Tag Archives: football

General Admission Seating

Depending on which story you want to believe, there are somewhere between 4,000 and 7,000 men, women and kids from Central America moving northward to seek asylum in the USA. Rather than get into the facts of how this administration has fomented this “crisis”, just look at some numbers.

The US has a population of about 325,000,000. That is 325 million people.

For the sake of argument I will accept the higher number. 7,000 versus 325,000,000.

Pretty scary!

Now, about half or more of these 7,000 are women and children. And, under US law everyone has a right to apply for asylum. That does not mean they will get it, but they can apply. So, we have 7,000 folks fleeing violence and death. Did I mention we have a nation of 325,000,000?

Let us suppose that every single asylum seeker get admitted. That would have the effect of adding 14 people to the city of Detroit, Michigan. About 12 new people to Raleigh, North Carolina. 3 more folks in San Bernadino, California.  Maybe 4 people to Topeka, Kansas.

Another example may better illustrate. We are crazy about football in the US. So what if we offered every member of the caravan a free football ticket. General admission seating, of course.

So, we offer these 7,000 folks tickets to a football game. How would that look?

For example, in the Rose Bowl, these folks would take up 2 of the 28 sections. Well, not exactly. Less than 2 sections, but close enough. In most other stadiums they would take up maybe 3 sections.

Unless you are talking high school, of course. For example, at the Texas Alamo High school stadium these men, women and children would take up just about 33%! Imagine, a high school football game where every third person is an immigrant seeking asylum. One game, one stadium, that’s the entire caravan.

This is why the US sent the most highly trained military in the world to the border? (Admittedly it was the WRONG border. They were sent to Texas; the caravan is heading to California…but I digress). To stop a “caravan” composed mainly of women and children that would not even fill up half of a Texas high school football stadium? SCARY!!!

Next time you see the massive numbers of scary asylum seekers as shown by the news, just imagine how much space they actually take up at a college football game. But don’t buy the asylum seekers expensive  box seats.

Just give them general admission tickets.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under economics, immigrants, Immigration, logic, Politics, United States, violence

Can Donnie Come Out and Play?

When I was a boy many, many years ago…How long ago, you ask? Before Twitter. Before Facebook. Before the internet. Before Blu Ray. Before DVDs. Before CDs. Before VHS. Before cable TV. Before Fox . Before video games. Before…well…just about everything.

We had a black and white TV and 3 channels. And if you missed the big game or your show, well, you missed it.  If you were lucky you could wait for the re-runs in 6 months.

Where was I? Oh, yes. When I was a boy many, many years ago we did active things for fun. Every weekend and summer we would play softball or touch football. For hours on end. After taking care of a few chores the rest of the day was unsupervised fun.

I learned many lessons from those days. At the time I did not know it. I thought we were just playing ball. But in retrospect the unsupervised hours and days with my friends were filled with life lessons that , unknown to me, stuck. I wonder if Donald ever learned those lessons? I think not.

There was Jack and the Sullivan boys and Joe and an assortment of others. Sometimes Erich. Sometimes Pawlawski. And a few others.

In the summer we would spend all day playing softball at the church parking lot. We knew it was time to go home when the bells rang, I think it was 5 o’clock. Usually 8 of us, sometimes only 6. With that small number of players we devised rules for a pretty decent softball game.

Playing with 3 on a team meant you had a slow pitch pitcher, a shortstop and a left fielder. With only 3 batters you always had to have someone score to take the next slot at the plate. Pitcher’s hands are out. Any ball hit to the right side of 2nd base was an automatic out. No ghost runners. The bases were sometimes pieces of wood, sometimes shirts, sometimes big stones. Never those canvas things used by real teams.

Playing touch football was the same. No first downs. Four downs to score a touchdown. One center, one end and one quarterback. One touch and you are down. No tackling.

No adults to be seen. We played by the rules and had fun. Was Dan safe at the plate or not? Well, Dan knows. If he says he was safe, he was safe. Did the ball get to the pitcher before Joe reached first? Some said yes, some said no. OK. Well, I guess he was out. No arguing. No fights. No instant replays. Someone would just say, OK, I guess you are right.

Did Jack cross the goal line or was he touched at the “one”? Jack said he scored. OK. He must have  scored.  He’s not a cheater. When Doug was touched he  always stuck the ball 6 inches ahead, just like the pro running backs on TV. I always waited until he turned around and pushed the ball 12 inches back.  It worked for both of us.

I can’t recall any serious arguments and certainly no fights. we just figured it all out.

So, what lessons was I learning that I never knew I learned by this unsupervised play?

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Doesn’t really matter because we are playing again tomorrow.

If you don’t own a ball, someone else will. If you don’t own a bat, someone else will. That’s why we let everybody play.

If you have a fielder’s glove, toss it to your opponent as he goes to left field. He doesn’t own one and your not using yours when you are batting.

The guys on the other team today will be on my team tomorrow. It is all fluid. 

Uniforms are not needed. You are still a team even if you aren’t dressed alike.

Some people are better than others. Some are better at some things than I am. I am better at some things than they are. That’s the way it is.

Don’t complain about wrong calls. You know if you were safe or out. That’s enough.

Win “fair and square” or lose. Don’t cheat your friends. There is no future in it.

We need all the players we can get. Everyone is important.

It  doesn’t matter what you look like as long as you can catch the ball.

Donald is only 4 years older than me. I don’t know if he was allowed to play unsupervised with other kids. . To figure out how to negotiate human relationships. To learn to respect others and their abilities. To share his baseball glove. It does not appear to be the case.

It’s too late now, but I wonder if he would have been different had he lived on the East Side with the working class mopes like us. I wonder what would have happened had we been able to ride our bikes to his house, knock on the door and ask:

“Can Donnie come out and play?”

 

 

 

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Get Some Sleep, You Old Fool

For years scientists have known that sleep deprivation can lead to mental and physical disabilities. It is even used as a torture…er…enhanced interrogation technique. More efficient than waterboarding .

Sports teams have,  in recent years, jumped on the sleep  bandwagon. Teams like the Seattle Seahawks even monitor players’ sleeping  habits  and adjust practice schedules accordingly. One of the best quarterbacks of all time, Tom Brady, once said he goes to bed at  8:30 PM.

So sleep is important for young and old. Important for mental awareness and physical  health. Which brings me to this juncture.

Imagine a doddering  70 year old man. Scruffy beard. Balding head covered by a badly dyed comb over. Bleary -eyed. Maybe wearing partial  unbuttoned silk pajamas. Maybe totally nude.Wandering up  and down the hallways. It is 3:20 AM.

He stumbles aimlessly around his luxury apartment. Can’t sleep. Picks up his iphone. Decides to do some late night tweeting. Starts tweeting about some woman. Some young woman he knew years ago. Some woman he decides must be a porn queen.

A doddering old fool wandering around in the middle of the night tweeting about porn queens.

Finally somebody. Maybe his current wife. Maybe a servant. Maybe his 10 year old son. Somebody finds him wandering around,  takes him by the hand and gently leads him back to bed.

“It’s ok , daddy. Time to get some sleep”.

Two hours later he is up again. 5 AM. Stumbling along, iphone in hand, tweeting away about porn queens. Porn queen this, porn queen that. Again someone finds him.

Leads him back to bed. Perhaps this time they decide they better tie him down for his own good. Straightjacket, maybe. Keep grandpa under control.

Now, imagine this doddering old fool  sleeps in the White House and has access to all nuclear codes.  Access to the most top secret information. Access to power.

Please don’t wake up  this doddering old fool. Let him sleep.

To the American people:  wake up.

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Soccer, The All-American Game

The upcoming soccer World Cup in Brazil got me to thinking. Always a mistake. There is no sport that more fully embraces American values than soccer. What the rest of the world calls football. It is strange that the “typical” American sports fan rejects this sport. Usually for two reasons.

First, it is low scoring. Can’t deny that. Second, it is low scoring. Can’t deny that, either.

Yet, if an unbiased anthropologist from Mars visited Earth she would come to the conclusion that soccer is an all-American sport. If she had studied the  values that “real” Americans articulate regularly.  Sports like baseball and American football, on the other hand, would be seen as throwbacks to the pre-democratic days of authoritarian rule. Likened to a Dickensian vision of America.

Some examples.

American value:  Freedom and individualism. There is no sport in which an individual is expected to act on his own more than soccer.  Every soccer player constantly adjusts during the match. Sometimes playing offense, switching back to defense, then offense again…oops, back to defense. Constantly. For 90 plus minutes. While you have a formation , that formation is in constant flux. Fluidity. Personal freedom abounds. Thinking is essential. Making the right decision on your own. What is more American that that?

Compare with baseball. Every pitch is dictated by a catcher or manager. Every at bat is proscribed by the coaches. Take a pitch. Bunt. Swing away. Hit and run. For the pitcher. Throw a curve ball. A slider. An intentional walk. The manager decides each minute detail. Signals are given to the players to tell them exactly what to do. Authoritarian to the extreme. Make no decisions on your own.

Or football. Every play is called by the coach. Every defense is called by the coach. Even when the quarterback calls an “audible” it is still a play that was practiced and practiced before the game. A play determined by the coach. And after each play we stop. Get a new play from the coach. Then play on. Authoritarianism run amok. Do not deviate.

In the two most popular American sports thinking is discouraged. The manager or coach has the brains. The players have the brawn. Cogs in the system. Don’t deviate. Do your job. The boss knows best. Do as you are told. We don’t pay you to think.  Freedom ? Not if you want to play.

American value: Fair play. While every sport has its poor sportsmanship issues, there is a custom in soccer that emphasizes fair play. It has to do with injury. A  casual observer might conclude that in American football the attempt to injure an opponent is, in fact, an essential  part of the game! During a play if a player gets injured he is run over and ignored. The cornerback pulls a muscle and writhes in pain on the ground. That is an opportunity to score a touchdown.  The game goes on. We will pick him up later. Same in baseball. Two fielders collide  and knock each other out. That is an opportunity to score a run. It is considered a lucky break. Fair play?

But not in soccer. If an opponent is hurt (really hurt, not diving) the opposing team will intentionally kick the ball out of play. They stop the match even though they have the advantage. And when play continues, the other team will kick the ball back to them. Sportsmanship. This occurs even in championship games. With millions of dollars at stake. In fact, if a team breaks this unwritten rule they will be roundly booed by their own fans. Fair play.

American value: Hard work. Let’s look at soccer. 90 plus  minutes of running, jumping, kicking, jogging. Almost continuous action. Players do take breaks within the game, but only for a few seconds when the ball is not near them. No time outs. No rest periods. One 15 minute half-time. No substitutions. You play offense . You play defense. You play the entire match. Three substitutions. Period. Eight players on each team play the entire match.

Let’s look at baseball. YAWN. Each player stands at his position when on defense. He waits. And waits. And waits. Maybe the ball will come to him, but probably not. The catcher and pitcher do most of the work. And the pitcher seldom plays all nine innings. Too tiring ! Then after standing around for three outs the team jogs to the dugout and…sits. And waits. And waits. For one turn at bat. Usually 4 times a game. And if  you do get on base you may get a chance to run or jog 360 feet ! Hard work ? Hardly work.

Now football is a bit more brutal.  After all, you are trying to decapitate your opponent. (The death penalty…that IS an American value). But each player only plays about one-third of the time or less. That amounts to about  20 minutes of real activity. Twenty minutes of hard work.  Oops. I forgot. Most of those 20 minutes are taken up in the huddle. Where you are being told what to do. The actual physical activity for the average player is about 10 minutes a game. Hard work ?

So, why do Americans hate soccer? It seems to encompass the American values of hard work, fair play, individualism and freedom. Must be something else. Maybe it is because soccer is a “communist” sport played in “socialist” leagues?

After all, an American value is capitalism. The best get ahead. The losers fall behind. Life is tough that way. Except in professional sports. In the rest of the world if a pro soccer team does not do well they get “relegated” That means kicked out of the league and another team takes their place.  Raw capitalism. Succeed or die !

But look at US pro sports. Even the worst teams get to stay in the league year after year. No  matter how incompetent. No matter how lowly. There is no real incentive to do better. There is always next year. Meet the Chicago Cubs. 100 years of futility. And still in the major leagues. The US pro sports system is actually socialistic to the extreme! Maybe communistic. No one gets demoted. In soccer, on the other hand, succeed or be gone!

So, why then is this” beautiful game” which exemplifies all of the best American “values” castigated in the USA? Baseball is supremely authoritarian. Football is minimally active for the individual player.  Neither punishes the least successful teams.

An anthropologist from Mars would say this: Don’t always listen to what folks CLAIM about their values, look at what they actually admire . Study how their sports reflect society. Authoritarian or democratic?  Take advantage of an injury or fair play? Talk about hard work or actually work hard? Success based on performance or guaranteed by a rigged system? Take orders or engage in free thinking?

Soccer: the all-American sport. Now…if they would only score more goals………

 

 

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NFL Sissies…Step Up

Michael Sam is 6’2″ and weighs in at 260 pounds. Michael Sam was the SEC defensive college player of the year. The SEC is the best conference in college football. Michael Sam is a certain first round draft pick this year. Or should be. Michael Sam is gay.

Michael Sam came out and publicly said he was gay. His Missouri teammates knew it. The coaches knew it. He knew it. They didn’t care. He can play football.

Someday, 10 years from now, this will not be news. But it is today.

There are plenty of athletes in every sport who are homosexual. It does not stop them from being professional athletes. Professionals in a highly competitive occupation. But most keep it to themselves. For fear of public humiliation. Fear of discrimination. Or because it is no one else’s business. In a perfect world it would not matter. But the world of sports is not perfect.

Michael Sam has come out. It is time for the other homosexual athletes to support him. There are plenty of gay athletes in football, baseball, basketball, soccer and all sports. Time for them to stop being sissies. Come out. Support this young man. The closet has been opened for you.  You should not have to go public. It should not be a big deal.  But it is.

But Michael Sam has given you the chance to say,”Yes. I am an athlete. I am gay. So what”. Do it now and those 10 years may be closer than your think. Don’t be sissies.

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