Hoosier High School Basketball Hysteria

In Indiana, Hoosier hysteria is a way of life.

Though you won’t find it in the dictionary, this phrase is well known and describes the excitement surrounding Indiana basketball – specifically, Indiana high school basketball. My staff and I witnessed the hysteria earlier this month at the Fifth Annual High School Slam Dunk and Three-Point Championship at Carmel High School, sponsored by American Family Insurance.

HS Slam Dunk

This event featured 16 outstanding high school seniors – eight young men and eight young women – from all over the country, competing in a one-minute three-point shooting contest. The senior boys also had just two opportunities to demonstrate their creative, challenging slam dunk skills for a panel of Indiana celebrity judges in the Slam Dunk Championship.

When we walked into the gymnasium, the energy was electric. Spectators from all over Indiana came out to witness and support the athletes demonstrating their amazing talent. This night had the potential to be history-making for some of these young players as they competed, hoping to become one step closer to pursuing their dreams. The cheers were deafening as Carmel senior Ryan Cline made it to the finals and won the three-point competition with 22 points in the final round (one and two points are awarded per shot).

Everyone from my office was thrilled to attend this event, as each has a love for Indiana basketball. Basketball brings together the old and young, boys and girls, urbanites and those from tiny rural communities. We gather at homes or at a restaurant to watch the games. And whether you live in the city, suburbs or on a country road, chances are, there’s a basketball goal within a rock’s throw.

More than half the homes in our neighborhood have basketball goals in their driveways. We see kids gathering nightly to play. I grew up playing in the neighborhood, on my high school team, and later with a group at our church. Our son has played basketball the last two seasons and this year I coached his third grade team. A basketball goal was a must-have feature on our “wish list” when we purchased our home late last year.

One of our office’s licensed producers is Noblesville, Indiana native Tom Coverdale, Mr. Basketball 1998. He was asked to judge the Slam Dunk Competition with four others including Boom Herron, running back with the Indianapolis Colts. Tom says in Indiana you are basically born with a basketball in your hands. Every kid dreams of playing for their high school team and in college. The state has a following unlike any other state when it comes to basketball. The atmosphere at Carmel High School was no different.

Bobby Plump, John Wooden, Larry Bird and Steve Alford all began pursuing their dreams in a high school gymnasium in Indiana. Hoosiers take great pride in remembering these young men before they were legendary players, and we feel a connection to their success.

It was an honor and a thrill for us to be involved in the High School Slam Dunk and Three-Point Championship representing American Family Insurance. This event allowed these young athletes to demonstrate their athleticism and to “dream big.”

Whatever becomes of them as they pursue their basketball dreams, we will be able to say, “we were there” when it began.

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Should You Buy a New Car?

hondaWe’ve had our 2011 Honda Odyssey van for 4 years.  It came straight from the factory and had 4 miles on it when we drove off the lot.

With a very little interest rate, about $12 of each payment is now going to interest and the rest is going to principle.  It will be paid off soon and that’s a great feeling.  We haven’t had any issues with the vehicle and we weren’t considering trading it in until we received an offer in the mail from the dealer.  It seems this model is popular on the used car market and they are eager to get us into a new vehicle ($$$).  I gotta say, it’s tempting.

However, no car payment is tempting too.  We feel we’re in a good spot with a relatively “new” vehicle but when should we buy a new car?

I did some research and Edmunds.com says it’s almost always less expensive to repair a car than buy a new one.  They say a new car typically loses an estimated 22 percent of it’s value in the first year and your existing car has already taken that depreciation hit.

On the flip side, if trips to the mechanic are costing you too much money and time from your work or family and you don’t want to worry constantly about future break downs, a new car may be worth the investment.  New cars are safer than ever with many safety equipment becoming standard on new vehicles.

Edmunds formula to making a decision is if the cost of repairs is greater than either the value of the vehicle or one year’s monthly payments, it’s time to buy another vehicle.

I asked Pat about the cost of insurance on an older vehicle v. a new one.  Would our insurance premium go up or down if we bought a new vehicle?  Of course all rates depend on the driver’s driving record and the type of vehicle (sports cars really do cost more to insure) but he said a newer car would cost more to insure (there are reasons and I’ll let him break it down for you).  But if you are in the market for a new care, the good news is, it’s also true that newer vehicles may have newer safety features that can lower your premium.  It’s important you research what your rates may be on a vehicle you are interested in purchasing before you buy.

IMG_4744In our case, the van isn’t that “old” and we have the most recent safety features such a side air bags, the back up camera and a lot of what I’d call bells and whistles on it: Navigation, DVD player, bluetooth, auto start = all awesome features when toting around kids (and when I want to learn my Jazzercise routines on long road trips).

Not having a car payment soon and keeping our premium low is more attractive to me right now than a new vehicle that’s going to depreciate thousands of dollars the minute I drive it off the lot.  And, according to Kelly’s Blue Book, if I wanted to sell the van to a private party, I could expect to receive just over $21,000.  Not a bad chunk of change should I change my mind in the near future!

Are you in the market for a new car?  Call us and ask what your insurance premium would be so you can factor the total cost of a new vehicle into your budget.  We’d be happy to assist you.

-S.O.
The Patrick D. O’Brien Agency

 

 

American Family Insurance Partners With Colts during Friday Night Football Tour

We were honored to represent American Family Insurance in partnership with the Indianapolis Colts during their Friday Night Football tour.

Prior to kick off at Fisher’s High School’s Friday night game on August 29th, The Patrick O’Brien Agency represented American Family and presented a $1500 donation from AmFam and the Colts to the Fishers High School’s health/wellness program.

It was an honor and a lot of fun participating in the pre-game festivities.

Go, Tigers!

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-S.O.
The Patrick O’Brien Agency – Fishers, IN

12 Fruits and Vegetables That Will Help You Eat Healthier this Summer

We are a fruit and veggie lovin’ family.  We genuinely like the taste of most of them – especially in the summer.  We make salads, grill them, snack on them at the park, take to pitch-ins, etc.  We know they’re good for us, but it was eye-opening to learn WHY they are good for us.  Read on to see how you can prepare the following fruits and veggies to maximize their flavor and healthy benefits.

Asparagusfruits and veggies
Lightly grill then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar this summer.  Asparagus is high in fiber, folic acid, potassium, vitamins A and C and glutathione (a phytochemical with antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties).

Avocados
Add to your salad, sandwich or alone on whole wheat toast for breakfast.  One ounce of an avocado contains 20 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  It’s rich in monounsaturated fat, which may lower bad “LDL” cholesterol and reduce risk for heart disease.

Blackberries
Add to salads, smoothies, yogurt and oatmeal.  Blackberries contain antioxidants, are high in vitamin C and the seeds are high in fiber.

Brussel Sprouts
These can be lightly grilled after splitting in half and lightly drizzled with olive oil.  These veggies are high in vitamins A and C, iron, potassium and fiber.

Butternut Squash
Add to pasta dishes, risottos and soups.  It’s rich in complex carbohydrates and vitamins A and C and it’s a good source of beta carotene, magnesium, calcium and potassium.

Figs 
Rich in potassium and fiber, try adding dried figs to trail mix with some almonds and whole-wheat cereal.

Kale 
Use in smoothies or add them to entrees in place of spinach or cabbage.  Kale is packed with vitamins A, C and E.  Kale is high in antioxidants and also includes important minerals manganese, iron, calcium and potassium.

Pomegranate
Toss some of the seeds on your salad this summer.  They are high in antioxidants and rich in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.

Spinach
Blend into smoothies, saute with garlic and olive oil, or use as your salad base.  Spinach is an excellent source of folate, iron, and vitamins A and K.

Strawberries
Eat alone or on salads or make a fruit kebab with other fruits like grapes and melon.  This fruit is rich in Vitamin C, folic acid and antioxidant flavonoids thought to be protective against stroke and cancer.

Swiss Chard
Use in side dishes, salads and soups.  It’s a blood sugar stabilizer and one of the world’s most nutritious vegetable.  It contains magnesium, vitamins A and C, and can aid as an anti-inflammatory and detoxifyer.

Tomatoes
Sliced on a sandwich, chopped into a salad, added to omelets or skewered and grilled, tomatoes are a summer staple.  Huge in antioxidants and rich in beta carotene, tomatoes also contain vitamin C, manganese and vitamin E.

How many of these items are you already nibbling on this spring?  Which one will you incorporate into your menu this season?

– S.O.
The Patrick O’Brien Agency – Fishers, IN

 

 

 

Road Trip Essentials for Kids

Road tripIf you are heading out of town soon and driving with kids, a large chunk of your packing list is dedicated to what you’ll need inside your vehicle to keep everyone fed and entertained so you don’t have to STOP.

I could “Google” and “Pin” much more but here’s my favorite list of what to pack and what to do to pass the time in the car.

Activities:

  • Books, magazines, comics, activity books.  Bring books they’ve never read before.  Goodwill has LOTS for just pennies.
  • Sketchbook, notebook, washable markers, twist up colored pencils (no sharpening needed)
  • Games, such as the license plate game or travel bingo
  • disposable cameras so they can take pictures – or a digital one if you trust them with it.
  • Free up space on your smart device and let the kids make recordings along the drive.  Or use a good ol’ tape recorder: Let the kids produce a vacation broadcast
  • Pre-stamped blank postcards (find them at the post office), which your kids can decorate, or postcards bought on the road; have your children write to friends, relatives, even pets
  • Doodling doodads: a small dry-erase board, Etch A Sketch, Magna Doodle, tic tac toe board.
  • Pipe cleaners, easy origami, and other scissor-less craft supplies
  • Portable DVD player and DVDs; don’t forget headphones!
  • Books on CD for the whole family, such as the Harry Potter series or “The Chronicles of Narnia”.  Rent them free from your library.
  • Scrapbook envelope—entrust your children with the responsibility of collecting postcards, ticket stubs, and brochures for a scrapbook
  • Create your trip map and track it with the kids. Print a map off Google maps & insert it into a plastic sleeve.  Use a dry erase marker which will wipe off nicely.

Food:

  • Individually packaged, crumb-free snacks such as bite-sized goldfish crackers, raisins, string cheese.
  • Hard-to-bruise fruits such as apples, grapes and berries; or try fruit roll-ups.
  • Trail mix, which will leave kids feeling full longer (and keep fingers greaseless)
  • Reusable bottles filled with water

Miscellaneous:

  • First-aid items, such as Neosporin, bandages, anti-bacterial wipes, Tylenol, sunscreen, and Dramamine
  • Grocery bags to collect trash
  • Easy wipes & hand sanitizer
  • Change of clothes, in case of accidental spills
  • A blanket for spur-of-the-moment picnics at rest areas—and naps
  • Jump ropes, football, frisbee, baseball gloves, and balls, etc. so energetic little travelers can tire themselves out at rest stops!

What has worked for you on road trips with your kids?  Did you consult Pinterest like I did?  Check out our Pinterest board for more ideas on road tripping with kids.

– S.O.
POB Agency

10 Ways We Reduce Dust (and Allergies) in our Home

Today is the first day of spring and we are looking forward to cleaning up the garage, the yard, and “spring cleaning” inside the home.  With two small children, it’s hard to have a perfectly clean home every day but the one thing that will stop me dead in my tracks year round (no matter what I’m doing) is dust.  Why does dust bother me so much?  Because dust mites live in dust.  YUCK!  And, Pat and Jack have allergies that can go berzerk.

I know dust mites exist and I try hard not to think about them living in our pillows, bed covers, mattresses, furniture, carpeting, and clothing.  (Another YUCK!)  But, I feel better knowing I can reduce the amount of mites in our home by staying on top of the dust with some easy steps.

Here’s our top 10.

  1. Vacuum floors and upholstered furniture once a week
  2. Keep your closet clean and the floors clear so you can vacuum easily & regularly.
  3. Keep furnace filters clean.
  4. Limit knickknack decor.
  5. Instead of heavy drapery, hang lightweight curtains & shades.
  6. Avoid stacking piles of mail, newspaper, and magazines on tables and shelves.
  7. Keep clothes you wear regularly in your bedroom or closet and store the rest.  Use garment boxes and clear plastic containers to store items on shelves so they don’t collect dust.
  8. Store stuffed animals in a closed toy box or closet & regularly wash stuffed toys in hot water.  I’ve heard you can put a stuffed animal in a plastic bag and in the freezer overnight every few weeks to help kill dust mites – but I haven’t tried that yet.
  9. Wash your sheets (and the blankets you wrap up in when you snuggle on the couch) weekly
  10. Have your area rugs cleaned once or twice a year

Can you think of any other ways to reduce dust in the home?  Who’s ready to get started “spring cleaning”?!

– S.O.
POB Agency

Visit Patrick’s profile on Pinterest.

8 Ways to Have Integrity – In your Public & Private Life

Have you ever looked up the word, Integrity in the dictionary?  I admit, I had not.  Here’s what it says:
 
“Integrity” Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.in·teg·ri·ty
inˈtegritē/
noun
noun: integrity
  1. 1.
    the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
    “he is known to be a man of integrity”
    synonyms: honesty, probity, rectitude, honor, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals, righteousness, morality, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness

Integrity is what you do when no one is watching; it’s doing the right thing all the time, even when it may work to your disadvantage.  I was raised on the 10 commandments and the golden rule.   Running a business and raising young people keep “doing the right thing” at the forefront of daily decisions. 

How we conduct ourselves in public and private life is crucial to the legacy we leave behind.  Maybe that’s why Pat loves golf so much.  It’s such a great life-lesson game.  It’s the only professional sport where the participants call penalties on themselves. 
 
We’re not perfect, of course, but the following (condensed from this article) is a good read whenever we need a reminder of how best to be honest, true, noble, trustworthy, and kind to family and customers.
 
1.    Root yourself in a moral foundation. 
 
2.    Look for the positive. 
 
3.    Resist the temptation to compartmentalize your life. 
 
4.    Determine to live for others ahead of yourself (Golden Rule).  
 
5.    Participate in an active accountability group. 
 
6.    Partner with a friend where you need to make progress.  That person should “hold your feet to the fire”. 
 
7.    Be in the habit of sharing EVERYTHING with your spouse (if you are married).  Keeping secrets, big or small, tends to have an impact on who we are
 
8.    Practice the habit of imagining the presence of someone whose opinion you value (Father, Grandparent, Spouse, your children) when conducting yourself with others.
 
And, if applicable, hold your children accountable.  Every lesson we bring to our children is something we need to hear too.
 
As mentioned at the beginning, “integrity is what you do when no one is watching; it’s doing the right thing all the time, even when it may work to your disadvantage. Integrity is keeping your word. Integrity is that internal compass and rudder that directs you to where you know you should go when everything around you is pulling you in a different direction. Some people think reputation is the same thing as integrity, but they are two different things. Your reputation is the public perception of your integrity. Because it’s other people’s opinions of you, it may or may not be accurate. Others determine your reputation, but only you determine your integrity”.
 
How do you maintain integrity in your public and private life?

– S.O.
POB Agency