On Being a Fan

The University of Kentucky basketball team has had a very bad year. A year that will see the end of their streak of 17 years going to the NCAA tournament(barring a miracle in the SEC tournament). This has prompted people on the Cat’s Pause message boards to proclaim they will not watch anymore of the team’s games this year. It’s also prompted at least two of my Facebook friends to post status updates about not watching today’s game. These people are not true fans. A true fan sticks with a team through good and bad. A true fan will not give up on the team after one bad season. These “fans” need to talk to fans of the Chicago Cubs and ask them if 11 years since the last championship is enough reason to give up on a team. I am so tired of people who jump on the bandwagon of a winning organization only to jump off again when they are no longer number one. So, to you “fans” who have left the building I say “Good riddance and don’t bother coming back when things are looking up”.

Youth Sports: Are we preparing them for the next level or even life?

It has always been my opinion as a youth sports coach that the job of the coach is to prepare the kids for the next level of the sport. This job is more important than wins and losses, but if done right, should lead to more wins than losses. Part of preparing the kids for the next level is teaching them to play the game by the actual rules of the game, adding in the more difficult rules gradually as they get older. At this point, the kids I am coaching are 2 years away from high school sports. I believe that by this time they should be playing by the same rules they will face when they try out for high school sports. Two times this baseball season we have played games against an organization who wanted to take two rules out of the mix: balks and dropped third strikes. In both games the teams had problems because rather than teach their kids proper pitching motions and how to catch a ball, they decided to just drop the rules so they wouldn’t have to deal with it. What does that teach the kids exactly?

I also see this in the basketball league my son plays in. They will not allow the kids to play real defense because they are afraid some kids won’t succeed if they have to really play the game the right way. This is actually the official reason given to me by the head of the league. Keep in mind these kids are in middle school and on many areas would be playing for a school team already. Rather than working with the kids to help them succeed in the game the proper way, we change the rules so they won’t feel bad about themselves. Is this really the life lesson we want to be teaching?

I believe the best things about youth sports are learning teamwork, getting exercise and teaching the kids a work ethic. We lose the third one when we tell the kids that instead of working hard to get better, we will change the rules instead.

NFL Fumbles Ravens/Texans Game

As early as Wednesday, the NFL had to know that a game in Houston this weekend was questionable.  The first rumors out of the league was that the game would be played, but at a neutral location out of the path of the storm.  The league immediately denied this and then waited until late Thursday to announce the game would be played in Houston on Monday night.  Now, word is out that the stadium is damaged and, of course, the city has a lot of damage and power outages.  Still, no word from the NFL on what they plan to do in regards to the game. Reports are out now that the game will be postponed.  I will believe it when I see it.  I fully expect the NFL to announce the game will be played at a neutral location on Monday night.  I can see why the NFL would want to play the game.  A postponement would be a scheduling nightmare as the league is not set up to handle this scenario.  The league could have made the right decision on Wednesday to move or postpone the game instead of leaving the players in limbo.  Now, instead of the Houston players being able to deal with any damage at their homes, they are likely sitting at a team facility waiting for word on where they need to be on Monday.  The last thing they, or the city of Houston needs to be worrying about right now is the status of a football game.