From the Cluttered Desk... by Dr. David Davis

Coach Mac will be missed

November 14, 2017

Highslide JS

He was known as "Coach Mac" at Southern Methodist University. He began his SMU career as a student-athlete, winning seven individual Southwest Conference swim championships. He also won two team championships with SMU in 1953 and 1954, serving as the captain on the 1954 team.

He may have been known as "Coach Mac" -- but I knew him as "Uncle George" (by marriage) for almost 45 years. In the swim world, he was known as Coach George McMillion and he coached some of the best swimmers in the world.

He spent 14 years as an assistant at SMU before taking over as the head coach of the men's swim team in 1971. In his 17 seasons in charge of the program, McMillion mentored 78 All-Americans and 15 NCAA champions. He was named Southwest Conference "Coach of the Year" four times.

His SMU swimmers went on to win a combined 10 Olympic medals -- six gold, two silver and two bronze. McMillion coached the U.S. National Team in 1978, 1982 and 1983.

McMillion was inducted into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame in 2014. Previously, he was inducted into SMU's Hall of Fame in 2011.

Uncle George was honored recently when SMU opened the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and Barr-McMillion Natatorium, a new $22 million facility for the men's and women's swim teams that bears his name.

"The Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center is a reality because his commitment and love of SMU swimming and diving inspired others to give back," SMU athletic director Rick Hart said in a statement. "While we are saddened by his passing, and I will personally miss visiting with him on Thursday mornings, we take solace in knowing that the Barr-McMillion Natatorium will serve as a fitting tribute and a legacy to his influence and impact on our program."

At the helm of the Mustangs program, Uncle George won eight consecutive Southwest Conference titles and helped his team finish in the top ten at the NCAA championships 14 times. He also coached 10 Olympians and five Olympic medalists (Steve Lundquist, Ricardo Prado, Rich Saeger, Jerry Heidenreich and Ronnie Mills) that combined to win ten medals, six of them gold.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned was he volunteered, after his retirement, to develop a new swim program at Dallas Strake Jesuit High School.

He had swimmers who qualified for the UIL Texas state swim meet in Austin that first year and I just happened to run into him unexpectedly while I was there covering the state swim tournament.

As usual, he was really glad to see me and we hugged and chatted for a few moments. When I ask if he had any swimmers that might medal and he said not this time at their first state meet. But he said they did win one thing.

His competitive spirit came out when he said, "We won't be bringing home any medals, but we beat Houston Strake Jesuit as they had no state qualifiers so we were the first to be here." And then he gave me that sly grin and I knew he was proud of his kids

Uncle George was a fixture on the SMU campus and he touched thousands of lives for over six decades. He will be missed there and he will be missed by our entire family. His humility and commitment was a testimony of his success. We love you Uncle George!

Old friend Robert said, "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die. As the memories will last as long as we are still alive."



Twitter: @drdavis111

From the Cluttered Desk... by Dr. David Davis

Paying respect to our flag and national anthem

October 10, 2017

Each time that our high school athletic teams participate against an opponent, we take time to honor our flag, country, and national anthem.

Whether I am in the press box during football season, courtside at a basketball game, or standing out in the open for baseball, softball, track, etc. -- I always stand and place my hand over my heart during the presentation of the colors and the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

It is something I have done for almost 64 years beginning in a catholic kindergarten in Duncan, Oklahoma. When I began first grade, we were taught to recite the pledge of allegiance while putting our right hand over our heart. Each and every day, we did this from the first grade till I was a senior in high school.

Patriotism was engrained into our lives and only when I left home to live on a college campus did I see my patriotism challenged -- due in part to the Vietnam War.

I was at the age where I could have been drafted to go to Vietnam. Going to college and making good grades allowed me to stay at home, though I had some high school classmates who served our country in Vietnam only to return home in body bags.

There was Bobby Frost and Patrick Robirds who gave their life for our freedom. Another classmate, Keith Werner, returned home severely wounded where he lived a short time and then died.

Recently, one of our Pearland elder statesman, who graduated from Pearland High School, approached me following the national anthem at a sporting event. He asked, "Do some of our adults and students not know how to honor our flag and national anthem?"

He went on to say, "I was taught to stop talking, take off your hat [if you were wearing one], place your hand over your heart, face the flag, and stand at attention at the playing of the national anthem. Where is the respect?

According to some research, here is the proper etiquette regarding our flag and national anthem.

The US Code (Titles 4 and 36) specifies four circumstances for rendering the hand-over-heart salute:

  1. When the US flag is raised or lowered
  2. When the US flag is carried past in a review or parade
  3. When reciting the pledge of allegiance
  4. When the national anthem is played

The saluter should face the flag in all cases. If the national anthem is played when the flag is not displayed, the saluter should face the source of the music.

Whether you agree or not, keep something in mind. There have been thousands of men and women who have given their lives so you and I could stand for a few moments and give respect to our nation's flag and anthem. In essence -- we are also giving respect to them and their sacrifice of dying for our freedom.

Sure, I know we have players in the NFL that kneel during the national anthem in protest of something. But consider this -- 99.9 percent of them have never nor will they ever put on a military uniform and put their lives on the line for our freedom. In past days -- we had athletic heroes who exchanged their ball uniforms for military uniforms and went to war in service of our country...only to return to be sports heroes again. Ted Williams is one who immediately comes to mind.

The next time you attend an athletic event and they play the national anthem, please stop talking, take off your hat, stand at attention with your hand over your heart, say a prayer for the men and women who are serving our country in the military, and be reminded that our freedom has been paid for with the ultimate sacrifice -- the life of a fellow American.

Old friend Robert said, "This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in."



Twitter: @drdavis111

From the Cluttered Desk... by Dr. David Davis

Are you losing your mind?

September 11, 2017

Ever feel like you are losing your mind? I think I saw where you can buy some little gizzmo that will fit on the handle of your coffee mug in case you misplace it. You have a little remote button that you can push and it will set off the buzzer on your mug so you can locate it.

I think the gizzmo can also be attached to eye glasses, keys, cell phones, etc. Not sure where I saw this gizzmo -- or, I may be losing mind and that idea hasn't been produced yet...but it certainly sounds like a good idea...don't you think?

At this time of my life -- I find myself trying to think of a person's name, the name of a movie or something else in just every day conversation, but can't quickly recall the answer or it takes a little extra time before I finally do remember.

This reminds me of a story I heard about an elderly couple who were experiencing the same problem I have. They decided to take a power memory class that taught them to use association to remember important pieces of information.

A few days after it ended, the old man was outside talking with his neighbor about how much the class had helped him.

"What was the instructor's name?" asked the neighbor.

"Oh, hummmmm, let's see," the old man pondered. "You know that flower, you know, the one that smells really nice but has those prickly thorns, what's that flower's name?"

"A rose?" asked the neighbor.

"Yes, that's it," replied the old man. He then turned toward his house and shouted, "Hey, Rose, what's the name of the instructor we took the memory class from?"

Though some of us may be dealing with Mad Cow of the brain...I believe it is important to remember those who have meant much to us in life.

As I get older -- I am aware how time is quickly fleeting. The older you get -- the faster time slips by us.

Speaking of fleeting time -- it is that time of the year that I am a year older. Yes -- Saturday, September 16 is my special day and I am thankful that the good Lord has given me another wonderful year -- especially with my four grandchildren Cooper, Kayla, Graham, and Abby with one more on the way -- Leighton Joy.

There isn't a day that I don't give thanks for another day of life. I never will take the blessings of life for granted and especially for those who are so near and dear to my heart.

Makes me want to take the time to actually sit down and write a special note to a few people who have been a blessing to my life and put a stamp on the envelope.

Let's see -- now I just need to find my -- you know -- that slim thing that has ink in it...I can't seem to remember where I put it...wonder if that gizzmo would fit on it?

Old friend Robert said, "Your youth is certainly finished and old age has definitely arrived if you feel that you are losing enthusiasm, excitement and energy towards your dreams and goals."



Twitter: @drdavis111

From the Cluttered Desk... by Dr. David Davis

Teenagers get a bum rap!

September 9, 2017

If you're between twelve and're a suspect. Cops stare and senior citizens glare. Why? Well...

You drive too fast, you think too slow, you aren't responsible, and you can't be trusted. The music you listen to is loud, your clothes are too weird. Your hair is too long, too short, or the wrong color. Your room is a mess and you have no pride in your work or your appearance.

And dare I mention manners? You talk with your mouth full, you slump and slurp, you treat your brother and sister like they have the plaque, and you belch at the most inappropriate time. You're allergic to homework, housework, hanging up your clothes, staying on your cell phone all the time, texting, sleeping late, and not going to bed.

If you have a few bucks -- you're a drug dealer. If you date quite a bit -- you're messing around. If you don't come home when you said you would -- you're probably where you shouldn't be. If you don't get a job -- you're a bum. If you smile real big -- you're probably up to no good. If you frown -- you've got a rotten attitude.

Tired of all of this? So are they. There are exceptions, but by and large, the teens of today are full of talent, have unbelievable possibilities, and whenever they get their rear in gear, can accomplish phenomenal feats.

I've said all of the above to make the point that the teenagers in the Friendswood, Pearland, and Manvel communities stepped it up to help heal the hurt from Hurricane Harvey.

The texts went out -- twitter sounded the call to arms -- and the local teenagers, many of them student-athletes, answered the bell to give of their time and energy in helping people, many who were complete strangers, to begin the starting all over process to send a clear message that things will be OK.

"I'm getting calls and texts from people I don't even know, some of them elderly, in tears talking about you guys, and they see you all walking down the street looking like an army coming at them," Friendswood head football coach Robert Koopmann told his players. "That community needs you, and I'm so proud of your selflessness and your hard work."

Things can be replaced, but lives matter. Families matter. Love is stronger in a community than the loss of things. That's been the message of the area student-athletes to people who have suffered tragedy due to Hurricane Harvey.

We have heard and seen so many heartbreaking scenes in recent days. Perhaps one of the most touching interviews came from Dickinson head coach John Snelson whose community was devastated.

"As bad as I feel about my situation and about our kids' situation, it was really cool to see people unite and come together and help each other out," Snelson said. "I was just so tired of seeing everything on the news about white versus black and Democrat versus Republican and this, that or the other, cops versus regular people.

"I don't know, maybe this was a wake-up call for us all to realize what's truly important, that we need to love God and we need to love our neighbor like we love ourselves — not love your neighbor if they're the same color as you, not love your neighbor if they go to the same church as you, not love your neighbor if they think the same way you do. Love your neighbor as you love your own self. It's just been a big wake-up call, to be honest with you."

I am so proud of all of our coaches, players, cheerleaders, drill team members, band, volleyball players and other students who have given of their time to help others during this time. It will take time, but we will be a stronger community because of this

Old friend Robert reminds us, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9.



Twitter: @drdavis111

From the Cluttered Desk... by Dr. David Davis

Enjoy the coming year of sports

August 22, 2017

It is hard to believe that the start of school is just around the corner and that the fall sports season will begin shortly. Hundreds of area athletes have already reported to their various high school sports programs preparing to do their very best as they represent their family, school, and community.

It seems like only yesterday when my son, Landon, was getting his first taste of competitive football at the Jr. High level. Now, after being a first-team All-District pick for Pearland his senior year in 2005 -- he recently turned 29 and is one of the lead engineers for Chevron-Phillips. He just celebrated five years of marriage with his high school sweetheart, Valerie, and my grandson, Graham, who is 20 months old and is ruling the universe. My how time flies.

But he gave me some precious memories -- ones that we will always share.

When he first decided to participate in the PHS football program -- I told him that he was going to have to work hard and make it on his own. I knew that the Pearland coaches weren't interested in my pressing them to give him playing time.

I made a commitment years ago that if one or more of my four children wanted to participate in competitive sports, I was going to be totally supportive of their decision, but I would remain silent and supportive of the respective coaches.

I guess that comes from the example my parents set when I played in high school and college.

My mom and dad would attend each game, watch me play, and then go home. They were never vocal, they never chastised a coach, nor did they ever berate a coach when I got home. I can honestly say that my folks never criticized any of my coaches at any level.

There were people who watched me play who didn't even know my parents. Only their close friends knew where they sat and who their son was on a given Friday night in high school or on a Saturday in college.

I took the same stance with my children. My son never heard me utter one word of criticism regarding the Pearland coaching staff.

As the 2017 sports season approaches, it would be a good idea for parents to be totally supportive of their young men and women. This also includes being supportive of the coaches who are committed to your student-athlete.

While all of us want to see our teams win, it is equally important to maintain a consistent level of support for each student-athlete and their coaches. No team goes out to intentionally lose. A strong support base of love and faithfulness is essential for all involved. You will be a lot happier if you look at the whole picture and maintain a sense of decency and self-control.

Also - don't forget about those who participate in the band, cheerleaders, drill team, cross country, volleyball, and tennis. They also sweat in this sweltering heat and spend countless hours preparing for their time in the spotlight or competing for their respective high schools..

I am excited as the fall sports season begins. I want every student-athlete to be successful. But remember -- they are students, first -- and then athletes. So wear your team's colors and spirit clothing with pride -- support each of the young men and women who are participating -- and enjoy this time of the year. There is nothing better than being a part of the high school sports scene.

I think I can hear the band playing now! Won't you join me?

Old friend Robert said, "When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less. Never let a win get to your head, or a loss to your heart."



Twitter: @drdavis111

From the Cluttered Desk... by Dr. David Davis

What is true friendship?

August 8, 2017

I recently was visiting with a man who was a superintendent of a school and had done a tremendous job in seeing his school system become one of the leading schools in the state of Texas.

My first encounter with him came when I was invited to speak to all of the students in his school district during national "Red Ribbon Week" -- the week set aside by schools to educate and motivate their students regarding the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse while stressing right choices in life.

I received a call from him informing me that he had changed schools and then he began to fill me in on what had happened to him during the past year.

You see -- he had learned that he had cancer this past year and instead of his former school officials rallying around him and giving him the necessary support that he needed during his treatment -- they showed their true colors by putting pressure on him to resign with little compassion regarding his health and recovery.

He said to me, "David, I found out who my true friends were during this entire ordeal. It shocked me that they would treat me the way they did -- especially while I was going through treatment -- I had written a grant that was approved by the federal government for $500,000 to fund a special program for our school."

I could sense in his voice the hurt and the pain -- not from the big "C" (which is now in remission), but what I believe was an even greater pain -- and that is to experience the reality of finding out who people really are when you need them the most. A moment when people could have responded at his greatest point of need in life...he experienced rejection. I certainly could relate, though not to the same degree, but none the less, I understood.

In past years -- I have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of people. I was introduced to many of them through the reading of this column.

This form of communication, for the most part, has been an attempt to convey positive words and support to others. Of course, there are times that one has to take a stand when an unjust accusation has been made toward someone when the accuser(s) haven't taken the time to look deep enough into who they are seeking to criticize.

I remember a girl in Del Rio, Texas who gave me a slip of paper with these words written on it after speaking at her school.. She wrote: "A real friend is someone who understands your past...believes in your future...and accepts you today just the way you are."

Not bad from a sophomore in high school. Whether she wrote it herself or read it somewhere and copied it from another source -- this young lady had etched in her heart the true meaning of friendship.

I am thankful for real friends and their encouraging words.

Mark Twain once said, "I can live three weeks on a compliment."

People who have friends and easily make friends are usually very happy people. Have you ever noticed that? When they walk in a room -- people naturally smile and wave at them -- glad to see them -- delighted they are a part of the festivities. They light up a room.

On the other hand, those who are filled with: "I'm always right" - "You're always wrong" -- type attitudes can ruin a happy occasion. They have a lot of baggage that they want others to carry for them that is usually labeled critical, unhappy, and bitter.

I would hope you would take the time today to think about the friends you have in your life. Someone once said that you are a very rich person if you have a trusted friend in your life. Treasure that friendship and in turn also be a friend.

Old friend Robert said, "A real friend is someone who walks into your life when the rest of the world has walked out."



Twitter: @drdavis111

From the Cluttered Desk... by Dr. David Davis

Little known facts about Texas

August 1, 2017

I was born and reared (which is proper grammar) in Oklahoma. I was reared to be an Oklahoma Sooner fan and to not like Texas very much. That worked fine until I moved from Oklahoma to Texas in 1974.

Nobody has asked for these astounding facts -- but I thought I would give them to you anyway.

Did you know that from Beaumont to El Paso is 742 miles. From Beaumont to Chicago is only 770 miles. If you take I-10 to El Paso from Houston -- you are exactly half way to Los Angeles -- yet you haven't left the state of Texas. In fact - El Paso is closer to California than to Dallas.

When you think of the Houston Rodeo -- I thought you might like to know that the world's first rodeo was in Pecos in July 4, 1883.

The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built over water.

The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was the first full-time coach for Rice University.

Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other area in North America.

Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America's only remaining flock of whooping cranes.

Jalapeno jelly originated in Lake Jackson in 1978.

The worst natural disaster in U.S. history was in 1900 caused by a hurricane in which over 8,000 lives were lost on Galveston Island.

The first word spoken from the moon, July 20, 1969, was "Houston."

King Ranch is larger than Rhode Island.

Tropical Storm Claudette brought a U.S. rainfall record of 43" in 24 hours in and around Alvin in July 1979.

Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY, instead of by annexation. (This allows the Texas flag to fly at the same height as the US flag.)

A Live Oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1,500 years old.

Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.

Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. There is no period after Dr in Dr Pepper.

Texas has had six capital cities:.

  1. Washington-on-the-Brazos
  2. Harrisburg
  3. Galveston
  4. Velasco
  5. West Columbia
  6. Austin

The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the U.S. which is taller than the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. (by 7 feet).

The name Texas comes from the Hasini Indian word "tejas" meaning friends. Tejas is not Spanish for Texas. The State animal is the Armadillo. (An interesting bit of trivia about the armadillo is they always have four babies! They have one egg which splits into four and they either have four males or four females).

The first domed stadium in the U.S. was the Astrodome in Houston.

I'm not sure that you can ever really take out the OKIE from someone born north of the Red River -- but I must admit that I'm right proud to live in Texas...and particularly in Pearland.

Old friend Robert said, "I'm on the Lone Star diet...BBQ, Mexican, WHATABURGER, Pecan Pie, and then repeat!"



Twitter: @drdavis111

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