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James Donaldson on Mental Health

I wanted to take a moment, to express my thanks and gratitude for such an outpouring of love and support and understanding for what I’ve been going through the last several months. Friends that I’ve had for 30+ years, who had no idea what was happening to me, reached out from around the country as well as so many of my social media “friends”. I consider you all friends and personally connected to you, so I say thank you very much.

These challenges I’ve been going through, are very serious. My hope is that with me speaking out of my own personal issues, that people can see that this kind of thing can happen to anybody, and at any point in one’s life. Mine happened to be, financial, personal relationships, medical health and finally drove me to the point of being in a very deep, dark and scary place, where I was even contemplating suicide. Even now the thoughts come to my mind from time to time, but the good news is, they are usually just a “fleeting thought” that doesn’t stay with me for hours on end or keep me up at night.

I am hoping to create a platform where I can get out there and speak, especially to our younger generation, and to give them a sense of “hope”, and encourage them to reach out for help from medical professionals, and form a tight circle of intimate friends, who will be there for them throughout. That’s exactly what I did.

Getting involved with abusing substances, such as drugs, alcohol, prescription medications, promiscuous behaviors, will only make the situation worse, so we all need to try her best to stay away from those things.

Also, my hope is to reach out to our “men, and young men and boys” to get them to be in touch with their feelings, and to feel more comfortable speaking up and speaking out, and reaching out to the help that is around them. So many of us, especially from my field of competitive athletics, learn never to show vulnerabilities or weaknesses, never to cry, never to complain, never to show that you are injured and/or that you need help. It’s a very big burden for men and boys to carry, so we have to learn to do better in order for us to be better. Women and girls have more of an innate ability to reach out to each other, cry on each other’s shoulders, and receive support.

Anyway, I wanted to give you a quick update of where I am, and that this is a day by day process that I am working through. With my IRS issues, and having to close down my business suddenly, I am now totally financially upside down, struggling even to pay utility bills and the basic necessities. I do receive my NBA pension monthly, but it is only enough to pay the total amount towards my mortgage to keep it current. So, I want to “make an ask” to any of you out there, who can see your way to helping me in any way you can.

My plan at this point is to go on a speaking circuit, talking about mental health challenges, especially to our school-age children, athletic teams and business groups around the country. Of course, these will be paid opportunities, so hopefully, within a couple of months or so, I can start generating revenue again and keep things current. So any help would be appreciated.

Thank you so much, I just wanted to give everyone an update since I received such an overwhelming, positive response to my article that I posted on social media last week.

Let’s keep being there for each other, and remember that beneath the smiles and the “altogether” outer persona of even the person next to you, you can bet, that most likely, they are “going through something”. Be sure to be a friend to them, and to be there for them.

All the best,

James Donaldson

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Turning the Page After Struggles – 16 Year NBA Vet James Donaldson Wants To Help Young Athletes Shed Mental Health Stigma

Turning the Page: After struggles, 16-year NBA vet James Donaldson wants to help young athletes shed mental health stigma

By Art Thiel

Prone upon an overmatched bed, 7-foot-2 James Donaldson was affixed with tubes and monitor patches when Lenny Wilkens walked into the room at Swedish Hospital’s intensive care unit. The former Sonics star player and championship coach, who gave Donaldson his first pro basketball job in 1980, spawning a 16-year NBA career that included an All-Star Game selection, was shocked.

“He seemed to recognize me,” Wilkens says, sounding a little shaken. “But he couldn’t speak.”

That was January 2015. Donaldson can speak now passionately, supplemented often by a dazzling smile that these days offers a fragile counterpoint to the melancholy.

At 60, he can do many things. There’s one thing he can’t do: Forget.

Eleven-and-a-half hours of emergency heart surgery was followed by a week in a medically induced coma to prevent swelling in the brain. He spent two months in intensive care, followed by more months of arduous physical and emotional rehab.

For a 35-year vegetarian – never a smoker, drinker or drugger – who stayed fit after his playing career ended in Europe in the late 1990s, his physical travail left him bewildered and despairing.

“At the time, the doctors said they were worried about paralysis, a vegetative state, strokes, all kinds of things,” he says. “On that line between life and death, I was right there.”

As Donaldson struggled to regain his physical vitality, other matters closed in.

By 2017, an IRS audit revealed he owed back taxes. A woman and her 9-year-old son, with whom he had a long-term relationship, walked away, with no further contact. His business, the Donaldson Clinic, a physical therapy practice begun in 1989 that grew to three Seattle-area locations, faltered. In February 2018, the original office in Mill Creek was shuttered.

Donaldson lives alone in a big house in Magnolia. Late last year, the “alone” part was getting to him.

“One thing after another,” he says. “Around Thanksgiving, I was really having trouble sleeping through the night. I didn’t want to face these things. When I’d wake up in the middle of the night, I’d have a lot of dark, scary, negative thoughts.

“Including suicide.”

A man who seemed to have managed the perilous transition from the celebrity-athlete life to a productive civilian life – he even ran for mayor of Seattle in 2009, finishing fourth in an eight-candidate field with more than 8,000 votes – was on the precipice.

Late in 2017, after several days of disrupted sleep, Donaldson called his family doctor, thinking he would be prescribed sleep medication. Instead, the doctor asked hard questions about the severity of his depression and his suicidal thoughts.

“He pressed me, asking how I would do it,” Donaldson says. He doesn’t own a gun, nor does he have drugs or alcohol in the house. He did say that every time he drives into his garage, he sees exposed rafters and a coiled rope.

“Been there for years,” Donaldson says. “I told him, ‘I guess that’s one way.’ He told me, ‘Because you came up with that, you have a problem. You really need to work with us, and we’ll get you through.’”

As we talked quietly in a coffee shop, the big man’s eyes filled with tears. He excused himself to the restroom.

James Donaldson returned to Seattle’s  Swedish Hospital for a checkup in 2017. (Photo courtesy James Donaldson)

‘He should have died that day’

An aortic dissection is a vascular disorder that occurs when the inner layer of the aorta, the large blood vessel branching off the heart, tears, and blood surges through the opening, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to separate, or dissect.

It’s a rare condition, often genetic, and occurs a little more often in tall people. If it ruptures, death is usually swift.

As he met up at Seattle’s Interbay golf course with friends for a round, he wasn’t feeling right, even though he recently passed his annual physical exam. Sweaty, nauseous and experiencing sharp back pain, he excused himself from the group and managed to drive himself to his doctor’s office at Ballard Swedish.

“I remember making it to his office, seeing the reception desk, and then everything went black,” Donaldson says. “I don’t remember anything thereafter for five or six days.”

Dr. Peter Casterella is an interventional cardiologist (stents and angioplasty) at Swedish Hospital on Capitol Hill. He was on duty when Donaldson was wheeled into the operating room. His job was to get Donaldson’s blood pressure under control.

“By all means, he should have died on the day it occurred,” Casterella says.

Thanks to the swift, intense work by Dr. Samuel Youseff and the cardiology team at Swedish, Donaldson survived the aortic dissection. The physical recovery was slow – he was later diagnosed with sleep apnea – yet the psychological consequences are often harder to remedy.

“What happens to people who survive things like this, is there’s a loss of part of themselves; they know they’ll never be the same again,” Casterella says. “There’s a tremendous sense of guilt: ‘I should be grateful for all these people who helped me, but all I feel is sad and depressed. And I feel guilty about that.’

“It’s very normal for people who survive a life-threatening illness. This is part of what happens to people who adjust to what the consequences are.”

Apart from health matters, other consequences kept piling up in his mind. While bedridden, Donaldson talked about what he called a “premonition.” Casterella said it was a not unusual reaction to a near-death experience.

Donaldson described a mental image that had him looking down at himself as he flipped through pages of a photograph album.

“I’m looking at all the great things I’d done in my life to that point – friends, family activities,” he says. “Then I turn the page, and it’s totally black. At that point, I knew I was gone. I knew I wasn’t going to make it.”

Donaldson said he heard a voice he chose to call God’s. The voice told him to have faith and turn the next page. He did. The page was black.

“So I’m starting to argue with God,” he says. “I’m saying, ‘Wait a minute. I’ve taken care of myself. I’ve always tried to do the right things. I’m only 57. What happened? I thought I’d be 85 or 95. My dad is 92 and still going.’

“God said, ‘James, I told you, have faith. Turn the page.’ I turned it. It, too, was black. I knew I was gone then.”

Donaldson paused, teared up, and resumed his story.

“It was so real. I was fighting, and at the same time I was at peace. If God was calling me away, I was totally OK with that. But I was fighting.

“Again, I heard God’s voice: ‘I told you, James, have faith. Turn the other page.’ I didn’t want to do it, you know? But somehow, I turned the next page. It, too, was black.

“But after a few seconds, some faint images started appearing. Pictures of me, of friends … It started becoming more vibrant, real. Like regular photos. I knew at that point I’d be OK.

“That was a tough thing. Real tough.’”

Some help from his friends

Quarterback Jack Thompson was a freshman at Washington State in the fall of 1976 when another freshman – “so tall and soooo skinny” – walked into the Cougars weight room after a prep hoops career in Sacramento.

“I remember thinking, (coach) George Raveling must see a lot in this guy,” says Thompson, who as the ‘Throwin’ Samoan” became one of the greatest sports figures in WSU history. “But skinny as he was, nobody outworked James Donaldson.

“By the time I left Pullman, he had totally changed his physique. When I saw him in the NBA, I said, ‘Wow.’ He made himself indispensable.”

Circumstances now force upon Donaldson another transformation. He’s had to learn to reach out and ask for help, a tough chore for many men who pride themselves on self-reliance.

Raveling, the bombastic Cougars hoops coach from 1972 to 1983, who later coached at Iowa and USC before becoming a global marketing director for Nike, predicted the change won’t be easy.

“James by nature was not a gregarious person,” says Raveling, 80, by phone from his Los Angeles home. “Even when he played for me he was an introvert, tending to keep things to himself.

“James has always had a wealth of potential … and his intellectual skills are much richer than he realizes. He quickly understood what he didn’t know and was coachable, teachable and a hard worker. Those are three fundamental skills that escalate growth.

“Now he needs to remember those things and reinvent himself.”

Raveling, Thompson and Wilkens are in a circle of people Donaldson has connected with in an effort to help him navigate the setbacks following the surgery.

“It saddens me to see what’s happened,” Thompson says. “He’s one of the more cerebral athletes I’ve been around. Yet he had a string of things happen to him, and he mentioned his thoughts about suicide.

“When we last spoke, he was heading in a different direction and said he had a better handle on things. He values his friendships, and it’s important that we be there for him.”

Under a doctor’s care, and with anti-anxiety medications, Donaldson’s enlistment of friends made a difference over the holidays.

“Even though I’m not gregarious, I’ve always treasured friendships,” he says. “It was natural for me to reach out to them for more than surface talks. I turned to them and the medical professionals, and they were there for me.

“They asked what they can do. I said, ‘Maybe you could just call occasionally and check in on me. I live a life where people call on me wanting something. How about just calling me and seeing how my day is going? Check in to make sure I’m not going through anything too heavy.’

“They’ve all responded: ‘We’ll be there, even at two in the morning.’ I was sending out distress text messages, obviously crying out for help. That helped me get through. My friends made me realize they will miss me.

“When I was in the midst of that, I really did not think anyone would miss me.”

After the holidays, another test for Donaldson: the Jan. 16 suicide of Washington State junior quarterback Tyler Hilinski.

The inexplicable hits home

Shock over the death of a popular 21-year-old seemingly at the apex of college life still lingers in the Palouse, partly because the motives behind self-inflicted gunshot were neither foreseen, nor subsequently explained. Mental health issues can be diabolical that way.

Even though he never met his fellow Coug almost two generations younger, Donaldson had no shortage of empathy.

“I was feeling better, but Tyler’s situation brought back some things,” he says. “I was just imagining a 21-year-old with so much ahead of him, and I’m in the fourth quarter. He thought he had no one to talk to.

“It’s a lot of pressure. Friends and family think he’s a big star. Who understands that better than a former athlete?”

Hilinski was set to succeed Luke Falk, the Pac-12 Conference’s all-time passing leader, in the fall. The two were close. Falk echoed Donaldson’s sentiments when he met reporters at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

“At times, we feel like we can’t express our emotions because we’re in a masculine sport,” Falk says. “Him being the quarterback, people look up to you as a leader and so he felt, probably, that he really couldn’t talk to anybody.

“So we’ve gotta change some of that stuff. We’ve gotta have resources and not have any more stigma about people going to them.”

The seemingly inexplicable suicide of a burgeoning college football star is part of a growing nationwide conversation about mental health among athletes. Even if it seems less so to some fans, athletes are no less susceptible to problems.

“People look at athletes and entertainers on the outside as having it all together,” Donaldson says. “On the inside, we can be as torn up as the next guy, or worse.”

As much as colleges and pro sports franchises invest in the physical welfare of athletes, there is not the same the commitment to psychological well-being, especially at a young age. Sports, it seems, are so much about the here and now.

“Most college and pro athletes don’t have a personal development strategy,” Raveling says. “They walk suddenly into a life full of money and people tugging on them. They put all their energy into the present, not the future. Many don’t think of the future, and of their mental well-being.”

But the social taboo, especially among men, against open discussion of mental health, seems to be changing.

In the middle of a personal-best season, Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan told the Toronto Star that he has been dealing for years with depression.

More intimately and expansively, another NBA All-Star, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, wrote a first-person essay on The Players’ Tribune. Love chronicled a panic attack he had during a Nov. 5 game. He described his bewilderment, his reluctance to seek counseling, then positive results after a successful series of sessions with a mental health therapist.

“If you’re suffering silently like I was, then you know how it can feel like nobody really gets it,” he wrote. “Partly, I want to do it for me, but mostly, I want to do it because people don’t talk about mental health enough. And men and boys are probably the farthest behind.

“I know it from experience. Growing up, you figure out really quickly how a boy is supposed to act. You learn what it takes to ‘be a man.’ It’s like a playbook: Be strong. Don’t talk about your feelings. Get through it on your own. So for 29 years of my life, I followed that playbook.”

Earlier this month, another Players’ Tribune first-person came from 13-year NBA veteran Keyon Dooling, who told of a trigger moment in a Seattle restaurant that evoked the horror of sexual abuse he experienced as a 7-year-old but kept hidden throughout his adult life.

The headline on Love’s story captured the truth: “Everyone is going through something.”

James Donaldson began his pro career in 1980 at the Seattle Coliseum, now KeyArena. (Photo credit: Alan Chitlik/Sportspress Northwest)

A way forward

The morning after learning of Hilinski’s suicide, Donaldson woke with an urge to tell the story of his own struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. He wanted to help re-write the playbook Love mentioned.

“Something was tugging at me,” he says. “Tyler can’t tell his story, and telling his story is nothing I want to try to do. But his death motivated me to make sure my support was around me – friends, doctors, medications – everything I needed to fight back from a very dark place.”

A longtime member of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle’s Central District, Donaldson recalled the words of Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney, who pastored the church for 43 years until his death April 7.

“I remember him saying, ‘Even if you think you’ve gone through life mostly problem-free with few challenges, just keep on living,’” Donaldson says. “Sooner or later, something will hit you – part of the great challenge of a long life. He lived a great one, but at the end he was 91 and in a wheelchair, housebound.

“We all will face issues that are mentally devastating.”

Donaldson has found reward in purposefully sharing his story among people he knows best: athletes, whom he also knows are among the least likely to seek help.

In February, he was re-elected to a three-year term as a member of the board of directors of the NBA Retired Players Association, where he is pursuing mental health initiatives with the NBA.

He also is CEO of a startup business called Athletes Playbook, a mentorship program made up of veteran athletes helping younger ones. Focusing on scholarships, life mentoring and degree completion, the website says, “Our community of former professional athletes will provide a playbook for athletes, parents and coaches for high achievement in sports and life.”

The subscription-based business seeks to develop connections with students, coaches, high schools and colleges that need help reaching athletes reluctant to talk about their anxieties as well as their aspirations.

The concept has led to conversations with athletic department officials at Washington State and the University of Washington about creating a non-clinical program to help break down the isolation some athletes feel in big-time programs.

“Mental health for student-athletes is my new advocacy,” he says. We’re trying to find out what a program looks like, and try to create a model. The long-term hope is to do it with more schools.”

The discussion and the potential ways to help have done wonders for Donaldson’s own outlook.

“I’ve gone from a place of hopelessness and despair to a place of hope,” he says. “It’s night and day. There are opportunities ahead. I’m striving for things, making new friends. I have a reason to get up and live. A few months ago, I had none of that.”

He intends to be honest with young athletes. Progress, he will say, is often not steady. For older athletes he meets via the Retired Players Association, he is also honest about managing later-life stages, when body and mind don’t respond as they once did.

Donaldson was hospitalized last week for a heart irregularity. His medications were adjusted, and he is back home, ever more mindful.

“Most of my days are good, but there’s the occasional one …” he says. “On a recent Friday, on the end of a long week, I was exhausted. I suddenly wanted to end it all. How I keep reverting to that, I don’t know. I still have a little sense of impending doom.

“We know to expect the physical changes. But managing the mental part of the changes is a hard thing. That is where I hope to help.”

Donaldson doesn’t have all the answers, but he’s joined those who are breaking through the shame surrounding mental health in sports. He is no longer alone. With help, he keeps turning the page.

Art Thiel was a longtime sports columnist at the late Post-Intelligencer in Seattle. He co-founded Sportspress Northwest, a digital daily news and commentary site that chronicles the Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders and University of Washington sports. He recalls when George Karl and Gary Payton stopped arguing long enough to produce splendid springs of playoff basketball. Follow him on Twitter @Art_Thiel.

(Top photo: Nancy Hogue/Sporting News via Getty Images.)

©2018 The Athletic Media Company. All rights reserved.
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James Donaldson’s Book Review: Planet Carnivore: Why Cheap Meat Costs the Earth? by Alex Renton

I’ve been a vegetarian for over 35 years, and this book falls right into the areas that I have so diligently studied, which give me the reasons for becoming a vegetarian in the first place. Animal exploitation, pain-and-suffering, disease, overcrowded conditions, hormones/insecticides/pesticides, impact on human health, environmental concerns, greenhouse warming, carbon footprints, and so many other reasons.

To start with, I’ve always been an animal lover, and have had a great deal of compassion for all of them, especially the mammalian species, but I’ve learned to care about fish and scaly reptiles as well. After all, they all have a central nervous system, and can feel pain, and can become visibly agitated when harm is about to happen to them.

I was a vegetarian even when I was playing professional basketball in the NBA. I think that was a big reason for my longevity of 20 years of professional basketball, holding up exceedingly well, no arthritic pain even at 60 years of age, and other than a genetic condition with the aorta of my heart, I have been in tip top physical shape and continue to be. I think a lot of it has to do with a vegetarian lifestyle. I get compliments all the time that I don’t look as if I am 60 years of age, nor act like it because I have an abundance of energy and a positive demeanor.

Anyway, back to the book, this book is full of information ranging the whole gamut of the high price that we are paying towards the conditions we are creating on earth, for the nearly 60 billion animals that are alive today for our consumption in the near future. Just the cost of setting aside nearly 60% of the land available on earth, for raising animals and the food to feed them, is a tremendous price to pay in itself.

Even if we were able to cut back on our meat consumption one or two days a week, would be a great step in the right direction. And, I think our overall levels of health would improve as well, seeing that over 2/3rds of all Americans currently are considered “obese”.

Check out this book, and even if it doesn’t cause you to make any lifestyle changes, it would at least give you information and a sneak peek into the future, of the impact we will continue to make on our environment and the planet that we inhabit.

Excellent book!

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James Donaldson’s Book Review: Catastrophe: The Story of Bernard L. Madoff – The Man Who Swindled the World by Deborah Strober

A fantastic recounting of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme that was orchestrated by Bernie Madoff, throughout about 25 years or so.

It all came crashing down during the Wall Street and financial meltdown of 2008 – 2009.

Madoff, was a respected Wall Street financier, fund manager and former chairman of NASDAQ. Even though he often had “hard to believe” return on investment numbers for his investors, which raise the eyebrows of several folks who know better, that this possibly could not be true. Especially year after year after year.

Madoff was so well respected though, that no one really thoroughly investigated him because of his sterling reputation, philanthropy, relationships with the Jewish community and sizable charitable contributions over the years.

I think what makes this story very riveting, is the fact that there were a lot of first-person interviews with people who actually were taken advantage of in the Ponzi scheme.

At the end, Madoff knew the gig was up and was frantically trying to parcel out some of his “ill-gotten” riches to family members and relatives. One thing that’s been hard to prove, is exactly who was involved and had knowledge of what was going on and who didn’t. Bernie had a large staff that worked on a whole floor of a financial building, and it seemed like either they all were complicit, or none of them had any idea what was going on. Perhaps, he just had a “second set of books” that he was able to show the investors and keep away from the staff who were busy day after day, compiling and creating fantastic financial reports.

What a great book! Especially if you followed this particular saga throughout the years. Madoff is currently going to be spending the rest of his life in prison, one of his sons committed suicide, and his other son and wife continue to raise suspicion and how much they knew about what was going on.

I know sometimes reading about finances boring, but this book is more than about numbers and finance, it’s about relationships, a well thought out, planned scheme that cheated investors out of approximately $50 billion. Who’s going to ask questions when things are going so well? That’s human nature. We just want more of it, until the gravy train runs out.

Great book, and highly recommended reading!

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James Donaldson’s Book Review: Why Are You Atheists So Angry? : 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless by Greta Christina

This is a little bit different of a type of book than what I typically read, being that I am still a “card-carrying Christian man of faith”, but I do notice the world around me, and I have noticed the influence of the church waning especially in today’s social climate. And also, in looking around the world at the different religions, for some reason or another, religions that are supposed to promote peace and love, are constantly at each other, with huge followings of people who don’t do a lot of “critical thinking”.

So, I wanted to read this book today about “Why Are You Atheists so Angry?” because I thought it would be very interesting to get another take and perspective on the world around me.

Overall, I thought this book was excellent in the way that the author, Greta Christina, puts forth arguments from the atheist point of view they can neither be “proved nor disproved” (arguments that either go beyond or stop short of scientific evidence anyway), and points out in the same vein, how a lot of the arguments for religion, can neither be “proved nor disproved” as well. There are still a lot of “creationist” among us, that continued to dispute the scientific evidence, even though virtually all the scientific community tends to agree on things such as the age of the universe, the age of the earth, when dinosaurs disappeared, the evolution of humans, and so many other things.

I like to consider myself as a fairly educated person, and so I do except scientific data and research (especially when it’s in a double-blind test study), so the older I get, and the more informed I become, the more reason I have to doubt the true reason for religion other than as a controlling mechanism over humanity, for nearly as long as we have been literate.

I don’t know, I still have a lot of “unanswered questions” myself, but I tend to lean towards the scientific findings and technology that we continue to rapidly advance, and until something comes about to disprove all of that, personally, that’s where I am.

The author, Greta Christina, starts at the opening chapter of her book, listing 99 reasons why atheists are so angry. That in itself is an eye-opener, because she (and atheist herself) and speaking for the atheist community, feel that religion has been the bane of society, coming about when very few people were literate, and we still can find her activities to the daylight hours, and things that went bump in the night, we attributed them to spirits, or to God, and how religion is been used as a very controlling mechanism over people who don’t know better, such as the uninformed, undereducated or children.

The author says that religion is implausible at best and ridiculous worse.

Chapter 8: The top 10 reasons the author doesn’t believe in God

–  The consistent replacement of supernatural occurrences of the world with natural/scientific ones

– The inconsistencies of world religions

– The weakness of religious arguments by their wrist, apologist etc.

– The increasing diminishment of God

– The physical causes of everything we think of as the soul

– The complete failure of any supernatural claim standing up to rigorous scientific testing-

– The slippery mess of religious and spiritual beliefs

– The failure of religion to improve or clarify overtime

– The complete lack of solid evidence for God’s existence

The author stresses the main point of her desire being that she hopes of religious people come to the conclusion that religion is just a hypothesis. The hypothesis of how and why the way the world works based on supernatural beliefs.

I present this book review, not to try to influence anybody one way or the other, but if you want to different perspectives then one that you typically hear or grew up with, listen to what the atheist community has to say about religion as well. People can be and will be, “good or bad, honest or evil” with or without religion. So that’s the question the atheist community is asking, what is the proper role, if there is any, for religion?

Enjoy a good read!

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James Donaldson’s Book Review Report: Game Over: Jerry Sandusky, Penn State and the Culture of Silence by Bill Moushey


What a fantastic book!

This was one of those “can’t put it down” type of books from the opening cover all the way to the end.

Author, Bill Moushey, does a fantastic job in giving us the idyllic setting of Happy Valley, PA, setting of the iconic college town of Penn State.

As a former collegiate and professional athlete myself, I am well aware of the “code of silence” (it happens in every institution be it police officers, firefighters, politics or church) that is often enacted to protect star athletes and winning coaches.  I agree that more people at Penn State knew what was going on than is acknowledged.  It happens.  This is big-time athletics with a lot of power, money, and prestige at stake.  Athletes and young people are just “pawns” in the games we play…. and that’s the shame of it all.

Athletics (especially) at the higher levels, is a very insulated and isolated world of fantasy and make-believe most of the time.

This book is very moving, and it stirred up emotions in me about how we ignore the cries of help from our young people at times.  Sandusky was found guilty and that’s good.  Paterno is no longer viewed as a Saint (and he never should have been treated as one).

Joe Paterno, was the head coach at Penn State for over 40 years, right on the verge of becoming college football’s all-time winningest coach, national championships, and the national championship trophy bearing his name. It all came crashing down after suspicions turned to eyewitness accounts of Paterno’s longtime assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky.

It was a gripping and riveting tale of Sandusky’s involvement with young children, from his nonprofit organization “The Second Mile”.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading, that something of this magnitude, could go unnoticed by the leadership of both Penn State and the Penn State athletic department.

Well, Paterno has since passed away, and Sandusky is right where he belongs, serving what turns out to be, a “life sentence” for the crimes that he committed.

Even if you’re not a sports fan, you will love this book!

There are lessons to be learned all around, but overall this is an excellent book that I highly recommend.

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James Donaldson’s Book Review Report: Universe From Nothing by Lawrence Krauss

Whew, this book was a little more “heavy” than I anticipated, but still full of very good (if not abstract) information that was somewhat hard to keep up with, but if you have an interest in the formation of the universe, this would be a great book for you.

Of course, this brings into focus the ongoing debate between the “scientific and religious” communities, with religious and philosophical debates about the existence of God, and it’s the supposed counterargument to anyone who questions the need for God.

Lawrence Krauss, Texas back to the beginning of the beginning, the very early stages of the universe, to show us that “the universe came from nothing”.

I like these books, full of information and new things that I can learn from. And it definitely get you thinking, especially if you are “a person of faith” and trust that there is a God. But as scientific technologies continue to advance, we are able on her own to find out more and more about our origins.