Written by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhotoLast night was not as cold as it has been. Temps were in the upper 30s, but it seemed to be comfortable. That scares me a bit because it might mean that I’m getting used to the cold! Today we are only going to get up to 58 degrees and its now raining. The storm hit up in the Santa Barbara and Ventura coasts last night and spread to the San Fernando Valley this morning. But its raining here now, steady but not too heavy; it should give us a nice, steady rainfall that will help our gardens and grass but not a threat of flooding, at least in the Riverside areas.


Today is expected to be wet all day. We just talked to Rosie and its raining down there along the North County coast now also. It’s the type of day that one thinks about hot tea (or a good hot spiced cider), a warm fire and a good book. Then I just want to craw up into my easy chair and get toasty warm under a snuggy. Isn’t winter great under these circumstances? I just want to stay off the roads and take shelter in our little abode.

Tonight it’s supposed to return to the upper 30s again. Well, winter is here with a vengeance this year. While the rains are steady and gentile here, I worry about the folks in the foothill areas of Pasadena (and the surrounding communities) that were so had hit by the recent winds. The news this morning reported that the City of Pasadena had committed itself to the clean-up of the debris left when the fallen trees were cut up; some of the sawdust from the cutting and the small branches left were sitting on the side of many roads in the rain gutters. The fear was that this debris would threaten to block the storm drains, causing the run off to back up and flood the nearby homes. But perhaps this action by the city workers, even in the rain, will avoid that possibility.

_Cajon Pass with Snow_Signal Station

On a happier note, the mountains should provide some nice new snow for all of the college students finishing fall classes this week. The mostly avid snowboarders will probably be attacking the slopes even before their finals are over. Tonight, the snow level is supposed to come down to the 2500 foot level! Anyway, many college students these days are more interested in the recreational activities than they are in their classes; I have had many of these students in my classes in recent years. But that is another story and the responsibility of each student.. GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2031 Words ]


Quotations Related to Sportsmanship:


“It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.”
— Mark Twain

“One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it.”
— Knute Rockne

“Tactics, fitness, stroke ability, adaptability, experience, and sportsmanship are all necessary for winning.”
— Fred Perry

“I think sportsmanship is knowing that it is a game, that we are only as a good as our opponents, and whether you win or lose, to always give 100 percent.”
— Sue Wicks


Thinking about Sportsmanship and Greed in Sports…


Yesterday I finished my series on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It is always interesting to re-read my writings from a couple of years ago — I see vast improvements in my writing over that period of time. And writing my musings during the past few days (since the first of the month) has been very enjoyable. Most of my postings to this blog have been “information-rich”, meaning that I have tried to pack the postings with a good coverage of each day’s topic on events of historical importance, or related to my interests in photography, or interests in technology topics. In the next few days, I look forward to a few days of plain, unbridled exploration of issues that fascinate or irritate me. Many of these postings will involve getting up on my virtual “soap box” and harping on a topics that get my “dander” up.

Today, in fact, I do have a bit of a rant to vent. I’m referring to the matter of sportsmanship and fair play on the athletic field: the football field, the basketball court, or the boardroom. It is important that these highly-paid players in the NFL or the NBA behave in a civilized way while playing their chosen sport. Many of the top players, the so-called “high rollers”, who are the anchors of their team earn a very high salaries; sometimes these salaries are truly obscene. We have seen recent examples of very unsportsmanlike behaviors.

Yes, I know that football is a rough game, especially in the NFL. Yes, we are looking at the players who are the “crème de la crème” of the many college athletes at their position. But when things go beyond what is reasonable even for the professional game of football, something is very wrong. The situation that strikes me right off the top of my head is that act of senseless violence displayed by the Detroit Lion’s Suh. After the end of a play on Thanksgiving Day he got to his feet after being blocked on a play, they turned to the player that blocked him and kicked him in the chest!

Such violence is totally out of place in a professional sports event. The NFL suspended the All-Pro Suh without pay for two games (SI.com article, cf. the References section below). Suh is appealing his suspension, but he probably got off easy. These players make so much money that what they lose in such a suspension is like excess pocket change.

What can we do to make these athletes behave more reasonably? I’m not sure, but new rules have been imposed to protect the quarterbacks and running backs. Helmet tackles have been banned, but they still happen. The oversized gorillas who play the defensive line pick up and throw to the ground the much lighter quarterbacks. All this appears to be legitimate, but it has often been done with more force and violence than required to just stop the play. We have seen many quarterbacks suffer season-ending injuries. The answer must be out there, but I’m afraid it lies in attitudes, not in rules!

And then there are the ruffians on the basketball courts. In all too many cases, NBA players have flagrantly taken on one of their opponents for more personal reasons rather than because of the flow of the play. More and more technical fouls have been called and the penalty for repeated violation is suspension for one or more games. This has resulted in the referees interfering with the flow of the game to call yet another foul. Yes, we are seeing more “hard” contact among players in the supposedly non-contact game of basketball, but some of the enjoyment of the game is taken away from the fans.

But this aggressiveness is not limited to the NBA ranks. An article published in the Washington Post (Gene Wang, August 18) reports on a brawl that arose between the Georgetown University team and a Chinese team playing an exhibition game in Beijing, China. Why? Who knows? But what was supposed to be a goodwill exchange turned violent in an unsportsmanlike confrontation. This is a lack of sportsmanship to the highest degree. Could it be that the college teams are adopting the same hard play, confrontational tactics seen in the NBA? Do these players expect to increase their likelihood of getting drafted by an NBA team? I hope not!

And if these incidents move from the pros to the college teams, how long will it take to become a standard tactic in our high school teams? We are looking at a sad abdication of Sportsmanship to the extreme. Maybe it is time for coaches to met out their own fines to the overpaid NBA superstars to help nip this malaise in the bud. Let’s hope that teams can see beyond their own wins to the survival of the sport as a wholesome entertaining activity.

Have we made sports heroes an elite “royalty” that only seeks the crown of victory? This is not a civil war where one side will win and the other side, as losers, will lose their heads, as in the days of old. Is there no sanity left in this world? Could we have foreseen these changes coming with multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts? While free-agency has generally been good for sports, I don’t think the greed and avarice that we see today was in Kurt Flood’s vision when he challenged the lack of free-agency. We have now seen the abuse of almost any loyalty to a team or to a community.

_Georgetown Brawl

And lest we think that only the players and coaches are to blame, there is plenty of blame here for the owners and their league commissioners. These two groups are quickly becoming as confrontational as the players. This was vividly pointed out in the recent NBA lockout by the owners. The owners deserve a decent return on their investments. But that does not mean that they have the right to become dictators and reap large profits from their player’s efforts on field or court. Unfortunately, as in most business endeavors, some teams are stronger and some are weaker. But on any given day, the winning team is not completely foreordained. Any team can win on any day; that is competition. But when the team owners in smaller markets demand subsidies or player concessions to boost their profits, something is wrong.

It seemed that the recent NBA lockout (Washington Post, November 26) indicated that, while the reasons were complex, the owners wanted concessions by the players to boost the bottom line, especially of owners in smaller, less profitable markets. The NBA season will be shorter this year after a compromise agreement was finally worked out. Who is representing the public in these negotiations? Apparently no one. But cities are asked to build and/or refurbish stadiums or arenas, and the public is asked to pay more and more for game tickets. Such a program will eventually reach a point at which the fans will say, “ENOUGH!”

In a similar vein, the NBA commissioner is out of control. This was in evidence recently when a trade between the Los Angeles Lakers and other clubs were halted. Why? Well, apparently because it was not in the best financial interest of the NBA. More probably, it was to prevent a dominant team, the Lakers, from acquiring another dominant player to go along with Kobe. But is that not meddling? Is the commissioner trying to balance the allocation of talent by dictatorial means? It looks like it!

Well, that is probably enough for this morning. Let’s put sports into perspective — they are for the entertainment of their fans. Let us not loose sight of the ideals of sportsmanship that led to the rise of college and professional teams. We can only hope that some sanity can be brought into the picture once more! Think about this…

Photo of the Day:

To turn to a more peaceful moment after considering all of the fighting that I discussed above. There are places in nature that serve to sooth our souls without requiring us to take medications. I find that just looking at a sunlit forest, such as this scene in the Shenandoah National Park, is extremely relaxing. While being there in person is best, even a photo serves that purpose. I hope that you will enjoy this mountain meadow and let it stroke you soul. GLB

_Shenandoah National Park_Steve Corey

Shenandoah National Park. Photo by Steve Corey.

Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved




Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Sports Illustrated.com: Lions’ Suh suspended two games for stomp, will appeal…

Washington Post.com: NBA lockout: Owners, players reach tentative agreement to start season on Christmas…

Washington Post.com: Georgetown basketball exhibition in China ends in brawl…

Brainy Quote: Sportsmanship Quotes…