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TUESDAY,   SEPTEMBER 30,  2014

Daily World Photo*********** If you can't make halftime adjustments during a 16-hour halftime, you will never be able to make any.

That's how much time we had this weekend when our Friday night game against Raymond was suspended at half-time because two banks of lights blew.
At the time, we were tied, 6-6.

We returned Saturday at 1 PM to resume the game, and came away with a hard-fought, double-overtime win, 12-6.
Interestingly, just a little over a year ago, we lost two of our starting wingbacks, Saul Gonzalez and Elijah Towery, in the same game, and to the same injury - a broken collarbone.

On Friday, Saul Gonzalez scored on the first play of the game, when he took back the opening kickoff 91 yards and on Saturday, Elijah Towery scored on the final play of the game when he pulled in Alex McAra's 18-yard fourth down pass in the corner of the end zone to end the thriller.

While we were in the locker room at halftime, some guys in "Ocean Shores Fire Department" tee shirts came in and headed for the light switches. I took a peek outside the door and saw semi-darkness.  Stepping outside, I could see that two banks of lights were out.

The referee said that if the lights did not come back on promptly he'd have to suspend the game, and when it became obvious, very shortly,  that the lights were not coming back on, he made his decision.  The time of resumption was dependent on the ability to secure officials, and since the assigning secretary of the officials' association was himself working a game that night, we wouldn't know anything until his game was over.

Gambling on the 1 PM Saturday start that everyone hoped for, we told the kids to be back at school at 9 in the morning for breakfast, and sent them home. And then Todd, Bridge our head coach, asked his wife, Chris if she and a few moms, given very short notice, could provide the meal.

And then Todd headed to his office to look at the video,  and I headed home to do the same. I worked until midnight, then crashed and woke up at 3:30 and went back to work. I wish I could go into detail, but essentially we came up with an offensive package that enabled us to hit them with more power, and then I had to get the kids' writs cards ready so they'd know their assignments.

The kids came in at 9 and the moms served breakfast. BIscuits, gravy, "cheesy hash browns," sausage and egg biscuits, orange juice. The kids couldn't finish it all.

Then we went over our adjustments in a classroom,  and then walked through them out on the field.

Before we knew it,  it was 11 o'clock and time to start getting dressed, and then, soon enough, the ends and backs went out at 11:45.

I felt that our kids played much better on Saturday than on Friday. I think that on Friday they were still a bit in awe of the so-called Raymond mystique (Raymond hadn't lost a league game since 2011) , but on Saturday they were much more confident - physical on offense, and  absolutely  awesome on defense.

We pounded away on offense and picked up some first downs, but we played very conservatively, mindful of the offensive miscues that had cost us dearly in our previous three meetings. Not until the fourth quarter did we attempt a pass. In all, we completed three of five for 36 yards.  But when we needed it, the pass was there, a play we've practice every day since the first day of camp, a beautiful shot thrown on the run by our first-year QB who had never throw a pass in a game of any sort until three weeks ago.

Also there, on the other end of the pass, was the receiver, Elijah Towery a tough kid who last year played three quarters of a game with a broken collarbone ("my grip feels weak" was all he told us).

He rolled on the ground after the catch, but when he got up, the ball in his possession, pandemonium broke loose.

The long wait was over.  Our seniors, who'd been playing Raymond since they were in seventh grade, had finally beaten them.

The experience as helpful to us in so many respects.

Not only did we beat our nemesis, but we showed that we could take a punch.  We did not move the ball at will, as we had been accustomed to doing, and we accepted the fact that this one as going to go 15 rounds.

We dealt with the long delay between halves, we played in daylight for the first time (something we are sure to have to do if we make the playoffs), and we experienced overtime for the first time in our 3-1/2 season with the kids.

And, most important of all, it was our first time beating a team that was at least our equal.

*********** By Rick Anderson
The Daily World (Aberdeen, Washington)

OYEHUT — Just when it appeared that a classic Pacific League football showdown might never end, Alex McAra and Elijah Towery applied the finishing touches to a landmark North Beach victory.

Towery hauled in McAra’s 18-yard touchdown pass in the second overtime to give the Hyaks a 12-6 victory over Raymond in a battle of unbeatens Saturday at Lt. Jim Davis Field.

The Hyaks (3-0, 4-0) notched their first victory over the sixth-ranked Gulls (3-1) since 2009 and handed Raymond its first league loss since 2011.

This took a while to accomplish. Friday’s game was suspended at halftime, with the score tied at 6-6, due to a power outage. The final two quarters of regulation and the first overtime session were completed Saturday without addtional scoring.


In more ways than one, this was a special triumph for North Beach. Outgained 193-158 in a bruising defensive battle, the Hyaks owed their victory in large measure to special teams. Saul Gonzalez had returned Friday’s opening kickoff 91 yards for North Beach’s lone touchdown in regulation. The Hyaks also blocked two kicks — the PAT attempt after Raymond’s only TD and a game-winning field-goal try in the first overtime.


As improbable as it might have been for two high-powered clubs to have been limited to less than 200 yards of total offense apiece, the mode of victory was unlikelier still. McAra hadn’t even attempted a pass until midway through the fourth quarter.


“The whole summer, I developed my arm with (Assistant) Coach (Hugh) Wyatt in order to balance everything out and make teams respect the pass from us,” said McAra, a junior but a first-year quarterback.


After turning away a Raymond threat midway through the fourth quarter, the Hyaks appeared to scuttle their chances when mishandled snaps in the shotgun formation resulted in huge losses on the first two plays of the Kansas Tiebreaker overtime. They eventually lost the ball on downs.


With quarterback Rayce Newman running for one first down, the Gulls promptly drove to the North Beach 7-yard-line to set up Kason Koski’s 23-yard field-goal
attempt. But senior lineman Caleb Bridge blocked the kick to force a second overtime session.


The fired-up Hyak defense forced a four-and-out on Raymond’s possession, with Towery sacking Newman for a 12-yard loss on third down. A fouth-down pass fell incomplete.


North Beach’s second possession also began inauspiciously, with two motion penalties on the first three snaps. Jordan Chong ran for 12 yards on a pair of counter plays to set up fourth-and-three from the 18.


As McAra rolled to his right, Towery was unable to gain much separation from his coverage. McAra, however, was somehow able to thread the pass between defenders and a leaping Towery came down with the ball in the extreme right corner of the end zone.


“I knew that, on the fly, it was open for sure,” McAra explained. “I saw two defenders split and that gave us the shot into the corner. So I went for it. It worked.”


Although the final two quarters of regulation were evenly played, Raymond had easily the best scoring chance of the second half.


The explosive Newman ran effectively on a couple of keepers and a North Beach personal-foul penalty gave the Gulls first down on the Hyak 12 early in the fourth quarter.


A holding penalty, however, set the Gulls back to the 18. They fumbled on the next play, with North Beach’s Dawson Bastian recovering on the 23.


We had a lot of opportunities, we couldn’t capitalize on them,” Raymond coach Luke Abbott glumly summarized. “I can’t say anything (except) that I’m really proud of my kids. We knew it was going to be a game of smash-mouth football. Hats off to (North Beach head coach Todd) Bridge and his kids. They’re a heck of a football team. I have a feeling we’ll see them again (in the playoffs).”


Todd Bridge returned the compliment.

“I’d play these guys every week,” he said of the Gulls. “That’s what football is all about.”

It was a testament to the defenses that the game’s leading rushers (Gonzalez and Raymond’s Elliott Murdock) netted only 47 yards apiece. Newman would have exceeded that total except for several sacks.


Towery, Caleb Bridge, Daniel Fruh and Jonny Law were among North Beach’s defensive standouts.


“(In) a 15-minute halftime that turned into a 15-hour halftime, we made some offensive adjustments. Defensively, we stayed with what we had,” Todd Bridge said.


Raymond senior defensive back Marvin So, returning from a foot injury, made several key stops, as did Koski, Michael McFadden and the Hamilton brothers, James and Luke.


North Beach travels to Rainier next Friday. Raymond is scheduled to host Tacoma Baptist the same night.


Daily World writer Rob Burns contributed to this article.

- See more at: http://thedailyworld.com/sports/north-beach-outlasts-raymond-two-day-two-overtime-showdown#sthash.BeiFlge0.dpuf

*********** They finally got someone to sing the National Anthem right on Monday Night Football - The entire crowd at Arrowhead Stadium!

************* Jim Traficant died in Ohio in an accident on his farm. He was 73. He was a congressman from Youngstown, Ohio, and before that he was sheriff of Mahoning County.  But even before that, he played football at Youngstown's Cardinal Mooney High, and then, as quarterback, at Pitt, where among his teammates was legendary tight end Mike Ditka. He wasn't bad - he was drafted by the Steelers and the Raiders, but he never played a down of pro football, and went on to law school instead.

As a congressman, he was famous for the one-minute speeches he would give on the floor of the House of Representatives.  This was one of his best…

“Mr. Speaker,” he said in one 1998 speech, “the Lord’s Prayer is 66 words, the Gettysburg Address is 286 words, the Declaration of Independence is 1,322 words. U.S. regulations on the sale of cabbage — that is right, cabbage — is 27,000 words. Regulatory red tape in America costs taxpayers $400 billion every year, over $4,000 each year, every year, year in, year out, for every family.

“Beam me up.”

*********** Monday was Mountain Day.  Mountain Day is a wonderful tradition at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts, where my wife was a student when we first met.

On some random day in the fall, the president of the college declares that it's "Mountain Day," and suddenly all the women (it was then and still is all-female) are free of academic responsibilities for a full day - encouraged to do something outdoorsy and fun.

My wife dropped out of Smith when we got married, and earned her degree at Hood College, in Frederick, Maryland, but she has always considered herself a "Smithie," and on Monday, along with thousands of other Smithies, she received this email from the school's president:

Dear Constance,

This morning I did one of my favorite things:

I called Mountain Day!
The college bells rang shortly after daybreak, signaling to students that classes were canceled and the day was theirs to enjoy.
Mountain Day is beloved not only by students but also by alumnae, who hold vivid memories of Mountain Days past--whether spent picking apples in nearby orchards, hiking in Vermont or, as one alumna did, driving to the coast to see the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. Though I don't have the power to give you your own day off, I encourage you to find some time to think about Smith and what it means to you. Maybe you'll even plan your own Mountain Day celebration with some Smith friends.


*********** Kansas Fired Charlie Weis. In midseason.  With  two years remaining on his contract. Let's see… between that and what Notre Dame's still paying him…

There'll be no cracks here about Weis' obesity.  Look - I have very good friends who've had problems with their weight.  It bothered them.  One of them, who eventually had surgery to help him overcome the condition,  confided in me  that he was tired of thinking of himself as a fat guy.  The conversation changed me. Those guys didn't just decide one day that they wanted to become fat.  And it wasn't because they were lazy or gluttonous. It was, simply, a condition that by this point was beyond their control. 

The life of a football coach  is not ideal for an overweight guy. I happen to lose weight during the season - perhaps because of stress that I'm not even aware of - but  as tightly programmed as football coaches are, especially if they're teaching a full load and they're married with kids, the chances are that they're not eating as well as they might,  and they're not exercising regularly.

As it is, Charlie Weis's arrogance and totally unfounded belief that he's God's gift to coaching make him enough of a target.

Besides,  Mark Mangino, was the best coach Kansas has had in years, and I thought they made a big mistake running him out of there.  He is (or was)  morbidly obese. So what?  He's now the offensive coordinator at Iowa State, and I hope he's happy there, because as a big Kansas State fan,  I'd hate to see him back at KU.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/09/28/3403556/kansas-fires-charlie-weis.html
 
*********** With other, more pressing things to do on Saturday, I was unable to watch the Army-Yale game, something I'd been looking forward  to doing since it was first scheduled a couple of years ago.

So my friend Doc Hinger sent me updates. 10 of them.

With 6:06 until half Army 14 Yale 7.

With 2:14 until half Army 14,  Yale 14

With 13:32 left in third quarter Army28, Yale 14. army returned an interception for the score.

10:05 in the third, Army 28, Yale 22.

8:32 in the third, army 36 and Yale 22.

Army 36, Yale 29 with 5:09 in the third.

Tied at 36 with 19 seconds left in the third. I'm betting on Yale.

I sure hope you set your dvr - with 3 seconds gone in the fourth 43-36 Army.

1:42 left, 43-43!

In overtime Yale wins 49 to 43!

If you're able to watch the game - it was on one of the Fox regional channels - it was one for the ages.

And Yale has a running back named Tyler Varga who is really tough.

*********** In tennis, there's a saying that more points are lost than won: you may win some points with terrific shots, but you'll lose a lot more points when those heroic efforts go awry and your smashed go into the net or outside the lines.

The same applies to football, as I've been saying for years at my clinics. Far too many coaches lose because they fail to understand that before you can attempt the spectacular things that may win games, you first have to stop doing the things that lose games.

When you're in a hole, stop digging.  And when you suck, stop sucking.

On offense, it means  eliminating turnovers… stupid penalties… dumbass calls.

On defense, it means lining up correctly… understanding the concept of leverage…  pursuing… tackling well… never letting a man behind you when you've got deep coverage responsibility

In the kicking game, it's eliminating  the blocked punt… the long return… the successful onside kick… jumping offside when the opponent's lined up to punt  on fourth-and-short…

And, in a class all by itself… roughing the kicker.

I'm sorry, but there is NO excuse - NONE - for roughing a punter.

And, yes, we can blame the kid who did it, but let's be honest - who put him in the game and turned him loose to do such a damnfool thing?

Marv Levy, who while on George Allen's staff in Washington was the NFL's first full-time special teams coach, once said that the key to blocking a kick was to find the guy who would do it.

But even more than that,  I think of a great California JUCO coach named Vince McCullough, whom I got to know well when I was coaching in Finland.  Vince's belief, and one that I immediately  adopted, was that only a select few players could ever be trusted to even go near a punter - the rest had to stay the hell away.

He would say to a player, "YOU have a license to block a punt," and then, turning to another, say,  "And you DON'T."

Vince knew what some coaches don't seem to know, and that is that there is a spot at which a punt is blocked, and it is out in front of where the kicker stands to receive the snap - WAY out in front. Maybe five yards in front of where he's standing. And it's six feet above the ground when it leaves his foot.

Years ago at a clinic I heard Chuck Klausing, whom most of you know as a wing-T guru, speak at a clinic in Washington, DC. At the time, he was an assistant at West Virginia, and they had had quite a bit of success blocking punts that season.

He dwelled on that same point - that you should block the punt where it comes off the tip of the punter's toe.

Yet, although this knowledge is available  to all coaches, we still see guys hitting punters in their plant leg - and often after the kick's away. 

So here are my questions:

(1) What were those guys doing in there?

(2) Why, knowing what coaches know, would one give a knucklehead like that a "license to block a kick?"

There are few things in football more damaging to a team than a roughing the kicker penalty.

Simply apply the risk-benefit analysis:

Look - They're going to punt. Your defense has done its job.  You've stopped them.  You're going to get the ball back.  The advantage is already yours.  Why get greedy?

Of course, you want to pressure the punter.  You don't want him to take all day, especially if you have a return on.

But when you go for the block, you're running a huge risk. Yes, you may make the great play. But you also may give your opponents a first down - and a huge boost - while at the same time dragging your defense back onto the field and asking it to clean up after you.

If you saw the Army-Yale game and saw an Army player rough the Yale punter - on FOURTH AND FOREVER - you know what prompted me to write this.

I don't know the statistics, but I would be willing to bet that there are at least as many roughing the kicker penalties as there are blocked punts.  I don't like those odds.

Yes, there is a place for the punt block.  In my opinion, it's akin to pulling the goalie in hockey. You're fully aware of the risks, but  you're desperate.  and you've got to roll the dice.

Otherwise, though, let them punt.  I have more faith in our offense than I do in anybody being able to block a punt cleanly.

*********** The story of the missing UVA student gives me shivers.  I see her pictures and I thank the Lord that my daughters are grown and safe, and I pray that my granddaughters will not put themselves in the sort of position that it seems this young woman may have done, drinking to the point of near-helplessness and falling into the clutches of some very unsavory individuals.

Apart from the fact that young women (old women are smart enough to know this) really ARE causing problems for themselves by naively thinking that they can drink like men without suffering consequences unknown to men…

Yeah, yeah, I know - I'm blaming the victim.  But, uh, at what point can we put at least some of the blame on the pedestrian who's looking at his iPhone and steps out into a busy street?

*********** A friend who moved up in class won his first game Friday night.
It's not unlike the "relegation" system that you run into overseas
I've coached in Europe, where if you win your division,  you move up to a higher division the next year.

You go very quickly from being a power to struggling.  It's a big challenge.  But at least over there, in the off-season you use the added prestige to add players.

I'm glad his people recognize that!


*********** They were really pushing the Bears-Packers rivalry on Sunday, but Mike Ditka got it a bit scrambled when he said  "Packers-Bears… the oldest rivalry in football…"

Well, no.  Not exactly. Not even close.  Not the oldest. One of the oldest, Harvard-Yale, has been played since 1875. The Bears and Packers didn't start play each other until 1921 (when the Bears were still known as the Staleys).  At that time, college football was well established.  Major colleges had been playing football since at least the turn of the century, and many of them well before that.

Chris Berman spoke next, and straightened things out - sort of - when he referred to it as "Football's longest rivalry…"

Can't debate it when you put it that way.  Often playing two and sometimes three game a year against each other over the years , the two teams met for the 189th time Sunday.

*********** Hi Coach,

Glad to see your season is off to a solid start.

The Gophers got back the jug for the 4th time in my life, (I'm 41). Does B. Hoke last past Tuesday?

Watching, hoping OSU can beat USC.
 
I have 3 nominees for worst uni of the weekend: Maryland, they seem to get the worst prototypes from UA; Nebraska, always sad when a school with a clean classic look has to jettison it; Syracuse is my "winner"  though, never knew prison fatigue gray was a Syracuse color.
 
Take care
Mick Yanke
Cokato MN

Hi Mick,

BIG win for the Gophers after years of frustration and close calls.  I do like what Jerry Kill has done.  A friend whose daughter works in the MN football office likes him a lot.

BAD times for the Michigan faithful. Especially as MSU continues its run.

Brady Hoke is in trouble and so, I hear, is the AD, which is understandable considering the way he has been squeezing money out of the faithful and alienating the student body, offering a poor product in return.

Couldn't agree with you more on uniforms.  It's getting so I might be missing some good games that I simply won't watch because some of those teams - Maryland, Syracause and now Nebraska - look so ghastly.

In my opinion, they are giving away their future as incentives to sell jerseys and attract recruits.   Why don't they just try cheap jewelry?

But who cares about the future if that means leaving money on the table?

Great to hear from you.

PS - We are pretty good.  We are now 4-0. We just beat the team "we could never beat," 12-6 in two OTs.  Friday night's game was suspended at the half when two banks of lights blew. We were  tied 6-6 and resumed at 1 PM yesterday.

*********** As if Brady Hoke doesn't have enough problems, I just saw footage of his QB, Shane Morris,  taking a really nasty (possibly dirty) hit after throwing the ball Saturday.  The kid appeared to be knocked groggy, but he stayed in the game. 

Based on everything we're being taught these days, it would appear that a concussion "assessment" by a professional might have been called for. 

Here is what Hoke said post-game: "I don't know if he had a concussion or not, I don't know that. Shane's a pretty competitive, tough kid. And Shane wanted to be the quarterback, and so, believe me, if he didn't want to be he would've come to the sideline or stayed down."

Another thing we are taught, (if we didn't already know) is that kids are competitive and they want to play and in the case of a possible concussion  they are the worst possible judges of their own ability to continue to play.

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/24730378/key-shane-morris-question-was-michigan-qb-medically-cleared-to-return


************* ESPN and Nike and Under Armour, along with the suits who run college football, relentlessly focused on the bottom line,  seem unaware (or unconcerned) that they are sucking the life out of college football, killing the goose that's been providing them with their golden eggs.

Think of all the evil being done to football in the pursuit of TV money:

Noon kickoffs.   Thursday night games.   Conference realignments.

Think of all the colleges that are allowing the apparel companies to render their teams unwatchable by all but the most faithful of followers.

On Saturday, I turned off Nebraska in their ghastly all-red costumes, and I switched off Notre Dame and that bunch from Syracuse in their gray jumpsuits. I stopped watching Maryland long ago. What happened to Washington? Which one is Army?

What is the deal with black becoming every school's main color? Did Nike get a special price on black dye?

Is college football becoming a video game in which little kids design the uniforms?

Yes, yes, I know - teenage boys love all the bizarre color combinations.   Great.  Yes, you want to recruit them.  But how much money are they spending on your sponsors' products?

Yes, it may be all about the kids, but that's a dumbass reason to turn your teams into circus clowns or worse.

For one thing, it's all about the eyeballs - about the people watching the TV - and they're running the risk of chasing people away when they don't recognize their team.

For what it's worth,  Alabama and USC haven't become caught up in the wardrobe war, and their recruiting's  been going just fine.



american flag FRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 26,  2014 "What other people think of me is none of my business."  Bette Davis

************ I heard some students at Aurora, Colorado High School being interviewed about  their walkout in protest of their school board's decision to end the practice of teaching in history classes how bad, bad, bad we evil Americans have been through the years.  You know, that horrible Harry Truman deciding to drop the bomb on Hiroshima and all that.

One of the kids, a sophomore,  expressed a desire to learn about "Everything that's went on." 

It pains me as a history major - and history teacher - to say this, but girl, forget about history for now.  You need to go back and take Freshman English over again. 

In the meantime:

Everything that GOES on…

Everything that WENT on…

Everything that HAS GONE on.

Memorize it, Girl.  Memorization still works, no matter what your liberal teachers think.


Hyaks Party ************ It was a 3-1/2 hour trip for our kids to last Friday night's game.  For me, it was a two-or three-minute walk.

The game, against Seton Catholic High School, was played in Camas' Doc Harris Stadium, about as nice a high school stadium as you'll find in most places, and as the crow flies, no more than 200 yards from our house.

My wife and I drove to Camas on Friday morning so we could get our place ready, and after the game we were able to have the team, the cheerleaders, assorted parents and supporters over to our place for some pizza and pop (as it's called in the Northwest).  The kids especially enjoyed our club basement. 

They hung around until about 11 or so, courtesy of a very understanding and cooperative bus driver, and arrived back in Ocean Shores at  2:30.

We told the people at Domino's that this week our order won't be as large as last week's.



*********** Honk if you've been suspended by ESPN.

The latest to be banished was Bill Simmons, gone for three weeks.

HIs crime?  Essentially, he called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a f--king liar. On his podcast.

Said ESPN, in a statement...

"Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards. We have worked hard to ensure that our recent NFL coverage has met that criteria. Bill Simmons did not meet those obligations in a recent podcast, and as a result we have suspended him for three weeks."

I'm guessing that the suits at ESPN made their decision for one of three reasons:

(1) At ESPN, we're not in the practice of character assassination.

(2) We're paying you good money to say those things on ESPN, not on your own podcast.

(3) Pressure from  the NFL.

It couldn't possibly be (1) unless my memory fails me on what ESPN allowed its people to do to Mike Leach and Joe Paterno.

That leaves (2) and (3)

I'm going with (3).  ESPN may report on the NFL, but it has such a symbiotic relationship with The League, paying it enormous sums of money for broadcast rights - that to report on it objectively would be hitting itself right in the pocketbook. 

It couldn't be (2) if he were to say anything critical of the NFL.

Think the NFL can't bring pressure when it wants to? Remember "Playmakers," that show about what supposedly went on behind the scenes with an NFL team? It was one of ESPN's highest-rated shows -  but when the NFL complained, ESPN pulled the plug on it.

That was ten years ago. Maybe you don't remember "Playmakers." But damned if the outrageous stuff that went on in that fictional show hasn't all come to pass in those ten years.

But at ESPN?  Shhh.  Don't say anything bad about the NFL. That's bad for business.

BIll Simmons is a very talented guy and he has guts.  I wish him luck.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

http://www.thesportsfanjournal.com/columns/ed-the-sports-fan/the-lost-tapes-season-2-of-gamechangers/

*********** The following was written by a friend who's been a high school offensive coordinator and for the past several years has been a middle school head coach in a very successful program.  It's in a one high school town, one in which the high school makes the playoffs every year, and at every level, the teams teach the high school system.

You asked how my kids were doing...well, I honestly don't know what to say in answer to that. It is a really weird year for us. We only have 27 kids out (as opposed to 40 the last few years), and 14 of them have never played football before. So we have lost our first three games 26-0, 39-0, and 58-7.

Many of the kids do not even seem to care that they are getting crushed. We have picked up maybe 10 first downs in all three games combined - and those have been due to the guts and hard running of our backs. I actually had a couple of parents tell me that they thought their respective sons had "played well" in the game we lost 58-7...I responded by asking those parents exactly what it was that their son had done well, and one dad said "Well, he looks good in his uniform." I swear my jaw hit the ground. 

These kids will actually step out of the way of the kid they are supposed to block because "he is too big". And when we show them that on film, they just say "Well, I tried".

It really is the youth sports mentality that has finally caught up with our little town. Every kid and his parents thinks they are a star - whether they do their jobs or not they want their trophy at the end of the season.

It is the suburban soccer mentality... (My assistant) calls it the urbanization of (our town). This is the first year that we have the majority of kids on the team who are not hunters/fishers/campers. They sit around in their neighborhood development houses and play video games. This is the hardest most of them have ever worked and they think we are killing them.

Bridge Boys*********** Last week it was photo day, a bit of a pain in the ass at any high school, but something that a coach neglects at his own peril. I'm sure it would be just fine with  plenty of today's parents if their kids simply stayed on the team until they had their photo taken - and then bagged it.  (Just one reason why I always made sure to have the team photo taken during the latter part of the season.)

Todd and Chris Bridge, of Ocean Shores, Washington are definitely not such parents.  They are throwbacks, traditional parents in every sense.

Todd, our head coach, played offensive line on two Rose Bowl teams and a national championship team at the University of Washington under legendary Don James. He and Chris have raised four great kids, and it's been my honor and pleasure to coach two of them at North Beach High.

(By the way, this is the second time in my career that I've been privileged to coach a head coach's son.)

I took advantage of Photo Day to snap the photo on the left of Todd and the boys.

Todd is standing behind (from left to right)  Seth, a sophomore, Ben, an eight-grader, and Caleb, a senior.

They are what we used to call "all boy." They hunt, fish and camp.  They work hard, earning spending money by splitting firewood.  They are top students.  They are good Christians. They are polite and respectful. And if you get in their way they will knock you on your ass.

Little sister Sarah is a sixth-grader and active in gymnastics and drill team.

Caleb, the state discus champion, has committed to attend the Air Force Academy.


************ I heard some students at Aurora, Colorado High School being interviewed about  their walkout in protest of their school board's decision to end the practice of teaching in history classes how bad, bad, bad we evil Americans have been through the years.  You know, that horrible Harry Truman deciding to drop the bomb on Hiroshima and all that.

One of them, a sophomore,  expressed a desire to learn about "Everything that's went on." 

It pains me as a history major - and history teacher - to say this, but girl, forget about history for now.  You need to go back and take Freshman English over again. 

In the meantime, young lady: Everything that GOES on… Everything that WENT on… Everything that HAS GONE on.

Remember it.  Memorization still works.

*********** Is Portland Christian the canary in the coal mine?

A small, private school, Portland Christian went 12-2 in 2012 and won the Oregon Class 2A state title.

In 2013, Portland Christian went 12 straight before being upset in the state semi-finals.

In 1976, my first year as a high school coach, we went 5-4. That was at Gaston, Oregon, and it was the school's first winning record since God knows when.  One of our losses was to Portland Christian.  My point is that Portland Christian has been playing ball for a long time.

This year, though, Portland Christian, 24-3 over the last two seasons,  didn't have enough football players to field a team.

Is society's war on football (and maybe Christianity, too) starting to take casualties?

*********** There's no "I' in "TEAM."  But there is a "ME."

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000399900/article/cowboys-morris-claiborne-skips-practice-after-benching?campaign=Ext_Email_1st10_20140924&cvosrc=Ext_Email.Epsilon.1st10_20140924

*********** In five seasons - 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 - the Hoosic Valley, New York Indians won a total of three games.

Now, in 2014, Hoosic Valley is 3-0.

The difference - a coach with a strong record as a winner who just happened to be available when the Hoosic Valley head coach resigned three games into last season.

The coach, Pete Porcelli, was just wrapping up another successful season as a semi-pro coach when Hoosic Valley contacted him.
I
 remember the day.  It was a Monday morning, and I was on the way to Ocean Shores when Pete called to tell me about the offer.  I could tell that he was excited about the turnaround possibilities, but at the same time he was well aware of the possibility that things might be so bad - shutting down the program entirely had been seriously considered - that Vince Lombardi himself couldn't have straightened things out.

He decided to go for it.  He'd had success with the Double Wing at four different high schools, including four section championships in eight years at Lansingburgh High,  he was running it from spread formation with his semi-pro team, the Troy Fighting Irish, and he believed that he could make it work at Hoosic Valley.

That he has, and as any football coach - and any smart principal - knows,  a winning football team can change the attitude of an entire school.
"Being 3-0 makes you feel like a king. It really does," Hoosic Valley Colin Claus quarterback told the Albany Times-Union.

Said sophomore wing back Isaac Sanchez, "We went from people picking on us to being the only Hoosic Valley fall team without a loss. Think about that.  I knew we were going to win games this year. We have changed things around here and are building a program."

http://www.timesunion.com/sports/article/Indians-are-building-winning-attitude-5778990.php

*********** Last week, four NFL teams were quarterbacked to victory by products of the same college program.

To spare you the suspense, the college is Michigan State, a program that's been so solid, a program whose defense has been so powerful and its offense so well-balanced, that it's flown below the radar as a quarterback factory.

But there they were - Drew Stanton quarterbacking the Cardinals, Brian Hoyer leading the Browns and Kirk Cousins running the Redskins' offense.

Oh, yes - and Nick Foles, Chip Kelly's choice as the Eagles' QB.  Foles, a Texas kid, is only technically a Spartan. He originally committed to Arizona State, but he de-committed and went to Michigan State, where Hoyer was the starter and Cousins was red-shirting.

After just one year at MSU, he transferred to Arizona, and that's where he played most of his college ball.

http://www.pennlive.com/sports/index.ssf/2014/09/msu_as_the_new_qbu_take_a_look.html

*********** Why should anyone be shocked at the aberrant conduct of pro athletes when a freshman football player "inserts" his finger in the anuses of three different teammates and his lawyer refers to the act as "horseplay?"

It's as sick an act of bullying as I can imagine, and if ever a kid - if convicted, of course - deserved to be labelled a sexual offender, it's this one.

It happened on a school bus, right here in Washington State. It seems as if every year we have such an incident out here.  For some reason it always seems to occur in the Great Outback that is the central part of the state.

No doubt the first reaction of a lot of people is to wonder where the coaches were - how this could have gone on unbeknownst to them. Well, I would imagine that they were seated up front, not giving a thought to the possibility that as they rode, a perverted act was taking place in the back. 

How, without any prior knowledge, could they have been expected to know?

So I suppose it is possible for such a thing to happen in the back of a dark school bus - provided no one yelled out at being violated, and/or there wasn't a single other kid on the team with the courage to let the coaches up front know what was going on.

This is a major reason why I will never - never - go with a team to a team camp,
whatever the benefits might be.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/teen-charged-sexual-assault-team-bus-trip-25567712

*********** Coach,

The Elmwood/Brimfield Trojans improved to 3-1 last Friday night with a 48-7 victory over the visiting Havana Ducks.  We played well in all three phases.  We rushed 47 times for 431 yards and five touchdowns. We were 4 of 6 passing for 97 yards and two touchdowns.  Defensively, we allowed 40 yards on 30 carries and 121 passing (73 on one play).  Special teams were very good as well.

I was proud of our boys for handling the game the way they did.  We were by far the superior team and sometimes in those games kids lose focus and things get a bit sloppy (playground ball).  Not the case for us last week.  Our boys maintained a high level of play throughout.  

Your distant, distant, distant relative Layne Wyatt had another good night. He rushed 8 times for 205 and 3 touchdowns.  He also caught one ball for 20 yards.  He's now 77 for 792 and 11 td's rushing and 7 receptions for 94 yards.  Not too shabby.  And he owes it all to "Uncle Hugh" I'm sure.  

Good luck this week.

Todd Hollis
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

*********** Army travels to New Haven, Connecticut this Saturday to face Yale, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Yale Bowl.

Although the two teams first met in 1893, and have played 45 times since then (Yale leads in the series, 21-16-8), it will be the first time the two teams will have met since 1996, and Yale's first game against an FBS opponent since playing UConn in 1998.

As an old Yalie I should pull for the Blue, but the truth is that I've always been an Army fan, and my induction in 2003 as an honorary member of the Army Football Club, the football letter winner's association, sealed the deal for me.  So Go Yale. Play well and play hard.  And Go Army.  Beat Yale.

Yale Bowl*********** You might say that the Yale Bowl, Yale's larger-and-better answer to Harvard Stadium, built in 1903 and the  first real football stadium, was the start of the college football arms race that continues to this day.

The bowl is a great old stadium, and thanks to donations from generous alumni, it has been nicely renovated and brought up-to-date.  When completed in 1914, the bowl, with a capacity of 71,000, was the largest stadium in the United States, and perhaps in the world. Its present capacity is just over 61,000. 

In addition to all the Yale football games played there over the years, it has played host in recent years to some enormous concerts, and in 1973 and 1974, while Yankee Stadium was undergoing renovation, the New York Giants played their home games in the Bowl.

It was the first bowl-shaped stadium in the US, and inspired both the design and the name of the Rose Bowl. From it came the names of post-season "bowl games," and, eventually the Super Bowl.  In addition to the Rose Bowl, other famous stadiums such as Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Michigan Stadium (and, as a result, Notre Dame Stadium) were also inspired by the Yale Bowl's design.

From the outside, it's not particularly imposing. It doesn't rise high above the ground because it truly is a bowl, its field well below ground level; as the field was dug out, the fill dirt from the excavation was used to create a berm surrounding the field in an elliptical shape. There is no substructure, so fans enter through a series of portals tunneled through the berm, and they arrive inside about halfway up the stands.

So meticulously was it planned that the playing field was laid-out so that by mid-November - when the traditional "big games" with Princeton and Harvard were played - the sun at game time would never shine in a player's eyes.


american flag TUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 23,  2014 "How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism."
James Monroe

*********** Given their storied past, followed by years and years of bad teams,   I want to root for the Browns.

But they sure do make it tough.

First they draft that most unlikeable of players, Johnny Football, and then on Sunday they actually have the gall to try the old "sleeper" play, throwing the ball to Manziel, who appeared to have left the field but had actually stayed just inbounds until the snap, then raced upfield to catch the pass.

The Browns are off this week, which gives them time to work on more trick plays, so I suggest that their next opponent, the Titans, get ready for  the "It's the wrong ball!" play.



*********** North Beach is now 3-0. We fumbled on our second offensive play - our second fumble of the year, which is not pleasing to us - and we did throw an interception when taking a shot downfield, but otherwise it would be hard to find much fault with our offensive performance Friday night, as we defeated Seton Catholic, of Vancouver, Washington 58-14.

Despite the early fumble, we scored on our second possession, then gave up a Seton Catholic score and led by just 8-7, but we scored twice in the last three minute of the first quarter to go ahead, 22-7 after one period.  We led 36-7 at the half, and 52-7 after three.

We had the ball for just 34 offensive plays.   We had no long drives.  Six of our touchdowns (two of them passing) were longer than 20 yards.

Seven different runners combined to carry 29 times for 382 yards.

For the third week in a row, B-Back Cameron Keller was our leading ball carrier, with 6 carries for 123 yards and two TDs, one of them a run of 79 yards.

Wingback Skyler Wells carried five times for 109 yards and two TDs, and wingback Jordan Chong rushed six times for 46 yards and a TD.

Quarterback Alex McAra completed three of five for 86 yards and two TDs, and ran five times for 32 yards.

Defensively, their little QB gave us some problems running the ball off their triple option, and we gave up our first touchdown of the season to a nicely-executed option on which we momentarily forgot our assignments and converged on the QB, who then pitched.  The second Seton Catholic score came in the fourth quarter when it was JV against JV.

So after three games, we've scored 160 points.

We've run only 109 plays, and we've gained 1544 yards (14.2 yard per play) and scored 22 touchdowns - one every five plays.

So much for the bragging.  Now the fun begins.  Now we find out if we can take a punch.

This week, we play perennial power Raymond, the defending league champion and state semi-finalist.  They've run right over their first three opponents, who I suspect may have been tougher than ours.

We haven't beaten Raymond in four years, and counting middle school, our seniors have never beaten them.

Three years ago, when our senirs were freshmen, Raymond put a running clock on us. Likewise two years ago, when they were sophomores.  Last year, our best team in years played Raymond tough for a half but fell, 28-7.

It's at our place.  Get there early.  It's easy to get to - just fly in to Seattle or Portland, rent a car, and then, since you're still not tired of traveling,  drive another three and a half hours until you can't go any farther.

*********** A lesson on the basic economics of the minimum wage,  from my favorite economist, Dr. Thomas Sowell…

"Those who are hired are paid for the value of the work they do. If their work is really worth more than what their employer is paying them, all they have to do is quit and go work for some other employer, who will pay them what their work is really worth. If they can't find any other employer who will pay them more, then what makes them think their work is worth more?"

*********** NFL brought a lot of its current problems  on itself with its greedy desire to grab every dollar in circulation in the United States, if not the free world.  To do so, it chose to make itself more than just a sport.

It couldn't have simply  positioned itself as a sport for men and the women they associate with. 

Oh, no. 

It had to be all things for all the people, even if that meant occasionally thumbing its nose at its real fan base - the loyal people who were with them back when baseball was still the National Pasttime.

Look how far we reach in our desire to become All Things to All People!!

Look!  Girls compete in Pass, Punt and Kick! Whee!

Look!  Every October, we cover everything in sight, even our players, in pink, to "raise awareness" of breast cancer, because - hold on, now - every football player has a mother, many have sisters, and some have wives, girlfriends and daughters.  Whee!

Look!  We drafted an openly-gay player!  Whee!

Look!  We've created  a special department created just to deal with "social issues."  And you know what?  Its four members are ALL FEMALES!  Whee!

Look!  And we've created a special vice-presidential position - and filled it with a woman who's worked in the Obama administration - on women's issues!  Whee!

Look!  We held a fashion show just for women, to show off our all-new NFL apparel line!  Whee!

Too bad it might all be to no avail, because the NFL marketing geniuses chose to make themselves bigger than sports, and now, although they've had wife-beaters and even murderers in their midst for years, they face the wrath of the wider public that they've so assiduously courted.

*********** Har, har, har. Tune in an NFL game and you'll likely hear announcers noting the way NFL players and coaches are now using  iPads to watch video during the games.

Har, har, har. The joke  is on Microsoft.

Microsoft reportedly paid $400 million to be the "official sideline technology sponsor of the NFL," and that means those "iPads"  are actually Microsoft's Surface tablets.

But Apple wound up with all the good pub.  Good planning, Microsoft.   Way to get the word out in advance to the TV guys.  Duh.

Maybe you should talk to the fellas at Nike about protecting your brand.

Jimbo Fisher can tell you about that. Florida State is a Nike school, and when the Nike suits saw Fisher's 9-year-old son wearing another apparel company's shirt,  they made him take it off.

And now, Microsoft, you know why.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/la-fi-microsoft-nfl-surface-ipad-20140913-story.html#page=1

*********** Coach,

Following a tough 35-28 loss last week to a very good team we rebounded this week against the Knoxville Blue Bullets.  It was one of those games in which things went well for us and provided some "good medicine" for our boys to get back on track.  The final was 39-7.

We rushed 55 times for 415 and were 6 of 12 passing for 84.  Running back Layne Wyatt is one of those special talents that you are lucky to have once in a while (fortunately, we've had a run of them recently).  He rushed 18 times for 255.  On the season he is averaging just over 180 yards rushing per game and 200 all-purpose yards per game.  Teams have loaded up to stop 88 and Layne has made them wish they had game planned differently.  Our quarterback is a first year starter and is still getting comfortable.  I told him we will continue to throw the ball because at some point we will really need it and can't expect him to produce if he's never gotten real game experience.  As always, the goal is to throw efficiently and as you say "throw when they don't expect us to, and don't throw when they do expect us to."

I hope the Hyaks are performing well.  Good luck this week.

Todd Hollis
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

NIce going, Coach!

Last Friday's quote by Warren Spahn is applicable to our passing game.

PS - Please tell Layne that he's doing the family name proud!

*********** Some 8,000 Atlantic City casino workers have lost their jobs this year, with additional casinos threatening to close.

When my parents moved to Atlantic City (actually to Ventnor, the next town down on the island), there was no industry in the area, and 90 per cent of all non-governmental jobs were seasonal.  It was like a ghost town in the winter - no tourists, and a lot of the hotel and restaurant people in Florida until the spring.  My parents actually liked it that way.  I didn't understand it at the time, but now I know.

When the casinos came in about 1978-79, it was like striking oil.  Everything perked up.

They built an expressway from Phila to AC and the crowds came. Hundreds of buses every day shuttled gamblers from New York, Philly and Baltimore.

And then the Indians in CT built a couple of casinos. And Pennsylvania got wise and started building casinos of its own. And now Maryland and New York are getting in on the act. Add in online gambling and there's no longer much reason for people to go to Atlantic City.

Other than the ocean.  But it's not as if Atlantic City is the only Jersey Shore beach resort.

The thing that really established Atlantic City as "The World's Playground," as it once styled itself,  was Prohibition.  While most of America was legally dry, Atlantic City was wide open.  Once repeal came, and people could drink legally in New York, Philly and Baltimore,  there was no longer much reason for people to go to Atlantic City.

And Atlantic City started to become the backwater that it was until the casinos came.

The bigwigs weren't smart enough to see the end of Prohibition coming, and they weren't smart enough to see the oversaturation of casinos coming, either.

Interestingly, The Biggest Wig of Them All, Governor Christie, has a solution. It's build another New Jersey casino - but in North Jersey.  (Just in case there's anybody left in North Jersey thinking about going to Atlantic City to gamble.)

With close to 10,000 casino workers out of jobs, there's just one very small upside to this whole disaster - it's not a bad area to live, and there's going to be some nice real estate available at clearance prices.

*********** Joe Biden got himself into a bit of trouble recently by referring to people on the homefront who took unfair advantage of deployed soldiers as "shylocks."

Shylock was a character in Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice." Shylock,  a Jew, was a loan shark, a money lender so coldhearted that in the play he tells a merchant named Antonio that if he fails to repay a loan, Shylock will exact from him  "a pound of flesh," one of many Shakespeare phrases that live on in our language.

The term "shylock," meaning a money-grubbing lender, is considered offensive by Jewish people because the character fed the stereotype of Jews as money-obsessed.

That is, those Jewish people who know the derivation of the term.

(For those Americans under 40 who probably have never heard of William Shakespeare,  he's a dead white European male whose works have been tossed aside in favor of more "diverse" authors.)

*********** Selfishness - a friend who coaches in an inner-city school noted that  "there were some selfishness problems" in their game Friday night.

I noted that based on my experience, with no studies to back me up, selfishness seems to be a bigger problem when there's so little to share.  

A lot of these kids are kids who haven't had much, so when they do get something it's normal to want to keep it to themselves before someone else grabs it and takes it.  Not unlike the pet who's given a treat and takes it off someplace where nobody else can come after it.

*********** My son, Ed, was first to bring this to my attention, and surely it deserves a place of honor in the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame:
Every point scored in Sunday's Patriots-Raiders game was scored by a guy whose name ended in "kowski."

For the record, Gronkowski (touchdown), Gostkowski (three field goals and an extra point) and Janikowski (three field goals).

*********** What great people Americans are - and they sure do love their children.

Why, based on what they've heard about studies of the brains of deceased professional football players, they'll keep their kids from playing football, on the outside chance that  it might have adverse effects on them 40 or 50 years from now.

But they'll let them play video games and get fat.

And they won't make them put  the video games away and do their homework.

Thinking about their future, don't you know?

*********** John McEnroe was a talented tennis player but such a spoiled brat that he set US men's tennis back back in a way that it's never really recovered from him.  Now a commentator, he  supposedly has he's renounced his a**hole past - but in a recent commercial he's made, he doesn't seem to mind being taking a sponsor's money to act like a middle-aged version of the young a**hole he once was.

*********** Time to stop the nonsense from spreading.

Look at any alphabetical list of names - look under "Jones" for example - and you'll find the Jrs, the III's and (for those who are into it that much) the IV's, where they apply.  But you'll see that they refer to the first names, and that's where they're placed:  Jones, Arthur Jr… Jones, Benjamin III…  Jones, John Paul IV

I've got news for  devotees of this latest look-at-me fad: the generational tags are not a part of the last name.  Otherwise, we'd look in the phone book for lists of Jones, Jr., or Smith, III (or, for that matter, Griffin III).

The trend hit its most ridiculous note on Saturday when I saw a Florida State player named  "WILLIAMS SR."

*********** It was a Patriots' running play,  and damned if Tom Brady didn't take a shot at a guy's knees.
The announcers. of course, were all over it.  Great block.  Tough guy.  Blah, blah, blah.

But wait a minute, says I - That was a f--king quarterback!

The NFL does everything but put a skirt on quarterbacks when they've got the ball, and even after they've thrown it.  Defenders can't hit them above the shoulders or below the knees. When they "run" the ball, they're allowed to surrender by hook sliding, and defenders are expected to stop in their tracks. And when they're chased "out of the tackle box," they can avoid being tackled by throwing the ball away.

So how f--king fair is it that Brady, who's protected as well as the Pope, is allowed to threaten a defender's career by block him at his knees?

*********** Going into the Clemson game without Jameis Winston was a no-lose proposition for Florida State.

Florida State wins and people think, "They're so good they can win without the Heisman Trophy winner."

And their chances of making The Playoff are improved.

Florida State  loses to Clemson and people think, "Well, yes, they lost, but they didn't have Winston."

And their chances of making The Playoff are unharmed.

That's what I thought.  And then Florida State had the incredibly bad judgment to allow a player who should have been a pariah to  occupy their sidelines, and gave credence to the argument  that at its core, college football is as corrupt and perverted as the NFL.

You think Roger Goodell is bad?

Florida State's administration makes him look like David Stern.

In the apparent absence of anyone in control at the top of the university, the responsibility of dealing with this utterly despicable individual fell to his coach, Jimbo Fisher, who then fell even further by allowing Winston to bask in the spotlight on the sidelines.

***********  Most people seem upset because what Jameis Winston said and did was disrespectful of women.

Well, yeah, but more to the point,  what he said and did was disrespectful of public decency and further shreds the the veil of civility.

Send him packing to the NFL.  In the area of conduct at least, he's ready..

*********** ABC, as you know, is owned by Disney (which also happens to own ESPN), so it shouldn't have surprised anyone that a camera was on Jameis all night - call it the JameisCam - and he made it all worth their while.

A**hole even went out on the field at least once to "counsel" his replacement.

*********** In one sense, Jameis Winston has done the American justice system a great favor, because the next  woman who finds herself in his company when things go awry sexually will have a very difficult time convincing a jury that she didn't know what she was getting herself into.

*********** Bad shotgun snaps - one by Mississippi State almost let LSU back into the game; another, just minutes later, likely cost Clemson the winning TD against Florida State.

In the case of Mississippi State, there was less than two minutes remaining - almost take-a-knee time - and I found myself resolving that if I found myself in a similar spot,   I would have a "safety" about 10 to 15 yards back of my QB, just as the under-center guys do at take-a-knee time.





american flag FRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 19,  2014 -  "One of the good things about going to Brown is that I was able to become the President of the College Republicans on campus almost immediately. The other Republican student at Brown was the Vice President."  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

************* A coach whose team is off to a bad start told me he remains optimistic because his kids are young.

I wrote him,

We are kicking a little ass right now, but three years ago, when we took over the program, this year's seniors were freshmen, and we didn't have a lot of upperclassmen to show them the way. Besides, our veterans had already been through two years of being kicked around themselves, so we found ourselves on the wrong end of some serious whuppings.  Two years ago, we had three running clocks put on us. We didn't really start to change to becoming the ass kickers ourselves until just last year.  Part of the explanation was our opening up of the Double Wing, but part of it was a great improvement in our defense, which can only be attributed to our kids growing older, stronger and more confident.  With those things came toughness and aggressiveness. In all that time, though, our practice routine and our fundamental drills have never changed. 


*********** Sounds like things are going well for you.  Just wondering if you got this sent to you by the big bad NFL reaching out to help. They can't even run their own lines.  I'll be damned if they'll run mine… Hey, I should write a song.

Allan Peterson
East Jordan, Michigan


 
DATE:           September 16, 2014
FROM:          Matt Birk, NFL Director of Player Development                                                                                                                                                  
RE:               PLEASE LET US HEAR FROM YOU
 
Dear Coach,
 
Three things in my life have made me who I am- my faith, my family, and football.  I was fortunate to play 15 years in the NFL, and now feel honored to be working in the League office.  But I didn’t accept the position because I wanted a job.  I did it because I believe in the game of football and the impact it can have on the lives of those who play it and society as a whole.
 
In my short time working here one thing became obvious- we at the NFL can do better in supporting you.  You hold a unique position of tremendous importance in the lives of the young men you coach.  We should be doing everything in our power to make sure you have everything you need to make high school football a transformational experience for your players.  I cannot imagine a more important initiative at the NFL, as it relates to our game or our future, than supporting our high school football coaches.  You have the platform to instill and teach the values into young men that will last a lifetime.  I believe you have the most important job in America.
 
The National Football League HSPD Program and its director, Jerry Horowitz, are here to help you, support you, and equip you.  High school football should be used to prepare young men- the husbands, fathers, and leaders of tomorrow- for the path that lies ahead.  There are 1.1 million high school football players in our country.  There is great potential to have enormous impact.
 
We are asking if you would please HELP US to HELP YOU by completing a brief online survey.  You can access the survey by clicking this link:  https://nfl1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3eNJX7HnjdKvjuJ or by copy/pasting the URL into your internet browser.  Your answers are anonymous.
 
Please let us hear from you. We understand that you are extremely busy this time of year.  I promise that Jerry and I will carefully consider what you have to say, and that your input will have a direct impact on our work – for you – and for the great game of football that we are all privileged to serve.
 
Thanks, Coach!
 
 
Matt Birk
Director of Football Development- NFL

Hi  Al-

Making allowance for the fact that I'm a Yale guy and Matt Birk went to Harvard...

I do think that he's a good guy and he means well, but the company he works for - the NFL - doesn't.  It is not interested in promoting the game of football.  Its sole interest is in making money, which means promoting the game ofprofessional football, and it cares about other levels of the game only to the extent that it can enrich or glorify itself.

Now, though, it's in a fight for its life, and it's looking for all the help it can get. 

Screw the NFL.

If  it wants to know what it can do to support our great game at the high school level, I'd suggest it set a better example for younger players by doing as good a job of teaching their players the fundamentals as most high school coaches do, and by cracking down on players' obnoxious antics on the field and felonious conduct off.

Otherwise, though, any NFL involvement in our game is a potential cancer, and the best thing The League can do for us is to just stay the hell away from our game. We play different games and we don't want to go down with them.  Let them take all their "High School Coach of the Week" crap and other NFL efforts to buy our good will  and leave us alone to play real football.

And if they want to help youth football -  enough of the photo-op "clinics" and "camps" they put on, which are purely PR stunts designed to get them feel-good spots on TV.  And stop - immediately - this crap of their stooge organization USA Football telling gullible parents to make sure that their kids' coaches are "USA Football certified."

I've been saying for years - the NFL is one hell of a bunch to be telling us how to teach and play the game of football.

*********** Players from North Plainfield (New Jersey)High, with a mostly African-American roster, said members of the Summit High  team taunted them with bananas before their game last weekend.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.  SIck, sick, sick. If true, this would seem to call for perhaps a suspension of the Summit program as a means of teaching those kids that this kind of crap has no place in America. (Unfortunately, that would also punish teams that Summit was scheduled to play.)

But then I read on, and  the story became a little difficult to swallow.

According to the article in CBSNew York, "The North Plainfield players said they were so traumatized that their coach had to console them."

What????  Um,  why am I skeptical that in this day and age of previously unimaginable grossness and bad taste in music, videos and movies,  teenage boys - football players yet - were "traumatized" by some stupid, sophomoric, racist stunt pulled by a bunch of (probably rich, spoiled, white) ignoramuses?

Oh, well.  Since we're on the subject of insensitivity, it should be noted that North Plainfield High's nickname is - the Canucks.

Hey. My grandmother came from Canada - New Brunswick, to be exact - and that offends me. Traumatizes me, you might say.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/09/15/cbs-2-exclusive-north-plainfield-h-s-football-players-say-they-were-racially-taunted-with-bananas/

*********** Speaking of New Jersey and a lack of good taste…

Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann apologized in a statement Monday for the "classless display" that she said does not represent the New Jersey school's views or its fan base.

Several photos posted on an official Rutgers football Facebook page showed fans wearing T-shirts that read "Beat Ped State." Hermann says the photos were removed.

There also was a sign that showed what appeared to be stick figures of a man and boy engaged in a sex act, with "Penn State" emblazoned across the top.

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/rutgers-apologizes-to-penn-state-for-offensive-signs-shirts-091514

The real story is - they wore those shirts and survived. At an NFL game you can get your ass whipped just for wearing the wrong team's jersey.

*********** Educators might attribute the general ignorance of the American public - especially people under 40 - to the fact that they're "visual learners."

We all know that young people do not get their news the hard way - by reading.

Since they were able to sit up, they've been propped in front of the set while mommy and (maybe) daddy slept; they've been "educated" by video after classroom video; and they watch  YouTube videos on their cell phones.

So consider the impact of video on two current issues - ISIS and Ray Rice.

Not so long ago, Hamas was just a bunch of fellas just like you and me,  maybe a little more violent, trying to live their lives while dodging missiles shot at them by those nasty Israelis.  After all, that's what American TV showed us.

But then along came ISIS, a group not unlike Hamas in its aims.  But ISIS treated the world to a YouTube video of them beheading a western journalist or two and, why,  they're savages!  Anyone can see that!

Then there's Ray Rice.  For months, everyone's known that he dragged his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator in an Atlantic City casino.  Now, unless she slipped on a wet spot on the floor, it was pretty much accepted that Rice had sa fair amount to do with her unconscious state.

But a lot of the reaction was of this sort: That's not the Ray we all know.  Or, Ray, we don't do those things. Or, Ray and the victim are working things out. In fact, she's now his wife. Or, Ray needs help.

And, of course, he  was given a suspension by the league.

Yes, there were those who complained about the suspension. Some of the complainers were angry with the commissioner's seeming disregard for the seriousness of what Rice had done, but quite a few others  were mainly pissed that he got less than some guys did for smoking weed.

And then came the video of The Punch.  The left hook that dropped his fiancee.

And Ray Rice, who up to then had "made a mistake,"  was suddenly transformed into a monster.

Because we're visual learners.

*********** For about four years now, we have snapped the ball on "GO." We start motion on the QBs foot (or, if we're in Wildcat, his hands).

Any advantage we may have had saying "Ready Hut!" Is more than offset by the fact that we rarely jump.

Of course defenses know when we're going to snap the ball.  More important, though, so do we.  One less thing for our players to concern themselves with.

Oh - and by the way, defenses, we can - and do - snap the ball on "second GO" at any time. We work on it, so you'd better. Be ready for it any time.  It's an easy five yards.

*********** I don't know yet how the vote for Scottish independence will turn out, but it's hard to believe that 16-year-olds  took part in the voting.

I'm half Scots-Irish, so I suppose I should favor Scottish independence from England - Braveheart and all that -  but I'm also a realist, and seeing how wonderfully well the 18-year-old vote has worked for us I'm afraid I  don't see much of a future for any nation that allows 16-year-olds to vote. 

************* Hoosic Valley (New York), which just over a year ago was about to lose its football program to poor football and community apathy,  moved out to 2-0 this year with a 47-14 win over Fort Edward. Hoosic Valley, running Coach Pete Porcelli's Double Wing, amassed 414 yards total offense.

*********** Truett Cathy, who died last week at 93, opened a small diner in Hapeville, Georgia in 1946 with his brother, Ben. In 1961 he introduced the chicken sandwich that would make him rich and make his company, Chik-Fil-A,  a billion-dollar business.

I
n a time when many seem to have lost the ability to dream big, and even more so the willingness to work hard enough to turn those dreams into reality, Mr. Cathy's example shines like a beacon.

In addition to his company's deep commitment to supporting college football, there are lessons for any coach in the things that made Mr. Cathy  successful.

Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola, knew Mr. Cathy well. In last Saturday's Wall Street Journal,  Mr. Kent listed six characteristics that he saw in Mr. Cathy that in his words, "defined the way he approached business, people, and the communities he served."

First, he believed in himself.  "He was convinced that he could make something of himself.  And he did."

Second, he worked hard. "A child of the Great Depression, he saw work as a privilege, and made a point of enjoying it."

Third, "Truett embodied the culture of service that he wanted to build. He was devoted to serving others, from his customers and employees to young people and others in his community."

Fourth, "Truett never stopped innovating." Mr Kent cites the sandwich itself - "it's still one of a kind."Next, the fact that Mr. Cathy made individual restaurant owners not just franchisees, but partners in his business.  And then there was his decision in 1967 to locate the first Chik-Fil-A stores inside malls.

Fifth, Mr. Cathy was generous, from endowing foster homes for younger kids to establishing a scholarship program that has awarded more than $30,000,000 to company employees.

Sixth was my favorite one of all…

"Truett stayed humble.  He and his wife, Jeannette, lived in the same modest house near Atlanta for decades, and he never took himself too seriously. When asked about what was so smart about creating his chicken sandwich, he would reply, invariably, 'Nothing. That's why I was able to do it.'"

*********** Imagine Barack Obama as a football coach, tipping off the opposition by telling the media: "I won't ask our players  to risk their bodies running the football between the tackles."

*********** Brace yourself, NFL.  With all the problems you're facing now, there's more on the way. Jameis Winston will soon be yours.

According to reports, young Mister Winston, who this time last year was being eased out of rape charges by cooperative police investigators, stood on a table in the Florida State Student Union and uttered vulgarities so repulsive to civilized people that not even internet reporters quitted hi verbatim.

He is being severely reprimanded - held out of this weekend's Clemson game for the first half. Interesting that the University, which faces a federal investigation of the way it handled the Winston rape accusation, would allow the football coach to handle this issue.

Winston himself apologized for his actions. Sort of.  Actually, he issued a "statement."

"First of all, I just want to apologize to the university, to my coaches, and to my teammates.   I'm not a 'me' person, but in that situation that was a selfish act, and that's not how you do things around here. So I really want to apologize to my teammates because I have now made a selfish act for them, and that's all."

Jameis Winston's statement, eh?  Reads more like the work of an "academic counselor" to me.  You know, the people who write all the other papers for these guys.

I mean, come on - do you really think that anyone so dim that a year after barely escaping rape charges he'd stand on a table in a public place and holler something described as "lascivious" (good word - look it up) would have the intelligence to write that statement himself?

And mean it?

PS. You looking for a statement on America's values?  I'm betting that  a loud cheer will go up from the FSU fans  when their f--king hero enters the game in the second half.

*********** From a friend in the Midwest…

We beat the only bad team on our schedule last week 40-0. Bad spread team that never punts and onside kicks every time.  You know the type.
 
Anyway here is to those that say special teams is 1/3 of the game…
 
We did not punt;
went for two on all PAT;
had one KOR which was our hands team since they onside only;
did not use punt return since they do not punt.

The only special team we used was KO team after scores.
 
This last Monday we had to line up all our special teams just to make sure everyone remembered where they were going.

*********** A friend who's in his first season at a new school - small town in the West  - told me this story…

Last Saturday I was at the local grocery store when a woman behind the counter asked me if I was the head coach. I said yes and she asked me if my team was going to play physical football.

I said that is the plan.

She said "I have no son out there but I like football and I go to see action."

I said we will try.

She told me "If I don't see hitting and I see what I saw the last few years of patty cake football I am going to find you and get my money back."


american flag TUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 16,  2014 "Tell me who your enemy is, and I will tell you who you are."   Carl Schmitt, German Philosopher

*********** I like Kirk Cousins a lot, and I'm happy to see him get his shot with the Redskins - er, "Washington Football Team."

But I'd rather it didn't have to come about because of another injury to Robert Griffin.

I think of Robert Griffin and I worry, because then I think of Steve Emtman, a U of Washington teammate and close friend of my head coach, Todd Bridge.

Steve Emtman was as good a defensive linemen as I've ever seen in college, and it wasn't just me - he was the first player taken in the 1992 draft. Unfortunately, a series of major injuries, starting partway through his rookie season, prevented him from having anywhere close to the sort of career everyone predicted for him.

NEWS YOU CAN USE - CONTINUED


********************** The North Beach Hyaks moved to 2-0 Friday night with a 54-0 defeat of South Bend in front of a large (it's all relative, guys) and appreciative home crowd.

The Hyaks were slow starting, but scored three times in the last 4:39 of the first period, and scored twice more in the second per to to lead at halftime, 38-0.

The first score came on a third-and-short when the Hyaks lined up in some kind of formation with two right ends and two wingbacks and gave the ball to their fullback up the middle, with the linemen all seeming to converge on the middle of the defensive line, like some sort of snow plow.  Whaddaya know - Cameron Keller broke loose for a 36 yard TD.  Maybe we'll run that one again.

A minute after recovering the following (sorry, "ensuing") kickoff, the Hyaks scored again on a 9-yard run by Elijah Towery, set up by his 26-yard run two plays earlier.

The final score of the first quarter came with under a minute to play when Alex McAra hit Skyler Wells with a pass good for 15 yards and a TD.  It was McAra's first of three TD passes on the night.

Barely two minutes into the second quarter, following a South Bend punt, McAra hit split end Gabe Hernandez on a 20-yard touchdown pass, and just before the half threw a 25-yard scoring pass to tight end Steven Fry.

After spending the halftime intermission figuring out how to get all of our kids some significant playing time in the fourth quarter, we came out and kept up the pace.

Midway through the third quarter, Keller broke loose on a 79 yard run, to start the running clock, and Jordan Chong closed out the scoring with a two-yard run with 2:11 remaining in the third.

With reserves playing the fourth quarter, the defense held firm. It was the Hyaks' second shutout of the season, as they held South Bend's split-back veer attack to a total of 30 yards offense in 35 plays.

Eight different Hyaks carried the ball for a total of 317 yards on 29 carries.  For the second straight week, fullback Keller led all rushers, with 10 carries for 181 yards.

Quarterback Alex McAra, in his second start, completed nine of ten passes for 136 and three touchdowns.

This week, it's Seton Catholic, of Vancouver, Washington. It's a long trip - 3-1/2 hours.  I should know - the game's being played at Camas High School's stadium, across the street from where we live.

It will be a good test for our kids.  Seton Catholic, 1-1 on the season, is one classification higher than we are.

*********** Life at the beach…

It was uncharacteristically warm when we took the field Monday afternoon - sunny and 73 degrees (for us, that's warm).

It was one of those rare days when I was able to coach in a tee-shirt.  My wife bought some popsicles to give the kids after practice. 

An hour into practice, the sun disappeared.  The fog started blowing in off the Pacific, and the temperature dropped to 58 degrees.

*********** Coach,

Got several flags and warnings this past weekend on the how far back my Line was off the LOS. I have been teaching for years that the need to have there helmet break the centers waist. I've looked and looked for an online version of the NHSF rules but can't find any info - or I'm just not looking in the right place.

Can you send me the rule so I can question our officials group....I wasn't aware that the alignment rule changed.

Coach-

The rule hasn't changed.  The top of the linemen's helmets need to penetrate an imaginary line drawn through the center's waistband.

Rule 2, Section 32, Article 9

"A lineman is any A player who is facing his opponent's goal line with the line of his shoulders approximately parallel thereto and with his he'd or foot breaking an imaginary plane drawn parallel to the line of scrimmage through the waist of the center when the ball is snapped."

One thing that should change is your association should require  that its officials know the rules.


*********** Some twerp in Vancouver, Washington, wrote this in a letter to the Vancouver Columbian.

"I am writing a report on the use if derogatory and racist imagery in public school mascots."

He's whining about the local Columbia River High Chieftains.  He wants the Vancouver School District to change the nickname and mascot.

That little worm.  His liberal social studies teacher must be so-o-o-o-o proud of having sent him off on this noble quest for justice (and also attention), armed with the self-righteous belief that they are uniquely qualified to be the judges of what is "derogatory and racist."

And hey - the kid got his letter published 'n' everything!

Just what our country needs - another f--king activist..

*********** Jonah Goldberg asks us to imagine President Obama delivering one of Winston Churchill's most stirring speeches…

"We shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall mitigate on the beaches, we shall degrade them on the landing grounds, we shall reduce them to manageable problems in the fields and in the streets. . ."

*********** You may not like Oregon, and you may hate what they've done to football fashion, but if you've got a youngster in your family, I'll bet he'll thank you for showing him the…

OREGON DUCKS FOOTBALL UNIFORM MACHINE

http://extra.oregonian.com/ducks/uniforms/dressaduck

*********** In Ventura, California, Chik-Fil-A agreed to donate 200 meals for a high school booster club to sell, in its efforts to raise $1,600 for the school's football team.

But not so fast. It is California, remember, so the principal, as you might have expected,  has banned the club from selling food made by a company whose chief executive once promoted - omigod - traditional marriage.

The principal, a person of indeterminate sex who goes by the name of  Val Wyatt (WTF?) said that dealing with a company that espoused such a belief could offend some students and parents.

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2014/09/11/chick-fil-a-banned-from-ventura-high-school-campus-over-stand-on-gay-marriage/

*********** Coach , We're having trouble with the corner coming hard  on 88-99 G Reach,  not letting us get outside.

Coach,

If a defense is clearly taking any play away from you, that means it's not a good call.  

A sweep is not a signature play, one that you expect to be able to run against any defense.  Unlike most other Double-Wing plays, a sweep carries with it the potential to lose yardage.

If they're selling out to stop it, it's not going to work. Simple as that.  You can't force it if it isn't there.

It's a play that you run when the defense is giving it to you. You will know when that is when they are tightening down to shut you down off-tackle.

A key element of any offense is that, given relatively equal ability,  the defense can take a play away from you.  (Of course, if they're just a lot better than you, they might take your whole offense away. It happens.) Actually, they can maybe take two or even three plays away.  But they can't take them all.

When they take a play way, they're making themselves unsound someplace else, and giving you something else.  

You should have a pass play to take advantage of that aggressive corner.  And you definitely should not be going outside.

Seems to me that if a corner is coming hard to stop a sweep, he will take himself out of the play by overrunning it when you run off tackle (88-99 Super Power).

*********** The number of routs taking place early in the season remind me of a story an old friend named John Naylor, from Fort Worth, once told me.
He knew a guy named Lance Van Zandt, a career coach who'd worked at a number of big-time programs.

From 1977-1980 he was defensive coordinator at Nebraska.  (A native Texan, he's given a lot of the credit for recruiting Turner Gill.)

Nebraska at that time was beating up on all the then-Big Eight teams, going 9-3, 9-3, 10-2, 10-2 in his four years there. Only Oklahoma had any success against the Huskers. To be blunt, most of the other conference teams were mediocre at best; Kansas and Kansas State were the worst of the worst.

Following the 1980 season, Lance Van Zandt hired on to coach the secondary for Bum Phillips, who'd just taken the job as head coach of the New Orleans Saints.

These were the days of the "Ain'ts," when fans put paper bags over their heads as if to say that they were embarrassed to admit that they were Saints' fans. In 1980, the Saints finished 1-15.

According to John Naylor, on his first day on the new job, Coach Van Zandt was looking over the schedule and said to Coach Phillips, "I don't see no Kansas State on here."

Replied Bum Phillips, "Lance, we ARE Kansas State."

*********** Saturday, when we turned to Fox, which advertised that it would be carrying the Washington-Illinois game, we got instead the Yankees-Orioles, still in progress.

You don't realize how f--king slow baseball is until you're waiting for a f--king game to end so you can watch the football game that was supposed to be televised but isn't because the f--king baseball game is taking so f--king long.

*********** The New York Times which, since football is a masculine pursuit, seems to have the sport in its sights (if it weren't anti-gun), ran an article last week on the dangers of concussions. Even one.  (Concussions" Dangerous?  Who knew?)

Needless to say, there were the usual football-condemning responses from readers, many of whom I imagine still resent the fact that back in grade school they were taken last when the best athletes chose up sides.

But one guy, identified only as "Roger" from "Milwaukee," wrote one of the greatest defenses of football I've read yet.

To those who would ban the sport, consider the perspective of the player. First of all, as legal adults who are passionate about a game they excel at, they are choosing this path. The average NFL player earns more in one year than the average American will earn in a lifetime, not to to mention the fame and the women. I doubt that many of them would appreciate you taking this choice away from them, even if you think you know what is best.

Could the NFL better educate incoming players about the risks? Sure. But that is likely to be about as effective a deterrent as telling a Navy Seal that his job is dangerous.

Some people choose a life of glory over a life of quiet desperation, and I think that's okay.


***********  A study by the Camelot Health Authority has found that retired knights suffer far more debilitating injuries  in old age than the rest of the population, attributable directly to their jousting days.

At the heart of the problem seems to be the culture of "gallantry," in which a knight wears a scarf or similar piece of apparel belonging to a fair lady of the court, presumably with the understanding that honoring her by winning the tournament will also mean winning her heart.

A major issue seems to be the insistence of knights, after having been unhorsed, on getting right back onto their steeds and returning to the competition. The study suggests that many of them, spurred on no doubt by lust for the lady, may return to action before it's safe to do so.

"We've got to change the culture," said Timothy the Timorous, an opponent of jousting and an advocate of pillow fighting as an alternative.

"Yes, winning a jousting tournament has its feel-good aspects -  glory and gallantry all that -  but it's all over so quickly, and at what price? Is the heart of any fair maiden worth a lifetime of sore limbs?"

*********** Back on August 20, before the start of the college football season, the Wall Street Journal ran a listing of coaches from the Big Five conferences, and their career records against Top-25 opponents. (The figures haven't been revised to reflect this season's results)

I took the figures and arranged the coaches into three categories: those with winning records; those with .500 records; those with losing records

And I ranked them all by total number of wins.


TOP COACHES WITH WINNINGRECORDS IN GAMES AGAINST TOP-25 OPPONENTS

Steve Spurrier 62-52-1 (18-23 at SC)

Bob Stoops 50-23
Nick Saban 50-35
Les Miles 40-31
Mark Richt 34-31
Urban Meyer 25-12
Brian Kelly 15-11
David Shaw 14-4
Jimbo Fisher 9-5
Chris Peterson 8-4
Kevin Sumlin 8-7
Gus Malzahn 5-3
Mark Helfrich 2-1

THOSE WITH .500 RECORDS

Gary Patterson  14-14
Jim Mora 5-5
Charley Strong 2-2

TOP COACHES WITH LOSING RECORDS IN GAMES AGAINST TOP-25 OPPONENTS

Frank Beamer 43-50-1
Bill Snyder   23-43
Kirk Ferentz     19-34
Rich Rodriguez 16-26
MIke Gundy 15-20
Gary Pinkel 15-37
Bobby Petrino  14-17
MIke Riley   13-39
Mike Leach 13-38
Mark Dantonio  12-25
Brett Bielema    10-20
Dabo Swinney 9-13
David Cutcliffe  8-25
Steve Sarkisian 8-18
Paul Johnson 7-20
Pat Fitzgerald  5-15
Dana Holgorson  5-6
Brady Hoke 4-20
Charlie Weis     4-20
Will Muschamp  4-11
MIke London 3-6
Paul Chryst 3-4
Dan Mullen  2-21
Gary Anderson 2-8
Hugh Freeze   2-8
Kliff Kingsbury  2-3
Randy Edsall  1-24
Butch Jones   1-11
James Franklin  1-8

*********** For some time now, it's been obvious that former players who get announcing gigs are coached beforehand to use their hands - really, really use their hands - as they speak.   John Gruden is a classic example. Watch him and tell me you've ever in your life had a conversation with someone who uses his hands like that, unless it was an Italian fish monger.

For another example, watch the Monday Night Football post-game show on ESPN and turn off the audio. You will laugh your ass off watching those guys - especially Trent Dilfer - looking like manic puppets as they bob and weave and gesticulate. 


american flag FRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 12,  2014"A pitcher needs two pitches. One they're looking for, and one to cross them up."  Warren Spahn, considered by many to be the best left-handed pitcher of all time.

*********** I turn on the radio and I hear the Brave Knights of the Air Waves calling for Roger Goodell to resign. Or be fired. 

The argument?  Whatever goes down with this Ray Rice deal, Goodell's the Man in Charge. He's either incompetent or he's been deceitful.

I hear the comments and I want to ask, "Why weren't you working for the New York Times when Fast and Furious went down? When the IRS singled out conservative groups? When four Americans were left to die in Benghazi?"

If you'd been on those cases the way you're on Roger Goodell's , Eric Holder and Lois Lerner would be in prison, and a certain former President would have a lot of free time to play golf and give speeches to raise money for his presidential library.


********** The Ray Rice incident is why I'm a college football fan.

You don't hear about college players doing all the nasty things that pros do.

You don't hear about them using performance enhancing drugs or, for that matter, recreational drugs, or driving drunk, or getting into brawls in campus watering holes and then resisting arrest. 

Not that they don't. 

But when a college player is suspended from the team, or kicked off, the schools merely say it's for "violation of team rules," and that's the end of it, as far as we the public are concerned.  Student privacy and all that.

And you rarely hear about college players beating their wives.

(Mainly  because at that stage, they're still "Fiancees.")

*********** If you think the NFL is bad now, imagine how it would be if, like the NBA, they signed guys after one year of college.

But at the same time,  college football (and colleges themselves)  would be a lot better off without some of the cretins they falsely try to pass off as "student-athletes."

*********** Any hopes anybody might have had for doing away with the NFL's annual October Pink-Out have been dashed, thanks to the Ray Rice incident.

In the words of Rush Limbaugh, "We're gonna see a lot of pink."

Expect the NFL to launch a massive PR effort to try to assure its growing female audience that NFL players really do care about women and their problems, and that in their spare time they help old ladies across the street and work at shelters for abused women.

*********** Marvin Barnes is dead.  What an amazing character.  What a monstrous waste of great athletic talent.

http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/content/20140908-pc-basketball-great-marvin-barnes-dead-at-62.ece

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/09/10/sports/basketball/marvin-barnes-enigmatic-basketball-player-dies-at-62.html?referrer=

*********** I saw a show advertised on Animal Planet called "Pit Bulls and Parolees" and, knowing absolutely nothing about it,  my first thought was,  so that's what they do with all the outtakes from "COPS." 

*********** Nothing against Virginia Tech, but after watching the Hokies beat Ohio State Saturday, I  propose that someone endow a trophy to go to That Player Whose Absence From His Team Has Had The Greatest Impact on College Football.

This year's winner - you can start engraving the trophy - is easily Braxton Miller, the injured Buckeyes' QB, whose team is very ordinary without him.

 Has there ever been another weekend when the Bills, Dolphins and Jets all won - and the Patriots lost?

*********** So most of the sanctions against Penn State have been listed.  The Lions are now eligible to play in a bowl game - THIS YEAR!

Now, Almighty NCAA, will you please get your heads all the way out of your anuses and restore those wins that you unjustly stole from Joe Paterno and his players?

*********** Notice the way the brave, courageous members of the news media go after targets like Joe Paterno and Augusta National Golf Club and Roger Goodell? Notice how they go after people and institutions whose defenders tend not to be raucous and disruptive?  Notice how they wait until it's safe to attack, without fear of counterattack?

*********** I wish somebody had simply given Mo'ne Davis Geno Auriemma's phone number so she could call him.

nstead, Auriemma, coach of the UConn Huskies' women's basketball team (in case you didn't know) called her - and in so doing, committed an NCAA violation.  Or so they say.

It started when the young lady reacted to all the fuss over her, and reposed to speculation about someday playing in the major leagues by saying that her real dream was to play basketball for UConn.

Word got to Auriemma, of course, and after getting clearance from UConn's NCAA compliance folks (every school needs such a department, just to try to stay on the right side of the most complicated set of rules this side of the US Tax Code), he gave Mo'ne a call to congratulate her.

Not that UConn will get the death penalty or anything like that, but it's typical of the way the NCAA nitpickers operate.

Said Auriemma, “There’s guys playing college basketball driving around in cars that cost more than my house, and we’re worried about a phone call that I made?”

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/09/05/sports/ncaa-says-auriemma-violated-a-rule.html?referrer=&_r=0

*********** The NFL denied that it called around the league to try to persuade one of its 32 teams to - please - sign Michael Sam to a practice-squad contract.

And I guess I believe them.

Unless, of course, it turns out that they've been lying about their knowledge of the Ray Rice knockout video.

In which case, all bets are off.

*********** When is "dropped passes" (or "percentage of passes caught") going to be a stat?  I know it doesn't mean anything to the Fantasy guys, but few of them are real football fans anyhow. But for real fans of the game, isn't it important to know how reliable a receiver is?  And for  casual fans, wouldn't it be interesting to discover that the guy with the biggest mouth, the guy with the most elaborate end zone dance, is actually the least dependable receiver on the team?

It's not a hard stat to keep.  Baseball scorers having been routinely making hit/error calls, decisions critical in some cases to a pitcher's  ERA or a hitter's batting average.

*********** Last spring, a friend of mine took a job at an inner-city school that's had its share of hard times.  Since then,  he's been fighting the good fight, working his tail off to get kids out for football. And to keep them out. He figures just being able to field a team this coming Friday night will be a big win for the program.

Problem is, this is the second week of the season.  He had to forfeit the first game.

The bigger problem has been the opposing coach, who was undoubtedly licking his lips at the prospect of putting a big score on my friend's small bunch of inexperienced players.

He was very displeased at the idea of a forfeit, even going so far, my friend says, as to pressure him to play with only nine men.  My friend declined, and then it started.

First it was the public badmouthing of my friend and his AD.

Then, the guy went so far as to report the "score" of the non-game to the local newspaper and to MaxPreps as 62-0.  I know, because I saw it when I checked to see how my friend had done. (The score for a forfeit is 2-0, the score now appearing on the schools' MaxPreps sites.)

That a**hole lied!  He smeared another school, its coach and its program.

I imagine that the newspaper now knows what kind of creep they're dealing with, if they didn't know before, but I suggested that my friend report the guy to the state association for this breach of coaching ethics, and to his school (did I mention that it's a church school?) for what is surely a violation of the things that the church stands for. 

(Unless "bearing false witness against thy neighbor" is no longer a commandment.  In today's America, anything's possible.)

*********** Mr. S. Truett Cathy, Founder of Chik-Fil-A, died last week at the age of 93. Mr. Cathy started out after World War II as owner of a small-town Georgia diner, and built the chain made famous for its delicious chicken sandwiches and its ads featuring cows urging us to "eat more chicken."

Mr. Cathy was a devout Christian, and he lived his message.  In a society devoted increasingly to Mammon, his Chik-Fil-A restaurants  remain closed on Sundays.

Mr. Cathy's son, Dan, now runs the company, and he caught particular hell from certain groups when he dared to defend the fairly clear, age-old concept of marriage as an institution bonding a man and a woman.  Although all sorts of libtards attacked him and called for a boycott of his company, loyal customers of Chik-Fil-A (and defenders of traditional marriage) responded by flocking to his restaurants.

The late Mr. Cathy's message to all of us:

“We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed, and the important things will not change if we keep our priorities in proper order.”

Steve Garvey card*********** Identifying Steve Garvey: Steve Garvey-  KC Smith - Walpole, Massachusetts; Adam Wesoloski- Pulaski, Wisconsin (who sent me the photo of the cards)

*********** I couldn't help noticing that after the Lions beat the Giants, Matthew Stafford did his post-game interview with his cap on the way God designed baseball caps to be worn.

*********** With aologies to friend Jody Hagins, a diehard South Carolina backer, Kurt Fleming, an Army brat who nearly went to West Point,  gives me some reason to follow Clemson…

http://www.tigernet.com/story/football/Kurt-Flemings-punishing-running-style-accident-13017

(Thanks for the link to Will Hawthorne, of Columbia, South Carolina - deep in the heart of enemy territory)

*********** With all the bullsh-- we constantly hear about the lack of representation of women in this field and that, my wife (a retired elementary school teacher) asked, "Where's all the uproar about the lack of men in teaching?"


*********** Monday evening, a time when most youth coaches were practicing, in Wichita, Kansas an argument about a kid's playing time devolved into six men beating on the coach.  One of the critics was said to be employing brass knuckles.

To the rescue came the coach's wife, who drew a gun and fired it into the air. This apparently stopped the beat-up, and the coach used the break to go to his car and get another gun.

By the time police arrived, the coach's six critics had bailed.

I couldn't find out whether the coach will find an expanded role for the kid in question.

Or whether the team is now looking for another coach.

http://www.kake.com/home/headlines/Shot-fired-during-fight-at-Wichita-youth-football-practice-274479151.html?llsms=971281&c=y


*********** I know absolutely nothing about Ray Rice's background, but I truly believe that somewhere in the young life of any NFL miscreant, there had to be at least one coach so obsessed with winning, so set on making his mark as a legendary youth football coach, that he would excuse any form of misconduct that might otherwise have called for a curtailment of his star's playing time.

As most readers know, I'm no fan of the NFL-USA Football combination, but so long as they're going to be out there  telling parents to insist that their son's coaches are "USA-Football Certified", and so long as they claim that they're actually capable of "certifying" coaches, I suggest that they include in their "coaching certification" program a VERY important section:

"Have the Balls to Discipline Your Best  Player."

Yes, coaches, it may cost you a win.  Big F--king Deal. 

It could even mean that you won't be National Youth Football Coach of the Year. 

But guess what? This isn't about you. It's about what's in the best interest of the player, and his  development as a decent human being.

If that matters to you.

*********** Was it a game, or wasn't it?

A. Idaho showed up at Florida as agreed to, and the ball was kicked off. (GAME)

B. The game was suspended because of weather and then cancelled and ruled "no contest." (NO GAME)

C. Idaho went home with a game check. (GAME)

D. Florida gave refunds to all ticket holders. (NO GAME)

E. Florida coach Will Muschamp ruled that three Florida players who'd been suspended for "one game" had been punished enough, and lifted their suspensions, so the Gators can be be at full-strength for this week's game against Mighty Eastern Michigan. (GAME)

*********** New University of Washington coach Chris Peterson is trying to right  the ship by suspending players  - players recruited by fthe Huskies' former coach.

Peterson's latest suspension was corner Marcus Peters, considered by many to be an NFL prospect - and also considered by many to be an undisciplined trash talker.

Writes Larry Stone in the Seattle Times…

...Peters has been suspended for the Illinois game. A team that gave up seven passing touchdowns (admittedly with Peters on the field for five of them) will apparently play Saturday without a player rated by many as a future first-round draft pick.

The disciplinary action stemmed from an unsportsmanlike call against Peters in the third quarter that negated a key Husky defensive stop on third down, and Peters’ subsequent reaction on the sideline. He was seen arguing with assistant coaches and throwing his gloves and helmet to the ground, a no-no in Petersen’s book.

I wish Petersen had been more forthright Monday in talking about his handling of an incident that was witnessed by a television audience, not to mention fans in the stadium. He said, instead, that he would keep any disciplinary measure “in-house.”

But it’s more important to be forthright and decisive in your actions, and Petersen has done that. Peters would be the eighth player he has either suspended or dismissed from the team since February. That includes his starting quarterback, Cyler Miles; a wide receiver of tremendous potential, Damore’ea Stringfellow; and a starting linebacker, John Timu, for an incident that took place when Steve Sarkisian was still the coach.

Those beauties  were all recruited by Steve Sarkisian, who's now at USC.

Good luck with Sark, Trojans.

Fight on.

http://seattletimes.com/html/huskyfootball/2024494684_uwfootball09xml.html



american flag TUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 9,  2014"The more laws, the less justice."     Marcus Tullius Cicero

*********** Bruce Levenson is going to have to sell his share of the Atlanta Hawks because of some "racist" email he sent.

Hey - he told his GM and a couple of the other owners that he thought the club needed to do more to attract white fans.

Does that make him racist?

Damn shame that he isn't a black guy, because he could have said the same thing and it would have made great business sense. So maybe he'll wind up selling to a wealthy black person, who will then, in all likelihood, send his GM and fellow owners an email saying that they need to do more to attract white fans.

And nobody will complain that he's being racist.


*********** At North Beach High, we were 7-3 last season, and although we did lose our quarterback to graduation, we returned our entire offensive line and several very quick wingback/receiver type kids. The key was whether the next guy up - the player designated to become our quarterback, could develop the way we needed him to.   After a very good spring, including more than holding our own in a jamboree against three larger schools, he was playing well enough that I figured that we had a chance to be pretty good this season.

But pre-season camp was frustrating. We just weren't as sharp as we should be, I felt.  We often just seemed to be going through the motions. The usual enthusiasm was missing.  Was it overconfidence?  Complacency? Boredom?  Lack of conditioning?  Coaching?

Turns out, we needed a game.

Friday night, we opened at Ilwaco, a fishing town down in the far southeast corner of the state, near the mouth of the Columbia River, and came away 52-0 winners.

The Ilwaco Fishermen,  having moved down a level in classification this year, were playing their first game in our league, and may have been caught unprepared for the level of competition played by smaller schools.  They didn't play badly: they fumbled just once and had very few penalties and executed fairly crisply overall.

But to be frank, we had just too much size up front, speed in the backfield and experience overall for them to stay with us.

For those who will tell you that time of possession matters, consider this - we had only 30 rushing plays and seven pass plays.  Ilwaco actually ran more plays.

Part of the reason for the small number of plays was the running clock, in play for the fourth quarter, but part of it was our offensive execution: we had 457 yards rushing and 66 yards passing, and 21 of our 37 plays were for ten yards or more. Counting our JVs, who played an offensive series and actually scored a TD, ten different players carried the ball.

We led only 14-0 when we forced Ilwaco to punt with 2:19 until halftime.  Taking over at our own 40, we drove the 60 yards in five plays.  QB Alex McAra completed two of three passes to Steven Fry,  and wingback Skyer Wells carried twice for 27 yards, crossing the goal line from 15 yards out with :29 remaining.

The two-point conversion sent us in with a 22-0 lead and it had to deflate Ilwaco.

It took us just two plays at the start of the second half to turn the game into a rout. On our first offensive play, Jordan Chong raced 55 yards for a score, and after Ilwaco put on a nice drive that stalled at our 15, slotback Elijah Towery broke off tackle for an 85 yard touchdown that made the score 38-0.

A very pleasant surprise for us was the showing of 6-1, 180 pound B-Back Cameron Keller, who spent most of last season watching from the sidelines.  Friday night, he was a horse, carrying off-tackle and up the middle nine times for 145 yards.

QB Alex McAra was as cool as I could have hoped for, getting the calls from the sideline without a hitch and handling the ball flawlessly. He completed six of seven for 66 yards, and threw for two PATs.  He ran the ball three times for 12 yards and a touchdown, and he added two PAT conversions.

We came out of the game injury-free, and a couple of our JVs played well enough to earn further looks.

Next Friday, we play the South Bend Indians at home. As happens in  small schools, South Bend has had its ups and downs in recent years. It won the state title in 2010, but since then the talent has dropped off.  We now enjoy a four-game win streak over the Indians. We played them twice last year and put running scores on them both times. 

I don't know whether South Bend is  better than last year, but I know we are.

***********  The Pac-12 can thank God for Oregon's impressive win over Michigan State.  Oregon jumped out early in typical, dazzling fashion, but MSU took over in the second quarter, scoring 24 points and and giving the Ducks a lesson in power football.

At halftime, the mighty Oregon offense had only 14 yards rushing, and the game appeared over.

But the Ducks nutted up in the second half, putting the lie to the commonly-held belief that being flashy means they're soft, and they wound up beating a very good Michigan State soundly, in the air and on the ground.
Meantime, though,  there's the rest of the league:

USC over Stanford doesn't count, because they're both Pac-12 teams.

Arizona State in a romp over New Mexico.  Well, yeah…

Cal in a romp over Sacramento State.  Well, yeah…

Utah in a romp over Fresno State.  Well, yeah...

UCLA over Memphis. Barely.

Arizona over Texas San Antonio. Barely.

Colorado over UMass. Barely.

Oregon State over Hawaii.  Barely.

Washington over Eastern Washington.  Barely.

Washington State over Nevada.  Make me laugh.  That would be Nevada over Wazzu.

*********** There can't be a more anxious AD in the country than Washington State's Bill Moos.  His hiring of Mike Leach, at a time when no one else would tough the guy, was seen by most Wazzu supporters as a master stroke.

Leach probably wouldn't have been hired if WSU had gone through the usual hiring-by-committee process, with all sorts of professors, female coaches and community activists sitting on a "search committee," but when people asked Moos about a search committee to find a football coach, he said, "You're looking at him."

The money Moos agreed to pay Leach may have seemed unusually high to Cougar fans used to being outspent by their more glamorous Pac-12 rivals, but after all those years of mediocrity or worse, they were willing to concede that maybe Bill knew what he was doing.

I hope he does.  I like Bill Moos, and I like Mike Leach, but the fact is the Cougs are now 0-2, with ugly losses to Rutgers and Nevada.  They have shown little defense and no running game.  (This is, after all, a Mike Leach team.) 

What's it going to look like against Oregon, Stanford, USC, Arizonal ... Oh, well, the good news:   Next week, they play Portland State.
But then the bad news: The week after, they play Oregon.  At least it's at home.
Meanwhile, a sampling of comments from the Cougs' nearest thing to a local paper Spokane Spokesman-Review.
WHAT the hell is going on at WSU? BILL Moos needs to tells us why we spent so much money on a one-dimensional coach, who writes books vs putting together a winning game plan.

Pass, pass, pass, and more pass. Little defense and never a formation with a traditional running game. Without at least an attempt at a running game it will be a long season and should be the last for the way overpaid coach.

Let's see 65 million dollar football facility, millions to coaches and end result more of the same pathetic uncompetitive teams. Yikes like someone said 3 years of this and nothing to show. It really seems worse now. The myopic tunnel vision that goes on in terms of no apparent view for defense, running game ,special teams will only result in more of the same regardless of patience, money, or will. At this point not sure the Big Sky would see them as competitive enough to be allowed to join.

*********** So you think you're a comedy writer.  Your challenge? Fill in the punch line:

Back in  training camp, Texas coach Charlie Strong removed the Longhorns from the Texas helmets and made the players earn them back...


My entry:  So where did all those guys playing BYU buy all those Longhorn decals?

*********** Things can't be rosy in Meeshigan, either.  That beat-down by the Fighting Irish was the Wolverine's first shutout in 30 years.
They play Utah next week.  The Utes can score.   Can Michigan?

*********** Do you suppose announcers are under instructions not to comment on the officiating?  On Saturday I saw some horrendous examples of pass interference that went uncalled by the officials, and the strongest comment I heard from any of the bullsh--ers in the booth was something on the order of "you could call that one either way."

*********** You know Stanford's David Shaw had zero confidence in his kicker (who had already missed two earlier attempts) when, down by three to USC and with more than enough muscle to drive into tying field goal range, threw caution to the wind and threw, and threw, and threw - in vain - for the winning TD.

*********** Stanford essentially lost the game to USC when, behind 13-10, they completed a pretty touchdown pass - only to have it called back by what the officials called a :chop block."

Not that I expected anyone in the booth to anal;use and explain, because most of those clowns think a "chop block" is any block thrown below a defender's knees.

In this particular case, it may technically have been a chop block within the strictest  definition of one, but to call it required a total lack of understanding of the penalty, and why it was put in the rule book.

Originally, back in the days when everybody was playing a five-man line, it became common practice for offenses to have their center stand up a nose guard, while seconds later a guard (or tackle) would hit him at or below the knees.  Effective, yes, but devastating to the careers of nose guards.

What happened Saturday was that as the Stanford QB prepared to pass, a rusher came in unblocked. A Stanford back and a Stanford linemen both recognized this, and hustled to block him.  One went high and one went low.  It was the first time I'd ever seen a chop block performed against  moving target, scarily the dangerous tactic that the rules committee intended to eliminate.

Theoretically, an act which calls for a penalty should be one which a player can avoid. 

There was no way the Stanford players could have avoided that one.

They tell me here's a nice, warm place in hell reserved for officials like the one who called that one.

*********** Tell me what I'm missing here…

31 of 32 NFL teams pass on Michael Sam, ostensibly because they don't want the distraction.

NIck Saban, as distraction-averse as any NFL coach,  brings in Lane Kiffin as his offensive coordinator.

*********** The NFL denies that it called league teams to plead with them to  - pretty please - sign Michael Sam to a practice squad contract.
If this turns out to be true - if the National Football League asked its member teams to put aside considerations of talent and need and sign a gay player, in an obvious attempt to cater to America's enormous number of gay football fans - I'm not sure that the NFL can survive the revelation.

And I'm not sure it should.

*********** Pete Porcelli, of Troy, New York, has been doing double-duty, coaching a top-notch semi-pro team, the Troy Fighting Irish and, since late last season, Hoosic Valley High School.

The Hoosic Valley job has been the bigger challenge.  By far.  When Coach Porcelli took the job last season, the Indians (I guess it's okay for me to print that) had lost or forfeited their last 14 games, and just prior to the start of the season, the community had seriously debated dropping football altogether.

Accepting the challenge, Coach Porcelli managed to pull off the near-impossible, installing his Double Wing on short notice and managing to steer the Indians to two wins in their final three games.

On Saturday, the Indians came from behind to win their opener, 14-6.

http://www.troyrecord.com/sports/20140906/indians-post-emotional-victory-in-opener

*********** Ho Hum.  New season, same old NFL.

In Sunday's 13 NFL games, no fewer than 55 field goals were attempted.  Put another way, that's 55 failed offensive drives, compared to 59 offensive touchdowns (returns don't count).

Not to say that NFL kickers are automatic, because they're not.  Just almost.  Out of 55 field goal attempts, 47 were successful.  That's an 85 per cent success rate.  Oh, the suspense.  Be still, my beating heart.

In seven games - more than half of the 13 games played - at least five field goals were attempted.

You want excitement? The Bengals led the Ravens at halftime, 15-0.  All the Bengals' points came on field goals.

The NFL keeps trying to figure out ways to make the "game day experience" better for the paying fans, seemingly oblivious to the fact that every successful field goal means another three-minute commercial break, with absolutely nothing going on down on the field.  At least at home you can go to the bathroom or the fridge.
 
MSU 24*********** You may not remember this MSU Spartan defensive back from the late 1960s, but I bet you'd know who he was if I told you he was a two-time MVP in another sport.

*********** George Crume, a League City, Texas businessman, is a former college football coach and a long-time honorary Black Lion.  Clay Crume, the third of George's sons to play college football, is a senior long-snapper at the University of Rhode Island.

And he's a mentor to a very special young teammate, Evan Huddon.

Evan is only four feet, two inches tall.  And he's just an eighth grader. Evan suffers from spina bifida.  He's undergone 21 brain surgeries in his short life, and he's confined to a wheelchair, but thanks to an organization that works with college teams to "adopt" children with serious medical conditions, he's been a Rhode Island Ram since last season.

And Clay Crume is Evan's mentor.

"He's (Evan) been in a wheel chair his whole life and he's still the most positive person you will ever meet," Crume said. "It's incredible how someone with such misfortune of what he's gone through is so positive and loves life and every day is just a blessing for him and he knows it."

Crume said, "This past year, we've become really close and we talk on Facebook and every time he comes to practice we talk."

For his part, Evan said he loves spending time with Clay Crume.  "Clay is awesome and is like a big brother to me," Evan said. "He treats me with so much respect."

http://www.herald-dispatch.com/sports/x573966209/Boy-with-Spina-Bifida-is-No-1-in-Rhode-Island-program-and-hearts#.VAmiS-H-9nU.twitter

*********** I have to go along with Joel Klatt of Fox, who asked, not exactly in these words,  WTF is Pat Haden, AD of USC, doing on the Playoff selection committee???

american flag FRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 5,  2014 "It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required."  Winston Churchill

*********** I had no idea that Michael Jordan was a fan of tennis.  Neither did I know that he and Roger Federer were buds.

But there Jordan was last week, in Federer's personal box at the US Open.

Wow, I thought.  That is so cool.    Two of the best in the world at what they do/did, hanging out together.

And then I found out that I'd been had.    You too, if you saw them and thought they were chums.

Turns out they'd only met the day before.  The introductions were arranged by, of all people, Nike, which just happened, the very next day, to be introducing  the NikeCourt Air Zoom AJ3.  (That's a shoe.)

So what was Mr. Jordan doing there?

The shoe, we were  told by the Wall Street Journal, "borrowed design elements from the Air Jordan 3."

Oh.

Can't say that Nike doesn't know what it's doing. The next day, when the shoe went on sale, a Nike store in downtown Manhattan sold out of the NikeCourt Air Zoom AJ3's within an hour of opening.


*********** I used to joke when I coached at a city high school that we didn't get transfers, like other schools - we got transients.  Drifters.  Misfits. Kids whose lives were so chaotic that even if they were good athletes, there was no way they could deal with the discipline and order of a structured football program.

That's been the case at North Beach, out here at the end of the trail.  We've seen a handful come and go, but not one has stuck around long enough to make a contribution.

So Jonny Law seemed too good to be true - a transfer to North Beach who could actually play, not to mention a good student and good kid, with good work habits.  It took him, oh, maybe a day or two to convince his teammates that he was willing to do what it took to earn their acceptance, and earn it he has.

Jonny's family has roots in Ocean Shores, where North Beach High is located. His older sister graduated from here three years ago.  But Jonny, a native,  started out at Taholah High School, on the Quinault Reservation farther up the beach, and last year he played 8-man football for a tribal school even farther  north, on the Olympic Peninsula.

Now he's in Ocean Shores, living with his mother.  But the state association, with whom we were smart enough to check things out, evidently has seen something amiss.  Unwilling or unable to take on the wealthy suburbanite program-shoppers and their prima donna sons who are a plague all over America, they see a chance to screw over a kid who's done nothing wrong and apparently is caught up in some kind of custody issue that impacts his legal residence.

I don't know whether you've ever noticed the way the heads of your state associations get on camera during telecasts of playoff games and tell the gullible viewers that we're all in it for the kids, it's all about the kids, blah, blah, blah.

All about the kids, eh?

Jonny Law's eligibility is being contested, which means he can't play for us until his hearing which - because we're in it for the kids - won't be held until September 17.

Sure, we could go ahead and play him, but if the ruling were to go against him, we'd be forced to forfeit the games he played in - both of them league games.   And knowing the way those people operate, I can almost guarantee that if we were to play him, that's the way the ruling would go.

Because it's all about the kids.  Just ask Jonny Law.

*********** Just curious, Coach.  What is ya'll's policy on absences?  How many excused/unexcused are allowed?  What are the penalties for missing?  Especially during the summer when kids have work, custody issues, or whatever else?

Thanks

Coach,

Our entire premise is that ALL practices are MANDATORY.  We are not coaching youth soccer.  We are requiring a commitment not only from kids, but from their parents.

If an absence is unexcused (meaning a kid missed a practice without clearing it in advance) he will miss a game the first time, and he will be off the team the second time.

Even with a pre-excuse, he is required to make up the work he missed - same as if it were the classroom.

To make up a practice, for the first hour or so of practice he will carry sandbags around the track, flip a tire, do up-downs, etc while the rest of the team is practicing.   It makes an impression on the kid, and it makes an impression on the ones practicing (who see what the guy is having to do).  This is not punishment.  It's a concentrated form of the work that the kid missed the day before.

Family emergencies and injuries are in another category.  An "emergency" by definition is sudden and unexpected and URGENT.  It is not having to baby-sit a younger sister.

An injured player (doctor-excused or coach-excused - NOT parent-excused) is still a part of the team and he's still expected to be at practice unless a doctor prescribes otherwise.

IN all cases, we make sure that everyone knows that in fairness to the kid who takes the reps in practice that an absent player would have been getting, the absentee, even if he's a starter,  should not expect to step right back into "his" job.   Our kids know the story of Wally Pipp and Lou Gehrig.  At the least, the absentee player will probably not start on Friday night.

We are trying to drill into our kids a sense of responsibility. Of dependability.   We're hard-nosed about this policy, and some parents may not like it when it causes them inconvenience, but we're all giving up something to make this thing work. The alternative, especially in a small school, is essentially turning the control of the program over to  bosses, to parents and their family trips, to custody issues.  I find it interesting how persuasive kids can be when they want to play football and they know that we are not going to cut them slack.

At first, when you institute a policy like this, you have to be willing to take some hits, but eventually, it becomes a permanent part of your program, and everyone understands, like it or not, that that's how it's done.

Bear in mind that this is a high school policy and it would be tougher to implement at most middle schools, where kids are coming fresh from youth sports and most parents still haven't  accepted the notion that they have to turn over a portion of control over their little darlings to some coach.

*********** It took me years to accept the truism that I heard many years ago from an older coach: "a confused player can't be aggressive."

I believe that applies far more on defense than on offense.

To that end, I try to do everything I can to prune away anything that might hold a player back, which sometimes means accepting complexity on my end of the bargain in order to provide simplicity for the kids.

*********** Bowling Green has designated a permanently unoccupied seat in Doyt Perry Stadium to honor United States  military personnel who were prisoners of war or have been declared missing in action.

*********** Coach,

I hope all is well.  Good luck this season.

On Friday the Elmwood-Brimfield Trojans traveled to Mercer County to play the Golden Eagles.  The Golden Eagles were semifinalists last year, state champions the year before and quarter-finalists the year before that.  The "playoff board" beside their stadium is full, to say the least, with multiple state championships and runner-ups.  We had our work cut out for us, and part of that was even before the game started.  But our kids are experienced (9 offensive returners and 6 on defense) and were very business-like.  

Mercer County entered the game as the Class 2A preseason #2 team.  We entered as the Class 3A #5 team.  Based on past success, and the fact that we were playing at their place, the easy money was on the Golden Eagles.

The first half ended in a 0-0 tie.  Both teams turned the ball over on downs after having 1st and goal twice.  It was our double wing against their multiple spread/I/single back offense.  Our defense was playing well and we felt the offense was wearing on them (cramping was happening on their sidelines).  Our biggest halfitme adjustment - "Guys, we're just going to pound it.  We win this game by doing what we do."

Mercer County had a 3 and out to start he first half.  After a poor punt gave us the ball ad mid-field we put together a nine play drive and scored to go up 7-0.  A bad punt snap on their next possession gave us a very short field and we scored again, 13-0.  Another bad snap on the following possession and we started inside their ten.  Went for two and it was 21-0.  So we scored at 7:08, 5:08 and 1:35 in the third.  We capped with with a bit of a drive in the fourth to make it 28-0.  That was the final score.

Charting our second half would be boring to most, or a thing of beauty to double wing guys.  It was a steady dose of super power with the occasional reach mixed in.  Our left wing as 26 for 130 and 3TD's (and a 2pt).  Our right wing was 26 for 99 and a TD.  In all, we rushed 65 times for 299.  We were running the hoop, building the wall and generally getting after it.

The score could be deceiving, I guess.  But I say good team capitalize on mistakes, and we did just that.  It was tight until they flinched, and we made them pay.  And then they flinched again and we made them pay.  And then again.  We did what we needed to do.  And we were ready to play another quarter.  I'm not sure they were.

This may have been the biggest win in our program's history, simply because of who we were playing (and where we were playing them).  They had not been beaten at home in the regular season since 2009, not in a home season opener since 2003, and not shut out at home since 2000.

Our classroom sessions last week focused on the team "celebrating effort above ability."  We try to discuss how that applies to the classroom, life, etc.  We also talked about how that theme could come into play on Friday night given that both teams were probably evenly matched.  The team that maintained would probably win out in the end.  We talked about it and then we lived it.  It was pretty great.

A number of years ago I had a tshirt for our team inspired by you.  It went something like "Notre Dame had the four horsemen. Fordham had seven blocks of granite.  The Trojans have a set of stones."  Well, one of our players was quoted in the pre-season football preview as saying our offense is "the rolling blob of death."  He credits it to me, but it really came from an opposing coach (who I respect - he's a rugby guy, so he knows rolling blobs of death).  I think "Rolling Blob of Death" tshirts are on the way for our kids pretty quickly.

And the Blob was rolling on Friday.

Good luck this week.

TODD HOLLIS

Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach,

GREAT win.  What a great way to open the season.

"Effort above ability" is something our society needs to hear more often .

You've been through this before, so I don't have to tell you to watch out for game 2.

I like the "Blob."


*********** In case you might be wondering what's behind the ISIS boast that it will soon be waging war on us, right here in the Good Old US of  A, ABC News reports...


The Department of Homeland Security has lost track of more than 6,000 foreign nationals who entered the United States on student visas, overstayed their welcome, and essentially vanished -- exploiting a security gap that was supposed to be fixed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

"My greatest concern is that they could be doing anything," said Peter Edge, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official who oversees investigations into visa violators. "Some of them could be here to do us harm."

Homeland Security officials disclosed the breadth of the student visa problem in response to ABC News questions submitted as part of an investigation into persistent complaints about the nation’s entry program for students.

ABC News found that immigration officials have struggled to keep track of the rapidly increasing numbers of foreign students coming to the U.S. -- now in excess of one million each year. The immigration agency’s own figures show that 58,000 students overstayed their visas in the past year. Of those, 6,000 were referred to agents for follow-up because they were determined to be of heightened concern.

“They just disappear,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. “They get the visas and they disappear.”

Blame a lot of it on the money-grubbers who run our left-wing universities.  They've been stuffing their wallets with foreign cash.

They've raised tuition to the point where not even giant federal student loans can bring in  enough "students of value," (i.e. those paying full tuition)  so they've been turning increasingly to foreign countries.  As one example,  the University of Washington,  required by the state legislature to keep a lid on in-state tuition, very cleverly blows off Washington kids and dispatches recruiters to China, where the wealthy, unlike the peasants in Washington,  will pay top dollar to buy an American education for their kids. 

Not accusing China or any other nation of anything underhanded - our good friends wouldn't do that to us, now, would they? - but somebody's "students" are coming here, and staying.  Illegally.  And we have no way, apparently, of keeping track of them. (In case you still believe in the competence of your government.)

Couple questions:

Is there any good reason on God's earth for ONE MILLION FOREIGN STUDENTS to be coming to America every year?

Is there any reason not to think that some of these students mean us harm?

 http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/visa-program-struggles-track-missing-foreign-students/story?id=25208740
 

*********** This was sent to me back in  January 2012 by Eddie Campbell, of Land O' Lakes, Florida...

Hi Coach Wyatt,

I spent more time than ever this past season trying to teach the fundamentals of tackling. At the start of the season, it was amazing to see how many kids could easily and naturally duck their head, lead with their helmet, leave their feet or attempt the "armless" tackle.

The sad part of this is that I am getting these kids at 10 or 11 years old. They already have developed the unsafe and ineffective skills of modern day tackling.

My intial observation was that our team was not overly talented. My thought was, if we happened to have a tough season, I could take some solace knowing that the boys were taught correct fundamentals. Of course, as kids like to do...they surprised me just a bit....went 11-0 and won the Tampa Bay Region in Pop Warner. The only negative of the season being that I told the kids they could shave my head if they went undefeated. They did...and retaliated on my scalp with a near religious fervor!!! & I walked around with a hat on most days for the next couple of weeks...pictures being withheld as to not scar future generations.

Trying to do some research on who actually tackled well is troubling, too. You Tube is littered with video ensembles touting the "Hardest Hits." Even Dan Dierdorf, during last week's NFC Divisional Game, stated after a play, "That's the way you hit," on what he should have deemed an improper tackling technique.

I did, however, find one particular SOB ( I dont think he'd mind that description). He's an all-time great, who I had trouble finding film of him where he didn't wrap his arms or lead only with his helmet...and, oh yeah, he was also about the most feared guy in the NFL...Richard Marvin "Dick" Butkus. Tell me what you think. On numerous tackles, he looks like he is trying to twist the shoulder pads off the opposing runner, like the technique you describe in "Safer & Surer Tackling."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxR9qYSHt8U&feature=related

Honorable mention to Ray Nitschke...


*********** Hello, Coach -

Trust this finds you and Connie doing well.  Please pass along my regards.  A colleague of mine was going to get into coaching kids.  I am encouraging him to look at your materials, although he seems to be running down the path of whatever the local spread guys are doing.  I will keep working on him, though.

One area I told him about was your ‘Word of the Day’ and your approach as an Educator and mentor and the history of the game and the inherent values of it that we truly want to coach the kids on – vs. coaching this or that style of offense or defense.  We have our DW preference.  That aside – I wanted to help him on the ‘Coaching’ side.  I recall from your “Word of the Day” you would close practice with such things as:

    •    Family
    •    Love
    •    Commitment
    •    Team
    •    Perseverance
Do you have a list of the ones you’ve used with particular benefit at the end of practice, and other tips on building team cohesion at the youth level?

Thanks Coach - “Keep Punching!”

Team-building at any level is a complicated thing, but as you know, a major factor is creating a sense of "this is what we stand for" and "we are all in this together."

A major component of this for any team I've coached has always been making sure that every player knows - really understands - what the rules are, and what is expected of him.  We spend a lot of time on this, because my belief is that most kids want to please us, but we can't really expect them to be able to do so until we tell them what it is that we expect from them - and want not to do if they want to avoid ticking us off.

Once they understand the way things are done, we don't have to spend a lot of time dealing with disciplinary infractions, and we are free to devote our time to teaching, conditioning, and having fun.

In my opinion, until you have established the idea that "this is how we do things here," all the happy-smiley-feel good fun activities are meaningless in terms of team building.

There's a lot more, from my perspective, but for me it all starts there.

***********  Any coaching points on West Bill 99 super reach?  We are having trouble with the toss.

Coach-

Couple of tips:

(1) Rather than try to pivot with his playside foot, which simply won't enable him to make the turn, instead he takes a "punch step" - when he catches the ball, he picks that foot up and turns it in the direction of his spin.  Now he'll be able to do step 2

(2) He steps wit his backside foot in the direction of the toss

(3) He makes sure that he tosses both hands at the target, and after the toss both hands are aimed at the target - but no higher  You have to be careful that he doesn't bring his hands high after tossing.

The running back's getting enough depth is very important - and he needs to continue  getting a little depth and width after he catches the ball. Many runners at first have a tendency to catch the ball and immediately turn upfield, running right into pursuit, instead of away from it.

*********** WTF?  According to Warren Moon, Marshawn Lynch "beats to his own drum."

*********** Boy, as often as I hear  small-time announcers use the word "UNBELIEVABLE!"  they obviously haven't watched  much football in their young lives.



american flag TUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 2,  2014"Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching." Thomas Jefferson

*********** Nationally televised high school  game. ESPN. Gilman of Baltimore against St. Edward's of Cleveland.

St. Edward's goes ahead, 38-8, and I'll be damned if they don't go to a running clock.

The dreaded  "Mercy Rule."   In Ohio, where the game was played, it goes into effect when a team goes ahead by 30 points.

Maybe if ESPN would squawk loud enough (money talks, they say) the politically-correct administrators that love rules like this would realize that their noble efforts to keep little boys from being shamed and humiliated are actually cutting down on kids' chances for playing time.  Kids on both teams.

Imagine being a reserve on one of those squads. You've busted your ass for a chance to play,  and now you stand on the sidelines watching the clock run out on your chances of getting into a nationally-televised game.


******************** Two of our four coaches at North Beach - one of them the head coach - are also full-time teachers,  and on the shortest of notices, they were informed that they had six-days of in-service requirements before the start of school.

(For non-teachers, the best way for me to describe "in-service" is to  ask you to close your eyes and envision yourself sitting in a room for hours on end listening to someone who's never done your job tell you what's wrong with the way you've been doing it and tell you that "studies show"  you need to do it this new and improved way.  Did I mention that these non-teaching "teachers" make far more putting on these dog-and-pony shows  than any classteachers do?)

In our case, what this all meant was that our two teacher/coaches would be locked up inside the school from 8 to 3, and therefore we wouldn't be able to practice until 3 PM.  So much for the two-a-days we'd scheduled for last week.

Friday, because a lot of people would be going out of town for the weekend and  an afternoon practice would have conflicted with family plans, we decided to practice from 7 AM to 9 AM.

That meant reporting at 6:30 and being dressed and on the benches in the locker room (the "dungeon")  at 6:45.

We braced ourselves for problems. We have our ways for kids to make up a missed practice, but at a small school the absence of even one key player can screw up a practice. And then there's the state minimum number of required practices in order to be eligible for the first game.  A couple of our kids were right on the edge - miss one practice and miss the game.

Talk about setting yourself up for failure. 

Complicating the issue was the fact that our school district is rather large geographically. Some of our kids live on the Quinault Reservation in Taholah, 30 miles away. (You ain't seen winding roads until you've seen the road up to Taholah.)

Four of the kids who weren't sure that they'd be able to answer the call took advantage of head coach Todd Bridge's offer to put them up overnight at his house.

To cut to the chase: everyone was there. On time.  Dressed and ready at 6:45. 

I've been coaching since 1970, and I've never been prouder of a group of kids.

Or of the job we've done building our culture.

********** When I watch the US Tennis Open I'm reminded me of the early days  of TV, when all shows originated from New York.  At that time, Brooklyn was considered a hick town, almost a foreign country (a third-world one at that) by other New Yorkers, and Brooklynites, rather than take offense, seemed to took a perverse pride in their other-wordliness. Either that or they suffered from an massive inferiority complex. Anyhow, any time a contestant on a game show would say that he or she was from Brooklyn, the Brooklynites in the audience would go wild, and then the show host would make some comment about them.

After years of watching the US Open,  I've come to the conclusion that as tough and as cynical as New York fans consider themselves, at their base, they're all Brooklynites.

It may be masked by a certain arrogant smugness, but  it's an inferiority complex all the same, and if there's one thing they really crave, it's praise - and the veteran players are savvy enough to know it.

This is the routine: concluding a post-match interview, a player looks up at the crowd and says, "You guys are GREAT!"

The response is predictable:  At least 30 seconds of loud, non-stop cheering.  For themselves.

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you.  I was hoping you'd say we really were a great crowd.

*********** MIchigan State dangles a big check in front of Jacksonville State and it gets an easy home win.

Also this…

A Jacksonville State defender comes in on the MSU quarterback, well after he's released a pass.  Late - and low.   At the knees.

And avoidable. A dirty shot by any standard.

I won't to try to guess the defender's motive. Maybe it's typical of him, maybe it was just a knucklehead play in the heat of battle.

But It was as ugly as it gets, the kind of thing that makes anyone who loves our game and worries about its future cringe.

My advice to Jacksonville State: Don't spend that MIchigan State check too fast. With the need by the Big Five conference members to strengthen their schedules to qualify for the playoffs, big-payout gigs like this are going to become harder for you to to find -  and nobody's looking to get their players hurt by bringing in a team whose  players  take shots like that kid did.

*********** A long-time friend who has coached on both coasts reports, from his latest assignment… 

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know but there are a LOT of guys who don’t know what they’re talking about, but talk a good enough game that they convince enough people. I’m sure fantasy football, video games and the Internet has increased the issue of “confident fools” in football.

It shocks me how many coaches I see or hear of taking on assistants on without explaining their style and system to the new guys, then leave them to their charges unmonitored. Worse yet, some of them have new coaches coach the line!

Marc filia*********** Coach Wyatt,

Here is a picture of my son, Marc, a Black Lion, under Major Holleder's name on the wall. He was proud to have his picture taken there. We are enjoying our visit to DC.

Regards,

Mike Filia
Irvine, California

*********** I am on record as being opposed to a man hitting a woman.  Bad, bad, bad.

Honor and protect our women.

But at the same time - no lowering the bar for women so they can serve on the front lines in the military and in police departments.

And none of this  girls playing football with boys and girls wrestling with boys.

Of course I'm old-fashioned.  That's not an argument. This wasn't a bad country we old-timers - and the people who came before us - turned over to a generation  that thinks it can turn the wisdom of the ages on its ass in its narcissistic attempt to change the world.

In case anyone hasn't noticed: There are things that women can do that men can't, and the converse.

If all this "women can do anything men can do" crap were really true, women would be able to deal with the brutes who beat on them.

And we wouldn't be spending so much in community resources, and exposing our police officers to danger in protecting women from  the kind of men they choose to live with, now, would we?


*********** Now that MIchael Sam has cleared waivers (meaning no other club was interested in claiming him) I have to believe that his chances of making an NFL team were harmed by the ESPNs and other media outlets who used him to advance their own agendas, pushing the story of his sexual orientation to the point where no team would want the distraction.


*********** Along the lines of Bill Snyder at Kansas State, Duke's David Cutcliffe has been slowly but surely establishing a place for himself as an architect of one of college football's  all-time great turnarounds. From an article in the Raleigh News-Observer

Asked last week about the culture of the program he inherited at Duke, Cutcliffe mentioned showing this year’s team a video of the old practice field, which was neither regulation size nor protected from unwelcome distraction.

“That just blew their mind,” says the coach. “We had an asphalt road that ran right through the middle of our practice (field) and we’d wave at the guys in the trucks as they drove through, you understand? The first spring. After that, nobody used the road anymore. We got that squared away.

“I think culture is an interesting thing. I’m serious about what I just said, but I’m smiling. Take the smile off of it, and say what had to be done was (to inculcate) a collective group of habits. That’s what culture is. Everybody doesn’t have to look alike to be a part of a culture. They act alike. And so our collective habits had to go from being in some areas poor, in some areas average, and in a very few of them exceptional…(We’re) trying to build exceptional habits, and that’s still a work in progress. We’re not where we want to be.”

http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/31/4112327_jacobs-duke-football-has-come.html?sp=/99/103/&rh=1#storylink=cpy


*********** In 2007, the Nobel Laureate Albert  Gore the Great said, ‘The North Polar ice cap is falling off a cliff.  It could be completely gone in summer in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.’

That would be 2014.

Like King Canute  telling the tide not to come in, our government has devoted enormous amounts of energy and national treasure, hobbling much of our economy by federal regulations designed to prevent that from happening,

Now, here we are, seven years after Mr. Gore made his grim forecast, and  -  whaddaya know? - it ain't happening.

The Daily Mail (London) reports that based on satellite images,  "an area the size of Alaska, America’s biggest state, was open water two years ago, but is again now covered by ice."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2738653/Stunning-satellite-images-summer-ice-cap-thicker-covers-1-7million-square-kilometres-MORE-2-years-ago-despite-Al-Gore-s-prediction-ICE-FREE-now.html

*********** I didn't get to watch nearly enough college football this past weekend, but I did hear at least seven or eight Heisman Trophy mentions.

*********** The Texas A & M win over South Carolina should be evidence enough that Kevin Sumlin's coaching may have had a lot to do with Johnny Football's success, instead of the other way around.

*********** To me, the best performance I saw all weekend was by a kid named Dee Hart of Colorado State. He played for three years at Alabama, and because he'd graduated from Bama he was able to play immediately for CSU.  It's a testament to the depth and quality of the running backs at Alabama that he didn't play much there, because he really shredded Colorado.

Wrote Matt Stephens in The Coloradoan

File the ballots now; the race is over. Dee Hart is the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year.

CSU's savior at running back set the tone Friday, not only for the Rams this season but the entire Mountain West by what he was able to do — with ease — against what was supposed to be a reliable University of Colorado defense.

To recap, 139 yards, two touchdowns on 22 carries and he was trending nationally on Twitter. If he got credit for all the east-west running he did, Hart would have been over 200.

Fantastic would be putting his performance modestly. Phenomenal only begins to describe it. For the first time since 2009, Colorado State University had a player run for more than 100 yards in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. And he wasn't the only one to do it; Treyous Jarrells ran for 121 in his CSU debut — not a bad combo for the Rams' second- and third-string backs.

http://www.coloradoan.com/story/sports/csu/football/2014/08/31/colorado-state-dee-hart-treyous-jarrells/14915465/

*********** College bands - and band directors - work hard to put on a precision marching and dancing performance…

Nowhere is this more true than at historically black colleges.

And so it was halftime of the NC A & T and Alabama A & M game, and those fool television directors, addicted to closeups, insisted, as always,  on taking us down to field level and sticking the camera in the face of one player at a time.

*********** Damn! Villanova takes Syracuse into two OTs - and loses by a point when a two-point conversion attempt comes up short!

************ Penn State's quarterback sets a new school passing yardage record, and with a little over a minute to play drives the Lions into field goal range - and they win it on a last-second field goal. 

And ESPN interviews… the f--king kicker.

************ Very, very clever of Penn State. Ineligible to play in bowl games,  they turned a trip to Dublin to play UCF  into their version of a bowl game.

*********** Chuck Lovinski, younger brother of my late friend Frank "Pope Franjo" Lovinski, is a former West Virginia QB who naturally  follows the Mountaineers.  One of his takes on Saturday's Alabama-WVU game:

"Interesting about Saban. On Saturday in the second quarter he let Lane Kiffin run the no huddle offense that he was opposed to and tried to change the rule."

*********** I heard a TV announcer say of a team, "They've all been decimated." 

Well, actually, if you know what the word really means, only ten per cent of them have been.

***********  I'm sure I've told the story before about the night my Hagerstown Bears played the Aston Knights in suburban Philly, at a high school called Sun Valley (so-named not because it was anything like  the ski resort of the rich and famous, but because the Sunoco Refinery was nearby).

It was  a tough game when we played those guys, especially when we played at their place, because there was a wealth of good football players in that area, and although not all of them were that keen about taking long road trips to away games, they'd show up to play at home.

The night we played them, they were loaded. 

Following the game, my right offensive tackle, Dickie Keats, a veteran of the semi-pro wars,  was muttering about how tough the guy opposite him was.  According to the roster, the guy's name was "Jimmy Jones," and the only experience listed was "St. James HS."  (St. James was the Catholic school in nearby Chester.) When I told some guys from Aston how impressed Dickie had been, they laughed and said, "He's 18 years old."

Well.  You KNOW that our guys were quick to report back to Dickie  that he'd had his hands full with an 18-year old kid.  He just shook his head and said, "You gotta be shi--in' me!"

Only years later did we learn that "Jimmy Jones" was actually the young Joe Klecko.

I was reminded of Joe Klecko when I saw this  illustrious list:  Danny Abramowicz, Pete Banaszak, Steve Bartkowski, Zeke Bratkowski, Bob Brudzinski, Jim Dombrowski, Lou Creekmur, Ziggie Czarobski, Mike Ditka, Forest Evashevski, Frank Gatski, Jim Grabowski, Jack Ham, Leon Hart, Vic Janowicz, Ron Jaworski, Mike Kenn, Joe Klecko, Ed Klewicki, Frank Kush, Ted Kwalick, Greg Landry, Johnny Lujack, Ted Marchibroda, Lou Michaels, Walt Michaels, Dick Modzelewski, Mike Munchak, Tom Nowatzke, Bill Osmanski, Frank Piekarski, Bill Romanowski, Mark Rypien, Tom Sestak, Bob Skoronski, Hank Stram, Dick Szymanski, Frank Szymanski, Frank Tripucka, Steve Wisniewski, Alex Wojciechowicz

They're all  football players and they're all members of the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.

http://polishsportshof.com/inductees/football/

Polish Americans have certainly made their mark on our football fields, and what's especially interesting is that right now, football - American football - is the fastest growing sport in... Poland.

As Jacek Sledzinski, general manager of the Warsaw Eagles, told the New York Times, “The numbers of our fans are getting bigger and bigger each year. And this is because there is no flimflam or trickery, no yellow cards. It’s a tough sport. It’s real. That is what our fans like.  A lot of these Polish guys, let’s face it, are not built for soccer. They’re big guys. But they want to be athletes, too, and this is a sport that they can play.”

Poles like the rough contact of American football. Said a young woman named Magda Zaremba,  “There is no place for cowardice in American football.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/26/world/europe/poland-embraces-football-that-has-a-rougher-side.html?ref=international&_r=1


***********  Do you know why the split-6 and wide tackle 6 got their names - specifically what is the significance of the “6”? This has been driving me nuts because I have to memorize the alignments and can’t determine them from the names.

These terms date back to the days when players went both ways and their defensive positions corresponded to their offensive positions- in the 6-2-2-1 defense that was very popular, defensive guards played over the offensive guards , tackles over the tackles, ends over the ends. Center and fullback played linebackers, halfbacks played defensive halfbacks" (cornerbacks) and QB played safety.

In the wide tackle six, the guards stayed over the guards, but the defensive tackles moved out onto the offensive ends, and the defensive ends moved out wider yet. In today's terms, of course, there are no guards on defense (unless, like me, you still say "nose guard") so what they called guards are now tackles, what they called tackles are now ends, and what they called ends are now outside linebackers.

Any term referring to a six-man line is pretty much an anachronism.

Now, although it's still called a "6" or a "60" defense, in reality it's played as a 4-man line.

Same goes for the split 6 or, as it's sometimes called, the split 4.

The split six moved the defensive guards out wider, and moved the backers in, opposite the offensive guards.

Vince Dooley and Erk Russell won a national championship at Georgia  with a "split-60" defense, which in its simplest form was a "split 6" on one side of the line and a wide tackle six (60) on the other.

It came to be called the "Junkyard Dog" defense, and whenever they went onto the field the band would play "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown," who as the song went, was "meaner than a junkyard dog."

*********** I loved the comments by USC Coach Steve Sarkisian following the news that Trojan player Josh Shaw did not injure his ankles trying to save a young child, as he'd originally claimed, but had actually…. well. they're still trying to figure out what happened, but I'm guessing he jumped out of a window with someone in hot pursuit.

Said the pious Saint Sark,

"I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized. Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable. Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program. I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him."

Yeah, "unacceptable."

Yeah, "honesty and integrity." You mean honesty and integrity as in Reggie Bush? 
Honesty and integrity as in Pete Carroll?

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/college-football/story/_/id/11420303/usc-trojans-josh-shaw-suspended-indefinitely-admitting-lie


*********** Baseball has a problem with pitchers dominating hitters, and there's definitely something wrong when the Phillies use FOUR pitchers to pitch a no-hitter.


american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 26,  2014“'Impossible' is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.”    Napoleon Bonaparte

*********** I've long noted how much I despise the tendency of the TV people to conduct interviews or just chat away while a game's going on, as if they're the hosts of a radio talk show.

But from what I've observed, and from what others have told me, it's getting even worse.

A kid lay injured on the turf in a high school game Sunday, but the press box buffoons  went on and on about the movie they're promoting, "When the Game Stands Tall."  Only after a couple of minutes of the blather did one of them say, "There's a player injured…"

I missed the telecast of the Eastern Washington-Sam Houston State game (on ESPN), but I'm told that a major part of it was devoted not to what was happening on the field, but - with a whole season still to play - a discussion of who's going to be in THE PLAYOFF (brought to us, of course, by ESPN).

I used to wonder why ESPN would pay good money for the rights to televise a game, and then proceed to let their announcers and sideline reporters act as if the game itself didn't matter.  But not any longer - now, it's clear that they only bought the rights to the game as a vehicle to promote future programming.  They draw us suckers in to watch a game, and then we're a captive audience for their non-stop jabbering about an upcoming ESPN special or - expect to hear this over the coming weeks until you're ready to retch - THE PLAYOFF!

By the way, it is VERY important to them that you know that it is "Playoff" (singular), NOT "Playoffs" (plural).

You've been told.


Guns at the beach*********** I know there are places in America where the lefties would gasp at the thought that we exposed our players to (gasp!) guns, but...

Our head coach, Todd Bridge, had the team over to his place last Thursday night to say good-bye to last year's quarterback, Carson Ketter, on the night before he left for college.

There was a bonfire, hot dogs cooked on long, sharp sticks, and… guns. Shotguns.  Rifles.  OMG.

The kids blew giant holes in sheets of particle board.  They shot at clay pigeons launched out over the waters of North Bay. And the guest of honor got to blow up an old TV set.

A good time was had by all.

Just a little bit of politically-incorrect team-building.

PS. The team is looking really good.



*********** Coach Wyatt,

Hope you are enjoying your Sunday morning.

I just want to give you an update on how our scrimmages went yesterday. Our fist team moved the ball with relative ease. We "scored" on numerous occasions in  both of our 10 minute sessions. If this had been a real game on a regulation field we would have put a real meaning to ball control offense for my parents. Our shortest runs from scrimmage were 5 yards, but again only playing on a 40 yard field did not give my parents a sense of our offense. They did have difficulty picking up who had the ball though. Anyhow my first group was great we had multiple kids touch the ball and get positive yards. We only ran 66/77 super power, rip 47 C, and wedge at 2. I put the four plays on wristbands for every player on offense and we just called a number at the line. We found ourselves calling the same play over and over, and the other team new what was coming but was powerless to stop us. My one complaint to my wings is they kept trying to run outside on the super powers instead of staying up tight in the hole, but this is nothing more reps won't cure. The wedge was huge for us, we were getting 10+ yards! and could have had more if the other teams coaches didn't blow the whistle when the wedge slowed a little. But all in all I am really pleased with the kids and especially YOUR double wing offense. It is perfect for getting multiple kids involved, we had 8-10 different kids carry the football yesterday, and each one of them gained positive yards.

The only negative yards we had were on the second group mishaps as I will explain next.
My second group did not fare as well. I think mainly it is because I have several first year players at the A and C and they may have been a little intimidated as they kept dropping the toss. Overall though they had some success especially with the natural cut back lanes created by the defense over pursuing.

Again thank you for all your help and your double wing offense. Our first game is next Saturday, and I will let you know how it goes.

Enjoy your weekend

Coach,

Thanks for taking the time to write.

I'm very pleased that things went so well.

It's always exciting for a new coach to see things come together, and it's very exciting for the kids, who up to this point have simply gone on faith that their coach knew what he was talking about.

I think that your decision to stay with a limited number of plays - and run them well - was a major factor, so give yourself some credit.

Keep coaching!

*********** Friend Brian Rochon, from Plymouth, Michigan, knowing that I consider myself half Finnish, sent me this great article from Sunday's Detroit Free Press about the Finns and the Finnish culture (including sauna!) in Da U-P (that would be Michigan's Upper Peninsula).

http://www.freep.com/comments/article/20140824/COL46/308240086/finnish-culture-keweenaw-peninsula-sauna


Ossie and I*********** For several years in the early 90s, I coached with Art "Ossie" Osmundson at Ridgefield, Washington.  We had some times together.  One year, when our school levy went down to defeat and the school board was unable to support sports, we coached without pay and arranged car pools to transport the team to away games.  In 1995, Ossie's Ridgefield Spudders, running the Double Wing about as well as it can be run, swept undefeated to the state championship.  So dominant were the Spudders that it wasn't until the playoffs that his starters played beyond the first series of the second half.  It was the first football state championship win at any level by a team from our part of the state. Five years later, the Ridgefield administration caved in to pressure from parents who wanted their son ("a D-I prospect") to throw the ball more, and went "in another direction."  Ridgefield has gone through five coaches since Ossie, and they've produced only two winning seasons.

Ossie kept teaching at Ridgefield, and concentrated his efforts on baseball, and he's now in the state baseball coaches Hall of Fame.

He just retired from teaching and coaching, and while cleaning out his office came upon something that he knew would  us back to the days when another Ridgefield coach, Chris Thompson, was principal.  Chris was a great principal.  He was not only a former football coach, but he was a Marine, a veteran of combat in Vietnam.  Chris was the kind of principal who would write a personal note of congratulations (or encouragement) on every kid's report card (in a school of 450 kids).  And to raise academic expectations,  he had the faculty room decorated with pennants representing the alma maters of every faculty member.

What Ossie found was the old, faded Yale pennant I'd brought in, way back in 1990 - and forgotten about.

We met him last week on our way to Ocean Shores and posed with the pennant. And I tried to persuade Ossie, who honeymooned in ocean Shores with his wife, Aileen, to come coach with us.

*********** Get your JOHNNY CLIPBOARD shirt here…

http://thehecklerstore.com/products/johnny-clipboard-t-shirt

*********** Lady Clinton may or may not have been almost "dead broke" when she and the President left the White House, but it didn't take her and Ole Willie long to refill their bank accounts.

She's been making "speeches" for $250,000 a pop (I'm not sure that $250,000 would be enough money to pay me to have to listen to one of them) but wait - there's more.

After students at UNLV complained about the fact that she's being paid #225,000 (discount rate) to speak at a school fundraiser, while tuition is being raised, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, through the state's public records law, managed to get hold of the details of the contract.

Brace yourself. This is what the Lady Who Would Be Our First Female President insists on, in addition to her speaker's fee:

■ Round-trip transportation on a chartered private jet “e.g., a Gulfstream 450 or larger jet,” plus round-trip business class travel for two advance staffers who will arrive up to three days in advance.

■ Hotel accommodations selected by Clinton’s staff and including “a presidential suite for Secretary Clinton and up to three (3) adjoining or contiguous single rooms for her travel aides and up to two (2) additional single rooms for the advance staff.”

■ A $500 travel stipend to cover out-of-pocket costs for Clinton’s lead travel aide.

■ Meals and incidentals for Clinton, her travel aides and advance staff, as well as all phone charges.

■ Final approval of all moderators or introducers.

The story goes on…

According to her standard speaking contract, Clinton will remain at the event no longer than 90 minutes; will pose for no more than 50 photos with no more than 100 people; and won’t allow any press coverage or video- or audio-taping of her speech.

Clinton’s contract allows her to invite up to 20 guests (others are paying some $20,000 a table), including her staff, and have them sit together to be able to join the photo line.

None of the photos can be made public.

“The Sponsor is also required to communicate to the photo line attendees that the photo is for private, personal use only and that the photo cannot be used in any way to imply any kind of endorsement of an entity, individual, product or service,” the contract says.

“Any use of the photo that suggests or implies any such endorsement is forbidden.”

Try to remember this when Lady Clinton starts  to tell you that she represents the Little People.

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/high-fashion-expense-hillary-travel



*********** Jets' cornerback Dimitri Patterson is back with the team, after going AWOL for more than 48 hours, missing the Jets' preseason game with the Giants.

Jets' GM John Idzik called Patterson's disappearance "highly unusual."

If the NFL poo-bahs are interested, I have the solution to this kind of sh---.

I just finished reading "Fatso," Art Donovan's tales of his life, especially his life in the NFL, and despite all the stories of the crazy antics of himself and his Baltimore Colts' teammates, a guy simply going walkabout was unheard of.

First of all, they loved football, and they liked their teammates.  Second of all, though, they worried about their jobs.  Jobs in pro football were scarce.  There were only 12 teams in the NFL and teams carried rosters of 35-40.

My suggestion?   Get rid of some of those bad  teams and reduce roster size. 

Good luck getting that  past the Players' Union.

Besides, there's the impact it would have on society.  Call it the Ray Lewis Effect.  Back when a strike appeared imminent, Mr. Lewis suggested that with all those guys out on the street with nothing to do, the crime rate would go up.

Maybe instead of taxing the NFL, we should give them a federal subsidy to keep all those miscreants busy.

*********** A Chinese chef died after being bitten by the head of a cobra he had killed 20 minutes earlier.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/chef-peng-fan-killed-by-snake-bite-after-he-chopped-off-cobras-head/story-fnjwkt0b-1227034588175

*********** For our scrimmage - we came out very flat, the 2 hour bus ride and 10 minutes to warmup probably weren’t good, any ideas about pre game to help get the kids ready to go?


Coach,

Sounds like inexperience and immaturity.  It shouldn't have made a bit of difference, and I would talk to them about this.  I would also want to evaluate whether I did or said anything that gave the kids reason to use their long trip and late arrival as an excuse not to play their best.

Our shortest trip is two hours.  We have arrived at games late enough that we've had to ask for a few extra minutes to warm up.  Pre-game is overrated.  

I have had to play games at 10 in the morning, I've had to play after a three-hour delay when the power went out, I've had to play on the infield of a speedway, I've had to play in hip-sucking mud that covered most of the field, and I've had to arrange a car pool to an away game when our buses didn't show up.  I could go on.  But no matter -  the game will go on.

We constantly preach that the only thing we can control is how we play.

We can't control when or where we play, or even who we play.  We stress being ready to play at the drop of a hat, and I believe our kids are.   We will just go out there and play our game.

We preach this:  Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere.

We also hit hard on Resilience as one of the three stools of our program - Respect, Responsibility, Resilience - and we spend a lot of time stressing that football is a game of overcoming bad things.

Bad things are going to happen, we tell them, and beyond that there are only two things they need to know:

(1) Nobody cares

(2) How things are going to turn out depends entirely on how they react to those bad things.

*********** Oregon's Marcus Mariota has a chance to become the first Hawaiian to win the Heisman Trophy.  It hasn't been an easy path for him.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/sports/ncaafootball/oregon8217s-marcus-mariota-overcame-hurdles-in-hawaii.html?referrer=


***********.



american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 22,  2014 "The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes."   Winston Churchill


*********** I doubt that Mo'ne Davis, the young girl whose appearance in the Little League World Series topped the front pages of the country's sports pages this past week, was in it for the publicity.  She seems like a pretty nice kid who likes playing baseball and is pretty good at it.  Besides, I can't imagine anyone wanting to be ground up and spit out by the ESPN machine as it trudges along in search of more and more grist for the American sports mill.

Except for the way they used that kid, it's laughable the way ESPN/ABC built their Little League coverage around the story of one little girl.

It's even funnier to think that Sports Illustrated, the standard of sports magazines, chose to debase itself by putting that 13-year old girl on its cover, and in the process making her the youngest-ever victim of the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.

But it was funniest of all to see the New York Times, the so-called paper of record, get caught up in the hysteria to the point where it had two stories, obviously written in advance of the game between  Mo'ne's Philly team and a team from Las Vegas, which it still used, even after  the kids from Vegas whacked Philly and knocked them out of contention for the championship; to The Times, Mo'ne was still big news, so they ran the stories  anyhow.

*********** Coach Wyatt,

I am having trouble getting the B back to take the proper angle on the kick out block on the Super Power. I am running the entire offense myself as I do not feel my assistants are ready to run position drills. We tried it once and when we came back together there was no significant improvement. What are some ideas? I keep repping the super power over and over, but find it difficult to watch everything.

Coach,

Without seeing what is happening, I would suggest that he step with his near foot at the near hip of the tight end.

An individualized "Bird-dog Drill" might help.  Have him take his first step and then freeze in place while you check him out.

First make sure he steps with his near foot.

Then, make sure that the step is on the correct path (at the near cheek of the tight end).

Let me know how that works.

Rex Grossman*********** I was thumbing through a book on the history of football in Baltimore when I stumbled on this photo of an old football card put out by Baltimore's Silber's Bakery.

Huh?    Sure enough...

He's the grandfather of the Rex Grossman we all know, the QB from Florida who's had a long career in the NFL.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/bonus/2002-08-22-grossman_x.htm


*********** Boomer Esiason's assessment of Johnny Manziel, after his last outing: "not even remotely close to being ready."

Esiason went on,  "If he opened as the starting quarterback at Pittsburgh in Week 1, he would get his ass kicked."

That Johnny Football crap may have been cute when he was in college, but he's playing with big boys now, and he's starting to find out that guys who make their living playing football don't take kindly to guys who try to upstage them before he's even played a f--king down of pro ball.

********** Coach - How legit do you think this is ? (Hawaii possibly dropping football)

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/dennis-dodd/24666953/ad-deficit-may-cause-hawaii-to-drop-football
 
if there is any ounce of truth to this , This What I have DISDAINED about   where the Div 1-A College football game is  going , all the  Power Conference , Play-Off  Crap, Pay to play   they are Killing off a  great game. The great thing about college football and what I thought was their biggest Assets and greatest strength , was they were NOT the NFL .  the diversity of schools, regions, and typed of program is what made the  College Game great
 
John Muckian
 Ipswich ,Massachusetts

Absolutely.  It's totally TV driven, and it's the beginning of football-in-a-studio.

Soon enough, crowds at even Big Five games will start to look like minor bowl game crowds.

And it's all because this is what we, the fans, want - or so they say.

*********** WHOOPEE DO!  I got an email from Pete Carroll!

Imagine - Pete Carroll!  
The coach of a real Super Bowl team!   Wow.

And get this - he sent me a video showing me how the Seahawks teach tackling!    A real NFL team!  And we all know how well those pros tackle, don't we?

Wow.  Now that we've seen how real pros do it, there'll be no more teaching "safe tackling" for us. No, sir!   Not after we've seen the way real pros lower their heads and tackle runners below the waist!

From now on, we're going back to closing our eyes and "going low!"

So much for all those naysayers who worry about kids ducking their heads and suffering catastrophic neck and spinal injuries.  What do they know?

The Seahawks players are making millions of dollars a year, and their coaches wouldn't take any chances on their getting hurt, now would they? 

Would they? 

(Funny how this seems to be in total contradiction of the "Heads Up" message that the NFL and its stooges from USA Football have been promoting.)

http://www.seahawks.com/videos-photos/videos/Seahawks-Tackling/af5b80dd-7e39-4519-8b80-ad558292b1a6?campaign=email-ext-06months-pr-080414-coach-seatackling&cvosrc=email_ext.pr.06months_080414_seatackling_coach


american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 19,  2014"No one in the West wants a long struggle with jihadism. The problem is the enemy always gets a vote." Jonah Goldberg

*********** Complaints have been filed by Child Protective Services against three local Boy Scout officials accused of fostering a climate of bullying among  young scouts.

According to CPS officials, authorities say they became suspicious after receiving a call from a parent reporting that her son had experienced brief abdominal pain and temporary epidermal discoloration.

The report launched an investigation, which led to the discovery that  for some time, apparently, it has been a "tradition"
at an area Boy Scout camp for older, experienced campers to routinely subdue younger campers and administer what they call "pink bellies."

The practice involves  forcibly restraining the younger boys,  lifting their shirts to expose their bare bellies, then repeatedly slapping their abdomens until their skin turns pink.

Until the young camper told his parents about the ordeal he'd undergone, the "pink belly" practice had evidently gone on for years, with the full approval of Boy Scout officials.

"We really never thought of it as anything other than a minor prank - a sort of rite of passage," said Bob Bristol, scoutmaster of Troop 195. "I still don't see anything wrong with it."

CPS head Aletha Durgin-Park disagreed with Bristol, saying, "I'm utterly aghast at the thought that this sort of bullying has been going on for as long as it has, with the full knowledge of the adults to whose care those young victims were entrusted. It's my hope that those adult leaders will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that no child will ever again be subjected to the pain and indignity of a pink belly."



*********** Hey Coach! I'm starting my 21st year of coaching youth football at my ripe old age. I am coaching a first year 8 year old team which I haven't ever done. In the league we're in the offense is lucky to get 20-25 plays from scrimmage. I want to run a no huddle for the express purpose of increasing that number somewhat. I'm not running it to take an advantage over the other team in some way. If the game gets out of hand in our favor we will slow the pace. The nice thing is that we have a coach on the field who can communicate with players, call plays, and even position them. I've though of several ways to communicate the plays, even as simple as calling out two plays with a code as to the live play. I've thought about having the offense simply move backward 5 yards in no particular orderly huddle telling them the play. I have bought wrist coaches for the whole team and was planning a simple code as to what play we will run. We could call out a color which means nothing, followed by a number corresponding to a number on the wrist coach. The live call would be dependent on the down. On first and third down would mean the first play called. On second and fourth down the play would be the second play called. Would you have something simple that I may be overlooking in calling the plays? Sometimes we overlook a simple method while searching for an answer.

Thanks,

Coach,

I believe in keeping things as simple as possible for our kids.  I do everything I can to eliminate confusion.  We have some very smart kids on our team, but we also have some kids who struggle in school, and I judge the effectiveness of anything I try to do by whether even one kid is having trouble understanding it.

I've found, over the years, that when I try to outsmart an opponent I usually wind up outsmarting one of our kids.

We normally call (but we could signal) one play to our QB, who takes it to the huddle.  We don't actually call a play by its name.  We simply give the QB the coordinates on our play card plus any formation or motion that might differ from what's on the card, and that's that.

We do this in every practice.  We never huddle in practice - saves a lot of wasted time and effort -  so if we want to go no-huddle in a game we can easily get the play to the QB while the team is at the LOS, and then he'd repeat it to the team.

All we need to do is put the kids on notice what the pace is - is it slow-down, no-huddle (just what it says), or racehorse (get up fast, get back to the LOS fast, get ready to run the next play)?

We don't get into live colors or two plays, or any of that sort.  On occasion we'll call three plays in a row and run them rapid-fire.  We have run "windshield wiper" (88 Super Power, 99 Super Power, 88 Super Power, 99 Super Power, etc.)

If by some chance the defense has an idea of what our code means (something I have yet to run into), they still have to know what we're trying to do with that play; while they're busy trying to figure things out, we're off and running.

I'll be glad to share our system with you if you'd like.

*********** INTERNET HUMOR

A Russian arrives in New York City as a new immigrant to the United States . It's 11:00 AM on a   Wednesday .

He stops the first person he sees walking down the street and says, "Thank you Mr. American for letting me come into this country, giving me housing, food stamps, free medical care, and a free education!"

The passerby says, "You are mistaken, I am a Mexican."

The Russian goes on and encounters another passerby. "Thank you for having such a beautiful country here in America .."

The person says, "I'm not American, I'm Vietnamese."

The new arrival walks farther, and the next person he sees he stops, shakes his hand, and says, "Thank you for wonderful America !

That person puts up his hand and says, "I am from Middle East. I am not  American."

He finally sees a nice lady and asks, "Are you an American?"

She says,   "No, I am from Africa .."

Puzzled, he asks her, "Where are all the Americans?"

The African lady checks her watch and says:   "Probably at work."

*********** Collegiate Licensing Products Released its Top 75 colleges in order of sales volume


Top 75
You'll notice that the list is not comprehensive.  Conspicuously absent are big sellers Oregon, USC and Ohio State.

http://www.clc.com/News/Annual-Rankings-2013-14.aspx

*********** I was reading about the troubles of one more in a long list of student/criminals (college athletes who've run afoul of the law), and I noted that someone referred to what the "kid" had done (dragging a woman around by her hair) as a "mistake," and  loved the response of an anonymous writer:

Mistakes have no moral element to them.  These were not mistakes, they were choices to do moral wrongs, some of which were crimes. Please do not calls crimes mistakes.   They are not. They are willful decisions to do wrong.  They didn't miss the turn or add numbers wrong. Those are mistakes. Burglary and assault are not mistakes. They are crimes which are moral wrongs, sins.

A 3rd year student in college, unless a child prodigy, which ----- is not, is not a kid. He is an adult.  People younger than ----- are putting on our military uniforms and getting shot at and are shooting to kill.in defense of your liberty.  These are not kids. They are adults, and should be shown the respect they are due by referring to them as adults, not kids.

*********** Not wanting to comment one way or the other on the sad and untimely death of Robin Williams, I came across a great article by Jim Geraghty, in National Review Online, suggesting that there's a whole lot in our popular culture that might be  factors in depression...

It's good that everyone has touted the suicide-prevention hotline for the past 48 hours. But there was the uncomfortable fact that Robin Williams had been in rehab recently -- and had in fact spent quite a bit of time in rehab over the course of his life.

He sought professional help, and received it, many times over. Yet all of that couldn't steer him away from this path. This isn't to say people shouldn't seek professional help, just a recognition that it isn't a sure-fire path to healing.


To the extent depression is not biological, we know there are certain behaviors that are either contributors or symptoms: social withdrawal and isolation; self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, junk food, etc.


I picked out some elements that would be included in a dystopia deliberately designed to sow depression in its inhabitants:

    •    a constant technological connection
    •    online interactions replacing in-person ones
    •    public instantaneous gut-level reactions to news and events, fueling a perception that the general population was stupid, hateful, racist, etc.
    •    the perception of children as a burden
    •    an obsession with youth and fear of aging
    •    an obsession with appearances and attractiveness

I could have tossed in materialism, and the faith that some higher salary or material goods will make us happier people.

*********** Coach -   for the 1st time in my Life I actually visited your Native City , Philadelphia , very impressed had a great Time, and I was stunned just about everyone was friendly I was not expecting that, In the next couple of weeks I need to lost the 20  or so pounds  I put on at that Reading Terminal Market , but other than that Great Time !! ( didn't make it out to Penn or Temple Like I wanted didn't have enough Time )
did Citizen's Bank Park TWICE , City Hall, Suburban Station, Eastern State Prison ,  Nova ( my Aunt and Uncle Live out in St.Davids  he is a retired professor from Nova )  great Time !
 
John Muckian  Ipswich, Massachusetts  ( originally from West Lynn )

It is really a great city.  It's suffered a lot since when I was young, but in many respects - the sports complex, for one - it's far better.

St. David's - the while Main Line, for that mater - is really nice.  A grandson just graduated from Villanova, and we'll miss visiting him there.  (The football coaching staff there is great, too.)

You saw a lot of Philly, but you did fail to run up the steps at the Art Museum (a la Rocky) and drive the East River Drive, especially when the rowers are out on the Schuylkill.  Society Hill, which dates back to colonial times, is cool but not necessarily a big thing to a Bostonian, and I would say that anyone visiting Philly needs to see the 9th Street Italian Market.  It stretches for blocks along one of those narrow streets that you  find only in the really old cities, and, if not actually giving a sense of Europe, certainly takes you back to the days when the stall vendors and store owners were catering to people fresh from the Old Country.

I'm not even mentioning Independence Hall, Carpenter's Hall, Christ Church, Betsy Ross House, Benjamin Franklin's grave, etc.

*********** Sean Payton's upset about the all the penalties in the preseason games.   Me, too.

For one thing, what's the deal on EIGHT F--KING OFFICIALS?

Why don't they just have 22 cameras, one on each player, with 22 league officials back in New York watching every player on every play.

Yes, my plan will result in more penalties. Many of them will be deserved, and many of them, the result of "coaching against the officials,"  will soon decline when coaches realize that they WILL get called every time.

But it will also get rid of several officials - never a bad thing - and it will provide a lot of good, middle-class jobs for camera guys and league employees.

An awful lot of the extra penalties seem to be of the "hands-to-the-face" variety.  What's the big deal suddenly?  You can't tell me that this hasn't been going on for years, and most likely it's been in reaction to the holding that officials have allowed to go on.

*********** Funny how the NFL screws around with rules but let  a few coaches squawk and  they immediately back off.  But wait - aren't the coaches just employees of their teams?  Since when have coaches been stewards of the game?  Aren't they mainly promoting their own interests (which, in fairness, they're being paid to do)?

Has any rule ever been passed that was entirely for the benefit of the fans, and not simply to advance some coach's or owner's agenda, under the guise of being "good for the game?"

It seems to me that instead of having coaches on the NFL Competition Committee - the one that basically makes the playing rules - they ought to have fans.  Real fans.  People who buy tickets with their own money and sit in the stands.  People who tailgate.  Not people whose company pays for the luxury box.

You can't tell me that there's a single real football fan in American who wouldn't have sat in one of those committee meetings and laughed his ass off when some fool proposed making extra points more suspenseful by moving the extra point line all the way to the fifteen yard line.

*********** Hi Coach,

Over the last two weeks, a tectonic shift in life expectancy has occurred. Otherwise healthy Americans are dying years before their time.

I figured out why...

If I see one more flag thrown for Defensive holding, as the NFL becomes a passing only league, I might die of boredom.

ZZZZZzzzzzzzz

Best,

Ed Campbell
Land o' Lakes, Florida

AMEN!  With all the BS "illegal contact" they're calling against NFL defensive backs, it's as if The League seems to think that football fans will still be happy even when there's more contact under an NBA basket than there is in an NFL secondary.

So while the officials Monday night were protecting  those poor, dear receivers from having defenders' hands put on them - they  totally missed the brutal lick laid on a defenseless Cleveland receiver (#11, Benjamin) by a Redskin safety.

*********** Need any proof that that "pre-season" games are meaningless?  The Browns scored against the Redskins on the last play of their game to pull to within a point, at 24-23.  But then, because they really didn't give a sh-- whether they won or lost and they sure as hell weren't going to go into overtime, they went for two. What are the odds you'd ever see an NFL coach do that in a regular season game?

*********** I happen to be one who thinks that the "autonomy" granted to the Five Major Conferences by the NCAA is not going to be a good thing for those of us who love college football.  ALL college football, that is, and not just the super conferences.

It's bad enough that the big five conferences will further separate themselves from all the other FBS conferences by gobbling up most of the network TV money and the big bowl money - but now there's talk that they might move to corner the talent market.

I  recently came across an interview with Tim DeRuyter, head coach at Fresno State, who pointed out how that move would impact aspiring but non-playoff programs such as Fresno's:

DeRuyter is most concerned about two rumored changes. There is talk that the Big 5 conferences may push to expand the number of football scholarships from 85 to 95 per team. That would steer 120 extra players into the Pacific-12 who might otherwise head to programs like Fresno State’s.

Second, some have speculated that the N.C.A.A. might loosen transfer rules, allowing athletes to move freely from one program to another with no penalty. (Generally, athletes now sit out of competition for a year when transferring.) DeRuyter worries that Fresno State and others would lose their best players after a couple of seasons.

“We’d be a minor league for a lot of those conferences,” he said.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/08/14/sports/ncaafootball/fresno-state-faces-the-task-of-keeping-up-with-the-big-5s.html?referrer=
 

*********** I'm for Philly teams any time; and I'm for getting more inner-city black kids interested in playing baseball; but I'm not for girls playing baseball with boys.

Two out of three ain't bad. 

It really pisses me off when the Philly team ekes out a win, 7-6, over Pearland, Texas, and the headline reads "MO'NE DAVIS (that's the girl on the Philly team) COLLECTS RBI SINGLE AS PHILADELPHIA RALLIES."  Uh, if you read a little, you'd see that she knocked in a run with a bloop single - in the first inning.

But then, if they didn't have a story like this, what would ESPN do?  You certainly couldn't expect them to just cover the game, could you?

And then there's the Philly team.   I can spot a stacked deck when I see one, and with all the excitement over the success of the Philly team in the Little League World Series, not to mention Mo'ne Davis,  what's being overlooked is the fact that as part of baseball's "outreach" to the inner-city community,  this team has been allowed to draw players from the ENTIRE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA - that's 1,500,000 people.

Think about that the next time you're watching kids from Rapid City, South Dakota or Pearland, Texas.


.

american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 15,  2014"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."   Winston Churchill

*********** Michigan - and adidas - unveiled the new "TECHFIT" uniform that the Wolverines will wear against Penn State in October.

Compared with some of the crap we see nowadays, these duds don't suck that much, except that this might be the first time in anyone's memory that Michigan won't wear yellow pants. 

But what the hell - it's only tradition being cast aside, and in return adidas, their "apparel partner" is paying them to be clothes horses - and no one has EVER accused Michigan's AD of leaving money on the table.

Just one serious issue I have, though: why, why, why do the apparel companies have to keep feeding the stereotype of football players - particularly black football players - as thugs?  Why  do they put all their uniform models in the "you want a piece of me?"  pose?


 *********** I spent the summer of 1986 as an intern in the athletic department at LSU, working for my former boss, Bob Brodhead, who was then the Tigers' AD.  Our intention was for me to join him eventually on a full-time basis, but there was more to consider than just my ambitions - my wife had a good job teaching school in Vancouver, Washington,, and when we took a look at  what East Baton Rouge Parish Schools were paying their teachers then, we had to say, Uh-uh.

One of the things I thought was really quaint about LSU was that people actually lived in Tiger Stadium.  No, they were not camping out until tickets went on sale.

They were students, and their dormitory rooms were built right into the outside of the stadium.

That was 1986, and I don't know if they're still in use.  They were pretty dingy even  then.

The story behind them, I learned only recently, had to do, like so many things in Louisiana, with political chicanery.

Lousiana once had a governor named Huey P. Long.    Governor Long, a self-styled "man of the people," loved his LSU Tigers, and wanted to expand Tiger Stadium so that more Lousianians could see their team.

Unfortunately, he couldn't get the state's lawmakers to go along with his request for the funds to do so.

The legislature did, however, approve money to build dormitories.

Problem solved, Huey Long style:  A stadium expansion and more dormitories, too.    Dorm rooms on the outside, stadium seating on the inside.

*********** In California, a judge ruled recently  in a case concerning the legality of the death penalty.

A Judge named Cormac Carney.

"Cprmac Carney?" I asked myself.  Could anyone else have that name?

Turns out it was, indeed, that Cormac Carney.  The son of Irish immigrants (both doctors) who learned to play the American game - football - and was good enough to play wide receiver at UCLA and twice be named All-Pac-10.

After college he spent the one season with the Memphis Showboats of the USFL, before going on to Harvard Law School.

http://www.presstelegram.com/government-and-politics/20140717/judge-cormac-carney-who-ruled-in-death-penalty-case-was-a-long-beach-athlete

*********** The Portland Oregonian's Jason Quick, on requesting  to be taken off the Portland Trail Blazers' beat…

I've seen a lot of bull----. From putting your heart and soul into a player and believing him when he talks about kissing his kids at night and all that, then you write that, and the next road trip you see him with somebody that's not his wife, basically getting it on. That's disheartening to me. There's a lot of times where you hear a bunch of bull---- from these guys, it's hard to believe anything.

*********** The headline read, "Apple Releases Disappointing Employee Diversity Numbers"

The problem, it seems, is that Apple doesn't employ enough women or people of certain ethnic groups.

Apple said that (gasp!) 70% of its employees are male and 30% are female globally.

The company only released ethnicity statistics for U.S. employees: 55% are white, 15% are Asian, and 7% are black.

In a memo announcing the diversity statistics Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "I'm not satisfied with the numbers on this page."

WTF?

"Disappointing?"  Disappointing to whom?

Does anyone think for a minute Apple's been turning away qualified blacks and Hispanics and women?  That there's some secret scheme to hire a disproportionate number of Asians?

I doubt we'll ever see this one:

"NFL Releases Disappointing Employee Diversity Numbers"

The NBA said that 99% of its employees are male and 1% are female.

The league only released ethnicity statistics for its U.S. employees: 75% are black, 22% are white, 2% are Hispanic and 1% Asian.

In a memo announcing the diversity statistics NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, "I'm not satisfied with the numbers on this page."

The League did not release figures for handicapped or LGBT employees.

http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-diversity-numbers-2014-8#ixzz3AKHzAejB
 
*********** Ralph Balducci played for me back in 1980 when I was offensive coordinator of the VanPort Thunderbirds, a semi-pro team out here. He was an offensive lineman out of Oregon Tech, and he was one tough son of a gun - didn't take any sh-- off anybody, especially the loudmouth would-be tough guys on our defensive line.  Some of our scrimmages were quite, uh, "animated."

We've stayed friends over the years, and we've watched his kids grow up, especially his son, Alex.  Alex used to come along with Ralph when he'd come over to visit, and while we were looking at film, little Alex (actually, he was always big for his age) would play with all the trucks and cars we kept around for our grandkids.

It's been fun watching him grow up.

Alex went to Central Catholic High in Portland, and had a great career as an offensive and defensive lineman.  Tough?  He is his father's son.

Alex was one of the top two or three prospects in Oregon as a senior, and turned down a number of big-time offers, including ones from Cal, Boise State, Oregon State and Washington, and committed to Oregon. One of the Ducks' selling points at the time was its DL coach, Jerry Azzinaro, a "fellow paisan." 

Azzinaro's now coaching the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive line, but he has to be proud of Alex Balducci, now, at 6-4, 300 the Ducks' starting nose guard.

http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=209608018

*********** “I don’t think I will be able to watch a game now without thinking about the scope and amount of physical carnage that’s required for college football to succeed at the level it does.”
Jeffrey Benedict, co-author with Armen Keteyian of  “The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football”

*********** In the military, it's called "Teaching to the Mission."

What it means is that to stay focused on our mission, to avoid wasting valuable practice time, we  need to constantly ask ourselves,

"Why are we doing this?"

"Can we do without it?"

"Can we do it better?"

"Can we do it some other way?"

"Can we better spend the time doing something else - or doing nothing at all?"

It's a constant checking of yourself and the things that you do - against the reasons why you do them.

One of those things is the post-practice sermon that so many coaches like to preach. They've got the captive audience and,  caught up in all the talk about all the "life lessons" that people say they once got from their coaches,  they think that they have to deliver them all at one time.

Believe me, at the end of practice, their attention is not totally on us and our words.  Working with a short-attention-span generation raised on information bites, we really have to keep our message concise and to the point.

Deliver your message drip... by drip... by drip.

************ My friend Jon Torres found this one for me in the Washington Post

By Tom Jackman

Amid widespread debate about head trauma and the safety of playing football, parents of the athletes at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, Va., were thrilled when a Bethesda, Md., company offered to place impact sensors on team helmets. A light would turn on when a helmet took a big hit, an indicator that trainers should check for a concussion.

Brain Sentry, partnering with Inova Neuroscience Research, wanted to put the sensors on all Loudoun football and lacrosse helmets to identify the risks athletes face and to study data from more than 2,000 students.

But Loudoun County school officials declined the offer, saying that the sensors lacked sufficient testing and that the one-ounce devices could void the helmets’ safety certification. They also said they worry that the sensors could report false positives, that the school system doesn’t have enough trainers to properly monitor players wearing the sensors and that opponents might target key players if they know that tripping a sensor could mean getting someone off the field.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/loudoun-valley-football-parents-fight-for-helmet-sensors-but-administrators-decline/2014/08/07/7bb32bec-1d8d-11e4-ae54-0cfe1f974f8a_story.html?wpmk=MK0000200


Thanks for the article.

God, am I glad I don't coach there!

It's much better to be coaching  kids whose parents don't even know they're playing football.

Meanwhile, I still keep wondering why none of the guys I played HS football with - at a time when if we got knocked cold we went back into the game (or scrimmage) as soon as we came to - aren't stumbling around  punch-drunk.


*********** In advance of their first season in the ACC, Louisville has sold a record 46,149 season tickets.

http://www.gocards.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/080614aad.html


*********** You can't send me back!  I'm a refugee!  And besides, I'm bisexual!

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/12/gay-illegal-immigrants-demand-deportation-protecti/

*********** A recent article in the Wall Street Journal about Cleveland Browns' coach Mike Pettine noted that "his father was a longtime high school teacher and coach."

Not so fast, I thought. That's it?  That's all you can say? "A longtime high school teacher and coach?"

Listen - MIke Pettine, Sr., who until quite recently didn't need the "Sr." after his name, was one of the greatest high school coaches in the long history of Pennsylvania football.

In 33 seasons at Central Bucks West High, in the Philadelphia suburb of Doylestown, he won four state titles in Class 4A, the state's largest.

He ended his career in 1999 with a win in the state title game, and the most career wins (326) of any coach in state history.  HIs overall record was 326-42-4.

He left unfinished a 30-game win streak, and get this - along the way, he had two even longer win streaks.

He obviously had an effect on Mike, Jr.  Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News, wrote...

In 33 years as the coach at Central Bucks High School West in Doylestown, Pa., Mike Pettine Sr. amassed an incredible 327-42-4 record. He won four state class AAAA championships and retired after the 1999 season as the winningest coach in Pennsylvania high school history. He did it all with an approach best described as old school.

“Yeah, I’d say that,” the 73-year-old Pettine Sr. says with a laugh. “No nonsense.”

No player knew that better than his son.

“He wanted to make sure that everybody knew that there was no favoritism there, so he went out of his way to be extra hard on me,” Pettine Jr. said.

After a particularly poor scrimmage during Pettine Jr.’s sophomore year, the team was lined up doing grass drills – running in place, diving on the ground and then popping back up.

“He just kept doing it until guys were done,” Pettine Jr. said. “It was pushing 100 of them that we did. Of the 70-some players on the team, there were two or three guys left standing, and I was one of them.

“It got to the point where I couldn’t get up any more or was slow getting up from one. I just barely saw the size 12 coming at me from the side. The phrase ‘momma’s boy’ and maybe a couple other words were used. That’s the way it was back then. He wanted to make sure people knew that any playing time I earned, it was deserved. Players respected that.”

http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/billsx2019-pettine-blazes-different-trail-than-his-famous-coaching-father-20130723

Read the Maxwell Football Club's tribute to Mike Pettine, Sr.

http://www.maxwellfootballclub.org/award-winner/mike-pettine

A great article about the Pettines' father-son relationship, written for Farther's Day, 2010

http://articles.philly.com/2010-06-17/sports/24967454_1_mike-pettine-linebackers-coach-father-s-day

Mike, Sr. admits he might have been hard on his son…

http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/2009/08/ny_jets_defensive_coordinator.html

On the Browns' staff, Mike, Sr. is referred to as The Godfather…

http://www.clevelandbrowns.com/news/article-1/How-Mike-Pettine%E2%80%99s-dad-became-the-%E2%80%98godfather%E2%80%99-of-the-Browns%E2%80%99-coaching-staff/cff2e931-4eee-46a8-a4d2-a46fd06d560b



american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 12,  2014“How do you tell a Communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.” Ronald Reagan

*********** The pre-season NFL games really make you appreciate the professionalism of the TV guys who work during the regular season.

The pre-season games are the property of the local teams, and they're responsible for the production of the games, which includes providing the announcers.

Most of them are local yokels, often local TV sports personalities.  But they have one thing in common - they are all motormouths.

They babble ceaselessly, as if they don't understand that we can see what they see, and we may even have a better view of it at that. 

One guy kept saying that this runner or that "lowered his shoulder," when we could clearly see that  the runner had done nothing of the sort, making me wonder whether the announcer thought he was doing the game on radio, or on TV for the visually-impaired.


Colts-Giants

**********************  It was 25 years ago -  August 13, 1989.  Helsinki, Finland.

It was Vaahteramalja
(Maple Bow) X

It was Amerikkalaisen Jalkapallon Mestaruussarjan Finaali (The American Football Championship Final)

The Munkka Colts against the East City Giants.

The Colts' valmennus (coach) was "Jugh" Wyatt.  That's me.  There's no sound in the Finnish language comparable to the "Hu" in "Hugh."

The Munkaa Colts were so-named because they got their start in the Munkkiniemi section of Helsinki, Finland's capital and largest city.

My old friend, Clarence "Motts" Thomas, with whom I'd played semi-pro ball in Frederick, Maryland more than 20 years before, coached the Giants.  In fact, it was Motts, whose real job was coach at Pomona-Pitzer in California, who'd first put me in touch, three years earlier,  with the right people to get me my first coaching job in Finland.

Now, far, far from my first Finnish coaching job in Jyväskyä, hours to the north, I was in the capital city, Helsinki, and the head coach of possibly the best team in Finland. The game would determine that. 

I'd fallen into the Colts' job.  The year before, they'd been coached by two Californians named Ken Swearengin and Vince McCullough, the head coach and defensive coordinator at Saddleback Junior College, one of the top JC programs in the country.  I'd met them two years before when they'd brought a team to Finland to play some exhibition games.  And have some fun. Because they'd coached at Jyväskyä before me, that was one of their stops, and we had a lot of fun during the visit.

Now, two years later, they wound up with another commitment that they had to honor,and they asked me if I'd be interested in subbing for them.

Hmm.  Coach a bunch of country guys and keep getting my brains beaten in by the Big City teams… or coach one of those Big City teams myself?

No brainer.  Along with the deal came the usual air fare for my wife and myself, a car and gas and meals, and a really nice apartment in a really nice area called Lauttsaari. The name means "Ferry Island," but Finns jokingly said it real meant "Yuppie Island."

And a good team.  The transition to a new coach wasn't all that smooth at first, but they were a veteran team, and they were already 2-0. So they accepted the new guy.

We were 3-0 and so were the Giants when we met in the regular season.  The Giants won, and it was a bitter loss for us because their score came after a Giants runner was clearly stopped.  But as our players unpiled, he resumed running - all the way to the end zone.  He was awarded a touchdown. No appeal. No recourse.

We swept the remaining games by big margins and finished 8-1. In the 9-game regular season, we scored 296 points and gave up only 56.  We won our semi-final game, 27-14.

The Giants, meanwhile, finished undefeated.  They scored only 140 points, but they gave up just 33.  They eked out their semi-final win, 9-3.

There was bad blood between the two teams, and for reasons known only to someone who'd spent his life in Helsinki.  It went beyond football.  The night before the game, a few nervy members of the Giants - one of them Motts' son, Jason, a wide receiver from Morningside College - stopped by our "clubhouse", a downtown restaurant/bar/disco called Hot Apple where we often held "team meetings."  There was a bit of drinking going on, of course, and God knows what those Giants were doing there, other than to stir up trouble, but stir up trouble they did, and at one point, until they were escorted out by a team of bouncers, we nearly had a brawl on their hands.

On game day, to the extent that foreigners could duplicate a Super Bowl atmosphere in a place that didn't completely understand American football, the Finns mnaged to do that.

There was a nice crowd on hand, and the game ball was delivered to the sideline by limousine, then carried  on a pillow out to the officials.

The game itself was, I guess you could say, uneventful.

We knew that the Giants couldn't score on us.  They had no offense to speak of, mainly because they couldn't throw.  And our defense was pretty good.

But scoring on them, we knew, was going to be a problem. They had a stout defense, built around a middle linebacker named Matti Lindholm, who had gone to camp with the Vikings (Minnesota!) in 1987 and earned a place ein history as the first European other than a kicker to sign with an NFL club.  He wasn't good enough to play in the NFL, but he was damn good by our standards.

We had a very good offensive line.  Their weights were always listed in kilograms (and their heights in centimeters), and a couple of them, Juha Salo and Anssi Roiha, had to be at least 125 kilos. (Multiply x 2.2 to convert into pounds).

Our quarterback, Velli-Matti Kallislahti, was easily the best in Finland, maybe in all of Europe.  (At that time, although we were permitted to have two Americans on our roster, the quarterback had to be a Finn - the idea being that so long as Finnish teams kept importing American QBs, they'd never develop any Finnish QBs, and hence they'd be at a disadvantage when they played in the European Championship where they couldn't use Americans.)

"Vellu," as he was called, had played a year of JC ball in California, and he was decent.  He understood the game, and he took charge - a trait not always to the linking of his teammates, reflecting  the  Finnish suspicion of one of their own who steps out front and tries to take charge.

Our two Americans had played at Arizona State, and they were good.  One of them, Curt Arons, was a wide receiver/tight end type who'd caught 37 passes during the season.  He was also a very good defensive end or outside linebacker, but the rule at the time permitted teams to have only one American on the field at a time, and our other American, Mike Copeland, was a very good defensive end/outside linebacker himself.   In the same manner that youth teams mark the bigger kids so that they can't carry the ball, American players were required to have a BIG "A" on their helmets.

Unfortunately, Vellu, who had thrown for nearly 1500 yards and 15 TDs in the regular season and the semi-final game, injured his shoulder in the semi-final and hadn't been able to throw all week.   We were able to keep Vellu's injury a secret, but even though the Giants didn't squeeze in to shut off our running game, it didn't do us any good, anyhow.   Any pass more than five yards downfield caused him severe pain.

We'd had a decent running game, too, with two runners who'd rushed for over 500 yards.  But our big guy, a stud named Timo Everi who'd played rugby in England and had rushed for 598 yards and six TDs, severely sprained his ankle, and just couldn't go.

We had a limp-armed QB and one decent running back, and against the league's best defense, it just wasn't enough.

But we weren't exactly slouches on defense ourselves.  It had been built by Vince McCullough. He had a good scheme - basically a 5-3 - and he had the right players in the right spots, so I did very little with the defense other than to add a cover two package.   We had a solid front five and three veteran linebackers and a good defensive secondary. Having played at Saddleback, Mike Copeland had a good understanding of Vince's scheme..

Neither team did a thing on offense in the first two quarters, and the score was 0-0 at the half.

That's the way the second half went, too, until,  deep into the fourth quarter, with the Giants stuck inside their 20,   defensive end Jari Liimatainen,  blocked their punt.  Jari was possible the best defensive end in Finland, and he'd been making big plays like that for us all year.  He led the team in sacks with nine, and now his block gave us our deepest penetration of the game.

True to form, though, we failed to move the ball.  But on fourth down, our kicker, Sakari Karstu, who'd kicked at Northern Michigan (where he met his wife, Debbie), put it between the uprights, to make it 3-0.

And that was all we needed.  There was no way the Giants were going to score.

That's the way it ended, the second 3-0 game in my coaching career.

It certainly was not a masterpiece.  There were very few plays that would excite anybody.  How unexciting was it? One of our defensive backs,  Jan-Erik Nyrovaara, nicknamed "Opo," made a few key interceptions and long returns and for his efforts he was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

I suppose, to a lover of offensive football, it was a bit like soccer with pads.  One of the TV announcers said afterwards that the game had set back Finnish football ten years.

I wouldn't know about that.  Hell, ten years earlier, they were playing with hockey helmets.

But what the hell did I care what he thought, anyhow?  We won, fair and square.  We were the National Champions.  Should we have played a more  exciting game - and lost?

We lined up on the 50 and some dignitary placed the gold medals around our necks, the same way the World Cup medals are awarded, and then after jumping around for a while out on the field, we went in and changed, and then headed off "to sauna."

(In Finland, very few things of any importance take place without sauna playing a part. The Finnish language doesn't have articles, so in translation to English, a Finn will never say "THE sauna" or "A sauna.")

Naked in the sauna except for the gold medals around our necks, we sat and joked and drank a beer or two in the 180-degree heat.
And then we stepped outside and found our medals were too hot to touch.

For what it's worth, there have been 24 Maple Bowls since then. That was the first one the Colts ever won, and it was the last one they ever played in. 

Here in the states,  I've never come close to winning a state high school championship. But I have won a national championship.

The secret, I always tell people,  is first to find a small enough country...

http://www.luckyshow.org/football/Maple%20Bowl.htm


*********** Funny - the sports media takes an oh-so-principled stand against racism and discrimination by declining to use the name "Redskins" when writing about "The Washington Team."

And then they go and make themselves - if they hadn't already - look like jackasses by playing along with Ron Artest's name-change game.  Oops. Make that Metta World Peace's name-change game.

Last I heard, the most recent name is The Panda's Friend.

At the very least, for the sake of us sports fans, it's time for a journalistic convention to be known as The Just One Sillyass Name Change in Your Lifetime Rule.

Just a thought - what if "The Washington Team's" quarterback were to change his name to Robert Redskin III?


*********** Years ago, when our kids were teenagers, I heard one of their friends say he'd been "raising heck."

And a week ago I heard a CFL announcer describing a situation  "when all heck breaks loose."

Talk about awkward statements.

The problem with using "heck" other than as a mild epithet, such as shucks and darn, is that it doesn't work. Not as a substitute for the name of an actual place, which even the holiest of people has no problem mentioning.

The Pope recently had some stern words for Mafia hoods:  "Repent. There’s still time to not end up in Heck, which is what awaits you if you continue on this path.”

Boy, I bet the Mafiosi trembled at that threat.

(Yes, His Holiness actually said "Hell.")

*********** A friend who's just starting out in a new job got hit unexpectedly with a health condition that required surgery, and now, with practices under way, he's a bit immobilized.

He said that his staff - all new to him - has been great, and fortunately, the dad of one of his players has offered him the use of a golf cart while he recuperates, but he is under doctor's orders NOT TO LEAVE THE GOLF CART!

We agreed that he has a lot to be thankful for.

The way that dad stepped up says a lot about the people there and the impression he's made on them.

No doubt this will all work out, and one unintended blessing might be the acceleration of the learning process - and the buy-in - of the assistant coaches.

Not that any of us would have the stones to do so deliberately, but teaching a new staff and then just standing back might be a great idea to bring a staff up to speed.


*********** I have wondered for a long time what it is about Deion Sanders that so many people seem to like.  I'm still wondering.  To me, he's  the classic example of someone who's famous because, well, because he's famous.

Yeah, he was a very good athlete.  But our society is full of great athletes whose time has come and gone.  Many of them even had a spin or two around the TV cycle, until people found out how bad they were, or forgot who they were, or both.

Many of them were guys with clean records, guys whom you could use as good examples for kids.

Deion, as anyone who's followed his off-the-field career from the time he was at Florida State can attest, was decidedly was not one of those.  Outrage after outrage, the guy's been given a pass. So what's he got?

He is homely ("a face made for radio," as they say in the TV business) and he dresses in a manner that would put most pimps to shame.

Yes, "Neon Deion" has always been a shameless self-promoter, but that doesn't work for most guys.  Why does it work for him?

What, exactly has made him a Kim Kardashian of sports, a guy who's famous because he's famous?

If you want to read something that sums up everything that Deion Sanders represents, you need to read an August 9 article in the New York Times about Prime Prep Academy, a "for-profit" charter school he and a partner started. 

From the sound of things, it is anything but a school.  The Times' Michael Powell calls it "celebrity culture run amok."  He writes...

Prime Prep was conceived in celebrity, its charter proposal offering a near satirical turn on edu-speak. The proposal mentioned “our training methods” and a “Leadership Studies Curriculum” without explaining the nature of that special sauce. Students, the proposal noted, would “model traits” such as “responsibility” and “courage.” Students would “become self-actualized.”

Yes, well.

After wading through 50 pages of that, I dialed up Michael Soto.   A Harvard-educated Ph.D., he teaches American literature at Trinity University in San Antonio and sat on the Texas Board of Education when it approved the Prime Prep charter.

You could practically hear him grimace. Sanders, he recalled, spoke as board members tossed adoring questions.

“Sanders made himself available, and I was quite embarrassed by this, to pose for pictures and sign autographs for my colleagues on the board,” he said. “The financial planning was suspect; the curriculum design was nonexistent — it was laughable.”

The proposal noted the school would rely on a Sanders company, PrimeTimePlayer, to raise money. Here the proposal’s language acquired a legend-in-his-own-mind quality: Sanders’s company “shall introduce” the school to “its vast corporate circle of influence,” which was “not limited to C.E.O.s, C.F.O.s.” PrimeTimePlayer would claim 10 percent of the money raised, as a commission, and collect a monthly retainer of $1,000 to $7,500.

A majority of the board voted yes; Soto voted no.

“It was Sanders’s celebrity status,” he said, “that got this proposal approved.”

It bothers me no end to think that Under Armour, a company I've generally sympathized with because of its underdog status and because I've followed its founder, Kevin Plank, from his early days in Baltimore, is a "sponsor" of Mr. Sanders, and an abettor of whatever he's up to.  To the extent that they continue their association with the guy, they're in this muck up to their hubcaps.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/sports/prime-prep-academy-founded-by-deion-sanders-comes-under-scrutiny.html?referrer=

*********** This is the kind of government we pay our taxes for. The State Department has somehow found $545,000 to pay to a firm to coach its employees on how to do a better job of testifying before Congress.

For less than half that, I could do the job for every department in the US Government. Here's what I'd tell them:  TELL THE F--KING TRUTH.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/7/state-department-hires-testimony-coach-to-prepare-/

*********** Johnny Manziel, blah, blah, blah.  Johnny Football, blah, blah, blah.

Hey - the kid looked okay.  He ran well, and he ran judiciously, knowing when to go out of bounds and when to slide.  On several occasions, he was a hair's breadth from being clobbered, but that's the way it often was in college, too.

And afterwards, it was as if he was Barach H. Obama, looking into his TelePrompter.  He loves to be in Cleveland, he's just there to get better, to help the team win, etc., etc.

He is exciting to watch.  He is a slippery cuss, he can throw from just about any body position, and when he sets to throw, he can really zing it.

To be realistic, he's a smaller, slower Michael Vick.  How long do you suppose he'll be able to stay a step ahead of pro defenders?

Meantime, the game went down to just shy of a minute to play (1:05, to be exact) before anyone scored a touchdown.  It came on a very nice pass by Detroit's Kellen Moore, who, admitting my bias because he's the son of a Washington coach, looked more like a pro quarterback than Johnny football.

*********** Not sure what the point of the NFL's moving the PAT line to the 15 was.  But if it was to create suspense… drama… thrills…if it was to increase the likelihood of a miss...  it's a flop.

Once again - "No player can kick a ball in any fashion - punt, kickoff, field goal, extra point - more than once a game."

That ought to do it.

*********** In last weekend's pre-season games, 10 of the 16 had more field goals made than offensive touchdowns scored.

Settling for  field goal is simply too easy a way out for NFL coaches.

I noted years ago that an NBA basketball player is more likely to miss a field goal than an NFL placekicker is to miss a field goal.

NFL teams have simply got to work harder at scoring touchdowns, and the answer is simple: reduce the 80 per cent-plus percentage of made field goals.

How?
A simple rule - "No player can kick a ball in any fashion - punt, kickoff, field goal, extra point - more than once a game."

Of course coaches will bitch about it.  They won't like it because it would take away from them an element of certainty - the fact that their kicker has an 80 per cent chance of success - and force them to make some very tough decisions.

So let me see if I've got this right -  you've paid a billion dollars to own a football team, and now you're going to let a guy whom you're paying millions of dollars to coach your team, a guy who knows football but doesn't know squat about marketing or business and has no money invested in the team, tell you not to pass a rule…

*********** Clarence Otis will soon be out of work.  I hope it's not for long. The former CEO of Darden Restaurants, which operates Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille and, until recently, Red Lobster, will be stepping down at the end of the year.

Mr. Otis, a native of Watts (yes, that Watts) attended prestigious Williams College in Massachusetts and then Stanford Law School, and joined Darden in 1985.

In 2004 he was named CEO, and in 2005 he became Chairman of the Board.

During his time at Darden, the company grew from 1,381 restaurants to 2,200, and from $5.2 billion in sales to $8.7 billion.

Unfortunately, Darden - and Mr. Otis - fell victim to an economy in which the dining public chose to save money by moving down from "casual" restaurants such as Olive Garden and Red Lobster to "fast casual" (such as Noodles & Company Panera Bread,  Qdoba Mexican Grill).

I like to check out business leaders - how they got to where they are, and how they lead.

I've followed Mr. Otis for some time because he may be the highest-ranking black man in American business, and because of where he got his motivation initially.

He once told how, when he was little, and growing up in Watts, on weekends his father and mother would pile all the kids in the family car and drive around places like Brentwood, and Beverly Hills and Malibu - not to show them how the rich one percent had put it over on the "poor folks," but to show them what was possible in America.

*********** The Old Fisherman's Grotto, on Fisherman's Wharf, in Monterey, California, is a classy place by any measure.

A look at its menu will tell you all you need to know.  McDonald's it is not.

http://www.oldfishermansgrotto.com/menu2.htm

And yet, even in an upscale, expensive place like this, there are still parents who like to bring their little princes and princesses - noisy little brats, to be more precise - and let them have at it, to the great dismay of the rest of the diners.

Not no more, as my grandmother used to say.

Now, a sign outside the restaurant reads: "Children crying or making loud noises are a distraction to other diners, and as such are not allowed in the dining room.”

Just to further make its point, the restaurant also prohibits high chairs, booster chairs and strollers.

Surprisingly, in this age of child-worship and lax parenting, most  reactions have been supportive of the restaurant.

Nevertheless, good luck to the Old Fisherman's Grotto. I have a feeling they're going to need it.  Surely California has a law against it.  Besides, what if the parents say their noisy little three-year-old is a transsexual?

http://ktla.com/2014/07/31/popular-norcal-restaurant-sparks-debate-after-bans-noisy-kids-strollers-and-high-chairs-from-dining-room/

*********** Look - don't try  saying that I condone men hitting women.

But sh--, ESPN just went and handed a one-week suspension to one of its anchors, Max Kellerman, for admitting on-air that before they'd married, he'd slapped his wife.

Max explained in the story that he and Erin were at a college party and were drunk at the time. Max said that Erin slapped him, and so he slapped her back.

Apart from the fact that I have no idea why he felt the need to share that information,  get this - it happened more than 20 years ago.  That's how long he and Erin have been married.

Did any of you guys do something more than 20 years ago, back in your college days,  that you'd just as soon nobody knew about?   If so, I strongly suggest you keep it to yourself.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/espn-suspends-host-domestic-abuse-724380?mobile_redirect=false

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american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 8,  2014 “This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart and a spine of steel.”  Joe Biden describing Barack H. Obama - Sept 5, 2012

*********** Kansas State's Bill Snyder or SEC Commissioner Mike Slive?  Whom to believe?.

Coach Snyder: "I think we've sold out. We're all about dollars and cents. The concept of college football no longer has any bearing on the quality of the person, the quality of students. Universities are selling themselves out."

Mike Slive: “All the things we’re trying to get are tied to the well-being of the student-athlete. This is not about competition. This is not about enhancing revenue.”

Gee.  That's a tough one.

Yeah, sure, Mike -  all the things the major conferences are trying to do  "are tied to the well-being of the student-athlete." They have nothing  to do with enhancing revenue.

Nevertheless,  this being uninquisitive America, the masses will believe Mike Slive. 

NEWS YOU CAN USE - CONTINUED


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*********** Years ago, I was in Buffalo, talking with a coach named Randy Zak. It was a low time for Buffalo.  The owner of the NHL Buffalo Sabres had just been caught in some sort of financial skulduggery, and there was a very good chance the city could lose its hockey team. Randy Zak should his head at the thought and said, "We can't catch a break."

I like Buffalo, the city and its people.  I appreciate the devotion of Buffalo's football fans.  I know enough of my football history to know that they were shafted back in 1950, when the AAFC (of which the original Bills were members) and the NFL merged,and the only  members of the AAFC to survive the merger were the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers and - the Baltimore Colts.  The Bills were a far better team than the Colts, and their attendance was far better, but Baltimore got the NFL franchise and Buffalo got the shaft.

I fear  that  shaft is being greased once again.

So long as Ralph Wilson was alive, the Bills weren't going anywhere.  Mr. Wilson was the classic old-school NFL owner who wasn't in it to make money.  Mainly, that was because (1) he didn't need money, and (2) the value of his franchise was many times greater than what he'd paid for it.

But Mr. Wilson died last year, and with him, I'm afraid, may have died Buffalo's hopes of keeping its NFL franchise.

First of all, there's Buffalo itself, the market, as the TV people like to say.

1950, the year of the AAFC merger, also happened to be the year that Buffalo's population peaked, at around 580,000 people.  It's been on a steep and steady decline since, tracked by the decline of its steel industry, and in the most recent census it was only 261,000. 
In 1950, its metro area population ranked 14th in the US. By 2010 it was 50th.

That means, for example, the Buffalo Metro Area is now smaller than that of Greensboro-Winston Salem, Hartford, Virginia Beach-Norfolk, Grand Rapids, Greensville-Spartanburg and Harrisburg-York, among others.

It is WAY smaller than such non-NFL areas as Portland-Vancouver (#19), Orlando (#20), Sacramento (#24), Salt Lake City (#27), Columbus (#28), Las Vegas (#30)  San Antonio (#31), and Raleigh-Durham (#34).

A measure of the importance of the size of a team's market is the size of the TV viewership of its preseason games, because while teams share equally in League TV revenues, they keep the moneys they receive from sponsors of their preseason telecasts.  There, the BIlls rank dead last - behind even Jacksonville.  Their average number of viewers per game, from 2010 through 2013, was 91,700.  Contrast that with those at the top - the Bears at 448,063, the Giants at 415,733 and the Eagles at 395, 063.  The NFL median is just over 200,000.

Looking at those figures, one would have to think that after paying an outrageous sum for an NFL franchise, anyone buying the BIlls would have to at least take a look at a more lucrative market.

Well. Less than two hours from Buffalo is the Canadian giant, Toronto.  Far more in line with the NFL's self-image as a Global Player than Buffalo, Toronto's metro area population of 6 million  ranks it just below Atlanta and just above Detroit.  Not counting the LA area, it's the largest North American metro area without an NFL franchise.

Toronto has already hosted several Bills' regular season games, and there are certainly people in the Toronto area wealthy enough to step up and buy the Bills.

Any relocation of the Bills to Toronto, unfortunately,  would prove fatal to two important football institutions - the Buffalo Bills, immediately, and the Canadian Football League, ultimately.

For those reasons alone - save the Bills.

*********** Jay Winter, the Charles J. Stille Professor of History and editor of the recently published three-volume “Cambridge History of the First World War,” recently spoke to YaleNews about how WWI has impacted the 20th century, what lessons can be learned from the conflict, and the emergence of a global history of the so-called “Great War.” The following is an edited version of that conversation.

One of your areas of study is the remembrance of war in the 20th century, such as memorial and mourning sites. What led you to study this topic?

My mother’s family was wiped out in the Holocaust, and its shadow haunted my childhood. Writing about mourning practices in the aftermath of the First World War was an indirect way of confronting indirectly part of my childhood.

What lasting impact has World War I had on the 20th century?

The Great War, as the British term it, turned war from a killing machine into a vanishing act. Half of those who died in the war have no known graves — that is five million people. Hence, the cult of names emerged in the war, since all that is left of these people are their names. And that cult of naming after the 1914–1918 conflict has extended to the 6 million victims of the Holocaust, the names on Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial wall, the names of the “disappeared” in Latin America, and the names of those killed on 9/11. Here is but one way in which the Great War has shaped the last century and this one as well.

What lessons from WWI can we bring to present-day conflicts?

The first lesson is that war is a Pandora’s Box. Once opened, it cannot be contained.  Politicians are more inclined to overestimate their power to control the violence of war. The military know better, but frequently get trapped in wars that cannot be controlled or easily ended.

*********** Ed Sprinkle died last week.  He was 90.

In the pre-face mask days when only the tough played pro football,  Ed Sprinkle of the Chicago Bears was as tough as they came.  A national magazine article about him was entitled "The Meanest Man in Pro Football."

He played six-man high school football in Tuscola, Texas, and it's believed that he and Jack Pardee are the only two NFL players to have come up through the six-man ranks.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/01/sports/football/ed-sprinkle-defensive-end-known-for-violent-play-dies-at-90.html?_r=1


*********** Sent from the Internet… Possibly the greatest card trick I've ever seen. And more.

http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/17251-Theres-A-Card-Trick-In-There-Somewhere.-Lets-Smoke-It-Out.html


*********** The NFL has invested $45 million in this "Heads Up" program, ostensibly  to make football safer for little kiddies, and then they put John Madden on a panel to promote it, and he crossed them up, saying really little kids shouldn't even be playing tackle football.

“I’m a firm believer that there’s no way that a 6-year-old should have a helmet on and learn a tackling drill,” Madden said.  “There’s no way. Or a 7-year-old or an 8t-year-old.  They’re not ready for it. Take the helmets off kids.

"Start at 6 years old, 7 years old, 8 years old, 9 years old. They don’t need helmets -- they can play flag football. And with flag football you can get all the techniques. Why do we have to start with a 6-year-old who was just potty trained a year ago and put a helmet on him and tackle? I have no idea. We’ll eventually get to tackling.”

Well. Madden's a hell of a one to be talking about what's best for little kids. Yes, he's entitled to his opinion, but so am I, and I'm as qualified to speak on the subject as he is.

Who the hell is Madden, anyway, a guy who makes millions pandering to kids who can sit on their asses indoors and play his video games, to be telling parents their kids shouldn't be outdoors playing tackle football? Until EA Sports starts selling - and kids start playing - "Madden Flag," I'd say he needs to shut up.  For once.  

This is a free country, and until someone can show me teenage kids walking around punch-drunk because of something that happened to them when they were six or seven years old, I'd say it's nobody's business but the kids' and their parents' whether they play football as six-year-olds.

The NFL?  It's  only in this as a matter of self interest, scared to death of mommies not wanting their kids to play football. Scared to death they won't buy their kids jerseys.  Scred to death the kids won't become future viewers.  The idea that the NFL is part of a process to "certify" youth coaches pisses me off no end.  Using "USA Football" as their front, it's only a matter of time before they try that same tactic at the high school level. ("Moms, make sure your son's coach is USA Football-certified!  And if he's not...)

Screw Madden and screw the NFL.  Meantime, it's Thursday night in August and there are three preseason games on TV tonight.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-john-madden-youth-football-20140805-story.html

*********** The original Hall of Fame is a lost  memory.  According to an old edition of the World Book, (remember encyclopedias?) "(The) Hall of Fame at New York University is a national memorial to Americans who have achieved lasting greatness."

Michael MacCracken was President of New York University at the time. Wrote a historian...

"MacCracken wanted to make sure that the people enshrined in his Hall of Fame were truly famous, not just memorable. So he established a board of electors, composed of men and women who were themselves possessed of some measure of renown, ostensibly people of great character and sound judgment. Over the years that body would include the most respected writers, historians, and educators of their day, along with scores of congressmen, a dozen Supreme Court justices, and six Presidents; seven former electors have themselves been elected to the Hall of Fame. To ensure that nominees would be evaluated with adequate sobriety and perspective, it was decided that no one could be elected who had not been dead for at least twenty-five years. Everyone thought that was just fine; after all, as the old maxim holds, 'Fame is a food that dead men eat'."

It was opened in 1900, with elections held every five years.

To be eligible  - and to assure that popularity wool not be a factor in election - a nominee had to have been dead at least 25 years.

The original class consisted of the likes of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Webster, Benjamin Franklin, Ulysses S, Grant, etc.

Admission was highly selective.  Take a look at this partial list of illustrious Americans who were nominated at least twice but didn't get in: 

Samuel Adams, Louisa May Alcott, Johnny Appleseed, Chester A. Arthur, Sarah  Elizabeth Blackwell, John C. Calhoun, , George Rogers Clark, George M. Cohan,Calvin Coolidge, John Singleton Copley, Dorothea Dix, Paul Dunbar, Amelia Earhart, Wyatt Earp, Henry Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, James A. Garfield, William Lloyd Garrison, Lou Gehrig, Henry George, Horace Greeley,  Warren G. Harding, Benjamin Harrison, William Henry Harrison, Charles Evans Hughes, ,William James, John Jay, Andrew Johnson, Al Jolson, Chief Joseph,  Joyce Kilmer, Fiorello La Guardia,  Crawford Long, Huey Long, Cyrus McCormick, Robert McCormick,  William McKinley, Ottmar Mergenthaler,  Lucretia Mott,  Wendell Phillips,  Will Rogers, Babe Ruth, Sacagawea, Jacob Schiff, Elizabeth Seton, Nikola Tesla,  Martha Washington, Mary Ball Washington,  Noah Webster,

Since then, every organization under the sun, and every school and town in the United States, has its own "Hall of Fame," recognizing various members, graduates and residents for sometimes less than distinguished accomplishments.

Many of those Halls of Fame work extremely hard to maintain the integrity of their standards.  It is very, very hard, for example, to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Far too many others, unfortunately, are not halls of "fame" in any sense.  They've caved to the desire for inclusiveness, to gender equity, to the grade-inflation that infects our colleges and to the "trophies for everybody" mentality that corrupts our kids.

One interesting phenomenon in the rush to be inclusive is the induction of entire teams to sports Halls of Fame. Makes you wonder why the original Hall of Fame didn't admit every solder in the Continental Army.  Or at least every member of the Continental Congress.

My old high school has a Hall of Fame, of course, and it once admitted an entire girls' cross-country team.  Every member, no doubt, was a superior achiever, worthy of distinction.

Gender equity, of course, must have its day.  At West Point, which had been playing football for over 100 years before women were admitted to the Corps,  it's quite common now for a woman who competed at a D-IAA  level in a minor sport to enter the Army Sports Hall of Fame over a great football player from
Army's glory days whose only strike  was that so many of his teammates had already been admitted. 

Now comes news that the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be more inclusive, too.  It's adding a "Contributors" category - to include commissioners, owners and general managers.  (No mention of agents.)

Okay, okay.  If they have to. But only if they've been dead 25 years.  By that time,  most of their toadies and lackeys and entourage will be dead, too, which that means only an Art Rooney or a Bert Bell or a Pete Rozelle could  get any votes.

*********** One of the many soccer terms I can't stand is "friendly,"  as in an exhibition game. Evidently there is this unwritten rule that "friendlies" don't involve going all-out to win.  Probably just one more thing that stands between soccer and the mainstream American culture, which still clings to the old fashioned notion that you're either competing or you're a POS.  And if you're not competing, you've sure got a hell of a nerve expecting people to pay to watch you play patty-cake.  The NFL presumably has learned that lesson from the public outcry about recent Pro Bowls.

So the MLS All-Stars beat Bayern München, 2-1 Wednesday night in front of a large (for US soccer) crowd of spectators that presumably had paid for their tickets.  My wife and I watched the telecast, for which sponsors had obviously paid, but we quickly noticed something missing - there was less contact, resulting in  fewer flops, and far fewer yellow cards, than we'd seen in World Cup competition.

We didn't truly understand about "friendlies"  until afterwards, when the MLS coach went on the field for the postgame handshake and was coldly rebuffed by the Bayern München coach.  As we discovered, the München coach had the red ass because he felt that a couple of the MLS players had been  a bit too aggressive in their "tackling." Why, they'd actually knocked his lads to the ground!

Evidently he felt that they'd forgotten that this was supposed to be a "friendly," which I now gather is soccertalk for "rigged," or  "pro bowl."  And here's the worst - the studio analysts seemed to think that he had a point.

Funny how this incident came just a day or two after a big article in the Wall Street Journal about the efforts being made by European soccer teams to ingratiate themselves with American fans.  And interestingly, Bayern München was singled out as one that had gone so far as to open a New York office.

They can spend all the money they want on marketing, but it's wasted if they don't understand Americans. Give  American fans, even soccer fans, this much credit - they know a fight from a boat race, and just because a team's the champion of the Bundesliga or somesuch doesn't mean it's entitled to come to town and go through the motions.

In the meantime, they should ship that coach back to Germany and tell him not to come back here until he's grown a pair.

*********** My wife and I were casually watching the MLS All-Star team, mainly because it was being played in Portland, and I was reading a newspaper when my wife said, "Can we go back? I swear I saw a sign that said, 'F--k Ohio!'"

Pause.  Rewind.  Freeze.

I'll be damned if someone in the stands wasn't  holding up what appeared to be a soccer scarf expressing that very sentiment.

So what was a Michigan football fan doing at a soccer match in Portland, Oregon?

*********** Am I the only person who thinks that what seems to be a common practice at soccer games - soccer players walking onto the "pitch" before games hand-in-hand with little kids - is a little creepy?

*********** Billy Shaw of the Buffalo Bills played his entire career in the American Football League, and is the only player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who never played in the NFL.  He retired in 1969 and the AFL and NFL merged the following season.

*********** Interesting story. Detroit Lions' fans undoubtedly know it.  It's called "Layne's Curse."

Everybody knows that the Lions have been bad for a long time.

I happen to be old enough to remember 1952 and 1953, when they were the champions of the NFL.

Bobby Layne.  Doak Walker.  Leon Hart.  Jim Martin.  They were good.

In 1958, the Detroit Lions traded Layne, the quarterback of those great championship teams, and the legend goes that  Layne, unhappy with the trade, said, "Detroit won't win a championship for another 50 years."

Forget that there is no proof that Layne actually said anything like that. The story took hold and grew, over the years,  along with the Lions' futility.

Fast forward to 2009, the year after the supposed curse  was lifted.

That happened to be the year they drafted Matthew Stafford.

Okay, okay.  It gets better.

Matthew Stafford went to Highland Park High School, near Dallas.  So did Bobby Layne.  So did Doak Walker.

*********** A Double-Winger who's moved to the Winston-Salem, NC area is looking for a team.  Shoot me an e-mail with your contact information if you'd like to talk to him!

*********** The Iggles are talking about going back to Kelly Green uniforms!

https://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/philadelphia-eagles-discussing-return-to-kelly-green-uniforms-with-nfl-173546515.html

Thought you might like this, Coach.  Hope all is well.

Josh Mongtomery
Berwick, Louisiana

I'd love to see it happen.  I remember writing about that stupid "Midnight Black" nonsense, back when every team in the NFL was adding black to its colors, as if they were preparing for a return to the days of B & W TV.

Maybe while they're at it they can bring back Tommy McDonald and Norm Van Brocklin and Chuck Bednarik for just one more game...

Hope you're doing well!


*********** I read Bob Bowlsby's comments recently about the grim future of college sports.  If you like college sports, he said, you're not going to like the future.

Bob Bowlsby's the Commissioner of the Big 12, and when he talks, I listen.  I give him a lot of credit for the way he's helped reinvigorate a conference that not too long ago was reeling from the loss of Texas A & M and Colorado and, at one point, the possible loss of Texas and Oklahoma as well.

But I give him even more credit for what he did at Stanford.

People talk about leadership and always mention the coach, as if he operates in a vacuum,  but I have to say that there's another element of leadership that's almost as important.

Jim Harbaugh did a marvelous job of turning around the Stanford football program, in changing the Stanford football culture from dink-and-dunk to hard nosed. He has been doing the same with the 49ers. He himself is hard-nosed and competitive and he never takes his eye off the ball.

Memories are short, and people may have forgotten that when Harbaugh was hired, Stanford  was really down. They'd gone 16-40 and suffered through two bad coaching hires in the five years since Tyrone Willingham left for Notre Dame, and there were serious questions being raised about whether a school with Stanford's Ivy League-type academic standards could ever again compete in football at a high level.

To me, even more important to Stanford football than the hiring of Harbaugh was the hiring in 2006 of the guy who hired Harbaugh - Bob Bowlsby.  Bob Bowlsby was not some underling promoted to his first AD job.  He had solid experience running a big-time athletic program (at Iowa), and he knew what it took to win.

And he knew the importance of football.

Stanford has always taken justifiable pride in its all-around sports excellence, and is always at or near the top of Directors'  Cup standings. Unfortunately though, during football's down years, Stanford seemed to go overboard in boasting about the success of its other sports, as if that would compensate for - deflect attention from - its dismal performance on the football field.

Bowlsby wasn't buying.  He knew better. He was astute enough to know that football drives an athletic department.

When Walt Harris went 1-11 in 2006, Bowlsby let him go, after just two years as Stanford's coach.

And as the search began that would result in Harbaugh's hiring, Ivan Maisel, himself a Stanford grad, wrote in ESPN College Football:

Bowlsby acknowledged that winning at Stanford is difficult because of the limits on recruiting at a school with such high academic standards. But he said the Cardinal should be capable of anything and said he'd look for a "relentless recruiter" who will embrace what Stanford has to offer.

Enter Harbaugh.  A former NFL quarterback, maybe, but a guy with a solid coaching resume and, no doubt appealing to Bowlsby and his Big-Ten background, a Bo Schembechler disciple at the core.

Harbaugh used Stanford's high standards to his advantage, not as a detriment, in recruiting.   He continued to work without letup on the West Coast, where Stanford's reputation is second to none, but he also cast a wide net for the rare gems in other parts of the country who qualified academically and athletically and were willing to leave home for a great football/academic experience.  A look at a Stanford football roster ppst-Harbaugh is evidence that Stanford recruits on a national scale as extensively as any service academy.

As evidence of the culture change that's come about, Harbaugh is now gone, but Bowlsby had the good sense to promote his offensive coordinator, David Shaw, to be his successor. Shaw, a Stanford man, has stepped in and, if anything, improved on Harbaugh.  Under him,  the Cardinal has gone to three straight BCS bowl games, and two straight Rose Bowls.

But make no mistake: it all started with the hiring of an experienced AD - not just another professional suit, but one who knew that nothing an AD does is more important than hiring the right football coach.





american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 5,  2014“There is a society out there right now that is more worried about what is legal than what is right.” Admiral Charles Larson, former Superintendent, United States Naval Academy

*********** Gifford Nielsen was one of a long line of great college quarterbacks produced at BYU by Lavell Edwards.  He was an All-American at "The Y", and then he played five years for the Houston Oilers, mostly in a  backup role.

As a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he's been assigned to serve as President of the Church's  Pacific Area. 

He'll be based in Auckland, New Zealand, and his responsibilities will include overseeing Australia, French Polynesia, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Papua New Guinea and various Pacific islands.


*********** Our mid-summer mini-camp at North Beach was a resounding success.  We concentrated on basic skills (blocking and tackling chief among them), 2 offensive teams running plays vs air, kick coverage, and defensive position drills.

One big question was answered, and in the affirmative.  Yes, Alex McAra is going to be quite satisfactory at quarterback.  He knows the offense and handles the ball well and rarely slips up.

That he had put in time  improving his passing was evident to all as he threw from the pocket and on the run - both right and left - and made all the decisions and all the throws he's going to need to make.  Undoubtedly those most pleasantly surprised were our receivers, who I'm sure, with our All-State QB graduated,  had resigned themselves to lining up outside and blocking or otherwise serving as window dressing.

Also - mirabile dictu (wonderful to say) , as I learned in Latin  - we picked up a transfer.  This sort of thing just doesn't happen at North Beach, yet in walked a young man, originally from Taholah, the headquarters of the Quinault Indian Nation, about 25 miles to the north.  After three days of camp, he appears to be a player.  He's very strong and very athletic - and very coachable.  I thought our line was going to be quite good - I/m constantly amazed at our size - but until this camp we had no depth. Now, between this new young man - who might actually earn a starting spot -  and an incoming freshman with a lot of potential, we're covered.

We had five good running backs on hand, with a sixth, a senior, who's been away all summer but will certainly be in the rotation once practice starts.  Two of them will double as slot backs.

We could use some depth at tight end and split end, but we have a few possibilities there.

I know the old expression about many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip, but if you can't tell that I'm excited about our prospects, you don't know me.

************* Quite a collection of College Football Hall of Famers at a recent banquet in the Twin Cities…

hall of Fame banquet

For what it's worth… Ted Brown of NC State was a great college running back who was drafted Number One by the Vikings and played eight years with them.  His son, J.T. plays professional hockey with the Tampa Bay Lightning… Jim Christopherson played two years with the Vikings, and coached at Concordia 1969 through 2000.  His teams won  NAIA national championships in 1978 and 1981 and 11 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference  titles during his tenure. At the time of hi retirement he ranked third in wins among active NCAA Division III coaches… The late Sandy Stephens, represented by his sister, Ms. Foster, played quarterback for the Minnesota Gophers and was the first black quarterback to be named All-America… John Gagliardi shouldn't need an introduction, but just to be sure- he has the most wins of any college football coach at any level. He coached at St. Johns University in Minnesota from 1953 through 2012, and  retired with a career record of 489–138–11.  His Saint John's Johnnies teams won   NAIA national titles in 1963 and 1965, and NCAA Division III National Titles  in 1976 and 2003…. The late Leo Lewis, represented by his son, was a great CFL running back whose running style and origins in Missouri's tiny Lincoln University earned him the nickname "The Lincoln Locomotive"… Dave Casper was an All-American on Notre Dame's 1973 National Championship team, and played nine years in the NFL.  In five of his first six years, playing with the Oakland Raiders, he was named to the Pro Bowl team… Gene Washington was an All-American wide receiver at Michigan State, and after being drafted first by Minnesota he played six years with the Vikings and two with the Broncos. (Not to be confused with Gene Washington, also a wide receiver, who played at Stanford, was a four-time All-Pro with the 49ers, and now works in the NFL offices.)… Randall McDaniel played college football at Arizona State, and then played 12 years with the Vikings and two with the Buccaneers. He played in 12 consecutive Pro Bowls (1989-2000) as an offensive lineman.   Along with Curly Culp, he is one of just two Arizona-born players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame… Paul Wiggin, a native of Lathrop, California, was an All-American defensive end at Stanford and spent 11 seasons as a defensive end for the Browns.   He played on the last championship Browns' team, in 1964.  He served as an assistant coach with the 49ers and the Saints and was head coach at Stanford and also with the Kansas City Chiefs.  Since 1985 he's been with the Vikings, the first seven years as an assistant coach and since 1992 in an administrative/scouting capacity.

*********** Sent to me as an April Fool's joke by Jim Franklin, of Flora, Indiana, this has begun to sound less and less farfetched…

A Federal judge ruled yesterday that the University of Michigan's fight song "The Victors," which defense attorneys called "The most famous fight song in the world," was offensive and must be eliminated.

Judge Joanne Smith wrote, "'Hail to the victors valiant, Hail to the conquering heroes'" is sexist and reeks of American exceptionalism and militarism. The American public cannot tolerate a school that proclaims itself to be 'The leader and best.' America only has one leader, and he is not the University of Michigan's head football coach."

Judge Smith recommended replacing "The Victors" with "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing."

A spokesperson for the University of Michigan replied the school would
appeal the ruling.  A spokesperson for The Big Ten Conference would not
comment "On the advice of attorneys."

*********** Why I dislike soccer…

Originally, I had nothing against the Beautiful Game.  Yes, I confess that I once fell asleep at a Philadelphia Atoms game (I'd been give free tickets, and I took the family). But in fairness to soccer, I'd been working long hours, and I'd had a beer or two, so…

I once was offered a job as PR Director of a team called the Washington Diplomats. My first assignment was to write the release announcing my hiring.  It was also my last assignment.  I found a job in football.

No, I haven't hated soccer all my life.  In truth, I don't hate it now.  I hate the anti-American attitude of the people who promote it and play it.  And I hate the fact that it symbolizes the neutering of our boys.  I'll even take the long way out of our neighborhood just so that I don't have to drive by our town's playing fields and see all the little sh--s running around in their shorts while their mommies and daddies sit in their lawn chairs and look on worshipfully.

My animosity dates back to just about this time in 1975.  I'd only been in Portland about two months.  I was working hard along with everyone else on the Portland Thunder staff (there were just six of us -  GM Bob Brodhead, business manager/ticket manager/part owner Paul Lindgren, marketing director Dom Flora, Assistant GM/PR Director Yours Truly, and secretaries Chris Anderson and Janet Epley.)  Because we were few in number, we had to make up for that with long, long working days.

We had, it turned out,  stepped into a veritable hornet's nest of Portlanders who'd been stiffed the previous year by the WFL itself, and by its Portland entity, the Portland Storm.  When the WFL folded near season's end, there were players left unpaid and ticket holders left holding worthless ducats.  Media people had been lied to.  It was as if the carnival had come to town and fleeced everybody. Taken them for rubes. And then skipped town. Everywhere we turned, people were pissed.  

But we pressed on, trying to remake an image, trying to sell tickets.  Fortunately, one of the newspapers in town, the Oregon Journal, cut us a break and treated us like a new team in town.  Unfortunately, the other one, and the one with the larger circulation, the Oregonian, treated us the way the Portland Storm deserved to be treated.  Except that we weren't the Storm.  Didn't matter. (In retrospect, maybe some other name, such as Loggers, or Pioneers, or - looking ahead to today's Portland - the Wierdos would have helped.)

It also didn't matter that we were new management, with all-new ownership, most of it local. The new management factor was no help, because Portland back  then was perhaps the most provincial professional sports market in the US, and Bob Brodhead and I were - gasp - outsiders.  Even worse, we were - Omigod! - Easterners!

And then  there was soccer.  Specifically,  the North American Soccer League and its newest franchise, the Portland Timbers. 

Thunder TicketWith the town still angry with the World Football League, the NASL and the Timbers, enthusiastically covered by the Oregonian, stole the media spotlight.

No matter that we were a bona fide professional sports franchise and we were signing players to contracts nearly comparable to other sports leagues while the NASL was barely professional and the Timbers were a bunch of Brits no one had ever heard of before.

I didn't understand it at the time, but it's not for nothing that people nowadays  sport bumper stickers that say, "KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD." The Timbers were Portland Weird. They were also a cheap family outing. Charging dime-store prices (roughly a buck and a half, if I remember correctly), they filled old Civic Stadium with crowds in excess of 25,000.

And there we were, trying to get all of $7.50 for a reserved grandstand seat.  That was cheap by comparison with the NFL, or the Trail Blazers, but you'd have thought we were carnies, back to fleece them a second time.

And then we played our first game.  We may have drawn 10,000 or so to Civic Stadium.  We didn't play well, and lost an exhibition game to my old team, the Philadelphia Bell, coached by my old road-trip riding buddy, Joe Gardi.

Losing the game was disappointing, but I will never in my life forgive the bastard at the Oregonian who chose the photo that accompaned the story in the next day's paper.

The Oregonian's photographer had taken a ground-level shot of our quarterback, Don Horn, about to take a snap, but the photo's background was dominated by a banner (made much larger by a telephoto lens) hanging  on a wall, left over (thanks a lot, stadium management) from a recent Timbers "match."

It  read SOCCER CITY USA.

Grrr. Talk about a gut shot. That was the day  soccer became The Enemy.

(As an aside: Dom Flora, a native of Jersey City,  played college basketball at VMI, where in 1957-58 he was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year.  The year before that, the SC Player of the Year was West Virginia's Hot Rod Hundley; the year after, it was another West Virginia kid named Jerry West.)

*********** Never too young for our kids to start exercising those  "reproductive rights."    Gervais, Oregon schools planned to give free condoms to kids as young as  11…

http://eagnews.org/oregon-district-halts-condom-giveaway-amid-community-uproar/

*********** It doesn't seem all that long ago that I was working at Rich Brooks' Oregon Football Camp and one of the other guest coaches was a bright young Linfield College assistant named Mike Riley.

Now, about to begin his 14th season as head coach of Oregon State, MIke Riley is the longest-tenured head coach in the Pac-12.  By far.

Ten of the conference's 12 head coaches have been on the job four years or less.

The second-longest tenured is Utah's Kyle Whittingham, who came on the job in 2005, but in reality, has only been a Pac-12 head coach for three years.

*********** Kansas City Chiefs' rookie De'Anthony Thomas, at 5-9, 174 is one of the smallest players in the NFL, but based on reports coming out of Chiefs' camp, don't bet that he won't make an impact on the League..

Kid is fast.  VERY fast.  And fearless.  Some of you may remember the electricity he added to Oregon's already-exciting offense.

He didn't exactly arrive at Oregon a secret.  He was well-known in the LA area for his outstanding play in high school and, before that, in youth football.

No, he is not johnny-come-lately to the Big Time.

It all started one day when he was playing with his pals and a youth coach who happened to be driving by stopped and asked if he'd ever played football. 

He was five years old.

*********** Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban may sometimes sound like a billionaire jerk, but in commenting on Paul George's injury during practice for some meaningless event called the World Games, he went on to the Olympics scam, and said something I could easily have said myself:

"We are so stupid that we are willing to commit what amounts to more than a billion dollars in salaries to help the Olympics line their pockets so we can pretend that the Olympic Games are about national pride."

*********** No disrespect to the recent Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductees, but not being much for NFL extravaganzas, I missed the Hall of Fame speeches. 

So only because I was alerted by my son, Ed, ("Man, that Aeneas Williams HOF speech today was fantastic.") did I catch what Aeneas Williams had to say.

I first had to watch his speech, and then read a transcript.

I can't capture on paper the enthusiasm of his delivery, but he said some very profound things, and just to make sure that his audience was paying attention - the man is a pastor, after all - he repeated them a number of times.

“Begin with the end in mind and die empty.”

"Give it all you've got, until there's nothing left to give."

“Most people go to the grave full instead of empty,”

By the end, he had the "congregation" in the palm of his hands, ready to be led  in a rousing response:

My one life assignment is to help people go to the grave empty. 

So this side:  "Begin with the end in mind!" 

Hall of Famers on this side: "Die empty!"

Y'all ready?  I said, you ready?

This side: "Begin with the end in mind!"

Say it! 


Hall of Famers on this side:  "Die Empty!" 


I can't hear you!


"Begin with the end in mind!"


I can't hear you! 


"Die Empty!"

I can't hear you!

"Die Empty!!!" 

God bless you guys.  I love you, thank you.

http://www.nola.com/sports/index.ssf/2014/08/read_the_transcript_from_aenea.html

*********** The day is not far off when we'll no longer see this happen - three of the recent Hall of Fame inductees played their college football at Historically Black Colleges.

Claude Humphrey - Tennessee State
Aeneas Williams - Southern
Michael Strahan - Texas Southern

Gone are the days when black athletes, however skilled they might be, were shunned by "white" schools and relegated to playing at lesser-known black colleges.  Back then, NFL rosters were loaded with players who'd prepared at Tennessee State, Southern and Texas Southern, but also at places such as Grambling and  Mississippi Valley State, Florida A & M and Morgan State.

Now, those once-white schools eagerly seek out the outstanding black athletes, and as a result, players who once might have gone to Alabama State or Prairie View or South Carolina State now suit up for Florida State.  Or Alabama.  Or Ole Miss.

*********** Here's a good one for you - there is only one former player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who never played a down in the NFL. Name him.

*********** The semi-pro champion Troy Fighting Irish made it 8-0 with a 35-16 defeat of the Ithaca Warriors.  The Irish didn't have to punt at all.  "That's the way we like it," said Irish coach Pete Porcelli.

*********** Phil Taylor, who writes a nice column in Sports Illustrated, got caught up in the NFL-Ray Rice deal, and like most sports writers and columnists, he thinks Roger Goodell was way too easy on Rice.

After the NFL went easy on Rice, he wrote,  "Putting players in pink cleats during Breast Cancer Awareness month suddenly seemed like cynical pandering."

"Suddenly," did you say, Phil?  Suddenly, you think Operation Pink might be the NFL engaged in "cynical pandering?"

You mean to tell me that all this time, you actually thought the NFL, with all the noble  causes it had to choose from, chose Breast Cancer Awareness because it was the most noble  of all?

Phil, all that pink nonsense we've been dealing with every October  - including the obnoxious trickle-down into the high schools -  could more appropriately be called NFL Pink Kevlar Month.

Think it doesn't work? Where are all the women's organizations that should be demonstrating against  the NFL and its treatment of Ray Rice?

american flag TUESDAY,  JULY  29,  2014"The successful football coach is the one who can get the most from the average player - because most players are average."   Bear Bryant

*********** An Army National Guard officer, who just happens to be a United States senator from Montana, has been caught, it appears, wit his pants down, charged with plagiarism in a paper written to earn his master's degree from the Army War College.

First, his office said that he'd been stressed because he'd been involved in larger numbers of IED explosions while deployed.  But upon further questioning, the actual number of bombings to which he'd been subjected was revised downward.  To one.

Next, he said his conduct was owing to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but that didn't go over well with veterans, so that one was reeled in.

Then, it was a "mistake."   Wait.  A mistake is calling a pass to your best receiver and then discovering he's not in the game.  A mistake is picking up the wrong set of keys.  A mistake is forgetting to order cheese on your Whopper.

Nothing on this scale can possibly be considered a mistake.

It is a violation of academic ethics,  pure and simple, and a violation of the ethics that is a core value for a United States Army officer.  Drum his sorry ass out of the service.


*********** The QB in training...

Our team's ready to go into our three-day mini-camp on Tuesday, and I think Alex McAra, our QB, is, too.

Slowly but surely, Alex has progressed from the very basics of grip, stance, release to the assorted setups required by different plays, to setting up and throwing to receivers running routes,  and then to setting up and re-setting and throwing to another receiver.

And, finally, setting up and throwing to multiple receivers (starting out with two at a time) running patterns against defenders, making sure that he understands the purpose of the play, and the various receivers' routes and their purposes.

We run simple two-man patterns against a single defender, to begin teaching him the rudiments of reading coverage.

And constantly - footwork, footwork, footwork.   We vary the setups - one-step, 3-step, sprint-out and bootleg -  and sometimes I make him escape a predicament and scramble.

Alex isn't  a polished quarterback.  Getting players  to that point is a job for one of the many guys who make their living doing that.  My job  is taking a good kid with good athletic skills and a good work ethic and turning him into a serviceable quarterback.   That, I can do.

*********** At first, it looked as if King Roger Goodell had stepped on his own weenie with his decision to give girl-friend-beater Ray Rice a two-game suspension while smoking weed draws four-game suspensions and saying ugly things about gays will get you a three week unpaid holiday.

But then, I listened to ESPN's Dan Le Batard, and what he said made a lot of sense.

He noted that if it hadn't been for the ugly video, which we all saw, oh, maybe two or three hundred times, there wouldn't have been any League action.  Come think of it, can you name another time when an NFL player accused of domestic violence has been similarly suspended?

What bothered me were John Harbaugh's dismissive comments.  (Remember Brian Billick's embarrassing comments after Ray Lewis' arrest?) You'd think that a team with enough money to pay millions for backup quarterbacks could afford to hire a guy smart enough to advise their coaches just to STFU.

The comical aspect of the suspension is that it confirms what fans have been saying for years: the pre-season is a ripoff.  Rice's suspension covers the first two regular-season games, but he is free to play in the exhibitions.

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/outkick-the-coverage/ray-rice-suspended-two-games-for-knocking-out-his-fiancee-072414

*********** Back in 1988, before the breakup of the Soviet Union, my wife and I took a short trip behind the Iron Curtain.  Actually, we didn't enter Mother Russia, but instead, we took a little tour of one of the Soviet Socialist Republics, Estonia.  Estonia is a mere couple of hours by boat across the Baltic Sea from Finland, where we were living, so when my team had a couple of days off, we took a "vodka cruise" (so-called because for the brief time we were in international waters, Finns could buy alcohol duty-free) to Estonia.  That was no small attraction to Finns, whose government monopoly saw to it that prices for alcohol were higher there than any other place in Europe.  The one thing that was required of the vodka tourists, though, was that they actually take a brief tour of Estonia.

Our official Soviet tour guide was a young woman who seemed pleasantly surprised to find a couple of English speakers along on a Finnish tour, and she seemed to take quite a bit of pride in telling us about a recent large gathering of young Estonians that sounded very much to me like a rally for independence.

I was still teaching at the time, and I was snapping photos right and left to show my students back in the states, so when a couple of uniformed policemen came walking by, I raised my camera to capture them on film.

Uh-oh.  The guide put her hand in front of my lens and said, "No, no, no," or something like that.

When I seemed surprised to learn that I couldn't take their photo, she looked equally surprised, and said, "You mean in your country you could take that photo?"

When I told her of course I could, she said nothing, but shook her head in disgust at the restrictions of Soviet life.

Well.  Fast forward to 2014.   An Iowa Boy Scout troop was informed by a Border Patrol agent that not only could they not take his photo, but that doing so was a felony that could result in a fine of as much as $10,000 and 10 years on prison.

That wasn't enough - another agent is accused of pulling a gun on a kid and holding it to his head.

This wasn't our southern border, either.  These Boy Scouts were trying to go from Canada to Alaska.  Anybody else see the irony here?

Welcome to the Union of Soviet States of America, where we serve the government, instead of the other way around, the way it's supped to work.  Welcome to the USSA,  where cabinet departments are armed to the teeth - with their own SWAT teams, yet - and they want us to believe that it's illegal to take a photo of a government employee.

Here's the worst:  A Boy Scout official seemed cool with the whole deal, calling it a good "civics" lesson.

He said that it was important for the kids to "learn to follow the rules."

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2702821/U-S-border-guard-pointed-loaded-gun-Boy-Scout-s-head-camping-trip-child-took-picture-crossing.html#ixzz38mUwnc3v

***********  The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, once known as Maryland State, was a black-college power in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, and turned out such NFL standouts as Art Shell, Johnny Sample, Sherman Plunkett, Emerson Boozer and Roger Brown.  But the school discontinued football following the 1979 season, and now it's hoping to revive its program.

Check out this cool video on football at UMES…

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8xm1olz0bnidg3m/v6NfG-wyzS#lh:null-UMESFootball_1080p.mov

*********** Some dimwit wrote to out local paper on the subject of the border, and summed up his argument by writing, "The U.S. was founded by people fleeing persecution."

Stop.  I can't take it any longer.  I'm tired of hearing this crap tossed about.  Yes, everyone in the United States can at some point trace his ancestry to someone who came here from someplace else.  But, sorry to have to break the news - this country was founded by Americans - successful, educated Americans.   People who had, in some cases, been here  for several generations. 

FACT:   48 OF THE 56 SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE WERE BORN IN AMERICA.  THE OTHER EIGHT WERE BORN IN ENGLAND.

FACT: 47 OF THE 55 DELEGATES TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION WERE AMERICAN-BORN. OF THE EIGHT BORN ELSEWHERE, FOUR WERE BORN IN IRELAND, TWO IN ENGLAND, AND ONE EACH IN SCOTLAND AND JAMAICA (WHICH WAS ALSO AN ENGLISH COLONY).

Refugees from persecution? Hardly.  They were not fleeing anything.  Undoubtedly their ancestors had braved the ocean voyage to come here in hopes of bettering their lives,  but these people - the ones who declared our independence and then founded the United States - were definitely not "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses."  They were exceptional men, and we could use a few of them today.

According to Charters of Freedom - http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_founding_fathers_overview.html

The 55 delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention were a distinguished body of men who represented a cross section of 18th-century American leadership. Almost all of them were well-educated men of means who were dominant in their communities and states, and many were also prominent in national affairs. Virtually every one had taken part in the Revolution; at least 29 had served in the Continental forces, most of them in positions of command.

*********** Roger Angell is 93.  As a New York baseball writer he's covered them all, going back to Babe Ruth.

Maureen Dowd,  New York Times columnist, devoted a recent column to Mr. Angell, and it proved to be a gold mine of quotes.

The thing about baseball is, it’s probably the hardest game to play. The greatest hitters are only succeeding a third of the time. If you take a great athlete who’s never played baseball and put him in the infield, he’s lost.”

Could soccer ever take over as the national pastime? Ms. Dowd asked him.

 “I don’t know,” he replied. “I felt I was being waterboarded by The New York Times with the World Cup.”

Do American men focus as much on baseball? she asked.

 “Baseball used to be really attractive for men because the guys that played it were normal size, they had winter jobs as truck drivers or beer salesmen,” he said. “So it was easy to think with a little bit of luck that could have been me. Now the athletes are clearly so much bigger and stronger and vastly more talented.”

*********** On the list of problems our country faces, the length of time it takes to put a convicted killer to death is way, way, way down near the bottom, and yet there we were last week listening to the bleating of do-gooders with nothing better to do than complain about the time it took for Arizona to execute a cold-blooded murderer.

The guy's name was Joseph Rudolph Wood, III.  In 1989, he murdered his ex-girlfriend and her father, and in 1991 he was convicted and sentenced to death.  That was 23 years ago, and finally, after numerous appeals (paid for by taxpayers) he finally ran out of luck.

But then the whiners complained that after the administration of the lethal drugs, it took him another two hours to die.

*********** Kind of strange that just as Penn State appeared to be making its way back, they went and hired as their AD a woman who was let go  by Cal less than a month ago.

http://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/Cal-s-Sandy-Barbour-out-as-athletic-director-5583544.php

*********** THE Ohio State University fired its band director because of embarrassing "traditions", including a band rehearsal wearing only underwear, that created what the university called a "sexualized culture."

Sexualized culture, eh?  What a surprise.  Welcome to America, 2014.  Welcome to college life.

And welcome, also, to Mommy and Daddy watching out for their little ones, even at college, because apparently the whole deal started when "a parent raised concerns."

I do find it interesting that these same tender youngsters who go off to college but still need Mommy and Daddy to look out for them are the same Rock the Vote brats who elected our President.

Hmmm.  You can vote for President but you're not old enough to rent a car.  Maybe the car rental people are onto something. 

Damn shame, this whole deal, because that Ohio State band is really good.  Not saying that it fostered a sexualized culture, but in the photo in the article below, I notice that the only player number visible is 69.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/ohio-state-university-marching-band-director-fired-sexualized/story?id=24708582

*********** So you trust your government, do you?  Did you happen to see those photos allegedly proving that the Russians were shooting missiles into Ukraine?  Did you wonder if those photos were for real?  Did you find yourself wondering, as I did, whether a government that has lied to us on so many other occasions could now be trusted to tell us the truth?

In a nation in which so many deny the Holocaust, others believe that the Moon Landing was staged and still others suspect that the US government was in on the 9/11 attack - have you heard even one person question whether Osama bin Laden is really dead?
   
*********** Coach Wyatt,
Thanks so much for the annual Report from 2013-2014! I have already read about half of the stories in there and as usual they are inspiring. It makes me wish that my own grandsons had played on teams that carry on the tradition of the Black Lion Award. Unfortunately, none of them played for any teams with that award, but I love them anyway J I know that they always played their hearts out and their parents were extremely proud of them too. These stories are very inspiring, Hugh. Reminds me very much of the days when I played football myself and some of the guys I played with. It may sound a little corny but I do believe that having played football in high school and college prepared me for the job of infantryman in Viet Nam. The job of infantryman is probably one of the toughest in the world. There were many days when it would have been easy to give up but, as in football, there was always something that drove me on. Many times in combat in Viet Nam I could hear my old football coaches urging me on in their own inimitable ways. It was a truly sad day recently when my high school football coach from Westminster High School (California) Bill Boswell passed away. I remember how happy he was to see me after my 3rd tour in Viet Nam and how happy he was that I had survived. People like that have such a positive effect on us as we grow up and mature and that’s why I am so proud to be a part of the Black Lion Award and to be on your Board. God Bless You and your family, Brother!

Dave Aldridge
Fort Lee, Virginia


american flag FRIDAY,  JULY  25,  2014 "We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing; others judge us by what we have done."  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

*********** While the United States appears to be getting ready to cut to the front of the "blame Israel" line,  our friends in Europe appear to be setting the stage for a re-enactment of the Holocaust (assuming that they still believe it actually occurred).

Writes Jim Geraghty in National Review Online…

France: "Unable to reach the Grand Synagogues of Sarcelles, some of the rioters smashed shop windows in this poor suburb where tens of thousands of Jews live amid many Muslims. They torched two cars and threw a firebomb at a nearby, smaller synagogue, which was only lightly damaged. It was the ninth synagogue attack in France since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in Gaza two weeks ago."

Belgium: "Police removed a sign from a Belgian cafe saying that Jews were not allowed following a complaint by an anti-Semitism watchdog."


Germany: "The German government reassured Jews living in Germany that they should feel safe in the face of anti-Semitic chants and threats heard at some of the protests against Israel's conflict with Hamas in Gaza, and said such behavior would not be tolerated."


From now on, no Europeans are allowed to brag about how sophisticated they are.



*********** DEVELOPING OUR QB--- I talked earlier about the grip.  Before going any further, It's absolutely essential to stop right here and stress the importance of not giving a kid a ball that's too big for his hands.  (Ever seen the way little kids try to shoot a big basketball, pushing it from a shoulder with with both hands?  Some of them will develop bad habits so deeply ingrained that they never will learn to shoot properly.  The little guy who's resting a big football ball on the palm of his hand and then pushing it finds it works is in the same situation.)

I'm constantly surprised, although I no longer should be, at the number of kids - decent athletes - who've never played baseball. I constantly see the effect that the growth of soccer is having on our kids, taking them down a road that affords little or no opportunity to develop skills transferrable to other sports.

Assuming that a kid hasn't thrown a football before, and you've given him the basics of a decent grip,  you need to give him a few drills to help him get used to that grip.   One such drill is the "air dribble": just have him hold the ball in front of him, nose down, and let the the ball go and quickly catch it.   Repeat, over and over.   It's definitely not  bad idea to give him some exercises to strength his grip and his wrists.  There are plenty of ways to do this.  Wrist curls aren't a bad idea.  Grips aren't bad, either.  I've found with our QB that picking up bags of sand by their tops is a great exercise because he has to grip tightly to keep them from dropping.

Right at the start, you need to get across the concept that throwing involves the wrist - that he needs to learn to be a little "wristy." (This is made tougher if they've never thrown a baseball, or if as little kids they've been having some success "push-passing" a football too big for their hands.

The wrist is involved in the correct release of the ball, which is more like a baseball pitcher throwing a screwball - most definitely not a curve ball.  One way to get this across is to have a kid try throwing a volleyball (or - gasp! - a soccer ball) for accuracy.  To do so, he'll have to throw the ball so that at release, the thumb on his throwing hand will be pointed downward, the palm outward. (That's the screwball release, as opposed to the thumb-up, palm-in release of a curve ball).

Now for the spiral.  Cosmetics aside - bystanders like to judge a passer by the tightness of his spiral, and they take great delight in quacking like  duck when a kid throws a wobbler - it is important aerodynamically for a thrown ball to spiral.  To teach a kid how to throw a consistent spiral, I haven't found any better drill than having him lie on his back and throw the ball straight up, concentrating on the screwball release, thumb pointed toward his feet as he lets go of the ball.  If the ball goes straight up and comes right back down to him, his release is good, and the ball is probably spiraling.  If he's having trouble, first check to make sure that he hasn't unconsciously changed his grip.  If the grip is okay, he's probably gripping the ball too tightly.  If the spiral just isn't coming, I'll tell him to get the sense that he's starting the spin with his middle finger.  (Slowed-down video will show that the forefinger actually is the last finger to touch the ball - but this tip does seem to help get the spin started.)

For sure, though, the ball should slip off the fingertips.   (if it helps, I once heard a college QB coach relate the release to "flicking a booger.")

This is a drill I expect a kid to do at home, on his own.  I can definitely tell when I next see him whether he's done what I asked.

When he can do this successfully 100 times in a row, he's ready to stand up and throw.

The feet are all-important in passing a football, but at first, while the player is getting accustomed to the rather complicated process of throwing a football, I try to isolate the things he needs to concentrate on, so I keep the lower body out of it.

To teach the basic mechanics of throwing I've used all sorts of "cross-training" devices.  In Alex's case, I've had him throw softballs (weighted and regular) and tennis balls, rolled-up newspapers (got that from Jim Harbaugh) and rubber mallets. Even darts at a dart board.  A lot of kids seem to have difficulty cocking the throwing wrist, and the newspapers and the rubber mallets seem to help as much as anything in teaching that. 

Before going to mallets, I first tried hatchets, on the theory that throwing a tomahawk is very much like what I'm trying to teach.   Old-timers may remember Ed Ames, who played an American Indian character on a TV show, giving a demonstartion of tomahawk-throwing on the Johnny Carson Show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L5QC9ZJkM8 

Great idea, the tomahawk throw, except that there's a not a lot of good targets to throw at, and there's only so many places where you can safely have hatchets flying around.   In addition, with the Quinault Reservation just 20-some miles to the north of us, and several native kids on our team, I wouldn't want anyone for one minute thinking that I'm being disrespectful in any way.)

Full disclosure - a great way to help a youngster work on his throwing is the Passback football.  I sell Passbacks.  And I use them.    I don't really care whether you buy one from me - you can buy them other places, too.  The main thing is, they're very helpful, and they give kids something they can do on their own.

*********** Last Saturday, while I worked at my computer, I half-watched the replay of the Division III title game between Mount Union and Wisconsin-Whitewater. I couldn't help noticing a big receiver for Wisconsin-Whitewater named Jake Kumerow, not just because he was pretty good, but because of his name.

It took me back to a scene in the Ohio State-Clemson bowl game, when a big young Buckeye defensive end named Joey Bosa was helped off the field.  Something prompted me to look up Joey Bosa on the Internet, and that led me to an amazing story.

It turns out that Jake Kumerow and Joey Bosa are cousins, and they share a stunning heritage.

For me, the story started back in 2000, in Las Vegas, at the 40th reunion of the undefeated 1960 Yale football team.  I wasn't on that team.  I had graduated the previous June, but the guys on the team very graciously invited guys from the classes before and after them who had played with them at some point.

I spent a little time talking with Mike Pyle, who had been captain of that team and later as center for the Chicago Bears captained the famed Ditka-Butkus teams.  Mike's older brother, Palmer Pyle, played at Michigan State and played six years in the NFL.  I reminded him of a story he'd told us years before, at Yale,  about Palmer dating Tough Tony Accardo's daughter.

Tony Accardo by that point was the head of the Chicago Mob. Earlier in his career he served as an underling to notorious mob boss Al Capone, who nicknamed him "Joe Batters" for his skill with a baseball bat, after he went three-for-three against the skulls of three Capone rivals.

Accardo did not live the stereotypical gangland lifestyle. He lived in a leafy North Shore Chicago suburb (he claimed to earn his living as a beer salesman), and by all accounts was a faithful husband and good father. It was at prestigious New Trier High School where Palmer Pyle, football star, met and fell in love with his daughter Marie Accardo.

One story Mike told back in college days was about the time, shortly after Tony Accardo, under questioning by some federal investigators, had repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to have to testify against himself, when Palmer had arrived at the house to get Marie and take her somewhere.  Tony asked, as most fathers would, "Where are you kids going?"  And Palmer - Mike swore this was true - said, "Tony, I'm going to take the Fifth on that."

So, I asked Mike at the reunion, whatever happened to Palmer and Marie?

He told me a bunch, but without going into great detail, they had a child, Eric, but their marriage didn't work out.  Palmer went on to run a group of radio stations in Michigan.  Marie remarried, to a guy named Ernie Kumerow, a former baseball player- turned labor organizer, who adopted young Eric.

Eric grew up to be a very good high school athlete, among the top quarterbacks in the Chicago area, if not the country, and Ohio State won the recruiting battle for him.  When it became apparent that he wasn't going to be in the Buckeyes' quarterback plans, he asked coach Earl Bruce if he could change positions.  He made the switch the linebacker, where, despite being overshadowed by teammates Chris Spielman and Pepper Johnson, he was team captain, and was drafted in the first round in 1988 by the Miami Dolphins.

His NFL career was short and undistinguished, and he retired after three seasons, never having started a game.

Fast forward to now, and Jake Kumerow, of Wisconsin-Whitewater, is Eric Kumerow's son.  Originally recruited to Illinois, he transferred to UWW and still has a year of eligibility left.

A year before Eric Kumerow was drafted by the Dolphins, their Number One draft pick was John Bosa, a defensive lineman out of Boston College.

His career ended early, too, but in the meantime, he met and married Eric Kumerow's sister, Cheryl, like Eric an Ohio State grad.

Their oldest son. Joey, is a 6-5, 285 pound defensive end at Ohio State.  A rising sophomore, he started 10 games last year as a true freshman.  (Joey's younger brother Nick,  a rising junior at Fort Lauderdale's famed St. Thomas Aquinas, is a defensive end who has already been offered by Ohio State.)

The upshot:  Jake Kumerow and Joey Bosa are cousins. And, not that it has a thing to do with them other than  a matter of interest, they're Tough Tony Accardo's great-grandsons.

Tough Tony Accardo - https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.obituaries/t4lS_h9ypoU

An SI feature story on the Pyle brothers...  http://www.si.com/vault/1958/05/19/577744/how-to-raise-right-tackles

***********   A great Tough Tony Accardo story.  Back in 1978, while he was vacationing in California, his house in River Forest, Illinois was broken into. 

Who says there isn't justice?  The three guys suspected of breaking in - and, just for good measure, four others who had something to do with the crime - were not long after found strangled to death.

*********** I made reference on Tuesday to President Obama's reminding me of a vaudevillian trying to keep plates spinning and it occurred to me that many younger readers might never have seen vaudeville, and "variety shows" from the early days of TV, when this peculiar form of juggling never failed to amaze and amuse audiences...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhoos1oY404

*********** I really like the people in the USAA commercials.  Makes me proud to think that we still have plenty of American families like that.

*********** The CFL is growing on me. There really isn't a team I don't like, but I'm especially pleased that  the quarterbacks of three of the western teams are from small Northwest schools - Travis Lulay of BC, from Montana State; Mike Reilly of Edmonton, from Central Washington; and Bo Levi Mitchell of Calgary, from Eastern Washington.

***********  Allysia Finley in the July 12 Wall Street Journal, wrote of the recent  NEA (National Education Association)  convention in Denver.

With no one in the world boasting of the superiority of America's public education system,  the nation's biggest teacher's union chose to spend its time on these sorts of issues:

A resolution approved by the 7,000 delegates: Support an International Day of Peace

Another:  to have the union "educate its members about the environmental and health effects of shale gas franking."  (Yeah, "educate its members."  You really think they'll stop there, and not go on to teach our little kiddies about how energy independence is wonderful - so long as it's achieved by using solar and wind power, and leaving the car in the garage.)

A third: to promote a boycott by the members of Staples, which has entered into an agreement with the US Postal Service to handle some of its work.

A fourth:  to prepare a list of books for children "that have LGBTQ and gender nonconforming themes," and adopted a resolution promoting clean energy in curricula.

Debated but not yet acted on:  whether to write a letter to Redskins' owner Dan Snyder denouncing his team's "institutional racism," as well as a resolution calling for reparations for the "lingering impact of slavery."

(Just in case you're a dues-paying member of the NEA and you didn't already know what they've been doing with your money, besides using it to elect Democrats.   And just in case you're a gullible taxpayer who really believes that the "E"  in the initials of your kid's teachers' union stands for "Education.")

*********** Army Summer Football Workouts…

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=356837664467849&fref=nf

*********** Jay Bilas pointed out on ESPN Radio that while big college conferences are pissing and moaning about how paying players is going to mean having to do away with non-revenue sports, the SEC has at least six baseball coaches - baseball, a non-revenue sport - making at least a million dollars a year.

*********** Dennis Cook, of Roanoke, Virginia, sent me a link to a story about a small craft brewer in Greensboro, North Carolina whose application for a trademark is being contested by A-B InBev, the world's largest brewer.  Big Beer claims that the company's name is too close to one of the many nicknames used for one of its brands.

The company is the Natty Greene Brewing Company.  (Nathanael Greene was a revolutionary war general for whom the city of Greensboro is named.)   The confusion to which Big Beer is referring in its suit is between Natty Greene and… Natural Light?

Look - I know that ABInbev has been pretty successful in tricking the American public into believing that brands such as Redhook, Kona and Widmer are products of independent craft brewers, when in actuality the company that makes them is one-third owned by A-B InBev, but can there  be that many morons out there dumb enough to confuse a real craft beer from a company named Natty Greene with the swill  called Natural, er "Natty" Light?

"We have one further question, your honor.   Can A-B Inbev produce even one witness who actually drinks that stuff?"

 http://www.wfmynews2.com/story/news/local/2014/07/09/natty-greenes-battles-anheuser-busch/12394681/

*********** The media have been pushing the idea that soccer mania has taken over America, the concussion hysteria is a constant burden and the football-hating lefties are at the gates, but nevertheless seven new college programs will tee it up this fall, with another nine to get under way in 2015 and 2016.

All told, in  the last five seasons, 36 other colleges either introduced football or, having previously discontinued it, reintroduced it.

One VERY important reason for the interest in football is that colleges have found, with female enrollments at or above 60 per cent, they have to scramble to attract male students.  And a school that doesn't have a football program obviously loses any football-playing males, but more impurely, it turns off those whose idea of college includes football games on Saturday and the social life that accompanies them.  (Yes, yes, I know - there's more to college than Saturday football games and parties.  But if you intend to attract young males to your college, you'd better deal with reality.)

Courtesy of the National Football Foundation…

Seven Programs Launching in 2014



    •    Arizona Christian University (Phoenix, Ariz.): NAIA, Independent – President Len Munsil, Athletics Director Jeff Rutter, Head Coach Donnie Yantis.
    •    The College of Idaho (Caldwell, Idaho): NAIA, Frontier Conference – President Marv Henberg, Athletics Director Marty Holly, Head Coach Mike Moroski.
    •    George Fox University (Newberg, Ore.): NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference – President Robin Baker, Athletics Director Craig Taylor; Head Coach Chris Casey.
    •    Limestone College (Gaffney, S.C.): NCAA Division II, Independent - President Walt Griffin, Athletics Director Mike Cerino and Head Coach Bobby James.
    •    Missouri Baptist University (Saint Louis, Mo.): NAIA, Independent (Subsequently joining the Mid-States Football Association in 2015) - President R. Alton Lacey, Athletics Director Tom Smith and Head Coach Jason Burianek.
    •    Paine College (Augusta, Ga.): NCAA Division II, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference - President George C. Bradley, Athletics Director Tim Duncan and Head Coach Gregory Ruffin.
    •    Southeastern University (Lakeland, Fla.): NAIA, The Sun Conference – President Kent Ingle, Athletic Director Drew Watson and Head Coach Keith Barefield.

Nine Programs Launching in 2015-16

    •    East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Southern Conference (2015, with a full conference schedule in 2016) – President Brian Noland, Athletics Director Richard Sander, Head Coach Carl Torbush.
    •    Finlandia University (Hancock, Mich.): NCAA Division III, Conference TBA (2015) – President Philip Johnson, Athletics Director Chris Salani, Head Coach Tim Driscoll.
    •    Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, Ga.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Big South Conference (2015) – President Daniel S. Papp, Athletics Director Vaughn Williams, Head Coach Brain Bohannon.
    •    Lyon College (Batesville, Ark.): NAIA, Central States Football League (2015) – President Donald Weatherman, Athletics Director Kevin Jenkins, Head Coach Kirk Kelley.
    •    Davenport University (Grand Rapids, Mich.): NAIA, Conference TBA (2016) – President Richard J. Pappas, Athletics Director Paul Lowden, Head Coach Lou Esposito.
    •    Northland College (West Frankfort, Ill.): NCAA Division III, Conference TBA (2016) – President Tim Morthland, Athletics Director and Head Coach Mike Rude.
    •    University of Texas of the Permian Basin (Odessa, Texas): NCAA Division II, Conference TBA (2016) – President W. David Watts, Athletics Director Steve Aicinena, Head Coach TBA.
    •    University of West Florida (Pensacola, Fla.): NCAA Division II, Gulf South Conference (2016) – President Judith Bense, Athletics Director Dave Scott, Head Coach Pete Shinnick.
    •    University of New Orleans (New Orleans, La.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Southland Conference (Date TBA) – President Peter J. Fos, Athletics Director Derek Morel, Head Coach TBA.


12 Programs Launched in 2013
    •    Alderson Broaddus University (Philippi, W.Va.): NCAA Division II, Independent
    •    Berry College (Mount Berry, Ga.): NCAA Division III, Southern Athletic Association
    •    Florida Tech (Melbourne, Fla.): NCAA Division II, Gulf South Conference
    •    Hendrix College (Conway, Ark.): NCAA Division III, Southern Athletic Association
    •    Houston Baptist University (Houston, Texas): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Southland Conference
    •    Mercer University (Macon, Ga.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Southern Conference
    •    Oklahoma Baptist University (Shawnee, Okla.): NAIA, Central States Football League
    •    Reinhardt University (Waleska, Ga.): NAIA, Mid-South Conference
    •    Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas): NCAA Division III, Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
    •    Stetson University (DeLand, Fla.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Pioneer Football League
    •    University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Independent (Joining the Football Bowl Subdivision and Conference USA in 2015)
    •    Warner University (Lake Wales, Fla.): NAIA, The Sun Conference

Five Programs Launched in 2012
    •    Bluefield College (Bluefield, Va.): NAIA, Mid-South Conference
    •    Lindenwood University-Belleville (Belleville,Ill.): NAIA, Independent (Joining the Mid-States Football Association in 2015)
    •    Misericordia University (Dallas, Pa.): NCAA Division III, Middle Atlantic Conferences
    •    Point University (West Point, Ga.): NAIA, The Sun Conference
    •    Wayland Baptist University (Plainview, Texas):  NAIA, Central States Football League

Eight Programs Launched in 2011
    •    Ave Maria University (Ave Maria, Fla.): NAIA, The Sun Conference
    •    Concordia University (Ann Arbor, Mich.): NAIA, Mid-States Football Association
    •    Presentation College (Aberdeen, S.D.): NAIA, North Star Athletic Association
    •    Robert Morris University (Chicago, Ill.): NAIA, Mid-States Football Association
    •    Siena Heights University (Adrian, Mich.):  NAIA, Mid-States Football Association
    •    Stevenson University (Owings Mills, Md.): NCAA Division III, Middle Atlantic Conferences
    •    University of Texas at San Antonio (San Antonio, Texas):  NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, Conference USA
    •    Virginia University of Lynchburg (Lynchburg, Va.): Independent

Six Programs Launched in 2010
    •    Georgia State University (Atlanta, Ga.): NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, Sun Belt Conference
    •    Lamar University (Beaumont, Texas): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Southland Conference
    •    Lindsey Wilson College (Columbia, Ky.): NAIA, Mid-South Conference
    •    Notre Dame College (South Euclid, Ohio): NCAA Division II, Mountain East Conference
    •    Pacific University (Forest Grove, Ore.): NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
    •    University of South Alabama (Mobile, Ala.): NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, Sun Belt Conference

Five Programs Launched in 2009
    •    Anna Maria College (Paxton, Mass.): NCAA Division III, Eastern Collegiate Football Conference
    •    Castleton State College (Castleton, Vt.): NCAA Division III, Eastern Collegiate Football Conference
    •    Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.): NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, Conference USA
    •    University of New Haven (West Haven, Conn.): NCAA Division II, Northeast-10 Conference
    •    University of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio, Texas):  NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Southland Conference

Eight Programs Launched in 2008
    •    Campbell University (Buies Creek, N.C.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Pioneer Football League
    •    College of St. Scholastica (Duluth, Minn.): NCAA Division III, Upper Midwest Athletic Conference
    •    Colorado State University–Pueblo (Pueblo, Colo.): NCAA Division II, Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference
    •    Dordt College (Sioux Center, Iowa):   NAIA, Great Plains Athletic Conference
    •    Grand View University (Des Moines, Iowa): NAIA, Mid-States Football Association
    •    Kentucky Christian University (Grayson, Ky.): NAIA, Mid-South Conference
    •    Lake Erie College (Painesville, Ohio): NCAA Division II, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
    •    Lincoln University of Pennsylvania (Lincoln University, Pa.): NCAA Division II, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association


american flag TUESDAY,  JULY  22,  2014“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”  Napoleon Bonaparte

*********** So we were watching TV when a commercial break brought us a message from hotwire.com

A couple appeared on screen. One of them spoke:

"Our anniversary is coming up… and our in-laws agreed to take care of the kid… so we can finally get some sleep…"

Hotwire then told them how it could get them a cheap room.  And in the location they wanted.

The one who'd been doing the speaking said, "It's all about sleep."

The other replied, coyly, "It's not ALL about sleep."

Cute, huh?  Guess what?  The "couple" was two f--king guys.

It never stops.

Give… me… a… f--king… break.


********** In working with Alex McAra, our quarterback-to-be, I've made great use of a passing net called the "SKLZ QUICKSTER QB TRAINER."  http://shop.sklz.com/accessories/quicksterr-qb-trainer-7-x-7/invt/qksqb01

I really like it because it's simply not a productive use of a coach's time to be catching the ball when he needs to be observing.  And you can't always have someone on hand to catch the balls (nor do I always want someone else around when I'm coaching a QB).  With this QB Trainer, all I have to do is watch the QB throw, and occasionally film him.

It's portable and easily assembled and disassembled, so that when Alex goes home for the weekend, he takes it with him, along with a couple of footballs.  He's able to set it up in his backyard and work on drills on his own.  In inclement weather, we can set it up indoors.

(I don't accept advertising, and  I was not paid, or given anything, for making those statements.)

I have to stress that the things I do are by no means all my inventions, although over the years I have found a few relatively unique things that help me teach.  The main thing to know  is that there are a lot of very good people out there who do a great job of teaching quarterbacks, and they go about their teaching in a vast range of ways.  There is no one way to teach a passer, and just because I do something different from someone else doesn't make that person wrong.

This will be our fifth and last week of three weekly sessions.  Next week, we'll have a three-day mini-camp with our entire team, before we have to go hands-off (with the exception of conditioning) until August 20, when we're officially permitted to start practice.

We'll work out for two hours on Tuesday afternoon, two hours on Wednesday morning, and two hours on Wednesday afternoon, with time between the two Wednesday sessions to go over some video.

In the early going, it was just the two of us. That's important, because you need to pace yourself and not rush into things.  You have to keep kibitzers away, and until the player has developed some self-confidence, there's no point in having receivers around.

By the third week, the first hour of each session was devoted to individual work, and during the second hour  we threw some very simple routes to receivers. In other words, Alex had spent seven hours working only with me before he threw to a live human being. Last week, week four, we expanded the routes (and the QB's setups), added a few two-man combination patterns,  and even,  in the Wednesday afternoon session, introduced a little man-to-man coverage for him to look at.

We've had some invitations to some 7-on-7 sessions, but I didn't see anything to gain in throwing a quarterback into a situation he wasn't ready for.  Alex is a pretty tough kid, and he's shown me that he doesn't let things get him down, but to me, 7-on-7 is a test, not a lesson, and we're not ready for the test yet.

We'll have our three sessions this week, and then next week, at mini-camp, there'll be plenty of  time for 7-on-7.

FINDING THE GRIPWith a virgin QB, everything starts with the grip.  I've found that a good way for a player who's new to throwing a football to discover his grip initially is to "tee it up" in a plastic cup, nose pointed to the sky, and  reach down and pick it up as if he were going to have to throw it.   There's no one definite grip, but there are certain fundamentals that you have to adhere to.  One is that the palm does not touch the ball. (It's common, when younger kids have to throw a ball that's too large for them, for them to rest it on their palm, which results in their "pushing" the ball).   The ball should be held primarily by the pads of the fingers and thumb.  The fingers  should be spread apart equally.   (Hard to say about the laces - the size of a player's hand may determine where and how he positions his fingers on them.)  Another fundamental is the "clamp" - the ability to hold the ball between the thumb and a single finger opposite the thumb.  There are differences of opinion as to whether that opposite finger should be the middle finger or the ring finger, but  the distance from the nose of the ball to the thumb pad should be about the same as from the nose of the ball to the tip of that opposite finger. 

In the photo, the passer should be able to "clamp" the ball with his thumb and middle finger.

(For sure, if you've got a kid whose thumb is really close to the nose, there's a very good chance that the ball's resting on his palm.)


The QB has to deal with two conflicting needs (the need to grip the ball lightly while at the same time the need to secure the ball), so the player with a large hand has a distinct advantage,

Because so many passers now throw after receiving a direct snap, it's important for the quarterback to learn to find his grip while he's going about his business, doing the other things he needs to do on a play.  There are those passers who can simply grab a ball and throw it, regardless of where the laces are, but for most passers it's preferable that he grip the ball in the same spot every time, and  he simply can't hold up the entire operation while he finds his grip.

(MORE TO COME)

*********** Tony Dungy, boo!  Homophobe!  Boo!  Get him off the air!  Burn his books!  Make it illegal even to mention his name!

Imagine - he had the temerity to say that if he were still a head coach, he wouldn't have drafted Michael Sam. Said he wouldn't have wanted to deal with all the issues connected with drafting the first openly gay player.  Makes sense to me.

What really pisses me off are the fools who say that of all people, Dungy, a black man, should understand what it's like to be discriminated against. 

Uh, black people couldn't exactly stay in the closet.  When they walked out the door they stepped into a world that held their color against them, and there wasn't a damn thing they could do about it.  They never had the option of "coming out" or simply staying quiet and going about their business, with no one any the wiser that they were black.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/07/21/tony-dungy-i-wouldnt-have-taken-michael-sam/

*********** I'l never forget the day I sat in one of those pre-school-year teachers' meetings and the talk was about the incoming freshmen.  One teacher mentioned, very ominously, "This is the first class that's never been spanked."

I wish I could say that that meant that they'd be better behaved, but as we all know, it didn't.

There's hope.  From New York comes news that a court has ruled that a man was within his legal rights when he spanked his 8-year-old son.

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2014/07/21/ny-court-rules-spanking-reasonable-use-force

***********  Our President, like an old-time vaudevillian who tries to keep a bunch of plates spinning, has been ignoring a lot of pressing issues lately, but he hasn't totally forgotten about "My Brother's Keeper," his plan to improve education for young black and hispanic males.

I'm all for that, guys, but part of the problem the President hopes to address is this:

According to data from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, black and Latino students are suspended and expelled at much higher rates than white students

Oh, God.  That one again.  Well, it would seem to me, that means we need to find a way to get those students to behave better so they can do better in school and go on to lead happy and productive lives.  But no…

John E. Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District… said the district reduced its annual suspensions from 50,000 in the 2009-2010 school year to 8,000 this past school year, in part because of a new policy eliminating “willful defiance” as a reason for suspension.

Wow.  A miracle.  Who knew it was that easy?

So out on the streets, the answer to reducing crime is the "broken window" approach - to treat even the smallest offense seriously.

But in the schools? Lower the bar.  The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once called it, "defining deviancy down."

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/07/21/education/obamas-my-brothers-keeper-education-program-expands.html?referrer=

*********** Seventh grade was a huge turning point in my life, because it was my first year at Germantown Academy. "G.A." was a private day school, and it was my great good fortune to win a scholarship there. One of the best things about G.A. was that for the first time in my life I had male teachers.  That made a huge difference in my growth and my outlook toward school, because in public school, I'd had a succession of females who, with one exception,  disliked boys. Yes, we were undoubtedly a$$holes, but still… The fact that we were stuck for an entire year with the same teacher didn't help any, either, so it was an amazing experience to suddenly have six different teachers every day - all of them male.

All this is by way of saying that it was one of those male teachers who turned me on to the first serious book on warfare that I ever read.

It was Lowell Thomas' "Raiders of the Deep," the famous writer/broadcaster's story of World War I German U-Boat warfare, and it kept my rapt attention until that inevitable, sad moment in every reading adventure when you realize you've come to the last page. 

The downing of the Malaysian airliner, under somewhat similar conditions, made me think of The Lusitania.

The Lusitania was a British ocean liner carrying 1,916 people, 1,152 of whom perished when it was sunk off the coast of Ireland by a German torpedo, in May, 1915.

Two of the chapters in "Raiders of the Deep" were devoted to the crew and the captain of U-20, the sub that sank the Lusitania.

Author Thomas, with World War I not yet a distant memory,  interviewed the commander of the U-20, Walther Schweiger, who gave him this account:

"I noticed the fog was lifting. Presently I could see blue sky. I brought the boat to the surface, and we continued our course above water.  A few minutes after we emerged I sighted on the horizon a forest of masts and stacks.   At first I thought they must belong to several ships.  Then I saw it was a great steamer coming over the horizon.  It was coming our way.  I dived at once, hoping to get a shot at it.

"When the steamer was two miles away it changed its course.  I had no hope now, even if we hurried at our best speed, of getting near enough to attack her. I called my pilot, and old-time captain of the merchant marine, to take a look at her through the periscope.  At that instant, while he was coming in answer to my call, I saw the steamer change her course again.  She was coming directly at us.   She could not have steered a more perfect course if she had deliberately tried to give us a dead shot.  A short, fast run, and we waited.

"I had already shot away my best torpedoes and he'd left only two bronze ones - not so good.  The steamer was four hundred yards away when I gave an order to fire.  The torpedo hit, and there was a rather small detonation and immediately afterward a much heavier one.  The pilot was beside me.  I told him to have a look at close range.  He put his eye to the periscope and after a brief scrutiny yelled:

"'My God, it's the Lusitania!"

The US was not yet at war with Germany at the time, but England was, and with the Germans using their U-boats to try to blockade the British Isles, it was no secret that anything sailing to the British Isles ran the risk of German submarine attack.

The German Embassy had bought advertisements in New York papers advising anyone sailing on the Lusitania of those facts, and the unusually powerful explosion led to accusations - impossible to prove or disprove - that the passenger liner had been carrying arms to England.

The sinking of a huge ocean liner and the killing of so many innocent people was seen as a horribly inhumane act, and while it alone didn't cause the US to go to war, it turned American public opinion against Germany, and contributed greatly to the growing sentiment among Americans that led to our ultimate involvement.

*********** My friend Mike Lude was steaming mad when I spoke with him Sunday… said he was out for his usual walk, listening to a local (Tucson) radio station on his headphones, when a commercial came on and made him stop walking.  The ad was promoting a flag football league, urging parents to sign their kids up, but doing so in the worst possible way: don't let your kids play tackle football, blah, blah, blah… they might get hurt, blah, blah, blah…  concussion, blah, blah, blah… instead, have them play flag football.

Dirty bastards.  I'm tempted to run a campaign telling people not to sign their kids up for flag football - to sign them up for soccer instead.

*********** Mike Lude said that way back when, his friend Nick Skorich, was an assistant coach with the Steelers, and Mike happened to stop over one day to watch practice.

The Steelers' head coach at the time was the legendary Jock Sutherland, an advocate of rock-'em, sock-'em single wing football.

Mike said that Skorich (who would go on to spend time as head coach of the Eagles and Browns) told him, "We never leave the field without running the tailback off-tackle play - and we don't leave the field until it satisfies Jock."

A little about Mike...   http://washington.scout.com/2/294160.html

*********** A new stadium, to be used for cricket, Australian Rules and rugby, is planned for Perth, in Western Australia.  Its announced cost  (assuming that pigs fly, and it comes in on budget) is to be $860 million, with the taxpayers picking up 60 per cent of the tab.   The other 40 per cent, the public is being told, will be paid over 25 years, thanks to "a financing package."  Good luck with that one, mates.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/24484030/new-football-stadium-unveiled/

*********** Jonah Goldberg: "Harvard is currently gathering its finest minds to draw up the procedures for sexual conduct and consent. The end result will surely be a clipboard check-list to rival that of any Jiffy Lube manager's in both romantic appeal and sexiness."

*********** Somehow, I've never been quite so sure as the Powers That Be that the reason TWA 800 blew up was a spontaneous explosion of vapors in a fuel tank…

It was an awful thing, a huge jet on its way to Paris, blowing up and falling into the ocean shortly after takeoff from New York's JFK Airport.

And that was before 2001, before we discovered that things like learning how to fly a commercial jet for the purpose of flying it into a skyscraper weren't as preposterous as they sounded.

Now, 18 years to the day after the TWA 800 disaster, a Malaysian Air Lines jet was brought down by a ground-to-air missile.

Think about this a minute: while we've been preoccupied with nuclear proliferation,  thousands of ground-to-air weapons have wound up in the hands of terrorist groups.  And so armed, those a**holes  can now set up shop just about anyplace in the world and bring international commerce to a standstill.

https://www.google.com/search?q=twa+800&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS504US506&oq=twa+800&aqs=chrome..69i57j0j5j0.4160j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

***********  It wasn't all that long ago - last September, to be exact - that Microsoft acquired the phone business of Nokia, the Finnish electronic giant, and its 25,000 employees.   Uh, better make that 12,500 employees.

See, Microsoft announced that it's making itself lean and fit, and the financial community said, "Cool."

Trouble is, Microsoft's getting in fighting trim by laying off 18,000 workers.  That's EIGHTEEN THOUSAND F--KING WORKERS.

And roughly 12,500 of those workers - make them former workers - are at Nokia, a company that Microsoft acquired a mere ten months ago.   Not just in Finland, to be sure, but at plants all over the world.  The loss of the jobs is bad enough in any country, but the blow to Finnish pride of the trashing of its most famous company is impossible to understate.

Folks, you just been done by sainted Microsoft,   which never saw a liberal cause it didn't espouse, and has hatched thousands of millionaires who donate unfailingly to liberal causes.  But when it comes to real life causes...

As one online commenter quipped, "When Microsoft throws you a life saver, just say 'Thanks, I'll take my chances with the sharks….'"

Maybe someday it will occur to the geniuses at Microsoft, that they were born on third base -  that the fact that somebody years ago came up with Windows and Office doesn't mean this current bunch is  as smart as they think they are.

Remember this, sports fans, if the LA Clippers deal goes through - Steve Ballmer, who has offered a king's ransom for the team, was Microsoft CEO when they made the Nokia deal.  Think the other NBA owners won't take him for a ride?

*********** The CFL has a penalty for "objectionable conduct."  One guy got one for bitching too much about a P-I penalty that wasn't called.

If the NFL had such a penalty, games would last five hours.

*********** If you don't know who Y.A. Tittle is, you should.

One way to get to know who the man was is to read a very poignant account of the way he is now...

http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/11214487/hall-fame-quarterback-ya-tittle-takes-final-trip-home-espn-magazine

*********** The Vikings' special teams coach, who either did or did not say that gays should all be sent off to an island somewhere and then nuked, has been suspended from the team for the first three games this season.

Wow.  He got off light.  I thought at the least he'd be sent to Guantanamo Bay for a couple of years.

But wait.  Turns out he's not getting off so easy after all.  Oh, no.  In addition to the suspension, "he will be required to satisfactorily complete specialized workplace training that will include an emphasis on the managing of diversity and sexual orientation."  

Aargh.  No!  Not diversity training!  I'll confess!  To anything!  Aieee!

I don't know about you, but I'm glad I'm not an NFL coach, having to deal with the ever-present conflict between a segment of society that insists that sexual diversity is to be celebrated, and a sometimes less-than-tolerant group of coaches and players, people who make their livings in a rough, masculine environment, who still see it as something way out of the ordinary.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11233570/minnesota-vikings-suspend-special-teams-coordinator-mike-priefer-three-games?addata=module-b

***********  Dad

I love this line from one of the Max Preps pages:

Perhaps the most shocking transfer thus far has been that of MaxPreps All-American and 247Sports.com's No. 1-ranked rising junior Joshua Jackson. The 6-6 star is leaving a defending state champion in Michigan for unknown start-up Prolific Prep, a new program in Napa Valley, Calif., founded by trainer Jeremy Russotti.

A start-up high school founded by a trainers. Says all you need to know.

By the way, Aussie hoops absolutely flying right now - Cameron Bairstow from New Mexico has made the Bulls team, Ben Simmons is now the official #1 high school player in the country (has committed to LSU), Louisville has signed a Sudanese/Aussie named Deng Adel, a five-star recruit from Melbourne now playing in Florida and there's still our old pal Thon Maker who has reportedly been offered scholarships by every major school in the country including - get this - Duke and Stanford! I have no idea about his smarts/GPA etc.

Ed Wyatt
Melbourne, Australia



american flag FRIDAY,  JULY  18,  2014 "Freedom means nothing if it doesn't mean the freedom to do what other people don't like."  Dr. Thomas Sowell

*********** The Lombardi Trophy paid a visit to our area last week. 

Escorted by a few Seahawks and a number of SeaGals, the  trophy made an appearance on Friday at a place called Big Al's, a Dave-and-Buster's-size place in Vancouver, Washington, and then on Saturday it was on hand in Camas as they put on one of those "Play 60" type photo ops. 

Without a tremendous amount of publicity, the Saturday event drew a huge crowd to the local high school stadium.

What interested me was the information that the trophy itself weighs only seven pounds.

My guess is that they deliberately kept it light  to avoid the embarrassment of a rich old owner up on the stage after the Super Bowl trying to hoist the trophy high and rupturing himself. Or falling over backward.


********** Don Shipley, whose dad, Dick, once coached me  in Frederick, Maryland, is a football historian, and he sent me this great clip of a game between the Eagles and the Los Angeles Rams. It was from 1949, the year before the merger of the NFL and the AAFC brought the Browns, the 49ers and the original Baltimore Colts into the league. 

The Eagles won the NFL title in 1949, and when they opened the 1950 season against the defending AAFC champion Browns they were expected to put the upstart Browns in their place. The game drew more than 70,000 people, and the unexpected result was a 35-10 Browns' win.  While  a disappointment to those in the NFL establishment,  in reality the Browns' trouncing of the Eagles was a great shot in the arm for the league,  and, in the greater scheme of things, a vindication of Paul Brown's passing offense.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DubuW_lrFSY#action=share

http://articles.mcall.com/2004-10-24/sports/3575836_1_super-bowl-eagles-backup-quarterback-nfl-commissioner-bert-bell


*********** We're now 6-0 after defeating the Utica Yarddawgs 65-14

Our A back had 14-147yds and  4 tds and our C back had 10-104 yds and  3 tds

Next week we're at the Oneonta Stallions

Pete Porcelli
Troy Fighting Irish
Troy, New York


*********** Sorry.   I didn't watch the Major League All-Star game.

I can remember what a thrill it was as a kid to see great players competing against each other - players who would spend their entire careers in one league (on one team,  yet)  and ordinarily would never face each other except in a World Series.

Those were the days when it was baseball tradition - What sport had more tradition than baseball?  What sport so willingly squandered it? - that the home team always wore white uniforms, and the visiting team always wore gray.

And imagine this - teams never changed their uniform from one year to the next, let alone game to game.  Why would they?  There was no way you could buy a replica major league uniform for a little kid.  Who had that kind of money, anyhow?

So with that premise, the players in the All-Star games wore their own teams' uniforms, white or gray version depending on who was the home team.  That meant you saw Ted Williams in his Red Sox uniform, Ernie Banks in his Cubs' uniform, Stan Musial in his Cardinals' uniform, Willie Mays in his Giants' (New York) uniform, Bob Feller in his Indians' uniform, Mickey Mantle in his Yankees' uniform.

And then, since the All-Star game was such a big hit, they tried playing a couple of them.  I believe economists call that inflation.

And  somewhere along the line came free agency, and players moving from league to league.  And finally came interleague play itself, so that now, the major difference between the two leagues is that one has a DH.

The tragic thing about baseball,  as I read more and more great stuff about the history of the game, is that other than boxing and horse racing, which don't count because they're both pretty much dead, baseball is our only major sport whose past is better than its present.

*********** I don't know about the NFL, but the CFL now allows visiting teams to provide their own footballs.

http://m.torontosun.com/2014/07/02/edmonton-eskimos-qb-mike-reilly-likes-new-cfl-rules-allowing-teams-to-travel-with-their-own-footballs

No more incidents like the one that happened back in the 70s, when the Steelers were playing in Oakland. Back then, the Raiders were really good, and in addition, they prided themselves on their bad-dude reputation.  In this particular game, Steelers' center Ray Mansfield came up to the line and as he turned the ball over to prepare to snap it, saw, written on the laces, "F--K YOU"

No more of that stuff.  Not in the CFL, anyhow.

I can't imagine that the NFL doesn't have a similar rule, but I'm too lazy to research it.

*********** It wouldn't happen if they were American companies. But they're not.  So there's not much Uncle Sam can do to stop the world's two largest brewers from merging.

The proposed merger of A-B InBev  and SAB MIller would create a monster corporation that would produce eight of the world's 10 top-selling brands of beer. (The other two? Heineken and Guinness.)

It would command almost 30 per cent of the world beer market, and far more of the US market.  What this mens to you, Joe Consumer, is that they'll be able to out-advertise other brewers, and they'll be able to control shelf space in super markets and convenience stores.

Oh, and their distributors, supposedly independent businesspeople,  won't have room on their trucks for any competitors' products, which means that potential competitors to Bud and Miller will be lucky if they can find another distributor willing to handle their products.

It still galls me the way the industry giants continue to deceive the public with their faux "craft" beers, whose labels bear the names of bogus companies, when actually they're produced in the same giant breweries that also happen to churn out industrial beers such as Budweiser and Miller.  Their major reason for existence, rather than as a way of improving the brewer's art, is to monopolize the distributors' trucks and take up more room on supermarket shelves - to squeeze out the little guys, much in the same way that Budweiser, back in its pre-InBev days, once drove dozens of regional brewers out of business.

*********** I've written before how much I despise my fellow Yalie, Lord John Kerry.   He was representative of his type.  Still is.  We went to different schools together, so to speak. HIs kind came from the snootiest of New England prep schools, and their major objective while at Yale seemed to us peasant types to be devoted to having as little to do with us as possible. Filthy rich, sophisticated, well-connected and self-assured, they were a class unto themselves. We seldom saw them except when we took the same classes. While we enjoyed our free kegs of Hull's Export, they did their socializing at the very exclusive Fence Club, once described by the New York Times as "the fraternity of choice for old-money families from New England."

That class separation suited us, of course, because we thought they were rich weenies, and we had as little use for them as they had for us.

John Kerry is the epitome of the rich, liberal dude who never held an honest job in his life. (Except, of course, for his Vietnam-era navy service, which was cancelled out by his coming back to the US and telling whoppers to Congress about the atrocities
supposed ly committed by American troops.)

In the US Senate, one of the wealthiest groups of people this side of an NFL owners' meeting, he's one of the wealthiest - largely because  a classmate of mine, the late Senator Jack Heinz, of Pennsylvania,  was killed in a helicopter crash, and his widow, who inherited the family fortune, was swept off her feet by (who else?) John Kerry.

Lately, he's been doing his damnedest as Secretary of State to stave off World War III, able to point with pride to diplomatic triumphs in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Russia and Israel.

And recently, he boasted about having told this year's graduating class at Yale not to believe politicians who claim that we Americans are  exceptional.

...I was privileged to speak to the graduating class of Yale this year, and it was particularly a pleasure because it happened to turn out to be, literally, I hate to say it, 48 years to the day that I was privileged to speak as a graduating senior to my own class. And I talked to them about sort of the world we’re in right now, but at the end I tried to remind them all, which I remind you of, we are – I get always a little uptight when I hear politicians say how exceptional we are – not because we’re not exceptional, but because it’s kind of in-your-face and a lot of other people are exceptional, a lot of other places do exceptional things.

Yeah, your Lordship.  We're not exceptional.  You probably really believe that tens of thousands of people are crossing our border because of gang violence back home.

What a POS. Makes me ashamed to be a Yalie.

*********** I  consider the late Al McGuire to be one of the all-time great sports figures, as a coach and as a commentator.  But mostly, I think, as a character.  Not a clown character, but an off-the-streets New Yorker, both wise and wise-ass, one of a vanishing breed once common to New York City back when it still had a large working class population.  I'd love to have been able to sit in a tavern, in the booth behind him, my head cocked so I could listen in,  while he talked basketball - or any of a thousand other topics he was up on - with a bunch of his chums.

He was so self-assured - cocky, maybe - that years ago, he was already coaching  the athlete of today while other coaches, stuck in the methods of the 1950s, were terrified to let go of the reins and give their players any autonomy.  A great 30 for 30 short shows just one way in which he was so far ahead of his peers. 

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=10538699

*********** Good Morning, Coach Wyatt! I hope that you and Connie are doing well in the COOL Pacific Northwest. It's been hot, humid, and dry here for some time. I have to admit that I am a little concerned about your sudden interest in the "beautiful game." Been feeling well lately?

What you said about QB's in your "News" column this morning is spot on. If you remember, back in the spring I wrote to you about our starting 7th grade QB and his Daddy (who didn't like the offense, who had a personal QB trainer, etc.). Well, as it turns out, I finally had to kick the kid out of weightlifting class in May for his sorry attitude and poor work ethic. A week later, the Daddy transfers the kid to the middle school up the highway (turns out Daddy wasn't happy with basketball and soccer at our school, either). So, the inevitable Daddy/Coaches/Player/Principal meeting that I had planned, never had to take place. I'm not sure what address they are using for a legal transfer but, at this point, I don't really care. They can spread their poison elsewhere. Coaches, players, and even parents are relieved. Our backup QB from last season has decided to "concentrate" on basketball so that leaves us with no returning QB's.

I'm embarrassed to say that I have learned a lesson about being proactive (I don't feel too bad, Nick Saban learned that lesson, too). So, a few weeks ago, I held a week long camp for any 7th and 8th grader player who wanted to play QB. We went over many of the things you discussed before we set one foot on the field. We spent most of the first day learning about character, coachability, accountability, and teamwork. I should have done this years ago but I took it for granted. We had always been blessed with good character and leadership at the QB position.

So, what do I have this year? Two 8th graders, and four 7th graders who want to play QB, are team players, and want to please me (not their daddy or their QB trainer). So with my 8th graders, like you, I am having to make QB's out of two kids who have never played the position before. The advantage is a clean slate, nothing to un-teach. I will say that the new "Open Wing" is making this job much easier. Now I've got to figure out how to replace two starting WB's who moved away (uggh!). O-Line should be huge, though!

As always, thanks for your help and what you do for our sport!

I appreciate the note and I'm glad to hear the way things are working out for you.

I think it all goes back to the premise that (1)  we're not in this for the money, so why should we settle for coaching kids who don't want to be coached, who have dads who don't like the way we coach them? and (2) at some point we're all going to lose a game, so let's make sure that  we build a team that won't come apart when that day comes.

It's amazing what you can accomplish when everybody's on the same page.

*********** Back when we decided that Alex McAra had the key character traits to be our quarterback at North Beach High,  the next phase of the job was to turn him into one.  Part of the job was going to be teaching him the ins and outs of the position, part of it was going to be teaching him how to take charge of things (which meant teaching him the overall offense), and the final part was going to be teaching him how to be a passer.

But even before he could start learning to be a passer, he first had to learn to be a thrower - to learn how to throw a football.

I mentioned that although Alex has never played quarterback and has never played baseball, he is a good athlete and a tough kid.  We were very deep at running back last year, so Alex wasn't in our regular two-backfield rotation. And although he has good speed and exceptional hands, he wasn't as good as our starting split end, and he wasn't strong enough to line up at the other end and come down and play tight end occasionally, as we require. 

But near the end of the season, when we lost our two A-backs (in the same game, to the same injury - a broken collarbone) we went to a twin set, and Alex became our slot back.  There, he was a threat as both a runner and a receiver.

Alex wasn't a total virgin when he got to practice this past spring.  I'd shown him a few passing basics at the tail end of last football season, when we'd decided that he was going to be our guy, but  then, once the season came to an end, state regulations prevented me from doing anything more with him until Memorial Day. 

Fortunately,  we did have one very important thing going for us. Our state forbids any coach from working with any athlete out-of-season, until the last track meet or baseball game has taken place, but it doesn't say anything about players working with other players.  And in our case, since Alex and our last year's quarterback, Carson Ketter, were both on the track team, they were both able  to throw a bit after track practice every day.  Carson proved to be a great learner while I was working with him over the last three years, and so he was able to show Alex a lot of our drills and pass along a number of tips.

(Out of respect and admiration for Carson, Alex has asked to wear Carson's old number.)

The first two weeks after Memorial Day we held our spring practice.  School was still in session, so we had just a couple of hours with the kids every afternoon, and the bulk of that time had to be devoted to installing our offense and defense.  That meant that Alex first had to learn the mechanics of the quarterback position, with very little time left over to work on his passing.

So in spring ball, Alex ran the offense.  He did an exceptional job of picking up the offense, and scarcely made a miscue. We know we are going to be able to run the ball.  We have a number of extremely quick backs, Alex included, and we have a very good line. But we're not good enough that we can afford to be one-dimensional.  Besides, we also have some quality receivers.  My deal with Alex was that he'd throw to the extent of his ability, and then we'd look at the video and see where we needed to get better and what we could reasonably expect to accomplish..

Right from the start, back when Alex said he wanted to be the guy, and I felt that he had all the "necessaries," we started with an understanding between us.

A quarterback-coach relationship, just like a healthy marriage, has to be based on trust.

I assured Alex that in return for his trusting me, I would never betray that trust.  He could expect me to correct him, of course, and I would expect him to take it, but I would correct him positively at all times, and although I wouldn't always be able to do it in private, I would never embarrass him in front of anyone else.  I told him that our understanding has to be that he doesn't listen to outside "advice," and in return I shield him from the "advice" of others, however well-meaning.  He also has my assurance that I will shield him from the two-bit critics who infest all sports at all levels, but seem to take special aim at quarterbacks.  I told him that he is my man and I have his back - that he would have to do something really out of character for me ever to lose faith in him.  I told him that in a game we are partners, that my job is to help him solve problems, not to point a finger at him. 

So coming out of spring ball, Alex understood that his passing needed a lot of work.  He wasn't discouraged in the slightest, and was eager to get to work.

Alex MapOne slight problem:  a matter of logistics.

Alex's parents are divorced, and every summer, from the end of spring ball until August 1, Alex stays with his mom in Shoreline, Washington, north of Seattle. (During the school year, he lives with his dad in Ocean Shores, and visits Mom on alternate weekends).  Alex is a great kid, and understandably, his mom looks forward to the time he can spend with her, but this did complicate our plans to turn him into a passer. 

First of all, Alex had to assure his mom that if she would consent to his spending a couple of days every week in Ocean Shores, working out with me, he would try to work things out with his dad to make up the time she was agreeing to give up. 

To Alex's credit, he was able to negotiate the following arrangement:

Every Tuesday morning, Mom would put Alex on an Amtrak train leaving Seattle at 9:35.

At about the same time, my wife and I would leave our home in Camas, and drive north to Centralia, Washington, about 100 miles away, arriving in plenty of time to meet Alex at the railroad station at (or, this being Amtrak, sometime after) 11:35.  I would sign for Alex (he's only 15, and he'd have to travel as an unaccompanied minor) and Amtrak would turn him over to me.

We'd get a bite to eat, then drive west for another hour and a half to Ocean Shores, and then from 4 to 6 in the afternoon we'd work out.

The next day, Wednesday, we'd work out from 10 to noon, have lunch, spend some time in the afternoon looking at video back at our place, and work out again from 3:30 to 5:30.   At that point his dad would pick him up and drive him to a spot near Olympia (about halfway to Mom's) where he and Mom would meet up and make the exchange.

To their everlasting credit,  Mom and Dad agreed to the deal, and that's what we've been doing for the past four weeks.

(MORE TO COME)



american flag TUESDAY,  JULY  15,  2014“The first virtue in a soldier is endurance of fatigue; courage is only the second virtue.”  Napoleon Bonaparte

*********** SEC Media Days got under way Monday in Birmingham, and knowing how reporters enjoy a good time, I thought I'd save them the trouble of having to attend all those coaches' interviews and scribble down all the insipid things they have to say. So I'm supplying them, at no charge, with all the quotes they'll need so they can spend more time enjoying the sights.  For the most part, they can simply match them up with the coaches of their choice..

"We're really young"
"We lost a lot of players to (graduation/the NFL)
"We have to stay healthy"
"We have to take care of the football"
"Our young players are going to have to grow up in a hurry"
"We're going to really focus on the fundamentals"
"It's going to be hard to replace (insert player's name)"
"It all depends on the way (insert player's name) develops"
"I hope we can hang in there until (insert player's name) comes back from his suspension"
"The schedule is brutal"
"The SEC is the toughest conference in the country"
(For Florida reporters) "We have to really come out of the gate against Idaho and Eastern Michigan"


*********** Okay, okay.  String me up.  Dismiss me from the AFCA. 

I have a confession to make…

I watched two soccer matches this past weekend.  Two.  And nobody forced me to.

I watched both Netherlands-Brazil and Germany-Argentina, and - may God forgive me -  I.. enjoyed… both… games.

Yes, I did.  I actually found myself cheering for Dutch and German goals, and screaming with indignation at the flopping and grabbing of the Argentines and Brazilians.

I said some time ago that I thought that Germany was really good, as they amply proved. And I actually think they have a couple of guys  - most notably Bastian Schweinsteiger (love that name. While you're up,  I'll have one), who didn't seem to mind mixing it up - who could play real football.

The German score was really a thing of beauty. 

Yes, I have to admit that the experience was more enjoyable for me because both of "my" teams won.

And I also have to admit that, had either team lost, I'd have given no thought whatsoever to jumping off a bridge.

*********** I read the news in Sports Business Journal: "Nike just unveiled a Mike Trout cleat."

"Cleat?"  WTF?   Couple of problems here.

First, while football shoes - football, not baseball -  have commonly been called "cleats," a "cleat," singular, is not a shoe.  A cleat is one of those things you screw into the bottom of a shoe.

Second, when did baseball players start wearing cleats, instead of spikes?

I remember reading about Ty Cobb, sliding into a base "spikes high."

I remember reading about him "sharpening his spikes" before games.

I remember hearing about guys getting "spiked," sustaining  "spike wounds."

I'm not sure why they ever called them spikes, since spikes are supposed to be pointy things, but they're sure as hell not cleats.

And I never heard of one baseball shoe called a "spike."

Oh, well.  It's Nike's money, and if Nike is willing to spend its money to change the name of something that's been a baseball fixture for generations, in order to sell shoes, consider it as good as done.  It won't be long before our kids will be calling baseball shoes "cleats."  If they aren't doing so already.

*********** What bothers me about "immigration," whether legal or illegal, is not the number of people coming in, or the type of people coming in, or even the way they're doing it - it's our government's seeming attitude of "come as you are… and stay as you are."

We seem to have conceded the point to the multiculturalists among us that it is elitist, or racist, or whatever, to insist that newcomers adapt to our ways - become Americans - and our cowardice in failing to promote and defend our common culture may be costing us our country.

I disagree that it's racist, or imperialistic, or whatever evil you ascribe to it, to insist on welcoming people not just to our borders, but to our culture - to membership in the club.

The late Jacques Barzun, historian and student of education, wrote, "The need for a body of common knowledge and common reference does not disappear when a society is pluralistic. On the contrary, it grows more necessary, so that people of different origins and occupation may quickly find familiar ground and as we say, speak a common language. It not only saves time and embarrassment, but it also ensures a kind of mutual confidence and goodwill. One is not addressing an alien, as blank as a stone wall, but a responsive creature whose mind is filled with the same images, memories, and vocabulary as oneself."

*********** Bill Livingston, a longtime Cleveland sports columnist, got his start in Philadelphia, writing for the Inquirer.  He was assigned to be the beat writer for the Philadelphia Bell, which is where we crossed paths.

I thought he wrote a pretty good piece on soccer recently, entitled, "A modest Proposal to Stop Diving"

http://www.cleveland.com/livingston/index.ssf/2014/06/a_modest_proposal_for_stopping.html#incart_river

*********** We all know that patriotism sells beer.

Why else would that patriotic  Belgian company, Inbev, which owns Budweiser  among other brands, make a commercial featuring a young soldier - an American soldier - coming back from being deployed overseas and being honored in a hometown parade?

Now it's Guinness, which not only plays the patriotism theme - leaving a glass of Guinness on a table, untouched, awaiting a homecoming soldier  - but also brings in the Civil Rights movement.

The background music for the commercial is a hymn.  A very special hymn at that.

In a scene in the great series on the Civil Rights Movement,"Eyes on the Prize,"  a Montgomery minister recalled the meeting  that followed Mrs. Rosa Parks' arrest.

It was decided  at the meeting that black people would boycott the Mongtomery bus system, and  that Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior, a young pastor who'd recently arrived in town from Atlanta, would lead it. And then, as their sendoff,  all assembled rose and sang that beautiful hymn, "What a Fellowship, What a joy divine, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms."

Now, 60 years later, it sells beer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D-gyaxQgK4

*********** Bob Ley's job must really be on the line at ESPN, because unless he was under orders to do so,  I can't imagine why an AMERICAN sports guy would go Brit on us simply because he was being paid to talk about soccer.

In one ten-second burst, I heard him say...

"The crisis deepens for Brazilian football… "

"It's been years since Brazil have lost consecutive World Cup games… "

"and this time to the Dutch, by Two-Nil."

*********** Singapore, like any other place with legalized gambling, has its share of problem gamblers.

So in anticipation of the wagering associated with the World Cup, Singapore's National Council of Problem Gambling (NCPG), set out to deter Singaporeans from "gambling irresponsibly during the World Cup" with a series of TV commercials and posters.

They featured a young lad named Andy, upset because his father has bet the farm on his favorite team.

"I hope Germany wins," Andy says in one spot.  "My dad bet all his savings on them."

And then the ad ran at halftime of the Germany-Brazil game.  With Germany leading, 5-0, social media in Singapore was all over it.

Wrote a high government official on Facebook, "Looks like the boy's father who bet all his savings on Germany will be laughing all the way to the bank."

Wrote another Facebook user, "This ad has given hope to all gamblers!"

The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

*********** The Packers signed a free agent tight end from Oregon named Colt Lyerla. 

If the pros had been able to overlook his "off-the-field issues," he'd have been a first-round draft choice, but just to show that even the NFL can draw the line someplace, he wasn't even drafted.

The guy is at least 6-5, weighs at least 250, and runs a 4.6 40.  In high school, he was all-state as a running back and linebacker, and he led his team, Hillsboro High, to a state title.

He chose Oregon over a number of colleges, and after graduating from high school early in order to take part in spring drills, he saw some action at tight end as a freshman, catching seven passes for 147 yards - and FIVE touchdowns.

In his sophomore year, 2012, he was a perfect fit in Chip Kelly's offense, starting at tight end but also seeing action as an H-back and running back. He caught 25 passes for 392 yards and 6 touchdowns, and rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown.

And then Chip Kelly left Oregon for the Eagles.

Kelly was said to have had a golden touch with kids like Lyerla, but Kelly's successor, Mark Helfrich, had little tolerance for Lyerla's "off-the-field issues," which in this case seems to be a euphemism for "drug issues."

After missing one game for what the public was told was an "illness," he was suspended from another game before finally quitting the team, and not long after that he was arrested for possession of cocaine.

Yes, he has/had drug issues.  Welcome to the NFL.  How bad might things get when he pockets an NFL paycheck every week?  But he is not a bad dude. We are not talking Aaron Hernandez here.  There is nothing criminal in his background and people who know him say he's basically a good kid from a dysfunctional background who doesn't have a lot of self-control.

Colt Lyerla may be too much for the Packers to turn around, but his upside is enormous.  If and when this kid grows up, he could be an All-Pro. 

(It may or may not mean anything, but the Eagles, whose head coach knows him as well as anyone, didn't sign him.)

*********** Coach,

What do you teach your kick out players to do if there's no one to kick out like in a 6 call.

Coach Roger Calder
Natick, Mssachusetts

Coach,

They are searching for the first thing past the tail of the blocker at the point of attack - the one making the down block on the inside of the hole.

The trick is to make sure that the kickout man stays "on the rail," and does not drift away from it.  The rail, in this case, is  the "butt line" of the playside blockers.

6-G blocker pathHe must not run straight down the line
(horizontally), as the play is drawn on paper, but must be taught to run along the "butt line."

We do not want a "jaw" to open, as at the top of the drawing at left: we do not want a large angle to develop between the butt line and the course of the kickout blocker.  That is a sure recipe for failure to get the inside-out block that we need, and it's a major reason why the "G" play fails.

The two major failures in technique that lead to this problem are kickout men and trappers turning their shoulders more than 45 degrees from square, and not keeping their eyes up and on their destination. To solve technique number one, we teach the "pickpocket" - we teach the kickout man to reach with his playside hand for the playside hip of the first linemen to playside, and not to turn the shoulders more than that, while at the same time locating his target.  That's where the eyes come in.  Check their eyes and you will be surprised how often they're looking at the ground.  You have to teach linemen to run with their eyes up.  The same thing is true for younger running backs.

If he runs the correct course and there is still no one to block, he will cut upfield at the hole,  still looking for someone to the outside.

*********** Hey - LeBron celebrated his latest announcement by taking a trip to Rio to catch the World Cup Final, and he says - I swear - the World Cup is bigger than... the NBA Finals! 

Gee, LeBron.  Ya think?

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BKN_LEBRON_WORLD_CUP?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-07-12-19-56-17


*********** At North Beach High, last season was a turnaround season.  We finished 7-3, our first winning record in rive years, and in the process we got rid of two long-time nemeses. Literally.

After being put on a running clock in 2012 by both Naselle and Willapa Valley - while serving as their Homecoming opponents (the team everybody wants to schedule) we turned the tables on them in 2013, pinning a shutout on Naselle 28-0, and putting a running clock on "Valley" (as it's called around here) 46-6.

Finally.  We showed that we belonged on the same with two of the consistently toughest teams in our league.  That's the good news.

The bad news is we won't have either of them to kick around anymore.

Although Washington is a generally prosperous state, we happen to live in a relatively impoverished area, far from the prosperity of the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia region.

Naselle, a remote one-time thriving little logging community, has shrunken in size to the point where it's had to drop down in classification, which means that it will now be playing 8-man football.  Willapa Valley, in the center of farm community, was faced with a similar decline in enrollment, but chose, rather than play 8-man football , to instead form a combine with a nearby school (25 miles away is nearby in these parts) and continue playing 11-man football.  Unfortunately for us, the new combine will be playing in the league of Valley's partner.

The idea of a combine isn't new in Washington - for the last three years, we've been spanked by a combine from Morton-White Pass, a combine of two schools that never amounted to much until they came together. in the open spaces in the eastern part of the state, it's common for two or even three tiny schools  to combine - to form an 8-man team!

In Midwest farm communities, similar population losses have forced the formation of numerous combines, and even, in some cases, compound combines - combinations of previously-formed combines.  In Iowa, I'm familiar with at least one compound combine - Battle Creek-Ida Grove joining with Odebolt-Arthur.

They now play as the Battle Creek-Ida Grove/Odebolt-Arthur Falcons.

http://www.maxpreps.com/high-schools/battle-creek-ida-grove-odebolt-arthur-falcons-(ida-grove,ia)/football/home.htm

*********** The late Casey Stengel was a heck of a manager when he had a good team (Yankees) and not much of a manager when he didn't (Mets) but he was loved by sports writers because he was so quotable, even when some of his quotes left them scratching their heads, trying to make sense of what he'd just said.

One of his quotes has stuck with me over the years: "Only a shortstop can play shortstop."

I think - I think - what he was saying was that you can take a shortstop and move him to another position, and he'll do okay there.  (It would be interesting to see how many major leaguers, whatever their positions now, were once shortstops.)

But conversely,  it's hard to take a guy who's never played shortstop and turn him into one.

If Stengel had been a football man, he might  easily have substituted the word "quarterback" for "shortstop."

Colleges - and the NFL - are filled with former quarterbacks now playing an assortment of other positions.  But name me one guy drawing a paycheck as an NFL quarterback who didn't play quarterback in high school.

There's one thing that NFL coaches can't do, but those of us who coach small high schools sometimes can, and that's take a kid who's never played quarterback before, and turn him into a quarterback.

That's what I've been trying to do since Memorial Day (when our state finally releases coaches to work out-of-season with their kids).

For some time I've insisted that my quarterbacks must meet three knockout criteria:

1. Does he really want to be our quarterback?  Is he willing (and able) to take the heat?  Will he do the extra work required, in-season and out?  Will he be the first on the field and the last off the field?  Does he have the stones to be a leader, to tell teammates what to do?  Will be put himself in my hands?

2. Is he coachable?  Does he have football intelligence?  Is he a quick learner?  Can he take correction positively?  Can he make corrections?  Does he want to please me?  Does he have "someone else" giving him "coaching tips" (if you know what I mean)?

3. Can I trust him?  Will he always be straight with me?  Can I count on him to be there?  Will he be my surrogate when I'm not there?
Can I count on him to do the right thing -  to get good grades and stay out of trouble? 

They're "knockouts" because  if a guy can't measure up in any of those areas, he can't play quarterback for me.

(Notice that athletic ability and passing ability, although they do figure into the equation,  are not essential parts of the criteria.)

Of course, if there are two candidates who pass tests 1, 2 and 3, the one who is the better athlete will get the nod.  And if there are two whose athletic abilities are equal, the better passer gets the nod.

But in a small school, we rarely have the luxury of a highly competitive situation.  We have to make our decision quickly, because the "loser" of the competition is normally good enough to play someplace else, and we need him to start getting reps there.

At North Beach, we just lost a very good quarterback to graduation, and we had no one behind him.  No one.

Looking at 1, 2 and 3, we had one guy who qualified - who really wanted the job.

Fortunately, he's a good athlete.  He's a rising junior. He's not very big - about 5-7, 145 - but he's very quick.  He placed in the state track meet in the 300 intermediate hurdles (which also indicates that he's tough and a hard worker.)  He has exceptional hands, and he's a very good runner.

Only one problem - he had never thrown a football.

More about this on Friday.



american flag FRIDAY,  JULY  11,  2014 "’I've never been intimidated by anyone. I don’t know the meaning of the word.”  John Silber, former president of Boston University

*********** Coach,

I could not help seeing a parallel between a quote in the Josh McNary article:

"That became his refrain. Everywhere he went, everything he did, he did his best. He excelled."

and Colossians 3:23:

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,"

Todd Hollis

Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach,

Sad to think that we once lived in an America in which it was generally understood how much wisdom was in the Bible.


*********** Today (Thursday) was the 40th anniversary of the first World Football League game.  On July 10, 1974, our Philadelphia Bell defeated the Portland Storm, 33-8,  in Philly's old JFK Stadium.  The size of the crowd - 60,000 plus - shocked the sports world.

I was there, and it was a sight to see.

At the same time, there was a Phillies' game in Veterans' Stadium as well as a concert at the Spectrum, both nearby.  The total crowd at all three venues was in excess of 100,000, and The Mother of All Traffic Jams clogged roads and bridges for miles around.

It was later discovered, thanks to some diligent detective work by a Philadelphia reporter almost certainly put up to it by Philadelphia Eagles' owner Leonard Tose, that the house was "papered" - that a large number of people in attendance got in free.

Personally, I wouldn't have gone if they d paid me. (Although, come to think of it, that's why I was there.) 
The heat and humidity were unbearable even by Philadelphia standards, but  those folks, paid or not, fought their way through the traffic to get there.

(In case anyone needed proof that Philadelphia is a great pro football town.)

************* The late Ray Mansfield was one tough customer.  He grew up tough in Kennewick, Washington - "my dad was a guy who scratched it out of the ground" - was an All-American at the University of Washington, and played 14 years in the NFL, 11 of them as the Steelers' starting center.  He was one of the leaders of the great Steeler teams of the 1970s, and played on two Super Bowl champion teams.

I found a couple of passages about him in Roy Blount's "About Three Bricks Shy of a Load" to be very interesting. 

The first concerns his introduction to high school football.

"My first game in high school, I thought I was God's gift to football. I thought I was going to beat the sh-- out of everybody. I went up against this big kid who was a senior. He ate my cookies.

"I couldn't understand it.   It turned out, this guy I played against in my first game was Bob Lilly.  But ever since then, I've been afraid that everybody was going to beat me.  I was an All-American at Washington, but I still felt that way. About the time you should be relaxed and enjoying yourself, you're worried, afraid of failure.  You know, I think people like that do better."

(True story.  Bob Lilly, although a Texan through and through, played football his senior year in Oregon in Pendleton, Oregon, home of the famed Pendleton Roundup.)

The second was a passage that could almost have been used as evidence by the NFL in defending itself against the suit brought by former players…

"I'm getting at the stage now where I have to worry about losing my physical ability.   My neck hurts so bad sometimes I think about killing myself. I'll be a cripple by the time I'm fifty.  But if that's what it takes, f--k it. When I was growing up, my family never had anything. I want to enjoy life.  Next to loving, football is the thing I like most."

The following account of Ray Mansfield's premature death (by heart attack at the age of 55 )does not sound like that of a man who was a "cripple."

Former Pittsburgh Steeler star Center Ray "The Ranger" Mansfield died in the Grand Canyon on Saturday, November 3, 1996. Ray had been hiking with his son and another companion when problems with an ankle caused him to begin to fall behind them. He told the others to go on ahead and that he would catch up with them later that evening at the campsite. He never showed up. His body was found the following morning sitting with his back against a big rock, cigar in hand, facing a magnificent vista where the sun would have set the previous evening. The initial Park Service report lists the cause of death as natural causes. Ray's family has a history of cardiac illness and there were no other signs of external trauma. He was the sixth hiker to die in the canyon since July.

Apparently hiking in the Grand Canyon was a favorite activity of Ray's and he had been doing it every year for some time now.

http://www.bobspixels.com/kaibab.org/misc/gc_rm.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Mansfield

***********  In "About Three Brick Shy of a Load," author Roy Blount mentioned the number of teams back then (1970s) that had been infatuated with the idea of taking a world-class sprinter and trying to make a football player out of him.

Norm Van Brocklin, Falcons' coach, was a caustic sucker, and Blount wrote that when The Dutchman was asked what it meant now that his organization had signed one of those guys, he quipped,  "We'll have to start diagramming our plays on longer paper."

***********  Dad

I interviewed a gentleman named Terry Hennessy, who is originally from Wales, now lives in Melbourne, but coached the Tulsa Roughnecks to the NASL title (the Soccer Bowl) in 1983. He said one of the great things about being in Tulsa at that time was you had Nolan Richardson at Tulsa, Barry Switzer and OU and Jimmy Johnson and OSU and he got to speak with all of them. Pretty good trio in the state of Oklahoma!

Ed Wyatt
Melbourne, Australia


*********** Hi Coach

Been awhile since we last spoke…hope life, even with soccer, is grand.

Got a bit of a quandary as we prepare for this season, one I haven’t faced yet. After seven years of working with my older son’s teams, he moves on to middle school ball and I have agreed to assist on my 7 year-old’s team. It’s been some time since I worked with the little ones, so, I have to regain my footing with working with mostly 1st time players.

Here’s my quandary…The Pop Warner rules for 6-7 year old’s are great in that they use this age as an instructional league, meaning no playoffs on the line that make coaches go overboard, although some still do. Additionally, there are rules in place on how a team can line up that cause me to re-think my approach. The rules state…
1) A team can have a minimum of four and no more than 6 Defenders on the LOS
2) Whoever is on the LOS, they must be head-up with their Oline counterpart. No Gaps or outside shades
3) No one can line up over the Center
4) LB’s and DB’s must be at the least three yards off the LOS at the snap.
5) No Blitzing between the Tackles

On Offense…we must
1) Have a Standard two tight end alignment
2) Can only have one player lined up outside the box, but, no more than 5 yards
3) No Motion or Shifting allowed
4) If you do a Direct Snap, player receiving the snap must handoff, pitch of pass. He cannot run the ball.

Based on the rules, I thought of running from a traditional Wing-T double tight set. From what I understand, based on the rules, most teams will put 6 D-Lineman head up on the G,T & TE’s, running a 6-2 or even a 6-5 look. See Attachment.

The problem is, that the Power play, almost becomes a sweep, as the Wing-Back and TE double team the “ON Man”. FB would then have to climb for a LB and the G (Power-O) or G&T run the tight circle. The Corner will be unblocked and  very close to the point of attack.

My 1st thought was, what if I were to flex my TE’s. Then, even though he has a MAN ON, have him block down and double team with the Tackle’s ON MAN. FB kicks out the DE and the WB runs FBI track with Guard pulling for the Mike.

My 2nd thought was to X-Block to run Off Tackle.

I’d hate to take newcomers to the game and not be able to teach a true Power Play based on the rules we adhere to.

Any thoughts?

Hi Coach-

Sounds like you're in for a fun challenge.  At least this will keep you from having to watch too many of your older son's practices!

To answer: you have the right idea

1. Run "Double Wing" but run it from "RIGHT" or "LEFT" formations. Basically, it's Wing-T without splits. All it really means to you is that you can't run Super Power (as designed) to the side away from the wing.

2. You don't even have to flex your TE to make "GAP, DOWN" (or "DOUBLE-TEAM WITH TACKLE") a hard and fast rule for him.  But if you were to flex him it might assist by moving the DE out a little bit.

Hope I made sense.  What I'm trying to say is that you are right on.

*********** Joe Diminick, one of all-time the top  coaches in Pennsylvania high school football history, passed away last week at the age of 86.

At the time of his retirement, Coach Diminick, known to most football fans as "Jazz Diminick," was Pennsylvania's all-time winningest high school football coach.  He won 290 games overall,  267 of them at Mount Carmel, a small town in the hard coal region  where he coached for 31 years. 

Figure it out - that's an average of more than eight wins a season for 31 years.

Berwick High's George Curry,  who has since surpassed Coach Diminick in career wins, told the Pottsville Republican-Herald, "When I first got into coaching, he was my hero. He set the bar for all of us. He was my idol. He was the man. I had so much respect for him.  I liked his style, that he was a disciplinarian and that he was always updating. When he had good quarterbacks, he threw the ball. When he had great running backs, he ran the ball. He knew how to use his kids."

I met Coach Diminick in the spring of 1974 when I signed his son, Gary, to a contract with the Philadelphia Bell.  Gary was an undersized running back at Notre Dame who was an outstanding kick return man on the Irish's 1973 National Championship team.

Before that, Gary was well-known around the state among fans of its high school football.  In 1969, as Mount Carmel went unbeaten and untied (in the days before Pennsylvania held state championships), he ran for 2.099 yards and scored 38 touchdowns and was named All-State and All-American.

Gary Diminick was no small school flash, either.  As reported in the Reading (PA) Eagle, when he chose Notre Dame, after having narrowed his choices down to the Irish, Penn State, Ohio State and Virginia, Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian told dad Joe Diminick, "We have the best back in the country."

Gary  went undrafted and unsigned by the NFL, so after we came to terms with him, I drove to Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania to sign him. His dad was there, too.  It was something of an event in the small town, and I was asked  to say a few words to the gathering before driving back to Philly.

Gary showed up a few weeks later at a mini-camp we held at crumbling old JFK Stadium, and shortly into one of our drills, he seriously injured a knee, and he never played a down for us.  Very, very sad and disappointing.

All six of Coach Diminick's sons played for him at Mount Carmel; five of them were named to play in the Big 33 Game, the state's famous all-star game. 

After Gary, the oldest, came Ken, who  played three years at Villanova; Joe, Junior, who won three letters at Penn State; Ed, who went to UConn and then Penn State but did not play; John, who played at Lafayette; and Mike, who played at Duke and in 1988 was named one of 16 scholar-athletes nationwide by the National Football Foundation.

Coach Joe Diminick turned out a number of championship teams and produced numerous all-state players, but as a coach he had to be proudest of the fact that more than 200 of his former players went on to college, no small accomplishment in an area chronically depressed after the collapse of the anthracite coal industry.

http://m.republicanherald.com/sports/hs-football-legendary-mount-carmel-coach-joe-jazz-diminick-passes-1.1713726

*********** I've always enjoyed noting the way high school football rosters reflect the demographic makeup of an area, and sure enough, a look at the roster of the 1969 Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania High School team, considered by many to be legendary coach Joe Diminick's best squad, shows that many of the players were of Eastern European descent,  in all likelihood sons and grandsons of men brought to  America to work in the anthracite coal mines of
northeastern Pennsylvania.

You may recognize the fullback.  Henry Hynoski went on to play at Temple, and then for the Cleveland Browns. His son, Henry, has been playing fullback for the New York Giants.

Offense

E  11  Dennis HEPLER              5-11 175
T  77  Gary HOWANEC               6-½  197
G  67  Frank GRABUSKI             5-7  154
C  66  Ed MORRIS                  5-8  173
G  38  Mike SEMICEK               5-9  196
T  68  Bob CHUPRINSKI             6-0  197
E  51  Phil KLAUS                 6-1  196
Q  12  Tom ALEXANDER              5-11 144
H  33  Gary DIMINICK              5-8  155
H  20  Carmen DEFRANCESCO         5-6  151
F  36  Henry HYNOSKI              5-10 175                  
 
Defense
 
E  81  John HALCOVICH             6-1  165
T  68  Bob CHUPRINSKI             6-0  197
G  57  Joe NARCAVAGE              5-7  165
G  62  Joe MUSHALKO               5-7  154
T  77  Gary HOWANEC               6-½  197
E  51  Phil KLAUS                 6-1  196
L  36  Henry HYNOSKI              5-10 175
L  66  Ed MORRIS                  5-8  173
H  84  Joe WOZNEY                 6-2  170
H  35  Dave BUSH                  6-0  174
S  11  Dennis HEPLER              5-11 175

http://www.pafootballnews.com/HalWilson/MtCarmel1969.htm

********** One person's list of the Top 14 College Stadiums…

http://www.nfl.com/photoessays/0ap2000000362215?campaign=Ext_Email_1st10_20140703&cvosrc=Ext_Email.Epsilon.1st10_20140703

*
********** The San Francisco GIants may ban "culturally inappropriate attire" at AT&T Park…

And they're not talking tee-shirts, either.

It all started back in June when the Giants held "Native American Heritage Night," and two fans, who identified themselves as native American,  asked another fan, who "appeared to be Caucasian," to remove a headdress she was wearing.

Turns out the offending party claimed to be part Choctaw, but, to paraphrase Hillary Clinton,  what difference, after all, did that make?

The point is that people were offended, and this is America, where the right not to be offended is in the Constitution, and if it's not, it should be, and besides, who gives a sh-- what the Constitution says, anyhow?

Which means that a San Francisco institution, the Village People, are welcome to show up to lead the crowd in the singing of "YMCA," but that headdress has got to go.

http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/giants-may-ban-culturally-inappropriate-attire-at-atandt-park-after-headdress-dispute/Content?oid=2845822

***********  According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon says that more than two-thirds of America's young people are unfit for military service.

"The military deems many youngsters ineligible due to obesity, lack of a high-school diploma, felony convictions and prescription-drug use for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. But others are now also running afoul of standards for appearance amid the growing popularity of large-scale tattoos and devices called ear gauges that create large holes in earlobes."

Major Gen. Allen Batschelet, the commanding general of U.S. Army Recruiting Command said only about 1% of young people are both "eligible and inclined to have a conversation with us" about military service.  "The quality of people willing to serve has been declining rapidly," he said.

The single biggest reason for disqualification of new recruits is obesity.

Then, there's education.  About a quarter of high-school graduates can't pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which measures math and reading skills.

The Army recruiter in charge of a large part of Los Angeles County said tattoos are a frequent cosmetic reason for disqualification. The Army bans tattoos on the face, neck and fingers, and since May 1 limits visible tattoos below the elbows and knees to four, which must be small.  The purpose of the tattoo rules, he says, is to "maintain a professional-looking Army."

Unfortunately for the Army's recruiting, he noted that "the average person in California has a tattoo."

http://online.wsj.com/articles/recruits-ineligibility-tests-the-military-1403909945?mod=WSJ_hppMIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsSecond

*********** Jim Geraghty, in National Review Online, wrote that whenever he sees Ambassador John Bolton, he asks,  "Okay, what part of the world is keeping you up at night now?"

He said the last time he asked, Ambassador Bolton answered, "Oh, the usual . . . all of them."

*********** Jimmy Graham was called a tight end, but, gee - he didn't want to be called a tight end. Said that because he was split out most of the time, he should be designated a wide receiver.

See,  the way it was, the  Saints could pay him as a tight end, and not as a wide receiver, whatever TF that means (since I am way behind in my reading in Capology 101).  

So he appealed.   And lost.

Sheesh.  The Saints need the guy. Drew Brees needs the guy.  He's proved his worth.  Pay him what he's worth.  Call him a quarterback if you have to.  (Again, I don't understand all that crap and have no interest in learning.)

Whatever the reasoning behind it, it's hard to believe that a topic like this could be taking up an arbitrator's time, but welcome to the intersection of greedy ownership and  unionized football.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000363018/article/jimmy-graham-deemed-tight-end-in-system-arbitration?campaign=Ext_Email_1st10_20140703&cvosrc=Ext_Email.Epsilon.1st10_20140703

.


american flag TUESDAY,  JULY  8,  2014 "The truth is, when all is said and done, one does not teach a subject, one teaches a student how to learn it." Jacques Barzun

*********** In an Internet discussion,  guy identified only as "John from Michigan" wrote these words of wisdom about the meaning of July 4…

It's about freedom and liberty and the ability to decide and craft our own fate and the ability to transcend class differences by our own ability, something lacking in much of the rest of the world. The extent that it it is lacking these days is an indictment of the cancer of Progressivism that's worked its way into American institutions, causing the country to be more like the world was prior to America: classes, races, codes limiting speech, and government institutions used against individuals.

*********** Observations by Coach Wyatt the Soccer Expert, after countless hours in front of the tube, watching and analyzing World Cup Action…

1. Mexico "were" hosed against The Netherlands.

2. Germany "are" really, really good.

3. Without the play of their goalie, the American "side" would have been blown out by the Belgians.

4.Yes, there are millions of American kids playing soccer, but they have proven next to useless in the US effort to  build an international "side" because, well,  for the most part they're not good enough athletes.  They're well trained and well coached and all that, and they're playing to the best of their abilities, but let's face it - they're the  leftovers after football, basketball, baseball, hockey, wrestling and, increasingly, lacrosse have had their pick.

5. Soccer appears to be about as easy to fix as any team game I know of.  There's so little scoring that an official only has to make one or two intentionally bad calls.  There's so much phony flopping that who's to say which flops warrant yellow cards and which don't?  And if the players are as good as claimed, are you telling me they can't  intentionally arrange for a narrow miss or two, or take a shot that a goalie's sure to stop?

6. The NFL's dreadlocks and the NBA's tattoo fetish notwithstanding, there is no more motley-looking bunch anywhere than international soccer players.

7. The play the US team nearly pulled off  in a late free-kick situation against Belgium would have made any American football coach proud.

8. The theatrics - the flopping, the whining, the agonizing that make soccer look like very close to pro wrestling -   mean, barring a correction, that most Americans will never take seriously.

9. In today's "diverse" America, we understand that we'll have to work to understand the heavily-accented "English" of big-city cab drivers, but soccer "analysts" on TV? Not so much.

10. Among Americans there has always been a deep and healthy dislike of anything resembling a world government.  Take a poll of average Americans and see what they think about the United Nations.  Ask yourself if the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA  or the NHL would be as successful as they are if they had been subordinated to an international governing group as venal and corrupt as FIFA.

11. It's a good thing for America's soccer aficionados that other than the College World Series and ho-hum, first-half-of-the-season baseball games, late June and early July are the doldrums of American sports, freeing up the sports media to actually pay attention to soccer.  Promote it, even.  Given the same kind of push that ESPN gave soccer, you have to wonder whether the gullible American public mightn't have been induced to fall head over heels for cricket.  Or Ultimate.

12. A modest proposal: I suggest that, just as tennis parents do when they send their sons and daughter to Florida at a young age to train with Nick Bollittieri, America, if soccer matters, may have to outsource its children. USA Soccer (or whatever it's called) should get out there on Saturday mornings and identify promising 4- and 5-year-old soccer players (before they're old enough to discover another sport), and offer their parents inducements to ship them off to foster families in Germany to live and play fussball until they're 18.  At that point, they'll return to try out for the USA National Team.  Plan B would be to station American soldiers in Germany, where some of them will marry German women, and they'll have kids, and maybe the kids will stay in Germany and learn to play fussball…  Oh, wait - that's what we've already been doing.

13. Soccer will remain a niche sport in the US so long as it sets itself apart by requiring a special vocabulary test for admission to its inner sanctum.  Rather than helping bring soccer to the masses in the states,  the ESPN commentators in their phony attempts to sound like Brits ("France are defeated… Germany are through"… "Argentina have the lead…") come across as a combination of silly-ass wannabes and  collaborators.   For your own sake, soccer guys - drop the haughty "we know what's best for you" attitude, have the sense to know your market and stop forcing the soccer-only terms on us.

14. Americans immediately get their guards up when they're told "it's good for you"   (How's that healthier school lunch program working out?)

or "everybody else in the world is doing it"   (remember the metric system?)

15. Remember this the next time they try to sell you the old "this time, soccer is here to stay" baloney…  If the World Cup is as important as we were told (and told, and told, and told) it is, why hasn't soccer been on the front pages since the US team bowed out?

16.
For God's sake - STOP CALLING SOCCER "FOOTBALL!"


*********** According to a YouGov.com poll published just before the U.S. played Belgium last Tuesday, liberals and moderates were tuning in to World Cup soccer far more than conservatives.

YouGov reported that 35 percent of liberals, 34 percent of moderates - and just 27 percent of self-described conservatives  -were watching the World Cup.

And as for watching soccer other than the World Cup, that figure drops to 24 percent of liberals, 21 percent of moderates and only 14 percent of conservatives.

The truth behind the "everybody's watching the World Cup" stories?  Only 30 percent of the nation was paying attention to the World Cup, while 70 percent was either following it "not closely" or "not at at all."

And that was before the US was eliminated.

*********** In football, baseball and basketball, assuming that such abominations as ties were permitted, a 1-2-1 record would be considered a bad start - in some extreme cases, bad enough to get a coach fired. For sure, no one is thinking Super Bowl or World Series. Yet America, a land that demands winners in all its sports, just went gaga over a USA soccer team that managed to go 1-2-1 in World Cup play. 

Does that mean that in the US at least, soccer isn't a sport?  Or does it mean, as I suspect, that for a lot of the USA team's "fans," raised in our "trophies-for-everybody" climate,  it was their first experience actually following any team in any sport?

Did you notice how many  scenes you were shown of USA soccer fans  watching games in taverns, in parks, in public squares?  Did it seem to any of you that the sudden appearance of soccer mania was force-fed?  Did you ever get the sense that you might have been witnessing a media-induced frenzy?  

Did shots of throngs of near-delirious people chanting "I believe that we can win" take anyone back to  "Yes We Can?"

Did it help anyone understand the sort of mass-hypnosis that could help elect a glib young politician with no significant experience to be our President?  (Remember all those women passing out, from sheer... what?)

Jimmy Kimmel, meanwhile, was wise to the phony "interest" in the Beautiful Game ginned up among America's low-information fans...

http://msn.foxsports.com/soccer/story/jimmy-kimmel-exposes-fans-who-rave-about-landon-donovan-world-cup-showing-070314


*********** Hey Coach,

I have been reviewing your stuff and building my package, and i have a couple more questions for you.

1. Do you mainly just run 3 trap at 2 (or 4) and rep the heck out of it in practice or do you equally rep 3 trap at 2 as well?

2. Same with 2 Wedge

Cheers

Good question(s), coach.

The answer in both cases is a qualified "Yes."

I have gone through many, if not most, seasons  running those two plays to just one side.

The qualification is as we get better and it appears that there is time to rep those plays to both sides, I MAY do so.

*********** I happened to stumble on a site dedicated to the neighborhood where I grew up - the Germantown area of Philadelphia and more specifically the Mount Airy neighborhood - and I came upon a recollection of some of the most memorable times I've ever spent,  In a section of Germantown, near the old Midvale Steel Company works, was a park that - literally - separated white Germantown from black Germantown.  There really wasn't that much interaction between the races, but I will never forget the softball games a bunch of us white high school kids played in that park, on spring Sundays, against a group of "older" (I'm guessing they were in their twenties) black guys.  It was a blast.  They were so cool.  They really enjoyed playing, and, accustomed as we were to taking games very seriously, they broke us up with their good-natured taunts.  And we played for a case of beer. (The "Kelly brothers" the writer refers to  were two guys from the Deacon Street neighborhood named Leroy - later a star running back for the Cleveland Browns - and Pat, who went on to be a major league baseball player.) And I would make a couple of corrections: "Honey Babe" was actually "Honey Boy," and since he was big and good-looking, I suspect the nickname was conferred on him by a lady or two; and the pitcher was an older guy they called "hat" (he always wore one) who befuddled us baseball players with pitches the likes of which we'd never seen .

There was a number of softball games, maybe six,in the Spring of 1956. These games were played on Sundays at the lower field by Wissahickon Avenue in Fernhill Park. It was the "boys" from Manheim U. vs. the "men" from Deacon Street. I think the men from Deacon Street won six consecutive games, the winning prize being a case of beer. Tired of losing I recruited Hugh Wyatt from G.A. and Mount Airy, Chickie Downham also from G.A. and Frankford to play for Manheim U. With Chick at third, (Quarterback for Temple), and Hugh at shortstop (Quarterback at Yale) We won this seventh game like 9-7. It was the last game played between Manheim U. and the men from Deacon Street. The umpire was a self appointed gentleman from Deacon Street, who actually had a few beers with us, because of his umpiring was not allowed on the street for several days following this game. "Honey Babe" was their pitcher and Joe Palmer was their center fielder. The Kelly brothers were only 13 and 15 and were not on the scene yet. Come on you Manheim U boys, Dave Heil, Rich and Ned Pomfret, Ken Scott, Frank Connerly, Harry Brown, Dave Glancey, Shep Tipping, Some of you must remember these softball games.

http://www.ushistory.org/germantown/thoughts/archive2011t.htm


*********** Question: Given the active resistance being shown by some Californians  to the relocation of illegals into their town… And given how well-armed so many federal agencies are… do you suppose American government troops would fire on American citizens?

*********** A little more than two weeks ago, the school board in tiny Wellpinit, Washington, about an hour north of Spokane on the Spokane Indian Reservation, voted to keep "Redskins" as the high school's nickname.

http://www.kxly.com/news/spokane-news/school-board-votes-to-keep-wellpinit-redskins/26580298

*********** Coach,

My wife and kids and I went on vacation to Washington, D.C.  We went to Mount Vernon, which was awesome to see, and toured the museums and monuments at the National Mall. When we got to the Vietnam War Memorial my ten year old asked a bunch of questions about the names. After explaining how to find a name of someone you know she wanted to do it. I have no family that served in Vietnam(WWII, Korea, Desert Storm - yes). I told her a brief story of Don Holleder and that I gave the Black Lion Award in the past and then we located his name. I think having a name gave her more meaning to the memorial.

I thought you would find that interesting and wanted to say thanks for that.

Dave Kemmick
Columbia, Pennsylvania

*********** They pay professors to teach this sh- ... and college students get credit for "learning" it…

Female Arizona State University students can receive extra credit for defying social norms and refusing to shave for 10 weeks during the semester.

Women and Gender Studies Professor Breanne Fahs, encourages her female students to cease shaving their underarms and legs during the semester and document their experiences in a journal.

Student Stephanie Robinson said it was a “life changing experience.”

“Many of my friends didn’t want to work out next to me or hear about the assignment, and my mother was distraught at the idea that I would be getting married in a white dress with armpit hair,” Robinson told ASU news.

Men are also allowed to receive extra credit, as long as they shave their bodies from the neck down.

http://www.campusreform.org/?ID=5735


*********** Hillerich & Bradsby, the Louisvile firm that makes Louisville Slugger bats, won a $1 million lawsuit filed against it by a guy who was seriously injured back in 2006 when he was pitching for a Norman, Oklahoma high school and was hit by a line drive.

The guy's lawyers contended that the bat was defective, causing the ball to come off it too fast.

*********** Peter King, noted NFL writer, took a trip to Canada to report back on the Canadian Football League (the CFL) which, as you may know, is already under way. He wrote two really good articles on a game that Americans pay little attention to but is loved passionately by Canadians.

First, "What the CFL Feels Like…"

http://mmqb.si.com/2014/06/27/cfl-winnipeg-blue-bombers-toronto-argonauts/

Second, "Small-town charm is why it's so great" (Actually, with the exception of Regina, Saskatchewan, I would call the other CFL cities "small towns" only if I were comparing them to the likes of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Francisco-Oakland, Seattle-Tacoma, Boston, Denver … Okay, okay.  Come to think of it, other than Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, I suppose he's right.)

http://mmqb.si.com/2014/06/25/canadian-football-league-cfl-small-town-charm/


*********** Next time they call you sexist...

I was reading an article by Steven Pressfield in the Wall Street Journal in which he recommended reading about a guy named Aeneas Tacticus ("Aeneas the Tactician") who, back in the Fourth Century BC served as something of a consultant on warfare.  He had some sound advice on "How to Survive Under Siege," from which Pressfield took the following example…

My favorite passage is one in which Aeneas suggests recruiting women to don male armor and watch atop the parapets at night, in order to convince the enemy that the besieged city has more defenders than it actually does. "However," he cautions, "do not let these females hurl missiles or stones from the battlements, as the girlish throwing motion of their arms will give the game away."

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeneas_Tacticus

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Aeneas_Tacticus/home.html


*********** For several reasons, there aren't many Army grads playing in the NFL, which is too bad.  At a time when each new day brings us another story of a player who's going to have to miss the first four games of the season because he failed a drug test, think what one Josh McNary on every team could do to improve the NFL's overall image.

http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nfl/colts/2014/07/03/colts-josh-mcnary-cannon-cocker-linebacker/12206917/


*********** My wife really likes tennis, and I do have to confess that although I can't stand to listen to the men grunt and the women scream, I do watch from time to time.  They are marvelous athletes.

One thing you can't help noticing, though,  is how few American men and women now play at world-class level.  There is maybe one Yank ranked among the top 50 or so men in the world, and now, with the Williams sisters nearing the end of the line, the women's side is going to look just as barren.

So when a Canadian woman, Eugenie Bouchard, made it to the finals at Wimbledon, I heard a studio analyst come out with about as bad a case of American arrogance as I've heard in some time.

"We're all Americans," this woman said, or something close to that.   Sure, Eugenie Bouchard is a Canadian, she went on, but she's one of ours.

Now, I think it's great that Americans would root for a Canadian. I do.  I mean, despite the way our President has dissed them, they're still close neighbors, and good ones at that.

But sheesh, when they produce world-class athletes,  they're entitled to claim them, proudly, as Canadian.  Not "American."

Canada's population is about the tenth ours, and Canadians, while accustomed to having to live in the shadow of a giant neighbor to their south, are not always happy about it, and it's the height of arrogance for us to claim as ours something that's rightfully theirs.



american flag TUESDAY,  JULY  1,  2014"Some people are in the business of being offended, just as Campbell is in the business of making soup."  Dr. Thomas Sowell

*********** Very, very sad news about the death of former Auburn tight end standout Philip Lutzenkirchen in a single-car accident early Sunday AM.  He was just 23, with a whole life ahead of him.  God bless him and his family.

*********** 3 soccer observations

1) I know we lost to Germany, but I think we would've won if only we would've retreated into own zone and then wait for Winter to set in!

2) The crisis on our Southern border is really a Long-range plan by the Obama Administration to make us a World Cup power

3) We Americans are waaaaay too unsophisticated to appreciate the finer points of the "beautiful" gam--OH MY GOD HE JUST BIT THAT GUY!

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa


*********** I always ask coaches what their in-season schedule is for coaches. Do you bring kids in on Saturdays?  Do you have weekend staff meetings?  Just curious how you prepare.

We don't bring kids in on Saturday or formally meet as a staff. We split up our duties on the weekend.

Thanks,

We're the same. In all my years of coaching I have never brought kids in on Saturdays. And we don't meet as a staff on weekends. I spend my weekends at home, 3 hours away from where I coach. I find that email, texting, telephones and Dropbox (we don't have the money for HUDL) enable us to stay in fairly constant touch.

*********** SCHOLAR FOUAD AJAMI, who died last Sunday - wrote, back in November…

"The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. Th spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama's polls - and, more significantly, in the man himself. Charisma is like that. Crowds come together and they project their needs onto an imagined redeemer. The redeemer leaves the crowd to its imagination: for as long as the charismatic moment lasts - a year, an era - the redeemer is above and beyond judgment."

*********** Coach Pete Porcelli's Troy (New York) Fighting Irish are now 5-0 and well on their way to a fifth straight semi-pro title, but the campaign has been a bittersweet  one.

Jahmel 'Flip' Tarver, the quarterback who led them to four straight Northeast Football Alliance titles, is constantly on the minds of the players and the coaches. 

One night last January, while playing in an indoor flag football game, he tore his Achilles tendon. He went in for surgery a few days later, but complications set in and he fell into a coma, from which he has not awakened.

"He's meant so much to this football team as a leader and as a teammate," said Coach Porcelli.  "He basically epitomizes the sport of football."

Said his wife, Naomi, "It's very hard. I mean, he's my husband, my kid's father, my partner, and I don't have that every day. So, be grateful for what you got because you never know when it's going to be taken."

http://www.news10.com/story/25889277/troy-fighting-irish-motivated-by-comatose-teammate?config=H264

*********** Anybody see something wrong with this sentence?

United We Dream, a youth-led group that supports expanding protection for illegal immigrants, announced members would protest inside the Rayburn House Office Building at 12:30 p.m.

Um, "expanding protection for illegal immigrants?"  WTF?

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/210810-immigration-group-plans-protest-in-house-office-building#ixzz35rcMYoIi

*********** I don't know about you, but when Nancy Pelosi travels to the Mexican border and says "We're all Americans," I get very uneasy…

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/06/28/Pelosi-on-the-Border-We-Have-to-Use-This-Crisis-as-an-Opportunity

*********** I know that all those youngsters whom we've allowed into our country represent a "humanitarian crisis," but did they have it this good in the places they left?  For that matter, do all American kids have it this good?

"The buildings have a refrigerator that will be stocked with water, milk and fruit so the children will be able to eat whenever they want. There will be toys, video games and televisions for the kids. And once an 8-foot fence is erected, the children will be allowed to play outside. They may even build a soccer field, the official said.

Some have questioned the amenities, saying they will only encourage immigrants who are desperate for a better life to try to come back."

Said New Mexico state Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell. “Each one of these rooms will have eight bunk beds. There will be televisions and play things for kids … it looks like a better pre-K program than what our kids will be experiencing.”

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/06/27/officials-nm-detention-center-will-be-focused-on-deporting-illegal-immigrants-within-15-days/

*********** If the World Cup were on another network platform i.e CBS,   NBC - we would be lucky to get any scores or highlights from ESPN.  Ask the NHL people.

Tim Brown
Athens, Alabama

Amen to that.  It's really a sorry state of affairs when the organization reporting on an event has a financial interest in that event.

Sort of a preview of what we can expect when the government gains full control of the news media. (Notice I said "full," because it's not quite there yet.)

*********** I was just cleaning it, Officer, and it went off.…

The cannibalistic Uruguayan soccer player who bit an Italian opponent said in his appeal of his suspension that he lost his balance and  the next thing he knew, "I hit my face against the player, leaving a small bruise on my cheek and a strong pain in my teeth."

http://www.espnfc.us/fifa-world-cup/story/1918882/i-lost-my-balance,-uruguays-luis-suarez-tells-fifa-about-bite

*********** After watching Brazil and Chile play an entire game, plus two 15-minute periods of "extra time" and then have to settle a one-one tie with five kicks on goal each, from about 15 yards out, and watching the Brazilians walk off with a win simply because on their fifth and final kick the Chilean kicker hit the post, I shook my head at the hypocrisy of the soccer types.

You know, all the bullsh-- about how we Americans simply don't appreciate soccer because we insist on lots of scoring and we don't understand all the game's "nuances," blah, blah, blah.  Right.  Also, they don't understand why we are so averse to ties, and insist on having winners..

But then, when they must determine a winner in order to make their tournament work, they cut to the chase.  They throw all the nuance crap out the window and resort  to something we complain is missing from the games - one on one, kicker against goalie scenarios -  pretty much proving our point.

Wrote my son, Ed (who likes and understands soccer and has done his share of soccer broadcasting): Penalty kicks is a much-debated issue. I like the idea of taking a man off in extra time, so 9x9 (not counting goalie) for 20 minutes or even 9x9 for 10 and then 8x8 if still tied.

*********** With the USA-Belgium soccer GAME coming up, restaurants have been having fun saying that they won't serve Belgian waffles.  Ha, ha.  Hey - want to have some real fun?  Slip into a soccer bar (it's okay - I'm giving you dispensation) and inform all those soccer types that that that All-American Bud Light they're drinking was made by a Belgian company.

*********** Everyone should know the story of Rocky Bleier, but understandably, because Americans have a tendency to have no interest in what happened more than a couple of weeks ago, a lot of people don't.  I suggest you look him up.  Read his book, "Fighting Back."

Rather than get too deeply into Rocky Bleier's story, I'll simply say that after playing for Notre Dame he was drafted by the Steelers in the 16th round in 1968.  He made the team (some said, not necessarily joking, that he was kept on the roster mainly because, like Steelers' owner Art Rooney, he was a Catholic - and Pittsburgh has always been a big Notre Dame town - and, like Rooney,  the son of a saloon keeper) but following the 1968 season, with the Vietnam War going at full blast, he was drafted, and wound up the only NFL player to serve on active duty in Vietnam.  While  on patrol, he was shot in the left thigh, and as he crawled toward his platoon, shrapnel from an exploding grenade hit him in his right leg and foot. After three operations, he managed to recover to the point where he was able in 1970 to return to the Steelers. But amazingly, he didn't just heal - he got better and better as a football player, to the point where he became a mainstay in the backfield, along with Franco Harris, on the great Steelers' Super Bowl teams on the 1970s.

In "About Three Bricks Shy of  a Load"  (the title came from Tackle Craig Hanneman's excited exclamation to author Roy Blount, Jr., in the midst of a wild Steelers-Raiders game: "You picked the right team! Oh, a great bunch of guys! And a bunch of crazy f--kers! I'm crazy, too! We're all about three bricks shy of a load!"), Bleier tells the author what he was thinking about as he lay bleeding:

"Well, the only things to do over there are read and think about R & R, which I never got to take. So I had just been reading this war story, about  a guy who gets hit and prays that if he gets out of there alive, he'll become a priest.  And he does.

"So the first thing I thought was, I'm not going to be a prick about this.  I mean, when you confess, you're really just saying I hope I won't do this again, but you know that if the occasion arises, nature is going to take its course. So I prayed and said I'm not going to promise to be a priest.  I'm just going to say that I'll put my life in Your hands, to do whatever You want with it. Now I realized even at the time that that was a pretty chickensh-- move.  I mean, I could do anything  and say, well, that must be what God wants me to do."

*********** Writes  Douglas Ernst of the Washington Times, there is a dipsh-- out there who is so PC-addled that he thinks Apache helicopters are a worse affront to Native Americans than the Washington Redskins' name...

Veterans aren’t happy with a recent op-ed by the Washington Post, which charged that the Apache, Comanche, Chinook, Lakota, Cheyenne and Kiowa military vehicles were a “greater symbolic injustice” than the NFL’s Washington Redskins’ name.

“Even if the NFL and Redskins brass come to their senses and rename the team, a greater symbolic injustice would continue to afflict Indians — an injustice perpetuated not by a football club but by our federal government,” Simon Waxman of the Boston Review wrote for the Post on Thursday.

He added that the helicopter names were “propaganda” that needed to end, because Native American life expectancy statistics indicate the “violence is ongoing, even if the guns are silent.”

Readers at the popular military news gathering website Doctrine Man reacted Friday.

“I suspect that the author is less unhappy that our choppers have Indian names, and more unhappy that there is a U.S. military,” wrote Alex Kuhns.

Kevin Schooler wrote: “What floors me is that for the most part, it isn’t American Indians who are offended. It is guilt-ridden white liberals being offended on their behalf. How’s that for paternalism?”

Even the website’s moderator weighed in, saying that the names the military chooses for weapons platforms “are anything but derogatory, they convey strength, honor, and courage. @SimonWaxman is grossly uninformed.”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jun/27/army-vets-blast-pc-police-for-attacking-apache-chi/#ixzz364uQqv7S

*********** Bob Mischak died last week in Orinda, California.  He was 80. He was a long-time NFL coach and before that one of the original New York Titans (forerunners of today's Jets).  And before that, as a West Point football player, he was the hero of one of the most important football games in Army's long and storied football history.

It was 1953 in New York, in the Polo Grounds, and Army was facing Duke, then the nation's seventh-ranked team.

Army was just two years removed from the disastrous 1951 season, when once-mighty Army, forced to play with jayvees after most of the 9-1 1950 squad had been dismissed for honor code violations, finished 2-7, with wins over Columbia and The Citadel.

The 14-13 win over the Blue Devils on that day in 1953 was hard-earned, and a superhuman effort by MIschak, the biggest man on the army team, was crucial to the win.

Author David Maraniss set the scene in his "When Pride Still Mattered," his biography of Vince Lombardi (then an assistant coach at Army), then turned over the narrative to famed sports writer Red Smith of the New York Herald-Tribune.  As fate would have it, MIschak's play involved running down from behind a Duke running back named, coincidentally, Red Smith:

"The score held at 14 to 13 as the fourth quarter rolled out, and up in the press box historians burrowed in the records hunting another Army victory as unexpected as this. They couldn't find one. Then, suddenly, it appeared such comparisons would be in vain, for here was Duke clamoring for another touchdown. There was a double reverse behind the line of scrimmage and Red Smith broke free, pursued only by Bob Mischak, a frustrated back who plays end and third base at West Point.  Smith had a lead of at least eight yards when the pursuit began, but Smiths simply aren't fast. Seventy-three yards down the field, Mschak had him by the neck and dragged him in, seven yards from the goal line."

Maraniss noted that it was unfortunate that sports writer Smith couldn't resist the joke about another Smith's lack of speed, because in fact Duke's Smith was a very fast back on an overall fast squad, and the joke diminished Mischak's amazing feat.

From the Army seven, Duke took four shots at the goal and failed to score.  On fourth and goal from the two, someone on the Duke sideline - walking a fine line, considering that at that time the rules outlawed coaching from the sideline - threw a kicking tee onto the field.  But the Duke quarterback threw the tee back and chose instead to sneak.

Army held, and coach Earl Blaik, rather than risk a fumble, chose to quick kick on first down.

With forty seconds remaining, Duke took over and threw four straight incomplete passes, and then, as Smith wrote, "Suddenly, the stained white jerseys of the West Point team disappeared, swamped under wave upon wave of blue-gray soldier units.  West Point cadets never break ranks.  This time they practically broke their heroes to pieces."

Maraniss, in summing up the importance of one single play, wrote, "When Bob Mischak made that unlikely play, what Blaik called 'a marvelous display of heart and pursuit,'  Army's football team, regained its soul."


http://www.raiders.com/news/article-1/Raiders-Mourn-Passing-of-Bob-Mischak/052c6320-162a-4fcb-b46e-bed760f5e0d2
 
http://www.newyorkjets.com/news/article-randylangeblogfb/Titans-G-Bob-Mischak-AFL-Original-Dies/d82cd121-6616-44fd-a50c-8a95d06ebcbd

***********  If you had to teach someone else to coach a DW offense with you, which would you give them, the line or backs? Keep in mind this is a pee-wee team and I would just need someone to do an individual period. I would do the install, team, etc.

My answer is that I wouldn't do either until a person was able to coach. For me, that means knowing all the assignments before I would turn the kids over to him. He has to have an aptitude to learn the correct techniques but he can't help you at all if he doesn't know the very basics. And, maybe most important of all, he can't be a guy whose ego makes him "teach" things he doesn't know. Those guys cause real problems because you need to supervise them as much as you do the kids.

Summary- teach them all together until an assistant is ready. If the assistant has an ability to coach linemen, I would say that is preferable because there are a lot of mechanics that you need to teach the backs. If you have two able assistants, give one the backs and one the line (tight ends can go with either group) while you oversee.

*********** The sh-- never stops.

It was Gay Pride Day this past weekend, and at US embassies around the world, the rainbow flag flew on the same pole as the American flag. Not the MIA flag, which ought to be flying, but the f--king RAINBOW flag.  (To think that at one time we were so careful of what we said about terrorists, for fear that they'd use our words as a recruiting tool, but now we wave the Gay flag in their faces.  God forbid some Middle Easterners are ever caught on camera burning a rainbow flag.)

http://m.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/us-takes-gay-rights-global-despite-unsure-welcome/2014/06/28/8684be52-fea0-11e3-91c4-01dcd9b73086_story.html

Meanwhile, in New York City, boy scouts wearing rainbow neckerchiefs marched in the company of assorted freak acts in the annual Gay Pride Parade.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/nyregion/boy-scouts-make-provocative-statement-at-gay-pride-parade.html?referrer=

(Nowadays, with gays in their midst, I bet straight scouts are leery about  putting out campfires the way we once did.)




american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 27,  2014 “The fool has one great advantage over a man of sense - he is always satisfied with himself.” Napoleon Bonaparte

*********** The self-congratulatory mood of American soccer fans - "One Nation, One Team" - really needs to be brought down a peg or two, because, let's be honest - the enormous growth of youth soccer in America has really had surprisingly little to do with the US team's, uh, "success." (1-1-1 in group play.)

In fact, if it were not for our quaint system of conferring citizenship on people born elsewhere in the world to an American parent serving in the military, or those born in America to foreign parents, 11 members of our team would be playing for other countries (or maybe not even qualifying for their home countries' teams). 

In any event, our roster has on it  a fistful of German guys with American passports who learned their soccer in Germany.

Meantime, seeing the way this citizenship shortcut has worked in soccer, I have  a scheme to make us a world table tennis power. Now if I can just find some Chinese table tennis players with American fathers…


Carson & coach at Yakima*********** It was a drop-dead gorgeous day for the annual All-State football game last Saturday at Yakima, Washington's East Valley High School.

The game was especially enjoyable for my wife and me because Carson Ketter, our QB at North Beach High the last three years, was playing for the West squad.

And it was also fun because we found ourselves sitting right behind a lady whose son, Nick French, from South Whidby High, also played for the West.  Like Carson, Nick had come to the contest as one of seven quarterbacks on the West team, and like Carson, he wound up playing another position.  Carson played about half the game at corner and half the game at wide receiver. Nick went most of the way at wide receiver.

For a corner/wide receiver type, the action was mostly on the defensive side, as the West had trouble throwing the ball effectively.

The East team rotated four quarterbacks, three of whom impressed me with their arms, and superiority in the air enabled the East to win by two scores.

Carson will be playing ball at Pacific Lutheran University, in Tacoma, Washington.  NIck French will be headed to North Park University, in Chicago.

Overall, it was a nice show and I credit the coaches with making sure that all their kids saw significant action. When I talked with Carson afterward, he said it had been a great experience, and his only regret was that he wished it could have lasted longer.

*********** A highlight of the Washington All-State game was seeing White Swan High's 400-pound running back Tony Picard finally get a carry. A kid from a small school on the Yakama Reservation, he made national headlines last season by simply running over opponents.

He may or may not have a future as a football player - he really carried himself well running onto the field for introductions - but I don't believe it's as a running back. The crowd reacted excitedly when he came onto the field and lined up in the backfield, but  on his one carry, he was tackled around the ankles for a two-yard loss.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/6-foot-4-400-pounds-washington-state-football-star-plays-high-school-article-1.1521838

*********** If you're a guy who's made all the money you'll ever need and you're looking around for adventure, consider investing in the FXFL. FXFL (does it sound a bit  too much like "XFL?") stands for "Fall Experimental Football League."  Before you do invest, though, a look back at what's happened to the long line of challengers to the NFL's role as King of Sports Business will make it abundantly clear that adventure is all you'll get out of it.

As one who spent two football seasons as a foot soldier in the World Football League, way back in 1974 and 1975, I can say that the NFL was a formidable opponent. In the 40 years since, he has become even more so.  There is simply no way that the NFL is going to permit anyone to take a run at its position atop the sport of football, as Donald Trump's unfortunate partners in the USFL learned when they followed his rash lead in moving from its spring schedule to the fall. In other words, to go head-to-head with Big Football.
Actually, this new league, supposedly set to start this October with six teams (Yee-haw!  Portland's going to have one!) seems to be making sure that the signals it sends to to the NFL are clear: "we mean no harm."

Actually, it doesn't appear that they mean any profit, either.  According to their commissioner,  a guy named Brian Woods, their financial model is the NBA D-League, which  as far as the average sports fan is concerned operates pretty much in secrecy. It is not, Woods told the "is "predicated on TV revenue."  Well, I guess not, unless they bring their own sponsors.

The part of the FXFL plan that really makes me laugh is its naive belief that the NFL will follow it closely.

“Our long-term goal is to establish a partnership with the NFL,” Woods told the New York Daily News, “and we feel can do that on many platforms. It would give them a way to work with younger players that they don’t currently have. We can help them train prospective NFL officials — in the NBA, every referee entering the league (in recent years) comes from NBA Developmental League.  We can be a testing ground for proposed rules, too.”
Yeah - proposed rules such as (possibly) no kick offs or punt returns.  Also, signing players right out of high school.  And playing games on Friday nights.

Yeah, like the NFL is always interested in using somebody else's ideas - and giving them credit. If that were the case, they'd have long ago adopted the Kansas Plan overtime which high schools and then colleges have employed for years. But, see, that would have meant having to admit that there's someone else out there that's also playing the game of football - and maybe doing it with superior rules.

Developing players?  Look - as anybody who's ever been involved in starting up a rival pro football league knows, there is no shortage of good players and good coaches.  So long as the colleges keep playing, the NFL has a constant source of well-developed talent, and it can't use them all.  The main ways in which a college-trained player cut from an NFL squad is going to enhance his chances by playing  in a developmental league are by growing older and more mature, and doing a better job of shopping himself around to NFL teams.  I spent the first three years of my coaching life working in that climate, providing a playing opportunity for kids who had just been cut and wanted to keep their hopes alive. Many of them were pretty good players, but few of them ever stuck in the NFL. Even after a year in a "developmental league," players are swimming upstream, competing against a fresh crop of draftees and newly-signed free agents.

When and if the colleges no longer turn out enough talent - then, and only then, will there be a need for a developmental league.   And when that day comes, be sure that that developmental league will be developed, owned and controlled by the NFL, possibly through its USA Football tentacle. They've already got their name -  the USA Football League.

Lotsa luck, FXFL.  You're a solution in search of a problem.  And please stay the hell away from our Friday nights.  Not that you'll ever be a threat to high school games.

http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20140620/fall-experimental-football-league-launching-in-fall-with-interesting-ideas

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2014/05/15/Leagues-and-Governing-Bodies/FXFL.aspx

*********** The USA-Germany game (sorry - "match") was on at 9 AM Pacific, and except for about 20 minutes when we put it on "record" and ran our dogs on the beach, I actually watched the damn thing.  It was not easy.

It was deadly, dull and boring.

An average high school PE class playing coed touch football is at least as physical, and yet every few minutes, with regularity, a seemingly innocuous collision would result in one or more players lying on the field, writhing in agony.

You sure have to give credit to the teams' trainers ("physios," I believe they call them). After seeing the many miraculous recoveries by players who at one moment appeared ready for the last rites of the Church and the next were back in action, I'd say the physios could teach witch doctors a thing or two.

One thing is for sure: the Germans - not the ones on the "American" team, but the real Germans - are really, really good.  Not that I know much about The Beautiful Game, but even a non-expert could see that they were toying with the American "side" (that means "team," in soccerspeak).

They passed expertly.  It reminded me of Dean Smith's "four-corner" offense, when his Tar Heels, once in the lead, played their sophisticated game of keep-away. 

Other than a nice German goal and a few good saves by the American goalie - and a brief moment toward the end  when the Americans actually got close enough to (almost) threaten the German goal - there wasn't a lot of what one would call "action."  Activity, yes, but not action is what soccer amounts to. 

So intent did the Germans seem on sitting on their 1-0 (that's "one-nil," if you're listening to the Brit doing the broadcast, which evidently is mandatory for it to be consistered authentic) lead that I'll bet they passed the ball back to their goalie at least 20 times.

There seemed to be no compulsion to advance the ball, but simply to sit on the lead. (In how many other sports can you sit on a one-score lead?) The great philosopher Earl Weaver said it all, in referring to baseball: "You've got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance."

I never did go back and watch what we'd recorded while we were at the beach.  No matter.  We didn't miss anything.  A little activity maybe, but no action.  Besides, there's no way World Cup soccer could match the excitement of watching guys standing in the surf waiting for fish to bite.

*********** One of the reasons why soccer is reviled among so many American sports fans is that it is so… Unamerican.

There is the fact that it may be the only game that can actually be played on a coed basis, without having to make some sort of allowance for females' inherent lack of size, speed or strength.

There is the phoniness of "injuries" resulting from "collisions."  The American way, at least until our kids began playing soccer, has always been to tough it out - to accept pain stoically.  Suck it up. Play hurt.  Don't let them know you're hurting.  There's a big difference between pain and injury, etc.

There is the cutesy-poo vocabulary of the sport that requires use of words alien to any other popular American sport.  Considering the overall lack of interest in NFL exhibition - sorry, "pre-season" - games, can you imagine how empty the stands would be if they started calling them "friendlies?"

There is the game's "global" nature: Germans playing on the USA national team; an English Premier League populated by all sorts except English. 
Globalism, to Americans, means "Made in China," and the loss of tens of thousands of good-paying US manufacturing jobs to foreign countries.Globalism, to Americans, means strange-speaking newcomers who don't know or respect our ways and couldn't be bothered to learn them.

And, finally, there is the matter of a guy who f--king bites opponents.  Talk about Unamerican. There used to be a funny little poem about the French and their propensity for fighting with their feet ("The French they are a funny race…") but among Americans, fighting with the feet, while still a foreign phenomenon, is at least ten thousand times more socially acceptable, more manly,  than biting, a tactic normally employed by badly behaved two-year-olds.  Soccer gives the guy three strikes, er, bites.

*********** Soccer will remain a fringe sport in the US so long as it acts like one, a sport that sets itself apart from the mainstream sports by pretentious use of its own words in place of those we commonly use for our sports.

Look - we don't care to talk like Brits.  That was settled a long time ago.  In the words of George Bernard Shaw,  "England and America are two countries separated by the same language."  We don't say petrol, or lorry, and we don't park our car in a "Gar-idge."  We use "rubbers" to avoid mistakes, not to erase them. And being "knocked up" is a bit more serious on this side of the pond.

Soccer could easily exist here - perhaps even thrive - without our having to listen to "match," and "pitch," and "draw," and "friendly,"  and "nil."   And certainly not "football" as referring to anything other than our favorite sport.

That crap is just plain foreign to our ears, and consequently, it denotes a foreign sport.

The excuse that that's the vocabulary of  real "football" people  is rubbish.  It's simply what the Brits say. Period.  It's not what the Germans, or the Italians, or the French, or the Spanish, or the Brazilians say. They are able to say all those things in their own languages, with no apologies for not copying the English and no need to do so.

Unless the promoters of US soccer people are willing to wait until all red-blooded American football/baseball/basketball people have  died off, they're going to have to stop force-feeding us with this precious British lingo if they hope to win us over.

*********** In an American sport - that is, the sort of sport that pre-Obama Americans grew up playing, there was a definite stigma attached to settling for ties, and a definite stigma attached to to "coming in through the back door" -  qualifying for post-season play not entirely on the strength of your own performance. But let a USA soccer team play three games and finish  1-1-1, and advance to the next round because some other team did or did not win by a big enough margin over another team, and to listen to ESPN and the adoring sports media you'd think they'd won the Super Bowl.

*********** I like Ann Coulter, but her right-wing political leaning is enough to immediately make roughly half the people in the US hate her; that she also happens to be very intelligent, witty and eloquent , though, means that few of that number even know who she is, much less what she says and writes.

Like me, she is sick of the "soccer is good for you" and  "soccer is finally catching on" hysteria that has gripped the United States ever since our World Cup team's historic win over mighty… Ghana?

She's written a fantastic column on the subject, from which I've reprinted a few excerpts…

(6) I resent the force-fed aspect of soccer. The same people trying to push soccer on Americans are the ones demanding that we love HBO's "Girls," light-rail, Beyonce and Hillary Clinton. The number of New York Times articles claiming soccer is "catching on" is exceeded only by the ones pretending women's basketball is fascinating.

I note that we don't have to be endlessly told how exciting football is.

(7) It's foreign. In fact, that's the precise reason the Times is constantly hectoring Americans to love soccer. One group of sports fans with whom soccer is not "catching on" at all, is African-Americans. They remain distinctly unimpressed by the fact that the French like it.

(8) Soccer is like the metric system, which liberals also adore because it's European.

Despite being subjected to Chinese-style brainwashing in the public schools to use centimeters and Celsius, ask any American for the temperature, and he'll say something like "70 degrees." Ask how far Boston is from New York City, he'll say it's about 200 miles.

(9) Soccer is not "catching on." Headlines this week proclaimed "Record U.S. ratings for World Cup," and we had to hear -- again -- about the "growing popularity of soccer in the United States."

The USA-Portugal game was the blockbuster match, garnering 18.2 million viewers on ESPN. This beat the second-most watched soccer game ever: The 1999 Women's World Cup final (USA vs. China) on ABC. (In soccer, the women's games are as thrilling as the men's.)

Run-of-the-mill, regular-season Sunday Night Football games average more than 20 million viewers;

If more "Americans" are watching soccer today, it's only because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy's 1965 immigration law. I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time.

http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2014-06-25.html#read_more

*********** OMG - Mexican fútbol fans are accused of directing homophobic slurs at opposing goalies.

It's bad enough the government of Mexico has been allowing Central American "refugees" to slip 1,000 miles or more through their country en route to sneaking across our sieve of a border, but homophobic slurs from their soccer fans?

This time they've gone too far.

http://soccer.fusion.net/2014/06/20/mexicos-world-cup-coach-defends-homophobic-chant/

*********** ESPN thinks it can make us eat our vegetables, and it may be right.

For those who can't understand the sudden excitement about soccer over at ESPN, perhaps it will help to know that ESPN is not exactly a disinterested reporter: in addition to broadcasting World Cup "matches," ESPN has agreed to pay $90 million a year through 2022 for the rights to televise MLS games.  Needless to say, it's in their commercial interest to promote the crap out of soccer every chance it gets, and it's not above creating the illusion that it is much bigger and much more popular in the US than it actually is.

ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd, whom I usually enjoy listening to, has been positively fulsome (disgustingly excessive) lately in his praise of soccer and the World Cup.

*********** A Hudson's Bay grad is in deep trouble back in Maryland. Hudson's Bay High, where I coached and taught for eight years, was one of Vancouver, Washington's three high schools (there are now four), and its kids, a decidedly middle-class mix, were a pretty doggone good lot.  Of course we had our jerks and our stoners and even an occasional criminal, but by and large, "Bay" was a good place to teach and coach, and a good place for a kid to go to school. 

Bay was a baseball school. Our football team was good, and so was our basketball team, but baseball ruled the roost.  This was mainly due to the efforts of a coach named Curt Daniels, who in addition to coaching our team spent his entire summers traveling with an American Legion team called the Vancouver Cardinals, which he had founded. In 1986 or so, the Cardinals, made up of Bay players and a number of other area all-stars, won the American Legion World Series.

Because of the old baseball myth that lifting weights was not a good idea, and because of the time commitment required of them -  the Legion playoffs went deep into August, after the start of football practices had begun - not too many Bay baseball players played football. One of those baseball players was a kid named Eric Estes, who went on to letter for four years at Washington State, and in 1994 won their Top Pitcher Award.  He went on to play a little minor league ball, then returned to Vancouver where he became a teacher and coach. In 2013, his Skyview High team won the state 4A (largest class) championship, and he was named State Co-Coach of the Year. 

But all this time - if the charges against him hold up - he was living with a dark, ugly secret. Some three weeks ago, he was arrested on a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor - a 12- or 13-year-old boy - back in 1997, when he was playing with the Frederick, Maryland Keys.  Obviously, if he's guilty as charged, it's lights out for him.  I just keep thinking how it must have been like for him, for nearly 17 years after the incident is said to have occurred,  to have gone about his life as if this were buried deeper and deeper in the dead past, all the while burdened with the dreadful thought that suddenly, out of nowhere, might come the moment of reckoning.

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/crime_and_justice/crime/former-keys-player-released-on-bail-after-return-to-maryland/article_1e4ee399-4f46-53e2-9202-260d66fed257.html

*********** How MIchigan alienated their students… by John U. Bacon

This spring, the Michigan athletic department admitted what many had long suspected: Student football ticket sales are down, way down, from about 21,000 in 2012 to a projected 13,000-14,000 this season.

The department has blamed cell phones, high-definition TV and student apathy sweeping the nation. All real problems, to be sure, but they don't explain how Michigan alienated 40 percent of its students in just two years -- and their parents, too.

How did Michigan do it? By forgetting why we love college football.

http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/road-saturday/201406/college-football-fan-stadium-students-business-tv-ncaa-michigan-tickets


american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 24,  2014"When you're a rookie you drive on guts. You don't fear anything. We always talk about guys who are superfast, and we say, 'He hasn't hit anything hard yet.'"    Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

*********** I can remember the lefties going crazy when the new Pope, referring to homosexuals, asked, "Who are we to judge?"

Oh, glorious, they must have been thinking. First, we get a President who's "fundamentally changing" the United States of America, which had been doing all right for more than 235 years, and now this new Pope is going to do the same thing with the Roman Catholic Church,  an institution that's been around a few hundred years longer than that.

What a shock it must have been for them to learn that he's not for legalizing pot.

HIs exact words were, "The problem of drug use is not solved with drugs!"


********** On Saturday, my wife and I drove from our home in Camas, Washington, near Portland, to Yakima, Washington, about 175 miles to the northeast, to take in an all-star game in which our last year's quarterback, Carson Ketter, was playing.

To me, it's maybe the most beautiful three-hour drive I know of.


We started out on Washington Route 14, along the north shore of the Columbia River, a road that often clings to the side of sheer cliffs as it winds up and down through evergreen forest. We passed Bonneville Dam, where hundreds of fishermen lined the shore just below, hoping to catch a big salmon before the sea lions could take a chunk out of it.

Just past the dam is the Bridge of the Gods, named for an old Indian legend, and there we crossed the Columbia to the little town of Cascade Locks, Oregon. If you like fresh salmon, Cascade Locks is as good a place as I know of to buy it.  Natives, who have no limits and no seasons to worry about, set up stands in a parking lot and sell fish just about the way it came our of the river.

At Cascade Locks, we got onto I-84. From Portland east,  it's one of the prettiest stretches of Interstate highway anywhere, an engineering marvel built on a narrow shelf, with  the river - and the Union Pacific's main east-west line - on one side and basalt cliffs on the other.  Lots of cars parked where they could just off the highway - fishermen willing to take their chances crossing four lanes of Interstate and two sets of railroad tracks  to get to the salmon in the river.


Evidently the wind wasn't right when we drove by, because on most nice days you'd see lots of sail boarders doing tricks out on the water.  The combination of swift river current and stiff winds normally causes the choppy conditions that the tricksters like.

At just about the one-hour mark, we zipped through Hood River, Oregon, built on a hillside climbing up from the water.  It's one of our favorite towns. It's a board-head's paradise - the river is right there, and a half hour to the south, on Mount Hood, is year-round skiing and snowboarding.  Hood River has lots of good restaurants, and it's the home of Full Sail Brewing, a decent-sized operation with a great brewpub overlooking the river.  Unfortunately, as is usually the case with nice little towns, Hood River is so well-liked that real estate prices are out of sight for mere peasants like us.

The drive between Portland and Hood River - the start of the Columbia River Gorge - is awesome, as the river threads its way through the Cascade Range, between high rock walls and tall evergreens.  But east of Hood River, there's a perceptible change in the vegetation.  We're now in the "rain shadow" of the Cascades;  little of the rain that the Northwest is famous for makes it east of the mountains. As a result, trees are scarcer, and the overall green of the scenery has given way to a russet brown.  The steep, barren hills over on the Washington side look as if they're coated in tan velvet. 

By the time we got to the small city of The Dalles and The Dalles Dam, we'd been gone a little over an hour and we were in a completely different climate zone - it's near-desert.  In 1957, the construction of the  dam drowned Celilo Falls, a place where for centuries brave Indian men perched on platforms above the raging waters and pulled salmon out of the river.  (Remember my mentioning earlier that Indians have been give the rights to fish without limits, without seasons?  This is why.  Hard to argue against compensating a people for taking from them forever something that had long been a part of their heritage.)

Past The Dalles, the Washington side looks tan, but on the shelf next to the river, creeping up the hillside until they give way to the tan, are large swaths of green. They're grapes.  We're getting into one of the wine regions that have made Washington our number two wine producing state, behind only California.


On a bluff overlooking one of the wineries - and the river - is a magnificent mansion called Maryhill, now an art museum but once the intended home of a rich promoter named Sam Hill.

About two thirds of the way to Yakima, we crossed the Columbia back into Washington, and began the steep climb up those hills, making a couple of giant switchbacks until we were suddenly on a plateau high above the river. It makes you appreciate how much work the river had to do to cut its way down to the bottom of the Gorge.

The only ugliness in the entire trip comes as you climb up out of the Gorge, the view of the hills defiled by hundreds of giant windmills, busy churning the air in hope of killing ever more eagles.  Please don't give me the "renewable power" argument. The Pacific Northwest was built on relatively inexpensive power provided by harnessing our streams.  These windmill monstrosities have only  been built with lavish federal ("taxpayer," to the uninitiated) subsidies, and, once in operation, they only stay profitable through legislation that requires the utilities that provide us with our electricity to buy power from them at rates far higher than they normally would pay for hydro power. We users are the  next step in the food chain, and obviously the  artificially higher costs of power are passed on to us.  The real scam is that only wind and solar power is considered renewable energy; hydroelectric power, which is about as renewable as you can get, isn't.

As we hit the tiny town of Goldendale, off in the distance snow-covered Mount Adams loomed over the scene. At various times in this trip we would see the peaks of Mount Hood, Mount Adams and Mount Rainier.  The Cascades' peaks, such as Hood, Adams and Rainier as well as Mt St. Helens, Mt. Baker, Mr. Jefferson and others, are all volcanic in origin, and as a result, they are shaped the way I was told as a kid that all mountains were shaped.  I can't begin to describe my disappointment as a little kid, after having colored peak after snowy peak in coloring books, to see my first Pennsylvania "mountain."  I seem to recall saying, "that's not a mountain!"  And if I don't remember that exactly, I feel sure that as ornery as I was, I almost certainly said something like that.

From Goldendale, there's a very interesting drive ahead.  One clue is the sign that says, "Last Gas For 50 Miles."  Another is the one that advertises something - a casino I think - that's "Left at the Next Light - 45 Miles From Here."

After a climb through spectacular pine forest, we were in the Yakama Nation - the Yakama Reservation.  "Tribal Laws Enforced," we're advised.  (The Yakama Nation chose that spelling - with an "a" - not so many years ago, for reasons of linguistic accuracy, but it's too late to change the name of the town, which is spelled the original way.

If I were to host friends from Europe, I would want to drive them through the Yakama Reservation.  It's definitely "Western" country.  No sign of people anywhere, but as you look up at the top of the canyons, you half expect to see a war party up there. (Think they're friendly?)  Here and there you might see a beat-up old corral, and we did see a few wild horses.  Their proliferation, ever since the government put the slaughterhouses out of business, has become a real problem for the Yakama people.


About midway through the 50-mile drive we crossed the mountains at Satus Pass.  At only 3100 feet, it's a preferred way to cross the mountains in the winter, rather than taking on higher, snowier passes.

The road's good for the most part, and so long as we didn't have to climb the hills behind any trucks, we made good time, until finally we climbed a steep hill and then, through a gap, saw, down below us, a huge expanse of green, backdropped by russet-colored mountains off in the distance - the Yakima Valley. 


It's a mini-verson of California's Central Valley.  At this time of year the two look a lot alike physically.  And because, like the Central Valley, it's so heavily dependent on farm labor in its fields and orchards, the Yakima Valley has a large Hispanic population.

Yakima, a city of about 100,000 people, is the biggest city in the Valley, but, again as in California, there are numerous small towns scattered around, towns like Selah and Sunnyside, Toppenish and Prosser, Union Gap and Wapato. 

Wapato's high school field abuts the main road through the valley, and the sign on it said "Dr. Dan Doornink Field."

I happen to remember Dan Doornink before he was Doctor Dan Doornink (he's now a physician in Yakima).

A star athlete at Wapato High School in the 1970s, he went to Washington State hoping to play quarterback.  But when he got there, a shortage of running backs led to his being asked to change positions.  As the story goes, it was either him or another freshman quarterback, a kid named Jack Thompson, who wasn't nearly as fast as Doornink.

Jack Thompson went on to fame at WSU as the Throwin' Samoan, but Dan Doornink didn't have a bad career, either. He was a starer by the second game of his freshman year, and he started for the rest of his career and wound up being drafted by the Giants.  He had a decent rookie year, a year best remembered for a game in which he was lifted in favor of veteran Larry Csonka - and a botched exchange, in take-a-knee time, between Csonka and quarterback Joe Pisarcik was picked up and run in for the winning score by the Eagles' Herm Edwards, a play that lives in Giants' infamy.

Following that first season, he was traded to the Seahawks, where he played eight years.

On a team loaded with running backs, the best of whom was Curt Warner,  he saw plenty of action. His best game was undoubtedly a playoff game against the Raiders in December, 1984. As Claire Farnsworth tells it, in seahawks.com -


Dan Doornink was born in Yakima, raised in Wapato and went to Washington State University. But he didn’t come to the Seahawks until 1979 after playing his rookie season with the New York Giants, who had selected him in the seventh round of the 1978 NFL Draft. In seven seasons, he played in 92 games and started 44 at running back and fullback. In ’79, he finished second on the team in rushing (500 yards) and receiving (54 catches). He did it again in the strike-shortened 1982 season, with 178 rushing yards and 22 receptions. But Doornink’s most-memorable moment came in a 1984 wild-card playoff game against the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Raiders at the Kingdome. He carried 29 times for 126 yards as the Seahawks won 13-7, and did it by repeatedly running the same play – “Check with me, 34 and 35.”

“After we had run the same play about 30 times, I was in my stance and I was looking at Howie,” Doornink said years later – referring to Howie Long, the Raiders’ All-Pro defensive end. “Howie gave me this look, as if to say, ‘You’re not going to run that same play again?’ I winked at Howie and shook my head, ‘Yep, same play.’ ”

Asked about the late December afternoon in ’84, it’s Long who now shakes his head.

“I remember turning to Matt Millen and I said, ‘Dan Doornink.’ And I’ve said it probably 300 times since I retired: ‘Dan Doornink.’"

Dan Doornink spent the last several years of his Seahawks' career attending medical school at the University of Washington, and when he broke his fibula in the 1985 season, he knew it was time to move on - to get on with "his life's work," as Chuck Noll used to say.


Yakima was home to a guy named Bert Grant, whose Grant's Scottish Ale was the first true Northwest craft beer that I can recall.  Back in the 80s, my wife and I would drive to an authentic English pub in Portland called the Horse Brass Pub (easily one of the best bars you will ever enter) simply because it was the only place in the entire area that served Grant's.  I know Bert Grant is dead, and I don't believe the brewery still exists, but to most people he deserves credit for being in on the start of a movement which has since swept the country.


I'm guessing that Bert Grant was inspired to produce his ale by the fact that Washington produces more than 70 per cent of the nation's hops, and most of them are grown around Yakima.  The hop field are everywhere.  Hops are vines,  twining around wires suspended from long overhead wires propped up by long wooden poles. They grow to beat hell, a least ten feet off the ground, and they're harvested for their  aromatic "cones" or flowers, which give beer its flavor.  The rise of flavorful craft beers and heavily-hopped ales has led to a great increase in the world-wide demand for hops.

Three hours in Yakima at the All-State game and then three hours' ride back, and we were home in Camas by mid-evening.

*********** Hugh,
 
I was reading your website last night and I came across an answer to one of my critics from last year.
 
Assistant Coach: "And why don't we just call plays like everyone else? The first number is the ball carrier and the second is the hole we are running at. I don't know why we can't to that."
 
Me: "The kids have no problem picking it up, the only person complaining is you."
 
What I should have said: "This is a misdirection offense. By telling the B-back specifically where he should go every play we prevent running backs from running into each other."
 
Now that I think about it, we never had running backs run into each other, a few guards, but never rbs.
 
Hope all is well. I have a question and a playbook for you to look at. Just finishing it up.
 
"Coyote Wing"
 
Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Coach:  Save that answer.  The question will come up again.  There is a never-ending supply of experts who've barely coached but know all there is to know about football.

*********** Hey Coach,

No teams run the DW here where we live. I was hoping you could give me a quick run down of how you would go about play calling, and how the game usually unfolds defensively and how you adjust.

I'm guessing you open by running Super Power until the defense overcommits to the off tackle area' where do you go from there?  With this type of series based offense I'm just trying to get the Ebb and flow of being in the drivers seat in this type of power offense.

Name Withheld
Calgary, Alberta

Ps we only have 3 downs up here in a Canada but our field is 55 yards wide!

Hi Coach,

I wish that I could tell you that play-calling is a science, but I have to say that after 40+ years in the game, I have learned that it is mostly an art.

There are certainly those times when a weak opponent or an unsound defensive alignment create a no-brainer situation, but for the most part play-calling is often nothing more than a matter of educated guesses.

This may not be as obvious as you'd think, but at its very base, good play-calling consists of having the right plays and being able to run them proficiently.  I don't know how many times I've been in a discussion and a coach has told me that if we do this (on defense), "we'll just do that," and I want to say to him, "Yes, but can you do 'that' well enough, and consistently enough, to beat us with it?"

Can you, for example, throw the ball if we sell out to stop your run?  

Can you sweep on us if we set up to stop you between the tackles?

Can your fullback knock our defensive ends back on power plays?

Can you hit us with a counter if we have 11 men flying to the football?

Can you trap us if we go all-out up front to disrupt you with penetration?

Can you roll out or sweep if we submarine four down linemen?

And so on.

So point number one is to be fully armed - to have an answer for things that a defense might do to stop your basic stuff.

Obviously, if the defense is physically superior to us and well coached at that, our options are limited.

So we'll usually start out with Super Power or Wedge, just to see what the defense may be doing to address our "statement" plays.

Maybe they can't stop either, right from the start.  Get the backups ready.  They're going to get more action than usual.

More usually, though, we see what they're doing (it always helps to know who made the tackle) and either make a quick adjustment or go to another play - wedge, trap, counter, sweep, play action - or even another formation (unbalanced, maybe?)  Which gets us back to point number one.

I know the Canadian game better than most Americans, and I know the way the Double-Wing works.  Yes, there are only three downs, but also, the defensive linemen have to play way back off the ball, and you can really add to the defense's confusion by having more than one man in motion at the snap.

It's that 12th man - and the wider field - that excites me.  I really like the idea of splitting the 12th man out to the wide side, then playing conventional double wing with the other 11 men, while having the ability at any time to run a "choice" play to the 12th man.  At some point, unless they were good enough to single-cover him, the defense would have to help out with an extra defender, leaving them to play 10 vs 11 against the Double Wing.

Not entirely what you wanted, I suspect, but I hope it helps.

*********** I haven't changed my opinion of soccer or soccer players or US soccer  fans.  (Yes, SOCCER.)  But even I have to give credit where it's due.  The US soccer team, to my untrained eye (yes, I watched the game - er, match) outplayed Portugal and had earned a 2-1 win, so to have the game wind up in a tie (okay, "draw") in the last seconds of "stoppage time" had to be especially upsetting.

"Stoppage time?"  Other than the fact that they use a real ball now - an air bladder and everything - instead of a Dane's Skull, this is a sport stuck in the past. 

They take pride in "no time outs," but they allow the clock to run while players celebrate go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oals (which is not, admittedly, very often) or (far more often) lie on the ground writhing in agony after a mini-collision, and then someone merely tacks on some arbitrarily-arrived-at extra time at the end of the "match," to make up for all the time wasted during the "match."

With all the accusations about match-fixing by referees in international soccer, elimination of stoppage time would surely seem the first place to try cutting off opportunities for them to cheat.

*********** Internet Humor: The Husband Store
 
The Husband Store opens, advertising itself as a place where a woman can go to choose a husband

The rules of the store are posted at the entrance:
 
You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the "products" increases with each floor. You may choose a husband from any floor, or you may choose to go on to the next floor - but you cannot go back down except to leave the store!
 
Scene: A woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor, the sign reads:
 
First Floor - Men who have Jobs
 
She decides to go on to the second floor, where the sign reads:
 
Second Floor - Men who have jobs and love kids.
 
"I want more than that," she says, and goes on.
 
The third floor sign reads:
 
Third Floor - Men who have jobs, love kids, and are extremely good looking.
 
'Wow,' she thinks, but desides to keep on going.
 
At the fourth floor, the sign reads:
 
Fourth Floor - Men who have jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking and help with the housework.
 
Nevertheless, she decides to go to the fifth floor, where the sign reads:
 
Fifth Floor - Men who have jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking, help with the housework, and are very romantic
 
She is tempted, but she decides to go on to the sixth floor, where the sign reads:
 
Sixth Floor - You are visitor 45,558,226 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.
 
To avoid charges of gender bias, the store's owner opened a New Wives store right across the street.
 
The first floor offers wives who love sex.
 
The second floor offers wives who love sex, have money of their own, and like drinking beer and watching football on TV
 
No one has ever visited the third, fourth, fifth or sixth floor.


american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 20,  2014"The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide."  Barack H. Obama  August 21, 2010

*********** I think it was Tom LaSorda who was once asked if he was playing a player - I think it was Mike Piazza - because he was Italian. 

His reply? "No, I'm not playing him because he's Italian.  I'm playing him because I'm Italian."

So now that Bill O'Brien has announced that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the Texans' starting quarterback, I'd like to ask -  is it because you're both Irish? Or is it because you're both Ivy-Leaguers?


Carason & Brett Favre***********
That's our former quarterback, Carson Ketter on the right. It was taken in Seattle at a Mariners' game last week.   You might know the guy on the left.  You may have to look closely, but it's Brett Favre.  Carson is 6-2, maybe 6-3, and Favre, from the looks of the photo, is at least an inch shorter.  Too bad.  Plenty of experts will tell you that  6-1  is too short for an NFL quarterback.

On Saturday, in Yakima, Carson will be playing in our state's East-West all-star game for smaller schools. He texted me to say that there were seven other quarterbacks in camp, and considering his height and speed, he'd been moved to wide receiver, where there were only three other players.  I don't know anything about the other QBs, but I applaud the coaches for making the move, because I know he'll do well there - and he'll get a lot more playing time. And as well as Carson played for us at QB, and as much as I'd like to see him play QB in college, I do believe he can be a great wide receiver or free safety.

*********** Yes, yes, I know - football is a brutal, violent game, blah, blah, blah.  Yes, and if I had a son, I'd think twice about letting him play football, blah, blah, blah.

But this past Saturday, nearly 500 high school football players - varsity and junior varsity - representing eight different schools participated in a jamboree in Woodland Washington.  Each team played a total of 66 plays against other squads - full contact.  In some five hours of play, not one kid had to be helped off the field.

*********** Had it with the fools and soccer types who insist on calling it "Football," even here in the US?

Tired of being told that there's something wrong with us because we call it "soccer?"

A great article in Thursday's New York Times provides you with all the ammunition you need to silence the nancy-boys in their Man-U shirts.

First of all, when they start in on that "you shouldn't call your sport 'football' when you don't kick very much," you might inform them that the word "Football" originally meant a sport played "on foot," rather than on horseback, and does not refer to the amount of kicking involved.

Until the 1970s, the word "soccer" was commonly used in England, which we can thank for giving us the game, and it was derived from its formal name "Association Football."  You have to understand the way the Brits will shorten words, but it evolved into  "Assoc" Football, and from there to  (at first) "Socker Football."


The other form of football played in the UK was (still is) Rugby Football, which became "Rugger Football," and even now is often referred to as  "Rugger."

Soccer's  spelling is the result of an evolution, too.

Newspaper headline writers are always looking for ways to shorten words and phrases, and "Socker" answered their needs.

The New York Times, in the early days of the twentieth century, used "Socker" in its headlines, and often referred in the same story to both "socker" and "soccer."

It should be pointed out to those effete types who consider us to be at odds with the rest of the more enlightened world because we continue to use soccer, that we are no alone.  In much of the English-speaking world there is another "code" (type) of football played, and since it was on the scene first, and since it's at least as popular in those places as soccer, it is referred to as "football." And soccer is, well, "soccer."

For those who think there's something wrong with us that makes us differ from Europeans, South Americans, Africans and Asians in what we call kickball, I'd like to point out that we're in good company. Three of the best countries in the world  for Americans to visit - Australia, Ireland and Canada - also call it "soccer."

In Australia, in the State of Victoria the dominant sport is Australian Rules Football (which the locals there call "Footy") and in the State of New South Wales the dominant sport is Rugby (which the locals there call "Footy").  Aussies were playing both sports before soccer arrived Down Under, so to the Aussies, soccer is soccer.  The national team is called the Socceroos.

In Ireland, Gaelic Football is very popular and since it was played before soccer arrived, it had first claim on the word "football." Consequently, the Irish call that other sport "soccer."

In Canada, they play "Canadian Football." That's what we call it, anyhow, because it's slightly different from the version we play.  Canadians, of course, simply call it "football."  It's their game  (it's older than ours.) They were playing their football, which like ours is an offshoot of rugby, before the arrival of soccer, so it claims the name "football." I suppose they call our game "American Football," as does most of the rest of the world, except where  they call it  "gridiron."

The English actually sent us coaches to teach us the game. Their hope was to civilize us by weaning us off that brutal sport we called "football." (Still do.)

According to the Times,

An article on Oct. 10, 1905, described the efforts of Sir Alfred Harmsworth, an aristocratic London publisher, to “send corps of experts to American colleges” to teach them the correct way to play “socker.”

“It is believed that if the game is properly introduced to the patrons of football through the medium of the leading colleges,” the article said, American-style football would “eventually play a secondary part to the ‘socker’ style of playing.”

Good luck, Alf.

Until the 1970s, the word "soccer" was perfectly acceptable among the Brits.

The Times article notes "Matt Busby, the manager of Manchester United in the 1950s and 1960s, wrote an autobiography, 'Soccer at the Top,' and a biography of the renowned player George Best was called 'George Best: The Inside Story of Soccer’s Super-Star.'"

At some point, though,  after having long since given up on us because we were too uncivilized ever to adopt their game,  the Brits took offense at the way professional soccer in the USA tried to make a splash by throwing big money at international stars - there go those bloody Yanks, stealing something else from us - and the renunciation of the term "soccer" started.  Somewhere around then, they began to use the name "football" exclusively, relegating "soccer" to the uncivilized heathens across the pond.

The interesting thing, the author points out, is that while the Brits seem to resent us as intruders on their game, we Americans actually take pride in the development of our game, baseball, in Japan.  And very few people in America see anything but good the worldwide growth of basketball, first promoted by ambassadors sent by the NBA.

 http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/sports/worldcup/with-world-cup-in-headlines-a-debate-continues-on-what-to-call-the-game.html?referrer=

*********** I like Penn State coach James Franklin's approach to early "commitments."   He encourages prospects not to give him a commitment until they're sure they're making a commitment:

“If you want to commit to us, then you’re done with the process. And if you want to keep going through the process and looking around and seeing people, I’m fine with that. But don’t commit.”

*********** From the standpoint of government intrusion in private affairs, this Redskins' trademark ruling  is a big deal. Yes, they can keep their name.  But if the "Redskins" name is no longer trademark-protected, it means, basically, that you or I could start printing and selling "Redskins" gear without having to pay for the rights to do so.  (My wife asked me why, if the government deems the name to be so offensive, a government agency would pass a ruling that guarantees a market flooded with unlicensed - but still offensive - items.)

The ruling also means that if someone is offended by something your business says or does (especially if that someone has a little pull) there's a federal agency somewhere, made up of unelected political hacks, with the power to take your property - your livelihood, even - from you.

If you don't like it, feel free to stand up to the federal goons.  I should warn you first, though, that while you were looking away, distracted by the Obama Event of the Day,  our National Police Force - the Department of Homeland Security - has grown to be 240,000 strong. (Bet you didn't know that.)  It's intended, as you know, to protect Amerika from domestic terrorists.  Like you.

*********** I heard one wisely say they should rename the "Washington team" The Obamas.  When they suck,  they can blame everything on the Redskins.

*********** It's not that I don't believe that if the Redskins name is insulting and demeaning to a large number of American people they should enlist enough other people to their point of view and bring economic pressure on Redskins' ownership to effect a name change.  But I don't believe that it is the place of the United State Government to help bring it about. 

And even if it were, it's not exactly the most pressing item on the agenda.

Our southern border is being flooded with illegals while our government, which may or may not have encouraged and abetted the flood "solves" the problem by sending the newcomers out into the public in return for a promise to return at a future date for a hearing; the IRS has become a provider of strategic services to the ruling party; the government has purchased enormous quantities of ammunition for government departments that you probably didn't know even had guns;  we swap five terrorist leaders for one apparent deserter; our economy is imperiled by our President's quixotic quest to stave off global warming;  the civil strife in Iraq seems likely to wind up driving the price of gasoline through the roof, yet the administration refuses to allow a pipeline to bring in oil from Canada; with the world quite possibly on the brink of war,  we've forfeited our world leadership position; we are sending "Military Advisers" to Iraq (anybody else remember that's how we got started in Vietnam?); and we've been talking about calling on IRAN - IRAN, for God's sake! - to help us out!

I could go on and on.  The outrages are endless, and many of them seem ginned up simply to draw media attention away from the more serious ones.  Which brings us to the Redskins' trademark issue.

There's our President,  fiddling while Rome burns.  He golfs, vacations, and raises funds from Hollywood and Wall Street billionaires -  and deplores the name of a professional football team.  That'll get the country back on keel.

Dr. Thomas Sowell said it best:

"We may yet become the first nation to die from a terminal case of frivolity.  Other great nations in history have been threatened by barbarians at the gates.  We may be the first threatened by self-indulgent silliness inside the gates."

*********** I was around when Jim McMahon was playing and I remember what a cocky, arrogant  sh--head he was, and I can't help thinking that the people writing all the sob stories about his current condition weren't and don't.

Sarah Crawley*********** Several years ago, Coach Jim Crawley, of China Grove, North Carolina and his wife, Teresa, had to deal with the devastating news that their teenage daughter, Sarah, had been diagnosed with a virulent form of leukemia.  Being people of faith, they prayed, and they hung together for their little girl. It was quite a battle for Sarah and for her family, but last week their prayers were answered.  Sarah, now cancer-free, graduated as  valedictorian of her class. Wrote Daddy Jim, "We are so proud and so thankful! 3 years ago, we weren’t sure if there would even be a graduation."

*********** Our President was shown in a short video saying "Go Team USA! Show the world what we're made of."

A few problems, Mister President. 

(1) Yeah, right. We sent thousands of men to Europe to die in two World Wars.  We helped rebuild Germany and Japan into world economic powerhouses.  We've kept the useless United Nations afloat with our tax dollars.  We're first on the scene after any major world disaster. And now we need a f--king soccer team to show the world what we're made of?

(2) Those guys on that team, many of whom are only  "American" because they have one American parent and haven't spent enough time in the US to have any idea what Americans are made of, are scarcely ones to be acting on our behalf.

(3) I'm afraid that you've already beaten them to it, anyhow, Mister President - and the world's not impressed.

*********** As in many states, the two highest paid "public employees" in the state of Washington in 2013 were football coaches: Steve Sarkisian at the University of Washington, and Mike Leach at Washington State. The headlines made it look as if though the taxpayers were being hosed, but way down in the article, it was made clear that the coaches' salaries were  paid with athletic department revenue and contributions, and not public dollars..

All well and good, except that they're still public employees, which means, in most states, that they're eligible for public pensions.  You know, the same pensions that schoolteachers get - the ones based on years of service. And final salary.

And as we well know, a D-I college head coach's final salary is probably a bit higher than yours.

The result is that a guy like Mike Belotti, who made millions as the head coach of the Oregon Ducks, now pulls down a pension of $41,000 a month courtesy of the taxpayers of Oregon.  That's $500,000 a year.  For life.

On top of that, he's making a nice buck working for ESPN.

Not blaming Mike Belotti, you understand.  He's simply a very conspicuous beneficiary of an out-of-whack system. If I were in his position, I wouldn't be saying, "Here - I don't need all this.  Leave me with, oh,  $10,000 a month.  That's all I really need.  Give the rest to a worthy cause."

I have a pretty good idea where the money would wind up - and it wouldn't be a worthy cause.

I have a problem with giant public employee pensions, period. (Full disclosure - my wife and I, both retired teachers,  receive state of Washington pensions.)  Look - no one will ever accuse me of being a socialist, but I strongly believe that there needs to be a ceiling on public employees' pensions.  Maybe a max of $75,000 a year.

I'm all for a nice pension as part of the compensation package, and  I wish that more employees of private concerns were able to retire as comfortably as most government employees.  But I don't think that anyone, no matter how much he's paid, or how long he's worked, or how valuable he is, is entitled to retire to a life of opulence at the expense of taxpayers.   I mean, if somebody's been pulling down a salary in excess of, say,  $100,000 a year in a government job and he wants more than the maximum state pension, there are plenty of financial advisers willing to show him how to start saving.   

*********** Do you feel that special teams are really 1/3 at the small high school level?  Don't you feel that some of the effects of special teams can be minimized by your style of play (ball control).

I want great KO coverage and punt coverage when we punt. I want to field kick offs. But I feel that is an area that can become over complicated if we are not careful.

Coach,

I don't buy the old cliche about kicking being 1/3 of the game.  I think that's a throwback to the bygone days when passing was rare and scoring was infrequent and famous coaches played for field position ("Position is more important than possession").  It may be true in the NFL where offensive efficiency is often so bad, but I believe that at our level it's maybe 1/8 of the game - certainly no more, and that's how we spend our time.

I believe that if we don't do anything to lose the game on special teams, our time is better spent on offense and defense.

We do spend about 10 minutes every day with our entire team on our "Iowa drill," which is basically kick coverage principles combined with open-field tackling. That's a key element of our kicking game.  During that time, I take the centers and the QBs, who won't be covering kicks, anyhow.

In terms of the actual kicking game, we spend at most 15 minutes a day on the "musts" - the things we must do in order not to lose a game.

For me, that's making sure we can get off a punt (I insist that the kicker be someone with QB skills and smarts, if not the QB himself), making sure we can cover kickoffs (we always try to squib kick it to an open area), making sure we can field an onside kick, and (just in case) kicking a field goal.

No special formations.  We punt from a base offensive formation and we "return" from a base defensive formation.

We do get in a couple of reps on our kick return, and if we think that it will work against the upcoming opponent, we will practice a punt return or two.

Punters and kickers and snappers do their thing after practice.

We follow this routine at every practice and in our pregame, as well (mainly to make sure that we have everyone on the field).

I think we have been successful. In the last three years we have had one punt return against us for a TD.  We have returned three punts for TDs.  We have not given up a kick return TD and we have returned three ourselves.  We have not had a punt blocked.

We have lost our share of games, but I can't think of one where special teams play beat us.

*********** “All I’ve ever been is a simple baseball man, but it’s never ceased to amaze me how so many far more accomplished people I’ve met in this life wanted to be one, too.”  Don Zimmer, in “The Zen of Zim,” (2004) written with Bill Madden.



american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 17,  2014"Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition."  Jacques Barzun

*********** Tony Gwynn, a great baseball player and by all accounts a really good man, had a lot left to give to the game of baseball.

But sadly, he died Monday, just 54.

The cause of his death was cancer of the mouth and salivary glands, believed to have been related to his long habit of using "dip."

Based on his Wikipedia biography, he had an unfair advantage over most kids - he had a mother and a father, who dedicated their lives to making sure he and his brothers were brought up right:

Gwynn was born in Los Angeles, California to Charles and Vandella Gwynn.  He grew up in Long Beach, California with older brother Charles, who became a teacher, and younger brother Chris, who also became an MLB player. Gwynn's father worked from 7:30 A.M. until 5:00 P.M., and he also coached Pop Warner football and Little League Baseball; his mother worked from 5:30 P.M. until 3:00 A.M. His parents instilled in him the value of being prepared.



Jamboree Teams*********** On Saturday, we concluded our two weeks of spring ball - one of them in pads - by participating in a jamboree in Woodland, Washington with three larger schools - host Woodland, Kalama, and Longview R.A. Long.

It was a great day for football - partly cloudy and 60 degrees.   In the photo at left, the four teams receive instructions from a referee.

With only our JVs, mostly freshmen, to go against during camp, we really hadn't done any hitting, and in our first session, against R.A. Long, a school roughly six times our size, it showed.  In our ten offensive plays against them, we moved the ball some, but made some uncustomary mistakes, mostly failing to stay with our blocks.  Then we went on defense for a couple of series and really lit things up.  We gave up a couple of passes, but we were pretty much airtight against the run. 

When we came back on offense, we were a different team, breaking several long counters and powers, getting our QB loose on a run-pass option, then punching in a few on wedges and "G" plays.

Concluding the day with a pair of teams given three attempts to score from their opponents' ten yard line, we gave up one score, but scored twice ourselves.

We were especially pleased with the play of our defense.  Our big linemen pretty much dominated their counterparts from the bigger schools.

We played in the afternoon session, while four other schools played in the AM.  Coaching one of the teams, La Center, was a former player and assistant of mine, John Lambert, and it is always great to see him.  He always puts a good team on the field.

Hudson's Bay guysPlaying in Woodland, which is only a half-hour from where we live, in Camas, gave me a chance to see a number of old friends.

Coaching one of the other teams, Hockinson, was another former player of mine, Rick Steele, who built the Hockinson program from scratch in 2004 but then, following a job promotion (he's a captain in the Vancouver Fire Department) had to resign. Now,  after a year off, he's back in the saddle again.

In the photo with me are three former players from my 1981-1982 teams at Vancouver's Hudson's Bay High: Rick Steele, head coach at Hockinson High; Randy Pearrow, who assists Rick; and Randy's brother Kenny Pearrow.

*********** Maybe it's not best to judge a guy like Bowe Bergdahl too soon, even if the men who know him best call him a deserter, but we football coaches are forced to make judgements like that all the time, determining on the basis of the best available evidence at the time whether or not we can trust a guy to be ready when we need him.

So what was the problem with the United States Army's judgement?

After decades of working with young men myself,  I do have a few questions I'd like to ask: 

(1) Is the supposed shock Mr. Bergdahl  experienced at discovering that war, even in the Twenty-first Century, is still ugly and dirty, something we should expect when we promote our armed forces as a "global force for good," and entice recruits with offers of cool jobs sitting  in front of radar screens and free college tuition?

(2) What kind of guy starts taking ballet lessons when he's 17 - and then goes and joins the Army?

3) In view of his previous record of going missing, and his obvious fascination with Islamic culture, shouldn't someone higher up in the food chain have foreseen the problems that another walkabout could cause?

*********** At the time of the UC Santa Barbara killings, I heard a Fox TV reporter refer to a college sorority, Alpha Phi, by pronouncing it "Alpha FEE."

Uh, fella, that's Greek. It rhymes with "pie."

Either that, or all this time we should have been referring to that great University of Houston basketball team as FEE Slamma Jamma.

*********** To those who enjoy watching great teams play, the Spurs were certainly a thing of beauty.

Beside the Spurs and the Heat, there were some winners and losers in the series.

Winners: The people who'd prefer to watch teams play rather than watch stars perform.  And the NBA, which may actually be outgrowing the tired old notion that you have to have a team from New York/Los Angeles/Chicago in the finals or nobody will watch.

Winners - tee shirt manufacturers who didn't have to go ahead and print two sets of shirts ready for sale, as they'd have had to do if there were any chance that the Heat might win.

Losers - Little kids in Africa, where the NBA customarily ships all those unmarketable tee shirts they made up in advance of game seven for the team that lost. Sorry, kids in Senegal. Sorry, kids in Gambia.  No free "Miami Heat - 2014 World Champions" tee shirts.

*********** FROM THE WASHINGTON POST- Describing the Ford airplane plant at Willow Run, near Ypsilanti, Michigan could produce 400 bombers a month...

"The greatest single manufacturing plant the world had ever seen… (Inside the plant) All 16 major league baseball teams could play eight simultaneous games before before crowds of 30,000 each, and there would still be room left over for a full-sized football game before an additional 30,000 spectators."

*********** Having mentioned the Belmont Stakes, I received a link to a video of the 1973 Belmont, and one of the all-time great championship performances in any sport:  Secretariat's winning the Triple Crown - and the Belmont - by more than 20 lengths.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V18ui3Rtjz4&feature=kp

*********** If you've had to listen to parents brag about their five-year-old being selected to an "elite travel team," and thought that there was something wrong - almost creepy - with the whole scenario, you're not wrong.

More and more research is showing that not only is specialization at an early age likely to contribute to injury and to burnout, but, worst of all Mommy and Daddy, if doesn't advance the kid's "career."  If anything, it sets him (or her) back, behind kids who play a variety of sports.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/06/11/opinion/sports-should-be-childs-play.html?referrer=

*********** For years I've heard the fans of Army football complain about noon kickoffs. That's what the TV people dictate, and unfortunately, since Army football does not yet rate a prime-time slot, it's either go along or go off TV. The latter is definitely not an option, because as hard as it is to convince many of today's high school football players to go to a place where they'll have to take orders, make their beds, study and go to class (real college subjects, even) and, possibly, someday find themselves sleeping on the ground and dodging bullets in some godforsaken place, it would be next to impossible without the chance to play on TV.

Noon kickoffs at West Point means that if you' live in the Washington, DC area, as many Army people do, you're looking at getting up at 4 or five in the morning to make the 4-1/2 to 5-hour drive to West Point, allowing some time to get through security and onto the post.

Forget watching the parade of Cadets, always a stirring sight.  That takes place at 10 AM on days with a noon kickoff.  Forget tailgating with old friends you only see a couple of times a year, at football games.

Now, purely in the interest of TV, the Pac-12 has moved to create a 2 PM (Eastern)  TV "window" for its Pac-12 Network games this fall.  For those unfamiliar with the concept of time zones, that means 11 AM kickoffs on the West Coast.

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/huskyfootball/2014/06/09/pac-12-announces-11-a-m-window-for-football-games-this-fall/

*********** You just know that 90 per cent of the new soccer fans voted for Hope and Change.

For them, America is too… American.

With their precious imitations of European soccer fans,  they're the embodiment of the libs'  disdain for the America many of us remember fondly.

These faux Europeans call the soccer "football";  their little children play on teams whose names, in true Eurofashion, end in "FC" (for "Football Club").

They wear scarves and, there being nothing more exciting to do during games (sorry- "matches") they sing songs incessantly.   And when, as often as not, the "match" down on the field ( sorry - the "pitch"), ends in a 0-0 tie, they say it's a "nil-nil draw."
 
The most interesting thing about these Euro-wannabes - and the most revealing thing about their rejection of American ways - is that studies show that for the most part, they  don't care a bit about any of our other major sports. 

I'm guessing that if they tried to throw the first pitch at a baseball game, they'd look a lot like the guy they elected President.

This article, sent to me by Greg Koenig, nails it: http://m.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/384qgmke.asp?page=2

*********** Casey Kasem died, in Gig Harbor, Washington, a delightful suburb of Tacoma.

His American Top 40 was a world-wide phenomenon. When I was coaching in Finland in the late 80s and early 90s, it was the only "American" stuff I ever heard on the radio.  (Over there, the show was called "The Weekly Top 40.')

He modeled his show on a once-famous radio (and then TV) show called originally "Your Hit Parade," then, in tribute to the cigarette brand that sponsored it, "The Lucky Strike Hit Parade."

It was only today, after all those years, that I found myself singing his theme, "America's Top 40," and realizing that its tune was the same as that of the Lucky Strike jingle, the one that signed off the Hit Parade show every week, starting out, "Be Happy, Go Lucky!"

*********** This was going to be the year the NHL finally made it into the mainstream of American sports.  Great regular regular season.  Great playoffs.  And a Stanley Cup final series between The Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers.

With fans from the two largest TV markets glued to their TV sets, hockey was ready to explode.

And then, the Kings had to go and all but sweep the Rangers in a snoozer (unless you liked the Kings) of a Stanley Cup Finals.  And now on-the-fence fans can all go back to whatever they were doing before - many of them, I'm afraid, never to return.

On the other hand, after reading an article by Bob Greene in the Wall Street Journal, hockey's popularity may not recede simply because of a stinker of a final series.

One major reason, he argues, is that you can see the puck.

For years, especially in the early days of black-and-white TV,  ardent fans would watch because with only six teams in the NHL - and no one wearing helmets - they knew most of the players.

But the puck?  Its whereabouts  often were a mystery.

For many years, Bernie Lincicome, a long-time sports columnist, would publish a list of his New Year's resolutions, and every year, without fail, one was on it:
"I resolve to see the puck."

"Imagine," Greene wrote,  "if fans were asked to watch football games and take it on faith that the football was really on the field."

Now, HDTV has come along, and it's actually possible to see the puck.  Hockey may make it yet.


*********** Chuck Noll is gone, another brick fallen off the load.

That's a reference to Roy Blount, Jr.'s masterwork,  "About Three Bricks Shy of a Load,"  written while the author spent the 1973 season embedded with the Steelers.  It's one of my all-time favorite books on football, and my going back to it in search of material on Chuck Noll has convinced me that I must read it again.

Unless it is Paul Brown, for whom Noll played for seven seasons, there is absolutely no other coach to whom you can compare Chuck Noll.

In this day of one-dimensional, intellectually shallow, sleep-on-the-couch-in-the-office coaches, men incapable of carrying on an intelligent conversation on a topic other than football and the gratification of the basest of human drives, there is no one who remotely resembles him. 

Chuck Noll was an educated man who believed in improving his mind and becoming knowledgeable about a wide variety of subjects. He was a pilot and a sailor. He loved opera. He was a good cook and a connoisseur of  fine wine.  And he was very well read. Wrote Blount, "I asked him what kind of reading he preferred and he said, 'Not fiction.'"

He got his degree from the University of Dayton in secondary education and often said that if he hadn't gone into coaching he'd have been a high school history teacher.

He was frequently abrupt and often sarcastic with reporters.  (Popovich, anyone?) No media for him when his football days were over.  NO chance of ever jumping on the ESPN gravy train as an analyst.  He scarcely even watched football games from then on.

He was not a warm, fuzzy person. He kept his distance from his players, from the team owners - from nearly everybody.

Comments from Blount's book:

"No one in the Steeler organization spoke of him in terms of companionship."

"Even the Chief, who prided himself on being able to chew the fat with anybody, got nowhere chatting with Noll."

"If I died and needed somebody to raise my kids, Noll would be the guy I'd choose.  But if I was going to a football game, I wouldn't want to go with Noll."

Said Jack Ham, with a Hall of Fame induction in his future,  "There are a lot of similarities between this team and the one I played on at Penn State. All of us together, there, disliked Paterno. It made us closer together. He as very cold to his players, very impersonal. Though he made sure of us getting through school. And Paterno's like Noll in the sense he's very, very disciplined.  They're both fantastic defensive coaches, very conscious of the big play, and very conscious of special teams and doing the little things correctly."

(Interestingly, as is so often the case with a stern father, Noll left lessons with his players that many of them admit, years later, have influenced their lives.)
Just as he was when he was a player, he was intense as a coach,  not given to displays of emotion. As Joe Greene told Blount,  "He really cares about his players. He has a hard time to keep from showing favoritism.   Sometimes he wants to come up and say, 'Mel, that was a hell of a game!' But he's not that kind of person.  He wants to keep everything on an even keel. He gets a lot of pressure on him. The first couple of years he had a staff,  but he did most of the coaching himself."

When the Steelers hired him, he had a solid record as a winner.  In 16 years as player and assistant he was part of five AFL or NFL championship teams and ten divisional champions.

Although an undersized guard, Noll played with the Cleveland Browns  for seven seasons, mainly because Browns' legendary coach Paul Brown valued his intelligence and his intensity.  Brown was the pioneer of coaches' sending in plays, and Noll was one of his "messenger guards" entrusted with running plays out to the huddle.  Noll retired at 27 to assist Sid Gillman with the Los Angeles (and then San Diego) Chargers, and stayed there for six years before moving on to assist Don Shula in Baltimore for three more years.

Finally,  he got his first head coaching job with the Steelers, who were bad, bad, bad.

He got the job mainly because  (1) Joe Paterno turned it down and (2) he alone among the candidates refused to promise a one-year turnaround.

As Dan Rooney told Blount,  "I liked Noll's forthright answers. He said he was not going to come in and do any miracles. A lot of candidates said they were, said they were going to come in and turn this team around in a year."

Unlike most coaches then and now, Noll had total involvement in the draft. That's because, brashly but wisely, he had insisted on it as a condition of his taking the job.  That stance ruffled the feathers of Art Rooney, Jr., who had been running the personnel department as his own fiefdom, but Dan Rooney, who was in effect the general manager,  agreed to the condition.

Like Paul Brown before him,  he was without racial prejudice.   As Bill Nunn, the black scout, told Blount,  "I'm convinced Noll is color-blind." 

Wrote Blount, "It seemed to be true and accepted by the black players  that while Noll didn't have any tolerance for uppityness from anybody, he didn't discriminate against blacks in general and did relate to them at least as well as to whites. In fact, three or four white Steelers claimed he was prejudiced in favor of blacks - that he would chew a white player for something that he wouldn't chew a black player for."

He did not suffer fools gladly.  Wrote Blount, "As the coaches watched a Cleveland-Minnesota game on television, commentator Al DeRogatis said a ball carrier was slow hitting the hole. 'Expert!' Snorted Noll. 'He was supposed to be slow! You don't know your ass from first base. They didn't have the "I" when you were playing.'

He was above all a teacher.

Wrote Blount, "Noll drew things on the blackboard, gave carefully-prepared, written-out speeches about being "men of substance," and sometimes snarled.  It wasn't a formula that inspired affection. But it largely held together."

"Everyone resents being told what to do. You have to show people that it works, that it leads to good experiences. You can have too much jawing."

It took him four seasons to produce a winner in Pittsburgh. 

In his first season, 1969, the Steelers were 1-13.

They followed with 5-9 and 6-8 seasons before breaking through with an 11-3 record in 1972.

In 7 of the next 8 seasons, they would win at least 10 games, but few owners other than the Rooney would have stuck with him until he turned it around.

Green  noted how he grew as a coach during that time.  "Guys are used to coaches screaming and hollering. It was different when Chuck  came in with his teaching philosophy. He was patient. He wasn't a screamer.  He just tried to instill his philosophy into the people he was going to have to use. He was hurt lots of times. He'd sit down there after a game and tears come into his eyes. Was he doing that bad? It would have been easy for him and Dan (Rooney) to panic.  They hung in there. And Chuck becomes more forceful every year.  Every year there's more pressure.  Yes, he can scream occasionally. We all look and listen, too.   A lot of times we as humans mistake kindness for weakness."

Said Art Rooney, Sr, to Blount,  "I think Noll never loses his poise.  I thought he was a good coach his first year, when he lost thirteen. He never lost his poise. Not only that, he never lost his team. However he does it, I don't know."

As evidence of the balance he maintained in in his life, when he walked out the door, he left football behind.   He rarely attended team reunions, he was stingy with interviews, and he repeatedly declined offers to publish an autobiography.

NYT Obit
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/sports/football/chuck-noll-coach-of-steelers-dynasty-in-1970s-dies-at-82.html?referrer=

Noll not interested in doing an autobiography
http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2012/10/14/On-the-Steelers-Chuck-Noll-s-is-a-story-worth-telling/stories/201210140145

Noll's lasting effect on Steeler culture
http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2014/06/15/He-set-the-precedent-Noll-changed-culture-of-Steelers-organization/stories/201406150204

Memories of Chuck Noll by a long-time Pittsburgh reporter
http://sportsblogs.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers-steelers-blog/2014/06/14/Memories-of-Chuck-Noll.html

Former Steelers remember Chuck Noll (this is really good)
http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Former-Steelers-share-thoughts-on-Chuck-Noll/ff163ef7-ba78-474c-80ed-19a23c8b7fb5



american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 10,  2014 “It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a photograph, or a telephone or any other important thing - and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others."    Mark Twain


*********** Anyone out there remember voting for "The White House?"

Increasingly, I hear "The White House" said this… "The White House" said that…  "The White House" did this… "The White House" did that…

Whenever something needs to be said, one or another in a long line of stooges stands up and delivers the official line, as if he or she is actually the one in charge.

One problem here.

There's only one person in that f--king house who was elected by the people of the United States (well, two, if you count the Vice-President, but ever since the time when Aaron Burr tried to steal the election from Thomas Jefferson,  the V-P's simply been along for the ride, elected along with the President).

That's the President. So why aren't we hearing this stuff from Himself? 

It's getting a little scary to me, reminiscent of the days of the Cold War, when goings-on in Russia were a deep,dark secret, and when we got news from there, it came out of "The Kremlin."


*********** Midway through our fourth spring at North Beach High, in Ocean Shores, Washington, things are looking up for the Hyaks.

We return seven starters on both offense and defense, and although the players we're graduating will be missed, we are a quarterback away from being a good ball club.

Our line looks very solid, we are two-deep at the running back positions, and we return our top receivers from last season.

QB? Well… Actually,  sophomore Alex McAra has been looking really good.  He's small but very quick, and he's a good learner and a hard worker. His throwing is improving by the day. He's got excellent speed - he was a state medalist in the 300 hurdles and a member of our state-medaling 4x100 relay team.  But…  

He has to step in and replace Carson Ketter, whose development over the last three years was almost shocking - from a slew-footed, 5-7 sophomore who couldn't bench press his weight and couldn't throw the ball more than 30 yards in the air to a 6-2, 185-pound senior who personally accounted for over 1600 yards in offense last season, and developed enough speed to finish second in the state (by .02) in the 100. Next week, he's off to Yakima to play in the All-State game, and in the fall he's headed to Pacific Lutheran University to play ball.  Fortunately, Carson's been helping us as a student-coach during spring ball, and he's doing a great job working with Alex.  It's quite a tribute to Carson that Alex, who's making the switch from running back, has asked to wear Carson's #9 this season.

We culminate camp next Saturday by playing in a jamboree at Woodland, Washington, 2-1/2 hours to the south, near where I live.  Our three opponents will be Woodland and Kalama, both a class larger than we are, and R. A. Long, of Longview, two classes larger.

We know what we're doing - I think.  We had a number of games last year in which we had to call off the dogs, but when it came time to play really good teams, we came up short, and we think that facing competition in the spring that's far better than we are will prepare us for tougher competition in the fall.

*********** We have 37 kids who've made it through a week of spring football - a record turnout for boys at North Beach.  To put it in perspective, we have 160 kids in the school.  Do the math - that's roughly 80 boys in the school, and our 37 means we've got almost half the boys in the school out for football.

Caleb & RodneyPart of the reason for the numbers is the relatively large number of incoming freshmen, but something else is going on, because we also have a sizable group of incoming sophomores, who for various reasons didn't turn out last year.

The best thing is that we didn't have to lower the bar. 

We would never stoop to making false promises about playing time, and we make sure that they all understand that we set high standards for conduct on and off the field.  As we do every season, we started off our first day of practice by going over our rules - the way we do things.  And to reinforce the important point that these are not the coaches' rules, but the rules that we all live by, we asked our veteran players to present them, one rule per player.  I can't prove it, but I swear that things have been going even smoother than they normally do as a result of newcomers' hearing the rules from the veterans.

For the few latecomers who didn't attend our first practice, we asked individual veterans to go over the rules with them.  In the photo, 6-5, 260-pound senior tackle (and state discus champion) Caleb Bridge  brings incoming freshman Rodney Washington up to date.

*********** When I was a kid, we'd go visit my grandmother in West Philadelphia, and I still remember the time we drove past a big house and my mother said, "That's the Bergdoll Mansion.  He was a draft dodger."

Now, I had no idea what a draft-dodger was, but I could tell by the way my mother said it that it was not something good.

And every time thereafter that we went by the Bergdoll Mansion, I remembered what she'd said.

Years later, the name came back to me as a result of a recent "prisoner swap" involving another controversial American with the same distinctive last name (although spelled slightly differently), and I headed to the Internet.

From Wikipedia...

Bergdoll House is a historic home located in the Spring Garden neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was designed by noted architect James H. Windrim and built in 1886. It is in a Beaux Arts / Italianate-style.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

The building was constructed as the home of the Louis Bergdoll family owners of the City Park Brewery. Grover Cleveland Bergdoll, scion of the well known brewing family, was a playboy, aviator, and World War I draft dodger.

The 14,000 square foot mansion has eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms, two kitchens, mahogany woodwork, multiple fireplaces, frescoes and mosaics. It was listed for sale in 2012 with an asking price of $6.9 million.

Grover Cleveland Bergdoll

He was born in Philadelphia. In 1912, he purchased a Wright Model B biplane for about $5,000. After 748 flights it was placed in storage, and in 1936 it was donated to the Franklin Institute. To avoid the draft he eluded police for two years. He was arrested in 1920, then escaped to Germany. Bergdoll found refuge in Eberbach in the Neckar Valley, not far away from Heidelberg, where relatives of his were living.

In January 1921 two US-sergeants Frank Zimmer and Carl Neuf wanted to seize Bergdoll in the town, but only had an American arrest warrant. They met the fugitive at the local station, exchanged words with him, and he finally fled with his car. One American fired two shots on the disappearing car, wounding a 17-year old girl named Lina Rupp on her right hand. Both sergeants were captured by the local police and later given jail sentences.

In 1923 a bid to kidnap Bergdoll from Eberbach was made. Two members of a gang of five were hiding in Bergdoll’s hotel room, where they wanted to overpower the draft dodger. But when Bergdoll entered the room, a fight started and he managed to shoot one of the kidnapers and injure the other one seriously. The four surviving conspirators were seized and sentenced to prison terms.

Finally in 1939 Bergdoll returned to the United States, was put on trial, and was imprisoned until 1944. He died in Richmond, Virginia in 1966.

The man drafted in Bergdoll's place, Russell C. Gross of Philadelphia, became a private in Company B of the 328th Infantry Regiment, part of the82nd Infantry Division.

He was killed in action on October 24, 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Gross was posthumously cited for bravery by Brigadier General Julian R. Lindsey.

***********  In view of the way this Bowe Bergdahl deal is shaping up, George Will presents a scary proposition:

"If the military stalls on turning over files to Congress pertaining to the five years of Bergdahl's absence, we will at least know that there is no national institution remaining to be corrupted."

************* With all the sh-- coming down around him, Our President didn't get anything more out of his so-called "Concussion Summit" than a photo-op with a female soccer player.

*********** Any coach who's had kids cramp up during a game knows what a devastating thing it can be - to the kid and to the team. Cramps are much more common in warm weather, of course, but even in a cool-year-round climate like ours in Ocean Shores, Washington, despite our best efforts, our kids still get them.

So there were the Heat and the Spurs, playing an NBA Final Series game in an auditorium whose air conditioning was on the fritz - and LeBron James had to leave the game with cramps. 

And pencilnecks who've never strapped one on or laced 'em up are accusing him of being soft, taking a dive, quitting, etc.

*********** Funny how when Our President comes to town, security is such an urgent thing that streets are shut off for hours, and entire floors of hotels are declared off-limits to the public.

Yet on his recent visit to Poland, somebody, somehow, gained entry to his hotel's exercise room and videotaped Our President "working out." With "weights."

Said Bernard McGuirk , Executive Producer of the Imus in the Morning Show, "He makes Richard Simmons look like Vin Diesel."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2648339/Who-sneaked-camera-Obamas-hotel-gym-Security-questions-Polish-tabloid-runs-photos-President-working-out.html

*********** I read a column in our newspaper by Froma Harrop, quoting experts who suggest that West Virginia is just going to have to get over it.  Coal is done, you see, which means that the folks in the Mountain State are simply going to have to find something else to drive their economy.  They're going to have to "diversify."

My advice to West Virginians is: "DON'T BELIEVE THE LYING BASTARDS WHO TELL YOU THAT!"

That comes from someone who has spent his fair share of time over the years in rural Oregon and Washington.  Once reasonably prosperous areas where men willing to bust their butts working in the woods could make decent livings, they're victims of people who knew what was best for them, who lobbied and agitated to end logging, and now they're out of jobs and their kids are out of hope.  No more logging, no more trucking, no more saw mills, no more paper mills.  They've either moved elsewhere to try to find work, or they've stayed behind, barely getting by with whatever work they can find in their near-vacant  little towns.

Oh, sure - they were told that they'd get free (i.e., taxpayer-paid) job training so they could move into another career field.  Forget the fact that they already had jobs - jobs that filled an economic need,  that brought them satisfaction and paid them well.  Who cared about them, when people from New York City, Boston, Washington, DC and Los Angeles arrived on the scene to hug trees  - and save spotted owls.

You West Virginians - don't listen to those lying bastards who'll tell you that they'll get you government grants so you can go to the local community college and learn Web design or computer programming or somesuch.  They want you to go through what tens of thousands of other  workers in other parts of America already have - to sacrifice your standard of living in order to save the planet,   by exchanging the jobs that kept generations proud and fed in return for government promises that can't possibly be kept.

*********** So the owner of California Chrome has apologized for cutting loose on the pooh-bahs of horse racing for the way they've been gulling the public for years with all this Triple Crown hoopla.

Sure wish he hadn't, because he said something that needed to be said.

How'd you like your football team to be headed into overtime - and look across the field and see your opponent suiting up eleven fresh players?

How'd you like to go into Game 7 of the World Series tied 3-3, and have to face a different opponent than the one you'd be facing, one whose starters are rested and ready?

So much for the travesty that is horse racing today,  a fading sport in which the TV people and the racing people try to hype their ratings by leading us on with the ads touting a possible Triple Crown, and all the while, the insiders are conspiring to see to it that it never happens. What good reason - other than entry fees - could they have for allowing fresh horses that haven't raced in either of the two previous Triple Crown races to enter just the Belmont Stakes, and rob the public - and a great horse - of a chance at a Triple Crown?

What were the chances of 120,000 people showing up if the Triple Crown weren't on the line? Would half that many have shown up to watch a race among the unknown horses whose owners held them back until the Belmont? 

Winning the Triple Crown isn't easy - there hasn't been one in 36 years - and no one wants to devalue it by making it so. But it's as if the Powers That Be  want to make sure that it doesn't happen.

To me, it's outright fraud to represent the Belmont as  "Third Jewel in the Triple Crown"  when no more than three or four of the horses running in it have competed in the first two races.

http://news.yahoo.com/california-chrome-co-owner-rips-triple-crown-rules-011737855--rah.html

*********** Sales of Rap are down.  Could this be the first sign that our decadent society is on the mend?

http://www.showbiz411.com/2014/06/09/charts-rap-is-all-but-dead-as-led-zeppelins-40-year-old-albums-sell-60000-copies


american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 3,  2014 "Genius is a thing that happens, not a kind of person."  Jordan Ellenberg, Professor of Mathematics, University of Wisconsin

*********** If you love soccer, you have to be excited about the upcoming World Cup, to be played either in Brazil or in TBA.

But at the same time, you have to be a trifle upset to learn that there have been disclosures of game fixing by officials at high levels, something as yet unheard of in any of our major sports (unless you count rogue NBA  referee Tim Donaghy).

Oh - and all the fuss about awarding the 2022 (I think that's when it is) World Cup to Qatar?  All the questions about the wisdom of playing the World Cup in a desert kingdom in the heat of summer?  Well, folks, wisdom had nothing to do with it.  Neither did the explanation that they really, really wanted to award the tournament to a Middle Eastern country.

Just as we all know what can happen when FIFA, soccer's corrupt world governing body, met with the great wealth of the tiny kingdom of Qatar, there was a large bribe involved.

And to think that the Eurosnobs castigate us because we don't appreciate soccer.


*********** It's with great pride as an adopted Washingtonian that I announce that our state has broken into the big time.  With the first appearance in print of "University of Washington-Seattle," The Evergreen State joins the list of pretentious states like Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Maryland and God-knows-how-many others that just have to let us know that their state university is so big and impressive that it has more than one campus.  Whoopee-do.  Or is it that they got heat from the branch campuses, originally designed to serve students geographically - or intellectually - removed from the main campus? I can hear it now: Hey- what about us?  Aren't we the University of Washington, too?  Well, yeah, I would answer.  With an asterisk.

In Pennsylvania, where I grew up, it wouldn't sound right to say Penn State-State College, but no matter - the folks at Penn State were already way ahead of the game.  "Main Campus" may mean nothing to you, but to those who live in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it is a very big deal. Long before it became fashionable for the educrats in other states to branch out, Penn State had branch campuses spread all over the state. To a certain extent, they served as a sort of feeder system for the main campus at State College. Only the better-qualified high school graduates went directly there.  As a result, it has long been a matter of pride for Pennsylvanians to boast that their child has been admitted, not just to Penn State, but  to "Penn State - Main Campus."

At the U-Dub (as Washingtonians call UW) it may be something different. As has happened in a number of states, the state legislature in Washington has been systematically cutting back on state support to state colleges.  Under similar circumstances, faced with a financial pinch, business people would have cut costs.  But not university administrators.  Their reaction has been to increase revenue, and the way they've chosen to do that has been to cut back on the number of in-state students, whose tuition is fixed artificially low by the same legislature that cut back its support, and increase the number of out-of-state students, who pay roughly twice what in-state students pay.

And, even more deviously, they have increased the number of out-of-country students admitted.  Those kids bring in thee times or more what a Washington kid does.  And to make sure that those very valuable students know about the wonderful educational opportunities afforded by the University of Washington, the UW has dispatched recruiters to a certain very large Asian country just itching to send its students to the US for a first-class education.

Forget the fact that it could mean that your 4.0 student gets turned down by your state university because they have to make room for more foreigners.  The important thing is that while the state legislators divert taxpayers' money to spend on their own pet projects, the university administrators can continue pulling in their giant salaries.

Can you say, "University of Washington-Beijing?"

*********** I was sent the link to this by Mike Lude.  It is an incredible story , beautifully told by Retired Air Force General Steve Ritchie, about the display of American values that went into rescue of a downed airman named Roger Locher, lost for 23 days behind enemy lines in North Vietnam.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvRcP4go-eg

*********** I know, I know - "when I was a kid… blah, blah, blah."

But it really is a sign of the times that there's seldom a day that goes by that my dog doesn't find a baseball.  An almost-new one. Granted, she is obsessed with finding them and she seems to have quite a nose for them, but there sure are a lot of them in the tall weeds that surround one of our local baseball fields.  I'm kind of shocked at a society so affluent  that balls are hit over the backstop and simply written off.

So here I go, back to a less affluent time.  Back to "when I as a kid…"

I spent most of that "kid" years during the War Years (1941-1945) and the years shortly after.  Times weren't all that  tough for us during then, but lots of things such as baseballs were in short supply.  And expensive. 

I don't know where they came from originally, but the baseballs we played with were badly scuffed (we played a lot of catch in the street outside our house) and once the laces wore through and the cover came off, we wrapped the ball with black friction tape.  (To this day, I don't know whether its proper name is "tire" tape or "tar" tape.)

It didn't occur to us that after continuously wrapping the tape around the top and bottom of the ball, it was no longer round. It didn't matter.  It still worked.

When we lost a ball - when somebody hit one into the bushes - the game stopped until we found it.  We didn't have a backup. Whenever we saw a ball, fair or foul,  heading for the woods or the weeds, we'd all call out "No Chips!", which I now assume meant "no chipping in" to help the owner get a new one.  (Unless, of course, he had been smart enough to declare beforehand: "I got chips on the ball."  Then, although we knew nothing of the law, we understood we were duty-bound to indemnify him in case of loss.)

The tape also did double duty whenever we cracked a bat. (There's no sound quite like the sound of a wooden bat breaking.) All bats then were wooden. (We usually had only one or two bats among us, and we had to share. The "chips/no chips" rule applied to bats, too.)  Although we all knew all about holding the trademark up, there were always a couple of dim bulbs who weren't careful.  Like future orthopedists, we'd first try to repair the fracture with a screw, then wrap the damaged area with tar/tire tape, making sure to rub sand or dirt on the tape to remove the stickiness.

With one exception, I didn't play with a shiny new baseball until I was in seventh grade, playing on the 12-year-old team at school.

That one exception still bothers me whenever I think about it.  It was my brother's ball, an official American League ball, autographed by Connie Mack - the Grand Old Man of the Game, who still owned and managed the Philadelphia A's, as he had done for decades.  It was so nice and white and shiny, and we needed a ball, and I couldn't see anything wrong with just throwing it around, and so I took it from his room, and…  You can probably write the ending to the story. And if you happen to know the current value of
an official American League ball, autographed by Connie Mack - please keep it to yourself.

*********** Other than the fact that he was born in MIssissippi, a football-crazy state, Alejandro Villanueva's trip to the pros has been an highly unusual one.
His parents are Spanish, but he's an American citizen because he was born in Meridian, Mississippi, where his father was stationed while a member of the Spanish Air Force.

While his father worked for NATO, he attended a high school in Belgium run for dependents of US Military, and learned to play American football.

He had exceptional grades, which earned him an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point, New York. There,  his great size - 6-9, 250 - and athletic ability brought him to the attention of the Army football coaches.  He bounced around from position to position until his senior year, when he played wide receiver in the Black Knights' triple-option offense.

And then came graduation, and a commission in the US Army, advanced training, and combat service in Afghanistan as a platoon leader.

And now, his military career on hold, he's a free agent trying out with the Philadelphia Eagles at defensive end.

HIs chances of making the team are not very good, but it seems to me that with all the drug-using knuckleheads being suspended for four games/half the season/the entire season, the NFL ought to find a spot for him just to partially offset all the low-character individuals that litter  their rosters.

http://m.espn.go.com/nfl/story?storyId=10963963&src=desktop

*********** I haven't done a very good job, I know, of concealing my disdain for what the great sport of rugby, the sire of our sport, is becoming - a cross between flag touch and 8-man football known as "Rugby Sevens" - seven men on a side for two seven-minute halves.

I happened to be turned to the college rugby championships Sunday and almost died laughing when the TV color guy stressed the importance, in such a big game, of never letting up: "You gotta play all 14 minutes."

*********** There are a few basic reasons why gold has long been valued.  It's beautiful.  It's durable. (It isn't going to rot or corrode or wear away.)  It's malleable.  (it can be worked into a variety of items, including jewelry.) And it's scarce.  Always has been.  Always will be.

According to a May 20 Wall Street Journal article, "All the gold ever mined could fit in a 60-foot cube."

In the article, the CEO of a major gold mining firm told of visiting a Chinese mine where they had to dig up ONE HUNDRED TONS of rock to come up with ONE OUNCE of gold.

His own company's mines, he said, were much more productive - to produce an ounce of gold, they "only" have to shovelv 32 tons of rock. .

*********** “At the end of the day, no matter what happened last night after the game or I get hurt badly, I signed for this. I signed for this. The military, when they go out there to fight, when they sign, they sign for everything. No matter what happened last night, I signed for this. That’s what I get paid for.”

That was Serge Ibaka, of the Oklahoma Thunder, who came back from an injury to put on an inspired performance that helped beat San Antonio in a playoff game.

*********** Dad

Great obit on Bill Nunn. Interestingly, his son (also named Bill) is a reasonably well-known actor. He played a character called Radio Raheem in Spike Lee's influential film "Do The Right Thing."

Ed Wyatt
Melbourne, Australia

*********** Unless the NCAA grants it more flexibility in making rules that apply to big-time football, the SEC  is considering formation of a new NCAA Division - "Division IV" and expects the other four major conferences to join with it.

With increasing pressures to pay athletes, one of the aims of the big five conferences is more leeway to compensate athletes.  Such a proposal is unlikely to be approved by the general body of the NCAA.

Currently, the Big Five conferences are hampered by NCAA policy requiring a two-thirds vote (67 per cent) of their 65 schools and 15 student representatives as well as four out of five conferences in order to change a rule.

The SEC is requesting the NCAA to lower the requirement to 60 percent and three of the five conferences.

http://msn.foxsports.com/florida/story/sec-commissioner-mike-slive-ponders-potential-move-to-division-iv-053014


*********** There was a time, back before wider keys, back before the three-point shot, when a hook shot was a common thing in a basketball game.  A big man with a good hook shot was practically unstoppable.  As kids, we practiced hooks all the time, but pretty much the only time we ever really shot one in a game was in a game of P-I-G.  Or S-P-O-T.  Or H-O-R-S-E.  (All the same game - just different numbers of letters.)

When we'd make one, we'd shout "HOUBREGS!"

I have no idea how we came to know about Bob "Hooks" Houbregs, of the University of Washington and later the then much-smaller NBA, but however we did, we knew about his famed hook shot.

Mr. Houbregs died last week at the age of 82.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/05/30/sports/bob-houbregs-basketball-hall-of-fame-member-dies-at-82.html?referrer=

*********** I certainly don't know all the facts about the illegal swap of five killers for a US soldier named Bowe Bergdahl, but the deal is certainly beginning to look fishy to me.

From Time Magazine...

“I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on,” former Sgt. Matt Vierkant said,CNN reports. “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.” Vierkant, who was part of Bergdahl’s platoon when he disappeared that June, said Bergdahl should face a military trial for deserting in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Nathan Bradley Bethea, who served as an infantry officer from 2007 to 2014, made similar comments toThe Daily Beast. “Bergdahl did not ‘lag behind on a patrol,’ as was cited in news reports at the time,” Bethea writes.

“There was no patrol that night. Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon—including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents. That’s what happened.”

http://time.com/2809141/bergdahl-veterans-deserter/


This from The Washington Post...

“The Taliban knew that we were looking for him in high numbers and our movements were predictable,” said the comment, written by an anonymous poster who used military jargon and claimed to have been there.

“Because of Bergdahl, more men were out in danger, and more attacks on friendly camps and positions were conducted while we were out looking for him,” it continued. “His actions impacted the region more than anyone wants to admit.”

Those sentiments were underscored in a long series of tweets that were posted Saturday night and went viral online. Using the Twitter handle @CodyFNfootball, the writer said he was on base at the time and believes that Bergdahl planned his escape for days, leaving between 3 and 4:30 a.m., when there was the least amount of light. The following day, the troops there questioned Afghan children nearby, who said they had seen an American crawling through weeds.

“While searching for him, ambushes and IEDs picked up tremendously,” one of the tweets said. “Enemy knew we would be coming.”

The Washington Post contacted the individual running the Twitter account but received no reply. Like the Rolling Stone comment, however, the tweets included enough specifics about Bergdahl’s unit and location to be regarded as potentially credible by many discussing the case.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mixed-reaction-to-bergdahls-recovery-by-service-members-who-consider-him-a-deserter/2014/06/01/3713e3ce-e9c5-11e3-b98c-72cef4a00499_story.html



american flag FRIDAY,  MAY 30,  2014 -  "In addition to knowing how to think, people ought to know things that they can think about."  John Silber, late President of Boston University

*********** After endless stories of people taking their kids out of school, mid-semester, to go to Hawaii… or Mexico…  or Disneyland.. or simply skiing for the day, it was nice to read about a kid who had a legitimate excuse for missing classes - and didn't play the card.

Phoebe Saenz is a player on Yale's women's hockey team. She's also a Swiss national, and was selected to play on Switzerland's national team in the recent Sochi Winter Olympics.

She told the Yale Alumni Monthly that when she approached her professors in hopes of getting a break because of all the classes she was going to have to miss, she was reluctant to sound boastful, simply telling them, "I have this really big tournament going on in Russia..."


*********** John Silber, the late president of Boston University, was a brilliant man.  Like anybody who takes aim at the failures of America's education establishment, he had his enemies.  They didn't bother him in the slightest.

He was considered by one and all to be one tough cookie.

Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe columnist, once worked for him, and wrote about him at the time of his death...

He had a notable physical defect - his right arm ended in a stump just below the elbow, with a kind of vestigial thumb - that he made no effort to disguise, and I used to wonder how he could do things that clearly required two hands. He always wore shoes with laces - never slip-ons - and I asked him one day how he was able to tie them.

“What do you mean, how?” he growled. “Like this!” Then he bent over, and with his stump and his left hand, swiftly untied and retied one of his wingtips.

Silber despised political correctness — an attitude that extended even to his own physical deformity.

I recall with delight the time his harried executive secretary walked into the room where he was meeting with several staff members. Laying some papers on his desk, she griped that she had been “busier than a one-armed paperhanger.”

No sooner were the words out of her mouth than she began apologizing profusely. “Oh, Dr. Silber,” she gasped, “I’m so sorry! I can’t believe I said that!”
“Why?” he deadpanned. “I’m not a paperhanger.”

*********** After reading about Hudson's Bay High's decision to go with co-head coaches of its football team, Shep Clarke, of Puyallup, Washington, sent me an article about a high school in his area that once hired 5 (FIVE) guys to run its football team.

That was 2010 and the school, Emerald Ridge High, had gone 0-10 in 2009. I don't know when they gave up on the experiment,  but since 2010 Emerald Ridge has gone 2-8, 2-8, 5-5 and 4-6.

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/highschoolsports/2010/02/09/emerald_ridge_hires_5_co-head/

***********  In 1961, the great Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. wrote a short piece of science fiction entitled "Harrison Bergeron," telling of a future United States in which everyone would be equal.  Truly equal. The Handicapper General would see to that.

Now, barely 50 years after he wrote it, it seems a lot less like science fiction and a lot more like a realistic look into our  future.

The summary, from Wikipedia...

It is the year 2081. Because of Amendments to the Constitution, every American is fully equal, meaning that no one is smarter, better-looking, stronger, or faster than anyone else. The Handicapper General and a team of agents ensure that the laws of equality are enforced. The government forces citizens to wear "handicaps" (a mask if they are too handsome or beautiful, earphones with deafening radio signals to make intelligent people unable to concentrate and form thoughts, and heavy weights to slow down those who are too strong or fast).

One April, 14-year-old Harrison Bergeron, an extremely handsome teenage genius, is taken away from his parents, George and Hazel, by the government. George and Hazel are not fully aware of the tragedy. Hazel's lack of awareness is due to "average" intelligence, which in 2081, is the politically correct way of referring to someone of well-below-average intelligence. George does not comprehend the tragedy since the law requires him to wear the radio ear piece for twenty-four hours a day because he is of above-average intelligence.

Hazel and George are watching a ballet on TV. Hazel has been crying, though she cannot remember why. She remarks on the beauty of the dance. For a few moments, George reflects on the dancers, who are weighed down to counteract their gracefulness and masked to cover up their good looks. They have been handicapped so that TV viewers will not feel bad about their own appearance and hence will feel equally as talented and good-looking. Because of their handicaps, the dancers are not very good. A noise interrupts George's thoughts: two of the dancers onscreen hear the noise, too; apparently, they must wear radios as well.

Hazel thinks George looks exhausted and urges him to lie down and rest his "handicap bag", 47 pounds (21 kg) of weight placed in a bag and locked around George's neck. He says he hardly notices the weight any more. Hazel suggests taking a few of the weights out of the bag, but he says if everyone broke the law, society would return to its old competitive ways. Hazel says she would hate that. A noise interrupts the conversation, and George cannot remember what they were talking about.

On TV, a news reporter with a speech impediment attempts to read a bulletin. After 30 seconds, unable to even say "Ladies and Gentlemen", he hands the bulletin to a ballerina to read. Hazel commends him for working with his God-given abilities and says he should get a raise for trying so hard. The ballerina, wearing the most grotesque mask of all, and with weights meant for a 200-pound (90 kg) male, begins reading in her natural, beautiful voice, then apologizes and switches to a growly voice so that she will not sound nicer than anyone else. The bulletin says that Harrison has escaped from prison.

A photo of Harrison appears on the screen. He is wearing the handicaps meant to counteract his strength, intelligence, and good looks. The photo shows that he is 7 feet (2.1 m) tall and covered in 300 pounds (140 kg) of metal. He is wearing huge earphones, rather than a small radio, and big glasses meant to blind him and give him headaches. He is also wearing a red rubber nose and black caps over his teeth. His eyebrows are shaved off.

After a rumbling noise, the photo on the Bergerons' TV screen is replaced with an image of Harrison himself, who has stormed the studio. In an attempt to overthrow the government and its handicapping systems, he says that he is the emperor, the greatest ruler in history, and that everyone must obey him.

Then he rips off all of his handicaps. He says that the first woman brave enough to stand up will be his empress. A ballerina, presumably the one who reads the report, rises to her feet. Harrison removes her handicaps and mask, revealing a blindingly beautiful woman.

He orders the musicians to play, saying he will make them royalty if they do their best. Unhappy with their initial attempt, Harrison conducts, waving a couple of musicians in the air like batons, and sings. They try again and do better. After listening to the music, Harrison and his empress dance. Defying gravity, they move through the air, flying 30 feet (9 m) upward to the ceiling, then, still in the air, they kiss each other.

Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, comes into the studio and kills Harrison and the empress with a shotgun. Turning the gun on the musicians, she orders them to put their handicaps on in ten seconds, or the same fate will happen to them. The Bergerons' screen goes dark. George, who has left the room to get a beer, returns and asks Hazel why she has been crying. She says that something sad happened on TV, but she cannot remember exactly what. He urges her not to remember sad things. A noise sounds in George's head, and Hazel says it sounded like a doozy. He says she can say that again, and she repeats that it sounded like a doozy.

*********** In the late David Halberstam's "The Summer of '49," he tells of an act of almost unbelievable compassion on the part of famed Catcher Birdie Tebbetts:

Perhaps most revealing of Tebbetts's character is his recollection of an umpire who suffered dizzy spells following his return from the war. Afraid of losing his job, the umpire asked Tebbetts, then the Tigers catcher, to help calling balls and strikes, and Tebbetts tipped him off with hand signals following each pitch.

*********** Young people today complain a lot about loss of  privacy.  I have to laugh. While they raise hell about the NSA,  they text naked pictures of themselves to, basically, anyone with access to the Internet, and  reveal the most intimate details of their lives on Facebook.

I've got news for these twits, most of whom grew up with their own bedroom,  their own TV and their own telephone service:

The kind of privacy you enjoy is a relatively recent concept. 

You might be interested in knowing that before you arrived on the scene, just in time to make over our government and save our planet,  some of us had lived through…

Operators.  Before there were dial telephones, there were switchboard operators.  Think they didn't listen in on calls?


And once you got a dial phone, there was still the "party line," which meant you likely shared a line with one or more other customers. If one of the other customers happened to be talking when you needed to use the phone, tough luck.  And guess what? If you were on the phone with a friend and told him/her something in confidence,  the chances are someone else was listening in.  Not the government.  A snoopy townsperson.  Frankly, if I were a guy worried about whether my girlfriend was pregnant, I'd rather the NSA know than one of my neighbors.

Housing? I grew up in a rowhouse. Philly and Baltimore were rowhouse cities, block after block of what are slyly passed off nowadays as "townhouses." Unless you lived at the end of the block, you had walls on both sides.  When you looked out the front windows, you looked across the street at someone else's windows; out the back, you looked across the alley at the same thing.  Boston, New York and DC were somewhat the same. Boston had its "triple-deckers," with three families, one on each floor, sharing an entrance.  Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers crowded into multi-family tenements.

Neighborhood closeness was unavoidable.  People leaned out windows to talk with each other, and neighborhood women chatted while hanging their clothes out to dry. There was no such thing as air conditioning, and in warm weather, people fortunate enough to have front porches sat out and conversed with their neighbors or with passersby. (People actually walked places then.) Those without porches sat outside on their front "door stoops" to try to get a breath of cool air.

The idea of kids barricading themselves in "their" room was alien to most Americans.  Families were larger then, and a four-bedroom house was a rarity. Most kids grew up sharing a bedroom, and often a bed, with a "sibling" (a cutesy-poo word that had yet to join the conversation).

Not every hotel room was a "room with bath." When you stayed in a hotel there was a good chance you had to share the bathroom with a number of other guests.

(This may give you the willies, but in colonial times, overnight guests in hotels customarily  shared beds with strangers.)


Single working men in a strange town often lived in "boarding houses,"  usually the homes of "widow ladies" who depended on the rent for their income. Boarders would pay for a room by the week or by the month, and "board" included meals - provided that you ate meals when they were served, and you ate what was served.  Take it or leave it.  Not that there was any choice - there was no McDonald's in any town.

Let's not forget the days before Super Clips, when men went to neighborhood barber shops - places called Joe's or Dom's - to get their hair cut.  They used to say, if you wanted your information to go public, "Don't telephone - tell a barber."

In small towns men had their local saloons; in big cities they had their corner taverns. (In Philly they called them taprooms, or "tappies.")  The bartender knew what everybody drank. There was no TV to watch.  The entertainment  was talk.  Baseball, women, politics and, of course, neighborhood gossip.

It was common to go to church back then, too.  Church provided a weekly opportunity to catch up on the news of the parish or congregation. Since it was church, and it was Sunday, it couldn't possibly have been gossip, now, could it?

Any man who'd been in the service - and  when I was a kid, that was 90 per cent of them - had had experiences that would make a modern youngster's blood run cold.  I'm talking about army barracks and navy ships, places in which any supposed Constituional right to privacy was a myth.

*********** A Georgia father, a military vet, is in trouble with the nannies in the state for disciplining his 16-year-old son.

His crime? He was arrested and charged with child cruelty for sending the kid on three-mile hikes, carrying a 23-pound stone. O. M. G.

How pussified can we get?

Soldiers who've carried heavier loads on longer hikes might not agree that

http://www.11alive.com/story/news/local/douglasville/2014/05/27/charlie-mayes-teen-punished/9642971/

*********** Everyone knows that in order to have a conference championship game, a conference has to have 12 member teams. Right?

I mean, that's why the Big 12, which would like to play such a game, no longer can.  Not until it gets back to 12 teams.  It's why other conferences added teams that otherwise added little value (Colorado and Utah come to mind).

Oh - and also, in order to play that extra game - and bring in extra dollars for its members - a conference has to be split into two divisions. Right?

Alas, here's  the ACC, which has two decidedly unbalanced divisions, asking to simply play as one big league, with a round-robin schedule, and then stage its championship game between its top two teams (which would have meant a 2014 championship game between Florida State and Clemson, both in the same division, rather than Florida State and Duke).

The rule in this case is definitely not carved in stone.

Andy Staples, in si.com, did a bit of digging and found out that the idea of 12 teams and two divisions was not exactly carefully thought out by  geniuses at NCAA headquarters.

To put it simply, the PSAC, a Division II conference of 14 Pennsylvania state schools, divided geographically into eastern and western divisions, realized back in the 1980s that its member schools were upset by the fact that on the weekend their conference championship game took place, the rest of the member teams were idle. It was costing them a game. So the PSAC petitioned the NCAA for permission to play an extra game, wording it that   the division champions of any conference with 14 teams, divided into two divisions, could play an extra game for its conference championship. 

The CIAA - the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, a league of historically black colleges from Maryland to North Carolina - asked to join in the petition, but because the CIAA had 12 members, needed to have the proposal rewritten to specify that a conference must have 12 members, not the original 14.

And so it was written.

The proposal was submitted to the membership of the NCAA in 1987 and it was approved. And not just for Division II, either, but for all divisions.

And there it sat, unnoticed by the bigger schools, until Roy Kramer, who had been AD at Vanderbilt when the proposal was approved, was named Commissioner of the SEC.  He was aware of the rule, and what it provided for,  from his days at Vanderbilt, and now, as commissioner, he proposed that the SEC expand to 12 teams so it could rake in the cash from a conference championship game.

That was 1990.  The SEC added Arkansas and then South Carolina, and the rest is history.

Now, given  that there was never any well thought-out  reason  for having a minimum number of teams or dividing into two conferences in order to play an extra game for a confrence championship, there doesn't seem to be any good reason to oppose the desires of the Big 12 or the ACC.

And then the Pac-12 can ditch Colorado and Utah and go back to being the Pac-10 and playing a round-robin scheule - and still play a conference championship game between its top two teams! And only have to divide the spoils - and the bowl money - ten ways!  And, best of all,  fire Larry Scott, the genius commissioner  who created the current monstrosity.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20140516/conference-championship-games-rule-origin/


Yaks*********** We (the North Beach Hyaks) get to start our spring ball on Monday.  Washington (WIAA) regulations prohibit any off-season activity until the last spring sports event has taken place.  For us, that's the state track meet this Friday and Saturday, a nine-hour bus ride away at Eastern Washington University.

We have several kids in contention, including our last year's quarterback, senior Carson Ketter, who's undefeated in the 100 this season, as well as sophomore Alex McAra, the front-runner to replace Carson at QB, who's undefeated in the 300 hurdles.

And with both Carson and Alex running - plus two more footballers -  we have a decent  chance of winning the 4 x 100 relay.

Caleb Bridge, Coach Todd Bridge's oldest son, is the state favorite in the discus.  His winning throw in the district meet of 171-6 is fourth best in the state at any level.

Coach Bridge did a great job of getting football players out for track.

Our projected offensive line - The "Yaks" -  took all five places in our league's track meet.  From left in the photo: Daniel Fruh (6-5, 270), Caleb Bridge (6-5, 260), Alex Horn (5-11, 230), Tim Poplin (6, 280) and Seth Bridge (6-3, 250)

*********** Where does The Obama find the ignoramuses who write his speeches?

Would you have let the President of the United States go out and pronounce corpsmen, "Corpse men?"

Would you have typed "all 57 states" into the teleprompter of the most powerful man in the free world?

The latest gaffe came after Our Leader slipped out to Washington State and - repeatedly - mispronounced the name of the little town of Oso (OH-so), the one destroyed by the giant slide.  He called it AH-so.  Over and over.

(This from the same guy who's oh-so very careful to pronounce Pakistan "PAH-kee-stahn.")

I'd have to say that if no speech writer got fired for making His Worship look like an ignoramus, General Shinseki of the VA has nothing to fear.

http://m.kirotv.com/videos/news/video-president-obama-mispronounces-oso-town-name/vCYLSq/

http://mynorthwest.com/108/2504391/Did-President-Obamas-mispronunciation-of-Oso-tarnish-his-mudslide-visit


***********  Bad enough that The Obama had to make West Point's graduates sit through a speech that, as usual, was all about him,  but then there was this…

Army vets and West Point graduates are expressing sentiments ranging from "dismay" to "disgust" at the President's failure, as Commander-in-Chief, to return the salutes of the graduating West Point cadets as he handed them their diplomas.

Is there not one single person in the President's vast, highly-paid  entourage who can inform him about  protocol?

*********** Q. How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?

A. That's not funny.

Ah, those were the days, back before you could get fired for taking part in the grand old American tradition of poking fun at people who take themselves way too seriously.

Back before a couple of disc jockeys could get fired for making "hateful" remarks - specifically, calling a candidate for "gender-reassignment" surgery a "nut job."

It happened in Rochester, New York, a city that apparently is so awash in money that beginning January 1 it will pay for the medical expenses - and counseling - of employees desiring body parts other than the ones God gave them.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_FIRINGS_TRANSGENDER_COMMENTS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-05-22-15-16-41

*********** Black Lion (Vietnam Black Lion) Colonel Tom Grady is a former neighbor of my wife in Abington, Pennsylvania.

His son, Commander T.J. Grady, is a Naval Academy grad who recently took command of a Naval Patrol Squadron based on Jacksonville, Florida, and my friend (Colonel Grady's fellow Black Lion in Vietnam) was on hand, and sent me a program from the Change of Command ceremony.

I found a couple of things in the program to be very interesting.  First this, on the matter of Navy tradition and ceremony:

"Naval ceremonies antedate the Christian era. Common dangers and shared victories tend to bind people together and nowhere is it closer than in the naval profession, where comrades are bound by meaningful traditions, shared practices, and ancient customs. The Navy, an organization of explicit discipline, lends itself to the perpetuation of the more venerated customs, heroic traditions and dignified ceremonies such as that which we are witnessing today."

"The ceremonies, customs and traditions of our modern Navy draw their origin from ancient customs and laws of the sea begun in historic times by seagoing men and gradually merged into the British Naval Regulations in effect at the time of the American Revolution."

"The strength and supremacy of today's Navy stems in large measure from the observance of customs and traditions…"

And then this, on the absolute accountability of the Commanding Officer for anything that happens on his command:

"In the office of the Commanding Officer, there is a tradition older even than the traditions of the country itself and wiser in its age than our government.  it is the tradition that with responsibility goes authority, and with them both goes accountability.

"The skipper, like the head of state, is given power, honor, privileges and trust beyond other men. And he alone accepts accountability."

*********** Also in the Change of Command Ceremony program was this well-known quote of President Theodore Roosevelt which, at a time when twerps on Internet forums  feel free to criticize  coaches or a players, is worth reprinting:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

*********** You know things are f--ked up when Charlie Weis got more money last year NOT to coach Notre Dame than Brian Kelly did to actually coach the Irish.
 
http://tracking.si.com/2014/05/21/former-notre-dame-coach-charlie-weis-still-collecting-millions/?sct=obinsite






american flag TUESDAY,  MAY 27,  2014 "Liberals claim to be open and tolerant to other points of view but then are shocked and offended when they discover there ARE other points of view."  William F. Buckley, Jr.


*********** Other nations lost men in the same wars we did, and they, too, honor their men who gave all, often with song.

I can't think of any American songs to compare with these two...

This song is known by some as "No Man's Land" and by others as "The Green Fields of France" - but either way  it's a sad lament about a young soldier named Willie McBride, killed in battle in 1916 while still a teenager.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_mBJgsaxlY

A very sad ballad, "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda," is the story of a young Australian sent off to fight in World War I.  He was shipped off to Gallipoli where thousands of "Anzacs" (Australians and New Zealanders) were slaughtered by Turkish machine-gun fire. (I highly recommend the movie, "Gallipoli")

Although he escaped death, his legs were blown off, and his story in the song  is told from the perspective of a now-old man.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VktJNNKm3B0

MEMORIAL DAY, 2014


The society for which many philanthropists, labor reformers, and men of fashion unite in longing is one in which they may be comfortable and may shine without much trouble or any danger. The unfortunately growing hatred of the poor for the rich seems to me to rest on the belief that money is the main thing (a belief in which the poor have been encouraged by the rich), more than on any other grievance. Most of my hearers would rather that their daughters or their sisters should marry a son of one of the great rich families than a regular army officer, were he as beautiful, brave, and gifted as Sir William Napier. I have heard the question asked whether our war was worth fighting, after all. There are many, poor and rich, who think that love of country is an old wife's tale, to be replaced by interest in a labor union, or, under the name of cosmopolitanism, by a rootless self-seeking search for a place where the most enjoyment may be had at the least cost.

I do not know the meaning of the universe. But in the midst of doubt, in the collapse of creeds, there is one thing I do not doubt, that no man who lives in the same world with most of us can doubt, and that is that the faith is true and adorable which leads a soldier to throw away his life in obedience to a blindly accepted duty, in a cause which he little understands, in a plan of campaign of which he has little notion, under tactics of which he does not see the use.

Most men who know battle know the cynic force with which the thoughts of common sense will assail them in times of stress; but they know that in their greatest moments faith has trampled those thoughts under foot. If you wait in line, suppose on Tremont Street Mall, ordered simply to wait and do nothing, and have watched the enemy bring their guns to bear upon you down a gentle slope like that of Beacon Street, have seen the puff of the firing, have felt the burst of the spherical case-shot as it came toward you, have heard and seen the shrieking fragments go tearing through your company, and have known that the next or the next shot carries your fate; if you have advanced in line and have seen ahead of you the spot you must pass where the rifle bullets are striking; if you have ridden at night at a walk toward the blue line of fire at the dead angle of Spottsylvania, where for twenty-four hours the soldiers were fighting on the two sides of an earthwork, and in the morning the dead and dying lay piled in a row six deep, and as you rode you heard the bullets splashing in the mud and earth about you; if you have been in the picket-line at night in a black and unknown wood, have heard the splat of the bullets upon the trees, and as you moved have felt your foot slip upon a dead man's body; if you have had a blind fierce gallop against the enemy, with your blood up and a pace that left no time for fear --if, in short, as some, I hope many, who hear me, have known, you have known the vicissitudes of terror and triumph in war; you know that there is such a thing as the faith I spoke of. You know your own weakness and are modest; but you know that man has in him that unspeakable somewhat which makes him capable of miracle, able to lift himself by the might of his own soul, unaided, able to face annihilation for a blind belief.

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Civil War combat veteran, addressing the graduating class of Harvard University on Memorial Day, 1895

*********** Memorial Day, once known as "Decoration Day," was originally set aside to honor the men who died in the Civil War. (There was a time when certain southern states did not observe it, preferring instead to observe their own Memorial Days to honor Confederate war dead.)

The Civil War soldiers called it "seeing the elephant." It meant experiencing combat. They started out cocky, but soon learned how suddenly horrible - how unforgiving and inescapable - combat could be. By the end of the Civil War 620,000 of them on both sides lay dead. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were left dead or homeless.

"I have never realized the 'pomp and circumstance' of glorious war before this," a Confederate soldier bitterly wrote, "Men...lying in every conceivable position; the dead...with eyes open, the wounded begging piteously for help."

"All around, strange mingled roar - shouts of defiance, rally, and desperation; and underneath, murmured entreaty and stifled moans; gasping prayers, snatches of Sabbath song, whispers of loved names; everywhere men torn and broken, staggering, creeping, quivering on the earth, and dead faces with strangely fixed eyes staring stark into the sky. Things which cannot be told - nor dreamed. How men held on, each one knows, - not I."

Each battle was a story of great courage and audacity, sometimes of miscommunication and foolishness. But it's the casualty numbers that catch our eyes. The numbers roll by and they are hard for us to believe even in these days of modern warfare. Shiloh: 23,741, Seven Days: 36,463, Antietam: 26,134, Fredericksburg: 17,962, Gettysburg: 51,112, and on and on (in most cases, the South named battles after the town that served as their headquarters in that conflict, the North named them after nearby rivers or creeks - so "Manassas" for the South was "Bull Run" for the North; "Antietam" for the Union was "Sharpsburg"  for the Confederacy).

General William T. Sherman looked at the aftermath of Shiloh and wrote, "The scenes on this field would have cured anybody of war."

From "Seeing the Elephant" - Raw Recruits at the Battle of Shiloh - Joseph Allan Frank and George A. Reaves - New York: Greenwood Press, 1989

*********** Several years ago, I visited the First Division (Big Red One) Museum in Wheaton, Illinois, where I read these lines, and thought of all the Americans who died in service of their country - men who in the memories of those they left behind will be forever young...

If you are able
Save a place for them inside of you,
And save one backward glance
When you are leaving for places
They can no longer go.
   
Be not ashamed to say you loved them,
Though you may or may not always have.
Take what they have left
And what they have taught you with their dying,
And keep it with your own.
   
And in that time when men feel safe
To call the war insane,
Take one moment to embrace these gentle heroes
You left behind.
   
by Major Michael D. O'Donnell...
shortly before being killed in action in Vietnam, 1970

***********After graduation from Harvard in 1910, Alan Seeger lived the life of a bohemian/beatnik/ hippie poet in New York City's Greenwich Village.  In 1914, he moved to Paris, and when war with Germany broke out, like a number of other young Americans,  he joined the French Foreign Legion to fight with the Allies. On July 4, 1916, nine months  before America joined the war on the side of the Allies, he was killed in the Battle of the Somme. He was 28. A year after his death, his poems were published.  The best known of his poems was "I Have a Rendezvous With Death," which according to the JFK Library, "was one of President Kennedy's favorite poems.
 
I Have a Rendezvous with Death
By Alan Seeger 
 
I HAVE a rendezvous with Death     
At some disputed barricade,     
When Spring comes back with rustling shade     
And apple-blossoms fill the air—     
I have a rendezvous with Death             5
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.     
 
It may be he shall take my hand     
And lead me into his dark land     
And close my eyes and quench my breath—     
It may be I shall pass him still.      10
I have a rendezvous with Death     
On some scarred slope of battered hill,     
When Spring comes round again this year     
And the first meadow-flowers appear.     
 
God knows 'twere better to be deep      15
Pillowed in silk and scented down,     
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,     
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,     
Where hushed awakenings are dear...     
But I've a rendezvous with Death      20
At midnight in some flaming town,     
When Spring trips north again this year,     
And I to my pledged word am true,     
I shall not fail that rendezvous.


Poppies once symbolized the Great War,  or The World War,  or - The War to End All Wars (since, in the conceit that seems to follow every war, people  just knew that after the horror of that conflict, mankind would do anything in its power to avoid ever going to war again.)

Following the World War, Americans began to observe  the week leading up to Memorial Day as Poppy Week, and long after the World War ended, veterans' organizations in America, Australia and other nations which had fought in the war still sold imitation poppies every year at this time to raise funds to assist disabled veterans.

It was largely because of a poem by a Canadian surgeon, Major John McCrae that the poppy, which burst into bloom all over the once-bloody battlefields of northern Europe, came to symbolize the rebirth of life following the tragedy of war.

After having spent seventeen days hearing the screams and dealing with the suffering of men wounded in the bloody battle at Ypres, in Flanders (a part of Belgium) in the spring of 1915, Major McCrae wrote, "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."
Major McCrae was especially affected by the death of a close friend and former student. Following his burial - at which, in the absence of a chaplain, Major McCrae himself had had to preside - the Major sat in the back of an ambulance and, gazing out at the wild poppies growing in a nearby cemetery, composed a poem, scribbling the words in a notebook.

When he was done, though, he discarded it. Only through the efforts of a fellow officer, who rescued it and sent it to newspapers in England, was it ever published.

Now, the poem, "In Flanders Fields", is considered perhaps the greatest of all wartime poems.

The special significance of the poppies is that poppy seeds can lie dormant in the ground for years, only flowering when the soil has been turned over.

The soil of northern Belgium had been so churned up by the violence of war that at the time Major McCrae wrote his poem, the poppies were said to be blossoming in a profusion that no one could  remember ever having seen before.

In Flanders Fields... by John McCrae        

In Flanders fields the poppies blow   
Between the crosses, row on row,   
That mark our place; and in the sky  
The larks, still bravely singing, fly   
Scarce heard amid the guns below.        

We are the Dead. Short days ago   
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,   
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie   
In Flanders fields.        

Take up our quarrel with the foe:   
To you from failing hands we throw   
The torch; be yours to hold it high.   
If ye break faith with us who die   
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow   
In Flanders fields.


*********** THE YANKEE FROM OLYMPUS - ON MEMORIAL DAY

"We have shared the incommunicable experience of war. We felt - we still feel - the passion of life to its top.... In our youths, our hearts were touched with fire." Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr.

At a time in our history when fewer than five per cent of the people who govern us have served in our Armed Forced, it is useful to go back to another time, to men such as Oliver Wendel Homes, Jr.

Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr.  was born in Boston in 1841, the son of a famous poet and physician. In his lifetime he would see combat in the Civil War then go on to become a noted lawyer and, finally, for 30 years, a justice of the Supreme Court. So respected was he that he became known as "The Yankee From Olympus."

He graduated from Harvard University in 1861. After graduation, with the Civil War underway, he joined the United States Army and saw combat action in the Peninsula Campaign and the Wilderness, and was injured at the Battles of Ball's Bluff, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. He was discharged in 1864 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

The story is told of Holmes that in July 1864, as the Confederate general Jubal Early conducted a raid north of Washington, D.C. President Abraham Lincoln came out to watch the battle. As Lincoln watched, an officer right next to him was hit by a sniper's bullet. The young Holmes, not realizing who he was speaking to, shouted to the President, "Get down, you damn fool, before you get shot!"

After the war's conclusion, Holmes returned to Harvard to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1866, and went into private practice in Boston.

In 1882, he became both a professor at Harvard Law School and a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. In 1899, he was appointed Chief Justice of the court.

In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt named Holmes to the United States Supreme Court, where he served for more than 30 years, until January 1932.

Over the years, as a distinguished citizen who knew what it meant to fight for his country, he would reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day, and of the soldier's contribution to preserving our way of life...

On Memorial Day, 1884, 20 years after the end of the Civil War, Mr. Holmes said,

Accidents may call up the events of the war. You see a battery of guns go by at a trot, and for a moment you are back at White Oak Swamp, or Antietam, or on the Jerusalem Road. You hear a few shots fired in the distance, and for an instant your heart stops as you say to yourself, The skirmishers are at it, and listen for the long roll of fire from the main line.
 
You meet an old comrade after many years of absence, he recalls the moment that you were nearly surrounded by the enemy, and again there comes up to you that swift and cunning thinking on which once hung life and freedom--Shall I stand the best chance if I try the pistol or the sabre on that man who means to stop me? Will he get his carbine free before I reach him, or can I kill him first? These and the thousand other events we have known are called up, I say, by accident, and, apart from accident, they lie forgotten.
 
But as surely as this day comes round we are in the presence of the dead. For one hour, twice a year at least--at the regimental dinner, where the ghosts sit at table more numerous than the living, and on this day when we decorate their graves--the dead come back and live with us.
 
I see them now, more than I can number, as once I saw them on this earth. They are the same bright figures, or their counterparts, that come also before your eyes; and when I speak of those who were my brothers, the same words describe yours.

On the eve of Memorial Day, 1931, at the age of 90, Mr. Justice Holmes wrote to a friend:

"I shall go out to Arlington tomorrow, Memorial Day, and visit the gravestone with my name and my wife's on it, and be stirred by the military music, and, instead of bothering about the Unknown Soldier shall go to another stone that tells beneath it are the bones of, I don't remember the number but two or three thousand and odd, once soldiers gathered from the Virginia fields after the Civil War. I heard a woman say there once, 'They gave their all. They gave their very names.' Later perhaps some people will come in to say goodbye."

Justice Holmes died on March 6, 1935, two days short of his 94th birthday, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. So spry and alert was he, right up to the end, that it's said that one day, when he was in his nineties, he saw an attractive young woman and said, "Oh, to be seventy again!"

A 1951 Hollywood motion picture, The Magnificent Yankee, was based on his life.

*********** Robert W. Service is one of my favorite poets. I especially like his poems about the Alaska Gold Rush - who hasn't ever heard "The Cremation of Sam McGee?" -  but this one, about a young English soldier going off to fight in World War I and the grief of his father at learning of his death, is heartbreaking, and especially poignant on a day when we remember our people who gave everything, and those loved ones they left behind..

"Where are you going, Young Fellow My Lad, On this glittering morn of May?"   
"I'm going to join the Colours, Dad; They're looking for men, they say."   
"But you're only a boy, Young Fellow My Lad; You aren't obliged to go."   
"I'm seventeen and a quarter, Dad, And ever so strong, you know."        

"So you're off to France, Young Fellow My Lad, And you're looking so fit and bright."   
"I'm terribly sorry to leave you, Dad, But I feel that I'm doing right."   
"God bless you and keep you, Young Fellow My Lad, You're all of my life, you know."   
"Don't worry. I'll soon be back, dear Dad, And I'm awfully proud to go."        

"Why don't you write, Young Fellow My Lad? I watch for the post each day;   
And I miss you so, and I'm awfully sad, And it's months since you went away.   
And I've had the fire in the parlour lit, And I'm keeping it burning bright   
Till my boy comes home; and here I sit Into the quiet night."        

"What is the matter, Young Fellow My Lad? No letter again to-day.   
Why did the postman look so sad, And sigh as he turned away?   
I hear them tell that we've gained new ground, But a terrible price we've paid:   
God grant, my boy, that you're safe and sound; But oh I'm afraid, afraid."        

"They've told me the truth, Young Fellow My Lad: You'll never come back again:   
(OH GOD! THE DREAMS AND THE DREAMS I'VE HAD, AND THE HOPES I'VE NURSED IN VAIN!)   
For you passed in the night, Young Fellow My Lad, And you proved in the cruel test   
Of the screaming shell and the battle hell That my boy was one of the best.        

"So you'll live, you'll live, Young Fellow My Lad, In the gleam of the evening star,   
In the wood-note wild and the laugh of the child, In all sweet things that are.   
And you'll never die, my wonderful boy, While life is noble and true;   
For all our beauty and hope and joy We will owe to our lads like you."

*********** Hugh Brodie, an Australian, enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in Melbourne on 15 September 1940. In 1942, Sergeant Brodie was listed Missing in Action. Before he left us, though, he wrote "A Sergeant's Prayer"

Almighty and all present Power,
Short is the prayer I make to Thee,
I do not ask in battle hour
For any shield to cover me.

The vast unalterable way,
From which the stars do not depart
May not be turned aside to stay
The bullet flying to my heart.

I ask no help to strike my foe,
I seek no petty victory here,
The enemy I hate, I know,
To Thee is also dear.

But this I pray, be at my side
When death is drawing through the sky.
Almighty God who also died
Teach me the way that I should die.

*********** Like many other phenomena in life, history has a tendency to be fickle. In 2001, some thirty-four years after the Battle of Ông Thanh, and the subsequent withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam in 1973, which was followed by the "honorable peace" that saw the North Vietnamese army conquer South Vietnam in 1975 in violation of the Paris Peace Accords, most historians, as well as a large majority of the American people, may consider the U.S. involvement in Vietnam a disastrous and tragic waste and a time of shame in U.S. history. Consider, however, the fact that since the late 1940s, the Soviet Union was the greatest single threat to U.S. security. Yet for forty years, war between the Soviet Union and the United States was averted. Each time a Soviet threat surfaced during that time (Greece, Turkey, Korea, Berlin, Cuba, Vietnam, and Afghanistan), although it may have been in the form of a "war of national liberation," as the Vietnam war was characterized, the United States gave the Soviet Union the distinct message that each successive threat would not be a Soviet walkover. In fact, the Soviets were stunned by the U.S. reactions in both Korea and Vietnam. They shook their heads, wondering what interest a great power like the United States could have in those two godforsaken countries. They thought: "These Americans are crazy. They have nothing to gain; and yet they fight and lose thousands of men over nothing. They are irrational." Perhaps history in the long-term--two hundred or three hundred years from now--will say that the western democracies, led by the United States, survived in the world, and their philosophy of government of the people, by the people, for the people continues to survive today (in 2301) in some measure due to resolute sacrifices made in the mid-twentieth century by men like those listed in the last chapter of this book. Then the words of Lord Byron, as quoted in this book's preface, will not ring hollow, but instead they will inspire other men and women of honor in the years to come.

From "The Beast was Out There", by Brigadier General James Shelton, USA (Ret.)

Jim Shelton is a former Delaware football player (a wing-T guard) who served in Korea and Vietnam and as a combat infantryman rose to the rank of General. He was in Viet Nam on that fateful day in October, 1967 when Don Holleder was killed. Ironically, he had competed against Don Holleder in college.

Now retired, he has served as Colonel of the Black Lions and was instrumental in the establishment of the Black Lion Award for young American football players. General Shelton personally signs every Black Lions Award certificate.

The title of his book is taken from Captain Jim Kasik's description of the enemy: "the beast was out there, and the beast was hungry."

*********** He's now dead and gone, but  George Jones' music will live on. His "50,000 NAMES" - a tribute to the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam - may be THE Memorial Day song.

(Warning - this could make you cry.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpBiVpSggNs


ON MEMORIAL DAY, I ESPECIALLY HONOR THE MEN OF THE BLACK LIONS, AND DON HOLLEDER, FORMER ARMY ALL-AMERICAN, WHO DIED IN THE VIETNAM JUNGLE IN THE BATTLE OF ONG THANH, OCTOBER 17, 1967

K I A ... Adkins, Donald W.... Allen, Terry... Anderson, Larry M.... Barker, Gary L.... Blackwell, James L., Jr.... Bolen, Jackie Jr. ... Booker, Joseph O. ... Breeden, Clifford L. Jr ... Camero, Santos... Carrasco, Ralph ... Chaney, Elwood D. Jr... Cook, Melvin B.... Crites, Richard L.... Crutcher, Joe A. ...... Dodson, Wesley E.... Dowling, Francis E.... Durham, Harold B. Jr ... Dye, Edward P. ... East, Leon N.... Ellis, Maurice S.... Familiare, Anthony ... Farrell, Michael J. ...Fuqua, Robert L. Jr. ...Gallagher, Michael J. ...Garcia, Arturo ...Garcia, Melesso ...Gilbert, Stanley D. ...Gilbertson, Verland ...Gribble, Ray N. ...Holleder, Donald W. ...Jagielo, Allen D. ...Johnson, Willie C. Jr ...Jones, Richard W. ...Krischie, John D. ...Lancaster, James E. ...Larson, James E. ...Lincoln, Gary G. ...Lovato, Joe Jr. ...Luberta, Andrew P. ...Megiveron, Emil G. ...Miller, Michael M. ...Moultrie, Joe D. ...Nagy, Robert J. ...Ostroff, Steven L. ...Platosz, Walter ...Plier, Eugene J. ...Porter, Archie ...Randall, Garland J. ...Reece, Ronney D. ...Reilly, Allan V. ...Sarsfield, Harry C. ...Schroder, Jack W. ...Shubert, Jackie E. ...Sikorski, Daniel ...Smith, Luther ...Thomas, Theodore D. Jr. ...Tizzio, Pasquale T. ...Wilson, Kenneth P. .... M I A ... Fitzgerald, Paul ...Hargrove, Olin Jr


A TRIBUTE TO DONALD WALTER HOLLEDER UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY CLASS OF 1956 - THE MAN WHOSE STORY INSPIRED THE BLACK LION AWARD...

By retired Air Force General Perry Smith (Don Holleder's West Point classmate, roommate and best man)

"If you doubt the axiom, 'An aggressive leader is priceless,' ...if you prefer the air arm to the infantry in football, if you are not convinced we recruited cadet-athletes of superior leadership potential, then you must hear the story of Donald Walter Holleder. The saga of Holleder stands unique in Army and, perhaps, all college gridiron lore." Hence begins the chapter, "You are my quarterback", in Coach Red Blaik's 1960 book, You Have to Pay the Price. Every cadet in the classes of 1956, 57, 58 and 59, and everyone who was part of the Army family at West Point and throughout the world will remember, even 50 years after the fact, the "Great Experiment". But there is much more to the Holleder story. .

Holly was born and brought up in a tight knit Catholic family in upstate New York. He was an only child whose father died when Don was quite young. Doc Blanchard recruited high school All American Holleder who entered the Point just a few days after he graduated from Aquinas Institute in Rochester. Twice turned out for academic difficulties, he struggled mightily to stay in the Corps. However as a cadet leader he excelled, serving as a cadet captain and company commander of M-2 his senior year.

Of course, it was in the field of athletics that Don is best known. Never a starter on the basketball team, he nevertheless got playing time as a forward who brought rebounding strength to a team that beat a heavily favored Navy team in the early spring of 1954. That fall, the passing combination of Vann to Holleder quickly caught the attention of the college football world. No one who watched those games will ever forget Holly going deep and leaping into the air to grab a perfectly thrown bomb from Peter Vann. Don was a consensus first team All American that year as a junior.

Three football defeats in 1955 after Holly's conversion to quarterback brought criticism of Coach Blaik and Don from many quarters but the dramatic Army victory over Navy, 14 to 6 brought redemption. Shortly thereafter, Holly received the Swede Nelson award for sportsmanship. The fact that he had given up all chances of becoming a two time all-American and a candidate for the Heisman trophy and he did so without protest or complaint played heavily in the decision by the Nelson committee to select him for this prestigious award.

Holly's eleven year career in the Army included the normal schools at Benning and Leavenworth, company command in Korea, coaching and recruiting at West Point and serving as the commanding general's aide at Fortress Monroe. After graduating from Command and General Staff College, he was off to Vietnam.

Arriving in July, 1967, Holly was assigned to the Big Red One--the First Infantry Division-- and had considerable combat experience before that tragic day in the fall--October 17. Lieutenant Colonel Terry Allen's battalion was ambushed and overrun--the troops on the ground were is desperate shape. Holleder was serving as the operations officer of the 28th Brigade--famous Black Lions. Hearing the anguished radio calls for help from the soldiers on the ground, Holly convinced his brigade commander that he had to get on the ground to help. Jumping out of his helicopter, Holly rallied some troops and raced toward the spot where the wounded soldiers were fighting.

The Newsweek article a few days after his death tells what happened next. "With the Viet Cong firing from two sides, the U. S. troops now began retreating pell-mell back to their base camp, carrying as many of their wounded as they could, The medic Hinger was among those who staggered out of the bush and headed across an open marshy plain toward the base, 200 meters away. But on the way he ran into big, forceful Major Donald W. Holleder, 33, an All-American football player at West Point..., going the other way--toward the scene of the battle. Holleder, operations officer for the brigade, had not been in the fight until now. ' Come on Doc, he shouted to Hinger, 'There are still wounded in there. I need your help.'

"Hinger said later: 'I was exhausted. But having never seen such a commander, I ran after him. What an officer! He went on ahead of us--literally running to the point position'. Then a burst of fire from the trees caught Holleder. 'He was hit in the shoulder recalled Hinger. 'I started to patch him up, but he died in my arms.' The medic added he had been with Holleder for only three minutes, but would remember the Major's gallantry for the rest of his life." Holly died as he lived: the willingness to make great sacrifices prevailed to the minute of his death.

Caroline was left a young widow. She later married our West Point classmate, Ernie Ruffner, who became a loving husband and father to the four Holleder daughters. All the daughters are happily married and there are eight wonderful and loving grandchildren.

The legacy of Donald Walter Holleder will remain an important part of the West Point story forever. The Holleder Army Reserve Center in Webster, New York, the Holleder Parkway in Rochester and the Holleder Athletic Center at West Point all help further Don's legacy. In 1985, Holly was inducted into College Football Hall of Fame. A 2003 best selling book, They Marched into Sunlight, by David Maraniss tells the story of Holleder and the Black Lions. Tom Hanks has purchased the film rights to the book.

An innovative high school coach, Hugh Wyatt, decide to further memorialize Don's legacy by establishing the Black Lion Award. Each year at hundreds of high schools, middle schools and youth football programs across the country, a single football player on each team is selected "who best exemplifies the character of Don Holleder: leadership, courage, devotion to duty, self-sacrifice, and--above all--an unselfish concern for his team ahead of himself." Starting in 2005, this award is presented to a member of the Army football team each year.

Anyone who wishes to extend Holleder's legacy can do so by approaching their local football coaches and encouraging them to make the Black Lion Award a part of their tradition. Coach Hugh Wyatt can be contacted by e mail (coachwyatt@aol.com).

All West Pointers can be proud of Donald Walter Holleder; for him there were no impossible dreams, only challenges to seek out and to conquer. Forty years after his death thousands of friends and millions of fans still remember him and salute him for his character and supreme courage.

By Retired Air Force General Perry Smith, classmate and roommate, with great assistance from Don's family members, Stacey Jones and Ernie Ruffner, classmates, Jerry Amlong, Peter Vann and JJ McGinn, and battlefield medic, Doc Hinger.

*********** "Major Holleder overflew the area (under attack) and saw a whole lot of Viet Cong and many American soldiers, most wounded, trying to make their way our of the ambush area. He landed and headed straight into the jungle, gathering a few soldiers to help him go get the wounded. A sniper's shot killed him before he could get very far. He was a risk-taker who put the common good ahead of himself, whether it was giving up a position in which he had excelled or putting himself in harm's way in an attempt to save the lives of his men. My contact with Major Holleder was very brief and occured just before he was killed, but I have never forgotten him and the sacrifice he made. On a day when acts of heroism were the rule, rather than the exception, his stood out."

    Black Lions medic Dave Berry

*********** A YOUNG MAN'S REMEMBRANCES OF DON HOLLEDER...

In 1954-55 I lived at West Point N.Y. where my father was stationed as a member of the staff at the United States Military Academy.

Don Holleder was an All American end on the Red Blaik coached Army football team which was a perennial eastern gridiron power in 40s and 50s. On Fall days I would run home from the post school, drop off my books, and head directly to the Army varsity practice field which overlooked the Hudson River and was only a short sprint from my house.

Army had a number of outstanding players on the roster back then, but my focus was on Don Holleder, our All-America end turned quarterback in a controversial position change that had sportswriters and Army fans buzzing throughout the college football community that year.

Don looked like a hero, tall, square jawed, almost stately in his appearance. He practiced like he played, full out all the time. He was the obvious leader of the team in addition to being its best athlete and player.

In 1955 it was common for star players to play both sides of the ball and Don was no exception delivering the most punishing tackles in practice as well as game situations. At the end of practice the Army players would walk past the parade ground (The Plain), then past my house and into the Arvin Gymnasium where the team's locker room was located.

Very often I would take that walk stride for stride with Don and the team and best of all, Don would sometimes let me carry his helmet. It was gold with a black stripe down the middle and had the most wonderful smell of sweat and leather. Inside the helmet suspension was taped a sweaty number 16, Don's jersey number.

While Don's teammates would talk and laugh among themselves in typical locker room banter, Don would ask me about school, show me how to grip the ball and occasionally chide his buddies if the joking ever got bawdy in front of "the little guy". On Saturdays I lived and died with Don's exploits on the field in Michie Stadium.

In his senior year Don's picture graced the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine and he led Army to a winning season culminating in a stirring victory over Navy in front of 100,000 fans in Philadelphia. During that incredible year I don't ever remember Don not taking time to talk to me and patiently answer my boyish questions about the South Carolina or Michigan defense ("I'll bet they don't have anybody as fast as you, huh, Don?").

Don graduated with his class in June 1956 and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Coincidentally, my Dad was also assigned to the 25th at the same time so I got to watch Don quarterback the 14th Infantry Regiment football team to the Division championship in 1957.

There was one major drawback to all of Don's football-gained notoriety - he wanted no part of it. He wanted to be a soldier and an infantry leader. But division recreational football was a big deal in the Army back then and for someone with Don's college credentials not to play was unheard of.

In the first place players got a lot of perks for representing their Regiment, not to mention hero status with the chain of command. Nevertheless, Don wanted to trade his football helmet for a steel pot and finally, with the help of my Dad, he succeeded in retiring from competitive football and getting on with his military profession.

It came as no surprise to anyone who knew Don that he was a natural leader of men in arms, demanding yet compassionate, dedicated to his men and above all fearless. Sure enough after a couple of TO&E infantry tours his reputation as a soldier matched his former prowess as an athlete.

It was this reputation that won him the favor of the Army brass and he soon found himself as an Aide-de-camp to the four star commander of the Continental Army Command in beautiful Ft Monroe, Virginia.

With the Viet Nam War escalating and American combat casualties increasing every day, Ft Monroe would be a great place to wait out the action and still promote one's Army career - a high-profile job with a four star senior rater, safely distanced from the conflict in southeast Asia.

Once again, Don wanted no part of this safe harbor and respectfully lobbied his boss, General Hugh P. Harris to get him to Troops in Viet Nam. Don got his wish but not very long after arriving at the First Division he was killed attempting to lead a relief column to wounded comrades caught in a Viet Cong ambush.
I remember the day I found out about Don's death. I was in the barber's chair at The Citadel my sophomore year when General Harris (Don's old boss at Ft Monroe, now President of The Citadel) walked over to me and motioned me outside.

He knew Don was a friend of mine and sought me out to tell me that he was KIA. It was one of the most defining moments of my life. As I stood there in front of the General the tears welled up in my eyes and I said "No, please, sir. Don't say that." General Harris showed no emotion and I realized that he had experienced this kind of hurt too many times to let it show. "Biff", he said, "Don died doing his duty and serving his country. He had alternatives but wouldn't have it any other way. We will always be proud of him, Biff."

With that, he turned and walked away. As I watched him go I didn't know the truth of his parting words. I shed tears of both pride and sorrow that day in 1967, just as I am doing now, 34 years later, as I write this remembrance. In my mind's eye I see Don walking with his teammates after practice back at West Point, their football cleats making that signature metallic clicking on concrete as they pass my house at the edge of the parade ground; he was a leader among leaders.

As I have been writing this, I periodically looked up at the November 28, 1955 Sports Illustrated cover which hangs on my office wall, to make sure I'm not saying anything Don wouldn't approve of, but he's smiling out from under that beautiful gold helmet and thinking about the Navy game. General Harris was right. We will always be proud of Don Holleder, my boyhood hero...

Biff Messinger, Mountainville, New York, 2001

***********  A retired Navy captain, wrote in the Wall Street Journal about the strict criteria for awarding the Medal of Honor (frequently called the Congressional Medal of Honor)...

"Remember the Marine Corps requirement: Fall on a hand grenade to save your fellow Marines and the grenade fails to explode, you get a Navy Cross; if the grenade explodes, you might get the Medal of Honor."

The Medal of Honor was meant to be awarded sparingly,  Of the hundreds of thousands of men who fought in in our Twentieth Century wars, here are the numbers of Medals of Honor Awarded:

WW I  124
WW II  464
Korea 135
Vietnam  246

There were 1522 Medals of Honor awarded as a result of Civil War. Actually, there were more than that,  but  over 900 were later rescinded.

One reason was that in the Civil War, the Medal of Honor was the only medal awarded for valor. Another reason was the enormous number of casualties suffered during the Civil War.

http://www.homeofheroes.com/moh/corrections/purge_army.html



american flag FRIDAY,  MAY 23,  2014 "Everybody wants to save the world -  but nobody wants to do the dishes."   P. J. O'Rourke


MY
ANNUAL MEMORIAL DAY  TRIBUTE WILL APPEAR NEXT TUESDAY
    
 
*********** The Wall Street Journal had an article recently about retailers and the scents that they like to allow to waft out into malls to attract  customers to their establishments.

Cinnabon, Panera and Starbucks were obvious examples.


But they mentioned Abercrombie and Fitch, and noted that, because it catered to teenagers, it favored a "strong, musky scent."

Say, "musky?"  After noting the way teenage boys over the years have done away with the old routine of showering after practice, I can only surmise that girls have grown to like the smell. 

*********** Bud Barrow died on April 29 in Bloomington, Indiana. He was 82.

I only knew of Bud Barrow as a Black Lion - as the Top Sergeant of Delta Company in Vietnam.

All I really know about him was told to me by my friend, Tom "Doc" Hinger, and written by David Maraniss, in his marvelous book, "They Marched Into Sunlight." which may be the best book written about the War in Vietnam.

Three excerpts from the book tell a bit about Sergeant Bud Barrow...

Square of face with a burr haircut and Southern Indiana twang, Barrow was an army lifer.  Back in 1948, before some of his buck privates were born, he had escaped from Bloomington and a difficult stepmother by quitting school at age 16 and enlisting after forging his date of birth on the birth certificate. By the summer of 1967, when he received orders for Southeast Asia, he had served 19 years in the army, including nine with the Big Red One in Germany, without facing combat. He was one year from retirement but not ready to fade away. His military career would never seem complete, he believed, unless he did a Vietnam tour.

Now, after the Black Lions were ambushed and chopped to pieces by the numerically superior North Vietnamese, Sergeant Barrow was found alive.  His reaction reveals the almost-motherly feeling that top sergeants have for the young men under them:

On the way into the jungle Sergeant George Smith had been told by a retreating soldier that Deltas first sergeant, Bud Barrow, was sitting on a log, waiting for them. Where was he? Barrow could hear the recovery forces before they spotted him. Shouts: "Who's there?" Then, staring down at him, there stood George Smith, and next to Smith was Ray Albin.

"Thank God, Top!" Albin shouted, seeing that Barrow was alive. There had been reports back at the NDP that he was dead.  

Another soldier called out, "Hey, first sergeant.  How ya doin'?"

Barrow broke down, his relief at being saved overwhelmed by the travail of the bloodbath.  He had been shot through both legs and had ninety-two pieces of shrapnel in his knees, back and buttocks, and more than that, his nostrils were aflame with a smell that he would never forget, the strong rotten smell of dead bodies.

"I ain't  doin' worth a damn," he said, weeping. "They killed all my boys."

Then, as Sergeant Barrow lay in a hospital recovering from his wounds, General Wiliam Westmoreland, commander of all US forces in Vietnam, made the rounds, pinning Purple Hearts on the wounded.  The official spin at the time was that the Battle of Ongh Thanh was not an ambush, which would have reflected poorly on military planning and command.  Bud Barrow wasn't buying.

In the recovery ward at last, Westmoreland moved down the row of men, pinning Purple Hearts.

"I just want to congratulate you," he said to Bud Barrow, the Delta first sergeant,

"Well, I'm not sure whether you oughta congratulate me or the enemy," Barrow responded.  "They're the ones who won that one." His mind raced back to the seventeenth, the denseness of the jungle floor, the Viet Cong shooting from the trees, the terror of being out there, the grief of losing so many of his boys.

Westmoreland pinned a Purple Heart on Barrow's pajamas and said, "Tell me sergeant.  What happened out there?"

"Well sir, we walked into one of the damned ambushes you ever seen," Barrow said.

"Oh no no no," Westmoreland replied briskly.  "That was no ambush."

"Call it what you want to," Barrow said. The combination of his wounds, the medication, and all he had been through allowed him to speak more bluntly to a general than he would have normally. "I don't know what happened to the rest of the people, but by God, I was ambushed."

Rest in Peace, Segreant Bud Barrow.

*********** Treasury Wine Estates, an Australian firm, is one of the world's largest wine companies.  Among its brands is Beringer, well known in the US.  Last year, Treasury had to destroy hundreds of thousands of gallons of Beringer wine that it couldn't sell, at a loss of some $144,000,000. How do you "destroy" that much win?  It's not as simple as you think, because in order to get back the taxes that you've paid the government, you have to be able to convince the feds that there's no chance any of it can be sold. So they crushed the cases by driving back and forth over them with road rollers.

Seems a shame to do that to otherwise good wine, with all those down-and-outers wandering around town trying to cadge enough change for a bottle of Thunderbird.

***********  "Members of the school community have long expressed concerns related to the exclusive nature of Honors Night."

That beautiful example of the Trophies for Everybody mentality came from two middle school administrators in the Providence, Rhode Island suburb of East Greenwich, in canceling the assembly at which it traditionally honored its top students.

I didn't read about any plans to simply put every kid in the school on the honor roll, which would have been my suggestion.

http://eastgreenwich.patch.com/groups/schools/p/cole-middle-school-cancels-honors-night

*********** A large group of NFL alumni has sued the league regarding the use of painkillers that enabled players to play when hurt.

It's not clear-cut, that's for sure.  There is certainly an issue of player responsibility, and I don't doubt for a minute that a great number of players - then and now - would ask for a painkiller if it meant being able to play.  The general public really has no idea how competitive those guys are, how much they want to play, and how important it is to them to contribute to the team.  (On the latter point, I do have to admit to having serious doubts about some of today's players.)

I also believe that if most of those players were told that taking the shot might lead to some long-term health issues, say, ten or twenty years down the line, they'd have said, "go ahead and give me the shot."

I know, I know.  They're young and strong and what lies ahead never occurs to them.  So are we saying, then, that they're too young to give informed consent?  Should the age of consent be 30?  Or 40?  That wouldn't work, because I suspect that a lot of the guys getting shot up were older players trying to extend their careers.

Obviously, it's not totally the player's call. What choice, really,  did those guys have? In a league that celebrates "durability,"  what would a guy do to his reputation - to his long-term career prospects - if he declined to take a painkiller and missed a game that he could have played in otherwise, if he'd agreed to an injection?

Write Arthur L. Caplan & Lee H. Igel of The NYU Sports & Society Program, in Forbes,

"the basic question is whether NFL players were properly informed about the drugs they were being administered. There is also some question about whether they felt compelled to consent to the treatments because of the nature and culture of their workplaces. But the biggest question is: Who should be charged with thinking for the long-term, since players may only be thinking about what they need to do now to get back on the field as soon as possible? That is where responsibility for thinking long-term lies."

http://www.forbes.com/sites/leeigel/2014/05/21/as-ex-players-sue-nfl-over-use-of-painkillers-who-is-ultimately-responsible/


************ Then-Senator Barack Obama, November 12, 2007: “After seven years of an Administration that has stretched our military to the breaking point, ignored deplorable conditions at some VA hospitals, and neglected the planning and preparation necessary to care for our returning heroes, America’s veterans deserve a President who will fight for them not just when it’s easy or convenient, but every hour of every day for the next four years.”

"I will not stand for it."   Thus spake Our President, Barack H. Obama,  Wednesday, on the growing VA scandal.  You know, the one that he just found out about the other day when he happened to read about it in the papers. ("Hey - why doesn't anyone around here tell me about these things?")

I haven't yet heard him say "I won't rest," a tired cliche that his speech writers have  grown accustomed over the years to having him say as his pat response to this problem or that. But I expect I will.   Jim Geraghty, of National Review Online, has listed at least a dozen occasions on which he used that very phrase. I guess golf and fund-raisers and vacations don't count as rest, because once, he even said "I won't rest"  while he was in Hawaii.  No wonder the guy's so thin - for the last six years, he's been staying up around the clock, trying to fix all these problems that nobody even told him about until things got out of hand.

Anyhow, we all know he won't rest until heads roll for this VA thing, but meanwhile, he had to hustle, because the Seattle Seahawks. were waiting for him to honor them.

We all knew, of course, that he's a lifelong Chicago Bears fan, but he still thought it was important to tell the Seahawks that.

And, finally,  what would a meeting with the President be if he couldn't in some way make it about him? Referring to the Seahawks' not being pre-season favorites, he told them, "As a guy who was elected president named Barack Obama, I root for the underdogs."

Now, back to work on the VA Scandal.

*********** For eight years I coached at Hudson's Bay High, in Vancouver, Washington. It was a really nice school, very middle class with tough kids who worked hard and played hard.  It was a great place to teach and coach, and I had a good run there.

But over the years since, things changed at "Bay," mainly the socioeconomic of its drawing area. Now, it's decidedly lower middle class, and its lack of sports success reflects it. 

In the last ten years, Bay has won 21 games, four in the last four years, two in the last three years, one in the last two years.

Its kids have had four coaches in the last four years, and this time next year, it'll be six in the last five years.

No, I'm not able to see into the future and predict that their newest coach will be fired in mid-season.

But they'll have had two more head coaches, because they just hired - two head coaches.

I can't imagine how this is going to work, but what the hell - nothing else has.

*********** I've always liked and admired Bud Grant.  Not just as a coach, but as a man's man.  I'm just finishing up his book, "I Did It My Way," and if anything, my admiration for him has increased.

Tuesday was Coach Grant's 87th birthday.

What I wouldn't give to be in the Twin Cities right now, where he's holding a garage sale!

http://www.twincities.com/breakingnews/ci_25799362/bud-grants-garage-sale-promises-vikings-treasures-no?source=hottopics


*********** I was a big fan of the Steelers in the 1970s and I've remained one over the years.  There's been a lot of good stuff written about the Steelers, and their owners, the Rooney family.  More about that at a later time.

The heart and soul of those Steelers, by almost anyone's account, was Joe Greene.

He was part of their great defensive line, the Steel Curtain - he and Dwight White and Ernie Homes and L.C. Greenwood.

And there was Franco Harris and Frenchy Fuqua.  And there were Lynn Swann and John Stallworth and Mel Blount.  And Joe Gilliam.

Are you getting the drift? They were all black players.  Very good black players. The  Steelers were out in front  in the scouting and signing of outstanding black players.

And a major reason for this was Bill Nunn.  Bill Nunn was the sports edit of the Pittsburgh Courier, a newspaper aimed at  a national black readership. At a time when there were far fewer opportunities in major colleges for black players, the Pittsburgh Courier put major emphasis on black college football, and starting in 1950, it started naming a black college All-American team.

Bill Nunn grew to know black college coaches and players, and in frustration at the way those players were being overlooked by the NFL, he took his case to Dan Rooney, son of the Steelers' owner, Art Rooney.  To help him prove his pronto - and to help the Steelers, they hired him as a part-time scout in 1967, and two years later, when Chuck Noll was hired, Bill Nunn became a full-time Steelers' coach.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Bill Nunn died recently.  He deserves to be remembered as a pro football trail blazer.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/05/10/sports/football/bill-nunn-scout-who-shaped-steelers-super-bowl-teams-dies-at-89.html?referrer=




american flag TUESDAY,  MAY 20,  2014"A lot of people want to be coaches and become enamored with the game but they often leave out the real importance of organizing and managing."   Bud Grant
          
*********** You could argue that a power play in hockey - when one of the teams is a man short due to penalty - is one of the most exciting moments in sports.  Teams are far more likely to score when they have an extra man on the ice, and if your team is the one that's a man down, it's a good thing that most penalties last just two minutes, because it's nerve wracking.

For people who can't take the excitement of the power play, may I suggest soccer?

How many sports you can think of in which a team can play a man short for the entire second half and not lose?

It happened in Portland on Saturday night when "our" Timbers tied the Columbus Crew, 3-3.


*********** With the World Cup less than two months away (I know that most of you already had it marked on your calendars), we're beginning to see why Charles deGaulle, late president of France, once said, “Le Brésil n’est pas um pays sérieux” - "Brazil is not a serious country."

Brazil is the host country of the World Cup. The country's poor have been up in arms about the money being spent to put on the extravaganza, and about the  slums that have been razed in order to build stadiums.  A number of the stadiums in which games are to be held are still unfinished.  Mass transit planned to whisk spectators to and from the venues won't be completed in time to be used.  Some games are scheduled to be played in remote places in the Amazon rain forest where tropical heat and humidity will make conditions unbearable.  Then, of course, there is the strong possibility that visitors may object to the fact they are likely to be victims of the crime for which Rio de Janeiro is famous..

But enough about  the World Cup.  Soccer is soccer. Right on its heels, though, Brazil has to put on the 2016 Olympics, the first ever to be held in South America.  It is impossible to list all the things that have already gone wrong.  Preparations at one point were so far behind schedule that the International Olympic Committee found it necessary to issue warnings that - that  - who knows?  They couldn't pull the games out of  Brazil because no place else could take on the job on such short notice.

And then, there are the sailing events.

The body of water where they're to be held is described as “dark, brown and stinking" by one of Brazil's most famous yachtsmen. The bay is loaded with garbage and trash washed into it from streams into which it's been dumped - tires, discarded furniture, bodies (mostly dogs, but an occasional human).  And raw sewage.  Lots and lots of raw, untreated human excrement.  Anyone for a sail?

The solution?  The Brazilian government has plans to deploy as many as 30 little  “ecoboats” to putter around the bay picking up garbage.  That's about like going out with teaspoons.  Question: in a country that only collects about 10 per cent of all trash, where will the ecoboats dump their haul?

“The government could deploy aircraft carriers to collect the bay’s garbage and the problem would not be solved,”  a biologist told the New York Times. “The bay is still a latrine. It’s an insult to Rio’s people to say it will be clean for the Olympics.”

Personally, for the first time in my life I find myself looking forward eagerly to the sailing events.  I think it would be cool if some sailboat were to hit a dead horse or an old couch and capsize, dumping some rich guys in white outfits into the septic soup.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/05/19/world/americas/memo-to-olympic-sailors-in-rio-dont-touch-the-water.html?referrer=

*********** You like waiting for a doctor's appointment?   Consider what's coming out about the scandalous treatment of veterans in VA hospitals to be a sneak preview of what to expect when the Dems get their ultimate wish and the US government takes over the operation of ALL our hospitals.

*********** My classmate/teammate and sophomore year roommate, Jeff Lamy, died last week after a long bout with GuillaIn-Barre.

The crowning achievement of Jeff's life had to be his contribution to the building of what is now the world-renowned Oregon wine industry.

He was in on the ground floor.  Like so many people in the wine business at that time, he was self-taught. 

According to the trade journal Enobytes, Jeff planned, built and ran  a major winery from 1982 to 1992, and then as a consultant went on to design more than 400 vineyards and a dozen wineries. He spent his final years writing a book, due to be published soon, on winery management.

Heck of a guy.

*********** THE "UP IS DOWN AND DOWN IS UP" DEPARTMENT…

So two Kansas girls decided they wanted to be identified as boys.  And their school accommodated them.  And then the two "boys" went to the prom together - as each other's dates. Does this mean that they're both transgender AND gay?  This is all so confusing…

http://news.yahoo.com/schools-help-transgender-students-fit-143943577.html

Some reactions to the story:

Today I feel like a girl. Can I shower with the cheerleaders?

Isn't this just super swell! Boys can be girls and girls can be boys and the school and the local District or Board of Education will drop everything else to make it happen. Now IF the school and the local District or Board of Education would spend as much time and effort TEACHING their dimwits something about Math, English, Grammar, Penmanship . . .

Funny, when a black person tries to be white, or vice versa and they go through constructive surgery to get these results all sorts of psychological disorders and the such are given to the person. In fact, many on both sides find it insulting.

First sentence of the article: "Isaac Barnett took a bold step last year: He told teachers and classmates at his Kansas high school that the student they had known as a girl now wanted to be accepted as a boy." This should have been the second sentence: "Billy Henson, a classmate, took an even bolder step this year. He told teachers and classmates at his Kansas high school that Isaac's behavior seemed bizarre to him." Isaac will now be class president, Billy will be released from custody after extensive interrogation and banned from attending Kansas public schools.

Oh the future of America. Soon we will have the first gay president. What do we call his partner? The "First Gentleman ?" It's time for the Earth to start over again, call in the doomsday asteroids.

And this classic, by someone known only as  "Amanda"

I may have been born in a "human" body, but I identify as a cat.

I am so butt-hurt that I can't walk around in a fur suit and lap milk from my saucer in the school cafeteria without hateful remarks and ridicule.

I was sent to the principal's office on 8 different occasions because teachers said my "cat costume" was distracting the other students. After a few heated PTA meetings, the principal conceded that my fur suit was acceptable and they amended the official dress code to accommodate me. Victory!

I was sent to detention twice for stretching my claws on the school theater's stage curtains. When I brought my own scratching post to school they confiscated it and sent me to the the school counselor. I was sent home from school one day just for chasing a rodent around the hallways. I thought they would have thanked me for catching it and dropping it on the principal's desk... but no. All I received was hate for doing what comes naturally for me. :-(

All new students are required to present their immunization records when they enroll. Dr. Cass at the Westside Veterinary Clinic faxed complete documentation of my rabies, distemper, dewormer, and FIV & leukemia shots along with proof that I'd been treated with Frontline Advantage to the school - but the school said that they would not accept it!

The government will not let me legally change my name to "Purrfect Princess Puffypants" in my state. Each time I apply to do so, I'm forced to see a judge who discriminates against my cat identity.

I even suffer at home. I was once swatted, chased away with a broom by a close-minded bigoted lady who didn't like me mewing outdoors at night. I got into a little scuffle with a neighbor's dog, and police tried to charge me with animal cruelty.
I requested that my identity's needs be accommodated by installing a special bathroom (or even just one stall) with a large litter box in it at school and at my place of employment. I was denied twice. Now every trip to relieve myself is shameful and difficult to endure.

I made a request that Animal Planet's shows on Cats (like Must Love Cats, Big Cat Diary, and Cats 101) along with a short informational video entitled "Being Different is Good Mews" be a part of school of the school's regular curriculum and part of the orientation process for new employees at my workplace. Not only would it educate and expand their minds, it could help others who are afraid to express their own cat identity to feel more accepted.

Another brilliant idea that was simply shot down.  The board never even voted on it.

Life is challenging for those of us with a purrsonal identity that differs from society's norm. But we must keep our whiskers high and claw a place for ourselves in the fabric of America!

***********  At last!  An intelligent decision by New York politicians!

(CNN) -- Racehorse California Chrome will be allowed to use a nasal strip while racing in the June 7 Belmont Stakes, New York racing officials decided Monday.

The decision by representatives of the New York State Gaming Commission, the New York Racing Association and the Jockeys Club ends a ban on the strips at Belmont. It keeps alive the the 3-year-old's bid to win horse racing's Triple Crown after winning this year's Preakness Stakes and Kentucky Derby.

The horse's trainer had said his owners might not allow the horse to raise without the strip, which the manufacturer says allows horses to breathe more freely and reduces the risk of bleeding in the lungs during heavy exertion.

California Chrome has worn the strips during its last six wins, including first-place finishes at the Kentucky Derbyand Preakness Stakes.

Come to think of it, it didn't take much intelligence to realize that a decision to continue their anti-Breathe Right policy would have made them the nation's laughing stock. 

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/18/us/california-chrome-nasal-strips/

*********** The pampered pukes at Haverford College (a no-football haven of academic elites on Philadelphia's Main Line) managed to veto the school's first choice for commencement speaker, the former Chancellor of the University of California-Berkeley.  Seems back in 2011, UC Police used force (gasp!) in putting down an Occupy demonstration, and before the Haverford student protestors - joined and perhaps abetted by a handful of professors - would agree to his speaking, they insisted - demanded! - they he publicly apologize, that he support "reparations" for the "victims,"  and that he write a letter to Haverford students explaining his position and "what you learned from them."

Rather than comply, the Berkeley guy backed out.

So, Haverford had to go get another speaker.

What Haverford - and the Haverford students - got was more than they bargained for.

They got the retired president of Princeton, William G. Bowen, who informed the protestors that their actions were "immature" and "arrogant."

And he took exception to the claim by one of the student leaders of the protests, who had called the original speaker's withdrawal "a minor victory."

"It represents nothing of the kind," Bowen said. "In keeping with the views of many others in higher education, I regard this outcome as a defeat, pure and simple, for Haverford - no victory for anyone who believes, as I think most of us do, in both openness to many points of view and mutual respect."

He was given a standing ovation.

http://articles.philly.com/2014-05-18/news/49928236_1_birgeneau-haverford-students-haverford-college

*********** Somebody, somewhere, must have gotten to Michael Sam and told him not to proceed with the "documentary" planned to run on Oprah's channel - a documentary that the Rams hadn't been told about prior to drafting Sam.

“After today’s meeting with the Rams, we collectively feel it is best to postpone the project,” said Sam’s agent Cameron Weiss. “This will allow for Michael to have a total focus on football and will ensure no distractions to his teammates. Everybody involved remains committed to this project and understands its historical importance as well as its positive message.”

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/own-postpones-michael-sam-docuseries-705082

*********** Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams is just the sort of guy you'd want coaching your kid. 

In a recent weekend youth baseball tournament, he was overheard telling his pitcher to hit an opposing batter, which he did.  In the ribs.

Only the day before, according to Deadspin, he'd been ejected from a game - same tournament - for calling an umpire a motherf--ker and calling an opposing player (a ten-year-old) a pussy.  No explanation for why he was back "coaching" the next day.

Throughout the tournament he "heckled" opposing coaches.

Poor, pathetic loser.  Now that he's out in the real world with the rest of us, he copes by trying to relive his baseball life through little kids.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/report-mitch-wild-williams-ordered-beanball-youth-game-article-1.1796104

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/05/ex-mlb-pitcher-mitch-williams-takes-leave-from-mlb-network-after-flap-in-youth-tournament



american flag FRIDAY,  MAY 16,  2014"Throw it there when they're looking here, and throw it here when they're looking there."  Satchel Paige
          
*********** Coach,

How do you call a play in the huddle -  does the QB just say "22" or does the QB say (for example) "Pitt Bill Liz 55 XO" and then also say "22" so everyone can look at their wrist cards?

Hi Coach -

All I do when I call the play is call "22"(or whatever the coordinates are)

And that's all the QB says.

If I want a different set or motion I might say, for example, " Left 22", or "Spread 22")

Once we really get into this, it's rare for the kids to hear a play call in full, 
in games or in practice.

ice man*********** Identifying the Ice Man

Dennis Metzger
Fountain City, Indiana
For someone from Illinois that should be easy. "The Wheaton Iceman", AKA "The Galloping Ghost"; who was Red Grange, University of Illinois graduate and Chicago Bear. He may be the individual who "made" pro football in the early years. As important as the Colts-Giants championship game was to the dawn of the modern era, Red Grange playing professional football in the 1920's was important to the game's survival and growth.

Joel Mathews
Independence, Missouri
 
Bill Nelson
Thornton, Colorado

Carl Kilburg
Hebron, Indiana

MIke Benton
Colfax, Illinois

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington
Enjoyed the clip about Bucko Kilroy. I was trying to figure out who Ernie Stautner reminded me of, and then, when he talked about the "contract" on Kilroy, it hit me: he's a dead ringer for Frank Vincent, the actor who's made a living playing Mafiosi.  Check it out!
 

RED GRANGE AND HIS IMPACT ON THE NFL

by Hugh Wyatt

I was interviewing George Halas and I asked him who is the greatest running back you ever saw. And he said, 'That would be Red Grange.' And I asked him if Grange was playing today, how many yards do you think he'd gain. And he said, 'About 750, maybe 800 yards.' And I said, 'Well, 800 yards is just okay.' He sat up in his chair and he said, 'Son, you must remember one thing. Red Grange is 75 years old.'      Chris Berman, ESPN

Pro football didn’t begin to make an impact on the big cities of the East - and capture the attention of its newspapers - until late in the 1925 season, when the most celebrated, most exciting college football player who had ever played was enticed to turn pro.

His name was Harold "Red" Grange, and the number he wore - 77 - was almost as famous as he was. His remarkable feats as a running back at the University of Illinois had earned him the nickname the “Galloping Ghost.”   In 1924, his junior year, 67,000 people -  the largest crowd up to that point  ever to watch a sporting event in the Midwest - celebrated the dedication of Illinois' new stadium, then watched in awe as Grange scored four touchdowns against Michigan on runs of 96, 65, 54 and 48 yards  - in the first quarter! 

(MORE)   http://www.coachwyatt.com/RED%20GRANGE%20AND%20THE%20NFL.html

*********** The President thought he was being funny - I think - when he suggested to a New York audience the other day that he wished he could ship some of them from New York, where he has more than enough voters in his pocket, to places farther west where he could use the votes.

Unwittingly, he pointed out a major reason why The Founders provided for an electoral college - why we do not elect presidents by popular vote.  Otherwise, a candidate with a huge following in, say, New York, could theoretically defeat a rival who narrowly won every other state (all 56 of them).  It's almost as if The Founders could foresee that one day, our approach to election security would be so lax that polls could be manipulated in just one or two key cities to make that scenario a reality.

Besides, what Our President proposes is already happening in several western states, where former Californians, fleeing their state's oppressive regulations and taxation, move in but forget to leave their left-leaning politics behind. 

*********** First there was The Kiss. Then there was the revelation that he's going to be featured in a "documentary" on the Oprah Network. Michael Sam sure has made it harder for us to view him as guy who just wants to be known simply as a football player who happens to be gay.

Jason Whitlock says it's because there's Michael Sam… and there's Michael $am...

Michael Sam's decision to do a "documentary series" -- reality TV show -- on the Oprah Winfrey Network is a gigantic tactical error for Sam and his supporters within the LGBT community.

America, for the most part, would wrap its arms around Michael Sam, the gay, underdog football player fighting to find his place in the NFL. America, for the most part, will reject Michael $am, the gay, in-your-face political/media pawn using the NFL as a platform to launch his celebrity brand.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10937109/michael-sam-needs-send-message-making-roster-nfl

*********** Tipped off by Coach John Bothe, of Oregon, Illinois, I got Bud Grant's autobiography, "I Did It My Way."  I'm well into it now, and as I knew I would, being a very big admirer of Bud Grant as both a coach and a person, I am really enjoying it.

Get this line about his football-playing days at Minnesota (where he also played basketball and baseball):

"For me it was an incredible learning experience. I have to say that I really learned a lot about what not to do as a coach by watching what the coaches at Minnesota did."

***********  Coach Bothe and I got going on Bud Grant:

I enjoy reading about his time management and perspective on life outside of coaching, especially how he balanced it during coaching.

Right from the start, in high school when he simply didn't have time for girls, and in college when he chose  to turn down Wisconsin's deal and instead pay his own way at Minnesota so he could play three sports and "live his own life," he was all about balance.

It is really refreshing to read about an NFL coach that had that type of balance with family and outside activities.  

I don't see Jim Harbaugh duck hunting for an hour or so on his way to work and starting the coaches meeting at 9:00 each morning.  Current NFL guys make the news when they take 30 minutes per day to walk the treadmill while they are watching film.  And they probably slept on the office couch.

I know we as coaches are supposed to dive right into the game film that same night or at least the next morning but I need some outside time on the weekends to recharge before we get back into it.

Some time back I saw the light and realized that I wasn't willing to pay the price that college coaches pay.

Back in the early 70s I was at the Redskins' camp in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and I was talking with Tim Temerario, their director of player personnel.   I was sort of a bottom feeder, trying to find out who was likely to get cut, and then getting to him before he went back home, trying to convince him to come and play in Hagerstown, Maryland and keep his hopes alive.  The subject of  Joe Sullivan came up.  Joe Sullivan was head coach George Allen's right-hand guy.  To a football junkie like me, that sounded like a really cool job.  Football, 24-7.  I told Tim that that looked like my dream job.  I'll never forget what Tim said.  "His life's not his own."

Those words stuck with me over the years.

I spent probably another 10-15 years chasing the NFL dream, and in 1985 I had a chance to go to Miam as the Dolphins' director or marketing.  Not as great as the title makes it sound.  Things didn't work out, and that was when I finally realized that high school coaching wasn't that bad, and that Frosty Westering was right when he advised us to "Make the Big Time Where You Are."

I cannot begin to imagine the NFL lifestyle.  We have a former NFL player from the next town over that I coached against when he was in high school.  I went to high school with his dad also.  

Anyway he played for the Eagles/Jaguars/Panthers/Ravens in his 8 years.  He told me that Andy Reid slept in his office 4 nights per week and John Harbaugh does it three nights per week in season.

I don't think college is much better and now they have the increased spring recruiting period.

It's even worse for assistants, because you know that there are 200 guys or more - many of them well-qualified - just waiting to take your job if you ever let up.  It all starts when they're GA's.  Talk about peons. I doubt that anybody in the world works as hard as GA's do for so little compensation other than the hope of grabbing the bass ring as they go flying by.  Seems to me they'll be the next group they try to unionize.

***********  The song is "Utah Man."  As a great aficionado of college fight songs, I like it a lot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDLqjhS7AI4#t=35

Here's how it goes:

I am a Utah man, Sir and I live across the green,
Our gang is the jolliest that you have ever seen.
Our Coeds are the fairest and each one's a shining star,
Our yell you'll hear it ringing through the mountains near and far

Who am I Sir? Utah man am I!
Utah Man, Sir, will be till I die!


We're up to snuff, we never bluff, we're game for any fuss
NO other gang of college man dare meet us in the muss
So fill your lungs and sing