I was watching the Braves play the Cardinals yesterday and one of the Cardinals announcers said that he had always followed winning teams, so his fandom changed based on who was good. When Lebron signed with the Lakers yesterday I’m sure they picked up new fans who just follow wherever Lebron goes. I think the idea of changing favorite teams is weird. I can see having new interest in a team based on a new player, but not changing teams. Same with a personal move to a new city. I do have an odd collection of favorite teams. Here they are and why I’m a fan:
College Football and Basketball – University of Kentucky Wildcats – I grew up in Kentucky and attended UK for both undergrad and grad school. I watched the basketball games when I was a kid. I attended football and basketball games as a student. As a student. I had multiple classes with players from both teams. They will always be my team no matter where I live.
MLB – Atlanta Braves – I’ve always been a baseball fan. There is no team in Kentucky. I think a lot of people are fans of Cincinnati or St. Louis because they are the closest. I didn’t really have a team until TBS arrived and started airing Braves games. We started watching the Braves because all of the games were on TV. They were really bad, but we watched anyway. I was finally rewarded for my loyalty when they went through a stretch of being one of the best teams in the game. I stuck with them when they got bad again and am now enjoying a season where they are back in first place.
NFL – Baltimore Ravens – I didn’t really get invested in an NFL team as a kid. I don’t even remember watching much football. When we moved to the DC area, nothing about the Redskins made me want to change that. I didn’t start watching the Ravens when they fist came to town. It took a few years for me to start watching and then I was hooked and I’m now a season ticket owner(though I am trying to sell them)
NBA – Washington Wizards – This is the one where I can say I started watching because of a player, but at least they are local. I am a basketball fan, but never really watched the NBA. Since Calipari has been at UK there have been a lot of UK guys in the NBA. One of those is John Wall who was my favorite player on Calipari’s first team. He was drafted by our local team. It still took a while for me to become a fan of the team, but I’m there now. I have no idea if my interest will end when Wall leaves.
NHL – I just can’t get in to hockey. I don’t know why.
Those are my teams. I don’t expect it ti change. If Wall leaves Washington it’s more likely that I will watch less NBA than it is for me to pick a new team.
At the end of this post I will give my upset and final four picks. Before that, though, I have some thoughts on some tweaks I would like to see made to the tournament, especially selection of teams.
- The play in games should not involve small conference champions. These teams have already had their play in game. It was called the conference tournament championship. They already earned their spot in the field of 64. The teams playing in the play in games should all be at-large teams. Make the last teams in play for their spot, not teams that already earned that spot.
- Stop rewarding mediocrity. No one should be in the field if they have a losing record in their conference. Why are teams like Oklahoma(losing conference record, lost 8 of their last 10 games) in the field while teams with better records are left out? Why are any mediocre power conference teams selected while better mid majors are left out? If you really want the tournament to be the best 68 teams then send the best teams.
- Understand your fans. I know you think a matchup of big Kentucky vs little Kentucky school will add to the drama, but all that does is give us one less game to care about. We would watch and cheer for the little Kentucky team against anyone else and still watch and cheer for Kentucky. If you match them up, we will watch and complain about you messing up our chance to cheer for our underdog. Luckily, UK is not playing Murray State this year, but I’m sure if I looked I could find a matchup that has divided loyalties.
- Go back to the old selection show. The tweak this year didn’t work. It was terrible.
Now for the picks:
Upset specials –
Loyola-Chicago over Miami
Murray St over West Virginia
Butler over Arkansas
New Mexico St over Clemson and Auburn
Final four – Cincy, Xavier, Villanova, Michigan State
Championship – Cincy vs Villanova
Champion – Villanova.
A few short random things from the week.
- I decided to download a logic puzzle app to my phone so I have something to do when I’m home alone and don’t feel like reading. I keep messing up the puzzles, but I’m pretty sure it is less I’m no longer good at logic puzzles and more my stupid fat thumbs keep clicking the wrong box on the grid and I don’t notice until it is too late. At least I hope it’s I have fat thumbs and not I’m getting dumber.
- I just bought my ticket to a fundraiser that is being held at a bar called Urban Axes in Philadelphia. It will take place during the PLA Conference. The ticket includes an open bar and axe throwing. Alcohol, librarians and axes. What could possibly go wrong. Now I just have to not chicken out and actually go to a strange bar with strangers and throw axes.
- I’ve been really tired this week because I stay up too late(or sleep on the couch while trying to stay up) to watch the Olympics. I enjoy the snowboarding events, the speed skating, luge and skeleton, and some of the skiing, but the rest kind of bore me. I prefer the summer Olympics. I can watch a lot more swimming and track and field than I can skiing and I would rather watch gymnastics than figure skating. I’m ready for these games to be over so I and go back to my regularly scheduled TV viewing.
- I was going to add some stuff about the gun control debate, but it seemed too serious compared to the rest of the post. I will say that I am annoyed by the people who are dismissing the teens from Florida as pawns being used by adults like high schoolers can’t possibly have anything important to say. I would also say that if you post anything claiming these kids are crisis actors and not real teens who went through a traumatic event I will most likely unfriend you on whatever social media it is on. I can be friends with people who disagree with me but I can’t be friends with people who post false and slanderous claims about these kids.
I tend to use old pictures for the weekly photo challenge instead of creating a new one because I spend my days in an office and only take pictures these days when I’m on vacation. One day maybe I will have the time to take new photos based on the weekly theme.
This week’s challenge was A Face in the Crowd. I was thinking about what I have that would fit the challenge and recalled all of the “start of the race” photos from when my son ran cross country in high school. He is in this crowd and if you know him you can find him. Many people of many different sizes, races, religions, etc. are in the group, but all united by the sport.
via Photo Challenge: A Face in the Crowd
Kentucky basketball is playing Auburn tomorrow night. Auburn is really good this year. Auburn is coached by Bruce Pearl. A little Bruce Pearl background for the non-sports people. Bruce Pearl was the coach at the University of Tennessee. While he was the coach he invited a recruit and his family to a cookout at his house while the recruit was on an unofficial visit. Pearl told people at the cookout that the recruit was not supposed to be there and asked them not to tell anyone. When the NCAA investigated the incident, Pearl lied about it. He eventually acknowledged that it happened and that he lied about it. He was fired by Tennessee and due to sanctions was not a coach for a period of time. While not coaching, he was an analyst for ESPN, but also Vice President of Marketing for Knoxville wholesaler H.T. Hackney.
His position at Hackney is where I come in to the picture. My brother works for a company in Kentucky that did business with H.T. Hackney. This put him in position to meet and work with Bruce Pearl. We stay at my brother’s house when we are visiting family in Kentucky. One year around Christmas we were at his house and he took a work related phone call. After the call he told me that it was Bruce Pearl who called. I told him he should have let me talk to him since I was a huge college basketball fan and always liked Pearl. My brother called him back and said that his brother was visiting, was a UK fan but also a fan of Pearl’s and wanted to talk to him. Pearl was happy to do so and I was handed the phone.
I would like to say that I wasn’t awkward and weird on the call, but honestly, I can’t remember much of what I actually said. Pearl asked me what I thought about UK’s team that year and for my thoughts on their upcoming game against Louisville. He actually listened to my basketball analysis even though he was the one who was paid to do that. He was very nice and friendly and I was the one who eventually said that I should let him get back to work. He did not seem to be in a hurry to stop talking to the random guy who happened to be related to a work associate. I came away from the call very impressed with him and his willingness to spend time talking to me about basketball. I will now always be a fan(unless his team is playing UK)
I am home after a trip to the dentist. I am still partially numb. I had some gum lasered off and a tooth filled. I am afraid of what my mouth will feel like when I am no longer numb. I’m hoping it won’t be as bad as I think. While I am killing time watching women’s luge some random thoughts that aren’t enough for a full post:
The 2018 Youth Media Awards were announced today. Click here to see the winners. I’ve read The Hate U Give and The Long Way Down. Both excellent books. I’ve checked the Newberry and the Printz winners out and will read them soon. I’ve placed holds on several of the Alex Award winners/ This is perfect timing as I was about to finish the last book I had from the library. I’m looking forward to some good reading.
I stopped at Target on the way home today but bought nothing. I stopped to look at some products like facial wash for men, beard balm, generally things that aren’t necessary but might make me feel a little better about myself. I looked at prices and didn’t buy anything because I wasn’t sure it was worth the money. Basically, that I am not worth the money. Some day I will learn to not walk away from buying something for myself. Today was not that day.
Continuing my bad sports year. Braves were bad. Ravens were bad. Kentucky basketball is bad. Libraries on the are where the Braves play might close, possibly because they wasted so much money on a stadium when the existing stadium was fine. I can take a bad team if they are lovable losers. I loved watching the bumbling Braves of the 80’s These teams are not lovable losers. It’s not fun to watch.
Now I’m off to walk the dog and hope that my face doesn’t start hurting. Happy Monday!
I keep trying to decide what to write about, but there’s just too much going on right now to settle on a topic.
Do I write an angry post about Trump? His attack on the first amendment and freedom of press? His threats to pull FEMA out of Puerto Rico? The fact that he is, in fact, a moron? I feel like I could post every day about him and his poor decisions.
Do I write about Harvey Weinstein and the years of people covering up his crimes? Do I write about the fact that too many powerful men(and plenty of men with little power) think this is OK behavior? Do I write about how we elected one of these men president? Do I talk about how sad it is that some men can’t seem to not grope or otherwise assault women and that this is a sign that we need to do a much better job in raising our sons?
Do I write happy news that the Nats once again imploded in the playoffs and will be sitting at home the rest of the postseason? Have I mentioned how much I despise that team?
Or do I go with the option of boring you about my personal stuff? If I do this, do I try to find some funny or do I go with the deep, introspective type of post?
Maybe I can just write a post with a bunch of questions about what I should write about. No, that would be stupid.
I’ve decided it’s time for me to take a stand on the whole kneeling issue in the NFL. It’s time for these players to stand up and act like real American football players. These guys have lost their way and are too distracted by political motivations to focus and act like the real American football players they are. They spend too much time listening to the FAKE NEWS MEDIA and not enough time acting like real American football players. I’m here to help them out. Below is a list of how real American football players should act with a guarantee that no owner will threaten to fire you(as long as you are productive):
Beat your wives and girlfriends.
Use illegal substances, both recreational and performance enhancing.
Drive under the influence.
Use racial slurs.
Get injured by a stripper on a party bus(Hi, Jacoby Jones!)
If possible, do all of the above in the same weekend. It’s just boys being boys. It’s just locker room stuff. You will have nothing to worry about(as long as you are productive). Just be sure not to kneel. Stand up and act like a real American football player!
The NBA draft was lat night. Three Kentucky players went in the lottery. Coach Calipari was at the draft and posted pictures with the kids who were drafted. Many of the comments on those pictures are UK fans yelling at him for being more concerned with getting players to the NBA than winning championships. They say that the only thing that matters is winning a championship. These comments made me think about the job of a coach. What is the coach’s job? Is it all about wins and losses and nothing else matters? I can see that argument in professional sports, but not at any other level. Sure, winning games is good and the goal of playing the game should be to win, but that is not the most important thing.
If you are coaching youth sports, even at the all star level, developing the players as both athletes and people should be the main goal. There is no level in youth sports where you stop teaching and start caring only about wins and losses. Unfortunately, I’ve heard coaches as early as 10U opine that since they had a collection of talented players they had to worry less about coaching because the wins would be easy. They have no business coaching kids. The wins over everything else mentality destroys youth sports. We end up with situations where kids are kicked off their local travel teams in favor of kids who live miles away so the coach can notch a couple of extra wins. Instead of working with players and developing their skills, coaches just dump the kids who are in a slump. It’s easier than actually teaching. Isn’t winning all that matters? Who cares if they ever play high school sports as long as I get my trophy.
If you are coaching high school sports you should also be developing the players as both people and athletes. Sure, you have tryouts and you pick the best players. This is the point where some kids have to hear that they don’t have the skills to play at this level. Once you have a team, though, you have to worry about more than wins and losses You should be making sure your kids are keeping their grades up and helping them develop their skills in the sport. Your job is to get them ready for life after high school. That might mean getting them ready for college sports. It might mean helping them get the grades they need to go to college without sports. It might just mean helping them become better people. Wins are good, but getting them ready for life after high school is more important.
I think the same goes for college. It is a big business and you will be judged on wins and losses. This does not mean that a championship is all that matters. You are still coaching kids and you still have a responsibility to get them ready for the next step in life. For many of the Kentucky players this means the NBA. For some it means getting a degree. If your players are going to class, winning games, having fun and either going pro or graduating from college then you are doing your job. Calipari is excelling at this. The kid good enough to go pro are drafted and are making millions. The kids that aren’t are getting degrees and possibly playing overseas. He’s going to Final Fours and championship games and has won a championship. I think the one and done system is flawed, but that’s the game right now. Calipari understands that his job is getting the players where they need to be to be successful. He’s doing this and winning games. The people complaining just don’t understand that the players and their futures are more important than the feelings of the fans.