Biography Forthcoming

(27 JANUARY 2018, Clearwater, Florida) Terry Hitchcock, known in some circles as “the REAL Forrest Gump,” is a man who did the impossible: run the distance of 75 marathons in 75 days… after he had a heart attack while in training… after he had found a way to raise three children and juggle a thriving business career single-handed… after his wife died of cancer… and after he’d come to the end of his wits.

This quiet, gentle man believed his grandfather’s words, “Nothing is impossible.”  One result was this book. The news-media attention he garnered for the plight of single parents everywhere was astounding. His run was captured in a documentary film, MY RUN, narrated by Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton, and directed and produced by Tim VandeSteeg. The film won top honors in 11 of the 15 film festivals where it was shown, as well as the coveted Dove Award. Terry’s book, A Father’s Odyssey, became a best-seller in 27 countries, as well as winner of the DOVE Award.

A feature film about Terry, PUSHING LIFE, is slated to release late in 2018, along with Terry’s official, authorized biography now in progress, Living Beyond Impossible.

Learn more about Terry and his amazing life and accomplishments by visiting Terry Hitchcock’s personal web site. Prepare yourself for the forthcoming film and biography book – both could be the feel-good stories of 2018-2019!  BUY and READ Terry’s fascinating book.

© 2018 by Ronald Joseph Kule. Reserved.

http://terryhitchcock.wixsite.com/personalsite

The Dove-Award-winning, best-selling book that chronicles this man’s amzing run from Twin Cities to Atlanta, Georgia in the name of single-parenting, bringing attention to how hard it can be.

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Three Ways to Win at Sports and Living

 the thought never crossed my mind…

… that is, until the day someone asked me about the three ways to win in sports and living.

One Sunny Afternoon…

Up to that sunny afternoon when I was in high school, I just did whatever I did without questioning how I did it. As a young tyke I lay in my crib and waited for my body to get older and larger. In my first grade-school years, I tried out for school musicals, because they seemed like something fun to do.  That I somehow won the lead roles every time was, to me, something that just happened out of my control. I never wondered why. On my first-ever football team, I got the positions that I liked playing, including “roving linebacker” (a.k.a., Monster Man) on defense and quarterback on offense. From the first position I outwitted opposing QB’s; from the latter I outwitted deep safeties with accurate passes to outstretched fingers flying past them. And therein lay my forthcoming trouble: my unerring accuracy. I could even throw left-handed more strikes than balls from Little League Baseball mounds than most of my young peers. I never gave it a thought or wondered WHY… until that fateful afternoon and question. “What was the question?” you ask. Simply this: “How come you can throw touchdowns so accurately?” I recall that it was a friend who asked me, but I cannot remember his name. A lot has changed over the years I’ve aged, including recalling certain details, like the names of my high-school chums and teammates. Sorry about that, boys.

bristol high football field

Bristol High’s gridiron

I remember that I was suited up before a game in Bristol, PA. I was tossing the ball back and forth with a teammate to warm up my arm. My helmet was on the ground, and the hot sun and gentle breeze in the air warmed the top of my head. The heat tingled through my flat-top, crew-cut hair. My first quick response to the question was, “Well, I just see the fingertips, that’s all.” That didn’t satisfy my inquirer. “Yeah, but… what do you mean you ‘see’ their fingertips?” I didn’t tell him what I looked at in my mind’s eye right then, but I was sure looking at a mental picture of my last receiving touchdown player’s fingertips! In fact, that was all I saw: just his fingertips! “I dunno. I just see the fingers and I throw the ball to them,” I said. My inquisitor shook his head, turned and walked away, muttering to himself, “There’s got to be more than that to it.” The matter wasn’t over for me by a long shot. He had opened up a question that now required an answer from within. He did not know it then, but he had changed my life forever. Sitting down on the bleachers, I re-ran my last few touchdown throws past my closed eyes. In every instance, all I saw were the fingers. Close up. More curious, I realized that all I remembered were the hands and fingertips — no peripherals of the rest of the playing field, the stands on either sides of the gridiron, the school building behind the home side, the railroad tracks and US Highway One beyond them on the visitor’s side. There were no goalposts. Only outstretched hands and fingertips, and my thrown football landing in the open palms. All close ups. I had never wondered about this and I had never thought about these things before. Now I was curious: how can this be? Why only the fingertips and why so close-up?

Average Build

fingertip catch As players go I was not above average, meaning I was only six feet tall, weighed about 176 pounds. Lanky, yet able to take a hit — or dish them out as mentioned before. I was also aware that I was fast mentally. I knew I could outwit opponents and throw footballs accurately. I called my plays that kept the other teams off-balance. I already knew all of this, but I didn’t really know WHY I was so accurate.

Childhood Memories

Looking back over my childhood, I next recalled, in a matter of seconds, a few instances which displayed this accuracy. There was the time that a bully hit me in the jaw, and I didn’t flinch. I did, however, express my anger eye-to-eye, focused like a power drill, and that caused him to turn on a dime and run away screaming in fear. Then, too, there was the time my older brother nagged me too long and too much, and I felled him with one, very accurate and forceful blow to his solar plexus. (Later, after witnessing a bullfight in Colombia, I likened my drop-over, brotherly “kill” to the accuracy of the matador who passed his sword so cleanly into one bull’s spinal cord that the heaving animal’s body went airborne instantly and fell over right on the spot. Motionless, he dropped at his killer’s feet. The matador was awarded an ear and a tail that day, and I remember thinking that someone should award me for dropping my brother similarly… at least, in spirit. My most memorable hit, however, which probably amazed me more than my siblings and friends present at the time, involved another bully in the neighborhood where we grew up. Behind our house a patch of trees and swamp-like ground that we dubbed “The Woods” was our playground. When Mom told us kids to go outside and play, she admonished us to “got play in ‘The Woods’ but not too far so I can call you for dinner.” We, therefore, spent most of our summertime days in The Woods. My day of astounding accuracy also took place in those woods. The group of us were walking near the stream that ran the length of the wooded area. Suddenly, a stone came out of nowhere and hit one of us, not me. My sister started crying, and my brother wanted to rush the kid who was trying to hide behind a tree trunk about 40 yards away. With my target in sight — did I mention there was a “Y” split in the tree trunk, about waist high? — I yelled at my brother as I stooped to pick up the nearest rock I could find, “Don’t worry, Chris, I’ll take care of this!” The stone I found was rounded and flat – the kind that was perfect for skipping on a calm pond’s glass-like water surface at least 13 times before it sank – and it fit into the natural curve between my left forefinger and my thumb as if it were designed precisely for this moment. I leaned back and came forward like a pitcher on the mound and, with one swift sweep of my arm, let the hard missile fly toward the tree and the body standing and watching us from inside the Y. My throw met its target squarely in the center of his forehead between the two trunks on either side. He cried out in pain and ran away. While my siblings and friends cheered the event I stood in silence, utterly amazed at what I had done. The odds were against anyone making that shot, but I had done it with pure intention. To this day, that throw remains one of the most triumphant moments of my childhood.

Back to Reality

Sitting on the Bristol High stadium bleacher, this is what I remembered and looked at, thinking in the back of my mind that maybe there was something unusual about my accuracy, after all. “How come you can throw touchdowns so well?” the kid had asked me. “Because I see the fingertips,” I had answered.  WHY had I said that?

BANG… And Then It Hit Me!

Then it hit me! I saw fingertips alright, but they were always CLOSE UPS! Even the guy’s body, his face in the Y of the tree, was vividly recorded in my mind as a CLOSE UP! How could that be? I asked myself. And the answer astounded me: I was out of my body in every instance, seeing my targets up close and throwing to the location of my intended targets! Suddenly, the rest also made sense to me. Why I hit that kid in the face: I was throwing to get even for the defense of my family members, and NOTHING would stop me. Why I threw out Little League batters: I threw to a catcher’s mitt which was large and right in front of me. I wanted to strike batters out. Why I felled my brother and scared off a bully: my attention was focused as sharply as a laser beam. And why I could “see” my receivers’ fingertips over the outstretched arms and hands of menacing defensive players taller and larger than I: I was THERE at the location of my intended target… every time! And I had three common factors that helped me:

  1. my FOCUS.
  2. my PURPOSE
  3. my INTENTION

I had been out of my body. And, given that realization, from that moment forward I have been aware that not only am I, but everyone else, is not a body. I am a spiritual being operating a body, just like the rest of us. And, upon further study, I’ve found out that I’m not alone in that conviction.

“You don’t have a soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body.” — C. S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia.

spiritual beings

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French Jesuit priest and mystic philosopher.

Like I said, I had never thought about it before. The thought never crossed my mind.

© 2014 by Ronald Joseph Kule and KuleBooks LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

South Carolina Gamecocks Baseball History Book

Against the context of our nation’s and South Carolina’s struggles to attain assured freedoms of equality and choice co-authors J David Miller and Ronald Joseph Kule chronicle the rise of one of college baseball’s best-known programs, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.

cover 2Beginning with a brief history of the game of baseball itself, the narrative picks up the “Fighting Gamecocks” baseball program at its austere beginning in 1892. It then rumbles through a briar patch made without uniforms or gloves and no set number of players on the field — then a square field, not a diamond. What followed for decades was a musical-chairs switching of several part-time coaches, including more than one football coach wearing two hats!

When award-winning football coach (the late) Paul Dietzel, acting as Athletics Director, makes the crucial decision to bring in the retiring Hall of Fame Yankee Bobby Richardson as the university’s first full-time baseball coach — albeit without his having any previous coaching experience — he sends a signal flare of commitment to excellence over a campus without such a tradition. The result is  a long string of winning seasons. 

The String Continues…

Richardson moves on after seven seasons, but then his groomed protege, June Raines, takes over and nearly wins the coveted baseball national championship that his mentor sought in his time at the helm. Raines moves over for a newly acquired, North Carolina native, Ray Tanner, who eventually does lead the Gamecocks to back-to-back NCAA College Baseball World Series championships in 2010 and 2011.

The book’s progression from the early days of ignominy through the growing pains and turnstile rotations of personnel and players, as well as their struggles, hopes, and dreams — some fulfilled and some dashed forever, plays out its lines with meticulously researched and magnificent text. Full-color action photos add to the tale of this timeless story.

A Book for All Ages…

Miller and Kule designed their book for both older and younger generations of past and up and coming baseball fans who love the game at any level. In their work we find that the lessons of baseball as played by the Gamecocks, turn out to be the life lessons that help everyone face each day on and off their own playing fields, making Pressure Makes Diamonds a Timeless Tale of America’s Greatest Pastime a to-be-cherished asset suitable not only for Gamecock Nation bookshelves, but also those of sports fans dedicated to any other school.

NOTE WELL: The eBook edition is available through Amazon.com. The hard-copy, real baseball leather-covered, Limited-Edition version, entitled Carolina Baseball: Pressure Makes Diamonds, may be purchased through The Ray Tanner Foundation. These books are numbered and are only available until supplies run out.

Miracle League™ Ballparks…

Miracle League Collage

Ask the authors about volume-purchase prices for the Limited Edition version. All purchases of either the eBook or Limited Editions contribute to the funding and building of a Miracle League ballpark in Columbia, South Carolina. Miracle League fields permit children with physical challenges to play baseball for the first time and the rest of their lives. Contact the authors by email through KuleBooksLLC@gmail.com by writing “Miracle League” in the subject line.

© 2014 KuleBooks LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Carolina Baseball Book Embraces Gamecocks History

Guest blogger J. David Miller writes today’s post about two editions of an acclaimed baseball book:

“South Carolina Gamecocks Athletic Director Ray Tanner (formerly Carolina’s baseball head coach) believes in miracles. Not only from the late-inning heroics that were staples of his national championship baseball teams — but also for every kid who ever dreamed of playing America’s pastime, regardless of physical handicaps.

“Tanner brought together award-winning author J. David Miller and his co-author Ronald Joseph Kule to write Carolina Baseball: Pressure Makes Diamonds, in limited leather-bound edition, so that proceeds could be used to build a Miracle League Field™ in Columbia, S.C.

“‘It’s hardly just the wins and the losses, the struggles or victories of what we’ve done here in Columbia,’ says Tanner, ‘It’s about children who we believe deserve to have an opportunity to enjoy the pastime that has changed all of our lives.’

“Tanner wrote the foreword to the critically acclaimed Pressure Makes Diamonds. The book is a comprehensive, university-authorized journey through the Gamecocks’ storied 119-year baseball history, culminating with their 2010-2011 national championships. Hundreds of full-color photos preserve Carolina’s revered memories and bring the games back to life.

“There are thousands of children with disabilities who live within driving distance of Columbia, most not able to participate in team sports. They are the driving force behind Tanner’s goal to build a unique baseball complex as close to sparkling Carolina Stadium as possible. His vision will become one of numerous Miracle League Fields around the nation, and the only one of its kind in the state of South Carolina.

“NBC, ABC’s Connecting With Kids, FOX, and HBO’s Real Sports have chronicled the success of the Miracle League. There are 240 Miracle League Organizations across the country, as well as Puerto Rico, Canada and Australia. The Miracle League currently serves over 200,000 children and young adults with disabilities.”

Copies of the Limited Edition — a great gift for people who wish not only to present someone with a beautiful book, but also to help build a Miracle League field in Columbia, S.C. — are yet available in limited quantity. For those who prefer gifts for Kindles and Nooks, there is the eBook edition.

A generous portion of proceeds from each book and eBook purchase goes to The Ray Tanner Foundation to help fund and build a Miracle League ballpark in Columbia, S.C. Your purchase today will make a significant difference in the lives of many children for years to come.

For more information about this book, and other books by Ronald Joseph Kule, go to http://kulebooks.myshopify.com/products/pressure-makes-diamonds-a-timeless-tale-of-america-s-greatest-pastime

Famed University of South Carolina Football Coach Paul Dietzel Passes

Sadly, we report that the “Dietzel-powered Engine” has gone silent today. Famed head football coach and Athletic Director Paul Dietzel passed away today. Were it not for his bright idea to bring in Yankee star Bobby Richardson to helm the University of South Carolina Gamecocks baseball team as head coach, making him an offer that could not be refused, the fortunes of Gamecocks baseball might have continued on its mediocre path. Once Richardson became the university’s first full-time head baseball coach, the destiny of the program was placed on a path that led directly to back-to-back national championships in 2011 and 2011.

Our heartfelt condolences go to Paul Dietzel’s surviving family members.

Coach Dietzel graciously shared with us arguably the most pivotal decision and moment in the Gamecocks’ baseball history. — Co-authors J. David Miller and Ron Kule, Pressure Makes Diamonds A Timeless Tale of America’s Greatest Pastime.

 

© 2013 by J. David Miller and Ronald Joseph Kule. Reserved.

 

The Lessons of One Man: the Lessons of Champions

There once was a hungry German boy who wanted to one day be one of the best chefs in the world. He studied hard, underwent a difficult apprenticeship (“In Germany they let you make mistakes once, and then they kick you where it hurts.”). He then worked in different kitchens where he ducked food, thrown plates and, at times, knives, until he got better, earned the respect of his mentors and a Gold Medal for his team in the German Cooking Olympics, the same year Germany named him “Chef of the Year.”

New Book Available Now

New book available now at retail outlets and online (pre-release). Release date Sept. 1, 2013

Eventually, he made it to America, even became a prestigious Executive Chef at one of the best hotels of his time in Philadelphia, The Barclay. However, after clashes with a wasteful manager, he moved on to another corporation, which deliberately delayed his German work-visa papers — they were paying him less than he was worth, until he found out.

Because of his earlier preparations and constant study and practice of his craft, when Lady Luck or Serendipity came calling, he was ready. He was given the opportunity to perform a small cooking segment for a local TV show.

The switchboard lit up: half the people complained they could not understand his accent; the other half said they loved him. Within months almost 40 million people across America watched him cook and teach them how to cook delicious foods. No chef to that time had ever done that on syndicated television, which was new.

Privately, people continued to love or hate him, but he ignored the haters. Instead, he studied his craft, practiced his skills (He could prep an entire carcass in under twenty minutes… he was the “fastest chef with knives in the West,” which he demonstrated on LIVE! with Regis & Kathie Lee, but you didn’t want to stand too close as the stainless steel blades flashed!) and took on more responsibilities: eventually running five restaurants, teaching regular, local cooking classes in person, taping more TV show segments, performing live in convention halls, Womens Shows venues and on numerous television shows as a guest chef.

Through it all, this chef woke up each day at 5:00 A.M. and did daily food-prep work until 11:00 A.M., so when his team cooked lunches and dinners, they were always prepared, always ready, always ahead of their game.

The moral of this story? Constant living within his dream, constant daily preparation, constant learning of new things about his game, constant practice… leads to fame, fortune, prestigious awards and lasting recognition. As America’s pioneer TV showman chef, one of the best chefs in the world, the lessons of “Chef Tell” Erhardt’s lifetime are the lessons of would-be national champions in any field.

© 2013 by Ronald Joseph Kule and KuleBooks LLC. All Rights Reserved.

A Coach’s Dilemma … Or Is It?

A coach I know took his first-year, semi-pro football team to a national championship game where they lost by less than a handful of points. Disappointed, the team players and coaches resolved that night to get back those points and win the championship in the next season.  To a man, they agreed on the goal.

A month later, the head coach found he must choose between that goal and another, far more important one: he must decide  — now that information that some of his players do drugs in their private lives, spilled onto his desk — between drug testing his players and coaches, or saying nothing.  Should he let the season unfold and hope for the best?  Should he inform authorities?  Should he call a meeting, blast his players and risk losing his core team?

This coach’s dilemma magnifies life.  A coach leads not only his life, as each of us does, but also the lives of every member of his team, their families and fans. Coaching comes with awesome responsibility:  what happens on and off the field not only weighs heavily on the outcome of the games, but also on the outcome of the lives of many people, good and bad.

Good coaches never remain focused solely within the lines.

Questions of how to reveal the situation to all of the players, who to trust, and what will be the result, rumbled through the coach’s head.  Until he reached out and told someone else, asked others for advice and got other viewpoints, the situation remained a wrestling match of one.  The repercussions of his actions — right or wrong — would either decimate his team and talent pool or bring new, clean-handed talents with better championship qualities and greater potential.

Here’s what the coach did:

The head coach reaches out.  He speaks with other trusted, professional coaches, whom he knows and admires.  He listens to their advice and reminders that he alone must choose for his team.  And then he decides.

After all of the advice, the sharing of his concerns with family, coaches and close friends, he gets down on his knees and he prays.   The answer comes quietly: do what is the greatest good for the lives of the players, their families and fans. He stands up and knows the nature of his mission forward.

***

(Football is a game, so is the game of living; one is temporal, the other eternal.  All games have rules, winners and losers. All games involve choices. Football players must play within the rules on the field, but they are not going to step off the playing field of living, and so must choose to play within the rules of living, too.)

In the end, what to do about the situation and how to do it was clear to the coach, if uneasy.  He  ordered drug-testing for all players, starting with the coaches.

The fallout is unknown.  The new season is right around the corner.  It’s going to be interesting.

© 2012 by KuleBooks LLC. Reserved.