Its a tradition unlike any other...no, not the Masters, i’m talking about my annual column on the wussification of American sports.
The product that I see on the football field today is a borderline embarrassing compared to the sport that I initially fell in love with as a kid. I could hardly contain myself the other night while watching Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning be nudged (LITERALLY NUDGED) in the back by Colts defensive tackle Cory Redding, only to have Redding called for a 15 yard roughing the passer penalty. One of the biggest disgraces that i’ve ever seen in my years watching the sport of football. Football was built on the basis of toughness and physical play. Now you can’t even breathe on a quarterback or a receiver without being penalized.
But the core values of football are not only being challenged at the professional level, it’s also trickling down to the youth level - only in a slightly different way. While in the professional ranks the emphasis has been placed on player safety (an admirable cause obviously), at the youth level, the issue is overzealous administrators instituting rules that are aimed at sparing kids on losing teams of any embarrassment.
A story last month spotlighted the North California Youth League who has decided to levy a $200 fine and one game suspension against any coach whose team wins a game by 35 or more points. Yea, you read right, fined and suspended!
Now, i’m all for mercy rules. Some teams are so over-matched that it would be ridiculous to subject them to a embarrassing beating. So if the case may be that a team were up by 35 points going into the 4th quarter, I would have no issue with the league mandating that the game end. The problem is the NCYL doesn’t do that. What it DOES do, is force the game to be played from start to finish and actually tells the team that is leading by 35+ points to continue to play and NOT try to score. There’s nothing illogical about that is it?
The deputy commissioner of the NCYL told a Nor Cal TV station that this new rule teaches the kids “sportsmanship.” Correct me if im wrong but, since when has it been “bad sportsmanship” to score points as an offense? Bad sportsmanship is busting the Cuzzin Terio dance (ooohh, kill em!) in the endzone when you're up by 50 points. Bad sportsmanship is throwing the ball in the face of the corner you just burned for a TD. Bad sportsmanship is taunting the sideline of the opponent who's ass you're kicking. Continuing to do what you’re on the field to do – make plays – is not under any circumstance, “bad sportsmanship.” (Unless the team that is up big is still throwing the ball of course).
How many times has it been said that injuries happen when you're playing at half speed moreso than when you’re hussling? Wouldn’t encouraging kids to not try to score points be an exact contradiction of what is normally hammered into their heads? - “Finish! Finish! Until the final whistle! Don’t quit!” Now all of a sudden we're supposed to say “Hussle! Hussle! Play through the end of the whistle...unless we're blowing them out. If we are, then just fall down and take a knee at the 5 yard line because we don’t want to show up the opponent.”
I realize that kids don’t want to be embarrassed, but as I mentioned in my article a few years ago, how else will they learn? They have to realize that there are going to be struggles in life. Some people are going to be more talented than you, or just flat out better than you. How you react to this type of adversity is what’s important.
The issue also continues into the high school ranks where Texas superpower, Aledo High defeated Fort Western Hills 91-0. As if the beating on the scoreboard wasn't bad enough, a parent from Western Hills High actually filed a bullying complaint against Aledo. Bullying!? So what was Aledo supposed to do? Take a knee for 2 quarters straight? I can't speak for the players on Fort Western Hills, but for me, watching a team not try to score would be a bigger shot to my ego than a team thats running me over like a battering ram. At least i'm still competing. By taking a knee, i'm being forced to believe that i'm a charity case that deserves to have it “taken easy on me.” Sorry, but if I have to play full speed on the field and lose 2,014 to nothing, then so be it. I'll at least walk away knowing that I gave it my all from the opening kick until the end of the 4th quarter. Even the head coach for Fort Western Hills said that he had no issue whatsoever with the final score and even disagreed with the bullying claim.
The solution is simple, if it is determined by coaches, officials, or by league rules that a game is out of hand and should be ended early because of the scoring margin then I have no problem with a mercy rule. BUT, if you aren't going to have a mercy rule, then let the kids play with no inhibitions. If adversity truly does build character, then what better adversity to endure than getting your ass handed to you on the football field? By far the most lasting and impactful postgame speeches that I experienced were the ones I heard after LOSING games (some of them blowouts). As great as Michael Jordan was, how much of an impact did his struggles against Detroit early in his career shape him as a player? Think being labeled a big game choke artist motivated John Elway at the end of his career at all? Its not in the losing or in the being “embarrassed” that the significance lies, its in how you react and grow from these outcomes. If we continue to protect these kids from adversity on the football field, what we may actually be doing is damaging their growth off of it.
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By Krystina Ramey
In honor of the end of the baseball season for some (just the beginning for others), I bring to you this week some of the best baseball-related clips the internet has to offer. I say baseball-related because, to be honest, none of these videos actually have anything to do with baseball. Right, so… here we go!
The Reds managed to squeak into the post-season this year, but it doesn’t seem pitcher Bronson Arroyo lent much to that accomplishment… at least not in Saturday’s game. The Pirates crushed the Reds 8-3, putting up a total of 6 homeruns and claiming home-field advantage for the NL Wild Card game, which, oddly enough, will be against the Reds. Arroyo gave up 5 of the 6 HRs. Not the best performance to end on when you’re a pending free agent and you’ve spent the last 8 years in Cincy. Who knows if they’ll bring him back… the Reds have yet to initiate any contract discussions… but Arroyo’s not going to sit around and wait while his financial future hangs in the balance. No, the “Bronson Arroyo Band” front man took matters into his own hands, debuting his acting credentials in this little ditty for Champion Dealer Group of Cincinnati.
*WARNING* Improper language ahead
You would think with all of those crowds his “band” has played in front of, Arroyo would seem a little more natural in front of the camera… Anyway, since when can you drop S-bombs on television commercials? What’s going on in Cincinnati?
Seriously, what’s going on in Cincinnati? These poor people have to suffer through multiple ridiculous commercials, all at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds:
And apparently it’s been going on for years!
I honestly can’t understand why Pete Rose never had a singing career…?
Ok, athlete acting is usually pretty bad, but here’s one guy who actually does a decent job at it. Matt Kemp, like so many others before him, appeared on Sesame Street with Abby Cadabby to teach kids about the word “attach.” Now, considering that his acting partner is a puppet, Kemp actually did a pretty good job here… but it still makes me laugh because, I mean, come on, it’s Matt Kemp! You know this pretty-faced Dodgers playboy would rather be partying it up with LeBron James...
Boy do Dodgers players know how to look cool... This video of Tony Gwynn Jr. is obviously from a few years back, seeing as how the outfielder has been booted from his position as of late for, we could only guess what reason... But that doesn’t mean he still doesn’t look like a boss in this clip when faced with one of those annoying outfield-wall hecklers. Gwynn Jr. gets him back in the most awesome of ways, calmly mocking the guy and not missing one beat in the process.
Keeping it in the franchise, the Dodgers have had a lot to celebrate this year, and we’re lucky they finally caught one on camera. As much as Juan Uribe wants to make it so, it doesn’t appear that the Korean Kid, Hyun-Jin Ryu, really enjoys that Robin Thicke song…
I know, Ryu, I’m getting sick of it too.
Alright, as much as I want to stick with the Dodgers and never, EVER talk about the Yankees, I’ve got to give this video some credit, as Mariano Rivera IS one of the greatest of all time, after all. We all know the Yankees closer has flung his last pitch, and heard about all of the wonderful tributes the organization gave him on what has now been proclaimed “Mariano Rivera Day.” But possibly the most touching moment of the event came when manager Joe Girardi decided it was time to pull the storied baseball player for the final time:
(Check out all of the crazy presents Mo received from around the league here.)
Alright alright alright, enough tears, I’ll let you off with something that’ll make you smile. I know it’s been awhile since the college baseball season ended, but I seriously can’t ignore a good “athletes dancing” video. It appears the 2 teams in this USF / Connecticut face-off got tired of waiting for the rain to subside, and decided to settle this competition as all sensible, college-educated athletes do: with a dance-off. This video is a little long, but watch whichever part you want, it’s all entertaining. The tarp slides come at 4:50, oh, and ladies… by minute 6, the entire team is shirtless. You’re welcome.
Like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter for what I assure you will be absolutely no shirtless anythings.
What would you do if your children were abducted? It’s a very hard question to answer because many of us don’t know or will never know. Maybe it’s your cousin or your best friend’s kids, we all have a stake in any child abduction. Prisoners, the new movie from Warner Brothers, rated R and opening Friday 09-20-13 tells us one of those stories.
Keller Dover(Hugh Jackman) is a simple man in a simple town just trying to raise his family with his wife Grace(Maria Bello) and family including his son and six-year-old daughter Anna. His neighbor Franklin Birch(Terrence Howard) along with his family and daughter Joy are also trying to make a life. During Thanksgiving dinner over the Birch’s home the two girls suddenly go missing and the nightmare begins for the families. Enter Detective Loki(Jake Gyllenhaal) who has been assigned to find the two girls, by the way he has solved all the cases he’s been assigned too and he doesn’t want to let the families down. We meet many different characters including suspects that may or may not be the one who abducted the girls as well as go deep into the mind of the fathers especially Keller. The race begins to try and decipher who is telling the truth and who is just sending you on a wild goose chase.
Prisoners is a movie that I have been wanting to see for a while and it doesn’t disappoint. This dramatic thriller has lots of ebbs and flows throughout the 2 ½ hours which will keep you wondering and waiting. The movie has some disturbing scenes so make sure you are ready for that but I believe the scenes are truthful for the situation that the characters are in whether you agree with them or not. Jake Gyllenhaal is superb in his role bringing both feeling and realism to the role of a Detective who wants to uphold the law but still stopping some sick people. Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard play the fathers to a tee and really show the Ying and Yang of two different ways to look at justice. Both Paul Dano and David Dastmalchian really draw you in as the possible child offenders while still bringing out real scariness with their actions. If I had any misgivings it would be the movie was a little long and I felt the wives played by Maria Bello and Viola Davis seem a little lost in the overall picture, not the characters but the amount of time they are involved. I felt like they could have been more a part of the story but there is a lot of things happening so I guess something had to be sacrificed. On the point of lots of things happening, be ready to really keep your eyes and ears open, remember it’s also a who dunnit so pay attention to everything because we all want to play Detective don’t we. Prisoners offers a view into the world of families dealing with the most unthinkable but also shows us that we need to look into ourselves as well and take ownership of the things that we do and the consequences. I didn’t love Prisoners but I definitely really liked it and think that it’s worth your time, especially parents but human beings as well.
Competition is good, competition can drive you to be the best you can be. This is the theory I believe in Universal Pictures new movie RUSH. Rush which opens in selected theatres on Sept 20th and Nationwide Sept 27th is Rated R. Directed by Academy Award winner Ron Howard, Rush tells the story of two unlikely Formula 1 race car drivers, James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth), from Britian and Niki Lauda(Daniel Bruhl) from Austria. James Hunt is Mr Debonair, good looking and a well playboy who seems to get whatever he wants. Niki Lauda is well, an average Joe who is quite rude, not going to win any Mr. good looking awards and is almost stone cold. One thing they do share in common is the will to be the best in their selected profession and that is Formula 1 racing.
This movie mainly tells the story of their fight for supremacy during the 1976 Formula One season but we do see Hunt and Lauda meeting in the early 70’s and how this rivalry ensues. Hunt uses his good looks to propel himself in the off the track fun while Lauda uses his love for the race car and almost obsession to make his car faster while not worrying about what is going on around him. The story delves into each of these true life characters personal lives and how each one ticked, marriages and friendships and of course the crash during that 1976 Grand prix season that sent Lauda to almost certain death.
Rush is a very well made movie, including the realistic race scenes which only lend to a very interesting story. Chris Hemsworth does a wonderful job as James Hunt, playing that to a Tee with a charisma and enjoyment that I’m sure embodied the real life Hunt. Meanwhile Daniel Bruhl encompasses Niki Lauda in his mannerisms and drive that the real Lauda exemplified in his life. Olivia Wilde, whom I didn’t even recognize, plays wonderfully Suzie Sparkles the jet setting model wife of James Hunt who loves him but still wants more. I loved all the actors in this movie and each brought something to their role which helped progress the movie well. The fact that these two rivalries were so powerful showed how each pushed the other to strive harder, work harder and be better to reach their goals, it’s amazing. Director Howard does a great service of letting the racing tell a story while not hampering the other storylines and the scenes in the cars are great. We understand that sometimes all of us need to be pushed to be great, to not sit on our laurels and when we do we at least have the chance to succeed. These two work horses almost needed each other to be what they became and even though the character of Lauda is such a real well A-hole his persistence and drive is so inspiring that you find yourself rooting for him and what he had to endure after that horrific crash. I thoroughly enjoyed Rush and know you will too, this will definitely hae some Oscar buzz as well it should, it’s one of the top movies of 2013.
Getaway, a Fast paced, High energy, car racing drama, well not really. The new movie opening Friday Aug 30 from Warner Brothers and rated PG-13 running 90 minutes tells the story of a former race car driver Brent Magna(Ethan Hawke) and his race to find his kidnapped wife Leanne(Rebecca Buding). Brent is joined by The Kid(Selena Gomez) in his quest to save his wife from certain death if he doesn’t follow the rules of this mysterious man who asks him to complete many tasks, which included stealing a cool Shelby Mustang, to take him on this scavenger hunt.
Getaway is a pretty basic story with no real twists and turns, it takes us on these car chases but never really makes us feel like we’re in danger. Every car chase is basically the same and comes out of nowhere. One minute Brent Magna is rolling along and next thing he’s being chased by 4 or 5 police cars because remember he’s a wanted man for first stealing the car and then doing crazy deeds that put him in a wanted situation by the police. I can’t tell you how many police cars are flung, spun or flipped over in this movie, I lost count. I think Selena brings an interesting twist with her young bratty abrasive character that actually adds some meat to the movie but it’s lost with all the constant car chases that almost lead nowhere. I also enjoyed Ethan Hawke as he really takes a hold of the race car aspect but with nothing to fall back on his and Selena’s performances seem like they are lost in translation.
Getaway goes very fast but never gets going and is paper thin in its story line, basically how do I get my wife back from the bad guys. In the end I’ve seen this before and done better plus I really didn’t even know why his wife was even kidnapped. The lack of story really does hurt and not even the car chases could save this one, Getaway runs out of gas, wait for the DVD on this one.