Tagged: prison sports

Coping With Prison Life

 

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A lot has been going on. I do my best to remain positive and stay upbeat. But I must admit, sometimes it’s super hard. Back in August I was on a softball team that was argumentive, disorganized, and dysfunctional. So I quit.

Soon after I quit, I hear a knock on my cell door. It’s the coach. “Why’d you quit?” he demands! Right away I see he’s hostile and emotional.

I tell him, “Because it’s too stressful and I’m not having any fun. Guys are arguing with each other and we’re loosing too many games.”

He says, “Well then f*ck you! I’m done f*cking with you!” Then he slammed my door.

I immediately get an adrenaline rush. I almost open my door and call him back. But I don’t. I accept it and let him walk away. Because the last time I entertained such irrationality, I ended up knocking out the dude. And that cost me my EFV’s for 5 years. (see: How I Lost My EFV’s For 5 Years)

Today I’m a changed man. I’ve learned from my past. I try my best to avoid conflict.

So what could I have done to avoid this entire situation? It’s actually quite simple. I should’ve finished out the softball season with a positive, optimistic attitude. Regardless of our record and all the negativity.

I’m getting pretty good at avoiding physical confrontations. However, I need to work on avoiding confrontational situations all together. This has proven to be very tricky. I can be minding my own business, doing my own thing, and then suddenly find myself in an undesired situation.

So shortly after this whole softball fiasco, the Sergeant calls me in his office. He tells me that my celly, Dicky, is requesting that I be moved out.

Dicky is disabled and bound to a wheelchair, therefore we are in an ADA cell. These cells are bigger and have wider doors for wheelchair access. Which means Dicky always has top priority to live in these spacious ADA cells. So if he wants a celly gone, it’s always the celly who gets the boot, never him.

I’m genuinely surprised by this news the Sergeant it telling me. Dicky and I get along fine. So I ask the sergeant, “Why?”

Basically, Dicky said I’m too clean. I clean the cell too much. And that I organize his area when it gets too messy. Which I do. But Dicky and I have had discussions about this. And he said its all good!

So as the Sergeant is telling me all this, I’m confused. None of this is making any sense. REALLY! I’m getting the boot for being too clean and organized. What’s really going on?

Well it didn’t take long to figure it out. As soon as I moved out, Dicky moved in one of his dope fiend buddies. Dicky is an addict himself. He’s a pharmaceutical junky. He goes to pill line multiple times everyday. He keeps hundreds of pills hoarded in his cell constantly. But I guess the legal drugs aren’t enough.

Since I got kicked out, Dicky has been going downhill fast. Some dude ran up on him and in front of everyone and said, “Listen you punk ass bitch, that sh*t you gave me was bunk and I’m not paying you a f*cking dime!”

Wow! In front of God and everybody. Dicky was now exposed. Shortly after that, someone must’ve went and told. Because they suspended his visits. Tore up his cell. Took apart his wheelchair (looking for drugs). And subjected him to a piss test. Dicky refused the UA because he was dirty. Refusing a UA is a Major Infraction. Dicky is now out of the dog program.

It all makes sense now. Dicky kicked me out of the cell because he wanted to get high and sell drugs. And he knows I’m not down with any of that. So he reverted back to his lying manipulative ways to get what he wants. (see: Living With A Compulsive Liar)

When the Sergeant first told me I was getting kicked out of my cell, I was upset and stressed. But now I’m very thankful. It took me over 6 years to get in The Dog Program. By living with Dicky, he jeopardized my livelihood with his sneaky manipulative misconduct.

In a piece I wrote called, Stone Catchers: I Quit!!!, I talk about overcoming these exact type of challenges.

I know what I need to do. Now it’s all about having the strength, courage, and intelligence to successfully cope with any and all situations that come my way.

 

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

 

I quit softball. I temporarily quit Stone Catchers. And sometimes I feel like giving up and smashing out some of these fools. It’s time I quit quitting. Giving up is NOT an option. Violence Is Never The Answer.

MY PRAYER: Please God, continue to give me the strength to endure and overcome. Guide me, guard me, and protect me as I continue my journey. Amen!

 

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Steven Jennings

H6 Nationals Lose Game #5

 

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It’s hard for me to not take a loss personally.

But the truth is, losing gives me an opportunity to develop coping skills. It gives me the opportunity to evolve and grow. And it gives me an opportunity to apply the practical teachings & philosophies that I study.

To me, if I lose, I failed. That is how my mind thinks…therefore that is my reality. And with failure comes a sense of regret, fear, limitation, lack, etc.

Unless these false thoughts are erased, I will continue to fail! Because according to The Law of Cause and Effect, for what I persist in recognizing I persist in keeping that in my life. But if I refuse to recognize failure and all minions, then it will vanish as far as I’m concerned.

Sure, we lost the game. But I didn’t fail. I gained.

I gained an opportunity to display good sportsmanship and a positive attitude in the face of adversity. I gained an opportunity to lead by example. I was able to practice what I preach during a time when it would be super easy to lose focus and project negativity.

We lost because our outfield let three balls get past them. One guy charged the ball, only to let it get past him.

How could that happen? That is the main thing we’ve been working on since our last loss!

But you know what? It is what it is. It happened. Just like other undesirable things in life happen.

The key is what we choose to focus on.

This loss really gave me the opportunity to learn and further understand an aspect of spiritual law that has huge impacts on my daily life. And that is: The Law of Cause and Effect – for what I persist in recognizing, I persist in holding in place. That which I refuse to recognize, I neutralize, and it is no longer there to affect me in a negative manner.

Sure, we lost our softball game 13-5. But I was still able to remain positive and encourage others to stay positive. I congratulated the other team for their win. I shook hands. And I consoled a couple of our players who felt bad about their mistakes.

I focused on all the positive opportunities that existed. And for the first time ever, losing lost its sting.

 

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Steven Jennings

H6 Nationals – Game 4

 

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We played the H1 Astros. They have a decent squad. They jumped on us 3-0 until the 4th inning.

Then guess what happened?

Yep….their outfielder charged a ground ball. He missed it! It went right between his legs. That error cost them 3 runs!

My outfield didn’t charge any balls. They got down and waited for the ball to come to them.

That was the difference. Because later on, the other team let another ball get past them. Every time that happens, runs score!

We ended up winning 11-9. That’s a close game!

The Astros played an awesome game. They were hitting the ball well. Their infield was turning double plays. But the one thing they couldn’t overcome was the outfield errors. That was the difference.

We are now 3-1.
We won’t lose another game.
WE WILL WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP!!!

Stay tuned.

 

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Steven Jennings

Prison Softball: The H-6 Nationals

 

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Last year (before I came to this unit) The H6 Nationals were so dysfunctional that many guys quit. This year many guys were not even going to play.

As soon as I moved to H-6, a few guys asked me if I wanted to coach the team. I didn’t have to think twice. Of course I want to.

I then started the scouting process. I approached a few of the good players to see if they wanted to play. To my surprise, they said, “No.”

I asked, “Why not?”

They said, “Too much negativity and drama.”

I assured them that this year will be different. They asked if certain people will be on the team. When I said yes, they said that is why they don’t want to play.

I knew I had my work cut out for me. Since I couldn’t tell them what to expect, I’d have to show them…lead by example.

I drew up a “Philosophy & Expectation” sheet. This is what it said:

 

COMMIT TO A CHAMPIONSHIP
Practice rain or shine. Always give your absolute best.

KEEP IT POSITIVE
The key to a championship is a positive attitude.
Always remain positive, especially in the face of adversity.

OPEN TYROUTS
The best player will earn their position.
Attitude and commitment will play a huge role.

 

I sent it to Suzie and she did an awesome job of typing it up and adding some cool softball graphics. She sent it to me and I made copies.

Then I passed them out to all the guys…one at a time. This gave me an opportunity to talk to everyone one on one. I basically told them that if guys don’t abide by the guidelines, they won’t play and I’ll take them off the roster.

After the first week I had to take 3 guys off the roster. These were the same 3 guys who caused all the drama last year. Some guys just can’t keep it positive, other guys have a false sense of entitlement. Meaning, one guy wanted to play infield. The problem was, he couldn’t outplay any of the other infielders.

When I encouraged him to challenge for an outfield position, he got mad and negative. He told me, “I’ve been playing for over 20 years…I’ve won several championships, I’m the best infielder on this team!”

I told him to stay positive, keep trying, and he’ll get some playing time when someone misses a game due to a visit, or work, or whatever.

Nope! He wasn’t having it. He kept on being a negative distraction. Just like he was last year when he was the starting 2nd baseman. This guy is just hard to get along with. So most the guys were happy when I took him off the team.

It actually set a good example for everyone else to see. It showed everyone that I’m serious, and that I will cut a feller from the team if they don’t comply with the rules.

It also attracted those good players who initially said they didn’t want to play due to all the drama and negativity.

Right now the roster is full….15 players and 1 assistant coach. Only 10 guys play in a game. So 5 guys will be benched come game time. Only the best players who have earned their position will play.

We have an awesome group of guys who can really play. Everyone is positive and they all get along. I’m super excited! I expect our bench to be positive and supportive. Some guys won’t like being on the bench. If they become a negative distraction, I’ll cut ‘em!

We are undefeated in the pre-season, winning our last three games: 19 – 0 and 27 – 0 and 17 – 0.

It’s win a CHAMPIONSHIP or bust!!!

Our first official game is Saturday May 30th.

Wish us luck….I’ll keep ya posted.

 

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Steven Jennings

Prison Softball

Wanna see how I run a softball team from the joint? Okay, here goes: First I submit a kite.

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Then, once I officially have a team, I call a team meeting. We go over goals and philosophies.

Our goal is: WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP.

Our philosophies are: KEEP IT POSITIVE and COMIT TO A CHAMPIONSHIP.

Now we are just waiting for the rec staff to bring out the equipment. Meanwhile, I’m still tweeking the roster. Only 10 guys play. My roster is 15. That means “open tryouts.” Anyone can challenge for a spot on the field. The best player will earn that position. Some guys will have to ride the bench.

In the past, this decision has caused drama. That’s why I apply goals & philosophies to the system. It’s a great way to keep hostile players in line. If they continue to “break the code”, I remove them from the roster.

As of now, I have 3 competitions going on. They are competing for 1st baseman, pitcher, and 3rd baseman.

I’m excited! I love this time of year. I love my wife. I’m happy.

Wish me luck…

(to be continued…)