Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Thank you to all of our men and women in uniform.  Our prayers are with you and your families.


Coach Bin

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Celebrate Life

Margo Dydek, a former Utah Starzz teammate and friend passed away.

Margo carried herself with grace and class, and my prayers go to her family.

Tricia Binford

Star Wars-Coach Bin Interpretation

I was reading one of the Star Wars books with my son this week and talked about the similarities between the Jedi and Sith, or Good verses Evil in our own lives.

  • Jedi-Yoda is one of the smallest characters in the Star Wars Trilogies yet one of the most powerful because of his strength in mind. Yoda spends a great deal of time in meditation and like all Jedi's uses his gifts to help and serve others. Jedi use what's called the "Force" to use the strengths of their minds for good.

  • Sith-Darth Vader is one of the scariest villains of all time. He is also strong in the Force, also spends time in meditation in his chamber but uses this skill for evil. The Sith are selfishly focused, do not care about hurting or destroying others, and use anger to funnel their energy.
Here are a few challenging questions in relation to Star Wars in our own lives.
1) Do you believe in God?

2) Do you believe in the Devil?

3) What do you believe your purpose is in life?

I am a Christian, one who believes in God and that God sent his son Jesus to die for all of us on the Cross. I also believe that Jesus was resurrected three days later and that if we believe in Him his Holy Spirit lives in us and we will get eternal life with Him and God in Heaven.

This is what leads us to the discussion my son and I had regarding the "Force."

Binford interpretation of Jedi-"Jesus". Darth Vader or Sith "Devil"

Binford interpretation of "Force"-Spending quiet time in prayer, reading the Bible, serving others, controlling our thoughts to be positive by the way we choose our time. We can all have more strength in our own spirits if we focus on this aspect in our lives. Our thoughts controls ours actions. The Force is my understanding of working toward purpose.

Binford interpretation of Darth Vader utilizing the "Force"-He is always waiting, looking for opportunities to attack us. We live in a fallen world, and it's important we stay strong and vigilant on the good that surrounds us.

The best part, however, after my deep discussion with my seven year old he said, "Good always Wins." If you believe what the Bible says, then you know that by faith to be true.

God Bless & May the Force Be With You!

Coach Bin

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sleep Is Overrated

Last day of the trip began at 4:00am heading to the Costa Rica airport. Chelsea Banis checked her 50+ pound bag, the one that Danny said had a "flat screen t.v. in it" because it was so heavy.

Once boarded, we sat on our plane for 3 hours before we were told to deboard so they could fix a part on our plane. Five hours later we were in the air to Denver airport.
If you know the feeling of being past tired, but not in a position to sleep, it's extremely frustrating. I tried the lean back, lean to the side, lean on the tray table, but none seemed to work. So I settled for a Diet Pepsi instead.
When we landed in Denver safely but starving we sat for another few hours waiting to get vochures from Frontier for the delay and missed flight for the evening. We were just happy everyone cleared customs this time despite the interrogations through customs. I was just glad Todd remembered where he was born.

We apologize to everyone who was worried about us since we heard the news reported us "lost". I should have also taken a picture of everyone on their cell phones in the Frontier aisle as it's amazing how much we miss this device when it's not available.

Realizing our party was dehydrated from travel and not eating for 10 hours we spent $40 on water. As I walked back to the team and opened up the bag Sarah Balian was so excited until she opened it to see "just water."

Finally Sarah and the rest of us did get dinner and spent the night at the Holiday Inn for what seemend to be an extended nap, (at least we got to lay horizontally), before heading back to the airport once again. Coach Scanson worked his miracles with Anthony Travel and managed to get us all on flights, not easy to do with a party of twenty.

As we flew in over the Highlight Mountains we were all ready to be home. As the saying goes, "all great things come to an end" (except Heaven of course), the trip to Costa Rica is in the books. What an amazing experience with unbelievable people. It reminds me that in every great thing you experience the best part about it is getting to share it with people you care about. I think that's what made this trip so special.

Many thanks to Ellen Kreighbaum, a huge supporter of this program. I am so thankful you were able to experience this trip with us; to Amy Starr for planning this trip & delivering a beautiful baby; Coach Scanson for figuring out colone currency and the travel, Coach Close for having gifts to share with our new Costa Rican friends, Ashley Wilde for getting us through a trip healthy despite some sunburning; Tom Schulz & Justin Scanson for allowing everyone else not with us to experience the trip through our social networking; Joe Bateson, our Administration, Rex Roben, & everyone else who had a part of getting Tish back to us in Costa Rica; Sports Tours &  Emily Bauer and Savanna for putting on the best & most unbelievable tour for a team you can ever imagine; Swiss Travel & Danny & Jamie for hosting us this trip, teaching us so much of your country, getting us everywhere safely, and making it so entertaining and enjoyable; Radolfoe & the Costa Rica National Team for organizing our games, clinics & visit with the kids with Down Syndrome;  Ellen, Dona Wallace, Larry Aesheim & Universal Athletics, Lou and Charline Spain, Tom & Celia OConner and all of our other donors of this trip; and most importantly our team. What an incredible group of individuals that have grown so close, given so much to others, and bring so much enjoyment to the rest of us.

To our parents, I want to thank you for trusting us with your daughters. You have done an incredible job of raising them and would be so proud of all of them. We didn't take for granted or waste one minute of this trip. We may be exhausted but this was an experience of a lifetime.

This year's theme may have to be "Pura Vida!"

Coach Bin

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Sports Tours certainly saved the best for last.

Whitewater rafting-We had groups of 6 in 4 different rafts. My raft included my husband Todd, Ellen, Justin Scanson, Mandy Close, and Ashley Wilde.

Our guide, Evan told us he picked our group because he knew we were the best. What we didn't know is that the "lead" guide also makes you work harder. From the start Evan wanted our raft to be first so we paddled HARD! After we managed to clear a rapid we'd high five our paddles, "pura vida" and Evan says "there is no team without work." Boy was he right.

This guiding crew was incredible. They floated kyakers ahead and behind each raft to make sure we had help ready if one of us fell into the water, and sure enough I look back and Ellen is just floating along enjoying the scenery. We managed to get her back in, but she was just disappointed she fell out in the rapid called "rodeo."

We stopped for lunch about 2 hours in which included some "heart of palms" potatoes, tortillas filled with everything, and unbelievable fresh fruit. Personally I would have just brought PBJ's.  Danny, from Swiss Travel, said after lunch he wouldn't date any of our players because they eat too much.

We saw all kinds of butterflies, vulters, birds of every species, and even a sloth. Our guide showed us where a scene from Gorillas in the Mist was filmed as we turned our raft around to view the waterfall in the canyon, and then we were allowed to jump out and swim for awhile on a calm spot. I suppose I shouldn't say "allowed" as Justin was forced out by Evan.

The fun of the river included one of our player's rafts getting stuck on the rocks, Emily Allen trying to get in her raft while our guide made farting noises, Chelsea's guide struggle to pull her in the raft and tell her she was "grande", and Evan scaring everyone by grabbing their legs with hog noises. He was quite the entertainer.

We finished off the evening with another wonderful meal overlooking San Jose. Of course the clouds cleared so we could enjoy the beautiful view as Emily from Sports Tours has now told us to go play the lottery. Every day has been gorgeous.

After dinner the Costa Ricans put on a traditional dance before grabbing Ashley Albert, Kelsey Roben, and Rachel Semansky to join them. I personally think the dancer grabbed those three because they were so tall.

The Bobcats closed the dance floor, and about five hours later we will be hearing our alarms go off for a 3:30am wakeup call.  No problemo as we can sleep on our 5 hour flight to Denver. Tom and Pam just need to make sure they don't sit in the exit row.

Danny said we now have a tour guide when we land in Denver, LaTisha Adams.

Buenes Noches,

Coach Bin

Arenal Volcano

Danny told us you are only able to see the full view of the Arenal Volcano probably twice a year. Well, for us today it was one of those days, and it was incredible.

Our hike was around 3-4 miles around the volcano, so if you don't have visions of Dante's Peak it may be one of the most enjoyable hikes ever.

We found out that Tarzan swung on roots not vines, saw a green vine snake, and an animal that I can't recall it's name that looked like a mixture of anteater and racoon.

After our walk we sat in some hotspring pools that had a variety of temperatures. My favorite had to be the waterfall that gave you a comfortable massage while you were sitting under it.

Emily Allen challenged me to a swimming competition which I refused as I only take on a competition I know I can win, LOL.

After a 3 hour drive back to the hotel I decided to sleep instead of blog to all of you. So, here it is, we are off to our rafting trip, and most importantly Congrats to the Starrs for their beautful baby boy Caden Isiah who was born yesterday at 9 pounds 4 oz. It's a good thing he was a week early.

We all looked at the pictures of Caden on Coach Scanson's facebook before dinner and can't wait to hold him. Ausha Cole, AKA the "rock" as the Costa Ricans call her, offered to change diapers.

Coach Bin

Sunday, May 15, 2011


This trip has already produced some of the most hilarious facial expressions I have ever seen. I present to you the top 4 of the trip so far.

#4 Justin's face before the last quarter of mile zip line. "Do I really have to do this?"

#3 Kate Webb eating the Mamone fruit. What 'exactly is this that I am eating?"

#2 Chelsea Banis watching the Michael Jackson impersonator. "I am not sure what this is about."

#1 Expression of trip goes to Ellen Kreighbaum dancing before our game verses the Costa Rican National Team. "Yes I can rock the white man overbite!"

Today's events
  • Katie and Lyndi milking a cow. They drank the milk afterward. Later on the bus Danny, our tour guide, told us "you will get diarrhea if you drink the milk straight from the cow". Good luck at game time ladies.
  • Visited with children's school who have Down Syndrome and exchanged gifts. We connected so well that they will be joining us on our bench for our game today.
  • Rachel Semanksy joined in a parade and rode one of the Oxen. Unfortunately she ended up with some poop down her leg.
  • The horses riding in the parade had a professional trot. The first horse had perfect technique, a Sarah Balian type of horse. The second had its own unique style which I described as Emily Allen in a horse's personality.
  • Heading to the game we learned how Costa Ricans get around since they don't have street signs or addresses. They use landmarks to describe their destination. If we want to send Danny a postcard it might take the whole letter to write the directions.
  • Learned that Baby Jesus brings presents to Costa Ricans for Christmas rather than Santa Claus.
  • The kids from the school gave us a great presentation before the game. We gave them some Bobcat face stickers for the bench and they helped us to our final victory. 3-0 Bobcats!
Tomorrow we head to the volcano and hotsprings. Every day gets more spectacular than the next.

Coach Bin

Saturday, May 14, 2011


We began the day driving the "OMG" road as it's important to pray in order to get to your destination. It's a one way road although cars can go the opposite direction. Fortunately for us we have Jaime as our driver who is blind but with nocturnal instincts.

As we pulled into the Cloud Forest Hotel sitting in the middle of an amazing Cloud Forest it just felt like complete serenity. Our rooms are in bungalows each with a private view of the Cloud Forest.

If you want to take a hike you can stop on the trail and see numerous kinds of hummingbirds. Otherwise, walk down the road for a horseback ride or head to the spa. I have to remind myself that, oh yeah, we have a game today!

After lunch we got back on the "OMG" road to head back to the town of San Ramone. We put on a clinic for the local kids which Ashley Albert proved she will be one of my future assistant coaches. What a great job our kids did today despite the language barrier.

Before our game verses the Costa Rica National Team we had a beautiful presentation by a Special Needs kid of Michael Jackson's "Bad." He was incredible and may be a better dancer than Katie Bussey.

Tip off hit at 6:00pm with a slow start by the Bobcats. Fortunately turning to some pressure defense led by Ausha Cole we had a 25-0 run in the 2nd quarter to break the game open. Final score 82-31, just in time for the Costa Rican Soccer Finale.

We are now back in Serenity at the Cloud Forest Hotel. I think it is just as cool at night with the fog rolling through the dimmed lights around the resort. Tomorrow will bring horseback riding, a visit with some Down Syndrome children and our final game of our trip.

A great night's rest will bring another day of serenity here in paradise. Most importantly, however, it better bring 3 in a row victories for the Cats!

Va Gatos!

Coach Bin

Friday, May 13, 2011

Zippity Du Da, Zippity Day

Day 2 Costa Rica

• Started off the day working out in the fitness center with the t.v. playing Frashier, “with subtitles.”

• Food-Breakfast included beans & rice again (try with scrambled eggs). I picked fish for lunch although this time we had a hard time guessing what kind of fish. Everyone thought it was Salmon. Correct answer = trout. You would think all of us Montanans would have figured that out. Fruit of the day was mamone, a small fruit with a huge seed in the middle surrounded by a slimy texture like a slug. Needless to say, not everyone enjoyed the sweet & sour taste. However, we each had fresh mangos after our game. That pleased everyone’s palette.

• First activity of the day was to pick up Tish. She had a standing ovation on the bus. She was exhausted but made it.

We drove to a coffee field that was as majestic scenery as they come. The coffee doesn’t have as much caffeine as ours at home. Most of the children begin drinking coffee when they are 6 months old mixed in their bottles. Ellen’s way to counter was to have 7 cups.

Today was the first day of adrenaline rush sponsored by 12 zip lines. Coach Scanson and Tom were the most nervous especially when we were told that last line was a quarter of a mile long. What an amazing experience, zipping with views of the volcano, cloud forest, or in Tom’s words “orange.” He only looked at the instructors wearing orange shirts and didn’t look down. The best zip line form has to go to Katie Bussey. She looked like a compact battery.

As we rested for the game at our hotel, a 5.2 earthquake hit, the first experience like this for most of us. I just looked at Todd in our room while our t.v. was rocking back and forth. We then walked out to the hallway as did everyone else in shock. The good news I guess was that we didn’t have any traffic heading to our game.

• Costa Rica differences-Traffic –Common courtesy doesn’t exist when you are crammed nose to nose. The most common car here is the Huyndai or as Danny would say the “belly button” because everyone has one.

Home insurance includes barbwire over your house and bars on the doors and windows. However, this didn’t keep the lizard out of Mandy’s and Ashley’s room today.

• Game tonight was a spectacular 60-22 victory by the Bobcats. The floor was cement so the rule was no diving for loose balls or taking a charge. We still had three falls to the floor. I only had one FIBA rule mistake on the evening when calling a timeout. I now know to walk to the scorer’s table and call it there.

• Danny’s line of the day-He told Mandy she looked like Gene Simmons from Kiss when she tried to kill a fly.

Who knows what is in store tomorrow. With the watches off, the cell phones nonexistent, it’s once again, “pura vida!”

Coach Bin

"Pura Vida!"

(Sorry for the delay, Blogger was down. Follow everything on Facebook at )

Pura Vida”, as our tour guide Danny would say. Pura Vida stands for pretty much everything positive in Costa Rica.

We began our trip with a 7 hour layover in Denver that turned into a 9 hour layover. Todd, Mandy, and I had just taken our Nyquil when the Frontier attendant announced we would be delayed. We fought off the grogginess as long as we could but succumbed to the floor of the Denver International Airport for a few zzz’s like the rest of our party, excluding one, Ellen Kreighbaum.

Ellen, who is our Fast Break Club President was still reading her book at 1:45am when we began to board. We arrived in Costa Rica at 7:30am. Tom Scultz, our SID, made the mistake of choosing the exit row that didn’t recline so he is still yet to get any sleep.

As we walked through customs our season of obstacles added one to the belt when I heard one of the players ask, “where’s Tish?” Yes, she got sent back from security to the plane as her passport wasn’t the correct one without even letting me talk to her or figure out a solution. Long story short, she will be meeting us tomorrow after many, many people helped her get the right passport. Thank you to everyone in Bozeman that helped, Rex Roben, Kelsey’s dad, letting her get some shut eye in Denver, and Tish’s mom Barbara.

So the trip continued as we ate a wonderful breakfast, jumped on the bus and headed to Jaco Beach to take in some sunshine and cool waves. Danny, however, had one surprise none of us were expecting, a stop on a bridge to see 15-20 feet crocodiles below. I am just glad we were a bridge’s distance away. If you don’t know the difference between an alligator and a crocodile, just ask Danny. He will demonstrate how they bite you.

The beach was breathtaking. Rachel, Kate, and my husband Todd were the first in the water and all managed to get up on surfboards while the rest of us cheered them on from a safe distance from shore. I saw one fish swimming in the water and thought that was the biggest fish I needed to see for the day.

We got to have lunch on a patio overlooking the ocean. It was so majestic that I toasted Emily Bauer, our host from Sports Tours and Montana Native that she has started off our trip in style. The sea bass was incredible, and I understand we will get familiar with the beans and rice dish with every meal, except at dinner it is “rice and beans.”

As day one is nearly complete, I can only imagine what tomorrow will bring. Mostly I hope it brings us Tish. We wanted a culture experience for our student athletes. Well, Tish just got an experience of a lifetime. Safe travels young lady. We will see you in the morning.

Coach Bin

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Costa Rica

We are leaving today for San Jose, Costa Rica.

We will have player blogs, daily photos, video feed, etc.

Check in with us daily to see what our team is doing. It's going to be a blast.

On another note, I want to congratulate our winners at our team banquet Monday night.

Community Service Award-Lyndi Seidensticker

Ellen Kreighbaum Award-Debby Leadbetter (Founding Fast Break Board Member and contributor to our program)

6th Man-Tyler Wiltgen (radio voice of the Bobcats)

Most Improved-LaTisha Adams

Defensive Player of the Year-Sarah Balian

Bobcat Pride-Rachel Semansky

Most Valuable Player-Katie Bussey

I don't have time to write up the amazing evening, but our SID Tom Schulz had two pages of the records broken this season. Check out our highlight film by Coach Scanson!

Coach Bin

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


ALL stands for Academics, Leadership, and Life Skills. It is a competition between the athletic teams at MSU in regards to our community service hours, academic and athletic achievements.

Anyone in athletics knows how competitive people in our department are, so to have a healthy competition like this benefiting our community and making the student's degree the number one priority is pretty cool. Our Athletic Department does an amazing job of hosting this banquet with our great MC, Tyler Wiltgen, and food by Outback Steakhouse.

When the awards started to be announced, however, I was quickly reminded of why I am so proud of who they are as individuals.

Our student athletes do community service because it feels good to help others. Take Lyndi Seidensticker, the 2011 ALL Challenge Individual Community Service Award winner. She is a Big Sister in the community and gets to play with a kid in our community every week. Hanging out with her new brother is what she looks forward to. She gets a break from her studies, her training, and sees how much he enjoys spending time with her.

I could list every student athlete on our team who has given back to our community in many ways as they gave nearly 300+ hours this year. Our team won the 2011 ALL Challenge Community Service Award.

Academically our team has prided themselves in this category. We had two students on our team Sarah Balian and Rachel Semansky awarded the District Seven First Team and Honorable Mention this year, and Lyndi Seidensticker was one of 40 All Excellence Award Winners on campus. As a team we won the 2011 ALL Challenge Academic Performance this year.

We also love to win athletically, and our ten game winning streak this year won the team the 2011 ALL Challenge Women's Team Performance. I think at this time the crowd was starting to get annoyed with our team's success. That felt pretty good as a coach.

I will wrap it up with the overall most prestigious award of them all which totals all three categories, the 2011 AL BEYE Memorial ALL Challenge Trophy. I will display it in my office with pride until next season in hopes of continuing to keep the dust off.

Ladies, I am so proud of who you are, and I want to keep the trophy, so let's go get it again next year. This may be my first "bragging" blog, but it's well worth it for what you do for others.

Coach Bin