Category Archives: Sports

2014 Final Four game between Kentucky and Wisconsin

First, I want to say that Kentucky and Wisconsin played a great game and these teams did not lack in effort.  These teams demonstrated what good defense is supposed to look like.  March Madness is a great time of year for college basketball fans.  In fact, for those who love college basketball it is much like The Super Bowl for NFL fans.

While watching the game I realized how large of an impact officiating has on the flow of the game.  I am usually someone who complains about referees often, and frankly, I was just angry because things didn’t go well for the team I rooted for.  However, my college basketball team is Indiana.  Indiana wasn’t invited to the tournament this year.  Further, they were not invited to the NIT either, which is another rant for later.  Therefore, I really didn’t have a dog in the hunt in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

The problem in this year’s tournament has seemed to me that there has been a few blown calls, or non-calls.  I won’t list them here, otherwise it would cause me a great deal of typing to share what was wrong with each call. Click here for one article that addresses this problem.  These calls have impacted several games.

In the Kentucky-Wisconsin game, Traevon Jackson was whistled for three blocking fouls.  The last call was arguably a decent call.  But, the first two calls were ridiculous.  Now, the refs made, or did not make, calls that helped Wisconsin too.  Yet, I want to put for the idea of how those blocking calls, alone, impacted Wisconsin’s game.

When the referees blow calls on an impact player like Jackson, who was clearly in good defensive position to take those charges, and the Kentucky guards are allowed to drop their shoulders and dribble into the defender, Jackson, the ability to defend the lane is greatly diminished.  In fact, the result was Jackson taking an early seat on the bench for the two calls in the first half.  Not only did this impact the Wisconsin team, it empowered the Kentucky team to really hit the lane with drives from their guards.

There was a point when the feeling seemed to be that Wisconsin was going to go up 20 on KU, but taking Wisconsin’s good defense away, because of poor calls, kept the game close.  In the second half there were a couple of times when Jackson was back in that he backed up on defense to avoid getting his third and fourth fouls and allowed the Kentucky player easy access to the basket for a score.  Remember, Kentucky won this game by won.  It is easy to see how these silly calls impact the game if you simply take that one basket away because it would have been defended.

Calls were also not being made because often KU players were holding, out in the open, WU players cutting to the basket.  Imagine if these calls were made, and WU made their free throws how this changes the outcome.  It seems that KU’s guards, although Harrison made a great shot to win the game from way outside, would have rendered ineffective in the game.  Or, at least instead of Bo Ryan adjusting his game plan, then it would have been Calipari adjusting his.

At the level of the NCAA Tournament, why is it that poor officiating takes place in such obvious situations?  At the high school level, one can see a few bad calls because those officials are working a regular high school game.  The Final Four is not a regular game and you expect to have the best of the best.  Announcers were seeing those calls and commenting on them much like they were in the rest of the tournament.  Is there not an official who can observe all of the officials during the game to hold them accountable?

When kids are giving great effort, especially defensively, it is unacceptable to see officials blow calls.  The fact is, it is not one or two bad calls during the game, but it is consistently inconsistent poor calls.  Someone should be holding these officials accountable because these are high stakes games.  In my mind, the Wisconsin team played near perfect and the game was taken from them by the officials.  Kentucky played great, but  WU was better.  This is just wrong.

This is why most believe that teams like Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky, seem to get extra benefits from the officials.  The only way that I can reason out how these bad calls continue to be made is that there are some schools that hold a certain amount of respect from the NCAA and the officials so that they are favored.  This unjustly impacts programs that have worked hard to get into those major games.  In the world of replay, and everyone watching their TV’s, how is it there is no serious discussion about this problem?  Let’s hope, at some point, someone will figure this out.

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The NBA Finals after thoughts

  • I am struggling to understand how the Lakers shot 37 free throws while the Celtics shot 17.
  • Why is the NBA so different from high school and college when it comes to officiating? Ex. When was the last time a high school kid, or college player, could just crash into the paint knocking people over and not be called for a charge?
  • Don’t get me started about traveling.
  • If the refs call a consistent game, for the most part, up to the last quarter, then why is okay to change it up in the fourth?
  • If the defender senses that the refs have changed the way they are calling a game, he cannot defend with confidence.  The first three quarters are when both teams learn what is allowed and what isn’t.  Change it up, and add momentum to that, then the team that is being offensively attacked has to overcome a lot to win if the game is close.
  • The defender has the space first.  This is why he is the defender.  This thought should change a lot of unnecessary foul calls.
  • There should be an overseer who keeps track of foul calls.  If there is a discrepancy, then he should question what is going on.
  • Poor officiating messes up rebounding too. Lakers had 23 offensive rebounds, while the Celtics had 8.  Somebody felt freedom to be aggressive.  Lakers had 53 total while Boston had 40.  Yes, the Celtics were undersized, but fundamental basketball, boxing out, can help even some of that up.  But not if the over-the-back foul is not called.
  • The bottom-line, the Celtics had their chances to win it all and did not.  It should not have come down to game 7.
  • There is too much whining and complaining going on in the NBA.
  • Superstar led teams, teams that play 1 on 5, are not what basketball is about.  This thought is not really about the Finals.

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Politics and Baseball

It is beyond me how Americans have come to a place in history where we hold our professional athletes to a higher standard than our politicians.  For example, Manny Ramirez, one of the greatest baseball players I have seen to date was caught using a fertility substance that is banned by Major League Baseball.  So now he has been banned for 50 games

My goal is not to defend Manny.  Instead, I have a problem with the way we Americans want to be disgusted by this type of abuse from an MLB player, but not as outraged when The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, seems to be lying to the American people about her knowledge of the government water-boarding accused terrorists.  Whether or not she is telling the truth is a different issue than Manny using a performance enhancer.  But there seems to be enough confusion about what she really knew that we should put her and all involved under oath to see if she is being straight with us. 

We have had other professional athletes testify before congress about the abuse of steroids.  This is what is so mind numbing about our country today.  How can the issue of doping in professional baseball be more important enough that players should testify before congress, or Ramirez being encouraged to sit out of an all star game as a form of repentance, than finding out if The Speaker of the House is telling the truth.  If she is, than let’s find out so that Americans can know that we have a trustworthy person in that office.

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Filed under Baseball, Manny Ramirez, Nancy Pelosi, Politics, Sports

Disappointment

What a frustrating year for Dallas Cowboys’ fans.  Our team had the most pro bowl players on it.  I really thought about researching this season to say why I thought that the train came off the track.  I thought I could give some educated reason for the Dallas failure this year.  But I chose not to and am content to sit and stew over this senseless season. 

Everybody keeps asking Jerry Jones if he is going to fire Wade Philips and others.  Some say Tony Romo should be replaced.  Still, others say that Terrell Owens should be replaced.  I say that Jerry Jones made a mess of this season.  After all, he continues to delight himself by getting players who are full of themselves or can’t stay out of trouble.  Some of these players have been paid big money and simply have not produced. 

The bottom-line is that this season was a total failure by the entire team.  Jerry Jones owes the fans an apology.  I mean, what is going on?  Likely, that offensive problem is a split between Jason Garrett and Tony Romo.  Outside of that, this team was ridiculous this season. 

Somebody should write a book about the what is likely this organizations biggest let-down in the team’s history.  It could be about what not to do as a leader. 

Hats off to the Eagles.  I am rooting for them now.  McNabb has been through the ringer.  He is a good QB!  If the Eagles’ fans do not want him, I know a few teams that will take him.  I hope he wins the Super Bowl, if the Colts are out, this year and he leaves. 

Go Colts and Eagles!

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Thoughts

  • ESPN gives game balls on Monday Night Football during halftime.  So, I thought I would give my game ball to Mike Singletary.  I am doing this for his decision to to send Vernon Davis to the showers in the middle of the 49er’s loss to the Seahawks.  Singletary was adamant that the 49ers are a team first!  Their team will not be about and individual.  This is the way it used to be.  I also want to say that Vernon Davis admitted that the coach was right on the 49ers web site.  I applaud him for saying that and that he thought they could still work together. 
  • I am a Cowboys fan.  It seems that Singletary would be good for that team right now.  This team has 13 or 14 pro bowlers on it.  They should be winning every game.  Yet, it appears to me that this team isn’t sold out to the cause of winning a Super Bowl.  Things started off track when Terrel Owens began to get frustrated about the amount of passes he was receiving.  When I played high school basketball I wanted the ball every trip down the floor.  But if someone else scored for our team I was elated every time.  I just wanted us to win.  There were games that I would gladly give up scoring to shut down someone else who scored a lot with my defense too.  I wanted our team to win and I would do anything to make that happen.  I was sold out to our cause of winning each game we played.  We didn’t win them all, and we struggled, but I continued at 110% no matter what.   Jerry Jones needs to seek guys who will work hard with a good attitude and allow the coaches to coach.   
  • I attended a funeral yesterday of Herb Dongell.  What a man of God!  As far as I know his whole family are devoted to Christ.  His oldest son teaches at Asbury Theological Seminary and his youngest son is ordained.  It sounds bad to say that I enjoyed being at the funeral because I know how sad it usually is.  However, some of the life stories that were told about Dr. Herbert Dongell were wonderful to hear.  His son shared about how he and his siblings would call and ask thier father what amounts they should put into stocks, 401’s, insurance, and etc.  His reply was “The steps of a goodman are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way” (Psalm 37:23).  Every time!  Their father even gave up a chance to play baseball to follow God’s call to become a minister!  Nice contrast to the professional athletes who can’t give up thier spotlight so that their teams can win. 
  • How will I be remembered when I pass?  My desire is that my children will remember me as a man devoted Jesus Christ.  Yet, for this to happen it will take more than words spoken by me.  It will have to be a lifestyle.  In other words, the unintentional sermons will be what are remembered.  Actions must match the words that are spoken. 
  • God showed up at our church this Sunday.  And, you guessed it.  The devil is already trying to tear down in different ways.  But greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.  My best attempt at paraphrasing.  🙂   
  • I am really concerned with our election that is coming up.  We live in a dangerous world.  One of these two candidates will be tested.  I am concerned about one of these two making some of the changes that they are talking about, that likely will not work economically,  and then we will spend the next 20 years trying to dig out of a mistake.  Redistributing wealth sounds good for Robin Hood stories, but when the government gets involved in it I am a little uneasy.  And guess what?  I don’t have any wealth and might gain from this type of promise.  So, when I make that statement, it cannot be said that I am trying to hang on to something. 
             

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Baseball may still be America’s past time

Here are some thoughts that I had while driving home from Atlanta last night after the Braves game.

  • With gas prices sky high, and no end in sight, going to a MLB game in our area makes for less travel.  And still provides good family fun.
  • There are 162 games a year for baseball fans.  I love the NFL, and am beginning to embrace the NBA a little with the Celtics win, but the NFL only plays 16 games a year and the NBA only plays 82 games a year.  This increases the opportunities to be able to see the teams play. 
  • Because there are so many games in the ML, they are able to offer more family pack specials.  I paid $11 a ticket for last night and sat by the right field foul pole.  Compare this with the Carolina Panthers tickets for a single game are $51-$90.  The Tennessee Titans tickets are only allowing 3000 tickets to be sold for a single game!  There is no specific word on the Atlanta Falcons single game tickets yet. 
  • Baseball seems to have less individualism in it than the NBA.  In other words, baseball still has a team attitude.  I have said in another post that most of the NBA teams rely upon one player to carry the load.  This creates players who brag, and are arrogant.  In baseball if a hitter gets on base, then he has to rely upon his teammates to bat him in.  In the NFL it is not that bad.  They have to rely on their teammates to do their jobs too.  So I cannot complain too much about the NFL not playing like a team. 
  • Okay, this is no way an opportunity to judge people who like tattoos, long hair, and shiny jewelry.  All I have to say is that for old guy like me, I still like the image of the short hair and minimal tattoos.  Call me old shcool, but that is my preference.  When I was in school it was a privilege to be part of the team.  Plus, being on the team was not about me, it was about us.  At least from the stands, it seems that baseball still has that type of characteristic.  Basically, not many are wearing all that stuff to draw attention to themselves in baseball while on the field.  
  • In baseball, a player is libal to turn around and throw a ball into the stands for some lucky kid.  I saw Paul Pierce throw his sweat bands into the stand after his games too.  But, there is something about getting a game ball that makes it a special event that connects the players with the fans.  I realize that the NFL and NBA have to spend more money for their game balls, but this is an unfortunate difference.       
  • Here is another fundamental difference in the three sports.  Consider when a fly ball is hit shallow into the outfield.  There might be 2 or 3 players who can make the play, but each player realizes that the one who calls for it gets to make the play.  Think about this for a second, one who is making 4 million might have to allow the player who is making 300 thousand catch the ball.  In the NBA, or NFL, the who is making 4 million better be the person who makes the play. 

I may flip flop on this when football starts, but right now it is good to acknowledge that baseball is refreshingly good when the economy is so bad.  Not to mention that as a parent, it is good to see less of the smack talking too, and more the team atmosphere instead.

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USA Olympic Basketball TAKE NOTES!

The Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy  Here it is!  And it is the Celtics’!

First, Congrats to the Big Three for not scoring like they have in the past.  What I mean is that these men decided that basketball is a team sport.  Teams win championships.  Individuals win personal trophies.  Personal trophies do not help franchises. 

Next, I hope our Olympic basketball team has taken notes on how to play DEFENSE, and TEAM basketball.  Unselfishness and sacrifice will always prevail.  This Celtics team played like Celtics in the 80’s. 

Finally, remember the Dream Team.  The almost passed the ball too much.  This is what it will take for the USA to recapture the Gold in the Olympics.  Oh, by the way, 3 of the best, finally got what they deserve.  A championship.  Good guys finally finish first.  This is another clue for our Olympic team. 

Let’s go get the Gold!  Go Celts!  Go USA!

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