NERDS?!, CONDI RICE, BAD POLITICS, TOO MUCH HOMEWORK, & TAILGATING

October 17, 2013

Covering sports for all of my adult life has taught me not to judge the masses. Sure many athletes grab some horrendous headlines but not any more than any other line of work. The majority of the pro athletes I’ve covered are good people but a small minority don’t get it when it comes to why we cover sports.

Recently, Rays pitcher David Price went to Twitter calling out highly respected baseball writer/broadcaster Tom Verducci—-“Tom Verducci wasn’t even a water boy in high school but yet they can still bash a player. Save it NERDS.”

OK Price has since apologized probably because he had too. What these athletes don’t get is many of us aren’t jock sniffers, we actually like covering the sports—its not all about them. I got in the business because I enjoy great stories—writing them is the best part for many of us.

Furthermore, while we all give David Price credit for his talents as one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball—he takes for granted the time, effort and many talents of those like Verducci who cover the game better than he could ever be able to.

Full Disclosure–my athletic highlight was that I was an average high school swimmer but the fact that I never played a professional sport doesn’t take away from the years I have worked to hone my craft as a journalist. You can call us all Nerds if you like, but it doesn’t bother those of us who see the big picture—I just consider the source. Uninformed athletes, just one of many rants this week in a wide ranging stroll around the Naborhood.

COMMITTEE CHAOS : Sticking with the theme of not judging the masses—we turn to the appointment of the 1st ever NCAA Playoff Committee. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has received the most criticism especially from former Auburn Head Coach Pat Dye who proclaimed “All she knows about football is what somebody told her.” I’m guessing Dye knows as much about Condi Rice as she knows about being a bigot. Its easy for a lot of these good ole boys to generalize about women judging our next college playoff contenders but what they don’t understand is many women are qualified journalists (which I would prefer to put on the panel than Rice) and many spend much more time analyzing the sport than many coaches who for years had their Sports Information Directors fill out their weekly college poll ballots.

My biggest issue with this Committee is having Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long man it. I also don’t like having anybody currently affiliated with any institution participating. There should be no hint of bias—there are plenty of qualified neutral parties out there—and that includes many of whom are women!

BAD POLITICS: OK, my goal when I started this blog was to never get political. Its polarizing and is a conversation and social media turnoff for many– including me. But due to recent events, I am forced to break my promise. The potential of a government shutdown was embarrassing, petty and in the end a waste of everybody’s time. I like many am fed up with the system and BOTH parties. The Tea Party was fighting a battle against Obamacare they deep down knew they would never win and then you had President Obama who is hardly immune from criticism. I was in Boston recently and read a great article into the breakdown of communication on his part. The Boston Globe’s article by Matt Viser, “Obama’s vision of Unity led only to wider gap” provides great insight:

Link to the article: 

It spells out even if you agree with Obama’s policies how you could take exception with his lack of reaching out to his fiercest critics like Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell who he’s only met with twice? I’m not saying its only Obama and McConnell, who is hardly Mother Teresa. Still, while for good reason the Republicans and its alarming conservative faction have been criticized—-this article points out that communication has broke down from EVERY political direction. The shutdown was avoided—I can only hope all of these parties learn that without giving in and talking–we will have this replayed over and over and…..again.

HOMEWORK OVERKILL:  While not many of us can agree politically—as parents we share common ground when it comes to the insane amount of homework our kids endure these days. In a great article in the recent edition of the Atlantic by Karl Taro Greenfield—he took an innovative approach to the growing epidemic. Greenfield decided to take matters into his own hands and attempted to do his 13 year old’s homework for a week. The result —some entertaining but mostly troubling results.

According to the article, a study out of Penn St found the countries that rank AHEAD of the U.S. in math and science like Japan and Denmark give LESS homework while countries that score WORSE than our country like Thailand and Greece give MORE.

Another study from the University of Michigan, the average time spent on weekly homework increased from two hours  and 38 minutes in 1981 to three hours and 58 minutes in 2004. I sympathize with many of my teacher friends who have to make sure their students improve their test scores but much like our politics we have to find some middle ground here.

GREAT READ: You want a great Christmas gift for the young sports fan in your family??  Sports Illustrated for Kids sent me an advanced copy of “The top 10 of everything in Sports.” Its a great way for your favorite young fan to learn a lot about every sport and discover many facts about athletes past and present. The lists cover the best athletes in every sport to the best rivalries. They also have their top “Little Guys, Big Guys and even top conttroversial calls and sports movies” among many other catagories. Its entertaining and something every adult sports fan can share with their youngster.

TAILGATING TIPS: I am very excited about going to a football game this weekend where for a change I don’t have to work. My wife and I will be attending our first college football game in years in Tuscaloosa when Bama hosts Arkansas. We know we’re hardly alone so as a public service announcement and a big assist from my friend Elizabeth Lewis from Paramount Public Relations—here are seven Tailgating essentials!

1.       Technology (CallSnap): Many sports fans find themselves at a tailgate or watching the game when they receive an incoming call. CallSnap, a new Android app, allows fans to instantly respond to these incoming calls with a personalized photo. The call recipient can choose one of many messages to accompany the photo such as, “I’m busy, here’s what I’m doing” along with a picture of the game.

2.       Table (Wayfair): Wayfair has designed the perfect “NFL Tailgate Toss” table for fans, which folds up easily into a 2’ X 2’ size for easy transportation! 

3.       Bluetooth Speakers (CAN Tonez Audio): The CAN makes it easy to play music off of any cell phone that has Bluetooth connection. Its small, tight package allows the speakers to be set next to the grill or on a pong table and can easily be taken on-the-go come game time.

4.       Outerwear (Stormy Kromer): Stormy Kromer has a line of hats with customizable team colors to keep out the cold out and allow fans to enjoy the tailgate in style.

5.        Grill (Margaritaville): Burgers, brats and hot dogs are typical tailgating specialties, but don’t forget about the grill!  Margaritaville has made the perfect grill that attaches to the back hitch of truck—no need to unload and assemble, just hitch and enjoy.

6.       Bag/Corn Hole Set (Gold Star Games): There’s no better way to get into a competitive mood than to play a game of bags!  Gold Star Games creates custom boards and bags, allowing sports fans to put their team’s logo right on the board.

7.       Flask (Things Remembered):  Perfect for game day, Things Remembered makes personalized flasks incorporating not only a football team’s logo or mascot, but even an engraved message.

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT: My company Nabors Media Group (www.naborsmediagroup.com) represents a wide variety of clients but recently we just finished a project for one of the best out there. I’ve learned first hand the Tampa Bay Humane Society does a lot more than just care for and provide homes for dogs and cats. They give away food daily for countless pet owners, train these animals and provide unbelievable medical care as well. I encourage anybody looking for a pet or is so inclined —wanting to donate to a great cause—please check out : www. humanesocietytampa.org

EXTRA POINT: I am intrigued by the growing support of having the Redskins name changed but found some humor and had to agree with a popular Facebook post I saw this week:  The Washington Redskins are changing their name because of all the hatred, violence and hostility associated with that word. Now they will be known as simply the Redskins. Well said…..

UNTIL NEXT BLOG,

Mike

 

 

 

 

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