Friday, November 11, 2011

NaBloPoMo Day 11: Baseball and Sports Fanatics

Happy Veterans Day. Thank you to all who have or are currently serving this country to keep us safe and protect democracy and freedom worldwide.

Today's writing prompt from BlogHer is to make three wishes.

Wish 1: I wish for a peaceful world where reasonable heads prevail and weapons are not needed to settle disputes.

Wish 2: I wish for an equitable world where everyone can get educated and receive quality healthcare without worrying how they will pay the next month's rent or mortgage, all the while mowing the lawn or cleaning the house of a multi-millionaire.

Wish 3: I wish for this (High-->1 En 8). (I can be selfish for once, right?)

I wonder just how many texts, emails and blog posts will be put up right at 11:11 am/pm today. I hope the mobile carriers, ISPs and others are ready.

It's Beginning to Look Like Baseball Season
OK, not really, but the college baseball season will start in February so it is time for the countdown to begin. They've had some fall scrimmages as well, and other practices, one of which I happened to catch. So excited.

I don't know how it happened but I am just so fascinated by college baseball. I love watching the players, watching them develop their skills and grow in maturity over the years. I love the various strategies employed by the coaches on both teams. I love it when a batter puts down a perfect bunt that meanders right up along the third baseline, making the pitcher and third baseman helplessly watch as they hope the ball rolls foul...but doesn't. I love the long arc of a curveball that freezes the batter. I love the spectacular catches in the outfield, but also the routine plays in the infield. Practice makes perfect.

I do enjoy professional baseball, too, but in some sense, I feel like college coaches have a tougher job - they're not always working with the most talented players, or the most experienced. I know big league managers have to deal with egos and motivation and all that, but still, they are working with professionals, being paid to play baseball. The college coaches, though, have to work with kids 17-20 or 21 years old, who balance rigorous coursework (at least at UCLA!), with not just practicing baseball but also working out, studying videos, and also just enjoy being a college student. I worked part-time while I went to undergrad but still can't believe what these student athletes do. I like to see dedication and commitment in people, as well as watching them do what they love, and I guess that's why I like college sports so much.

I feel so fortunate to have seen pitchers Trevor Bauer (pictured left) and Gerrit Cole for the last three years. The entire nation's eyes were focused on them (in the world of baseball) and they played their hearts out. Their individual skills, strategy, development, and dedication was really neat to see. I can't wait to see them play in the pros.

But It's Just Sports
But it is just sports, after all. Sports can't trump human and civil rights. It should be about playing by the rules, not gaining unfair advantages all for the sake of the "Ws". And it most certainly shouldn't excuse liars and criminals.

I'm quite shocked and disgusted at all the news surrounding the child rapes and other crimes in the football program at Penn State. I'm not even going to link since it's been all over the news. I'm disappointed in Paterno, who I thought was an admirable, principled coach. He may be still, but he certainly had at minimum a lapse in judgment by letting this happen under his nose.

I'm also dismayed at the student reaction, at least portrayed by mainstream newsmedia, at Paterno's firing. How can these students stand up for him, even though these serious, serious crimes persisted under his watch? He can't claim ignorance. A head coach of a major football program can't claim ignorance on goings-on within his program. That's his job, to keep watch and weed out the wrongs, and most of all, protect the students.

I'm sad that all this casts college sports, and sports in general, in a negative light. There is so much good about college sports, with caring, smart coaches like John Savage, Gary Adams, Al Scates, Cori Close, and others who care about the well-being and development of students, not just how many wins they can get in their career.

A Little More on Yesterday's Post
So I really wonder if someone, somewhere, put a 24-hour hex on me by mistake. From 8 pm Wednesday to 8 pm Thursday, almost to the dot, it was one mishap or miscue after another. In addition to the things I listed yesterday:
  • Mixed up a couple of meeting times for work and personal appointments (fortunately, no harm done)
  • Took the bus to the mall, which should have been a 30-minute ride but due to traffic, took 1.5 hours
  • On the way home, I got off at another wrong stop, so had to walk about 15 minutes to my transfer stop (which, I suppose in the end, was good)
  • Dropped a piece of daikon radish which almost rolled behind the stove
The daikon drop was the last thing that happened, around 8 pm, and I took the fact that it DIDN'T roll all the way behind the stove, and that I was able to retrieve it with the aid of some long chopsticks, as a sign that the curse had lifted. I sure hope so, and 12+ hours since, I think that may be the case.

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