Math Rugby Magic


Math — Rugby — Magic

By:  Delbert Craig Hane, Ph.D. aka Dr. Del

Math and Rugby and Magic? 

What do they have in common?

They “transformed” my life!

And, I believe, they can transform your life too!

I was born near the end of the Great Depression in 1938.  FDR was near the end of his second presidential term and we were three years away from entering the great WWII.

I lived in a cabin in the woods on the banks of Deer Creek in central Indiana near the crossroads of America.  Many years later I had my headquarters at this cross roads.

We raised our own vegetables and chickens, cooked on a kerosene stove, had a pump for well water, a two-hole outhouse, and a pot belly coal stove for heat.  We ate a lot of wild game and fished in the creek.  It was great!

By modern standards we were very poor, as were most of our neighbors.  My mom and dad both worked hard and saved money.  We had an automobile for transportation.  We had electricity and a radio, and in 1943 we got a telephone and were on a party line with 13 other folks just like us.  Our phone number was “four shorts”.

Most of my friends and family lived in similar circumstances, although a few of them had running water and central heat with a coal stoker furnace.  I thought an indoor bathroom was “heaven”.  No one had air conditioning.

I pretty much lived a solitary life alone in the woods since my parents both worked.  My only neighbors were an Aunt and Uncle who were kind of surrogate parents.

I spent a lot of time wandering around in the woods and day dreaming all sorts of fantasies about the present and my future.

What kind of a life do you suppose I would have?

Of course, I had no idea what the future would unfold.

Most of my friends went into jobs and careers like their parents and had good lives.

But, I wanted something different.   I day dreamed of and wanted two things, having a lot of adventure and having a family where the mom and dad spent a lot of time with the children.  These were two things I certainly did not have in my early years.

Well, guess what?  The day dreams and visions and fantasies turned into beliefs.

In time I received both of the things I dreamed about, and believed I would get.

I have been all over North America and much of the world.

I have had many business adventures which produced the funds needed for family and adventures.

I have had a wonderful wife for fifty years who is also a fabulous mother and grandmother.  I have three great children and seven grandchildren.  I am very close to them all, and they are quite successful in their own lives.

How did this happen?

Math and rugby both played a critical role in all of this good fortune.

Was this Magic?

Well, sort of.

Math and Rugby were the “secrets” to this success.

“Magic” is when something happens you don’t understand, but the magician does understand it.  The trick in life is to become the “magician”.

When you can do something interesting that other people don’t understand or know how to do, then you are performing what I will call “magic”.

Let me give you a quick example.

Suppose you have a rope that is 360 feet long tied to the bottom of two goal posts on a rugby field.   It is very tight and you cannot lift it above the ground at the midpoint.  Now add one foot to that rope so it is 361 feet long.  Then raise it as high as you can in the middle until it is very tight.  How high will you have to raise it?

See if you can figure this out.

Suppose this is a bet or you will get a prize if you get the answer right.

This happens all the time in the real world in industry and the military.

Suppose your life, or your job, depends on this answer.

Your choices of answers are 1ft, 3ft, 7ft, 13ft.

What is your answer, or guess?

Try to figure it out so you aren’t guessing.  This is easy if you know a little math.

Even our ancestors, the ancient Greeks would have known the answer.

However, many people today don’t know how to figure it out.  Do you?

If you know math, you will easily determine the answer is thirteen feet.   To someone who does not know math, this may seem like “magic”.

I had similar experiences when I worked on the railroad, in a limestone quarry, my dragstrip, with NASCAR race car engine builders, electronics, industry, military, business and many more situations.


I learned the “magic” of Math.

I call it the “Open Sesame” to a very transformative life.

I believe you can too.

Let me tell you about it, and then I will tell you how and why Rugby can play a role in this for you, as it did for me.

Any boy or girl, or man or woman, can have a fabulous life if you learn some “magic”.

Open Sesame!      Mathematics opens the door to 1001 opportunities

When I was a young boy, my Aunt Inez told me the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves out of the One Thousand and One Nights  “Arabian Nights” Tales.  In this story,  “Open Sesame” is the magic phrase that opens the door to a cave full of treasures.

A wise old man, my Uncle Jack, told me that there was an Open Sesame key to a magical kingdom full of riches if I could learn it, called Mathematics.  He promised me that IF I would learn Mathematics it would be like learning magic and would lead to many adventures and much wealth and happiness.

Boy was he ever right!    Thank you Uncle Jack and Aunt Inez.  Love you both.

Uncle Jack taught me to count by using the decimal place system we all use today.  I could count to 999 by the time I entered the first grade at age 5.  No one else in my class had been taught to count yet and this gave me a head start and much confidence.

Uncle Jack also taught me the 3,4,5 Rule for geometry which was very useful for building things.  He was very proud of this and used it for setting fence posts and construction, and I was the only first grader who knew about it.  It was my first exposure to geometry.  As I later learned, numbers and geometry go together, and together they can solve many real world problems.

I had several teachers who didn’t know much math, but was very fortunate to have two who did and I was able to learn math.  I have been learning math ever since.  I have also applied Mathematics to many different businesses and projects over the years.   Mathematics has made me quite a bit of material wealth, but more importantly has given me a lot of adventures and much pleasure.

Mathematics is sort of like Magic.  If you don’t know how something is done, then it seems like magic.

Mathematics is actually very easy to learn if you approach it like climbing a ladder and take it one step at a time.

Math is easier than many sports and games since it does not require physical skills.  But, it can yield the same thrill and satisfaction and “flow experience” as any sport or game.  For me, Math and Rugby produced the same kind of satisfactions and pleasures.

I would like to give you an example of this so you can see how math is easy to learn to use.  This example may be especially valuable for anyone who has had a bad experience with math.

A triangle is a very important geometric figure.  It consists of three straight line sides which each have length.  An example would be lengths, 3, 4, and 6 feet.

Now, an important question is “What is the area of this triangle?”  How many square inches?  You might need to know this for construction or carpentry or gardening.

This is a deceptively difficult “problem”.

Solving it is like performing a “magic trick”.   Easy if you know how, but very difficult if you don’t.

In the old days this was a very difficult problem.  Even today many people cannot solve this problem.  Just give it to a random sample of adults and see how many can do it.

Today there is a very powerful tool that makes this easy, if you how to use this tool.

The tool I am referring to is the TI 30Xa calculator which costs less than $10.  But, don’t be deceived, this tool is very powerful.  This tool would have been worth a million dollars seventy years ago in 1945.  If you can go back a hundred years ago in time take one of these with you and you will be instantly rich.

There are many such tools today, and you can even get the answer over the Internet immediately.  The answer is 5.33 sq. ft.  I have created a special micro course to teach you this magic trick.  You will need to get a TI30Xa calculator and then go to  and take the course.  You’ll also learn all about Uncle Jack’s 3,4,5 Rule.   All Free to you, of course.

There are many similar problems one would like to “solve” that can be answered with this tool IF you know how to use it.   It’s sort of like knowing how to do a whole bunch of magic tricks.  That’s “Math Magic”, of course.

There are many opportunities for careers, jobs, and projects that are open to any person who knows the basics of the sport or language or magic of Mathematics.

Dr. Del calls this the “1001 Opportunities Treasure Cave”.

Mathematics is the “Open Sesame” key to unlocking the door of this cave.

Mathematics is like a second language.

If you want to learn a second language, mathematics would be a very good choice.  Our ancient ancestors considered Mathematics the “second language” of the human race.

Mathematics consists of concepts (words) and tools (grammar and rules) which can be used to create models of reality and solve problems to understand this reality.

All of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is based on mathematics.

Every man made thing you consume depends on STEM.  Your food, cloths, shelter, toys, tools, everything man made depends on this Open Sesame.

Modern math tools make the learning of Mathematics and the solving of problems much-much easier and more fun than it was in the “old days” of more than 50 years ago.

Modern math tools compared to the old math tools are like comparing a modern automobile or airplane to a horse and buggy.

To demonstrate this to any person Dr. Del has created the following challenge.

Use the modern tool called a scientific calculator, the TI 30Xa, to find the area of any triangle where you know the length of its three sides.

For example, the area of the triangle whose three sides measure 3, 4 and 6 inches is 5.33 square inches as noted above, or another triangle whose sides measure 4.8, 7.4, 9.3 feet has area 17.6 sq. ft.   With the TI30Xa you will learn to find this area in less than one minute.  Give this problem to any adult you know.  Even my Uncle Jack couldn’t  solve this problem.

This math problem is quite difficult to solve without a modern tool.  You will not find it in any old fashioned geometry textbook like the ones still used in many of our schools today.

It is very easy to solve this problem IF you understand the language of mathematics and how to use a modern tool like the TI30Xa scientific calculator (less than $10).

You can have a lot of fun challenging adults to finding the area of any triangle they create by letting them specify the lengths of the three sides and then using this calculator to find the area.

While they struggle YOU will be able to find this area in less than one minute, twice in two different ways so you can be sure your answer is correct.

Dr. Del has created a short two lesson training program available over the Internet which explains the small portion of the language of Mathematics needed to solve this specific problem.

It will take you only a few hours to learn this.  You will learn by doing it, by following Dr. Del’s instructions given in the first video lesson.  And, then some exercises to practice and get really good at it.  The second video lesson will reveal the secrets behind this math magic.

It is sort of like learning to perform a magic trick.  It takes practice once you understand a few simple concepts and how to use the tool.  It is actually quite easy.

It is like learning one necessary skill for a sport, like dribbling for basketball or kicking a football for rugby.  Once you learn it, it is fun to solve such problems.

Of course, mathematics is a very rich language and you will be able to learn to solve many more practical problems using modern tools.   A big bunch of “magic tricks”.

The good news is that none of them will be any more difficult than the one you just learned.  In fact, most of them are easier to learn and master.

If you will spend a few hours per week for a few months you will be able to learn and master enough Mathematics to “Open Sesame” the doors to 1001 opportunities.

You will be able to do things very few people can do, maybe one in twenty.

Whether you choose private industry, the military, or just your own projects you will excel very easily in ways a person who does not understand the language of Mathematics will not succeed.

You will have a major advantage over most of your peers, and will find many opportunities to apply your math skills and knowledge, this “second language”.

Matheracy is just as valuable as Literacy in our modern 21st Century world.

So, step up to the challenge and take advantage of this opportunity to master a few concepts and tool skills.

Do not sell yourself short — You most definitely can learn this new skill  — Just apply yourself and try it —  Do not let any past “failures” with math stop you  —  You WILL SUCCEED if you give yourself a chance.

Invest a few hours and prove it to yourself —  No one but You can prove it to You.

It will be just as easy as learning some new sport or game, and much more valuable to your future.

Learning math and developing your skills set might be just as valuable to you as a college degree.  In some cases it is worth more since it will open up career paths and job opportunities to you that would otherwise be unavailable, even with a college degree.  Open Sesame!    

Rugby        The  R   in   MRM

Rugby is a team sport.

You, as a player, must master a variety of individual skills.

But, more importantly, you must learn to integrate these individual skills into the set of team skills that comprise a successful rugby team.

Success in Life almost always involves a team effort.  Your individual contributions from your skills must integrate into the team’s total effort, just like rugby.

Rugby is a “contact sport”.  But, it is not brutal like football.  You do not wear any equipment and one goal or “unwritten rule”  is to never hurt a fellow player.  And, yes we regard the opponent team’s players as fellow players.  We are friends both on and off the rugby field.  Just attend any rugby party to witness this.

You must learn not only your individual skills and responsibilities, but how they integrate into all the other skills and responsibilities of all the team’s players.

Like life and business, rugby is a continuous game.  There are no timeouts and few substitutions.  No one to tell you what to do during the game.  Your coach will help teach you the game and prepare you.  But, you will have to make decisions on your own during the game.  This applies to all players and the whole team.

There are the written rules, and the unwritten rules.  Often, it is the mastery and understanding of the unwritten rules that determines the winners.  This is true in all aspects of life, from business, academics, military, to family.

I did not play any sports in high school.  I was a loner and busy working to save money to somehow find a new future different than the people I knew, family and friends.  I had enough money saved when I graduated high school to go to college with a little help from my parents.  Then, I earned money in college too as a math tutor to some fellow students.  This is just one of many ways to earn money from math knowledge and skills.

I wanted to participate is some sport even though I was not a good athlete.  I just wanted the experience.  So, I ran cross country and was the second slowest man on the team (four miles in 26 minutes was my best time).  I also wrestled and was mediocre there too.  However, I could outrun any non athlete, and could out fight any non-fighter.

But, these were loner sports.  I couldn’t join any regular team due to time pressures and lack of athletic abilities.

Math was my “Open Sesame”.  It helped me in poker, working on the railroad, working in a limestone quarry.  I could solve problems others couldn’t solve and saved them a lot of money.  My railroad foreman thought I was a “magician”.  He gave me a lot of overtime and I made a lot of money the summer of 1957.

I also tutored math and made good money there too.  I tutored a lot of athletes at Indiana University when I was a graduate math student there.  One, in particular, was a star player on I.U.’s football team, half back Doug Spicer.  He ended up liking math so much he got a Masters Degree in it.  I found that anyone could learn math if they would work at it, and if they had a good teacher.

I was introduced to rugby by Dr. Bob McFadden, who was a visiting math professor to I.U. from Ireland.  He was a rugby player (a really good hooker), and he persuaded me to come out and play some rugby.

This was my first experience with a team sport.  I wasn’t very good at it, but with the tutelage of my team mates I could manage to hold my own.  I played right prop since Bob took me under his wing and was my rugby tutor.  I also had the help of many other I.U. rugby players like Paul Vogel, Phil Bryant, John Healy, Tony Prior, and many others.

Ironically, Doug Spicer had finished playing football at I.U. and became a MAT graduate student.  Rugby was a club sport, not a varsity sport, at that time and Doug also played rugby.  Wow!  What fun.  Of course, Doug was a much more talented athlete than me, but that didn’t really matter.  We were both part of a whole team.  And, Doug and I would have fun discussing math during breaks at practice and at parties. Actually, the foreign students and faculty were much better players since they had played rugby for many years in their home countries.

What I really learned was how a team must play together.  It is the same in business and the military and family.  Any, successful team must all play together.  IF you succeed in rugby you will succeed in life.  It takes the same skills.

Rugby, like everything in life, has its unwritten rules.  These I learned mostly from my team mates.  This was the foundation of my later success in the business world.

When I built a famous NHRA dragstrip, it was a big team effort.  When I helped NASCAR engine builders test their race engines on dynamometers, it was a big team effort.  This was exciting.  I met Dale Earnhardt before he became famous since his team of Osterlund Racing was a customer of mine when he joined them.  They had two Hane Dynabrane’s.  I also met Richard Petty and many other NASCAR racers.   I already knew Jack Roush from my drag racing and H & H Racing Gasoline days.

This is what I call adventure.  Meeting many neat people and engaging in great team efforts.  Rugby had taught me well in how to do this.

Later I founded an industrial training company,, and we trained thousands of skilled tradesmen in many industries and the military.  I traveled over 100,000 miles in a motor home all over the country in this endeavor from coast to coast, taking my family with me in the summers. Wow.  What a way to bond.  Try to integrate your family into your business if you can.  We built a large team at Hane Training and sold millions of dollars of training services to the military and industry.

I got to travel a lot too.  I spent many months over the years in Costa Rica, traveled up the Amazon river in Peru, went all over Europe, Greece and Turkey etc.

All of these adventures were thanks to the teamwork of hundreds of people.  And, this I had learned from rugby.

Rugby gave me the teamwork foundational knowledge and skills.  Math gave me the technical skills to solve many real world problems.  Math enabled me to engage in many business adventures.  Every business I have been involved with benefited from and required my math skills and knowledge.   Often to my colleagues it seemed like “magic”.

Quick, if you invest $1,000 at 5% annual interest compounded annually for 20 years, what will it be worth?  If you can’t answer this in less than one minute with the TI30Xa calculator or some other tool, then you are not ready for business.  Answer: $2,653    What if you could get 10%?  Answer: $6,728.  So, you can see what a big difference interest rates are.

If you consider a pizza as a cylinder with radius  z, and height a,  what is its volume?

Ans:  Pizza     Ha.  Even mathematicians can have a sense of humor.

Anyway,  Math was my first “escape” magic trick, and rugby was my second.

I wish I could have played rugby at a younger age.  The sooner you learn these lessons in life the sooner you will start down a road of excitement and adventure and success.

Will you have failures?

Absolutely!    Many, many failures.   And, that’s good, very good.

Failures are prerequisite to success.

Just ask Mark Cuban, an I.U. rugby player who played many years after I did.  Mark had a famous night spot in Bloomington which “failed” after much success.  So what did Mark do?  What any good rugby player would do.  He played the next business game, and the next, and the next.

Today Mark is a famous billionaire and owner of a NBA basketball championship team.  It certainly was not a championship team when he bought it.  He applied team skills to make it so. Mark says business is like life, it is a 24/7 “sport”.  Win, Lose, or Draw it is fun.

Fellow rugby players and good friends, Paul Vogel and Phil Bryant were successful in business and life.  They were much better rugby players than me, but we all had a lot of success and fun in business.  We recently had our rugby reunion.  Rugby players are like family and friends and business colleagues, often friends for life.

Rugby will teach you this.  You will flub plays.  You will lose games.  You will get bruises and other painful injuries.  Fortunately, if you play smart you shouldn’t get seriously injured.  Business is the same way.  Family is the same way.

Math will teach you this too.  You will make lots and lots of mistakes.  You will learn from these mistakes, just like you do in rugby or business.  Your mistakes will increase your skills and abilities.

You will need persistence and perseverance to succeed.  You will need to practice a lot.  You will need to learn to work with others.  You will have to learn to handle disappointments and defeat.  You will need to learn how to have fun and enjoy all of these things.

I have had many successes in business and made a lot of money.

I have had many failures in business and lost a lot of money.

I learned to enjoy all of it.

Life is Yin and Yang.   Successes and failures.

If you can learn to play rugby successfully as a team member, then you can learn to play business successfully as a team member.  Yes, I said “play business”.  I think of everything as “play”.  Business and family are “play”.  You will have a lot of success and failure, high points and low points in all of these endeavors.  Enjoy and cherish them all.

I noticed that out of every “failure” some great “success” was born.  This is true in business, math, rugby, family, and all of life’s endeavors and adventures.

My students call me Dr. Del, or just Doc.

I wish you very well in your future and hope this little message helps you in some way.

Now let leave me you with some final thoughts and advice.

Dr. Del’s final message to You, and Your “Action Plan”.

Somehow acquire a TI 30Xa calculator (less than $10 at Walmart). You can learn a lot of math just “playing around” with your calculator and trying different things.

Go to and learn a math magic trick.

Math is like a game or sport.  You can have fun with it just like you might have fun with a puzzle.  Math is the most interesting game I ever played.  And, the most valuable too!

There is always more to learn.  And more fun to have.

The  modern tools of math like the scientific calculator makes this easy and fun.

The more math you learn the more fun you can have.

Learning math from a good teacher is easy.  Just like climbing a ladder one step at a time.  Just like learning any game or sport, one skill at a time.  IF you can learn to play any game or sport successfully, THEN you can learn math.

DO NOT let any past “failures” or bad experiences with math discourage you.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is an ignorant person and should be ignored.  The same is true in business and life in general.

Then you can learn to use even more powerful math tools.  It is kind of like using modern tools in any field.  The more tools you learn the more you can do.

The next tool I teach students after the calculator is a modern tool called Wolfram Alpha.  It is free and available over the Internet.   And, it is really unbelievably powerful.

Wolfram Alpha is like comparing a Jet Plane to an automobile (the scientific calculator).  To me Wolfram Alpha is truly “Magic”.  Note the capital M.  Unbelievable!

For example, I now teach STEM students all of the calculus they need in about one semester compared to two years in a traditional math program.  Go to to learn all about this.

The scientific calculator is like comparing a modern automobile to a horse and buggy.

First learn to drive an automobile.

Then learn to fly the Jet Plane, Wolfram Alpha.

You may want to skip the horse and buggy, traditional high school math taught in most schools today, what I call the Standard Math Curriculum, SMC.

Learning modern Mathematics for Science and Engineering is much-much easier today than it was in the last century.  And there are many very interesting and high paying careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).

Visit our websites to learn a lot more about all of this.

IF you can learn any complex sport or play any complex game, THEN you can learn math.

Math is like a “contact sport”.   You will learn it by doing it.

Practice, make a lot of mistakes, and then practice some more.  Become a Winner.

If you can learn to play rugby well, you can pursue a STEM career or a business or a military career successfully.  Of course, math will help you in all of these.

I hope that some rugby coaches will help their players learn math and reach out to help some of their fellow students learn math too.  Perhaps, a Math Club to go along with the Rugby Club.   Perhaps call it a Rugby/STEM Club.  This could give the rugby players an opportunity to practice leadership with students who are not rugby players.  It might expand the fan base for the rugby team.  It certainly will be of great service and help to all of the students it touches.

If you want to discuss any of these things just email me: and we can start a dialogue or call me:   812-332-8179 is my private number.

To have some fun with a “magic trick” visit:

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