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Rating the campaign speeches

As both a speaker and an American voter, I was keenly interested in what the presidential and vice presidential candidates had to say at their conventions over the past two weeks.

American political conventions have turned into extended informercials for their political parties. The party candidates have long been selected in the primaries, and the parties work after the front-runner has been decided to present a show of unity. Look how far the Clintons went to show enthusiastic support for former Democratic rival Barack Obama. So, there isn’t any real drama at a political convention. (The revelations about the Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin made things interesting in St. Paul. Still, the Republicans still went out of their way to show unified support for her.)

So, what did I think about the speeches for the candidates? Here is my assessment based solely on the quality of their presentations, not their political viewpoints. Read more »


In the eight weeks since I became a league president, I’ve learned a number of lessons. One is that there’s a difference between “Little League” and baseball. Baseball is a fun sport to play with the kids. “Little League” is stuff you have to deal with so those kids can play baseball.

But today, I learned an important lesson about perspective. Read more »

All I want for my birthday is…

Birthdays were a big deal when I was growing up. They meant presents and cake, but more importantly, they meant that your birth is worth celebrating. I still enjoy birthdays, but there is something about them that has changed.

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To lead is to serve

A couple weeks ago, I was elected president of my son’s Little League. Unfortunately, this was after our current president resigned during a difficult and divisive situation. I won’t go into the details, but assuming the presidency under these conditions wasn’t something I could find joy in. When someone asked me shortly after my election how I felt, I replied, “Like LBJ flying back from Dallas.”

I talked to my friends at Toastmasters about the situation, and they reminded me of all the things I learned as a club president and area governor. The most important lesson is something I always stressed in Toastmasters, but it is something we forgot in our Little League. The lesson is: To lead is to serve.

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A proud papa moment: Winning a championship

My son’s Little League team won the AA championship today. We played a team that challenged us all season, and we came out on top 10-7. What made this special wasn’t just winning the trophy, even though it was a great thrill. It was watching him grow the way he did over the course of the season.

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