Sorry I missed you!

I was somewhat glad class got cancelled today. I wasn’t adequately prepared for presentation and because I had “gone off the grid” for the holiday, I was nowhere near prepared for the next topic. I am grateful for a couple of days to get my head back on.

SPeaking of being ill prepared, I’ve come to understand that I am a total creature of habit. I only take two classes a semester most of the time because I am too busy to even provide a passing effort if I attempt more. My other class had two weeks off because the professor was out for a conference and then we added the Holiday on top of that. Without the discipline of having to attend class, I completely lost focus on school all together. I now have two weeks of crunch time to prepare 2 research papers and study for two finals. Procrastination may not be my friend this time around.

I may have to settle for just passing with the effort I can provide.

A very wise friend once told me that you have to pace yourself…and “B’s and C’s get degree’s” I guess it’s time to test that theory. I am officially running out of steam on this semester. It happens every time just like the playoiff push in any sport. I just hope I don’t have to go on the IR!

I seem to always be late!

I tried to post this last Wednesday but it appears it didn’t load. I’m still not comfortable with this blogging thing.

Since I am so far behind on my blog…I am here to deliver the class notes from 11/19/2012

We watched the 60 minutes report on college football. I have heard the statistic several times but I am still always amazed…only 22 out of the 125 D1 athletic departments are at break even or cash positive. I am a sports fan but have to continue asking the questions we all asked in class. Why do we continue to have schools offers sports if they are considered a loss leader in most cases?

Notes from discussion or topics for research

  • Funding of college sports
  • Psychological impact on individuals (success and/or failure, expectations)
  • Relationship of academics (Student-Athlete?)
  • Branding the athletics or teams (Donation, Boosters, etc.)
  • Fairness – Special treatment
    • Athlete compensation
    • Ed O’Bannon Lawsuit
    • Recruitment
    • Boosters and their role in intercollegiate athletics
    • Role of sports. Relates to main question on loss of money and why we continue to keep them
    • TV – role, effects, financial impact, etc.
    • Title IX – I find this topic interesting mainly because I don’t know much about it.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has an exciting weekend planned. I for one will be taking the redneck challenge and deep frying a couple of turkeys while we camp at Sand Hollow. It’s an electric fryer so don’t expect any YouTube posts of fire balls and burning houses, or 5th wheels in my case. I have a fire extinguisher at the ready and will keep the beer drinking somewhere below a half case while I cook. Remember I have kids so a fire extinguisher is always handy.


See you next week.

Continuous Improvement is Happening

I have been exteremly impressed by the collective improvement in the presentations.

Garrett and Steve did a great job utilizing specific theories in reference to the article. I sincerely appreciated the information Garrett delivered on the “great man theory”. I guess I had thought about the fact that some people were born to lead/coach/teach while others could just regurgitate the information of others. I have had the opportunity to experience both. I still tend to believe that you can learn to be an excellent coach, but i would agree that some people are just born to lead.

Steve delivered excellent information around self efficacy. The idea I related to the most was the psychological states. I have asked my kids and those that I have coached to spend time visualizing success. As a baseball coach, I know the importance of confidence in a game that is designed so you fail more often than succeed. You have to be able to forget the times you fail and visualize and deliver success.

Do you know why they call it golf?

I USED to be an above average golfer back 15 years ago or so; then I had kids. I was a golf addict at one point and actually studied the game so some of the information presented Wednesday was new and some of it were things I had read in my old Golf Digest subscription period. Now I hack my way around in some number that typically approaches triple digits.

Player attributes, presented by Steve, was the most recognizable information. I think every foursome has “that guy” that just finished reading the newest best seller on the mental aspect of golf. I distinctly remember playing with a seventy something gentleman at South gate golf course. He had a partially chewed cigar and advice for every one of the “4 C’s” that Steve presented. Concentration, confidence, control, and commitment were all words I had heard that day, but funny enough the only “C” I could focus on that day was the commitment to making sure the old fella didn’t choke on his cigar when his golf cart rumbled across the bridge between the 3rd and 4th hole. For all you kids out there, this was before they modified the course and eliminated my favorite grip and rip opening par 4.

As far as equipment goes, Wesley did an excellent job explaining the design and loft of clubs, even without the benefit of sound for his video. I may be old, but they had just barely moved past the leather and duck feathers when I was still playing. I rarely bought golf balls, but invested nicely in one of the 15 foot telescoping ball retievers. Every pond became a golf store for me. This was the only way I could play with anything other than Top Flight X-outs.

The physics of the swing are always intriguing for every player. I didn’t spend much time on my own swing. I never found many of those Golf Digest articles that focused on the swing physics for the 285 pound hacker. The physics I understood was that my swing found a much smoother plane somewhere between beer number 4 and 6. Once I hit beer 8, I knew I must have looked exactly like Greg Norman, only with darker hair. This was also the point where I knew I would soon be muttering my agreement that “golf is just a good walk spoiled” or more likely ” a good buzz ruined”.

So back to the title of my post. When I was about 12 years old, I used to go play a little executive course with my step-dad on Sundays. He would drink Bud Lights and ask me where his ball went as soon as he hit it. Neither of us was ever sure. After I hit a particularly bad shot, I mumbled some mild curse word. He stops me and offers this very important history lesson.

“Son…do you know why they call it golf?” I think for a moment and shrug my shoulders. He pauses briefly and says “it’s because SH*T and F*CK were already taken.”

I didn’t stop laughing the rest of the round and I never forgot the history lesson.

RIP Robert Donovan

Sometimes the unexpected is the most valuable

In class today we spent the session discussing presentation feedback and how to best to approach application in INTS 3900.

Presentation feedback involved clarity first. We need to be clear regarding what discipline we are working in. This means we should call out the discipline specifically, not just “from the perspective of” but actually look through the lenses of a specific discipline.

We need to apply our concept. We need to quite over-simplifying the work. Instead of using the business perspective, we should apply it to a major theory. We need to know the major theories and theorists of the discipline we are studying.

I have to write this down again, partly because it’s important for the notes, but also because I struggle when asked what should be a simple question; what are the requirements of Integrates Studies? The answer is two simple bullet points.

  • Show competence in each discipline
  • Know how to integrate them

For the Love of the Game!

Just as soon as I think I’ve have heard or seen it all; I get blasted with a new tid bit that throws me. Steve offered up this little gem as he presented on the topic of Fandom: “The rate of vasectomy increases by up to 50% in the month of March” alluding to all the fellas that filled out their twenty-first, twenty-second, or maybe fiftieth bracket and needed the down time so they didn’t miss even a second of March Madness. Does this mean we can begin to include the annual college basketball chaos of March under the heading of BIRTH CONTROL? I’m not sure whether I am currently embarrassed to be associated with this lazy male mindset or pissed off that I hadn’t known or thought this up before.

I would likely fit into the model of sports fanatic only because I watch a lot of SportsCenter and pretty much any baseball game I can find on TV. I don’t subscribe to the hair dye or body painting club quite yet, but who knows I seem to lose more fanatic inhibitions with each passing day.

I can agree and provide evidence to sports and team building improvements. I am not socially handicapped by any means but sports has always been the best ice breaker to start a conversation. I typically get a few minutes of time with our CEO on his quarterly visits to the factory and inevitably ask him a very vague question about how Jimmie is looking. This is in reference to his passion for all things Jimmie Johnson and my total lack of real interest in who made left turns the fastest. While he knows I’m not a huge fan, he also recognizes that I understand fan-dom and it always makes our time together much less stressful for me. It’s easier for me to ask him where he stands on that $1MM capital equipment investment I’m looking for in the factory. We all know the millions Jimmie has to invest in equipment to win those championships right?

Justin brought up some interesting points about the following that comes from symbols. Logo’s, fight songs, or colors of uniforms can be a determining factor in the fan-dom equation; for better or worse. I knew my wife wasn’t a huge football fan, but I just paid $300 bucks for the Sunday Ticket, so in an attempt to get her involved I offered to buy her a jersey. I honestly asked which one she wanted. She surveyed the web page I was looking at and responded with “oooh I like those colors, who is the best player on that team?” A $40 investment and now she wears her Maurice Jones-Drew Jersey on Sundays. She used to watch baseball because “some of their asses look really hot in baseball pants” but now feels slightly icky because her teenage son plays baseball and it feels a little inappropriate. Also the object of her affection also happened to use steroids and died a few year ago from a drug overdose. I’m sure my classroom peers won’t remember Ken Caminiti, but apparently he looked pretty good in the Padre uniform. Now she watches and roots for the pitcher from both teams. Someone in the group mentioned sports as a tool for marriage improvement…hmmm I’m not sure I buy that one yet. As a “student of the game” of baseball it gets a little frustrating. I know your kid is a pitcher Mom, but come on! It has come to my attention that Raider gear has been outlawed at our local middle school. Initially I thought it was just because they are so bad that it was only right that no person should be able to represent them in public, but it happens that Raider gear is associated with gang activity. I can understand that, because surely only an ignorant thug would ever put on a Raider Jersey right. I hate the Raiders as much as the next Charger fan but I have always kind of admired the dedication of those folks in “The Black Hole” endzone section of the Oakland stadium. I think my admiration grew when I found out all those freaks were typically doctors, lawyers, politicians, or drug dealers. They’re the only ones that can afford tickets in that section, but also because as a long suffering Padre and Charger fan I appreciate people that will stick with their team, even when they arebarely watchable.

The FANatics to me are a big part of what makes sports great. The passion that people are willing to share is certainly as moving as any I have found in any faith. My only regret is the idiots that haven’t figured out there is a line that has to be drawn. I have a tough time explaining to my kids that I’m not terribly comfortable taking them to the Charger game, but it’s not the $80 upper bowl ticket price that scares me. It’s the weirdo that is willing to fight to death if because we are wearing/supporting different teams. Sadly it has been in the news too much. Giant fan nearly beaten to death by Dodger fan. Soccer hooligans torching entire city blocks. I’ve seen more fights in stadium parking lots than I have on ESPN Friday Night Fights.

Gotta go…I have to make sure my Lance Alworth or Dan Fouts jersey is clean for Sunday morning and that I can play the SuperChargers fight song through the surround sound at the same time as the game commentary.

BTW…I said in a previous blog that I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to watch football the same after learning more about C.T.E. Well I’m sure now; It will definitely never be the same. Although I don’t like it, I have to admit…ignorance WAS football watching bliss.

Youth $ports

Is there a blogging waiver wire? If there was, I would have just got my paperwork. After nearly an hour working on my blog, this piece of %&$ computer froze up and lost my last post. Funny how one bad experience can immediately turn you off to something you were actually beginning to enjoy. Blogging just got there with me.

Speaking of burn out…It could be that I am enjoying the experience less because its something I have to do, not necessarily because I want to do it. This sounds a little like the kid that is wore out because “super dad” has their kid playing linebacker for the 6th grade football team, going to football camp on the weekends, he even hired one of those position specific coaches because his boy is the next Brian Urlacher. I guess it doesn’t matter that he is 4’11” and just had a party because the scale showed triple digits when he stepped on it this morning.

This was one of the key psycholigical questions regarding youth sports. Are pushy parents driving their kids AWAY from youth sports. I can certainly identify since I have watched it happen numerous times with teammates of my kids.

I spent the majority of my time discussing the biology related to youth sports. I cited two seperate studies identifying the time of the year kids were born and how it related to performance and success in youth sports. The studies of youth hockey and soccer players identified that those kids born early in the calendar year had a higher chance of success. THis is related to the fact that they are typically more physically mature than many of their peers. This physical maturity led to their selection to elite (all-star) teams and the superior coaching and competition that came with it. A contradictory story identified this as a somewhat short lived benefit since maturity evened out by late high school and kids that had spent more time and relied on their skills practice and improvement. Often the kids that used to be at a disadvantage were now the better players becasue they had focused on learning the fundamentals of games and when they physically caught up, they played at a higher level.

My opinion is I kind of agree with both sides. The players that typically play at the D1 or professional level are the ones that have both. Bobby Bowden, the previous football coach for the Florida State football team used to say “I can’t teach a kid 4.3, but I CAN teach him to play linebacker”. What he meant simply was you can’t teach bigger, faster, and stronger; but you could teach skill. I remind my own Son of this on a regular basis. He was given the physical gifts to be a great pitcher, but if he doesn’t work at the craft, he will end up as a cautionary tale. No one wants that label I’m sure.

I think we ran out of time and didn’t get to discuss the business side with the detail it deserved. I can tell you youth sports is BIG business. I coached a team of 12 year olds in a tournament in Cooperstown, NY a couple of years ago. The cost for the tournament was $850 per player or coach. For that you got to stay dormitory style with the team in a shack with no air conditioning and eat bland institutional food. If you didn’t get the part where it cost the same for a player and coach, I got to pay $1700 for my son and I to go. This was before I got to buy the plane tickets, rent a car, and pay for the portion of the house that was shared by some of the familes.

$1700 coach and player fee.
$1600 Plane tickets
$800 house rental
$300 rental car
$1000 Food and misc. expenses

The experience…PRICELESS

On the business side the tournament owner has 100 teams every week from June 1st through Labor Day. At approximately $10,000 per team, this adds up to $1MM every week for thirteen weeks. $13MM gross sales with an estimated 50% profit margin. Not a bad living I would say.

There is a long waiting list of team more than willing to pony up to play every year.

There are many other organizations just like this one that you can look up for yourself.

Search Triple Crown Sports or AAU just to name a couple. Locally the Rocky Mountain School of Baseball (RMSB) hosts the largest tournaments in the state of Utah.

All I can say is that when I grow up I want to earn a living hosting youth sports tournaments. I can make a good living and be a hero locally for all the good I do for the local economic develoment.

I listened to the owner of RMSB complain one day because he didn’t feel like he was getting the attention of the local government because they made such a big deal about the St. George Marathon bringing $1mm into the local economy during the week of the marathon and brought the same kind of revenue three times a year with his tournaments.

I can also tell you every time I start to complain or feel bad about the money invested in youth sports, I get reminded by a friend of mine in Vegas that it could be worse. He had a Son he couldn’t get involved in youth sports and instead invested $90,000 last year to pay for drug rehab. At least with the money I’m spending. I know my kids are active, learning team work, humility, and many other life lessons.

Sorry I have to go; my daughter has to practice for the second tryout for a new club softball team. Red Rock Fastpitch is planning to play in 10 tournaments in the next year and it is ONLY (hopefully sarcasm recognized) $800 to cover the uniform and tournament fees.

It will be the best $800 I could ever spend. Wish her luck on making the team!


EGO is three letters just like WTF

Well I’ve caught up on the once insurmountable reading for INTS 3900. I’ve struggled for about a week thinking about “ego”. I thought I understood what it was to have an ego, but maybe realized I had just substituted confidence for ego.

Every time I leave class, I am extermely concerned that I am actually losing my mind. I have always felt like a fairly intelligent person; not genius, but smart. If you had asked me two weeks ago what ego was, I would have quickly given you a brief explenation while holding a confident stance that would surely have my audience believe me no matter what words came out of my mouth. I have a medium size ego…wait am I just confident. See I’m not really sure anymore.

I have talked briefly about my kids in past posts, so I will skip the background. Recently I was with my son while he threw an off season bull pen. He has been struggling with command of his curve ball and it was frustrating him. He asked me what I thought he was doing wrong even though he didn’t realy want me to answer. You can only understand the dynamic if you have your own know it all teenager. I occasionally pay a pitching coach $1/minute just so they can tell him the same thing I said, but now he’ll listen. My answer to him was that he didn’t believe he could throw his curve ball with accuracy. He looked at me a little funny as usual. I again said you have to believe you can throw it where you want it before you actually can.

I found a quote in “ego” that fits every sports psychologist’s tales. Mailer wrote “The logic of the spirit would suggest that you win only if you deserve to win: the logic of the ego lays down the axiom that if you don’t think you will win, you don’t deserve to. And, in fact, usually don’t; it is as if not believing you will win opens you to the guilt that perhaps you have not the right, you are too guilty.

I know a local baseball coach that spent some time in the big leagues and played with Manny Ramirez. It’s pretty well documented that Manny isn’t usually the smartest guy in the room. The coach told an interesting story about Manny though that I think is relevant to our ego discussion. Manny had the video guys create video of every at bat. He would ask for all of the angles and would sit in front of the video station and review his swing religiously. As the coach would ask questions and look over Manny’s shoulder, he finally figured out that the video guys had edited out only the “good” at bats. Manny would call his teammates over and say “watch this…watch this…BOOM!” and it would be an efficient line drive. Manny only watched his successes. If you ask me, Manny had a tremendous ego.

I still believe ego is that you believe you can’t or won’t ever lose. Is that confidence, of course.

I think the kids these days call it “swagger”. WTF does that mean exactly?

I can’t wait for class tomorrow because I’m sure my ego will get reminded of how little I really know.

Do I have C.T.E.?????

According to Talman “it’s still the first inning and the home team hasn’t even come to bat yet” but i’m feeling like its the bottom of the ninth with two outs and a runner on second in a tied game. In other words I am in the second week of the semester and feel like the game is already on the line for me. Every time I start to think I know what the hell it is I’m supposed to be delivering, I start to second guess myself. I have certainly hit my head enough to come close to the several thousand collisions an offensive lineman would endure in their career. I didn’t even wear a helmet when I rode my bike for gosh sakes. I didn’t play a down of NFL football but I certainly feel like a Hall of Fame inductee; I’m middle aged, balding, and have sore knees that cause me to walk like a “Maryland crab”. Can I get that blazer and fifteen minutes in front of the microphone so I can thank everyone I’ve ever met for helping me get to where I am today?

I have so far struggled with the analytics of the reading because I was completely engrossed in the information. I honestly had no idea what was really going on with the research currently being done. I will try not to regurgitate information from my previous posts on the topic but it may be difficult. Talman labeled me the “designated adult” in class and was probably on target. This means I am old enough to have watched and rooted for many of the players that have been disected, both literally and figuratively. The topic became personal for me. I couldn’t or wouldn’t get far enough past this to realize I should have been digging deeper and relating it to the interdisciplinary study.

I feel like I am an average student but I have have way above average life and professional experience. I talk to people that work for me every day about thinking critically and asking “why”. As a student, I am the new hire that wants to be told exactly what is expected and what “right” looks like even though professionally I have to look past what the minimum expectation is.

I’m not sure if my scholastic peers will really read this blog, but let me give you some advice either way. Professor Talman will hopefully not see this as ass kissing, because it really isn’t. Integrated studies and interdisciplinary study/research/work will provide you with a greater skill set for the “real world”, or work as those outside of their scholastic pursuits call it, than any other major or area of study. Even though I’m not completely comfortable with the structure of this class (flipped syllabus, pick your own activity, etc) I know it will prepare me to be a better student, employee, parent, and whatever other role I may be forgetting.

I looked, but couldn’t find out who to credit for the original quote, but I still intend to “fake it until I make it” in INTS 3900.

I can easily recognize ten different disciplines being called on in every article and strory we’ve read so far, but I’m not sure what to do with the information. I should have read every article again with my academic hat on, but didn’t. I just got lost in the information. All I could really think about was the 19″ TV with tin foil rabbit ears in our family room, Dad asking me to get him a Bud Light out of the fridge, and sitting on the coach to watch the Bears game and hoping Dave Duerson would knock the shit out of Steve Largent or some other receiver. I had the Super Bowl Shuffle on vinyl by the way. Dad was a big Bears fan while I loved Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow (the good one) and the rest of the San Diego SuperChargers. Sports have always been a huge part of my life and while I thought the topic would make this class a lot more fun the “water”, I’m realizing it will be more fun, but also likely much more difficult for me. I need to figure out how to wipe away the sentimental tear and become an interdisciplinary scholar.

Bottom of the ninth, two outs, runner on second, as I apply the last smudge of pine tar to the bat I realize they are calling for Goose Gossage from the pen. I’m in deep…

My Brain on Football…It will never be the same!

After the discussion in class today I have been somewhat sick to my stomach. I am all of the sudden fascinated with the morality of football.

I was a good to very good high school football player over twenty years ago now. I suffered several concussions in my high school career and was part of the “tough guy” culture. I never missed a game, never complained, and certainly never gave any thought to the long term consequences of a game I liked. I loved baseball, but really only liked football even though I was a better football player and could have had an opportunity to play beyond the high school level. Since I only liked football, I never pursued it. I keep thinking…what if i were bigger, faster, and stronger in those days and would have had the scholarship offer to entice me from like to love. I’m certain I would have kept playing.

The question was posed to the class whether they would let their kids play football. I am likely the only one in class that has a kid of age to answer the question. Six months ago I actually had the conversation with my Son who is starting his freshman year in high school and was getting a terrible amount of pressure from his peers and coaches to come out for the football team. He wanted to know whether I thought he should play. As I explained in earlier posts, he is a “big kid”. He is just under 6’5″ and would probably make an great tight end other than he has below average foot speed.

I told him i didn’t think he should play football, but it had nothing to do with the fear of head injuries. I was more afraid of his arms and legs, but didn’t tell him that. He played youth football in 5th and 6th grade but hated pretty much every day of it. He was always one of the bigger kids on the team so he got stuck as a down lineman. I ultimately left the decision up to him, and he decided not to play. He just didn’t like football very much and it would get in the way of his Fall baseball plans.

With what I know now, I would have immediately told him I didn’t think he should play football. I would have directed him to some of the research that has recently been done and referenced the concussions i had during my playing days. I try to make sure and explain decisions to my kids. It is important that they understand “why”. I always hated when I was told no by my parents and if I survived asking them “why” I got the typical…”cause I said so dammit” parental response. I vowed to try and give my kids information so they would at least know why I made a decision whether they agreed or not.

Now the decision comes down to whether I can still be a fan. I love to watch football, at least i used too. I pay top dollar for the Sunday Ticket so I don’t miss any game I really want to watch. I have two fantasy football teams. I am a huge Oregon Duck football fan. I love to go watch the local high school football games.

All in all…I agree with Professor Talman. Watching football will never be the same for me. I will watch every snap to see the head to head impact of the hulking lineman. I will analyze every tackle for form and any head contact. I will annoy the hell out of whoever is sitting next to me because i’ll have to ask them if they have read any of the articles or research related to concussions in football.

It’s probably too late to cancel my Sunday Ticket. No one will want to come over anyway.

By the way…does it freak anyone else out that the syllabus for this class was written at least two weeks ago and the due date for this reading happens to coincide with the release of an entire ESPN series on concussions and CTE. Hmmm!