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A Much Bigger Problem than Guns, Mr. Costas.

Bob Costas on NBC’s Sunday Night Football read some of KC sportswriter Jason Whitlock’s opinion that gun control would have prevented Kansas City Chief Jovan Belcher from murdering his girlfriend and committing suicide.

Does anyone really think that legislation would have prevented a professional athlete with no small sum of money from purchasing and using a firearm, or for killing someone else and then himself? Whitlock and Costas do; I disagree.

We have a much bigger problem than gun proliferation.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. — Ephesians 6:12

We are a sanctimonious bunch. There are some sins we can’t ever picture ourselves doing, and so we are better than someone else. We might say, “I could never do that; that’s just so wrong.”

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Learning Girls Softball

Twin 1 now has four games under her belt at the time of this post.  The team is 1-3 and improving, and if I remember her stats correctly, they’ve been 0 for 1, 1 for 2, 2 for 2, and 1 for 3, a .500 average.  Not bad!

In 8U (ages 9 and below) girls’ softball, a pitching machine is used, and I’ve had the privilege of feeding the machine while my kid’s team is up to bat. I’m figuring out how to make the ball go a little higher or lower by changing how I put the ball in the machine, whichever way helps the kid at bat.

Softball is a lot like baseball, obviously, but there are some key things that make the game sufficiently different from baseball as to require a different strategy.

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An Idea to Improve NFL Helmet Safety

The National Football League this year has made player safety, especially quarterback safety, a point of emphasis. As a result more flags have been thrown, the penalties have been increased, and the players are angrier because of the changing standards and the officials not letting them play.

The Wall Street Journal in 2009 questioned whether we should have helmets at all.  The helmets, while they protect from injury, give players a sense of invulnerability, and players (famously, Gus Ferrote) have injured themselves while relying on the helmet’s promise of safety.

I have an interesting idea:

  1. Have players choose between no helmet and a soft helmet, like leather.
  2. Have quarterbacks choose between no helmet, a soft helmet, and a hard helmet that removes easily.
  3. If the quarterback chooses the hard helmet, he may not cross the line of scrimmage with the helmet on. He may take it off and run. Once he makes a move to remove the helmet, the helmet must come off.  No fakes. No use of the helmet as a weapon; instant ejection.

I imagine if you have a mobile quarterback, e.g. Michael Vick, he would opt for either no helmet or soft helmet, because he is always a running threat. Quarterbacks like Matt Cassel who only scramble on 3rd and 10 with everyone deep would be free to run, shed the helmet, and go forward. If the QB sheds the helmet and doesn’t make it to the line of scrimmage, that was his risk.

The QB shouldn’t have today’s helmet while advancing the ball because running forward he could use the helmet as a weapon: something we are looking to avoid.

This way John Elway could take his flying leap and yet be protected most of the game.

Thoughts?

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Should the Catch Rule Be Changed?

A lot of Detroit fans are in an uproar about a game-winning TD being called back because Calvin Johnson didn’t hold on to the ball after going to the ground. You can watch the play on YouTube.

Consider this play also, where the Saints’ 2-point conversion failed because the receiver didn’t hold on to the ball.

As far as rules go, the NFL has three choices with these kinds of catches:

  1. Change the rule so that if a ball is controlled by the receiver as he’s touching the field in the end zone, it’s a touchdown. This may sound good, but this kills the defense’s ability to jar the ball out of a player’s hands. Catches can be jarred loose in the field; they should be able to be jarred loose in the end zone.
  2. Do nothing, and let multi-million dollar athletes be accountable for their actions.
  3. Something in-between that puts even more subjectiveness into the call of the official.

All I’m saying is, this guy held on to the ball. :)

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Kids Don’t Know Everything about Kickball

Had a lot of fun with the brother-in-law and some kids in the extended family. There were just some things the kids didn’t understand, and I remember when I’ve been guilty of blowing some of these:

  1. You don’t have to reach first base to get the job done.
  2. Your absolutely best effort is not the only thing people remember about you.
  3. It can be way more fun to lose the game and let kids play who wouldn’t normally get to play, especially when they enjoy themselves in the process.

This coming from someone competitive to a fault. My poor nephew dropped and doubled back to a base, into a ball meant for his waist/backside, and he took it in the face and shoulder. Good thing the ball was relatively pliable. :)

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Thanks, Jeff and Issues, Etc.!

NR Makes IE Blog of the WeekI was on the road at the duly appointed time for Issues, Etc., so Frank Gillespie had to tell me that the show’s producer, Jeff Schwarz, picked NR for Blog of the Week. Jeff liked my basketball post, Coached to Break the Rules.

Jeff read the post on the air and added:

I agree 100%. It’s why I like high school basketball. There’s still some finesse in the game; however, it’s all trickling down. The game of basketball is becoming so physical, the Superintendent of the school board of the greatest school district in America, Edwardsville School District 7, Dr. Ed Hightower, who’s probably the most well-known college basketball official, I talked to him a couple of months ago at a basketball game. He said eventually high school and everybody’s going to have to go to international lanes because the players are getting too big and the game is getting too physical. He said he could call a foul in the paint virtually every possession at the NCAA Division I level.

Thanks, Jeff! It’s an honor! It’s also an honor that Dr. Hightower had the same feeling I do about the frequency of fouls in the big leagues.

[podcast]http://www.issuesetc.org/podcast/240052909H1S2.mp3[/podcast]

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