Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sports Navel Gazing

This post is of no importance whatsoever, but I thought I'd let some of the thoughts in my head come out.

  1. The NFL is probably going to kill the golden goose in the next few months.  Billionaires arguing with millionaires are going to ruin the NFL 2011-2012 season.  If the disagreement was over something altruistic, such as providing financial and medical assistance to former players who have fallen on hard times and can't make ends meet due to injuries from their playing years, I could probably go along with it.  But my gut tells me it's going to be a pissing match over money and the length of the season.  Nothing kills an entertainment activity like it going away long enough for us to find something else to do.
  2. The influx of European and especially Eastern European players into the NHL has improved professional hockey.  When I was a kid, there were talented players, but there were almost as many bruisers on the teams.  These thugs were on the ice for no better reason than to lay a beating on whatever talented player or bruiser on the opposing team was targeted by the coach.  Now, there seems to be at least two talented players for every bruiser, and the officials seem to be coming down hard on the thugs.  This leads to more athletic and exciting play, with what I consider fewer fights and cheap shots.
  3. Those of us who grew up in the United States in the 1970's will remember the ABC Wild World of Sports.  Howard Cosell and Jim McKay would come into our living rooms on weekends when there wasn't a major football, basketball, or baseball game going on.  You'd see an hour or so of skiing, them some bowling, a hockey game, and then something oddball like fencing.  There would also be a shooting, hunting, or fishing show mixed in occasionally, which is unheard of on today's broadcast stations.  For several years, that kind of mix disappeared as the big three American sports completely dominated the airwaves.  Now that there about 17 cable sports networks that broadcast games, the broadcast networks seem to be picking up the idea of a mixed sports card again.  So far this afternoon, NBC has broadcast a hockey game, a couple hours of skiing/snowboarding, and now they're showing a rugby game between South Africa and England.  As much as I love my football, and will sometimes watch baseball and basketball, watching/listening to other sports is a lot of fun.  Here's hoping that this trend continues.  Heck, someday they might start showing Australian rules football or Irish soccer on American TV.
  4. BooBoo has started playing soccer for a couple hours a week at his day care.  It's part of a program the director has to get the kids more physically active every day.  He also has a tumbling activity once a week, and spends an hour a day in a little gym they've set up for the kids.  Boo is little enough that it's just running around and trying to kick the ball, but some of these kids are taking it way too seriously.  That means their parents are taking it way too seriously.  When I was growing up, organized sports didn't start until the 2nd or 3rd grade at the earliest, with most kids not taking it seriously until junior high.  Now, my friends talk about taking their first and second graders to soccer practice two and three days a week, with games on the weekends.  Someone Irish Woman knows has a daughter who is extremely talented at competitive swimming, and is pushing her to try for the 2012 Olympics.  This child, who has been swimming competitively for over a decade, spends at least 6 hours a day in the pool, and is in a competition almost every weekend.  Homework and a normal social life are sacrificed in a pursuit of a spot on the Olympic team.  You can't tell me that is healthy for her.  I understand that the cost of college is skyrocketing, and competition for athletic scholarships is tight, but turning your child into a one trick pony who will falter when they finally blow a tendon or lose interest in their trick is a disservice to your child.  A counterpoint to this is my other friend who has three girls who all play soccer.  He and his wife work hard to make sure the girls have every opportunity to succeed in soccer, but they also make sure they have other activities and do well in school.  An athletic but still well-rounded young lady will go further in life than a single threaded jock who has been taught since day one that the only thing she can do well is run, swim, or kick a ball.

Anyway, that's my sports thoughts for now.  Football is gone for the time being, but you'll be seeing some of these core dumps every so often.


bluesun said...

Heh...the only way I recognize "the wild world of sports" is from Mel Brooks references.

On the subject of one trick pony children, have you ever seen "Searching for Bobby Fisher"? It was a pretty good movie about a kid kinda driven by his dad to play chess to the point where the kid wants to stop playing. I think its based off a real story, too.

Old NFO said...

Well, I'm old, but when I was growing up we played ALL sports... Football, basketball, ran track, some even played tennis or golf. And we weren't pushed into any of them...

DaddyBear said...

bluesun, I've heard of the movie, but haven't seen it. I'll have to check it into my Netflix queue.

NFO - I think the difference is that when we were young, sports were emphasized but were kept in the right perspective. Doing well in school was prized over being a great linebacker, at least in my school. And being moderately good at several sports is healthier than being trained exclusively to fit into one position of a particular sport to the exclusion of all other activities.

Old NFO said...

DB- Agree, you HAD to pass with a C average to play sports... Not true today.

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