednesday 🙂

Love and hugs,

Ashli

 

Wednesday Awareness: A Sea of Purple

Before I begin our #Walk2EndALZ wrap-up, I want to say a quick thank you to Kelly Hines, TU Sportswriter for the Tulsa World, for helping us bring awareness to ending Alzheimer’s disease with a great piece that was included in her “TU Notebook” column today: $30,000 for a Good Cause.  We are quite lucky to have a supportive sports writing community here in Tulsa which is definitely not always the case in college towns; we appreciate media personalities like Kelly and John Moss and many others taking the time to get to know us as more than “Coach Montgomery & Co.” Their support of our fight against Alzheimer’s is very much appreciated!

The Tulsa Walk to End Alzheimer’s was fantastic!!

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A Beautiful Sea of Purple

MawMaw and SonShine

MawMaw and SonShine

Angel Girl and Momma

Angel Girl and her Momma

The kids and I, along with MawMaw, layered up on a beautiful, sunny, crisp Oklahoma morning and headed out to Guthrie Green with about 5,000 fellow walkers.  The set up this year was a blast – kudos to whomever came up with the party bead idea!

The Alzheimer’s Association has a foundation of 5 guiding pillars:

  1. Concern & Awareness
  2. Advocacy
  3. Care & Support
  4. Accelerate Research
  5. Grow Revenue

Each of these pillars was represented with a different color of party beads at the Walk last Saturday.  We had a ton of fun collecting each color by visiting different information booths.  It was truly a clever way to direct such a wonderful crowd throughout the event grounds!

I am proud to report that all four of us succeeded in getting all five colors of beads, we visited with friends (both new and old) while exploring the tables, and even got a super cute picture for my scrapbook:

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When the program began, I took my place on stage with my SonShine and Angel Girl by my side.  I was tasked with sharing a personal – and inspirational – story.  I certainly did not want to be a “downer” on such a fun occasion, but the fact of the matter is that Alzheimer’s is a downer.  I decided on a story about Coach’s mom, Sandra; here is that story and the first part of my script:

ASHLI:

Hi, everyone!  I am so happy to be here with you this morning!!  Coach sends his “hello” and wishes he could be here, too.  But he is preparing for our Homecoming game this afternoon so instead he send his greetings as well as our two kids.

Many of you may have heard that this cause is personal for us.  Philip’s mom, Sandra, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease just a few years ago.  You’ve never met a sweeter, kinder woman!  It has been really tough watching this disease take its toll.  Just last month she was in town for our first football game of the season and something tiny happened – something that probably only Philip and I noticed.  But it was something that served as a huge indicator of just how ravishing this disease can be. 

Sandra was raised the oldest daughter of a preacher.  She then married a preacher.  She has served the Lord and the church her entire life.  Over the course of 73 years, I would estimate that she has taken communion more than 3,200 times.  But on Sunday, September 4th, when Philip held the communion cups out for her to take one, she looked up at him with blankness and confusion in her eyes.  He went on to hand her one, and still she looked to him, unsure of what to do.  Finally, he helped her drink the juice, and in that moment we both felt a sharp stab of helplessness.  Helplessness and deep sadness that something so important and so personal to her was lost.  We don’t want to lose our Nana!

That is why we walk in her honor today; we are Team Sandra Jean!

I went on to accept a challenge from this year’s Walk chairman to raise an additional $100 to my Walk campaign before Thanksgiving, so if you meant to donate but didn’t get around to it, there is still time.  Click here to go to our Team Sandra Jean website to give a gift online:  TEAM SANDRA JEAN.

And finally, I finished my speech with lots of cheers and a huge invitation:

We are standing here today because we truly believe that the end of Alzheimer’s starts with us. I can tell by looking out into this sea of purple that we are not in this alone. Who’s ready to put a stop to this devastating disease?

[PAUSE FOR AUDIENCE CHEERS]

Let’s let all of Tulsa know that we’re here today to lead the way to the end of Alzheimer’s!

[APPLAUSE/CHEERS]

WOW – You all sound great!  So great that I can easily imagine you all cheering loudly from the stands at H.A. Chapman Stadium!  In fact, we would like to invite each and every one of you to a very special TU football game on November 5th. For the second year in a row, Coach and his Golden Hurricane will host an Alzheimer’s Awareness Game.  We have created this special edition t-shirt for the event, and we want to see you wearing one as you cheer just like that – or maybe even louder – at the game.  Best of all, the proceeds from all the t-shirt sales will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. You can go to TulsaWalk.org to get more information about purchasing your special edition t-shirt & tickets for the game!

We can’t wait to see you all there!

THANK YOU for being here – THANK YOU for walking today – and THANK YOU for supporting this fight to end Alzheimer’s!

My precious models on stage did a terrific job of showing off our November 5th game shirt!  The shirts are now available at the TU Campus Corner Bookstore at 11th Street and Harvard.  Please run by and pick yours up today!

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In love and hugs on a Wonderful Wednesday,

Ashli

Wednesday Awareness: Keep Walking

When Angel Girl was born – wayyyy back in the year 2000 – our sweet neighbors gave SonShine a baby gift: Silly Sing-Along 2 ~ The End of Silliness?

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It was our first introduction to Veggie Tales, and it was a lifesaver! At the ripe old age of 27 months, SonShine figured out how to turn on the TV all by himself.  It was one of those fabulous, monstrous, console televisions that Coach bought refurbished at a used appliance store when he was in college…it was 30 years old if it was a day. But it sat right on the ground with the VCR on top, and if he tip-toed just right, SonShine could reach high enough to pop in his new movie which comprised of a random selection of Silly Songs with Larry. It was perfect to entertain him when I was feeding Angel Girl or rocking her to sleep.  Let’s just say that Coach and I know – still to this very day – every single silly song with Larry.

One of my favorites from that video is “Keep Walking.”  I love the message, the lyrics, and the tune, and for some reason it pops into my head anytime I think about our upcoming Walk to End Alzheimer’s (which takes place this Saturday, October 22nd at Tulsa’s Guthrie Green).  I’ve been told that the Pre-Walk Ceremony is really something to behold, and I can only imagine how powerful a statement thousands of us “purpled-out” and pounding the pavement together will feel as we walk to end Alzheimer’s.  I am extra excited to participate in this year’s walk because both my kiddos are able to join me!

Just like in Larry’s Silly Song, I feel called to keep walking, to raise awareness, encourage others, and make every effort possible to be a light of hope and possibility for a cure to this fatal disease.

Coach and I have been working with the Oklahoma Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to do all those things, and we have been positively blown away by how supportive and generous all of our family and friends have been in this work.  Last month, we ran a one-week campaign to raise money for this year’s Tulsa Walk to End Alzheimer’s with a pledge of matching up to $10,000 in donations.  I sent an email letting everyone know about the matching gift program, the Oklahoma Chapter promoted the challenge locally, and the story was even picked up by the national Alzheimer’s Association.

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Each night that week, Coach and I would scroll through the donations that were coming in, and each night we were overwhelmed with the love and support we received with every gift.  The outpouring was simply beautiful!

At the end of that week, $19,550 had been donated, and Coach and I very happily handed over our matching $10,000.  That is unbelievable!!  Together we raised just under $30K in only 7 days.  THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU!

As you all know we are walking on Saturday in honor of Coach’s mom, Sandra.  Our team name is “Sandra Jean” and our goal – our prayer – is threefold:

  1. Raise the funds needed to conduct the research necessary to find a cure and an end to ALZ,
  2. Support patients, caregivers, and healthcare workers who are fighting this monster every day.
  3. Save our Nana.

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We would love to have you join our team, either in Tulsa on Saturday or online as a virtual walker.  Our team building doesn’t end when we finish the walk this weekend, so log on and jump in:  TEAM SANDRA JEAN!

With love and hugs and an extra huge THANK YOU to all who supported this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s,

Ashli

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Negative Recruiting & My Presidential Plea

“Whoever is not with me is against me…” Luke 11:23

In Biblical terms, I totally get this scripture. In our daily rat race of “me versus the world,” I soooooo get this. In the 2016 race for a President of the United States, I do not get this.

With election day looming, I am not WITH anyone. And I want to be. I really, really do. I want a candidate – any living, breathing, eligible, American candidate – to show me why I should be WITH them.

So far, however, all I have seen is what in the world of college football we call “Negative Recruiting.” This is a very common practice where coaches (the recruiters) tell prospective players (the recruits) and their families why they should NOT attend ABC, LMN, and every other school showing interest but fail to ever communicate why that student-athlete SHOULD attend their own school, XYZ.

It goes like this…

  • Recruit: Do you think you can use me as a quarterback in your system?
  • Recruiter: Well, Son, I know that ABC is saying they will let you play QB, but trust me, they’re also talking to So&So, and they’re telling him the same thing. You don’t want to go there and experience that!
  • Recruit’s Mom: Coach, tell me about the tutoring and mentoring available for your players.
  • Recruiter: Now, Momma, I know you like the academics at LMN, but be careful – they have a reputation for being extra tough on their athletes. And while I know his education is your top priority, we don’t want to set him up to fail.

And so on, and so on, blah, blah, blah.

The coaches absolutely refuse to answer the very straight-forward questions that the recruit and his family have asked.  This stuff drives me crazy! And it drives Coach crazy, too, so he emphasizes to his staff in no uncertain terms to avoid negative recruiting at all costs. I’ve heard him say many times, “I can’t comment on anyone else’s program, but this is what we are doing/building/creating right here…”

That’s what I am desperate to hear from these presidential candidates. I want them to flat-out, in no uncertain terms, decline to sling mud at ANYONE in our country (and beyond!), and I want them to actually ANSWER THE QUESTIONS that are asked of them.

Our son turned 18 last June, so this is a huge election in our house: SonShine’s first opportunity to vote. And SonShine is serious about his civic duty and his role as an American; I would even call him a “patriot” as he has a deep love for this country, it’s history and accomplishments, and he has a strong desire to see it flourish. He and I, along with his little sister, watched every single second of the last debate together, hopeful that either candidate would give us a reason to join their camp.

Question #1: The last presidential debate could’ve been rated as MA—mature audiences—per TV parental guidelines. Knowing that educators are tying the presidential debates to student homework, do you feel you are modeling appropriate and positive behavior for today’s youth?

Seems like a pretty direct, “Yes or No” type question to me.  I can only assume as neither candidate was willing to answer “Yes” or “No” that they are either incapable of comprehending the question (that’s what my students would do when I asked something over their heads…) or they, too, are horribly embarrassed by the debacle that has become this election season so they avoided an answer, even one as simple as “Yes” or “No.”

Needless to say, at the completion of the debate, we were none the wiser.  My Angel Girl stood up from the couch announcing, “Well that was pretty childish and made very little sense,” and my SonShine was even less sure which candidate is worth trusting with his vote.

Mr. Trump wants to “Make America Great Again.”  FABULOUS – so do I!  My vision of a great America is stunningly beautiful, it’s vivid, and it is very real, not hypothetical.  Mr. Trump, what is your vision of a “Great America” and how, in actual steps and action items, will you create that vision for our country?  What are your ideas as well as your ideals?  With less than a month left before Election Day, I have no idea what our country will look like when you become our leader.  You have not yet described to me this picture you see of a great America.  You’ve told me everything that is wrong with your opponent, you’ve told me everything that is wrong with lots of things, but you have not yet told me what is good in your plan.  And I want specifics.  I need details.  I beg of you, Mr. Trump: please show me what YOU CAN DO rather than what she can not.

Mrs. Clinton says we can be “Stronger Together.”  I WOULD LOVE THAT!  I can close my eyes and imagine a country that acts like a community, a family, a group that cares for one another, people who have each other’s backs through thick and thin.  That image in my head is stunningly beautiful, it’s vivid, and it is very real, not hypothetical.  Mrs. Clinton, how does “Together” make us “Stronger” and how does it look in your vision?  How will you take us from where we stand today – a land tragically divided – to this imaginary place of unity?  What are your ideas as well as your ideals?  I like your dream, but as of October 17th, I have no idea what this land will look like when you become our leader.  I know you detest your opponent, I know you are very talented at dodging and diverting, but I do not know what is good in your plan.  Again, I want specifics.  I need details.  I beg of you, Mrs. Clinton:  please show me what YOU CAN DO rather than how horrible a person you find him to be.

I am a 42-year old, Caucasian female.  I describe myself as having Republican values and a Democrat’s heart.  I am on the fence here.  I want someone to follow, someone to root for, and someone to admire.  I NEED someone to sell me on themselves as opposed to negatively recruiting the competition because we HAVE TO pick someone for whom to vote on November 8th.

Up to this point, you have both presented many valid reasons to NOT vote for either one of you.  Over these next 3 weeks, someone – ANYONE – please prove to me why I SHOULD vote for you…I am hearing it from everyone else all over the Internet, but I want to hear it from YOU.  Please.

Furthermore, here are a few tips for you on how to accomplish this task should you choose to accept it:

  1. Adamantly refuse to say anything negative.  It’s that simple – just don’t do it.  There are more than enough ways to explain oneself using positive words and angles, so utilize them.
  2. Talk ONLY about your plans, your programs, and your vision.  Do not ever speak about anyone else’s program, campaign, history, choices, or life.  It’s none of your affair.  You are here to tell me about YOU and only YOU.
  3. Treat these next few weeks as a 21-day college admissions interview in which you are up against yourself and are ignorant to anyone else applying for the same spot.  Share your strengths, illustrate your gifts, explain your potential, but do not reflect poorly upon yourself by disparaging or putting down others as it makes you appear petty, unoriginal, and unqualified for the job which you seek.

I think if either of you, or anyone else wanting a place on this platform, will follow these simple steps, I – as well as millions of other desperate, yet hopeful, Americans – will be in your corner.  We will “bubble in” your name, and we will support you for the next four years (wouldn’t that be a novel idea!).

Ask the head coach of any sport how to sell a program, ask them the importance of winning the press conference, ask them how vital “buy in” is to creating something great.  Ask them how successful negative recruiting is in the end.  They will tell you exactly what I am saying:  it is all on YOU to prove to us that YOU are worth having.

Each American’s vote is a gift of confidence.  It is priceless, and it represents something far grander, far more beautiful and meaningful than any one person.  If you want my vote, prove it.

In love and hugs, and in prayer for our glorious land,

Ashli

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PS: In the next debate, when a speaker brings up anything NOT about their own campaign, a bell (think the huge one on The Gong Show) will sound so loudly that it will drown out the words that are not relevant to the discussion, and that person surrenders the floor immediately.

 

TU-gether we WILL

I am soooooooo, sooooooooo excited to share this t-shirt with the world!!

Yes, it is “just” a t-shirt, but to me it is GOLDEN.

As in Golden Hurricane.

As in Golden Hurricane Awesome!

Last year Coach designated his “Faith, Family, and Football” game as an Alzheimer’s Awareness event.  Our Sports Marketing Department did a phenomenal job working with the Alzheimer’s Association to create a fun, engaging afternoon that helped spread the word that Alzheimer’s patients, caregivers, and researchers need our attention.

Even before the success of that day, we knew we wanted to make it a tradition, and the positive feedback and experiences of that game sealed the deal…

November 5, 2016

This year our “Faith, Family, and Football” game falls on Saturday, November 5th.  Again, it will also serve as a day to raise awareness to #ENDALZ.  This year, however, we are hosting a purple team, so instead of painting H.A. Chapman purple, we are wearing blue and shining a bright, golden light on Alzheimer’s with this totally fabulous t-shirt:

tugetherf-front

tugether-back

These are only guaranteed for two weeks, so please go online TODAY and place your order:  TUgetherWeWillENDALZ2016

After October 24th, there will be limited number of shirts available at the TU Bookstore and at H.A. Chapman Stadium on gameday November 5th.

Both adult and youth sizes are available for $10 each, and the profit from each shirt sold will be donated back to the Alzheimer’s Association.  (The more we sell, the greater the percentage of profit per shirt, thus the greater the donation, so buy, buy, buy!! And then buy for friends and neighbors, too!)

Even if you can not make it to Tulsa for the game, please consider purchasing a few to support your Golden Hurricane with an incredible new shirt, support Coach in his dedication to bring awareness to the devastating truth of Alzheimer’s Disease, and most importantly support an end to ALZ.

With love and hugs,

Ashli