A Little Preparation Goes A Long Way

By Cheval John

Sam Houston State's first NCAA Division I National Championship in the Athletic Department's office

Sam Houston State’s first NCAA Division I National Championship in the Athletic Department’s office

If someone sees the success of a person, organization and/or sports teams, one of the first things that come out of their mouths is that they were lucky.

What they don’t see is the years of blood, sweat and tears that the person, organization, and/or sport team went through in order to put themselves in position to succeed.

Here are two examples of how a little preparation went a long way for these guys and how you can apply the same mindset to your life:

Sam Houston State Bowling Team

The Sam Houston State (SHSU) Bowling Team won the NCAA Division I National Championship in the Cleveland suburb of Wickliffe, Ohio about two weeks ago after defeating defending champion, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 4-2 in the best of seven baker format.

The championship was the first ever for SHSU since moving up to the Division I level in 1986.

What is more impressive is that the bowling program is in it’s fourth year of existence and the team have made two previous appearances in the NCAA Championships prior to winning it all this year.

The team contributed their success to a second half surge in the 2013-14 season that allowed them to make their third trip to the championships.

However, I honestly believe that it was what head coach Brad Hagen did before the season even began: Held a pre-season exhibition with Texas Southern and Prarie View A&M at the Huntsville Lanes Center in Huntsville, Texas.

Even though, his team didn’t do well in the exhibition, it allowed them to see their weaknesses and correct the mistakes before the season began.

That little preparation by coach Hagen is what made the difference in helping the team secure the school’s first NCAA Division I National Title.

“Jane Doe”

Diane Gottsman, owner of the Protocol School of Texas, right.

Diane Gottsman, owner of the Protocol School of Texas, right.

Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas, shared a story at the Etiquette Dinner recently held at SHSU about a young college student, who she didn’t identify, so that is why I call her Jane Doe.

Mrs. Gottsman said that Jane Doe came up to her after one of her dinners and wowed her after Ms. Doe explained to her in detail about her background, what she said in her blog, www.dianegottsman.com her appearances on television, you name it.

Mrs. Gottsman added that even though “Ms. Doe” will be graduating from college two years from now, she is willing to wait for her because of the “extra preparation” that she did before the dinner.

In effect, Ms. Doe don’t have to worry about finding a career after graduating because she has already secured her first with a nationally recognized etiquette expert in Mrs. Gottsman.


So you see the two examples of how a little preparation has led to the success of the SHSU Bowling Team and “Jane Doe.”

You really don’t have an excuse anymore on why you can’t succeed in life.

If you go out, work hard and smart, and even put out the “extra preparation,” then you will achieve the success that you dream of.

Houston’s Pitching Dominates In 5-2 Win Over Sam Houston

By Cheval John

The Houston Cougars was leading 3-2 in the top of the eight inning and had two outs.

They were able to tacked on two more insurance runs in the inning after a missed call that allowed them to defeat the Bearkats 5-2 at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.

Though it took the moment from Sam Houston (25-12), Bearkat head coach David Pierce said that the pitching was not up to par in the game.

Sam Houston used 6 pitchers and they gave up seven walks in the game.

“We didn’t play really well to win the game” Pierce said. “We got to get better out of the bullpen.”

The Bearkat offense didn’t get much production when it counted as they left 8 runners on base.

That was due to Houston’s (27-9) solid pitching that made the right pitches in the opportune time.

The Cougars used four pitchers, with reliever Andrew Lantrip getting the win after throwing two shutout innings.

“Their (Houston) pitching staff is No. 1 in the country,” Pierce said. “They walked one guy and struck out eight.”

“We didn’t get it done, center fielder Colt Atwood, who went 3 for 4 with an RBI, said. “Getting the clutch hits is more important.”

Houston capitalized on their opportunity in the top of the fourth inning to take a 1-0.

Left fielder Michael Pyeatt, who led off the inning with a single and first baseman Casey Grayson, who followed with a walk, advanced to second and third, respectively on a sacrifice bunt by center fielder Ashford Fulmer.

Then Pyeatt scored from third on a RBI ground out by third baseman Justin Montemayor.

The Cougars added another run in the top of the fifth inning for a 2-0 lead.

Short stop Connor Hollis started it with a one out single to left center and advanced to second on a walk by right fielder Kyle Survance.

Both runners advanced to second and third after Ebbs was called for a balk.

That turned out to be huge as a ground out by second baseman Josh Vidales allowed Hollis to score from third.

Sam Houston were able to knot it up at 2 in the bottom of the fifth inning.

After second baseman Shea Pierce reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a single by short stop Corey Toups, with two outs, Atwood hit an RBI single to left center field that scored Pierce to make it 2-1.

The following batter, catcher Anthony Azar, hit an RBI double to left field that scored Toups to cap the inning.

It seemed as if Houston was going to make something happen in the top of the 6th inning when Grayson led off with a walk.

But, left fielder Luke Plucheck had other ideas as he made another diving catch to rob Fulmer of a possible hit for the first out.

Afterward, Grayson was thrown out at second for the second out by Azar.

That allowed reliever Seth Holbert to force Montemayor to ground out to end the threat.

It didn’t stop the Cougars to score the go-ahead, run in the top of the seventh inning to make it 3-2 after a two out, RBI single by Vidales.

It seemed as Sam Houston State had got out of the jam in the top of the eighth inning when Toups made a diving stop to his left on a hit ball up the middle and thrown the ball at first for the final out.

However, the first base umpire called designated hitter Jacob Lueneburg, the person who hit the ball, safe claiming that first base man Hayden Simerly’s foot was pulled off the bag.

That kept the inning alive and a batter later, Hollis hit a RBI double to left field that extended the lead to 4-2.

After Survance issued the walk to load the bases, Vidales followed with an RBI walk of his own that capped the inning and took the sails out of the Bearkats.

Sam Houston looks to rebound from the loss when they return to Southland Conference play and travel to Beaumont to face Lamar in a weekend series.

“Lamar is a good team and are swinging the bats well right now,” Pierce said. “We got to be prepared.”

Champions Don’t Feel Sorry For Themselves

By Cheval John

David Pierce will remember the way how he secured his 100th win as a head coach on Tuesday night against the Baylor Bears at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.

His Sam Houston State squad had committed three errors in the top of the fourth inning that resulted in three unearned runs that had them trailing 3-1.

The Bearkats could have felt sorry for themselves.

Instead, Sam Houston rallied together and scored a run in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut the lead to 3-2.

Then the breakthrough came in the bottom of the seventh inning when third baseman Carter Burgess hit a go-ahead two out, two run game-winning single to right field for a 4-3 lead.

“What we did was right after that (fourth) inning, we basically came together and said, ‘Look, it might be one of the worst innings that we had since the history of baseball, but at the same time, we got to overcome that and forget about it,’” Pierce said. “I think they did. That is the sign I’m looking for of a character team.”

How is this related to life?

Simple: Though you make mistakes and think that nothing will get better, you should always get back up and try again to fulfill your dreams.

Those who do that will always succeed.

The ones who don’t succeed are the ones who always find excuses and feel sorry for themselves.

The “never give up mentality” is why coach Pierce has directed the Bearkat squad to two consecutive at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament, back-to-back Southland Conference regular season titles, and securing his 100th win as a head coach.

GPAC: A Game Changer For Huntsville, TX

By Cheval John

The Houston Symphony is one of the most recognizable orchestra in America and the world.

Every year, they perform concerts for thousands of people in the Houston area.

In their 100th year of operation, the Houston Symphony is getting better than ever.*

Recently, they held a concert in Huntsville, Texas.

You are reading that right, Huntsville, a small city located an hour north of Houston and has a population of close to 40,000.

You might be wondering: “Why on earth would they travel north to give a concert in Huntsville?”

The main reason is because of the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center (GPAC), located on the campus of Sam Houston State University (SHSU) in Huntsville.

James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center (GPAC)

James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center (GPAC)

Opened in 2010, the GPAC is an 100,000 square foot building that houses the 800-seat David and Grettle Payne Concert Hall, where the Symphony performed, the 175-seat Recital Hall and the 160-seat Dance Theater.

Emily Binetti, Marketing Coordinator for SHSU’s College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication, says that the GPAC is a game-changer for the School of Music and the city of Huntsville.

“I think the School of Music is able to bring in more world-class guest artist like the Houston Symphony because of the beautiful Gaertner Performing Arts Center facility that we now have,” Binetti said. “The event that they just performed here, is an example of the kind of cultural offerings that we’re able to bring to the Huntsville community here at Sam Houston.”

The residents of Huntsville and the university community got an opportunity to hear the Symphony’s rendition of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” a 1723 violin concertos that is the most recognizable piece in the world.

The concert was led by violin soloist, Frank Huang.

Huang, a faculty member at Rice University, has performed around the world with orchestras that includes: the Cleveland and Genoa Orchestras, the NDR Radio Philharmonic of Hannover, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Saint Paul and Amadeus! Chamber Orchestras and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.*

In addition, Huang made national appearance on NPR’s Performance Today, Good Morning America and CNN’s American Morning.

You would even be more surprised to find out that it was the Houston Symphony’s third time to perform in Huntsville in the last four years.

My guess is that they love the quality sound of GPAC’s concert hall.

GPAC's David and Grettle Payne Concert Hall

GPAC’s David and Grettle Payne Concert Hall

One thing is certain: It’s a huge benefit for Huntsville residents because they get a quality performance from one of the most recognizable orchestras in the world at nearly half the price.

It also elevates Huntsville as a hidden treasure for the performing arts.

“In the past 20 years, Huntsville’s arts scene has grown tremendously, especially for a small community like we have,” Binetti said. “The Houston Symphony concert is a good example of the events that Huntsville wants more of and that the School of Music is able to provide.”

*Both videos are courtesy of Houston Symphony Orchestra

Wiz Khalifa, Capital Cities Leaves Great Impression On SHSU

By Cheval John

Over 5,100 students, faculty and staff were not disappointed with the Sammypalooza Concert featuring Capital Cities and Wiz Khalifa.

Recently, the concert was held at the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum on the campus of Sam Houston State University (SHSU) in Huntsville, Texas.

Sammypalooza is a event that brings well known acts to the student body of SHSU.

Presenters who were part of the yearly event includes Ludacris, Mike Epps, Nick Kroll, Gabriel Iglesias, Aziz Ansari and Jack Ingram.

Many students were standing in line for about three hours hoping to get a front stage view of the artists.

Once inside, the atmosphere was rocking.

SHSU student Kelly Whitaker, who was covering the event for www.backstageol.com, said that having both Capital Cities and Wiz Khalifa was not only great for the university, but for the city of Huntsville.

“People come to this school thinking that it’s a prison city,” Whitaker said. “But then they see the campus and surrounding areas and think differently.”

It took months for SHSU’s Department of Student Activities to plan the concert.

The staff sent out a survey to the thousands of students using Facebook to get their input on who they wanted to see at the event.

Once that was decided, they got the ball rolling and from there, they worked with Ed Chatal, Associate Director of Facilities of Recreational Sports, who oversees the Coliseum in coordinating the stage setup and take down once the concert was over.

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Before Capital Cities stepped on stage, the song, “Don’t Know Much” by Aaron Neville and Linda Rondstadt was played to get everyone in the mood.

From that moment, the alternative rock band from Los Angeles belted out the tunes including their main hit, “Safe and Sound.”

Then the atmosphere got really electric when Wiz Khalifa came on stage and performed his many songs including “Work Hard, Play Hard,” and “Black and Yellow.”

One thing that I took away from the concert is that it is getting better year after year and that many people are discovering the hidden gems that the university community and the city has to offer.

SHSU student Hailey Porter, who was one of the “lucky” ones to get a front stage view of the artists, seems to agree.

“I think he (Wiz Khalifa) was a great choice,” Porter said. “He’s a great performer. The environment was awesome.”