Lucas Oil Stadium

Lucas Oil StadiumLast Friday when we were in Indianapolis, my older brother invited my son and me on a field trip. My brother was driving a bus load of 3rd and 4th graders to the Lucas Oil Stadium which is home to the Indianapolis Colts.

I was amazed that the stadium was completely enclosed in a box of 980,000 bricks. It was like walking into a huge bank building and discovering they kicked all the executive offices out and put in a football field. The construction did not at all strike me as a stadium. Our tour guide said that the 1.8 million sq. ft. building was large enough to house Mt. Rushmore. Besides the almost 1 million bricks, it took 16,000 tons of steel to construct.

There were more than 1100 TV sets in the building. Even the bathrooms contain TVs so you don’t miss any of the game.

We saw some of the 100 concession stands where they, on average, sell 5,800 hot dogs per game. We also got to visit the press booth and the Quarterback Suite. They serve food at both. In the QB Suite you have to pay $275 per seat during a game, but it includes all you can eat food and soft drinks. That is still an expensive meal. The guide said that sometimes press people will show up and depending on what the menu is for the game decide to either stay or go home and watch the game on TV.

Inside stadiumOn the lowest of 7 levels is the field and locker rooms. The hallways are large enough they can drive tractor trailer rigs through them for food and team equipment delivery. We were able to go into the visitor’s locker room, but not the Colts’.

The field is also on that lowest level. The artificial turf is unique at Lucas Oil Stadium in that they don’t roll the turf up to host other events like at other stadiums. The turf in permanant and they use 9,000 terra covers (rubber looking tiles) to build the alternate surfaces on top.

Lucas Oil has their name on the stadium by funding a portion of the construction. Something to the tune of $120,000,000. It will take Mr. Lucas 20 years to pay that off. That is a serious chunk of change.

There are many other stats that I wrote down as we took the tour, but I can’t imagine anyone but me being interested in them. You know, boring things like 75,000 miles of cabling. That is enough to go around the earth 3 times. Also that the 2 roof panels each measure 160′ by 600′. That is about the size of 2 football fields end to end for each panel. And facts like, each of the score boards is 97′ by 37′. That is 9 stories wide by 3.5 stories tall. Believe it or not, the scoreboards do not look that large since they are in a building that is 30 stories tall. You know, boring facts like that.

The only downside was the trip to and from the stadium. No, it had little to do with my brother’s driving abilities. All I can say is that it takes a special kind of person to be a teacher to screaming 3rd and 4th grade kids.

Interestingly, there were quite a few adults on this field trip. They have never had so much parental participation on a trip before. Men went on a 3rd/4th grade field trip. They either really love their kids, or it had something to do with the destination.

Review: Mentoring and Modeling

While in the office of a pastor friend of mine I saw a book by Dr. John Goetsch. Dr. Goetsch and I had a relationship about 15 years ago through our previous ministry when we worked at a camp. I asked my pastor friend if he had read the book because I was curious as to whether or not Dr. Goetsch was a good author. My friend had not read the book on the desk, but handed me a book from his bookshelf that was co-written by the same author and said it was good.

The book is titled Mentoring and Modeling: Developing the Next Generation by Dr. Mark Rasmussen and Dr. John Goetsch. I am not sure exactly how I would define mentoring, so I had no prejudice as to what the book should contain.

Not until I got 2/3 rds. of the way through the book did I start to understand what the authors meant by that word. Their definition could easily be called “a good teacher.”

I thought the book was well written. It was very practical towards the end of the book. They moved from theoretical teaching to practical application. It was in the practical application section of the book that it became clear as to what was meant by being a mentor. They gave great tips on how a teacher could change their attitude and actions in the classroom to help their students move forward.

There were a couple of things I did not like about the book, both of which could probably be helped by having a professional editor look over the material. There seemed to be an inconsistency in the layout of the book. Sometimes the authors had some long quotes that apparently were supposed to be block quotes in the book. They ended up just being paragraphs that looked like the authors’ own words. It was hard to know where the quote ended and the writers were speaking again.

The book lacked the chapter titles at the top of the pages. While this is certainly not necessary, it is helpful in a book like this. The chapters dealt with specific principles. Looking up at the top of the page to get a reminder of which principle you are studying each time you picked up the book would have been helpful.

I was impressed with the authors’ general style. As I said, I knew Dr. Goetsch several years ago, but had never read anything by him. He (along with Dr. Rasmussen) is a great writer.

The book itself had some good reminders for teachers on how to engage their students and pull them into the lesson. It also talked about how teachers should look for teaching moments. With practise these moments can be found all around you.

This was definitely a book for teachers. I read the book because it was offered to me, but if I had picked it up looking for tips on being a good mentor, I am not sure I would have found what I was looking for. While I agree that teachers should be mentors, this book seemed to be specifically for teachers in a classroom. I don’t have a clear definition in my head as to what I think a mentor should be, but certainly a mentor is not limited to 4 walls and a chalkboard.

I have started to see the difference between books that go through a large publishing company and one that is put together by a smaller outfit. If this had been run through a larger organization it probably would have something about teachers in the title and the formatting would have been more consistent. In the notes I wrote about the book as I read it, I jotted this down: Well written, poorly presented. I don’t think I can improve on that simple statement for this book.

Dr. Goetsch is a great preacher and writer. I look forward to reading more of his work in the future. I just hope that the production quality improves.

Mentoring and Modeling, Dr. Mark Rasmussen and Dr. John Goetsch, Revival Books, 2000, 192 pages.

Review: Riding Outside the Lines

This is the third book by Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie that I have read. Riding Outside the Lines is similar to the original book, Metal Cowboy, in that it is not a single continuous story like his book Momentum Is Your Friend.

Riding Outside the Lines is a book of stories during his international travels on the bike. As I have said in my other two reviews about his books, he is a great writer. For that, I know I have benefited from reading his work.

Once I got into the book I had trouble putting it down. He is such a compelling author that even though I very much disliked the contents in this book, I still could not bring myself to walk away from it. I had moral conflicts with just about every story. The level of cursing in this book was much more than appropriate. There were many references to marital relationships that took place outside of marriage. Many of the things he talks about in this book are things that I know take place in the world, but I would rather not fill my mind with. Most every story went against how I am attempting to raise my family.

I cannot recommend this book.

When Joe Kurmaskie puts out another book I will eagerly find myself a copy of it. His style of writing is fresh and enjoyable. I would not call it easy though. While he pulls you along in the story he also makes you think about his words and references. You can tell he spends plenty of time reading other great authors as he make allusions to many works of literature.

Try again Joe. I know you will sell many books. But this one I have to suggest that people skip.

Riding Outside the Lines, Joe Kurmaskie, Three Rivers Press, New York, 2003, 254 pages.

Flight to the airport

My plane back from Guadalajara was scheduled to leave at 8:00 am. Since the airport was an hour away and I needed to be there 2 hours early, that meant I had to leave at 5:00. I was totally at the mercy of whoever the pastor found to take me to the airport. The other missionary with me did not have a vehicle. Though he lives in Guadalajara his truck is in the shop for repairs.

The pastor was supposed to be working on my ride. At 9:00 Friday night I asked him who was taking me to the airport. Somehow something so important to me did not seem that important to him. It slipped his mind. Fortunately Raul, one of the two men who was a possible driver, happened to be at the church with us that night. The pastor got it all lined out.

I told the other missionary who my driver would be. By his immediate reaction I knew I was in trouble. The missionary said that this man thinks nothing wrong with showing up to an event an hour and a half late. Something I could not afford.

Since Raul lived an hour away from the church that would mean he had to leave his house at 4:00 to come and get me. What were the chances of that working out? At the pastor’s suggestion Raul decided to sleep at the church with us and then go home after taking me to the airport.

A major birthday party was taking place at the church the next day for Raul’s daughter. I finally kicked the decorating crew out of the church building a little after 1:00 am so I could go to bed. I have no idea when Raul went to sleep. I slept from 1:30 to 4:45 and had the great joy of awakening my driver a couple minutes before 5:00.

A little trouble getting Raul’s wife from the girl’s sleeping area and finding the keys to the gate so we could leave and we were off.

A few blocks into the trip and Raul asked me if I was in a hurry. I said that I needed to be at the airport at 6:00. Whatever that took. He decided we were in a hurry. We took off and my seat tipped backwards. Quite a feat for a 30 year old Volkswagen Rabbit. We sped down the major north-south road in town flashing our lights at any car that was somewhat close to us warning them to get out of the way. We could not make a left hand turn at the intersection we wanted so he turned right onto a one way street going against us. Raul executed a nice U-turn and sent us off the direction of the airport.

I asked him to stop at an OXXO so I could get a cup of coffee (and steady my nerves). It took a few minutes to pour up the coffee and grab his wife a Coke.

When we got close to the airport there were speed bumps. My seat that tilted backwards every time we accelerated also slid violently forward when he slammed on his brakes for that first speed bump. “Knees, meet dashboard.”

Even with the stop at OXXO for the coffee I was at the airport in just over 30 minutes. Some of the time was made up because of there not being much traffic at 5:00 in the morning. But the rest of it was clearly due to some wild driving. I guess I don’t mind it so much if I am the one behind the wheel, but sitting helplessly in the passenger’s seat makes me a bit uncomfortable.


My bed was as hard as a rock

Sleeping dogThis week while I was in Guadalajara I had the privilege of sleeping on the floor at the church. I am going to consider it a privilege since I was not sleeping outside in the dirt. If you have not slept on a concrete slab lately, you might find it amazingly uncomfortable. Every so often it is my lot to have to take up residence with las cucarachas on their level.

Some of the men at the meeting with me had mattresses. They were all claimed by someone else before I got a chance to grab one. Fortunately I had a sleeping bag (albeit a very thin one) to sleep on. One of the missionary ladies tossed in a comforter she had as extra padding. Traveling light, I did not have a pillow. My zippered hoodie, stuffed with clothes, served as a pillow for the week.

It was very musical in the church too. All the men seemed to snore on a different key. Quite a chorus. My friend Gary kindly provided a set of earplugs to use the rest of the week. I was thankful.

One of our cooks was arriving on Tuesday morning (our first morning) but did not have keys to the gate. She honked her horn at 6:30 (after a bed time of close to 2:00 am) to get someone to open the gate for her. Did I mention this was a group of Deaf I was with? Gary and I were the only ones who heard the honking. I decided to let him take care of it and I slipped back into dream land.

The second morning I was up before the cook arrived. This time her brother was supposed to have the key when he dropped her off. He forgot it at home. One thing I get great enjoyment from is waking people up. I had the privilege of waking the pastor from the floor of the church to get the keys.

The third morning the keys were not to be found. I got to wake the pastor once again, but this time the keys were not with him. He sent me upstairs to look in the kitchen. I did not find them there. The pastor had to get totally up this time and search for 30 minutes until they were located.

Friday the head cook did not come. That was too bad. It could be the explanation as to why we did not have breakfast served until 11:30 that morning. Fortunately there was plenty of coffee and cookies to keep me alive.

I had to leave by 5:00 Saturday morning. This meant that I could not use my earplugs and still hear my alarm. Since I did not get to settle into my spot on the floor until 1:30, that meant for a short final night. The lack of earplugs did not affect me negatively though. I was so tired that I did not hear any snoring.

By the way, after about 3 nights on the floor, you get used to it. I don’t think it has ever taken me more than 4 nights to get to where I was sleeping well. It is not as horrible as it sounds.