everything…


fittycent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/writing-challenge-fifty/

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Re-post: Why Americans aren’t completely into soccer… yet. (opinion)


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THIS was written shortly after Spain had beaten Netherlands 1-0 in the 2010 World Cup final. It is a re-post, but the ideas are still prescient

You may have heard that FIFA, the governing (futbol) body in World Soccer has announced the use of “goal line technology” to be deployed soon at a pitch near you (or at least in the 2014 World Cup). Its funny, because my ideas (below) caught a rash of shit from the nay saying purists (read: foreigners) who bellowed that it would never happen…  and hell, it wasn’t even on the table back then. I mean, should an American even have the right to suggest changes to this venerable game?

When it comes to Soccer, Americans know nothing, right? But does America really  hate “the beautiful game”? Soccer is the second most popular sport by participation among children under 15 in the U.S. Our Women have dominated the sport for years, becoming the most dominant team in any international sport. Is it long before our men catch up with the rest of the world and make a WC finals? Probably, but give us another 12-16 years and…
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (video game)
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

2010. I’m American and a soccer fan.

Unfortunately, I’m already feeling withdrawals from the thought of four years of semi-hibernation sans-soccer about to commence.

Like many soccer fans I watched most of this year’s World Cup, read a ton of internet articles, and listened to this year’s flavors of talking head, who all weighed in on “the beautiful game” and America’s ambivalent attitude towards it.

Though I’m not an expert by any stretch, I am a fan who has watched soccer from the outside for many years. I played American collegiate soccer over 30 years ago at a Division 1 college in Kentucky, though back then the game was nebulous as to the meaning of “American”. Like many American college teams, we were a collection of decent foreign players and renegade American sports athletes who for various reasons no longer graced their once chosen sport, or who had played high school soccer at one of the few schools who fielded a team. I was an ex-distance runner with average soccer skills who was recruited on-campus after I decided to forgo my track scholarship. After graduating, I played club soccer in North Carolina for about 10 years. Now, my experience comes exclusively from my thousands of hours addiction to playing video game maker Konami and EASports PES and FIFA soccer on my PS3.)

What changes are needed to create more fan interest in the game here on American soil?

Besides America actually winning, American sports fans care about two things in sports: excitement and fairness. World Cup watchers got a first-hand look this year at how the lack of these two things can drive Americans crazy, and perhaps keep us from embracing the world’s most beautiful game. In fact, the World Cup has been rife with “cheating” in the past, in the form of egregious “flopping”, sometimes changing the complexion of the entire Tournament. Scoring? Oh my. Last year’s final was a 1-0 affair with the winning goal (Spain) softly rolling off the goalie in the side of the net after a gentle Iniesta nudge. But was it boring? Not to anyone who actually watches the game with interest.

I personally don’t like penalty shootouts and don’t feel they are the best way to find the real winner of matches. I like better the Golden Goal rule where the game is played on the pitch until one team scores… then it’s ballgame. Also, weaker teams can play for a tie in hopes of winning a shootout. Playing to tie makes it much easier to actually end in a 0-0 tie, giving the weaker team almost a 50-50 opportunity.

1. Scoring –

People all over the world love GOOOAAALS, yet Americans are criticized for their “lack of depth” because they want to see more of them. To say that Americans under appreciate the richness or unseen nuances of soccer is to trivialize our ability embrace sporting value, without giving serious thought to the underlying issue. Long gone is the day when to be an American at a world soccer event was a curiosity. I’m tired of apologizing for our soccer to the world, and listening to people from everywhere tell me how we just don’t get it.

It is true that I found the Spain-Netherlands game the most exciting game of all even though the final score was 1-0. The final game may have been a let down to many, but isn’t that the way finals go many times, with over-expectation? The entire event was a low scoring affair, as it is many times when quality teams play one another.

The problem with this as I see it; unless there are changes made we are doomed with 1-0 or 0-0 finals forever. Great teams are not about to give up 2, 3, 4 goals in today’s game, and two great teams…well…?

The world wants GOOOAAALS!

During the World Cup I heard all kinds of opinions concerning America’s attitude toward soccer, many of them ridiculous. If America thinks soccer is boring how do you explain our obsession with baseball? If it’s just that we can’t understand the game in its’ totality, who is going to tell our women, who are the most dominant sports team in the history of International Sports?

FIFA, the governing body for International Soccer must agree that scoring more goals is important to the future health of the game, and not because of the “stupid” Americans. The Jubillane (ball) was introduced at this years’ event for one reason: more goals. It failed to produce.

I suggest that the goal be made two or three meters wider and a meter taller to allow for more scoring opportunities with well placed shots. Many goalies today are superior athletes and can block even the best aimed, most twisting and screaming shots, resulting in many games being decided by fluke goals or lucky, but weak chances. It also means that there are more terribly bad shots because of the increased pressure added for the low margin for error. This is not how sport is supposed to work, and I suspect many Americans sense it.

Why not give these great athletes a better chance to display their talent to the world? A great shot should be just that… an untouchable missle blasted just outside the even the swiftest goal keeper‘s reach, something rarely possible in today’s game. Even the final WC goal by Spain was knocked down before landing softly inside the goal. I dare say more goals roll into the back of the net than ripple it.

With a slightly larger goal there will still be the finesse of the flip shot in one-on-one situations as goalies will adjust to the larger goal area with earlier, more aggressive charges in order to cut down angles. Forwards and halfbacks will try slightly deeper shots once again with hopeful success; something rare in championship soccer today because of the evolving skill of today’s goalkeepers. a larger goal means the game will not be considered over when a team goes up by two or three goals,unlike it is today. The “hope” of scoring is just as important as the notching the goal itself to the fan of soccer. I think FIFA should give everyone more hope.

2. Officiating –

I am continually amazed at how many sports governing bodies have been able to ignore the onslaught of new technology when it comes to officiating. It seems that human officials have become the “sacred cow” of many sports; the one thing that must not give in to change. Frankly, I don’t understand the value proposition. What good reason or reasons are there for not getting more accurate results in a sporting event? The 2010 World Cup was an example of how protecting the purity of a sport may also be how to eventually destroy it. Game after game missed calls affected or potentially affected outcomes, leaving one to wonder at times which team was pre-destined to win?

Having played competitive soccer I know that every game endures bad calls and good calls, some favorable and others not. It is sometimes very difficult to identify the offender and the offended in a physical game like soccer where neither player owns possession in a strict sense. The World Cup officials were criticized for many calls which were made that might not be questioned in a regular contest. The magnitude of the event rightly or wrongly leads to magnification of every call and the WC officials are somewhat always in a no-win situation. Yet, at this year’s Cup, it seemed yellow cards were shown to players for simply playing hard, and even worse: Hollywood style faking by their opponents. Video captured these moments to FIFA’s embarrassment several times during the competition. Yet, there was no make-up call for the actors and the tragedy unfolded in horror for those falsely accused and their fans.

In soccer it is mandatory that calls be correct near the goal (inside the box) due to the excessive severity of a penalty. Time and again video replay busted the official calls or no-calls in the area, one of the most debilitating events which can happen to a team in soccer. Though the officials didn’t prejudice one team, they missed calls on every side.

Hey FIFA, what’s up? Can you explain this…?

Is it merely cost that stops FIFA from using video to insure that teams and titles aren’t lost simply over bad calls? Is it time? Techno-phobia? Why are we so entranced by humans who are only all too “human”? I could go one here forever, but I’ll constrain myself to this:

America will never love a sport where such contradictions exists. Yes, we hate to lose badly, but mostly we hate to lose unfairly. And who wants to win a Cup marred by so many blatant mistakes by officials? OK, you won’t hear any Spaniards complaining, but that’s about it. There are a number of teams this year who could say that the whistle cost them a game and maybe the Cup.

I hate crybabies in sports and believe that the mistakes somehow seem even out over time. But I think FIFA owes the sport a better deal.

FIFA should “embrace change”, America’s mantra of the eighties and nineties when we finally convinced ourselves that technology and change does not always mean bad. Almost every industry experienced game changing rules at record setting pace as technology advancement forced us to reconsider our most cherished and hallowed traditions. In sports we witnessed technology’s effect with a wary eye and slowly made changes where needed. Golf, one of the most traditional sports lengthened and re-designed courses to offset better equipment and stronger players. Basketball keeps moving the three point line and reducing the shot clock. Baseball built bigger parks and limited ball and bat technology…Every sport has had to re-evaluate and make needed changes to enhance and maintain their core value.

I think some limited use of replay has a place in soccer RIGHT NOW, not next time around. It’s imperative to get the calls right and to keep the game honest if America is to participate on every level. But for this to happen changes must be made, if only in small increments. FIFA seems to be unmoved by the controversy but changes might help America’s attitude toward the game improve.

Evolution has taught us that life, the world, and the universe is dynamic. Small improvements over time lead to larger overall positive results. Listen up FIFA!

Nowhere did it exclude the beautiful game of soccer.

-30-

I picked Holland over Spain in the final of my ESPN Soccerpick fantasy bracket based on a junk “home-team” theory I developed when I realized no African team was strong enough to win it all. My other picks were pretty good too, except for one glaring mistake: USA. Even though Uraguay won my WC when I played a completely computer driven WC Simulation with PES2009 on my PS3, my heart said USA would make the final four this time. Never listen to your heart when picking sporting event winners. You can check out my picks (mostdiggity) at http://games.espn.go.com/knockout/en-us/frontpage.

In 2014 you will see USA escape the Group of Death after Beating Ghana (finally) and tying Portugal and Germany. The USA will advance one more game before getting Gobsmacked by Spain. Germany (I think) is destined to advance and spoil Brazil’s party, then beat Spain in the final game 2-1 for their 4th World Cup win. I was in Germany in 1990 and 1994 when they were at their strongest. Germany plays like a fine uh… German Automobile. With precision.
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18 COMMENTS

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THERE ARE 18 COMMENTS. SHOW SPEED READING TIPS & SETTINGS ↓

I do agree with better officiating but….
I don’t think we need to have higher scoring games, that’s just ridiculous and takes away that intense feeling that these players can score at any minute. I think what Americans fail to appreciate is the fact that they can score at any minute, instead of having the mindset of “when are they going to score”. A lot of my friends were very bored by the final, but honestly I thought it was good solid game, it was physical, it had the right momentum, and it all culminated in an amazing shot. If you can watch baseball, why can’t you watch soccer? that’s one of the most baffling points that I also fail to understand. I do think that people are becoming more and more interested partly due to the FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer Games, It tends to teach people the basic rules, strategies, statistics, things Americans love, but often misunderstand.

by TerpsAllTheWay on Jul 12, 2010 12:31 PM EDT actions
I think everyone who was watching learned just how amazing a 1 goal game can be when landon put the winner in against Algeria. I’ve said it many times, so i guess i’ll say it again, the reason soccer isn’t wildly popular in America isn’t because Americans don’t like soccer, it’s because theres such obscene amounts of money to be made with football. Why? because theres a thousand opportunities for commercial breaks during a football game. Soccer has precisely 1 break for commercials. ESPN and the like will pay attention to soccer during the summer when sports are slow, and they’ll pimp the EPL because it’s on early in the morning, and they have nothing else going on at that time so it’s better than nothing. But when college football or the NFL is available? You’ll never see the big sports networks get behind soccer, theres just not as much money to be made.

by GKINMD on Jul 12, 2010 2:19 PM EDT actions

Premise of the whole article is wrong
MLS is having great attendence – up 10% in a down economy that has MLB down 2%. TV ratings for MLS are even with NHL when put on comparitively accessible tv stations as well.

Records were set for American viewership of WC’10 South Africa. With all its time zone differences and what-not it was the most watched World Cup in US history.

So if this is going to be the best year for the domestic league, and the best WC why are we claiming that Americans don’t care?

I am not a Supporter | I am not a Fan | I am a Sounder
Sounder At Heart
by Dave Clark on Jul 12, 2010 3:20 PM EDT actions

I think one way to can increase scoring in soccer is to eliminate the offside rule. I don’t know how controversial this would be, but it seems like it would do the trick.

As to officiating, I think having one ref for each half of the field (they’d both be on during play) would eliminate some of the bad calls that seem to happen simply because the ref was far away and couldn’t do anything about it.

Hockey Blogger at Pensburgh.com
by GoPens! on Jul 12, 2010 6:25 PM EDT actions

Eliminating offsides
would change the game in a horrible horrible way, the game would suffer sooooo much

by I need more Esteban on Jul 13, 2010 10:19 AM EDT up actions

Yes, slow ass piss poor defenders would no longer be bailed out
by Cool Dudes on Jul 14, 2010 1:32 AM EDT up actions

Seriously?
slow ass piss poor defenders? How about the offsides trap? How about cherry picking? Offsides is intricate to fielding a good game. What fun would it be if someone just stayed at one end of the pitch and continuously fielded balls after a long kick? That would make the game terrible.

“I will never have my best season,” Brian Dawkins
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee
“This fucking game is over!” Chuck Bednarik
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson
by Talon Talent on Jul 15, 2010 12:41 AM EDT up actions

Yeah, the “offsides trap”
A defense that rely’s on the proficiency of the linesman to actually be competent AND see perfectly to ensure that a goal is not scored.

Fucking brilliant! You should coach France! You would be great!

by Cool Dudes on Jul 16, 2010 12:37 AM EDT up actions

wow didn’t realize you could simplify it so easily.
The offside trap is not without risk as a perfectly timed ball will leave a defense watching the cleats of a forward as he streaks for a one on one opportunity. It may not be a “brilliant” defense, and yet how often has it saved a team? Anything that works as well as it does might very well be considered brilliant.
And it also amazes me that with everything I wrote there, the only thing you could dispute was the offsides trap part of it.
Simply put, soccer without offsides would be terrible. If you are looking for high scoring games watch basketball I hear they score like 80 points on average or something.

“I will never have my best season,” Brian Dawkins
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee
“This fucking game is over!” Chuck Bednarik
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson
by Talon Talent on Jul 16, 2010 10:59 AM EDT up actions

Dude
There’s not enough time in the day to dispute everything you are saying that’s wrong. I just concentrated on the funniest part.

by Cool Dudes on Jul 16, 2010 2:46 PM EDT up actions

Nice. I take that as victory. Thanks for playing

“I will never have my best season,” Brian Dawkins
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee
“This fucking game is over!” Chuck Bednarik
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson
by Talon Talent on Jul 16, 2010 10:04 PM EDT up actions

I disagree and disagree. Goals should be a treasured event. The scoring of a goal in soccer is one of the best moments frowarded to the players and the fans watching. It is because they are harder to come by. I mean if the goals were coming by the handful who the hell would want to be a goalie for the sport? All the attention would be put on forwards (as it often is now) and at the core of humanity is the need for recognition and love. This is why offensive players are usually more coveted in every sport. if anything soccer gives the defenders a more equal chance to shine.
Instant replay for soccer is always and always will be a bad idea. To put it brief (because I already explained it in Disappointedleafs fan World Cup Controversy fanpost) The fluidity of soccer can not be messed with. The momentum part of soccer is so crucial and Instant replay would take that away completely.

“I will never have my best season,” Brian Dawkins
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee
“This fucking game is over!” Chuck Bednarik
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson
by Talon Talent on Jul 12, 2010 10:04 PM EDT actions

disagree
only in part.

I definitely agree that the fluidity should not be messed with too much but there HAS to be goal-line replay and replays on offsides when they involve goals.

You will have an official in the booth who watches a replay and relays the outcome to the head official in a matter of seconds. This would not mess with flow by any means, in fact, it might speed things up because you wouldn’t have to wait as 6 players argue with the official. This is 2010, you can make these things happen fast.

by I need more Esteban on Jul 13, 2010 10:23 AM EDT up actions

Somehow the NHL seems to be able to recruit goalies and keep their players from taking a smoke break during goal reviews
Not sure how they do it. Maybe we need some sort of secret Canadien technology.

by Cool Dudes on Jul 16, 2010 12:48 AM EDT up actions

The Final Was the Most watched soccer match in U.S. History with a record 24.3 Million Tuning in.
by TerpsAllTheWay on Jul 12, 2010 10:59 PM EDT actions

Agree or Disagree
This was a well-written post.

I don’t think I can jump on board with the widening of the goal. Like many have said, the rarity of goals are what make them so special when they do happen. What more Americans that don’t like Soccer need to realize is that the excitement of the game comes on opportunities to score. With every cross into the box of the opposition, you hold your breath that this could be the one that loses you the game, maybe even in the first 10 minutes! That’s why every minute matters and every opportunity is so special. When Americans that don’t enjoy the game realize that they may jump on board.

But hey, not everyone likes every sport and that is fine. I just wish our society could get past hating so hard on soccer. There is not a sport in America that more shit is talked on than soccer. Although, I do know a lot of people that hate pretty hard on baseball these days. I live in Kansas, though, so I run across my fair share of bumkins who throw out, “err soccer is so f’n borin’, let’s go watch us some g’damn Nascar!
End rant on that.

Agree with you about technology. Get with the times FIFA. I said it above, but goal-line technology and technology on offsides involving goals should be implemented in some ways. I mean the goal that England didn’t receive and the goal that Tevez scored on the non-offsides call were inexcusable. Do it incrementally, experimentally, just do something.

by I need more Esteban on Jul 13, 2010 10:31 AM EDT actions

If Soccer Had Just Been, or Was Just Being Invented
You would be totally correct. They made the goals too small, the advantage the goalie has using his hands over players using their feet is too much. But the goal is the size of the goal and I really doubt that will ever change (except perhaps as a good way to break a tie in extra time).

But, I really think there are some less drastic rule changes that could be made. A ridiculous number of goals get called off because of the offsides rule, and a lot are really borderline calls. I would really like to see offsides become more of a zone rule not unlike what they have in hockey. The intent of the rule is to prevent poaching and continous longballs, but it wasn’t well thought because a lot of calls are made after the ball is already in the box, which really makes no sense. I would really like to see this rule changed.

While the size of the goals may be sacred, I really don’t think the offsides rule is very universally loved and people would be far more willing to change it.

by Cool Dudes on Jul 14, 2010 1:39 AM EDT actions

No…
I think that the majority of Americans would watch it. But they refuse to watch it out of fear that they might like it. And that is enough for them not to give it a chance.

The Once and Future King
by FlaGators on Jul 21, 2010 3:53 PM EDT actions
Comments for this post are closed, bro.

what goes around comes around


Daddy-hood sort of caught me by the nape of my neck.   In the summer 2004 I was surprised to learn that… like it or not I was going to become a Father. Whoa!… after 50 years I had long decided against and avoided that (to me) unfortunate scenario. But, fate had chosen another route for […]

Russ not-so-diculous Smith… Man of The Year


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I’ve been a Louisville fan since growing up in the South End there in the late 1960’s. In those days Wes Unseld held down the post while Junior Bridgeman (oops wrong year… it was Butch Beard) drilled bombs that would now-a-days be NBA threes. I was also a Kentucky fan back then, as my limited scope at 11 only suggested that both teams were from my home State; and for me… that was good enough. I cried after the 1966 Finals when Kentucky lost to Texas Western. It was the first televised game I had ever seen (if you call a 13 inch B/W TV using rabbit ears at Rough River with fuzzy reception actually “watching”). I remember Louie Dampier and Pat Riley playing well, but Texas Western was loaded with quick athletic jumpers who cleaned nearly all of the glass. No matter how hard we played T-W was relentless and refused to reliquish an early lead. They shot 38 free throws and made 24, while were 11 for 13, because we could not stop (Calipari’s Don Haskins Dribble-Drive).

I could not then, nor do I now understand the hatred that exists between the fans of these two highly vaunted programs at (UK and UL).

Since those formative years I’ve remained a spectator and college basketball fan, eventually forsaking football, baseball, and other sports to concentrate on basketball, and found new love… in playing soccer. After college graduation one generally finds that career and other diversions tend to implore us not to spend so much discretionary time on sports. Somewhere along the way we should also gain a certain “adult” perspective that allows wins and losses to affect us only in “momentary” situations, without changing our personalities or affecting our priorities. I can remember once thinking (as a Cleveland Browns fan), “what if they win the Super Bowl this year?”

My internal answer came back solemnly… “well… you’ll have a hangover at work the next day. And then, it will all be over as quickly as it unfolded.” Of course, I never got to test my theory on Cleveland.

But, I’ve always known that the special UL/UK hate was limited to the fans, but not the players. The players, for the most part all respect one another and truly wish them well when not in direct opposition with one another. This last week, I was incensed after reading a Louisville fan blog, where a number of (so-called) humanoids berated Russ Smith’s game against their hated rival Kentucky. It is the epitome of classless, spineless, little man complex to even suggest that Russ Smith ISN’T the epitome of college basketball. I mean, holy sh&t, without Russ Smith, Louisville wouldn’t be on the map this year?

If I could have traveled through cyberspace I might have strangled someone. I wonder how much sweat these slugs must have lost watching Russ make a mistake or two? The nerve! And I hate to report that this kind of attitude is more commonplace than one could reasonably imagine. I witnessed Kentucky fans dropping  wholesale after every disappointment this year, creating more Calipari is crazy conspiracies than David Icke does aliens are living next door. Now they’ve had to order a new fleet of “bandwagons” to accommodate the repentant.

Of course, as we advance both in age and financially we become further removed from the “good ole days”, as our lives settle down we find time for watching sports again; if only to harass our friends over drinks, use travel games as party excuses, and/or make idiotic blog posts about our two-time First team All-American’s deficiencies. Albeit, we do all this with the same passion and nasty vigor of our youth, unless by then we’ve learned anything about real life. But then, sports chatter using facts and figures can also be fun, even when all you want to do is watch from the couch with family and friends and berate the commentator (I mean homer/hater Doug Gottfried).

hater-2355

The last few years though, I have experienced a gnawing ache, which seems to grow as I follow my favorite teams on the internet on TV and in the news and through internet blogs. Admittedly, (and duly embarrassed) a couple of years ago I began to engage my acute sense of wit (my description of course), knowledge of the game and its history, and uniquely blatant in-your-face writing style to have some fun tormenting those brain-farts whom I felt were less informed about the game I love, or were just plain trolling ignoramus’ who apparently make a life out of denigrating other teams and their fans.

 I can honestly (no self-efficacy here, huh?) say that when it came to words-a-cuffing, I was/am/can be the Mohammed Ali of heavyweight lightning factoid-icule. For awhile I got a kick out of out belittling (some unknown to me poster) with a twisted sarcasm that only I seemed to be able to produce in imaginative volume. For awhile, I admit it was fun…

Yet, it was internally hollow, and I soon tired of out-lambasting some teenager or sock-puppet who could barely spout, “my team is better than yours”, or wax philosophical about some ridiculous straw man argument, whom I quickly leveled with a few light jabs and then an overhand hay-word-insult-maker, landing him on his back not even attempting to answer the keyboard beep.

I particularly loved sparring with more intelligent fans (unarmed with my modestly? over-the-top imaginative hater vocabulary); unfortunately they too sometimes lacked the Ali-dance-cleverword-shuffle or even the hack-a-fact, and I found myself mocking them before finally throwing a swift combination Ali would have marveled at. Canvas. 1-10. Boom. K.O. Next…

It was easy especially if you’d ever read Darrell Huff’s book, “How to Lie With Statistics”, the most widely read book on quantitative analysis ever written. And if you’ve happened to have read his sequel, “How to Tell if Someone is Cheating With Statistics”. then…BOOM! Tysonian.

Thankfully, those days are done-skeey and I lament remembering some of the verbal beatings I gave. Almost…

Occasionally I can and do get drawn into a minor word wrestle with a formidable foe (likely because they have said egregious ignorant things with uncommon pride and arrogance instead of understated objectivity) whom I sense cannot go the whole fifteen rounds… even though I recognize my latent memory is beginning to escape me .

I’ll set ’em up with some obscure factoid, wait for the bell of my chosen round… then simply wind-up-round-house them before they can type, “Google”. Trust me, I had to learn a plethora of one punch put-down lines in Louisville’s South End growing up and I remember most of them.

But, I swear it’s ONLY because I hate the hater…

 …and so I dose ’em with a dash of high-test-hate-o-line (then an throw uppercut to the super-ego with a lit match thrown in for good measure). BA-BOOM!

True is dat. But this a confession, even if it sounds arrogant, because I’m sorry… especially after what Louisville’s Russ Smith has recently taught me.

The following statement by arguably the best player in the nation over the last two years exemplifies the notion of

CHAMPION

 better than I or anyone could ever express with any brand of kindness or venom.

THIS IS WHAT EVERY COLLEGE FAN SHOULD LEARN TO RECITE.

 Russ-not-so-diculous is, as of now my ALL-TIME favorite college basketball player:

Can anyone find something NOT to love about this guy? I don't think so...
Can anyone find something NOT to love about this guy? I don’t think so…

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Those who play the game (just like MOST OF US likely remember when playing sports), respect one another; it’s the fans who are LAME. Stop it you friggin’ idiots! It is a game. You have to work tomorrow either way, so STFU… (I know, I know… sure… its the refs fault).

Because in the end sports are about sportsmanship (learning how to win, and how to lose), not winning… and especially not whining like your 7-year old. It’s about enjoying true athletic skill which the common man can only appreciate with a certain awe. It’s about competitive fight, 100% effort, and all without cheating; and learning to LOSE well as well as WIN well. Well?

That trait alone makes one Russ Smith a true hero, and a real man. Those who play the game respect one another; it’s us fans whose ignorance is more than made up for by our lack of intelligence.

I mean, it’s a shame that stupidity isn’t painful…

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Stop the hate, fans of whom-ever-in-the-rat-fk.

It is ONLY a game that you ONLY participate in vicariously. Your kids will still have to go to the Dentist tomorrow, so please STFU with the crybaby stuff.

And… unfortunately it is the fans of my beloved State of Kentucky (equally offensive UL and UK fans) who are among the worst offenders. Some of these Neanderthals have professional jobs and careers. I mean, I love Kentucky though I’ve lived in North Carolina just as long, and now Florida nearly as long.

I’m still a UK and UL fan to the bone… because…

There’s nothing like basketball in KENTUCKY. I just hope it stays that way without us making fools of ourselves any more than we have already… well, all of us but those young inexperienced players on our teams… Bye Russ! I’ll miss your style, your smile, and your helter-skelter…

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moneyball- the-rabbit-hole-continued


moneyball

It’s been three years now since Greensboro Attorney Vance Kinlaw, a friend and ardent supporter of his alma-mater, UNC-Law told me that he had sold his season tickets which had held forever, disavowed his relationship with the sports programs, alumni association and the university, and does not follow UNC sports anymore. PERIOD. Vance explained that his growing difficulty with supporting the Tarheels because of the blurring lines of amateur sports finally reached its zenith at a home game when he noticed that the press row tables had suddenly become advertising space during games. He was disappointed to find little support among the UNC Board of Governors, who were adamant that the signs were not infringing on the idea of amateur athletics and were necessary to insure financial success of the program.
Vance Kinlaw, having his undergrad as a Phi-Beta-Kappa Dartmouth, is a man of principal who sees college athletics from a pure and ethical moral perspective. He threw in the towel, disavowed his association and financial contributions to the school altogether. Hmmm? Are there others? Will enough follow?
 

EDITORIAL opinion / MONEYBALL

Someday, when the doin’s done someone may look back at the 2014 NCAA basketball tournament and identify it as the time when the big ship’s hull was breached and the rushing water could no longer be kept from flooding the “unsinkable” NCAA organization. For now, the band is still playing but there have been some reports of icebergs, and the captain hasn’t fully disclosed these troubling issues to the passengers. It’s full speed ahead.

If one needs some blatant signal to consider if the NCAA has stooped to cashing in on every angle this year one has to look no further than ticket prices. This year over last, prices are up 33%. Did anyone announce a basketball shortage? The NCAA has finally caved to the idea that it’s all about MONEY and is only barely trying to hide it.

They are acting like a deposed dictator who is scooping up as much as he can carry to make a last second smash-and-grab before the inevitable flight to asylum.

ncaachart

Of course, everyone knows that there are serious cracks which Ed O’Bannon’s class action suit has exposed, and the lengthy legal proceedings have limits to the amount of time they can be forestalled. O’Bannon’s legal team is nothing else if not persistent, matching the NCAA’s legal stable motion for motion answer for answer for several years. Some expect that a hearing looms low on the horizon. Several legal experts also feel O’Bannon has the upper hand. If so, many think it could be the organization’s fatal blow.

Could this year’s tourney be a sign that there’s blood in that rushing water too?

NCAA-money

If not, then the NCAA has blatantly announced that they are in TOTAL control of the situation by offending the fans, their constituents, the media, and even many of those who earn their over-the-top salaries under their sponsorship with the obvious unfair manipulation of the tournament brackets, seedings, and (both immediate and possible) matchups.

This year, they have run out of excuses that could mitigate the vitriol spewing forth from the public. Of course, hurting one team always helps someone else so they have their supporters too. But, this year they have defied ALL LOGIC despite what happens in the tourney (we all remember VCU in 2011 reaching the Final Four from the play-in game, although many argued that they hadn’t done enough in season to qualify). And though while that may have been true, Shaka Smart may have unwittingly given the NCAA a future license to steal.

ncaa-tournament-statistics

The “selection committee” meets for hours behind closed doors in strict confidence, allowing no one to witness the “incredibly tough” job they are thanked for doing each year. And, I know that it must be a tough job even if they’ve already pretty much got the framework together by Selection Sunday. I mean, Athletic Directors are supposed to be paying attention all season long, right? This isn’t exactly Talent Search, where there is no historical reference point for each contestant. No, they ALREADY  know and have alluded to as much by suggesting the Sunday games really can’t change anything except perhaps a swap of seeds with two teams in the same conference.

Last year, as always, NCAA scapegoats justified unfortunate seedings to disgruntled fans and experts by pointing out the obvious cases where their mistakes made them look good (as is inevitable as the Sun rising no matter who does the seeding), adding for the still skeptical that beginning 2014 they would finally de-emphasize (the old RPI algorithm) in favor of more advanced metrics used by many teams both  professional and college; The  likes of Ken Pomeroy, John Gasaway, and Dean Oliver to make these “important” decisions. Why not eliminate the RPI altogether since comparatively it was written on papyrus? Of course, because this simply gives the unfortunate bearer of bad news (the committee head) another potential excuse to use when all others fail, though time and time again the RPI has been shown to be an unreliable predictive measurement tool.

Instead, they ignored all of these expert’s statistical tools, even dissing the ESPN BPI metric (a highly sophisticated product which takes into account many subtle metrics that have been used by professional gamblers for years to gain a slight “edge”.

If you’re a betting man, pay close attention; Can you say, opportunity?

dome

This year committee chair Ron Wellman (Wake Forest) confidently answered detractors by using double talk and blatantly lying to the public stating that “of course we used the eye test when considering Louisville’s 4 seed”. But….(cue excuse metric). What had Ron failed to disclose? That he was blind? No, and not ignorant… but stupid seems to fit fairly well.

First, that the committee doesn’t really review much basketball in their 4-6 hour closed meeting finalizing the pairings. They do work hard though, sifting through piles of financial data, seating charts, driving distances, expected fan base participation in ticket sales, community resource income opportunities, popcorn sales, etc. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. But the biggest job is uncovering the “storylines” and potential storylines if certain matchups occur. While one may not consider this as important or useful, remember that the NCAA is paid an astronomical amount in dollars (see above chart) by the media organizations, who all  expect to make profits by sponsoring the extravaganza on TV, radio, internet, print and cable. The media makes money on viewer and readership, by converting numbers to advertisng dollars. The NCAA gets a percentage bonus against a fixed income.

Every dollar counts as reader/viewers/ attendees/ hits, even if it is insignificant enough to pit the defending champ against a team coached by an ex-ball boy for Louisville coach Rick Pitino, ex-player, and ex-assistant coach against his mentor. What a story if Steve Maseillo who coaches Manhattan with a 13 seed can defeat his mentor the defending Champ? Since Maseillo learned everything he knows about the game from Louisville and Pitino and carbon copies EVERYTHING they do, who stands a better chance of an upset? Not many teams in the entire field. Big stories mean big money.

Sorry ‘bout that Rick.

Wellman didn’t fully explain why he inserted NC State in the tourney over SMU, a move no one expected but subtlety understood after Coach Krzyzewski of Duke went public to whine about his conference deserving more teams. Viola, Wake Forest man delivers, keeping the ACC family safe and K on his good side. Of course, there’s no way K would have had to play his ex-players like Harvard and ex-Dookie stars Tommy Amaker’s team, or Johnny Dawkins team from Stanford. Like the legendary Dean Smith before him, Special K and the ACC is Golden with the NCAA (see infractions committed but not sanctioned), and K is King and gets his way at the NCAA. Doesn’t hurt when the Head man is a Duke grad himself, huh?

Most people outside of SMU yawned, notably Larry Brown who knows EXACTLY how it works with the NCAA. It is better to stay silent lest you end up an 8-seed, or 4-seed while qualifying as a 4 or a 1. But Larry and others miss the point. As in any political arena the losers attitudes ARE always more than offset by the winners perspectives when they conform to the accepted media narrative, insuring that “right or wrong” is not just an uncertainty, it’s practically irrelevant (well… by Monday). Then somehow an upset or two will make the media gush over the committee genius, without mention that there are STILL some walking around feeling as if a long stiff object has been lodged in the wrong place… Onward, we march into madness… Truth is, the DISS usually backfires into a determined rage by the most offended.

ronwellman

Ron Wellman, Wake Forest Athletic and Director (of the ACC) explains how the

seedings were “the most accurate in his five years on the committee.”

What is it about the four teams listed on the eraser board?

Call me crazy but it appears that eventual Mid-West Region 8-seed/Kentucky is listed with an eventual 4-seed, Louisville… and then eventual 5-seed St. Louis.
Above these teams is listed an eventual 1-seed Virginia, who was apparently later “replaced with 1-seed Wichita State. Why?
Question: Why would these teams (1,4,8,5) be listed BEFORE THE SEEDING PROCESS without any other participants?
And, whatever happened to the idea that a 5-seed doesn’t get to play a “home” game?

Here’s my take on a fictional conversation (which could… but would never happen, since it is silently understood by both) between Wellman and Rick Pitino, who was upset about being paired with 16-seed Manhattan whose Coach Steve Masiello was his old ball boy, player, and assistant coach. Maseillo “carbon copies” Pitino’s system at Manhattan.

“Nothing personal Rick but the first round lacks stories and CBS can spin this into a million website hits on a bad day this time of year. If nothing else it makes a nice headline, and with hypertext it might turn lead into gold. New York to Orlando flights are on-sale so we expect to fill the allotments there. Of course, you get first dibbs after they return the unsolds. Plus Rick, we like the potential Calipari-Pitino angle… but you know we’d rather not have it in the final four. With both of your passionate fans bases there’s still only 12 million viewers which is small potatoes since they are practically all from the State of Kentucky. But we know they would fill up that cavernous Dome in Indy, and no other two fan bases could come close.

We need big market dramas/story-lines for the FF. Thanks for being a team player. You’re a solid pro and we all like you here and at CBS. They will ask you to do color in some games if you go out early, a nice consolation prize. I know, it’s not winning but it’s compensation (for playing ball, you know… with us). CBS promises you’ll be happy with the coverage they’ve allotted you for special interest stories about the great job you’re doing. Remember, they have faithfully not mentioned your little scandal in three years Rick, out of respect for you and the great job you do. How about some love? You know Rick, if it weren’t for this tourney, your 5 million a year would likely be like 1.5.

Thanks for your understanding and not letting too much of this cat out of the bag. Don’t make us an enemy, instead consider us partners. Steve’s a great kid and we know how you feel about him, that’s such a great story to tell. Even in losing, the publicity is a win for him and I know you love seeing him succeed.

And, of course Kentucky may not get that shot at you, so we like the potential undefeated vs. the defending champ angle if W-S wins that one. And BTW, Kentucky-Wichita State ain’t so bad either but hey, you’ll have the “revenge” factor and “chip-on-shoulder” factor going for you.

Sliding Kentucky into an eight hole can be explained, even if strong rational discourse would annihilate any attempt at justification. There’s a lot of hate for Kentucky right now, so we could have left them out completely and no one would care but BBN. But BBN is where the money’s at, as you already know Rick.

Surely you agree that Calipari needs to be knocked down a notch or two by foiling our last three attempts at bringing him to his knees, and then mocking us on national TV? We’re still seething about 2011 when they lucked through our gauntlet of number 1 Ohio State and then #2 UNC-Chapel Hill. Roy is still peeved. If anybody, you’re the man with the team to do it. It would make your season Rick. Problems are opportunities. Look at the positives. And, of course, if per chance they advance past Louisville?

No worry, we have Michigan and Duke waiting to take care of them, and we both know you beat both last year and have as good a chance of doing it again.

Besides, Kentucky and Louisville have the two best traveling fandom. We need to insure one of you two play in that Dome if we’re to get close to a sell it out. One more thing before you shut the door behind you Rick. Kentucky won 2012, Louisville in 2013. If one of you two wins this year, we’re seriously worried the game itself might suffer. This isn’t John Wooden’s America. Hope to see you doing some TV by the end of the tourney. If not we’d love a Donovan-Pitino story again. That one was BIG last time. Hey, you’re already in the Hall and I’ll bet that extra money and TV time could come in handy. Louisville fans worship the ground you walk on as it should be. Good luck Rick.”

And, my imaginary instructions from Wellman to Committee before/during the seeding on Wichita State:

“But… what about the undefeated returning Final Four team, uh… Wichita State? Great story. Huh? Everyone will tune in. Make ‘em run the table, and the story expands exponentially after every win. But please folks… be sure they don’t waltz into another FF with what a terrible TV market that dreadful town will be. With Michigan and Duke added for seasoning we have guaranteed high-dollar value storylines from day one in the Midwest. And we all know that media/fan bucks are always the highest in the Midwest, IF we get some good markets in play there. But IF W-S makes the finals it will be huge after beating ALL those teams and still being undefeated. Bob Knight will shit bricks! He’s such an ass, I’d love to see his face on national TV if W-S goes undefeated, but I’d still rather ESPN keep him out of the CBS studio.

I won’t bore you with the other regions but they have their built-in stories too, albeit not quite as many. Maybe someone suggests Cincy-Harvard is dubbed “Neanderthal vs. Humanoid”? on their bulletin board and in their storyline notes? Jus’ Kidding… but you see what i’m saying. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if this year the Big Brother-Little Brother theme wins the day again with so many more of those possibilities… and folks love David vs. Goliath, especially in their local markets. There are several more possibilities you should…”

Though the above conversations are fiction, do you believe in the plethora of random chance storylines? Uh, right. With the intertextuality and over-the-top typology inserted into this years tourney, there’s enough “story” to rival the Septuagint-New Testament typology (I mean prophesies).

Of course, Wellman attempted to confidently explain the issues that MOST EVERYONE immediately denounced with double-talk, contradiction, false statements, and inconsistency. It is if he studied the famous book on quantitative statistics by Darrell Huff, “How to Lie With Statistics”, but forgot to read his sequel, “How to spot Cheaters using Statistics.”

The secret revealed? This secular “church”, who is protector and supporter of the student-athlete and proponent/supporter of “One-and-Done” being all about the Benjamin? No. Why? In any large organization today it’s grow or die, and so MONEY becomes its God. The NCAA sanctions the bracket manipulation and the publicly vilified O-&-D because they both mean more money. Publicly though they decry both so as not to alienate too many fans (I mean readers/viewers/hits/etc). What are fans anyway if not a means to an end?

Hypocrisy at it’s finest and highest level thrives at our most hallowed institutions.

————————————————————————————————————————————————–

A cursory look at UCLA’s Alumni position on hiring Steve Alford over moral/ethical conflicts reveals the fact that ethics DO matter to many… win or lose. Many important supporters of UCLA could care less if UCLA wins another Natty, that is if it is done under new Coach Steve Alford. Yes, greed is rampant, but perhaps not totally pervasive at a school with the tradition of pride and excellence John Wooden instilled among their faithful followers during his career span. UCLA supporters don’t count NCAA banners unless they are achieved with a Coach who can emulate the character of Wooden the man, not the Coach.

For Vance Kinlaw and his issue with alma mater UNC, I say… go UCLA fans! And, I venomously hate losing to both those teams.

The NCAA is a proud organization who isn’t accustomed to answering to its detractors and smugly refuses to grant concessions, even when there is little support of their stance from the outside. They are defiant, and  the notion of their being greed driven is scoffed at and discounted as “heresy” by their better-than well-paid executives.

money_god

Reminds me of the Catholic Church, venerable yes… powerful still… but, beginning to struggle with new paradigms that insist on Priests, Bishops, and Cardinals practicing what they preach, and punishing those who don’t or attempt to hide the truth. For too long these problems have been swept under the rug in a veil of silence. Large organizations can and do fail when they resist the notion of transparency, integrity, and fairness or react too slowly to overwhelming disillusionment among their faithful (read: the fans who buy tickets, or the Alumni who donate to Universities).

If I were running the NCAA today, I’d be worried instead of defiant, and honest instead of elusive. Instead of gouging fans of college sports at every opportunity without the  extreme expense of paying players like their Professional counterparts must, or manipulating bracketing and seeding with lame-ass excuses to pacify the media outlets who agreed to the ridiculous contract dollars they demand… I’d take the humble road (never) travelled. I’d have public discussion with college presidents and athletic directors instead of the many back room deals worked out between power players in exclusion. Just ask Rick Pitino about he and Rollie Massimino back in the early days of the Big East. This is high stakes poker.

But their smug, nattily dressed Captain, like his Titanic counterpart is staying the course at full speed ahead. And we all know how that worked out…  I can already feel the drip of water…and hear the muffled sound of rivets popping loose… and too… there’s not enough lifeboats.

This may no longer be John Wooden’s America, but it should be.

the rabbit hole


basketballAn email sent to a friend (Vance Kinlaw) who is a very smart man… a graduate of UNC-Law School and Dartmouth University. Our relationship through the years had centered around both our passions for college basketball where we argued the merits of our respective favorite teams. He recently told me that he had withdrawn his support for UNC and sold his season tickets due to an ethical conflict of interest regarding the University and their selling out to the god of money. I was shocked that this long time ardent supporter had taken such a drastic stance, and at the time a bit flummoxed. Now… I too get it.

Vance,
Once again I must admit that I am squarely behind both the eight ball and the Kinlaw in my pursuit of truth.
I once almost (emphasis on almost) derided your decision to quit the “college game” because of your ethical stance regarding UNC’s Board of Governors and their apparent thirst for squeezing every dollar out of the sports programs without regard to the alumni and their ethics and ideals.
I mean, “it’s just a few advertisements” I remember thinking when you described the billboards along the Dean Dome’s press row, the straw that finally sent you packing and giving up your cherished season tix. I really just didn’t get it fully, although I knew/know MONEY is god everywhere in our culture.
I just didn’t go far enough down that rabbit hole…
Now, after the NCAA Tournament brackets for 2014 have been made public, the rabbit has bitten me on the ass and drawn blood. What a scam! Every seed, every game or chance game has been manipulated by the committee this year for ONE PURPOSE only: Revenue. Period. Ticket prices have gone up 33% since last year!
Of course, it’s probably due to the Attorney fees in the Ed O’Bannon case (lol).
At any rate, I stand corrected, and as always… in a certain awe of your scope…

T.

thom

Is it my tongue, or is a tail wagging the dog?


zemblanity

held my breath
too long it seems
finest place was just a dream
rose to the top jus’ like the cream

but virtuous… a lonely theme
the lies are told through smiles they beam
as curtains hide the actors scheme
gag the truth or it will scream.

you are just one and they are a team
wrinkled shirts will get the steam
so money’s god, but god ain’t green
while power wins, fine ass is reamed.

play or lose you finally gleam
know the truth but go mainstream
but every crack will find a seam
times gettin’ bad when good’s extreme.

-30-

kalopsia

FACEBOOK IT. (A recent comment to friend’s Facebook post about America.)

America? Where is it anyway?

I had a dream that I grew up there, but when I woke up… oh shit!?! I lived in a foreign land that existed only in the minds of an ignorantly deluded multitude, but in the “pockets” of a few greedy intellectual snake charmers with some bizarre ideas; who manipulated us (through their control of the monetary supply-system which they did privately own yet had surreptitiously presented as one being Federally regulated/owned), by using their powerful political, deadly, and financial force to corrupt and control this so-called “AMERICA”‘s political morally bankrupt leaders years many before my birth.

After a cup of Java or two had really opened my eyes and re-started my brain I learned that they had used lies and manipulation to hypnotize the masses into believing that we were living in and freely participating in the affairs of an ethically righteous political Republic; and one whom God had somehow annointed as “policeman to the world” due to our extreme technologically advanced capability of forcing will on nearly every aspect of the world’s populations through intimidation, blackmail, and destruction.

Sad that I had only dreamt about America’s greatness instead of actually having existed in an honourable country espousing freedom for all who wished to FAIRLY and HONESTLY excel through individual effort, determination, and innovation like I had been indoctrinated to believe…

I retreated, to the only real and local environment that I truly felt I could trust and love… my family and a few close personal friends.

So here I am… and here I’ll stand.

-mostdiggity

raiseawareness.gif-1 - Copy - Copy

the sound of one hand clapping?


Ask the question…
get the answer
it is true

do the math n…
add it up n’
feel it move

on the mountain…
in the valley
of the shrew

there’s a moment…
in the garden
at the zoo

smell the textures…
taste aromas
that you knew

hearing colors…
making noises
every hue

take your socks off…
taste a drop of
morning dew

time is wastin’…
for the many
and the few

you can’t stop it…
in the church or
in the pew

snowy blanket…
out your window
fresh and new

dusk is falling…
to the darkness
cold and blue

warm your fingers…
build a fire and
drink it too

take it inside,,,
feel the power
light a room

you bear witness…
to the knowledge
gift it too

breathe the lightning…
light the city
that you choose

U B IT

N IT B U

N U B… schmoove

teach the children…
every moment
never rue

n there is money…
n there is happy’
n they are two

there is love for…
all the children
at the zoo

when you feel it…
share the wisdom
you once knew

you were it and…
it was us and we were 2

I am paper…
you are scissors
we are glue

they are them and…
they are us and
they all grew

in a pot of…
everybody
it’s a stew

tasting sweet and…
tasting perfect
tasty brew

tasting now and…
tasting then and
someday soon

taste like chicken…
it’s a worldly… barbecue

when you live it…

you don’t eat it

it eats you

all the memory… all the knowledge → bursting through…        

you were it and…
it was us and
it is new

on the doorstep…
no more waiting
come on                           → through…                      

-30-

 

Vida después de su muerte mi amigo


life after their gone my friend

Written a few years ago for a friend whose boyfriend was suddenly killed in a bike week motorcycle accident. I too was struggling through a recent sudden loss, making the moment even that more poignant… I thought I had lost the poem, but found (some of) it in a file drawer the other day.


life after their death, my friend

Sitting here by Kimberly’s grave
thoughts turn to you and Tony
life too short for both of them
our grief the testimony.

Who lives or not whose choice it be
or just the dice who say?
does God play poker, or is he the Joker
is it black and white, or grey?

And who am I that thinks of you
does a mirror speak the truth?
etching names in granite destroy the planet
isn’t uphill downhill too?

Does our narrow vibration on this playing field
prove that we “exist for real”, or only “sense” we do?
manifesting our love not by, “they’re dead and gone”
but “they live in our hearts and will see us through?”

And don’t we create our own version of real
realizing ourselves… in all our think, our say, and do?
Yes, we’re exactly who we think we are
and there’s part of Kimberly always alive in me…

and I think… always some Tony… in you.

Yes, maybe, not-so-much.


thomeverythingheart

When folks ask me what I’ve been up to lately, my answer usually lies somewhere between everything and nothing, specifics being a bit hazy as they can be these days to a late 50’s POP (permanently overripe personality). (Read: unemployed old fart without prospects). And this from the man who was once the chalk (outside Kentucky that’s a sure thing) to be the eventual ruler of the free world (thanks, mom).

I like to say “free is where to find me, but Fun is where I’m from”.

But then as a rookie Father to 6 and 8 year-old boys, these days my official title ranges from, “Dad, can I…” to “hey, I think I’m gonna…”, instead of the more respectfully appropriate but more formal titled, “Duke of The House on Worthington”, or “Most Benevolent Domain Master”, or even… “Dude-meister of the Microcosmic Universe daddy that we call our home-dad.” One size fits all three.

My duties on this Starship are both boundless and boring, and as easily doable as they are unthinkable in doing, and all ranging from the absolutely necessary to the supremely sublime. Others call them “just normal stuff”.

I do seem to fumble some of life’s simplest hand-offs, and show a unnatural propensity to throw interceptions to some of life’s most wide-open receivers. I may call too many audibles and use too many trick plays, but I still hate football anyway. Go figure… a boy from Louisville, Kentucky. Who’d a thunk it?

So, ‘round here I’m paid to analyze, decide, motivate, invoke, critique, and hand out passing grades to everyone despite in-game homework performance or practice attitude, sideline behavior, or team spirit or team play. I learned that there are no losers anymore because we’re not allowed to keep score. DAMN, winning I knew.

So I’m more like a College Assistant Basketball Coach without the benefit of shoe deals and one-and-done. There are countless fanboys and other players depending on choices I make in an endless chain of unsure situations that hinge quickly on drawing up out-of-bounds plays, with a less than generous shot clock. All this for $4 hour while Schmoovy Weasal, the Head Coach gets $8MM. Go here. Pick. Pass, dribble, screen, shoot… air ball. Get back on Defense!! Maybe I need another shot or two?

Doing a Google search is no help either as it seems to always pull me into an abyss, more distracting than a smoke-wafting Pink Floyd concert. But hey, there’s always “The Wall”… one that I no longer can climb but still seem to hit.

So, sometimes I write blog posts to clear my cob-webs in the guise of either art or imparting some pretentious holier-than-thou “wisdom” for Everyman. The audaciousness of some people. I think I write in lieu of buying an assault rifle (I mean dude… hey, now its fuggin’unlimited rounds!). You know, cause I just love going to shooting ranges with my machine gun, and I would “kill” to go Sports hunting with Senator Paul Ryan and his rat-a-tat-tat Gattling gun. (uh, hey Paul, what do you shoot at since… you know, all the Dinosaurs are gone?). I’m afraid I’d start making lists, so I’ll pass.

 Oh no, no, I just like protecting my Second Amendment right-to bear-arms. Yeah… right(s)? If that were actually true (I mean owning guns to protect our Constitutional Rights), then all I have to say is, “WHERE in THE FUCK have ya’ll been the past fifty years?” You’re way late, you lazy gun toters. Get busy.

OK. That issue of ignoraneous (my word, not Websters) proportion (gun laws) is for another rant-blog-post, and I can assure you it will be a frontal assault. So Johnny, might better git yer gun.

No hey, I’m really just a BIG PICTURE guy who doesn’t feel like going around saying “God is in the Details, God is in the Details”. That’s for car mechanics or computer guys and Anal Retentive assholes so organized that they can always find their tools and wallets and keys and other minor essentials. Not me, uh uhn. That ain’t me. NO siree. No.

The thrill of the hunt is what I’m all about, and the multitude of ramifications of the before-during-and-after that such adventures tend to shower upon me all the while. Wisdom. Wise. Potato Chips. Lays. zzzzzzz….

Seriously, I recently read a clinical study on what the World’s wisest and smartest people think about the most important things regarding life and living. Smart people’s opinions on subjects of substance, circumstance, and degree. The results were, uh… somewhat startling, and if you’re like me… I guess happily so.

It seems that the wiser one becomes the less opinionated they tend to be. I mean, they really can’t decide. They see too many angles, perspectives, situations, viewpoints, and points to be subjective. Hmmm… they’re more objective. Sounds about right to me. Though I agree in concept, I tend to spout my own opinion to anyone who cares to listen. I’m, careful not to pre-judge anyone or anything, but once I get eyes and ears on ’em, I got opinions, yes I do.

But at least I know I’m wrong. Huh?

Truth is fleeting at best, and non-existent at its worst. While Black and White appear as extremes to us (optically), that really only covers a small portion of the entire vibrational spectrum. Where our world/universe leans to us, it meanders, and everything appears to eventually exist towards the middle, considering our limited senses. I mean extreme is well… extreme. Way out there. All things in moderation? Wise.

Great may be more good than not, or not-so-much as Best. We use opposites to give a mental picture to relate to the vast in-between. Or something. I just can’t say. Its complicated. Not too sure anyway.

The ONLY THING one can really know is that they know nothing. NADA. Zilch.

It’s friggin’ science, by God. Or not. Not sure.

To think that one “KNOW’s SOMETHING” is to deceive oneself about the untouchable, the unknowable: THE REAL TRUTH.

Huh?

Quantum Physics (see Schrodinger and find his cat) explains that one can never be certain of the existence of anything until it has been “observed”. Once observed it is then in a state of existence that is knowable and predictable. But, before the observation? It did and did not exist simultaneously. In each moment of observation (which implies existence in space/time), reality continuously begins for each of us. But, keep in mind its just for us individually each separate moment, and just in that moment in time. This does not infer Real TRUTH, merely relative truth. Not REAL TRUTH.

about-time-sad-quotes-sayings-buddhaWe all can say that we know space/time changes from past to present to future, but does it exist? Relatively speaking, yes it does. Absolutely? NOT.

Everything we think we know is merely relative. Relatively speaking. In relation to something else. An observer. Cousins and daughters and uncles and aunts and dads and moms. Relatives. But not REAL TRUTH.

How long do you suppose, an instant lasts? Therein lies the difference between the TRUTH and the immensity of uncertainty. A single moment of time. Is there such a thing? No. Its less than a flash, and a little more than never. Immeasurable yes it is and they are, but we when we add them together we can knit the history of our universe. Still, that simultaneous instantaneous moment of TRUTH never seems to exist, and yet it does exist at the same time. A royal mind-fuck of academic epic proportions? Yes. Si. Nay. No. Don’t know nut-in’.

Right somewhere, between the Yes and NO, THE REAL TRUTH hides in the Space Between, the vast immensity of uncertainty. Like going from analog (the real) to digital (the facimile).

It is only to be measured when there are two or more moments (needing the observer making it relative), but it is at the same time scientifically, historically, philosophically, empirically, UNKNOWABLE when alone. It is only a possibility then. Anything is possible? That seems to be near the REAL TRUTH.

And still the mystery persists.

All this my good reader is why I tend to cause mid-day traffic jams, caustic hold-ups, maybe-this way,  no maybe-that, in an indiscernible gridlock of possibility for a House of (four) Cards on the verge of collapse. I don’t know, the Captain of the ship is stupid and he knows it, mutiny threatens on the high seas. Jib up, main out hold on don’t shout. Insubordinate chaos reigns and the Captain is the first to realize his own troubling sense of not knowing any damn thing.

What’s for dinner? I dunno. What bills to pay? Dunno. What time is it? Huh? What the Fuck? OK. Oh…

But then, our world, our society, our culture, in all their wisdom know not a goddamn thing either, and least of all where we are heading. So without knowing, I will hold the right to “imagine” possibility, or do the math and “speculate” on cause-effect. I usually get an EXTREME headache when I do that. I mean…whoa.

Religion? Extremists. Money? Extremism. Music, Politics, Sports? Exfuckingtremely. OK. I listen to old music and it ain’t all that extreme.

But I feel polarization everywhere but at our magnetic poles. So, what do we do?

I think more, I speculate… GTFOY.

Yeah, Get the fuck over yourself. Everyone. Now. Get over yourself. Find the gray area and live right there. I did and it ain’t all bad. A bit chaotic, OK.

You, me, we… jus’ babes in the cradle. We’re nothing more, we’re nothing less. To that I confess. And, NO this ain’t a guess. Pure specualtion.

Dinner tonight? Yes. Later? Maybe. When? Soonish. And then? Oh yeah… Gettin’ over myself… Next stop…R-E-L-I-G-

-30-

Does America Really Hate the Beautiful Game?


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THIS was written shortly after Spain had beaten Netherlands 1-0 in the 2010 World Cup final. It is a re-post, but the ideas are still prescient

You may have heard that FIFA, the governing (futbol) body in World Soccer has announced the use of “goal line technology” to be deployed soon at a pitch near you (or at least in the 2014 World Cup). Its funny, because my ideas (below) caught a rash of shit from the naysaying purists (read: foreigners) who bellowed that it would never happen…  and hell, it wasn’t even on the table back then. I mean, should an American even have the right to suggest changes to this venerable game?

When it comes to Soccer, Americans know nothing, right? But does America really  hate “the beautiful game”? Soccer is the second most popular sport by participation among children under 15 in the U.S. Our Women have dominated the sport for years, becoming the most dominant team in any international sport. Is it long before our men catch up with the rest of the world and make a WC finals? Probably, but give us another 12-16 years and…

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (video game)
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

2010. I’m American and a soccer fan.

Unfortunately, I’m already feeling withdrawals from the thought of four years of semi-hibernation sans-soccer about to commence.

Like many soccer fans I watched most of this year’s World Cup, read a ton of internet articles, and listened to this year’s flavors of talking head, who all weighed in on “the beautiful game” and America’s ambivalent attitude towards it.

Though I’m not an expert by any stretch, I am a fan who has watched soccer from the outside for many years. I played American collegiate soccer over 30 years ago at a Division 1 college in Kentucky, though back then the game was nebulous as to the meaning of “American”. Like many American college teams, we were a collection of decent foreign players and renegade American sports athletes who for various reasons no longer graced their once chosen sport, or who had played high school soccer at one of the few schools who fielded a team. I was an ex-distance runner with average soccer skills who was recruited on-campus after I decided to forgo my track scholarship. After graduating, I played club soccer in North Carolina for about 10 years. Now, my experience comes exclusively from my thousands of hours addiction to playing video game maker Konami and EASports PES and FIFA soccer on my PS3.)

What changes are needed to create more fan interest in the game here on American soil?

Besides winning, American sports fans care about two things in sports: excitement and fairness. World Cup watchers got a first-hand look this year at how the lack of these two things can drive Americans crazy, and perhaps keep us from embracing the world’s most beautiful game. In fact, the World Cup has been rife with “cheating” in the past, in the form of egregious “flopping”, sometimes changing the complexion of the entire Tournament. Scoring? Oh my. Last year’s final was a 1-0 affair with the winning goal (Spain) softly rolling off the goalie in the side of the net after a gentle Iniesta nudge.

1. Scoring –

People all over the world love GOOOAAALS, yet Americans are criticized for their “lack of depth” because they want to see more of them. To say that Americans under appreciate the richness or unseen nuances of soccer is to trivialize our ability embrace sporting value, without giving serious thought to the underlying issue. Long gone is the day when to be an American at a world soccer event was a curiosity. I’m tired of apologizing for our soccer to the world, and listening to people from everywhere tell me how we just don’t get it.

It is true that I found the Spain-Germany game the most exciting game of all even though the final score was 1-0. The final game may have been a let down to many, but isn’t that the way finals go many times, with over-expectation? The entire event was a low scoring affair, as it is many times when quality teams play one another.

The problem with this as I see it; unless there are changes made we are doomed with 1-0 or 0-0 finals forever. Great teams are not about to give up 2, 3, 4 goals in today’s game, and two great teams…well…?

The world wants GOOOAAALS!

During the World Cup I heard all kinds of opinions concerning America’s attitude toward soccer, many of them ridiculous. If America thinks soccer is boring how do you explain our obsession with baseball? If it’s just that we can’t understand the game in its’ totality, who is going to tell our women, who are the most dominant sports team in the history of International Sports?

FIFA, the governing body for International Soccer must agree that scoring more goals is important to the future health of the game, and not because of the “stupid” Americans. The Jubillane (ball) was introduced at this years’ event for one reason: more goals. It failed to produce.

I suggest that the goal be made two or three meters wider and a meter taller to allow for more scoring opportunities with well placed shots. Many goalies today are superior athletes and can block even the best aimed, most twisting and screaming shots, resulting in many games being decided by fluke goals or lucky, but weak chances. It also means that there are more terribly bad shots because of the increased pressure added for the low margin for error. This is not how sport is supposed to work, and I suspect many Americans sense it.

Why not give these great athletes a better chance to display their talent to the world? A great shot should be just that… an untouchable missle blasted just outside the even the swiftest goal keeper‘s reach, something rarely possible in today’s game. Even the final WC goal by Spain was knocked down before landing softly inside the goal. I dare say more goals roll into the back of the net than ripple it.

With a slightly larger goal there will still be the finesse of the flip shot in one-on-one situations as goalies will adjust to the larger goal area with earlier, more aggressive charges in order to cut down angles. Forwards and halfbacks will try slightly deeper shots once again with hopeful success; something rare in championship soccer today because of the evolving skill of today’s goalkeepers. a larger goal means the game will not be considered over when a team goes up by two or three goals,unlike it is today. The “hope” of scoring is just as important as the notching the goal itself to the fan of soccer. I think FIFA should give everyone more hope.

2. Officiating –

I am continually amazed at how many sports governing bodies have been able to ignore the onslaught of new technology when it comes to officiating. It seems that human officials have become the “sacred cow” of many sports; the one thing that must not give in to change. Frankly, I don’t understand the value proposition. What good reason or reasons are there for not getting more accurate results in a sporting event? The 2010 World Cup was an example of how protecting the purity of a sport may also be how to eventually destroy it. Game after game missed calls affected or potentially affected outcomes, leaving one to wonder at times which team was pre-destined to win?

Having played competitive soccer I know that every game endures bad calls and good calls, some favorable and others not. It is sometimes very difficult to identify the offender and the offended in a physical game like soccer where neither player owns possession in a strict sense. The World Cup officials were criticized for many calls which were made that might not be questioned in a regular contest. The magnitude of the event rightly or wrongly leads to magnification of every call and the WC officials are somewhat always in a no-win situation. Yet, at this year’s Cup, it seemed yellow cards were shown to players for simply playing hard, and even worse: Hollywood style faking by their opponents. Video captured these moments to FIFA’s embarrassment several times during the competition. Yet, there was no make-up call for the actors and the tragedy unfolded in horror for those falsely accused and their fans.

In soccer it is mandatory that calls be correct near the goal (inside the box) due to the excessive severity of a penalty. Time and again video replay busted the official calls or no-calls in the area, one of the most debilitating events which can happen to a team in soccer. Though the officials didn’t prejudice one team, they missed calls on every side.

Hey FIFA, what’s up? Can you explain this…?

Is it merely cost that stops FIFA from using video to insure that teams and titles aren’t lost simply over bad calls? Is it time? Techno-phobia? Why are we so entranced by humans who are only all too “human”? I could go one here forever, but I’ll constrain myself to this:

America will never love a sport where such contradictions exists. Yes, we hate to lose badly, but mostly we hate to lose unfairly. And who wants to win a Cup marred by so many blatant mistakes by officials? OK, you won’t hear any Spaniards complaining, but that’s about it. There are a number of teams this year who could say that the whistle cost them a game and maybe the Cup.

I hate crybabies in sports and believe that the mistakes somehow seem even out over time. But I think FIFA owes the sport a better deal.

FIFA should “embrace change”, America’s mantra of the eighties and nineties when we finally convinced ourselves that technology and change does not always mean bad. Almost every industry experienced game changing rules at record setting pace as technology advancement forced us to reconsider our most cherished and hallowed traditions. In sports we witnessed technology’s effect with a wary eye and slowly made changes where needed. Golf, one of the most traditional sports lengthened and re-designed courses to offset better equipment and stronger players. Basketball keeps moving the three point line and reducing the shot clock. Baseball built bigger parks and limited ball and bat technology…Every sport has had to re-evaluate and make needed changes to enhance and maintain their core value.

I think some limited use of replay has a place in soccer RIGHT NOW, not next time around. It’s imperative to get the calls right and to keep the game honest if America is to participate on every level. But for this to happen changes must be made, if only in small increments. FIFA seems to be unmoved by the controversy but changes might help America’s attitude toward the game improve.

Evolution has taught us that life, the world, and the universe is dynamic. Small improvements over time lead to larger overall positive results. Listen up FIFA!

Nowhere did it exclude the beautiful game of soccer.

-30-

I picked Holland over Spain in the final of my ESPN Soccerpick fantasy bracket based on a junk “home-team” theory I developed when I realized no African team was strong enough to win it all. My other picks were pretty good too, except for one glaring mistake: USA. Even though Uraguay won my WC when I played a completely computer driven WC Simulation with PES2009 on my PS3, my heart said USA would make the final four this time. Never listen to your heart when picking sporting event winners. You can check out my picks (mostdiggity) at http://games.espn.go.com/knockout/en-us/frontpage.

In 2014 you will see USA escape the Group of Death after Beating Ghana (finally) and tying Portugal and Germany. The USA will advance one more game before getting Gobsmacked by Spain. Germany (I think) is destined to advance and spoil Brazil’s party, then beat Spain in the final game 2-1 for their 4th World Cup win. I was in Germany in 1990 and 1994 when they were at their strongest. Germany plays like a fine uh… German Automobile. With precision.
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I do agree with better officiating but….
I don’t think we need to have higher scoring games, that’s just ridiculous and takes away that intense feeling that these players can score at any minute. I think what Americans fail to appreciate is the fact that they can score at any minute, instead of having the mindset of “when are they going to score”. A lot of my friends were very bored by the final, but honestly I thought it was good solid game, it was physical, it had the right momentum, and it all culminated in an amazing shot. If you can watch baseball, why can’t you watch soccer? that’s one of the most baffling points that I also fail to understand. I do think that people are becoming more and more interested partly due to the FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer Games, It tends to teach people the basic rules, strategies, statistics, things Americans love, but often misunderstand.

by TerpsAllTheWay on Jul 12, 2010 12:31 PM EDT actions
I think everyone who was watching learned just how amazing a 1 goal game can be when landon put the winner in against Algeria. I’ve said it many times, so i guess i’ll say it again, the reason soccer isn’t wildly popular in America isn’t because Americans don’t like soccer, it’s because theres such obscene amounts of money to be made with football. Why? because theres a thousand opportunities for commercial breaks during a football game. Soccer has precisely 1 break for commercials. ESPN and the like will pay attention to soccer during the summer when sports are slow, and they’ll pimp the EPL because it’s on early in the morning, and they have nothing else going on at that time so it’s better than nothing. But when college football or the NFL is available? You’ll never see the big sports networks get behind soccer, theres just not as much money to be made.

by GKINMD on Jul 12, 2010 2:19 PM EDT actions

Premise of the whole article is wrong
MLS is having great attendence – up 10% in a down economy that has MLB down 2%. TV ratings for MLS are even with NHL when put on comparitively accessible tv stations as well.

Records were set for American viewership of WC’10 South Africa. With all its time zone differences and what-not it was the most watched World Cup in US history.

So if this is going to be the best year for the domestic league, and the best WC why are we claiming that Americans don’t care?

I am not a Supporter | I am not a Fan | I am a Sounder
Sounder At Heart
by Dave Clark on Jul 12, 2010 3:20 PM EDT actions

I think one way to can increase scoring in soccer is to eliminate the offside rule. I don’t know how controversial this would be, but it seems like it would do the trick.

As to officiating, I think having one ref for each half of the field (they’d both be on during play) would eliminate some of the bad calls that seem to happen simply because the ref was far away and couldn’t do anything about it.

Hockey Blogger at Pensburgh.com
by GoPens! on Jul 12, 2010 6:25 PM EDT actions

Eliminating offsides
would change the game in a horrible horrible way, the game would suffer sooooo much

by I need more Esteban on Jul 13, 2010 10:19 AM EDT up actions

Yes, slow ass piss poor defenders would no longer be bailed out
by Cool Dudes on Jul 14, 2010 1:32 AM EDT up actions

Seriously?
slow ass piss poor defenders? How about the offsides trap? How about cherry picking? Offsides is intricate to fielding a good game. What fun would it be if someone just stayed at one end of the pitch and continuously fielded balls after a long kick? That would make the game terrible.

“I will never have my best season,” Brian Dawkins
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee
“This fucking game is over!” Chuck Bednarik
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson
by Talon Talent on Jul 15, 2010 12:41 AM EDT up actions

Yeah, the “offsides trap”
A defense that rely’s on the proficiency of the linesman to actually be competent AND see perfectly to ensure that a goal is not scored.

Fucking brilliant! You should coach France! You would be great!

by Cool Dudes on Jul 16, 2010 12:37 AM EDT up actions

wow didn’t realize you could simplify it so easily.
The offside trap is not without risk as a perfectly timed ball will leave a defense watching the cleats of a forward as he streaks for a one on one opportunity. It may not be a “brilliant” defense, and yet how often has it saved a team? Anything that works as well as it does might very well be considered brilliant.
And it also amazes me that with everything I wrote there, the only thing you could dispute was the offsides trap part of it.
Simply put, soccer without offsides would be terrible. If you are looking for high scoring games watch basketball I hear they score like 80 points on average or something.

“I will never have my best season,” Brian Dawkins
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee
“This fucking game is over!” Chuck Bednarik
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson
by Talon Talent on Jul 16, 2010 10:59 AM EDT up actions

Dude
There’s not enough time in the day to dispute everything you are saying that’s wrong. I just concentrated on the funniest part.

by Cool Dudes on Jul 16, 2010 2:46 PM EDT up actions

Nice. I take that as victory. Thanks for playing

“I will never have my best season,” Brian Dawkins
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee
“This fucking game is over!” Chuck Bednarik
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson
by Talon Talent on Jul 16, 2010 10:04 PM EDT up actions

I disagree and disagree. Goals should be a treasured event. The scoring of a goal in soccer is one of the best moments frowarded to the players and the fans watching. It is because they are harder to come by. I mean if the goals were coming by the handful who the hell would want to be a goalie for the sport? All the attention would be put on forwards (as it often is now) and at the core of humanity is the need for recognition and love. This is why offensive players are usually more coveted in every sport. if anything soccer gives the defenders a more equal chance to shine.
Instant replay for soccer is always and always will be a bad idea. To put it brief (because I already explained it in Disappointedleafs fan World Cup Controversy fanpost) The fluidity of soccer can not be messed with. The momentum part of soccer is so crucial and Instant replay would take that away completely.

“I will never have my best season,” Brian Dawkins
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee
“This fucking game is over!” Chuck Bednarik
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson
by Talon Talent on Jul 12, 2010 10:04 PM EDT actions

disagree
only in part.

I definitely agree that the fluidity should not be messed with too much but there HAS to be goal-line replay and replays on offsides when they involve goals.

You will have an official in the booth who watches a replay and relays the outcome to the head official in a matter of seconds. This would not mess with flow by any means, in fact, it might speed things up because you wouldn’t have to wait as 6 players argue with the official. This is 2010, you can make these things happen fast.

by I need more Esteban on Jul 13, 2010 10:23 AM EDT up actions

Somehow the NHL seems to be able to recruit goalies and keep their players from taking a smoke break during goal reviews
Not sure how they do it. Maybe we need some sort of secret Canadien technology.

by Cool Dudes on Jul 16, 2010 12:48 AM EDT up actions

The Final Was the Most watched soccer match in U.S. History with a record 24.3 Million Tuning in.
by TerpsAllTheWay on Jul 12, 2010 10:59 PM EDT actions

Agree or Disagree
This was a well-written post.

I don’t think I can jump on board with the widening of the goal. Like many have said, the rarity of goals are what make them so special when they do happen. What more Americans that don’t like Soccer need to realize is that the excitement of the game comes on opportunities to score. With every cross into the box of the opposition, you hold your breath that this could be the one that loses you the game, maybe even in the first 10 minutes! That’s why every minute matters and every opportunity is so special. When Americans that don’t enjoy the game realize that they may jump on board.

But hey, not everyone likes every sport and that is fine. I just wish our society could get past hating so hard on soccer. There is not a sport in America that more shit is talked on than soccer. Although, I do know a lot of people that hate pretty hard on baseball these days. I live in Kansas, though, so I run across my fair share of bumkins who throw out, “err soccer is so f’n borin’, let’s go watch us some g’damn Nascar!
End rant on that.

Agree with you about technology. Get with the times FIFA. I said it above, but goal-line technology and technology on offsides involving goals should be implemented in some ways. I mean the goal that England didn’t receive and the goal that Tevez scored on the non-offsides call were inexcusable. Do it incrementally, experimentally, just do something.

by I need more Esteban on Jul 13, 2010 10:31 AM EDT actions

If Soccer Had Just Been, or Was Just Being Invented
You would be totally correct. They made the goals too small, the advantage the goalie has using his hands over players using their feet is too much. But the goal is the size of the goal and I really doubt that will ever change (except perhaps as a good way to break a tie in extra time).

But, I really think there are some less drastic rule changes that could be made. A ridiculous number of goals get called off because of the offsides rule, and a lot are really borderline calls. I would really like to see offsides become more of a zone rule not unlike what they have in hockey. The intent of the rule is to prevent poaching and continous longballs, but it wasn’t well thought because a lot of calls are made after the ball is already in the box, which really makes no sense. I would really like to see this rule changed.

While the size of the goals may be sacred, I really don’t think the offsides rule is very universally loved and people would be far more willing to change it.

by Cool Dudes on Jul 14, 2010 1:39 AM EDT actions

No…
I think that the majority of Americans would watch it. But they refuse to watch it out of fear that they might like it. And that is enough for them not to give it a chance.

The Once and Future King
by FlaGators on Jul 21, 2010 3:53 PM EDT actions
Comments for this post are closed, bro.

No Method, No Guru, No Teacher…my Epiphany


…Or, my Quest For The Holy Grail, which I eventually did find by spending a life of studious observation, sometimes deep serendipitous thought, gawdy mis-informed and unabashedly arrogant fun, a dash of inordinate happenstance, and then… by the most fortunately-unfortunate of Accidents…

It’s no secret to those who know me well that I’ve learned life’s greatest lessons with a kind of “ridiculous oppositional defiance”; with that line of thinking having been one of my life’s greatest teachers. Though I now bow to it as my master of destiny, I cannot recommend this course of study to the faint of heart, weak of mind, or anyone who CANNOT become completely convicted of it’s arrogant, self-righteous path of expectorating the most resistance between any two points in the continuum.

In other words, if you have to be brought to your knees and dragged kicking and screaming before some of life’s simplest concepts, then… you may be considered a candidate for my school of thought. Admittedly, there ought to be a better means to attaining wisdom. But as has been for me; NOT.

Moi?

Self indulgent… yes. Self centered… definitely. Self defeating… mostly. Self aware… acutely. Self serving… without question. Selfish… morally bound by it, yet in a positive sense. Self-hatred… never and not even for an instant. Self-Actualized… I like to think so. Self motivated… once upon a time…

“WTF? Whoa… what happened Diggeratti? Why? I mean… your Dudeness, you kinda sound to me like you need to see a shrink. You don’t sound like the guy I once thought I knew.”

My retort?

“You know what? You’re absolutely right. I mean, about that last part, but if there’s one thing I DO KNOW FOR CERTAIN, IT’S THAT I DO NOT NEED A SHRINK. Got it?”

For all of my known life I’ve searched for “the secret” to it… (that being, the secret of life).

I have never divulged this story to anyone in it’s entirety, though perhaps I’ve shared small morsels to some close friends along the way; but only here and there and never enough for anyone to frame a complete picture of my personal Quest for that Holiest of Grails.

I can remember my fourth grade teacher calling my parents to request a parent-teacher conference because I was “the most argumentative boy she had ever had the displeasure of teaching.” She reasoned that I thought I knew more than she did, and that would just be the height of stupidity. Of course, she was right on all accounts.

Fourth graders HATE the idea of being told they’re wrong. And sometimes they are RIGHT, but they can’t say why.

But hey, did I let that stop me? “Uh-uhn. No sir, Not today Miss Smarty Pants. Not me. Nada. You can’t embarrass my little ole’ butt and expect to  get by with it.”

Fourth grade was a rough year for me.

Looking back, it was the year I framed the questions, and then demanded answers. Yet, no answers were forthcoming. But still I weathered on…

Having grown up on… let’s just say… not the bright side of the road (a lower middle class blue collar too many kids neighborhood), and being a tad small for my age group, I HAD to learn how to defend myself amongst the sea of bullies and general fuck-wads of Louisville’s South End, while keeping the blood flowing inside my nose.

I mastered the art of “holier than thou” with double-edged insult and crafty innuendo, tough guy talk (but not too tough as to result in fisticuffs), and then finally making friends with the biggest and toughest guys so as to keep the multitude of snapping sharks at bay. Still, I was not immune to an ill-advised attempt at busting some ass myself, which generally resulted in my own busted ass. Yet, I drunk it all in and I learned something new every day.

But not the reason for my existence.

Somehow god smiled on me around high school and I became a high school sports star (distance running), bringing glory and fame to my hood and school and earning exalted status amongst the good guys and neer-do-wells alike. Life, all of the sudden got a tad simpler for me.

I run. I win. They love. All good.

Now, I wasn’t an “A” student at any point in my young life, preferring to glide instead of propel. Though from my earliest days I can remember, too many times some school person informed my parents that it was a bit unusual that I did not make straight A’s given my way-above-the fray IQ. On standardized tests I invariably scored in the 98-99 percentile while dragging home C’s and B’s on my report cards.

My parents, who were more than all-too ready to indulge me in whatever it was I might happen to desire at any moment, were extremely smart uneducated folks. They used logic and reason (and pots and pans) to argue their many disagreements over the pettiest of issues. They were never bitten by the bug of glutinous consumerism, and were just happy enough to love their children immensely, while still not setting the bar too high for them; I assume to somehow insure our future dog-eat-dog worldly success. It worked.

The moral of that story has to do with familial LOVE in it’s most raw, unconditional sense.

So… anyway, I had devised my own little secret quest by around 7th grade. That not-so-small idea was: that I was going to find out for certain what our/my purpose was on this here little-ole spinning ball of dirt sitting way-too-far away from billions of way bigger balls as to be arrogantly considered of any significance by even the most unreasonable of minds in all of mice and men.

Having spent 10 years attending Catholic School I was absolutely certain that they (Roman Catholicism) were so full of shit that even a little fourth grader couldn’t buy into their baloney ass stories. I mean, by fourth grade I had already surmised that getting into heaven simply meant winning the genetic lottery. No god of any denomination could be that stupid, I figured.

My questions became arguments with seemingly (at the time) much smarter people early on, but I wasn’t about to shut up until they told me the truth. They never did. Nor did I ever STFU… and I realized far too soon to be considered healthy for any young mind that “they” (conventional wisdom) hadn’t the slightest fucking clue. To be sure, I wanted some REAL answers!

But, that little hate-show of mine disappeared once I became a high school sports star. I was too busy buying into the BIG LIE because it was fun, exciting, sexually conducive to my screaming testosterone, and material worldly attractive as a MO-FO to a guy who grew up thinking that a new pair of white high top Chuck Taylors was the ultimate gift in all of heaven-kind. Possibilities were becoming boundless and I was soaking in the poison and drinking it up like a lap dog with a new doggie bone.

Then came College. The Life. The Audacity! I had more fun than fourteen barrels of monkeys and forty-two barrels of single barrel malt Bourbon Whiskey, any Kentucky boy’s drink of choice and one-upmanship. And, it was the mid-seventies so pot was collegiately legal as well. It seemed that the world was here to become my personal oyster, and I had the munchies.

Or was it?

Post College. The BIG BUY-IN to THE BIG LIE. Now here’s where there are men, and there are boys on our puny little thin crust of oxygenated Garden of Once-Upon-A-Time Eden, soon-to-be Sodom and Gomorrah. (Why I do love me some Biblical quotation and/or reference!). Which one did I want to be? Take a guess. Go on, git’ you one. Oh, I’m all man… babeeey!

For sure, at this point in life’s roulette wheel of fortune one can either JOIN or NOT JOIN. Not Joining will surely NOT get you the keys to the best and finest of anything. Better to JOIN if you’re in the least enthralled with power, pussy, money, fame, highly limited material items, world travel, bad golf on the finest green lawned courses, or all other humanly delusions of grandeur. Boy, I liked ’em all. If there had been a Facebook Page for them I could prove it to you right now, and they just might wish to then, “like” me back.

But then, I digress…

Some folks who caught my flash thought/think they knew/know who I was/am. I played my part like a virtuoso for them all to see and marvel about. And, I might just add in a bit of total narcissistic self-immersion, I marveled at my damn-self a bit too. Deep down in me I felt a growl. Buried under my own self-image of worldly greatness there still lay that little unfinished business of a secret quest. But, it by then had had gathered much dust.

Truth be known, when I first learned of it, I denied its existence completely, blocked it from my intellect, refused its admittance into my panopoly of raging-life-parties. Yet, I somehow felt it was always standing just outside my door, peering in my windows day and night. But, it dared never knock at my door! Denial.

After all, I was by then a star of my own astronomical proportions. Call me space man. But, please call me so we can figure out what it is you can do for me, OK? And guess what? Me being all that I could possibly be, there was likely a shit load that I could do for you too. Mutual astronomical greatness we were! The vaunted “Win-Win” in the solar system cliché ridden parlance of the day.

Now, it can also be said that in most “core value” ways I have never changed one single iota, nor would I have ever considered it as worthy of my almighty damn-self to do so. After all I had eclipsed Mt. Olympus and now was considered by a small group of people (me, myself, and I) to be of the very essence of the gods.

Tru-dat. But alas, it was NOT to be.

I rumpled feathers every step of the way up the ladder of ascension to material worldliness and ironical self-absorption. If it reeked “the best” or “most expensive” I was all in. If they said “no”, I demanded “yes”. Good was no longer acceptable. For I was all about GREATNESS.

During those heady times the elusive answer which I did faithfully seek since childhood remained elusive, yet it began to slide uneasily to the forefront of my mind and studies, as I read hundreds of books containing both new and ancient wisdom from every perspective on every subject. (Crazy enough, I did all this  while driving many long hours almost every day in my profession for over 20 years).

I eventually came to the ultimate truth in an odd way; since not one book that I had read contained the answer (unless one considers “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” by Carl Sagan). That book stunned me to my core, and tied together various newer ideas in physics and philosophy. So then armed with Carl’s brainy wisdom, I eventually figured it all out for myself. But, still I wasn’t at all certain. It was just too simple.

Though it would be remiss of me not to mention that there had been a goddess driving my chariot during a near 20-year span of semi-marital bliss, it would also be imprudent and essentially wrong of me not to say that herein the first cracks began to show in my own majestic glorified godliness.

So… just when the gettin’ was gettin’ absolutely fabulous, the bottom sorta fell out. Plunge.

I had sunk to committing the most egregious crime most men seek out with an unworldly zestful appetite… adultery. Ungodly for sure. Un-Saintly, yes. Most un-Diggity, for certain.

On the surface infidelity may sound a bit trite to the accomplished reptile.

But here we had a man-god who had built his god-self-reputation out of all things pure unadulterated integrity. His own self-image was now rendered a literal a sham of the highest immoral degree. Having long since vanquished the various world religiosities as total and absolute frauds, I now had only to rely upon simple humanistic ethics.

Almost too sleazily human, I proffered.

Now un-deification of oneself requires a re-start of sorts, not to be confused with a do-over or a mulligan. Starting over from scratch. Ground fucking zero.

To further muddy my suddenly stormy world, I apparently was caught in the eye of a nasty hurri-karmic cyclical deluge of sorts. In fairly quick succession I weathered the deaths of my sweet (nonnie) grandmother, then my loving mother, and finally my always you-da-man dad. A personal tsunami of epic proportions. Fuck an el-Nino… this shit was bad. All wet and no place to hide.

And like a fine motor yacht that has been cut loose from its moors, I drifted out into a raging, foamy sea.

That world, the money-as-god-everything world from which I had laid the foundation for my existence, and then had built gold brick upon gold brick with my own golden sweat was nothing but a thinly veiled house of cards. It was THE BIG LIE.

The good news was that within these unfortunate events lay the definitive answer to my long sought after secret to my existence, which I immediately NOW understood all-too-well but all-too-late. I won’t say that I was elated, but I was way smarter and wiser than the fool I had left behind me.

Family…

That’s the secret. In the end your family is the most important reason for your living and being. Mine were now all dead, save my two “the real deal” better-than-me, wiser-older, childless sisters.

It seemed that almost every fool on the planet but me had known the simple secret, and all without knowing they knew it. It was just ALL TOO SIMPLE and all-too-humanistic.

But seriously, if one does consider science to be a revealing and enlightening subject, a cursory review of evolutionary history will belie my point over and over and over and over again. Read it and weep. Forget Deuteronomy. Learn the history of life.

Family. It’s what we live for, it’s what we die for, it’s what we strive for. Was I too little too late?

Suddenly, like some drunken riverboat gambler aimlessly pulling slots who haphazardly strikes THE BIG JACKPOT, I stumbled into an epiphanic episode of REAL TRUTH, that one which I had previously been loathe to avoid.

In fact, I was rather brought kicking and screaming into this ultimate reality bite (see above)… at almost fifty years of age; I was becoming a first time dad whether I liked it or not. At the time, I had rather not.

Oh my!

But then the very moment my newborn son was placed in my arms and our eyes connected I was forever lost then found by life’s highest order of it’s highest order of it’s highest order of all things sacred and TRUE and GOOD. Pure previously unfathomable, but now undeniable unconditional LOVE. I swooned. All of life’s past, present, and future shook me, rocked me to my very essence… oh my!

My purpose. My reason of reasons. Bang! Bow! Biff! Yeah! Oh yeah! YES. A primordial orgasm that gave its fiery commandments to me with my giddy consent… and like Moses I looked around for my tablet.  And lo’ Brother and Sister, I sayeth unto you; god-life hath honoredeth me with the highest joy ever beknownst unto all of mankind. The heavens were exalted!

My “family” secret. Solved.

Happy ending? I think so…

Liars, Lizards, and Snakes…Oh My!


If anyone has noticed other than me, I haven’t posted much lately (save for one or two Eureka moments when I knew if I was gonna’ say something, I’d better say it then or consider it lost to into the immensity).

My“Ode To Kansas” was particularly inspired though it seemed I was the only one who thought it so. Someday, when my posthumous memoirs are published, I’m sure it will win quite a following in Kentucky and I will be vindicated.

What I’ve been up to lately I think says more about who I am than almost anything else I can place my hands on (which in my poverty is becoming less and less). Though my (as in most of us) childhood dreams always had me as the Hero and some other entity playing the villain, my adult life has seemed to revolve more around that theme than did those formative years. I (call me crazy) tend to take on projects that involve “taking down a big man/woman”, whom I view as a blight on our society and our culture since he/she gained their lofty position through not playing by the same rules as us mere mortals.

As you might expect, those in my viewfinder can be extremely adept at smoke and mirrors, dodge-ball, CYA, and a host of other scent manipulating tricks making my job as HERO an extremely frustrating, time-consuming proposition. Yet, time is on my side, or so it now is beginning to feel. Three years ago I wouldn’t have bet even money I’d be around to write this missive.

But even so, the last three-four weeks have been excruciatingly painful to me and those near to me. No less than 3-4 times have I stayed up all night and day putting together my latest take-down, one that if I succeed in will be one of the most satisfying victories in my 57 year timetable as boy/man/hero.

Actually, I’ve had two of these take-downs in progress simultaneously. The other is also finished (for now) and by all indications seems just as formidable as does the first. Needless to say, I am now in a state of quiet satisfaction. But in both cases, the Fat Lady Has Yet To Sing.

Many “jailhouse lawyers” have found themselves being similarly inspired by their own selves after finding their backs against the wall with no one else to “look out for them”. This keen, “I’m in a corner and there’s a thong of thugs ready to work out on me” (fight without the flight option) does well to inspire many an animal that wishes to continue breathing free air. Most of us wake-up, realizing a bad dream.

But I was not dreaming and I knew it. And though the last 3-4 weeks were brutal mentally, physically, and equally tough on my family, I had to do what I had to do. Albeit, there was no financial gain for us to be realized. Thank god (that’s another post) for all their love and support. Love is such a beautiful thing.

At about age 21 I learned to love reading likely because I moved to a town with no other acquaintances (after college graduation). I parlayed that with a speed reading course and taught myself to read while I was driving (kids: don’t try this at home) since I was on the road from sun up to sun down. Needless to say it became an unhealthy/healthy addiction of which I survived 27 years. I can’t count the missed exits! In those days I could not drive to the Quick-Mart without a book in my hands. Now, Nooks make it less dangerous (kidding!).

Those many thousands of books (of which I can remember few of their Titles) have served me well as I gracefully grey into cultural oblivion. (I know a hell of a lot about something, but what it is I can’t really say). My scope is wide, the big picture quite clear, yet some details are lacking.

But when I see it and feel it, I DO know it.

I saw it. I felt it. I knew it, and I couldn’t stop until he was, and then she was out of business. Since the outcome is uncertain, I do hope the past 3-4 weeks weren’t all in vein. I’ll know in a few weeks. I mean, I got the goods!

If it has been for naught, then our world is much sicker than even I suspected. And, to this would be self-styled hero out to save the world from its tyrants and thieves if only in this limited space, it is quite sick. I see it. I feel it. And…

First self-actuate: Then Think before You pause before You Post


I’ve recently become aware of certain Corporations or Corporation that Advise folks to “Pause before you Post”. Sober advice it would seem on the face of it, since some recent Facebook and other Social networking sites have come under fire due to posts of harassment, vindictiveness, and violent undertones being made by posters to others on their sites.

But I’m led to wonder if there isn’t a more clandestine message being communicated here, and not necessarily to kids on Social networking sites. Is it, could it be a veiled threat to their own employees and contractors? I say this not a far-fetched idea from some critical over-thinking; and I’m not some disgruntled ex-employee simply trying to find an angle to embarrass some Corporate machine.

I say it from my own observation of real life situations, my own gut feeling, and real life experiences.

It seems that despite the over modulated mantra of “embracing change”, many highly profitable companies, while out-of-date with times and technology, are embracing subtle but effective strategies in attempts to stay relevant without going through the necessary pain of re-tooling, re-inventing, and re-making themselves. The gravy train has gone on for so long they resist the inevitable by using cute slogans as band aids, lying not only to themselves, but to their employees and loyal but disillusioned customers.

When those on the front lines (particularly their Salesforce and customers) communicate upward what’s going on in the “real” world, Ivory towers are feeling added pressure to come up with ideas that (don’t) answer or provide solutions to the “real” issues. They tire of hearing the “real” truth, which improving on is either too expensive or too radical for a quick fix. They already know the real truth… that the Titanic has struck an iceberg and is taking on water fast.

 

 Their job has become to keep the band playing as long as they can.

“Pause before Posting” might just be another way to say, “Don’t bitch to us anymore. We don’t want to hear it. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

And those unlucky but honest souls who do not heed this warning are reminded to STFU, else they and their familes may be on unemployment sooner, than if hoping to get on a lifeboat in those dark icy waters of an uncertain future.

This strategy is not new. It keeps many lost souls in line much longer, much like the Roman Catholic Church once did after the disintegration of the Roman Empire. Remember those days? Some call them the Dark Ages.

So, what should one do? It’s been my experience as a self-actualized individual (but not necessarily good fortune) to “Think before I Pause before I Post”.

This means being honest and forthright, straightforward, with an acute sense of propriety which needs no pause, which flows forth in a post that sometimes offends those who most need offending.

Unfortunately, those same people are sometimes the fat slobs who have back stabbed and back patted their way to the top, and get riled when their lazy unconcern for the rest of the people who work hard at their business question their decisions. Fat slobs can be powerful foes.

It’s a double edged sword, no doubt. But, for me… I’d rather like who I see in the mirror despite the negative notch that will inevitably be scratched before my name; when I post before I pause. I feel good being blatantly honest when I’m sure about my convictions, and when they proceed from honest analysis.

Perhaps I’m self-actualized enough not to care about the possibilities financial devastation of getting fired can bring. Maybe Im just being irresponsible to my family, whom I know will suffer my consequences.

But, I know who I am and always will be. I’ve always had a sneaky feeling that some people know that I know who they are too, and it scares them. Some of them are fat slobs.

I’m not afraid.

I say to you: Post what you actually believe is true and will benefit the Corporation or others by recognizing that truth is sacred. Remember, everyone has their own agenda and try to recognize such. If they don’t like what you have to say, allow them post you back saying as much and perhaps providing additional insight. Don’t pause… post.

Timing may be of the essence. Never be intimidated by a simple slogan that subtley hints that your complaints aren’t acceptable. You are likely to be more right than wrong when you Post with conviction, not pause.

“Pause before you Post”? A Trojan horse or wise admonition wearing a pretty dress? Make your own call… but my money is on the former, and I don’t just think it, I feel it in my bones. I’m pretty sure I know how it works.