The Sporting Life category archive
John Affleck searches for something worthwhile in the year in sports and concludes that that, with luck, it might be the realization that “words matter.”
He cites several cases of coaches and players getting into trouble over how they treat others, even though abusive behavior has long been considered routine in sports world. A nugget:
What these examples show is that U.S. sports culture hasn’t caught up to contemporary standards of language and behavior. And the defense that sports is somehow different because you have to be tough and resilient to participate in sports hasn’t gained much traction. Why? Because every working adult in this country has to be tough and resilient to do a good job, even to keep one. Sports is not unique, and shouldn’t get a pass on bad behavior.
Consider this: You’re at your workplace and the boss comes in completely unhinged — frothing, cursing, pounding the desk and disparaging your sexual orientation or gender or race. Is that little tirade going to make you more or less loyal to him or her? Is it going to help you succeed? Is it any more OK if your workplace is a baseball diamond than if it is a discount department store?
At Psychology Today Blogs, Matt Beardmore tries to understand why sports fans get violent. A nugget:
. . . on Opening Day 2011 before a game between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. Giants fan Bryan Stow was savagely beaten and suffered brain trauma during an attack by Dodgers fans and just returned home a few months ago.
“Fan violence is really an adult form of bullying,” said Kathy Samoun, who was so moved by the Stow incident – and many others involving fan violence – that she founded the Bay Area-based Fans Against Violence non-profit organization, which “encourages fan safety at professional sporting events through education, discussion and partnerships with like-minded organizations.”
Bob Molinaro yearns for simpler days:
Should I go ahead and cast a Heisman vote for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston if by Dec. 9, the final day of balloting, we’re still waiting to learn whether Winston will be charged with sexual assault? And if I don’t vote for him before we know anything more, am I presuming his guilt? I liked it better when Heisman selections could be based on stats, TV highlights and Brent Musburger’s gosh-darn hyperbole.
The culture of big-time football, that is, the players, the coaches, the conferences, the leagues, the universities, the owners, the whole ball of wax, but especially the fans who enable and tolerate it.
Another proposal for a sports palace in Virginia Beach has surfaced.
This one claims that, even in the absence of a big league franchise of some sort, the deal would be a money maker and would cost less than the last deal that the local Developer Party tried to sneak through city council.
Lawson declined to provide financing details about the proposed public-private partnership that would be used to build it. He said that information will come out later. He did say in an email it would be “substantially” cheaper.
The previous deal called for the city to put in $241 million, the state $150 million and a private company $35 million. That money included $80 million to be paid to the Kings for relocation. The city and its Economic Development Department spent about $1.2 million on the previous arena plan.
As far as I can see–and the experience of many cities supports this–when developers want the government to pay for their projects, it’s a good sign that the project will not be a money-maker. Rather, the government will end up holding the bag, stranded on base, and saddled with debt for a building that stands empty most of the time.
Support a sports palace on the grounds of civic pride or public service and you may have a legitimate argument–but profit and economic development? That’s a con and a scam.
Addendum, Later That Same Day:
The NCAA is not only corrupt, willing to sacrifice virtue, fair play, and players to ratings and revenue, it’s also stupid.
Frankly, I’ve always found “cornhole” to be an unfortunate name for a party game.
Now comes the American Cornhole Association.
Just read the review–you don’t even need to read the book–to join me in my disgust at big-time football.
Sport columnist extraordinaire Bob Molinaro considers the contract the basketball coach at VCU, which is just up the road a piece. A snippet:
For a guaranteed $1.45 million, 20 victories isn’t a lot to ask from a coach, but that helps give some perspective to the lengths VCU will go to discourage Smart from wandering. According to his contract, he can even earn an extra $31,000 for failing to make the NCAA tournament – but winning the NIT. And should the Rams cut down the nets at the Final Four, Smart would be in line for $356,250 in bonuses.
He even gets small incentives based on his players’ graduation rates. Do coaches with graduation clauses in their contracts have to give back money when a player flunks out? That’s probably a silly question.
Big-time college sports (and wannabe big-time college sports factories) have gone of the rails
I’m ambivalent over the movement to get the Washington Redskins to change the name of their team (which, by extension, should extend to the Cleveland Indians and the Atlanta Braves and even to my own alma mater, as well as to many other high school, college, and pro teams), as I used to be a Redskins fan, back in the Jack Kent Cooke days, before the dark days of the incompetent and egomaniacal Dan Snyder.
On the whole, as I consider how Manifest Destiny treated Native Americans as lower life forms to be abused and exterminated, and then later as figures of comic relief in Hollywood oaters, I’m inclined to think, yeah, do it, make at least a gesture of atonement for the genocide.
It will not atone, but it would be a gesture.
One thing, though, I can say quite heartily is that the fuss has brought all sorts of inanity to the surface.
This should be fun to watch.
In court last week, Laviolette claimed Bank of America convinced him to mortgage his properties and invest the proceeds in high-risk funds that “utterly collapsed,” Courthouse News (CN) reported.
The Laviolettes, CN reported, said they later learned that the high-return investment projections relied on “artificially inflated values for their properties and an unreasonable rate of return.”
I am not a
big hockey fan. The NHL is near the top of my “I-don’t-care” list (as opposed to big-time college and pro football, which are at the top of my “the-corruption-has-sickened-me” list).
I admit that watching a hockey game in person is a lot of fun. Back in my younger, pre-kids days, my then-wife and I would take in the occasional Caps game, which I could enjoy thanks to WMAL-AM host Ken Beatrice, the only person I ever listened to who explain hockey in terms I understood. In TV viewer land, though, hockey is just too fast to fit in a television screen.
Nevertheless, I might just start to root for the Flyers because of this.
A letter writer to the Progessive Populist suffered through a diet of NCAA football and came up with a suggestion. A nugget:
Do read the rest.
Making education a priority:
Meanwhile, in the students’ world . . . .
Old Dominion University is a local university which started as the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary.
A few years ago, they started a football team, which has done reasonably well, if you care about such stuff. It plays at Foreman Field, a small stadium that seats about 20,000, though they are starting to have arena dreams.
Now they are going big time.
But Saturday, when ODU hosts Howard in its home opener, that policy is changing. Bags will be searched and banned items such as Frisbees, alcoholic drinks and cowbells must be pitched into nearby trash cans.
Are they doing this because there is any demonstrated threat to college football games, other than fistfights between drunken tailgaters?
They are doing this because searching people is the Next Big Thing, enabled by two crackpots leaving backpacks on city streets.
All the cool teams are doing it.
Mike Fryling, assistant general manager for Global Spectrum, the company that handles game-day operations for ODU football, said bags were inspected in 2009, the school’s first season. ODU had a more relaxed attitude the past three years.
He said that’s changing in large part because other colleges have beefed up security at athletic events.
“It’s a national trend,” he said.
And you thought that The Naked City was just a movie.
Such is life in the home of the brave.
The NFL head-butts the taxpayers, aka the “fans.”
David Cay Johnston analyzes the concussion settlement.
The average left after those costs above is just $150,000. [Update: To arrive at these illustrative calculations I divided the settlement figure by the approximately 4,500 plaintiffs. Dividing by the full list of retirees and surviving spouses—several times larger—would reduce the average per-player allotment.] Since some players, or their families in the case of dead players, may collect as much as $5 million, even that average figure is inflated. That figure, a typical payout of less than $150,000 per player, should have set reporters to asking if it was in fact enough to cover the players’ medical costs. NFL players only have health insurance while workingfor the length of their careers plus five years, a highly relevant detail for any industry that knows many workers will be unemployable due to on-the-job injuries.
Still, Rishe missed the big story by not asking an obvious question: If the settlement does not cover all the costs of medical care, much less lost future wages, who will bear that burden?
Makes sense in a way, I guess. After all, the Emperor helped pay for the circuses in the Roman Coliseum.
More Xes and $s at the link.
Bob Molinaro, in my local rag:
No one’s done more to skewer the NCAA’s hypocritical, outmoded rules this summer than ESPN’s Jay Bilas. In one of his latest tweets, he said, “Amateurism is dead, smothered by NCAA commercialization. Yet, NCAA drags it around like it’s in a bizarre remake of ‘Weekend at Bernie’s.’ ” Nice.
Do read the rest.
Oh! and speaking of the Entirely Sports Programming Network . . . .
Big-time football is starting to make boxing look clean.
Addendum, on Posting Day:
Bob Molinaro follows up in today’s local rag:
The NFL and ESPN are, first and foremost, corporate partners.