Category: Sports

Interesting (or Frustrating, if You’re an SEC Guy)

H.I.F.

I’m home sick with the flu, good for nothing more than watching TV and contemplating my next porcelain trip, so I’m watching a lot of sports for a Tuesday morning.

Fox Sports Live broke down a couple of Vegas facts that are pretty interesting: If Alabama went to the national championship game, they’d be three-point favorites over Florida State, who will be eleven-point favorites over Ohio State, which is an even greater spread than the Alabama-Notre Dame line a year ago. … Read the rest

Friday

Hockey BeerDrinking Night in Canada

I like wine, but sometimes it’s out of place. Like at Oktoberfest. Or at the typical frat party. Or a bachelor party. Or Thursday night bowling league. Those occasions call for beer. And if you drink wine at a hockey game, someone’s going to ask what kind of bra you wear. Hockey and beer go together like love and marriage. You can have one without the other, yes, but they’re so much better when together. So imagine the joy at Molson-Coors when they nailed down the NHL sponsorship contract for the next seven years. And it’s good for beer drinkers. Even though I’m not a big Molson fan, it’s better than Bud or Bud Light (then again, so’s my urine). Bud Light is currently the official beer of the NHL, but that’s going to change: The new contract also makes Molson Canadian the official beer of the NHL. * * * * * * * Digging Wiki. First the Mises Wiki mentioned yesterday, now a WikiHow about making beer: How to Make a Home Brewery a Commercial Nanobrewery There are basically three levels of self-brewing: homebrewing, nanobrewing, and microbrewing. Nano is the bridge between home and micro. It’s basically homebrewing, but with a commercial slant. The wiki article appears to give good advice (I know virtually nothing homebrewing), but I didn’t see a step labeled, “Dealing the crypto-fascist neo-prohibitionist alcohol regulators in your state.” Without that step, I question the entire link. * * * * * * * Ice, Ice Baby. And as long as we’re on the “how to” kick, here’s a link about how ice Read the rest

Wednesday

laotzu.jpgWoe the Man with Halitosis

I found a book on sports psychology at the library last week. It could aptly be called, “The Tao and Sports.” Because the Tao has long intrigued me (note), I checked it out. I suspect it’ll be a lot of fluff, but two early chapters–breathing and visualization–have resonated with me. The writers put a lot of emphasis on a slow breathing exercise, followed by visualizing aspects of your game. It takes about ten minutes, and the writers say it could improve one’s game more than actual practice. I mentioned it to two friends (both good Christian men, solid guys who have no truck with new age hokum) and both of them agreed it has credibility.

What really intrigued me, though, was the breathing part. The use of controlled breathing plays a large part in Taoist mediation and Zen meditation (Zen is the offspring of harsh Indian Buddhism and light-hearted Chinese Taoism). I also remembered reading that Eastern Orthodox monks put a fair amount of emphasis on breathing, especially when practicing The Jesus Prayer. Nicephorous the Solitary in the fourteenth century gave the whole psychosomatic practice a huge push, citing the logic that the lungs lie around the heart, so air passing through them envelops the heart and therefore helps lead to prayers of the heart.

So, I know there’s a tradition of breathing meditation in Taoism, Zen, and Eastern Orthodoxy. There’s also a breathing meditational tradition in Hinduism, Sufism, and probably mystical Judaism. But is there a breathing meditational tradition in Catholicism? I searched through a couple of Catholic resources, but nothing popped up. The best I could … Read the rest

RIP, Ernie

Long-time Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell died last night. Just a few of the stories I’ve heard this morning:

Ernie was telling a friend that the worst part of his job was the pre-game show. After a while a woman who had been looking at Ernie all evening from the bar approached him and said she’d do anything for $200. Ernie asked her if she’d do a pre-game show.

Ernie was asked what he wanted out of the Old Tiger Stadium after it was torn down. He said he wanted the urinal from the visiting team’s clubhouse. When asked why the visiting team’s clubhouse, he said, “Think about all of the great baseball players from opposing teams that used it over all of those years. I’m gonna put it in the yard and plant flowers in it for my wife.”… Read the rest

Thanksgiving

thanksgiving-dayThe Lions play the Thanksgiving Game again today, for the 76th time (if my notes are accurate). There’s talk about taking the game away from Detroit, and I fear it’ll happen: “The Lions’ Bill Ford, Jr. once expertly fought a measure at one owners meeting that would have taken the game away from Detroit while rotating the game around the NFL. It’s basically an argument between traditions — the Lions have hosted this game since 1934 — and the new-style NFL that believes the Lions, based on their recent history, don’t deserve such a national telecast.”

The whole thing infuriates me. It’s the Lions’ tradition, they started it, let them keep it. Fair is fair. If you don’t want to watch the Lions, don’t. For the sake of getting a better game in that time slot, you’re willing to rip out a tradition that for many people in Michigan stretches back four generations. That’s mean (in every sense).

But what’s even more mean: The NFL. There’s a perfect answer to the whole dilemma, but I don’t think it’s even getting discussed (because it’d affect ratings): Put another game on during the same slot. The Lions on Thanksgiving is a tradition for people all across the United States, but if you’re not a Lions fan, it admittedly sucks to have a crappy game (heck, it sucks for Lions fans, too). Our tradition doesn’t need to be everyone else’s bane. Put a different game on the other network (if Fox carries the Lions game, CBS would carry the other game, and vice-versa). The Lions still have their tradition. When I’m watching the game, it doesn’t matter … Read the rest

Tuesday

Running for the Fun of ItIgnorant of Theophilus?

“There’s more to sports than winning.” “It’s not about winning and losing.” “Winning isn’t the most important thing.”

Those types of platitudes surround sports today, especially youth sports. And I have to admit:

I don’t understand them.

If you’re playing a competitive sport, you’re playing to win. That is the only substantive good that runs through all competition: baseball, cross-country, checkers, bass fishing, NASCAR, beer pong, poker. Winning. That’s the point of competition.

Does that mean that competitive sports don’t have other benefits? Of course not. Some (track) get you into shape, others (chess) help your ability to concentrate, some (poker) make you money, some (beer pong) get you buzzed. Every form of competition (except maybe NASCAR) has an ancillary benefit, but it’s not a benefit that’s necessary to the pursuit of competition in general. Such benefits are what the Schoolmen might call “accidents” of competition.

Accidents aren’t substances. When it comes to competitive sports, winning is the form that makes competition what it is. It is the essence of competition. If you’re not playing to win, you’re denying the core nature of competition, and it’s no longer competition. If you don’t want to play to win, that’s fine. Take up knitting or walking a treadmill . . . but get off the daggone track.

Now, does all this mean that winning is the most important thing?

Maybe. It depends what you mean by “most important.”

On the plane of competition, yes, winning is the most important thing. Hands down. It’s illogical to claim otherwise, for the reasons set forth above.

But on the plane of existence in general? Is … Read the rest

Autobiographical Corner

Autobiographical Corner

To be a good coach, you have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it’s important.

I’m not a good coach. My team won the little league championship last night in a rout, beating the previously-undefeated regular season league champions. I was thrilled, but I’m glad the whole thing is over. I’m simply not fit for coaching. My oldest son moves up to a different league next year. I’m really hoping to ditch out on coaching for the rest of my life, but I have a younger boy on the team who may wonder why I’m not involved anymore. I’ll see.

Thing is, I’m not even a sports guy. I didn’t play team sports after age 11. Although I follow sports and can spit out baseball statistics from 1890 to 1975 like I memorized them yesterday, I don’t know much about the game itself: its etiquette, its dynamics, even some rules. I feel sheepish when kids even ask me for advice. Though I have picked up quite a bit of baseball knowledge over the past two years by watching other coaches and videos, it’s still clearly not my area. My only consolation is that I don’t try to fool anyone about it. I see some coaches put on the Sparky Anderson facade. That just leads to unfortunate results.

The coaching also causes too much excitement and takes up too much time. I’m basically a walking coronary victim right now, with pressures from the office and other commitments piling up, but I had to take out ten hours this week to deal with playoff games.

Yet I was … Read the rest