Browsing articles tagged with " Motivational speeches"
Sep 16, 2014
Ann Thompson

Hokies try to regroup after ECU loss, prepare for ACC opener vs. Georgia Tech – The Virginian

Michael Brewer isn’t accustomed to losing. He only lost once as a starting high school quarterback in Texas and got off to a 2-0 start once he assumed the job at Virginia Tech.

So Saturday’s 28-21 setback against East Carolina is tougher to move on from for him than the Hokies’ win against the Buckeyes the previous week.

Still, the same 24-hour rule applies.

“We can’t hang our head and feel sorry for ourselves and let it affect this next week,” Brewer said, flipping the script from after the Ohio State win. “So we’re going to come out today, that’s done with. It’s over. We’ve already watched all the film. We’re starting on Georgia Tech and that’s the main focus now.”

The Hokies (2-1) have to shift gears in a couple of ways this week, starting ACC play and doing so against a radically different offense — Georgia Tech’s spread option attack — than they just faced against the pass-happy Pirates.

“Starting ACC play this week, the message was simple: We expect to win every game,” Brewer said. “Obviously that didn’t happen this past week and there’s some things we need to correct, some mistakes that we need to correct. And we’ll do that.

“Now the big picture, we want to win our side and make it to the ACC championship, and this is the first step to do that.”

Saturday’s letdown dropped Virginia Tech from both polls, a week after the Hokies had darted into the rankings at No. 17 by the Associated Press and No. 19 by the coaches.

But head coach Frank Beamer stuck by his statement from before the season — that the Hokies were bound to have some growing pains with such a young team. Saturday was full of them, but also learning moments.

“I think what’s important is you better go out and play the same every week,” Beamer said. “Don’t put a name with it, whether it’s Ohio State or East Carolina or William Mary. You better be ready to play the same.

“And that’s where we try to get to. I don’t think we’re there right now. We weren’t there this past weekend, but usually in the past we’ve gotten there and that’s what I’m hoping this team will do.”

Virginia Tech has been a fast starter in ACC play, winning nine of its 10 leaguer openers since joining the conference in 2004. The lone loss, in 2011 to Clemson, was followed up by seven straight ACC wins and an appearance in the league title game.

Three of those ACC-opening wins have been against Georgia Tech (3-0), including each of the last two years, a 17-10 win in Atlanta last season and a 20-17 overtime triumph on Labor Day night in 2012.

Until two years ago, the winner of the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game had represented the Coastal Division in every ACC title game. Although the Hokies have won five of the last six against the Yellow Jackets, five games have been decided by a touchdown or less since Paul Johnson arrived as Georgia Tech’s coach in 2008.

“Certainly our players understand how important the first ACC game is,” Beamer said. “And since it’s against Georgia Tech, I think it’s even more important.”

The Hokies don’t think their lot in what still appears to be a wide open ACC Coastal Division has changed.

“We just have to continue to rally together, believing in each other like we did when we went up to Ohio State,” safety Kyshoen Jarrett said. “… I definitely believe we are an ACC contender and we just have to continue to play and ball.”

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Now for a few more notes and quotes from Monday’s presser:

– Kickoff for Virginia Tech’s home game against Western Michigan on Sept. 27 has been set for 12:30 p.m. The game will be televised on the ACC Network.

– Beamer said he hopes defensive tackle Corey Marshall (ankle) is ready this week after sitting out the ECU game. Marshall practiced Sunday and looked “better,” Beamer said. 

– On a different injury front, the Hokies announced safety Desmond Frye will have season-ending shoulder surgery tomorrow. Frye hasn’t redshirted, and since he only played in two games this year can apply — and likely get — a medical redshirt to recoup the year, giving him two more years of edibility.

– Jarrett gave props to ECU for how it came out and challenged the Hokies’ secondary, but he couldn’t help but feel disappointed in the way Virginia Tech played on the back end, giving up 427 passing yards and repeated long plays.

“As a senior it’s unacceptable and as a senior defensive back, it’s unacceptable,” he said, taking full responsibility for the group’s sluggishness early. “So I’m going to have even higher expectations for myself and for the defensive backs.”

– Sophomore cornerback Brandon Facyson had a long day against East Carolina, beaten early a couple times and replaced by Donovan Riley. He’s still working himself back into game shape after missing all of spring with a leg injury and a lot of August camp with a hip pointer.

Jarrett told him to just keep his head up.

“It’s a learning experience for any DB,” he said. “It happens to any great DBs you see that have come and gone from Virginia Tech. It happens to anybody. It’s something he can learn from. … He just has to bounce back from it, rebuild his own confidence if there’s confidence lacking within himself, but I don’t see it. I feel like he does have the confidence to bounce back and make some plays for the team as well.”

– Brewer’s been banged around quite a bit the first few games. He said he’s not any more sore than usual after games, although he has been wearing a rib protector to “take some of those open shots when I’m throwing the ball.”

– Freshman Isaiah Ford said a couple times Monday that he was disappointed in his game, despite catching seven passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. He did have a few drops, but he mostly atoned for those mistakes by making plays later.

“Just the attention to details,” Ford said. “Paying attention to the little things when you was running the routes, maybe just giving that extra emphasis on the blocks, maybe I could spring out a run, just little things like that. And of course the two drops.”

– Ford said he wanted to go work on the JUGS machine Sunday because of those two drops, but it’s currently broken. (Overuse, perhaps.)

“[Receivers coach Aaron Moorehead] just told me it’s going to happen,” Ford said of the drops. “Just try to limit it as much as possible and forget about that play and turn the page.”

– Beamer gave this scouting report for Georgia Tech: “When you look at Georgia Tech, it’s the same Georgia Tech. You know quarterback’s the leading rusher. Fast guy. Their receivers, they got I think it’s 162 yards throwing the ball and a lot of those are deep balls, get you sucked up there playing the run and all of a sudden they’re running by you. Physical. They come off the ball. They got some new offensive linemen in there, but they got the same offensive linemen. They always get after you. Their linebacker, 54 [Quayshawn Nealy], is exceptional. Ted Roof, the defensive coordinator, I mean he’s got them playing and they get after you. So it’s typical, important Georgia Tech football game.”

– Beamer was asked if he needs to give better pre-game motivational speeches to get the team ready. He said that’s for the movies.

“I think if you wait until Saturday right before the ballgame, you’ve probably waited too late,” he said. “… I think it’s more your preparation on Tuesday’s practice, Wednesday’s practice, Thursday’s practice, when we take care of issues. I think that’s what’s important.

“I think motivational speeches are probably overrated. They’re good for movies. But if we’re having to get pumped up Saturday at whatever time … too late.”

– Lastly, Beamer wore this jacket to the press conference today, which prompted me to say it was from the Pete Campbell catalog, which prompted somebody to post this picture, which prompted somebody else to Photoshop the Hokies’ coaches heads onto it in this picture

And this is why the Internet was invented.

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Sep 15, 2014
Jane Underwood

Making Your Mark: Teachers take on bullying

VIRGINIA BEACH — Most of us have probably learned that a great teacher can make a big difference.

Audra Burkett and Gabrielle Walton are trying to make a big difference at Princess Anne Middle School in Virginia Beach and in other schools, as well.

“I love kids, I love what I do and I love to see them happy,” Walton said. “I love to see them succeeding and flourishing and anything that I can do to help them do that — my heart’s definitely behind it.”

Walton is a 6th grade science teacher. She hopes a program called Rachel’s Challenge is the right formula for spreading kindness and diffusing bullying.

Learn More: Rachel’s Challenge

Rachel’s Challenge empowers students to speak up against bullying and encourages acts of kindness.

“We’re going for positive peer pressure,” Walton said.
Rachel’s Challenge brings school-wide seminars and  motivational speakers to reinforce kindness and respect between students. They also offer leadership training to better equip kids to stand up and diffuse bullying.
“I’ve seen students become leaders because of it,” Burkett said. “It instills in them that bullying is not cool — that we need to be kind, we need to be compassionate.”
Princess Anne Middle was the first school to start Rachel’s Challenge in Hampton Roads and now it has spread to many others.

Audra Burkett has contributed to the program, spreading their anti-bullying message to other schools in Virginia Beach.
“Using discipline is one thing and it needs to happen and it does happen. But we have to provide an environment where we can start educating and we can have kindness and compassion as the cornerstone of the education that’s going on here,” Burkett said.
“It’s really important. They can’t learn if they don’t feel safe in school,” she said.

Sep 15, 2014
Ann Thompson

Why We Need to Prosecute Our Torturers

Just when you thought Republicans couldn’t sink any lower, they ask Dick Cheney, the guy who screwed up Iraq, for advice on how to fix Iraq.

Seriously, I’m not kidding.

On Tuesday afternoon, the former Vice President spoke to House Republicans at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill, where he urged them to take a hard line in the fight against ISIS.

The meeting was basically the GOP’s version of a pep rally, and Cheney spent most of the time bashing “isolationists” and talking about how the Bush administration put the U.S. in a position to “win” in Iraq.

Naturally, of course, he said nothing about how everything that’s going wrong in the Middle East right now can be tied back to the Bush administration.

According to the New York Times, “[Cheney] did not discuss the fact that many ISIS leaders were former Iraqi military officers who were imprisoned by American troops, nor did he dwell on the sectarian divisions and bloodletting since the 2003 American invasion.”

Excuse me for a second while I go barf.

Dick Cheney has absolutely zero business giving anyone advice on anything, and if there’s anyone who deserves to be shunned from American public life for the rest of his existence, it’s him.

Amazingly, though, Republicans don’t seem to care. They’re just thrilled that Cheney took some time out of his very busy warmongering schedule to come and speak to them.

Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger, for example, told the Guardian that Cheney’s speech to Republicans yesterday “was a great message, something we needed to hear” and said that he hoped it “was an awakening that we have to be very strong.”

Unbelievable. Are these people living in an alternate universe or something? It’s like the past 11 years just didn’t happen as far as they’re concerned.

Dick Cheney is a war criminal and a liar, and should be rotting in a prison cell in The Hague, not giving motivational speeches to Republican lawmakers who’re trying to look tough during an election year.

The fact that he isn’t in jail, though, and the fact that he is making motivational speeches shows how badly we’ve never come to terms with either the Bush administration or its crimes.

And that’s a big problem.

When we, the supposed leaders of the free world, don’t punish the worst political criminals in our history, it sets a terrible example for the rest of the world.

Sep 14, 2014
Jane Underwood

Teen drinking a timeless problem

Last month, three teens were taken unconscious to hospitals from house parties in Fountain, and several adults were arrested on suspicion of supplying booze for the parties.

Underage drinking is a timeless problem, said Colorado Springs police officer Bill Walsh, who works as a campus resource officer for Cheyenne Mountain School District 12.

“It’s the same. It really hasn’t changed over the years,” he said. “Kids bring it to school or drink at parties for a variety of reasons.”

Underage drinking: The date

Those reasons include peer pressure, wanting to fit in, establishing a certain reputation and seeing if they can get away with it, Walsh said.

On top of that, studies have shown that the teen brain isn’t fully mature, so kids don’t always make the best decisions.

“It’s still seen as a cool thing,” said Debbie English, executive director of Colorado Springs Teen Court.

For 21 years, the nonprofit organization has provided restorative justice sentencing options for area teens charged for the first time with a misdemeanor, such as underage drinking or marijuana use.

Alcohol is easy to get, teens say.

Older siblings, friends and even parents supply minors with booze.

Some teens steal it from home or stores. Another method: “Some people call it going fishing. You go to liquor stores and wait until someone will buy you something. Or you pay homeless people to buy it,” said DeAnna Christensen, a junior at Palmer High School and a Teen Court volunteer.

Adolescents want to grow up and act like adults, and they see adults drinking, so they figure it’s all right for them, English said.

“I’m kind of amazed that attitudes haven’t changed as much as you’d think,” she said. “We still have parents say, ‘I’d rather them be doing this at home; I’d rather keep an eye on it.’ The line gets blurred in a lot of homes, and parents just don’t see the problem with that.”

Drinking and driving

Two weeks have passed since the horrific car crash that took the lives of two Palmer Ridge High School seniors, but the sadness, disappointment and anger are lingering like the waning days of summer.

“It’s grim. Lots of people are still wearing black,” said 20-year-old Taylor Tanner, who coaches girls’ volleyball at Palmer Ridge. “Things are different. Everybody’s been affected. Everybody’s trying to get back into it, but it’s hard.”

Early Labor Day morning, the start of the new school year turned from exciting and promising into a nightmare no one wants to think about.

Marshal Gregory, the 17-year-old driver from Parker, missed a stop sign while driving in Black Forest with three buddies, veered off the road and crashed into a thicket of trees. Two passengers, 17-year-old Beau Begier and 18-year-old Ryan Pappas, both beginning their senior year at Palmer Ridge, died at the scene.

The third passenger, Jack Mitchell Clark, 17, was badly injured and hospitalized for several days.

After receiving treatment for minor injuries, the driver was charged with vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. The judge also ordered him to undergo substance abuse therapy.

Classmates described the young men as personable, talented and well-liked.

According to the crash report, all four teens had been drinking. Speeding also was cited as a contributing factor.

“It didn’t have to happen,” is a common reaction. But it did – and it does.

Despite the repeated school rallies with motivational speakers warning about the dangers of drinking and driving, the health talks about how underage drinking affects developing bodies, the displays of mangled cars involved in teen crashes, the “drunk goggle” simulations and the pledges students take to not drink and drive, many do.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to-20-year-olds in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Not all are alcohol-related. About one in five drivers, ages 15 to 20, who are involved in fatal vehicle crashes were drinking, according to CDC statistics.

In a national survey conducted in 2011, about one in four teens reported that within the previous month they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol, and 
8 percent said that within that same one-month period, they drove after drinking alcohol.

Locally, law enforcement statistics and surveys filled out by teens appear to indicate that alcohol use among teens has dropped in recent years.

A statewide survey on youth risk behaviors conducted by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment shows that, overall, teens in 2013 were less likely to drink than in 2005.

In 2005, 60.6 percent of 12th-graders reported that they had had at least one drink in the past 30 days. In 2013, 41.3 percent said they had taken at least one drink in the previous month.

House parties

Last month, Fountain Police Sgt. Thomas Coates and seven other officers broke up a birthday party in a Fountain neighborhood, resulting in the arrest of two adults suspected of supplying alcohol to 48 underage drinkers, 18 of whom were under the age of 18, according to police reports.

Coates was dispatched about 1 a.m. Aug. 23 to a residence off Fountain Mesa Road on noise complaints. In the few minutes it took him to reach the home, he remembered, the situation escalated.

“First, we heard it was a noise complaint, then that there were some people in the street and fights were possibly breaking out,” he said. “There was nothing to prepare us. We realized it was a much more chaotic and volatile situation when we got there.”

People ran as Coates’ patrol car pulled up. At least 30 cars clogged the road as people tried to drive away. Coates and another officer blocked the path with their cruisers, concerned that many partygoers may have been drinking alcohol.

A 14-year-old boy was found unconscious on the road by the house, lying in his vomit, Coates said. An unconscious 17-year-old girl had been dragged into the front yard. Police called for ambulances.

“When it comes to minors and underage drinking, it’s always dangerous because they don’t know what the limits are,” Coates said. “They have no filter, they think they know what they’re capable of consuming and they binge drink, which can lead to memory loss, sickness, possible alcohol poisoning and definitely bad decisions.”

The house was littered with liquor bottles and people were passed out on the floor, Coates said. There were people in every room, all of them consuming alcohol, he said.

The two adults who identified themselves as the hosts of the party and homeowners, 36-year-old Margaret Rangel and 26-year-old Lucas Salas, were arrested on suspicion of supplying alcohol to minors, court records show. They each face 30 misdemeanor counts of unlawful acts and 18 felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to court records.

Just three days earlier, a 17-year-old 
male was found unconscious on another Fountain street after drinking large quantities of alcohol and the cold medicine Mucinex. Dawn Mayes, 38, Cameron D. Allgier, 18, Trey D. Dawson, 21, and Amanda Herzog, 24, were arrested on suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a felony.

House parties and underage drinking are especially concerning because officers never know what to expect and can’t predict when circumstances could take a turn for the worse, said Coates, who has been a police officer for 12 years.

“When you have a large group of people, in this case most of them minors, and you throw in large quantities of alcohol, there’s every opportunity for things to go very wrong,” he said. “Someone could get really sick and need medical attention. Someone could get sexually assaulted. Someone could get into a fight and get hurt, maybe even fatally.”

If adults are found in an ongoing police investigation to have supplied alcohol to the four teens involved in the Labor Day crash, they also could face charges.

Drinking scene ‘pretty bad’

Teens say underage drinking happens more than people may think.

Taylor Roney, a Palmer High School senior and Teen Court volunteer, said 10 kids reportedly drank before the school’s first football game of this season, drove there and got caught drinking at the game.

“You’d expect people to be a little more responsible,” she said. “People don’t understand how much of a big deal this actually is.”

Tanner, the Palmer Ridge volleyball coach, agrees, saying, “There’s a lot of it.”

She said she doesn’t drink alcohol and often acts as the designated 
driver when she’s around friends.

“It’s something kids do for fun, and they don’t think (a crash) is something that will happen to them,” she said.

Not every teen drinks. Noah Latoon, 15, said it’s not an activity among his friends. Noah is a student in Palmer’s International Baccalaureate program. “It’s an academic crowd, kids who really care about school and not getting into trouble. It helps keep them in line,” he said.

Andy Shinholt, a 17-year-old Palmer student, describes the underage drinking scene as “pretty bad.”

“Everyone is doing it more and more,” she said, adding that at a recent party, “everyone had it.”

“It’s just a typical kid thing to do,” she said. “It hasn’t gotten any better just because of this tragedy.”

Christensen, the Palmer High junior, said teens “don’t think they’ll get caught – and it doesn’t seem like enough kids do.”

Statewide, juvenile arrests for DUIs and other liquor violations have fallen by about 60 percent from 2004 to 2013, according to a Gazette analysis of law enforcement statistics reported to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Locally, the number of violations given for liquor enforcement has dropped even more. From 2004 through 2013, the number of tickets written to juveniles for non-DUI liquor offenses decreased by 65 percent, according to data from agencies in El Paso and Teller counties. In the same period, the number of DUI tickets written by local agencies to juveniles dropped 60 percent. It’s unclear if the decline in violations by agencies is a reflection of a decline in alcohol use among teens or if the numbers show less emphasis on enforcement.

School districts and law enforcement take underage drinking seriously, the CSPD’s Walsh said, and hold minors accountable to academic and criminal discipline.

“We make sure the punishment equals the crime,” he said.

Underage drinking violations can result in tickets for possession and consumption, which thrusts minors into the court system and leads to actions for correcting their behavior. Minors who drink and drive can be subject to DUI convictions. At school, students can be suspended or expelled.

“You can’t ignore the issue, so you have to address it,” Walsh said. “Everybody has to make a personal choice of what they will do and what they won’t do. The best thing we can do is describe the consequence and hold them to it.”

Peers make a difference

For the past two years, Teen Court has had a 7 percent recidivism rate. The traditional juvenile justice system has a repeat offender rate of 
40 to 50 percent, said Morgan Mote, assistant executive director of Teen Court.

There are a few reasons for the success, said English, the organization’s head.

In the drug and alcohol classes offenders usually must take, “We don’t hammer at them that alcohol is bad. We try to present information, like here’s what happens if you have a conviction on your record.”

But it’s the peer-to-peer interaction that’s most beneficial for kids caught possessing or drinking alcohol for the first time, English said.

“That’s absolutely what makes the program work. They hear it from adults and schools, but they don’t often hear it from people their own age,” she said. “When you have to sit before a group of people your age and say here’s what I did and here’s why, it gets their attention.”

Roney, the Palmer High senior and Teen Court volunteer, agrees.

“Most likely drinking happens around friends who want you to do it using negative peer pressure. For us, it’s positive peer pressure – you’re messing up, you’re going down the wrong path, but you can change.”

Teen Court volunteers ask offenders questions like how school is going, what else is happening in their lives, how they spend their time and then decide how offenders can take responsibility for their actions, repair the harm they caused and figure out how to make better choices. That might include writing a research paper, along with attending drug and alcohol classes and watching another Teen Court trial.

Several teens interviewed said their parents tell them to call for a ride, if they get into a situation where they need it.

Coates, the police officer from Fountain, said the most important tool parents have to keep their kids from alcohol is communication.

“Nowadays, there’s a lot of freedom for young adults, and parents and relatives need to remember the peer pressure these kids deal with today is much more severe than in the past,” Coates said. “We need to be there for the kids, able to intervene immediately, providing them with good and accurate information, and talking with them openly.”

At the Fountain party, Coates and his partners sat the 18 minors on the sidewalk and called their parents.

“We made sure every kid under 18 had a parent or an adult that would get them home safely and it took quite a while, but everyone was very calm,” Coates said. “The kids all knew they had done wrong, so they didn’t do anything to make the situation worse. And most of the parents were understandably angry, but they also thanked us for making sure everyone was safe.”

English believes one of the most effective prevention methods is getting kids to “think ahead, beyond ‘What I want this minute.’ ”

“If you get them to the point where they take a moment to think about the possible consequences of making a decision, you can help interrupt and stop the pattern.”

Lauren Agee, an Air Academy High senior and Teen Court volunteer, said she was good friends with Ryan, one of the victims of the recent crash. When she heard about the incident, she was surprised.

“It’s something you never think would happen to one of your good friends,” she said. “It’s not fun when it happens.”

Then, she felt angry.

“My friend made a choice, and he paid for it. I was angry he had to be killed for the mistake he made,” Agee said.

Jessica Chen, a senior at Rampart High School, said the other victim, Beau, was her math teacher’s son.

“She talked a lot about her son. I was surprised they were drinking and driving,” Chen said.

At Ryan’s memorial service, Agee said, “Everyone tried to make a point of celebrating Ryan’s life by not letting the same thing happen to anyone else, by making it cool to take away car keys and stick to their guns with drinking and driving.

“Because if one life is saved from this, their deaths won’t have been in vain.”


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Sep 13, 2014
Ann Thompson

1974 OC team still cherishes state title memories

It’s a rare day, says Mickey Mills, when he doesn’t think about the 1974 football season.

The faces he remembers appear in a two dimensional mirror – his boys then and now – the players Mills coached then in Purple and Gold and the persons they have now become.

Mills recalls that 1974 Opelousas Catholic defense, quick, intricate and highly responsible for the 13-0-1 record and a state championship – the only one in school history for 11-man football.

There’s also a 0-0 playoff game against Homer, decided by an edge in first downs.

You can’t forget the semifinal in the mud against Newman, Mills said, at a poorly-lighted Donald Gardner Stadium or the scoreless September game against St. Louis, the only blemish on the overall record.

And then there’s the climax – the 10-6 state title victory over South Cameron on a cold and overcast December night in Creole, when the fog bank rolled in off the Gulf of Mexico, just as the Vikings began to salute perhaps their finest hour, Mills says.

Those are the memories that never wither, said Mills.

“I’m reminded quite often about that season and that team. It’s something that you live with, day in and day out.

“You remember those times that you were with 40 or 50 young men and the staff you coached with. It’s something that you cherish for the rest of your life,” Mills said.

Members of the 1974 team were honored Friday night during halftime of the Opelousas Catholic – Sacred Heart football game with certificates that listed the scores of every game played on what is now the 40th anniversary season.

OC athletic director Tommy Tate said the state championship tribute is part of the school’s effort to have a special night during every home game this season.

Tate said Russell Dupuis, a running back in 1974, was responsible for locating and contacting as many of the players on that OC team 40 years ago.

Mills said the anchor of that team was the Vikings’ defense orchestrated primarily by assistant Johnny Bourque.

“We played so many different defenses. Sometimes we gave a team a different defense or a different look on every play.

“I know they were very quick and Johnny was our defensive coordinator and he did a great job,” said Mills.

Mills said one of the unusual aspects of that championship run is how pervasive the number 13 keeps recurring in several aspects of the season.

“Thirteen was a special number. We had the 13 victories, we won the championship on Friday the 13th and it was also my 13th year as the head coach,” said Mills.

Wayne Benson, who owns an electrical business in Opelousas, said many of his life’s lessons were taught during that senior year and by playing under Mills.

“The one that has stuck with me all these years and that I apply every day is that you should never quit. Coach Mills was serious about that. With him, you never did quit,” said Benson, the starting quarterback on that 1974 team.

Randy Wagley, a junior wide receiver on the team, said what also helped carry the Vikings were Mills’ motivational speeches.

“He’d tell us before the game that there was no way we were supposed to play with (the opponent). If we played well, though, we could take care of things. (Mills) had a way of making everyone confident,” Wagley said.

Both Mills and Benson said the game that stands out from that season was against St. Louis, one played early in the season at Donald Gardner Stadium.

“The one that still stands out is the tie with St. Louis. We had a touchdown called back because there was a penalty on the play,” Mills said.

OC opened the playoffs with a win over what was then Marion High in Lake Charles.

Even the pre-game atmosphere was intimidating, Mills said.

“I remember it was freezing that night and in order to get to the field, we had to pass around the Marion players. When they came on the field, they rushed right at us,” he said.

“After Homer, we had Newman and we had a good night on the special teams. We ran back the opening kickoff and a punt back. We played the game with half the lights out,” Mills said.

Benson said South Cameron was a tough opponent, with a good defense.

“I think what won that game was our defense was a little better. We scored just 10 points. That’s one game that’s hard to forget,” said Benson.

Mills said he knew that beating South Cameron wouldn’t be easy.

“Their big play was the quarterback sneak. They would run that something like 25 times a game. That was the one play that we knew we had to stop,” Mills said.

Mills said one of that game’s biggest plays came on fourth down late in the game when Benson rolled out on a bootleg, with the option to run or pass.

“(Benson) made the decision to keep the ball and he picked up the first down to keep the clock running. He could have passed it and thrown into the end zone, but he ran it and injured his knee.

“We kept the ball for another set of downs and after that, South Cameron got the ball back, but time ran out before they got off a second play,” said Mills.

Wagley said he remembers the Vikings were greeted with the cacophonic sounds of duck calls, which filled the Tarpons’ stadium.

Benson said the 1974 team was talented, but there was another characteristic that superseded overall ability.

“I think the big thing was we had a team that played together. Everyone on that team went one way,” said Benson.

Sep 13, 2014
Jane Underwood

Crowds energized as Oprah brings ‘The Life You Want’ tour to Michigan

They came from all over metro Detroit, Canada and beyond for “The Life You Want” weekend. They came to see Oprah Winfrey.

The media magnate took the stage at the Palace of Auburn Hills at 7 p.m.

With words and photos displayed on giant screens, Winfrey told the story of her life from a little girl born in Mississippi to her rise to international stardom.

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She said she figured out her purpose early, and each person needs to find his or hers.

“What I recognized at a very young age is that all power comes from the greater power that is spirit,” she said. “There is no success without a connection to that which is spirit.

“What will you do with the energy that is you? I’m here to help you turn up the volume in your life,” Oprah said to the enthusiastic crowd.

“Your real job is to figure out why you are here and what it is you are called to do.”

She joked that she is still figuring our her purpose as well.

“I said to my producers that after this tour I’m going to listen to the tapes, see what I said and take my recommendations,” she said. “What got me here was the understanding that there is no life without a connection to that which is spirit.”

The Palace had become O Town as the whole place was turned into a pop-up entertainment and shopping festival of health, wellness and beauty tips for “The Life You Want Weekend” Friday through Saturday.

Before the stage lit up, hundreds of women arrived at the Palace early, to tailgate, snap photos of themselves with photos of Oprah, hang out and be inspired.

Sisters Edwina Milligan of Detroit and Brenda Gillyard of Ann Arbor were among the select group of people who paid $999 each for VIP tickets. Those high-post tickets got them a chance to meet and take a photo with Oprah after she speaks.

“Oprah depicts the person we all strive to be on this journey,” said Milligan, vice-president of human resources for Detroit Chassis. “People pay money to see people who are cursing and showing their behind. Oprah teaches me how to pay it forward.”

Her sister agrees. “She’s helps guide and uplift you,” said Gillyard, a counselor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “She’s very spiritual.”

More than 10,000 people, mostly women, attended the high-energy event.

Brandon Hynes, 26, of Detroit, also paid $999 for her ticket.

“I’m a life-long fan,” he said. “Sometimes at home I turn on the OWN network just to hear her voice because it’s comforting.”

The nearly $1,000 ticket was nothing for a chance to meet someone he admires and respects so much, he said. “I couldn’t pay it fast enough. She has such a genuine spirit. It makes me want to be a better person just watching her on TV. She has that ability, even through the television, to feel like a friend.”

Patty Waynick, 48, of Troy prepared a feast of salads, drinks and more for a tailgate party that grew from a few friends to more than 20 people. They plan to meet in the parking lot at 7 a.m. Saturday for breakfast as the show continues with other motivational speakers.

“I feel like Jesus is in the parking lot and that’s the loaf of bread and fish,” said Shannon Norton, 43, of Clinton Twp., pointing to spread of salads and drinks prepared by Waynick.

“If you can tailgate for the Lions, you can tailgate for Oprah,” said Valencia Cade, 36, of Detroit, one of several people who joined the gathering.

“This is my weekend away to rejuvenate myself and experience her gifts,” said Sanya Weston, 46, of Novi.

Several people observed the diversity in age and race of the crowd at the Palace to hear Oprah. “Every type of woman is here,” said Susan Matous, 38, of Grosse Pointe Park. “There is just great energy here.”

City of Detroit official Portia Roberson was among many who said they were excited just to be there.

“We all need a refresher,” she said. “You need a reminder to live in the moment and to dream big. It’s so easy to get caught up in the mundane and routine.”

Millie Sims, 53, of Redford and Terry Fairley, 61, of Eastpointe, were overjoyed to receive free tickets from a friend.

“The first thing I thought when my friend called me was favor, God’s favor, because I knew I couldn’t afford it,” Sims said of the tickets that started at $99 each. “I’ve never seen her and I’ve always wanted to see her. It’s on my bucket list.”

Sep 12, 2014
Ann Thompson

Motivational speaker born without limbs to host free event Saturday

By Nicole Pence

INDIANAPOLIS – Millions of people have been inspired by Nick Vujicic’s motivational speeches. This week, Vujicic is in Indiana talking with students at high schools across the state.

Vujicic was born without arms or legs. His message is one of hope and a call to “move forward” toward a better future, regardless of your circumstances.

“I want to tell every single teen that you are beautiful just the way you are. You don`t need a boyfriend to feel loved and don`t need a girlfriend and big biceps to feel cool. Mine were so big they fell off,” said Vujicic.

In 2013, Nick spoke in 24 foreign countries and reached over 400 million people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This captured the heart of Darryl Webster, pastor of Emmanuel MBC of Indianapolis.  He immediately decided to join forces with Proclaim to afford this opportunity for urban youth to participate.

Vujicic spoke at Cathedral High School Wednesday afternoon. Vujicic then visited with Emmanuel MBC of Indianapolis, in one of the city’s toughest neighborhoods.

We need it right now. We are dealing with hopelessness and despair. It`s a crisis,” said Pastor Darryl Webster,

Pastor Webster believes Vujicic’s message relates well to the young people in Indianapolis.

“I think there needs to be a change in mind but also a transformation of character,” said Pastor Darryl Webster.

Jalen McGraw-Jones, 17, agrees with Pastor Webster. McGraw-Jones’ father was killed in a violent crime when he was just three months old. McGraw-Jones say he can see himself in Vujicic.

“We made a choice to not let our circumstance affect us in the long run,” said McGraw-Jones.

Vujicic added,” In my life, I realized all those temporary highs will not satisfy your soul and just because everyone else is doing it, doesn`t mean it`s right.”

At the Fairgrounds on Saturday, September 13 at 7 p.m., Nick will provide hope and inspiration to students in Indianapolis, help students understand the real effect and consequences of bullying and help students recognize their value. The event is free to the public and will be held in the Coliseum.

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Sep 12, 2014
Jane Underwood

Detroit baker makes sweet treats for Oprah

Oprah Winfrey’s getting a delicious taste of Detroit while she’s in town for “Oprah’s Life You Want Weekend” tour today through Saturday in Detroit.

April Anderson, co-owner of Good Cakes and Bakes, on Livernois in Detroit, got a call from one of Oprah’s people earlier this week saying Oprah wants some of her baked goods.

Oprah had learned of them in a video about Detroit that her OWN network did in preparation for her Detroit visit, the second stop on an 8-city motivational tour. Oprah speaks tonight. Other motivational speakers, including Iyanla Vanzant, join Oprah on stage Saturday.

Related: Oprah gives free tickets to Mercy High seniors for metro Detroit show

Oprah Winfrey, T.D. Jakes to bring empowerment messages to Detroit

■ Related:
Former Michigan pastor joins Oprah’s ‘Life You Want’

Anderson, who just opened the bakery a year ago with her partner, Michelle Anderson, was both ecstatic and scared.

“Even though I’m confident that my baked goods are good, I’m very nervous because what do you prepare for Oprah Winfrey who’s tried the best of everything?’’ said Anderson, 41.

Anderson also represents the message Oprah is delivering in Detroit: find your purpose and passion and live it.

Anderson always wanted to bake, but her mother told her to go to college because people didn’t make a living baking. So Anderson earned an undergraduate degree at Spelman in Atlanta and an M.B.A from the University of Michigan.

The passion to bake kept calling her name. She opened Good Cakes and Bakes a year ago with a grant from Revolve Detroit, an initiative to spur local entrepreneurship.

Anderson knows well what an Oprah endorsement could mean for her young business.

To celebrate her marriage to Michelle two years ago, they spent a week in New York City and visited 46 different bakeries, including “Baked,” a bakery that Oprah named one of her favorite places in 2009.

“I met the owners. They told me business was so slow they were about to close, then Oprah named it one of her favorite places and business went up 1,000 percent,” Anderson said. “When we visited they had one store. They now have four locations and about four cookbooks, all of it from being a favorite of Oprah.”

She’s hopeful Oprah loves her baked goods, but she’s already sure she made the right decision to leave corporate America to pursue her passion.

So what did she prepare today for delivery to Oprah and her crew? Brownies, gooey butter cake, caramel apple cheesecake bars and, of course, an assortment of cupcakes.

“I’m excited,” said Anderson, who has been baking since she was 9 years old. “At the same time, I’m scared, but this is what I got into the business for — to succeed.”

Sep 11, 2014
Ann Thompson

See Demi Lovato’s Most Inspirational Speeches [VIDEO]

In addition to gracing the world with her music, Demi Lovato has made it a goal in life to help heal, inspire and motivate her beloved Lovatics by encouraging them to get help if they are suffering, and to love their bodies just as they are.

The 21-year-old pop star has become known for giving inspirational speeches during concerts and at other events, and we have compiled some of her best and most influential speeches into one video, which you can watch above.

“A lot of you guys tell me, ‘I just want to say thank you for saving my life.’ I didn’t save your life,” Demi says in one of the most motivational speeches in the vid. “I am very, very grateful and thankful that I’ve inspired you in some way, shape or form, but I want you to know — every single one of you — that you saved your own life, and you should be very, very proud of yourself.”

See all of Demi’s most inspirational speeches in the video above.

See Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift + More Celebrities’ Yearbook Photos

Next: 10 Inspirational Demi Lovato Quotes

Sep 11, 2014
Jane Underwood

Meet A Saluki: Ryan Neal


S Ryan Neal

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 175 pounds

Class: Freshman

Hometown: Merrillville, Indiana

Neal was one of two three freshmen to play this year for the Salukis after wowing the coaching staff in fall camp, joining fellow safety Chris Adkins and wide receiver/running back Jimmy Jones. Neal was a two-time all-state top 50 selection by the Indiana Football Coaches Association and was named the top defensive back in Indiana by the Indianapolis Star in 2013. He never got the Football Bowl Subdivision offer he was expecting, and decided on SIU over Indiana State. Neal is tied with safety D.J. Cameron with the second-most tackles on the team, 12, and is expected to make his second career start against Southeast Missouri State on Saturday.

In this week’s Meet A Saluki, Neal talks about rooting for the Bears and the Green Bay Packers, what he’s learned about setting goals high and how Christmas is a bit of a touchy subject.

Everybody wants to play their first year, but you impressed the coaching staff enough during fall ball that you made the lineup.

Where I come from, my family expects big things from everybody, so it’s always a good thing to expect the highest highest. When I’m at home, and I listen to motivational speakers and stuff, they always say the reason people don’t succeed in life is because they aim too low and miss, instead of aiming really, really high. It’s just a good thing to aim real, real high, and when you don’t make up, then you always beat a goal that you set that was low.

I can say that my expectation was to come in and play, but to start? That’s what wowed me. That was, like, ‘Wow, I’m starting this game,’ and that was the big ‘wow’ thing for me.

How was that moment? Who told you?

We were just in a meeting. Coach (David) Elson, the way he does it is he moves seats around. It’s basically seating position, and he just told me ‘Ryan Neal, you move forward.’ And then going through walk-throughs and everything, they were doing the No. 1 ‘D’ and said ‘You’re in!’ ‘Oh wow, I’m starting against Eastern Illinois.’ So, that’s how it happened.

Picking up the defense, how did you pick it up so quickly?

Just taking advantage of, when you get your playbook, just putting your nose in it and just knowing it back and forth. That’s one of the things that I knew coming in was the quickest way to get on the field was to know what you’re doing, and to get that trust with the coaches, and you’re on the field. So I just, every moment, every night, I took advantage and just stuck my nose in the playbook. Just knowing it, and going over it in practice, it just went like that.

How was the locker room after the Eastern Illinois game?

It was great, because I wasn’t here the two years before, and they were, like, ‘I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.’ You could just feel it. You could just feel it going in — today is the day. We’re done having this happen, and then when we won, everybody was just ‘Yeah, this and that,’ and now it’s a completely new outlook for the rest of the season.

Your brother is a defensive tackle in college? He’s a significantly bigger guy?

I’m the runt of the family. I don’t know how, but, everybody else in my family… if you saw my dad walk in you probably wouldn’t think he was my dad. He is a big man. My other brother is a big man. My younger brother is almost the same size as me, and he’s only a junior in high school. I kind of got unlucky on that one.

But you made the most of what you had.

That’s pretty much how I play football. It’s always with your heart, and no matter what people look at you, or how they look at you, just know that there’s something bigger inside you.

Are the Packers your team, or, the Bears, or the Colts?

I don’t have a team, but I have favorite players. I guess you could say I root for the Packers because my brother’s there. I’m there for all 32 teams, but if there’s one team I’m rooting for, it’s the Packers because my brother is there.

Christmas Eve baby. That’s tough. Do they blend your birthday and Christmas together?

It depends on the year. It depends on how the parents feel. Some years? ‘Yeah, you gonna get double this year.’ Some years? ‘Yeah, just pick one under the tree.’ It’s the luck of the draw.

– Todd Hefferman

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