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Chuck Cavin
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Chuck Cavin

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Had a marvelous time in Florida....Headed to the brand new USTA National Campus in Orlando. There were a lot of activities on a gorgeous, sunny day- A Women's Futures Pro Tournament where I got to meet Danielle Collins, two time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia, a college match between the University of Central Florida and University of Arizona, and host of junior/adult activities. An absolute fun time visiting with the locals and snowbirds that were enjoying the weather also.....Hopped on over to the Gulf side of Florida and had another beautiful day where I enjoyed a beach jog on Madeira Beach, just south of Clearwater. Just around the corner was John's Pass Boardwalk and ate a late lunch there as I watched deep sea fishing cruisers and waverunners head back to the docks before sundown. I didn't realize that a waverunner was more popular than a sea-doo, but waverunners dominated the scenery.....
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Checking out the Pacific Northwest region of the USA.....followed some of the Oregon Trail starting in Idaho, crossing the Snake River and Columbia River, thru the majestic Mt. Rainier National Park, ending in the Seattle-Tacoma area, home to Amazon and Microsoft. A tennis friend from China who is a brilliant software engineer told me of a story when he interviewed for an Amazon position. Amazon will grill you in a phone interview. If you pass, then they will fly you to corporate headquarters here for a face-to-face interview. My friend said that the phone interview was filled with the most difficult questions that he had ever encountered. With holiday sales at Amazon up to record numbers of over a billion items shipped, you can see why they are hiring the best.....Almost thru with my tour of the 48 contiguous states in the US only lacking Montana and South Dakota, then I will knock out Alaska and Hawaii this summer.....Can't wait to finish this tour and start on my European tour!!!
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In Ocala, Florida now for a fun-filled time.....The itinerary is as follows-tennis at the King Center in Ocala, church at Rev. Bass' assembly, then off to Daytona Beach for tennis at the USTA Florida facility and a beach jog enjoying the salty spray from the ocean.....While in Cincinnati at their ATP/WTA tourney this August, a Jewish gentleman from northern Michigan and I struck up a conversation during a rain delay in the matches. He suggested that I try out this USTA Florida facility at Daytona Beach during the winter months. So, I'm going to check it out now because next year the new state of the art training facilty near Lake Nona in Orlando should be completed and will be worth a visit then.....The church in Ocala is pastored by the third generation of the Bass family and should be a fun time. They suffered a tragic incident in which a son died in an automobile accident. Usually a family in a high profile, leadership position that suffers such a tragedy has a more magnified grief since a large group of people are now watching them go thru a trial and they lose their privacy. Not being allowed to properly grieve in private sometimes causes individuals to replace their loss too soon with added things and other people in their lives and not allowing the grieving to mold them into a better person.....Last year, a huge extended family in Louisiana suffered a severe tragedy with the death of Mayci Breaux. Mayci and her fiance were attending an entertainment venue when a gunman open fired on the audience killing her and wounding her fiance. Any one familiar with Louisiana families knows that the Breaux family goes back almost 20 generations into the 1700's. In fact, the Breaux Bridge community off I-10 is named after one of the earliest Breaux settlers and is known as the "Crayfish Capital of the World." With a broad family base, the death of Mayci touched the lives of families throughout Louisiana and beyond its borders...Tennis was fun at the USTA Florida Center with a two-a-day workout. In the morning, I played in a doubles round robin format in which you changed partners after each set. The second time around I played with the oldest player in the group named Audra, a snowbird from New Hampshire. She probably didn't receive many wins in the group but just enjoyed the physical activity. I decided to step it up a notch and see if I could get her a "W". Across the net were two men and I'm sure they were very familiar with Audra's game. It worked out that we were able to secure a win and Audra was able to go home feeling great about herself with a win over two guys. It made me feel good that I was able to make her day special......The afternoon workout was fun with a chance to groove the strokes on a ball machine. One of my better ball machine stories comes from the time when I was watching some of the most disciplined 15 to 18 yr old young people compete at a national level tennis event. Now, these kids were not only some of the best athletes in the nation but a lot of them were also some of the brightest, too. Kristi, one of the top players in the nation and sought after by the top college coaches, was playing on the court in front of me. Knowing that she was from a small town in Mississippi with limited tennis facilities, I leaned over to her Dad sitting next to me and asked how he pulled off this feat of guiding his child to this level of play. He told me that it was a challenge because of the lack of facilities in such a small town, but the smartest move was the investment in the finest ball machine with all the bells and whistles. The ball machine always provided a quality ball and never needed to rest. After school he would drive Kristi 2 hours to the best teaching pro near them for a mid-week practice, work out, then drive another 2 hours home. Every Saturday, her mother would do the driving and get her shopping done while Kristi worked out. But the ball machine was her regular practice partner the other 5 days of the week. After visiting with this soft spoken, kind, sound minded individual, I realized why Kristi turned into an amazing person- All American in both singles and doubles plus every kind of academic award. I met a girl one time that was a very good tennis player, not quite the caliber of Kristi's level, but a D-1 college player. Her father was a jerk and she turned into quite a jerk herself and never had that aura of class, dignity, and respect which quality individuals such as Kristi have. The aura she had about her was similar to a trailer park, gum popping, Paula Jones type character that fooled around with Pres. Clinton. All my students loved me as their coach because I never raised my voice but politely offered instruction. The parents were truly amazed because they were used to coaches screaming at the kids. My theory was screaming coaches had very little instruction to offer!....The food was great as usual at the regular chains- Joe's Crab Shack and Bubba Gump. However, it was well worth the drive south to New Smyrna Beach and enjoy the outstanding food of JB's Fish Camp Restaurant which has the coolest setting along the intercoastal waterway.....The jog along Daytona's beach was fun and different. All beaches have a certain uniqueness and Daytona's beach is unique in that the shoreline is extremely flat and the difference between the low tide and high tide is a very far distance. Thus, people are not crowded into a small area and a jogging path is easier to maneuver. It also felt awkward at first jogging such a far distance from the water in the ideal, most comfortable pathway in the sand when most other beaches you're jogging closer to the water....

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Relaxing weekend with a late lunch at the famous Lambert's Cafe and an upper and lower body workout.....Trying to figure out where to cut calories after eating all these delicious rolls so that I don't have to deal with belly fat!.....
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Worked out at the Austin Tennis Center...... pasta and shopping in Round Rock..... all around fun time in Austin....
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A great place to eat a snack and visit some locals here in Kissimmee, Florida is at the Lagoon Tiki Grill and Bar with a fruity, non alcoholic daiquiri......
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Finished my exploration of the 48 contiguous states in the US after an adventure thru Montana and South Dakota. Known for its wildlife in this rugged West region, there is a boom here after the discovery of oil/gas in the Bakken Shale Formation. Oil independence by the USA is nearly achieved with this great discovery. There is now a lot of oil around. I remember when supplies were so tight that a little pipeline in Nigeria would explode and prices at the pump would skyrocket in the US or even a potential storm in the Gulf near oil platforms would do the same to prices. Hugo Chavez, deceased dictator of Venezuela, would bash the US knowing that we still had to buy his oil. Today, you rarely see a Citgo station, the Venezuelan brand of fuel in America. The Middle East can be full of strife and prices hardly budge. That tells you there is plenty of oil..... It is so funny to watch the political landscape change so quickly with Big Oil back in charge with the election of Trump. No one would support his candidacy, but Big Oil stepped to the plate. Former Exxon chiefs are taking over prominent positions in government. Remember, Trump is a businessman and will jump as high as he can to catch dollars thrown in his direction....My calendar shows that late April into the first week of May is my best time to visit Hawaii. Also, I would be ahead of the summer vacation crowd. The last Top 5 resort in the US that I have not visited is in La Jolla, California and could be visited at this same time. The San Diego International Airport is nearby and I can catch a flight to Hawaii after leaving La Jolla.....I'm headed to Orlando, Florida now to check out the new USTA facility near Lake Nona. A contractor on the project mentioned that the facility is a little slice of paradise in the USA. I plan on beach jogging on the Gulf side of Florida for a change, maybe near Clearwater or as far south as Siesta Key. I probably won't try any remote areas since l'm afraid of alligators, Ha Ha......
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Yesterday, the ski slopes in Breckenridge and Vail, Colorado were starting to fill up with holiday tourists.....Personally, I find it strange that people will head to a cold climate to vacation in the winter, but to each their own.....I think it's funny that my northern European friends that move to the USA for business seek a climate similar to what they are accustomed. They always settle in the northern states of the USA. The southern humidity is unbearably hot to them. My Australian friends that played college tennis in the US and settled into their careers here made the Ole South as their home. The climate was warm like their homeland. A majority of them settled in Louisiana. Since Australians are known as the most hospitable people on earth, they must have warmed up to the great hospitality that is offered by Cajuns and this attribute must have influenced their decision to stay there.....Several years ago I watched a national tennis match in St. Louis being played in the heat during late July. A southern belle was competing against a teaching pro from Nebraska. The southern belle was a very good player but the Nebraska player was more experienced with awesome credentials. Not being used to the humidity, the Nebraska player had a difficult task on her hands of not only competing against her opponent but having difficulty handling the heat. The Nebraska player was so miserable in the heat that she had to shorten the rallies and committed too many unforced errors. The southern belle came out with a victory over a high quality opponent....
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Chuck Cavin

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Fun turkey day jog......
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There must have been 60+ deer stands manned with hunter orange clad outdoorsmen within a 20 mile radius of Kearney, Nebraska, facing south towards some wooded lowlands; campers were everywhere.......
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Lunched at Mi Tierra, strolled down the beautiful San Antonio Riverwalk, and browsed Ansel Adams' outdoor photography exhibit at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.... Last year, I visited the South Beach sea walk in late fall and when I come back to the great Riverwalk, I realize that South Beach is just an advertising hoax...Also, it is truly amazing what Ansel Adams did with primitive equipment that is very seldom matched by professionals using modern day photography equipment...

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Chuck Cavin

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Another great Gaither song....
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