Non-Essentials – Bill Whittle says what I Already Said

In the embedded video in this blog Bill Whittle says what I wish I’d said.

Come to think of it…I DID. I said much the same thing in our blog, If You Voted For Obama Be Embarrassed! And not Because of the Shutdown in which I point out that the barricades placed in front of our D.C. National Monuments were an expense in the shutdown and not a required cost saving measure. It was Obama trying to hurt his fellow Americans.

Watch the video as Mr. Whittle says it better than I.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a President who actually cared for Americans and worked to make their lives easier rather than pushing a leftist ideology that ultimately is all about control and not about care?

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NFL Can Solve Concussion Problem But Isn’t

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

Now that the NFL concussion problem has gotten the attention of PBS’ Frontline tv news documentary program newsletterplease

its time for this multi-billion-dollar per year business to do the simple and necessary steps required to reduce dangerous head injuries to its players. They need to do so now before their neglect on this subject becomes a financial and legal liability that will eventually lead to the elimination of the game we love.

In “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis” Frontline showed that the biggest sports league in the world has knowingly sent too many players into retirement with what appear to be permanent brain injuries.

//www.youtube.com/embed/

As I wrote in a June 2012 blog “NFL Concussion Problem is Solvable” one of the steps the NFL could take right now, this year is to put padding on the outside of the hard-shell helmets their players wear. It’s been done before by at least two players in the 1990s.

Buffalo Bill Mark Kelso padded his helmet.

Buffalo Bill Mark Kelso padded his helmet.

Buffalo’s Mark Kelso was no bench-warming back-up player. He wore his padded helmet while forging a 7 year NFL career and playing in four Super Bowls.

Steve Wallace in his "Cone helmet"

Steve Wallace in his “Cone helmet”

San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Steve Wallace wore a foam cap. He was good enough to play in a Pro Bowl. Why don’t players protect themselves by wearing these easily manufactured foam caps on their hard-shell helmets? Because they can. Players can choose to do this on their own without the league stepping in. They don’t because too many of them think they make you look bad, or geeky, nerdy, or uncool. It’s such a sad statement in our society the clothing appearance is more important than the risk of life long medical disability.

The next question is why doesn’t the NFL require the foam padding on the outside of the helmets? It’s a mystery. Though you can guess it has something to do with style, appearance, aesthetics.

There is still more they can do. During the last off-season the NFL announced that it would require its players to start wearing padding in the football pants, in particular, over their knees. This is a huge step. Just think of how many times we’ve seen a player knocked senseless while blocking or tackling and inadvertently being kicked in the head by another players knee. It happens all the time. Common sense would presume that a pad on the knee and a thin pad on the players helmet would do a lot less neurological damage than a hard knee smashing into a head covered by a hard-shell helmet. The problem is the NFL delayed this change, the mandatory padding, until 2014. It’s hard to imagine why; especially when at the time of the announced change more than 2000 thousand former players had joined in a class action lawsuit against the NFL claiming damages from head trauma during their playing years continued to plague them into retirement.  The lawsuit was settled in August 2013 for $765-million and a guarantee of lifetime medical insurance coverage.

NFL Referees have increasingly thrown flags for helmet hits. The league has also increased the frequency and amount of fines it assesses players every week for those same helmet hits. And I applaud such action.

I am not among the foolish whiners who claim their taking away what we love best about this vicious game, the big hard hits. For the past 20-30 years players have not tackled properly. They fly at the ball carriers, usually with their head down, and essentially “push” them as hard as they can hoping the guy with the ball falls down. (I know I’m simplifying…bear with me) But watch the old, I mean 1960s-old NFL Films highlight reels of Tommy Nobis, Dick Butkis, Chuck Bednarick, Ray Nitschke, Deacon Jones. These Hall of Famers and all others at that time didn’t lower their heads and run into the ball carrier. They kept their heads up to see. They collided with the runner and they wrapped their arms around, and lifted and drove backwards with their legs. This is how I was taught how to tackle at Bellevue, Washington’s Olde Jr High, and then Sammamish High School in 1976-1982. In watching those old highlight films I challenge you to tell me they didn’t hit and tackle hard, and that those hits were exciting. They were savage and brutal. They were great. A perfectly executed hit-wrap-lift-and drive tackle is still more exciting to me then some head collision.

Teaching how to tackle properly again and added padding on the outside of helmets and over the players knees can only help. And it better. Because in our litigious society increasing evidence of repeated concussion trauma and its life time effects on the players will only lead to the inevitable legislative control and eventual loss of the great game of football.

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What I’d Would Tell the 16 Year Old Me

Some time ago I had a strange conversation between myself now and the 16-year-old me from 1980. August 1981 - 17 Years old, 181 lbs.

This farcical conversation was wide sweeping and dealt with the changes in the world that include the introduction of the home computer, cell phones, cable television and 24 hour news and sports programing, and the fact that nuclear weapons have not been used by anyone anywhere in the time since 1980 when such a good revelation would come as a bit of a surprise.

We talked about our mutual love of sports and the pain and joy it has wrought like the fact that my local Seattle teams have never won a single championship in the 34 years since the Sonics won the 1979 NBA title, and the fact that the Sonics no longer exist.

Sonics game, probably 1978

Sonics game, probably 1978 (Photo credit: Seattle Municipal Archives)

But the most important part of our conversation had to do with my advice to him as he gazed into an unknown future.

“So what have we learned? What can you tell me?”, the 16-year-old me asked. 
“You want to know what I’d do differently?” I responded.
“No.” he said wisely. “I figure what you’ve learned will answer that question. I just want to know what you’ve found out; how you’ve grown.”
“First” I said, “I’ve learned to happily accept friendship wherever it’s offered and never worry too much if the person offering the friendship is the coolest, or the best looking, or even the most fun. Friendship is a treasure under any circumstance.”
He asked, “Are you saying I’m a bad guy because I’m not friends with everyone?”
“No. But you are unfulfilled because you have turned away from possible friendships for any number of reasons ranging from not thinking someone was cool enough, or pretty enough, or they were too cool or too pretty and you somehow didn’t think you could measure up.” I answered. “Friendships color your world, your life. And you can have more of them.”
Secondly I said, “I’ve learned to move past disappointments. I’ve learned they are inevitable and that if you embrace them too hard they become part of you. If you let them go they’re only part of the past.”
“Anything else?” he asked.
The Author in 2013 age 49 I told him, “I’ve learned to do what makes me happy.” I said, ”Time between where you are at age 16 and where I am in 2013 at age 49 has been a short period of time. And now I know that the time between now and the day I die, whenever that may be, will be even shorter. The time we have is fleeting and valuable. Spending it being angry, worrying about money, or stagnant with immobilization caused by fear or procrastination is a waste of time and a detriment to your happiness.”
“All that seems so simple.” he said.
I closed our encounter by telling the sixteen year old me, “It is simple. And it’s hard.” 

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If You Voted For Obama Be Embarrassed! And Not Because of the Shutdown.

Washington DC - Capitol Hill: United States Ca...

So the Federal Government is shut down. Based on my previous writings and the headline to this blog I bet you think I’m going to blame President Obama. If so you really haven’t read my previous posts very closely. You don’t know me at all.

Though I don’t completely blame the President for the shutdown I am, nonetheless, enraged by his arrogance and perpetual politicking rather than leading. What’s got my ire up is the Chicago Wonderkind again doing all that he can to make Americans uncomfortable in order to gain political points. He did it when the Sequester hit last Spring too. It’s cheap and it demonstrates in BIG BOLD LETTERS that he doesn’t really care about the American people, only his ideology and at this point, I believe, his legacy.

As seen in this video barricades were erected around the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. and other open-air memorials throughout our Capital. It’s important for you to know, if you didn’t, that these barriers never previously existed. The government is shutdown because it, ostensibly, has run out of money. But it somehow finds money to erect barricades to our nations most precious monuments that at times other than the shutdown are open to the public at all hours of the day and night, 365 days-a-year?

Additionally, the Administration has ordered a stoppage of all military recreational events including the traditional match between military academies Air Force vs Navy. Again, look beyond the Obama people’s claim that this is being done to save money. But the game this Saturday at the Navy-Marine Corp Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland is an NCAA football game. It’s undoubtedly sold out, always is, and actually generates revenue for the military academies and the Federal Government.

Just like he did with the Sequester the President is having a temper tantrum and is making certain that we the American people suffer as much public discomfort as can be. So he is canceling as many events, or programs that reach the most people that he can. It’s his view that doing so will not reflect poorly on him or other Democrats; but rather it will reflect poorly on Republicans who he continues to blame for the government shut down. A shut down brought on because two of the three legislative branches of the Federal government led by Democrats couldn’t come to agreement with the one legislative body led by Republicans. But it’s up to you, the readers of this blog, to recognize what is really happening. Obama is hurting you in order to hurt Republicans. I so desperately want a President who works to make difficult times easier for us, rather than more uncomfortable. Isn’t that what leaders do?

The shut down is an embarrassment for our government. But it’s your fault, Republicans and Democrats, voters. Voters this is your fault. You re-elected the same leaders who have been in place for at least 6 years.

English: Nancy Pelosi photo portrait as Speake...

Nancy Pelosi controls the Democrats in the U.S. House and has since 2002.

Official portrait of United States House Speak...

John Boehner has the GOP since 2007.  Harry Reid is Senate Democratic leader going back to 2005. And Mitch McConnell has been Senate GOP leader since 2007. And then there’s the President. In office since January 2009. Nearly 5 years of the exact same leaders that have been incapable of passing a budget since 2009 (a year when Democrats controlled all three legislative bodies). How could you have expected any different? So keep your disgust to yourself on the subject of the budget wrangling.

Instead share your disgust with mine over a President going out of his way to hurt you. Has that ever happened before in American history? I think not.

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