Archive for the ‘People & Personalities’ Category.

I Am A Cricket Coach

Last night I became a cricket coach. Actually, to be a little more specific, last night I was officially recognized as a cricket coach by finally enrolling in a NSW Cricket Association Level 1 Coaching Course and completing it. I’ve actually been a cricket coach for a couple of years but now I’ve got a piece of paper that proves it.

The coaching course was a very interesting experience with a couple of knowledgeable guys taking it. They have obviously been doing the job for years and have been coaching at representative elvel for a long time and had a wealth of experience behind them. The course was worth the experience simply for the different drills and training tips that they were able to show us. All in all it was a very enjoyable experience and the tips and drills are going to be put into practice tomorrow night at training.

So what does it mean? It means that I can put my name forward as a coach for the local junior cricket club where my son plays and hold up my coaching qualification as proof that I can do the job. It also means that, hopefully, in a year’s time I will be able to apply to do the Level 2 Coaching Course to become an even more qualified coach and perhaps take a representative team.

For the next 12 months I would merely like to continue on with the assistant coaching that I am doing and learn as much about developing the skills and techniques of young aspiring cricketers. I feel that I have already started my own son down the right path and like the idea of taking other youngsters from a point where they are raw hopefuls and helping them make the most of their talents.

That’s all in the future for now.

A Second Summer Storm…And It’s Still Spring

Sydney was hit by another heavy storm last night. The second in two nights and this one was a doozy. This reminds me of summer days past when it would be stinking hot during the day and then, like clockwork, the black clouds would come roiling up from the south west and crash down on the city.

Last night the light show was simply amazing with continuous flashes of light punctuated by heavy booms of thunder. I was on the train heading home when the rain actually started and had to make the dash to the car in the first few moments. I thought I was a little unfortunate to have been caught in the rain, that is, until it REALLY started coming down. We’re talking sheets and sheets of rain that cut visibility to around 20 metres.

The drive home was an exercise in caution. For one thing, the temperature was still pretty warm and thanks to my clothes being damp from the dash to the car the windows of the car went phwoom with fog. So the demisters were going double time, the windscreen wipers were on full pelt and I was crawling along at around 20km/h to ensure there were no unexpected obstacles on the road.

Speaking of unexpected obstacles, as I was driving to my coaches course later in the evening I went past the local park and saw that power lines were down in the car park. This was a bit of an indication of how hairy it actually got during the storm. It could have been even worse because this particular park was usually populated by heaps of OzTag footballers – my daughter being one of them. Obviously the place was vacated at the start of the storm and before any lines came down.

Charles H. Sternberg–Early Fossil Collector

Charles H. Sternberg was born in 1850 in New York State. As a young boy he picked up fossils he found while roaming the hills, and although he knew little about them, he found them fascinating.

When he was a teenager, his family moved west, first to Iowa, and then to the plains of Kansas. His oldest brother George was a doctor with the army and was stationed at Fort Harker, in Kansas, one of the many forts built as the rail lines and people moved into the Great Plains. Charles eventually moved to his brother’s Kansas farm to help with the household.

And he continued his interest in fossils. Since his brother George was a doctor, he was the closest thing to a man of science in the area, and George encouraged his younger brother’s collecting. Charles amassed a very large collection of fossil leaves from the Dakota Formation, and his brother arranged to have them shipped to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D. C. (Here is more information about formations in general.)

Charles received no payment, but a simple letter of acknowledgment was enough to light the fire under him to continue collecting. He was driven by a passion to collect fossils for science, to better understand the lost and murky world of prehistory that was just then coming into focus.

In a desperate attempt to enter the world of fossil collecting, he wrote to Edward Cope in Philadelphia, asking if Cope would support him while he collected fossils. Cope was well-known as a paleontologist, and he was eager to expand his collection of fossils from the newly opened west. Cope was also wealthy enough to afford it, so on the basis of Charles’ letter alone, Cope sent him $300, a huge sum of money.

In those early days, documenting the exact location of the fossil finds was less important than it is today. If only he had a handheld GPS along with him while he collected, the additional information would be invaluable to us today. Alas, he would have marveled at such a thing. Sternberg collected fossils his whole life, with it being almost his sole source of income to raise his family. He tromped through the American and Canadian west collecting fossils for every major museum, and science owes much to this man for his passion.

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