Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Rules They Need A Changing…

A lot of the talk after last night’s Championship game was about the officiating.  No, really it’s about how bad it was.  I think that is great because this conversation has been a long time coming and is desperately needed. 
Yet any conversation about any topic starts with the premises and these are mine:
1)      The best basketball is fast basketball.  Speed kills I like to say in business and in sport. 
2)      Officials are not charged with being fair.  They are charged with: Keeping the game safe and enforcing the rules so that a fair contest occurs.
3)      In the words of Bill Russell, Basketball is not a collision game, but it is a contact game. 
4)      The speed of the players has made many of the officials obsolete.  IE the officials are too slow and too old.
5)      Officials are major factors in the outcomes of games and fans, players, coaches and journalists need to understand that and in fact support it.  The idea of, “let the players decide” eventually devolves into  the ideas  such as…well that was a foul for the last 38 minutes plus every game ever played before (Yes, that is you Digger), but not the last two minutes of this game or if we commit so many fouls then the refs will only call the worst ( Yes, that is you Coach Pitino) and we gain a huge advantage or well number 4 has four fouls so give his fifth to the nearest guy on the floor wearing  the same uniform (Yes, John Thompson we both know what game I am talking about) with less than 4 fouls. ..
Now last night’s game was so badly officiated that, perversely, it was almost fair, but don’t believe it. There were collisions not called, officials couldn’t keep up, and officials did affect the outcome with bad calls that affected Burke and a mysterious placement of a foul on someone not named Hancock.
Enough, here are my suggestions.  Enjoy. Rip them apart.
Old Rules That Need to Be Enforced
1)      Call the walks.  Call all of them.
2)      Call three seconds.  The line is part of the lane, if your big toe is on the line you are in the lane.
3)      Call carries.  Lexington’s own Tim Hardaway had an unstoppable crossover at UTEP and in the NBA.  However, for all his speed and quickness the move was unstoppable because he carried the ball on everyone single one of them.    
4)      Call double dribbles.  For years I have complained that decades ago the rule was: if the ball hits your hand and then hits the floor that is your dribble.  There was none of this passing to oneself or knocking down a pass, picking it up and then dribbling.  Or fumbling the ball across the lane like someone for Michigan did last night.  The play looked like a fumblerooski.
5)      This is a modification of an old rule, except for shooting fouls make the first ten fouls one and ones. However, from eleven fouls on the team that was fouled has the option of shooting two or taking the ball out of bounds.
6)      A hand check on the ball is a foul.  The NBA cleaned it up, so can the NCAA.
7)      Bring back the jump ball after tie ups.
Not Old Rules, but Not Really New Rules
1)      You cannot tie up someone from behind or the side with one arm.  That is a foul.  Call it.
2)      End most of the diving onto the floor, first one from each team is fine, the second one from either team is a foul.  (Why am I thinking of Duke?)
3)      While five seconds doesn’t start when the ball goes through the net, it starts a couple seconds or so later.  Start the counts sooner.  None of this sashaying to the ball, fondling it, looking at the spelling (So that is how you spell Wilson?) checking the label and then beginning to get ready to inbound it.  I don’t know what the rule should be, but would be fine with the fourth official having another clock that he starts when the ball goes through the net.
4)      Stop allowing timeouts when lying on the floor or otherwise under duress.  You want a timeout take one, but take it before you dribble into or pass into trouble. Reward the defense for their effort.
5)      A shirt or shorts tug is a foul.  Any questions?
6)      This flagrant foul rule has gotten out of hand.  Personally I think the structure of the rule and the penalties are about right, but need tweaking.  A player has to be as responsible for his head as another player is for his elbow. (I can’t help it if you are shorter than me and when I pivot my elbow hits you in the head.  )
7)      Stop allowing coaches to have huddles out on the floor.  The floor gets wet and time is wasted setting up chairs, taking down chairs and cleaning up.  You have a bench, use it.  If this means a row of seats behind the bench has to be removed, so be it.
8)      When a timeout is called, a clock starts.  When the clock expires, a horn blows and the ball is ready for play.    First warning is for fifteen seconds left and the second warning is:  five seconds starts and the ball can go into play.  Whether both teams are on the floor or not.
New Stuff
1)      Basketball needs to change the rotation of officials.  These guys cannot keep up.  I suggest the NCAA experiment with a soccer type rotation where there is a “center” who officiates the game between the fouls lines.  Then there are two “linesmen” that officiate below the foul line.  Unlike in soccer the center would not run a diagonal, but would stay on one side of the floor which means the “linesmen” would both be on the other side. 
a.       To be clear I don’t know if this is a good idea, but think it should be looked at. 
b.      I am certain that the game at each of the floor would be more consistently officiated during a half. 
2)      Consider going a step further and assign not only areas of the floor to each official, but as in hockey certain things they can and cannot call.  EG Say the center ref calls fouls between the foul lines and the “linesmen” call the fouls below the foul line.  Or say that the linesman at the opposite end has responsibility for goal tending calls.  He has the best view. 
a.       Again, I don’t know exactly what the rule should be, but something needs to change.
3)      Go to the World rule on turnovers.  Other team grabs the ball and inbounds from the nearest sideline without an official needing to touch it.  This speeds up the play and reduces the opportunity for whining.  Get up, get going, and shut up.
4)      Go to a four quarter system in the college game.  End these “official” timeouts on the fours.  Make the break between the 1st and 2nd and 3rd and 4th quarters a three or four minute break.   This will give time for players to recover and for TV to sell stuff without these silly situations where a timeout was called at say 8:02 and four seconds later there is another because of the 8 minute “official” timeout.
5)      Then force coaches to use their timeouts or lose them.  TV will want stoppages during the quarter, so give each team five TO’s, but on a use it or lose it basis.  You don’t call one in Q1, you lose it.  Don’t call one in Q2, you lose it. In essence each team has a timeout for each of the first three quarters and two for the fourth quarter.  In this situation all TO’s would be full TO’s and the thirty second timeout is history.
Other Stuff
1)      I really don’t know what to do about the block charge other than to say the more of a collision it is, the more likely it is a charge.  The NBA works, but there are several related rules that help it work.
2)      Or get rid of the dunk and many of the problems go away. 
Just the thoughts of an old guy from the Dark and Bloody Ground, have fun discussing them.  Or not. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Back in the JP and What Do I See?

Who knew that a Tennessee resident could buy a University of Kentucky license plate?  Are you kidding me?  Before you ask, I checked and no you cannot buy a UT license plate in Kentucky.  Seems to me that should always be a question to ask any person running for elected office anywhere in the Commonwealth.  Do you now or have you ever supported the Commonwealth of Kentucky issuing license plates with a UT emblem on them?  Answer in the affirmative and it is an immediate and permanent disqualification from public office.  Maybe it should go into the Constitution.  Ok, Memphis Cat I have to know...do you have one of these?
Still haven't seen a UL license plate down here though I did meet a UL fan the other day.  He acknowledged there weren't many in these parts.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Jehovah Witnesses Visited Today

Two nice clean looking young men from the Jehovah Witnesses knocked on the door today.  Smaller than the group that came by last summer.  It was a hot day last summer and I asked if they wanted a seat and cool drink of water.  I listened and then asked would they say the Lord's pray with me.  They said they would, so I crossed myself, their eyes got a bit larger and we said the prayer.  Then they left.

Today, I was asked to read a passage from the Bible and I did and they read one and asked if wanted The Watchtower.  I said yes and that I would read it with interest.  They asked if they could come back and discuss it with me and I said of course.  That I would look forward to it.

As they began to leave I said, you suggest our relationship with God would be stronger if we called him by his name, Jehovah.  Before you return please consider this:  Wouldn't your relationship be further strengthened by regularly consuming the actual blood and body of Christ?  They said what? You mean bread and wine.  I said, at Mass every Sunday the wine and bread are transformed into the blood and body of Christ.  We consume exactly what the disciples consumed in Jesus's presence.  They said, we have a service once a month where we consume bread and wine.  I said, I do not consume bread and wine, I and others of my faith consume the actual blood and body of Christ.  So again before you return, consider if consumption of the blood and body wouldn't strengthen your relationship even more than using the word, Jehovah.

We shall see if they return.

Update June 29, 2012:  They haven't come back.  Too bad.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Obama: A Prediction

Last year I told a good friend that I didn't expect Obama to run for reelection.  I said,  I think he will raise as much money as he can right up to the convention, but then withdraw.  Why do you think that my friend asked?  Because he is going to be beaten badly if he runs and since he is without honor he will raise money as long as he can in order to have a war chest to use as he wishes after he withdraws.

I don't mean use on himself directly, but use to support other candidates or causes or to build his library.  By avoiding defeat Obama will be in a great position to hover or float above politics and the country (even the world!) for years to come, to comment on injustice or bad policies,  remain relevant and the go to source for the media.  That status is improved if he has a few hundred million laying around to hand to selected candidates and to support selected causes. Furthermore, with that much money he would always be a threat to run again and even if he never runs for office again, the media would keep talking about him and keep him relevant and in the news.

Obama never wanted to be President of the United States.  He simply wanted to be rich and famous and it just so happened that politics turned out to be the racket that got him what he desired.

Handled correctly Obama could become even more of deity in some quarters.  As impossible as that seems.

I am no longer convinced that Obama won't run.  It could still happen, but a more likely course is that seeing he is going to lose he doesn't spend anywhere near the money he raises.

We shall see.  Unfortunately we live in interesting times.

Ok, a prediction on Wisconsin

Today, June 5, 2012 is the date of the historic recall election of Governor Walker of Wisconsin.  The brave  leader who in 18 months turned a several billion dollar deficit into a 147 million dollar surplus without raising taxes, firing workers.  No, he simply used the opportunity to work with his legislature to change laws/rules affecting collective bargaining by state workers including teachers.  How this was achieved is well documented elsewhere as well as the resulting disorder and turmoil in Wisconsin.  My point is this...most polls predict a 3-5% Walker win with one poll showing a 12% win.  Here is what I predict:  59% Walker, 41% opponent.

I say this because what union member in their right mind would ever indicate they support Walker?  I don't trust that polls are private.  That pollsters are who they say they are.  That my opinions are kept private.  Members of public unions are going to support Walker at a much higher rate than expected, but they will not admit  it until they enter the privacy of the voting booth.  Or should I say, former union members now that Walker's reforms got the state out of the business of collecting union dues?

This prediction is supported by the fact that over 900 thousand signatures were obtained to recall Walker, but only 600,000 or so voted for the two running to oppose him.  I can see it now, teacher at work is asked to sign the recall petition, sure OK give it to me.  However, once in the voting booth if the teacher even goes to vote, something completely different happens.
This outcome has a great deal of meaning for Obama in November.  Obama supporters like to point out Obama's "likability".   What this means is someone may tell a pollster they disagree with Obama's policies or where the country is heading, but by "liking" Obama they are putting down a marker that says: Don't call me a racist, I like him!  Liking Obama is simply protection against being called or perceived to be a racist.  It is code and tells you very little about how one will vote.  Like Walker's opponent, Obama looses big in November.

Indian Mascots: Why so Many Online Discussions are Worthless

A bball coaches online mag posted an article discussing Indian mascots...this is the discussion that ensued.  Remarkable how early on one could see it would end up with name calling and the really stupid suggestion to end using mascots altogether.     Read from bottom up.  

Posted from: Larry, 6/4/12 at 12:17 PM CDT
I am glad to be known as a Wisconsin bigot. I am against using Indians as a mascot. I am also against using mascots that depict any nationality in a negitive atmosphere. I was in support of two area teams in a change of mascot. My question is what is a mascot good for. I find nothing. I move to get rid of all mascots.
Moral Authority
Posted from: Richard Desiderio, 6/4/12 at 8:42 AM CDT
Aren't we all lucky to have DuWayne around to be the moral authority for the country? Thank you DuWayne for taking the time to be the last word on all mascot matters. We are truly blessed that you take the time to enlighten all of us. I guess we can put the matter to rest, DuWayne has given it a thumbs down.
Posted from: DuWayne Krause, 6/2/12 at 1:03 PM CDT
And maybe only people from Wisconsin are bigots, but I doubt it. Virtually everyone who says they believe in Indian mascots because they honor them is kidding themselves.
The Fighting Whities
Posted from: Dark and Bloody, 6/1/12 at 2:10 PM CDT
DuWayne, maybe folks didn't respond because of how you asked. Anyway, if you Google The Fighting Whities you will learn it is much more than a campus thing and still no one takes offense. To help you make your point I encourage you to visit the Fighting Whities store and purchase a t-shirt or two and a coffee mug. All for a good cause.
Native-American Nicknames
Posted from: Tony, 5/31/12 at 6:58 PM CDT
We knew a lot of coaches were dumb. Now we learn many are bigots as well.
From the world of Oz, Oregon
Posted from: Ron Barkley, 5/30/12 at 9:46 AM CDT
You are way of base on this. My wife is Hawaiian and her HS, for kids of Hawaiian decent are the "Warriors" and she loves it as do everyone I have met from her school. She looks on it as an honor to the brave people who fought any invaders for their islands. A small minority who are offended are looking for something to be offended about.
Mascot names
Posted from: Keith Olson, 5/30/12 at 8:31 AM CDT
Get a life people! In our area we have two schools, one a native school, with native mascots: Indians AND Red Devils. Schools don't need state or federal governments telling them what names are appropriate. That should be up to each individual district. Mind your own business.
Posted from: DuWayne Krause, 5/30/12 at 7:59 AM CDT
Dark, you cite a good example, but I easily take exception with it. Your example took place on a college campus, not in the general population. The novelty of the name is much, much more likely to be accepted there. I repeat, I never once got a response when I asked what if a tribe team called themselves the white men? Responses varied from being uncomfortable with the question to stunned silence, as if the situation was never considered or couldn't be considered.
Indian Mascots
Posted from: Dark and Bloody, 5/29/12 at 10:15 AM CDT
There is a test case that responds to your comment. Several years ago, American Indians at the University of Northern Colorado named the intramural bball team "The Fighting Whiteys" to make the point you make. However, what they learned was completely different than what they anticipated. The team was overwhelmed by demand for their team jersey. To their credit they took advantage of this opportunity to earn money for various causes.
So based on the data, the answer to your question is, white folks liked a team named after them.
Is it April Fools Day Again?
Posted from: Dark and Bloody, 5/24/12 at 9:49 AM CDT
Indian mascots are intended to honor perceived attributes of the American Indian. That the mascot's appearance is not historically accurate is an issue to take up with the particular school, but does not diminish in any way that attempt to honor American Indians. It is exactly the same thing as the Fighting Irish, or the Scots, or the Fighting Princes, or the Pirates or the Vikings btw. Except some American Indians don't like it for personal or political reasons. (Although in the back of my mind I keep thinking it is really trademark and licensing issues.) Like those of us with Scottish or Irish or Scandinavian heritage American Indians are Americans first and it seems silly to me that they do not want to add their heritage to the dozens of other heritages honored by athletic teams.
Posted from: DuWayne Krause, 5/24/12 at 7:49 AM CDT
Banning those Indian mascots is the right thing to do. Typically it is a dominant white society that wants to keep them. When I lived in Wisconsin and people would speak out in favor of Indian mascots I used to ask them "What would you think if the Lac du Flambeau tribe called their school the white men?" I found it interesting that in all the many times I posed that question I never (I mean never) got a response.
Way Off
Posted from: Richard Desiderio, 5/24/12 at 7:12 AM CDT
Michael, you are woefully off track on this. As a white person who are you to speak for Native Americans? Because one doesn't identify as "Native American doesn't mean that they don't have American Indian in their blood. I am one who does and I honored my heritage with the connection. You are entitled to your opinion as am I.
Window dressing?
Posted from: ATF, 5/24/12 at 5:12 AM CDT
Poverty rates on Indian reservations run upwards of 50%. Alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide, depression, and crime are rampant. And this is what we choose to care about? Well-intentioned, to be sure, but seems to me focusing on this aesthetic issue to the exclusion of the real-life ones is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Who cares? Focus on what's important: making these people's lives better.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Taste for Death

The first PD James novel I've read in several years. The last one I read was "The Children of Men" which is a much better novel than movie and rather predictive of the impact of declining birthrates in Europe.
I didn't enjoy this novel, which I found odd since I have always enjoyed reading PD James novels in the past. My dislike is not reflective of PD James skill as a novelist which is considerable. Rather on reflection I found that I simply no longer have any taste for novel filled with characters overcome with doubt, uncertainty of purpose, lacking faith, lacking charity, afraid of love. Odd isn't it? When younger I thought novels of this sort, "interesting" and "thought provoking". Now I pity the characters and the society that they inhabit. Turning the page I often thought, don't they know you choose to be happy, that you choose to love those around you, that love of Christ is the way to redemption and meaning? Of course, the answer is "No" they didn't know it. Which is, of course, why Kate, lacking faith, hope and charity, could near the end of the novel could refer to the elderly Miss Wharton, as pitiful. What a terribly hopeless world Kate inhabits.

This novel provides the same terrifying insights into a dying culture that "The Girl with ..." series provided into Swedish culture on a much smaller and therefore believable scale.