Watching Basketball is fun… until the end of the game

Hack-a-Shaq, begin! I do not own copyright for this image but could not track down the specific copyright holder. I use it under fair use.

Hack-a-Shaq, begin! I do not own copyright for this image but could not track down the specific copyright holder. I use it under fair use.

I like watching Basketball, but goodness they need to change the late-game rules. First, the hack-a-Shaq maneuver [intentionally fouling the worst free-throw shooter on the other team the moment the ball is inbound] is ridiculous and draws the last two minutes of an even remotely close game out so much it takes like 30 minutes to get through. I know they can’t not call a foul, because it is an obvious foul. However, if there were something that stipulates that intentional fouls in late game scenarios like this means the other team picks who shoots the FTs might be a good idea. It’s super annoying. I know it’s an absurdly common strategy, but it’s a strategy that makes the late game nearly unwatchable.

Another proposal by a friend for a rule change is to, with 2 minutes left, automatically award the team that gets fouled 2 points and give the fouling team the ball, with some kind of clock runoff as a possibility. This would probably curtail the intentional fouling a lot, as it would have effectively no benefit.

Second, the egregious use of video review at the end to make sure that valuable .1 seconds are not lost is bogus. I was watching a college game the other night in which there were less than 2 seconds left in the game, one team was up by 3 points. The ball was inbound and then knocked back out. Video review was called and after 4 minutes (!) the referees changed the clock from .8 seconds to 1.3 seconds. This was with the team who was in the lead having the ball. Those .5 seconds meant all the world, as the team inbound the ball again and won immediately. I’m glad 4 minutes of my life were wasted for that /sarcasm [okay, I was running on an elliptical and listening to a Harry Potter book so it wasn’t really wasted]. But really, this garbage needs to end.

I understand that there is a desire to not let one wrong call blow a game, but that has to be balanced with the possibility of having many games get boring due to clock shenanigans at or near the end.

End the Madness… just not the March Madness.

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

SDG.

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Sports and “Veterans”

I follow football closely, and something that continually strikes me is how players who have been in the league for anywhere above 2 years are frequently referred to as “veterans.” Really? How long does it take to become a veteran? I just don’t get it. Apparently in football, it doesn’t take much to become a veteran. You just need to survive for two years of pro-level action and boom, you’re there!

Ridiculous.

Want to know what a veteran in the NFL looks like? How about an Urlacher or Ed Reed or Peyton Manning. Those are veterans.

It makes me think, though, the term “veteran” is abused. It’s not just something you get once you’ve reached a certain threshold of time put in; instead, it is something that you earn.

Of course I’m only speaking of sports here and certainly think anyone who served in the military deserves the term. Just to be sure I don’t get people thinking the wrong thing there.

Anyway, what does it take for you to call a sports player a “veteran”?

Football, sports, and violence: Should we use sports as a “hope” for children?

Recently, an article on ESPN about the violence in football offered the following explanation for why football will not go away:

It [the known effects of multiple concussions, etc.] also shouldn’t give people a reason to sell their kids on the notion that it’s not a sport worth playing. It’s easy to say that when you live in the White House or you’ve benefited from a nice, upper-middle class lifestyle. It’s a different story for those kids who grow up in inner-city projects or have few options of ever improving their own lives. Ask those families what football can do for them. Their parents won’t be so quick to condemn a sport that could open doors that would ultimately be closed to them later in life.

Really? Football is some kind of hope for kids with “few options”? I think this is absurd. How many of the kids who live on this dream actually grow up to play in the NFL? If the opportunity referenced is about scholarships there may be a point to it, but I think it is really depressing that when it comes to kids with few options, one of the first things that gets brought up is sports. I’m sorry, but sports is not a salve to these issues.

Giving kids the hope that they can play in the NFL or any other major sports league is not very realistic. I also think it sells children short. The general message that is given is that if you are born into a certain situation, the only way to pick yourself up out of that hard place is to play sports. Frankly, not everyone is gifted in sports, so this message presents a message of hopelessness.

So what do I suggest? Hey, I admit I am not an expert on this at all. I am not even sure I have any alternatives to suggest, but I think that we need to get beyond offering sports as a kind of dream. It’s not realistic to tell children that they can all go and be NFL stars or NBA stars or what-have-you. We need to work with children in their situation and work to change the situation. The salve for poverty and need is not to give a false hope that only one in thousands can even have a chance to achieve.

As a Christian, I have to say that we need to be praying about those in need. We need to use our gifts to forward the causes that help care for those who are in want. We need to get beyond offering false hopes and offer the true hope of Christ. I know for some that is groan-inducing. Allow me to explain: I’m not suggesting that just going around preaching the Gospel will magically reduce poverty and lead to world peace. What I am suggesting is that the Christian worldview, in all of its robust splendor, provides a motivation to care for those in need. It also provides a framework for viewing those in need not as people to whom we need to throw a bone in the form of false hope, but persons who are fellow imagers-of-God whom we are called to aid. There are no easy answers to all the needs of our time, but at least as Christians we are called to take on those needs head-on. I hope you’ll join me.

Finally, I’ll have you know that all of this comes from an avowed NFL fan. I love football. My point is we should not use it as a substitute for real hope.

Links

Don’t forget to check out my main site which focuses on religion, philosophy, and contemporary issues.

Here’s the article that touched off this issue for me: http://espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2012/story/_/id/8905129/super-bowl-xlvii-football-change-survive

 

Why NCAA Football is ridiculous

Look, I won’t hide my bias. I like the NFL a lot more than college ball. I was reminded of the reasons for this one more time this weekend.

Florida State was playing against Savannah State. I turned the game on because it was the only one I could get with a ranked team in it. I looked at the score. 28-0. Oh well, I thought, maybe Savannah State can mount a comeback. Then I realized there were 7:34 left in the FIRST QUARTER. Oh, and Savannah State hadn’t even gotten positive yardage yet. They were at -27. Wow. Seriously? It was 35-0 to close out the quarter.

This is why I think NCAA Football is often ridiculous. I’ll grant I like college ball, but these types of games are what really destroys it for me. This isn’t competitive. This is just a straight up slaughter.

Do I need to mention that going into the 2nd quarter, Florida State put their 2nd team defense on the field?

Yes, there are NFL games that can become non-competitive, but here’s the thing: in the NFL everyone has a realistic chance. They have access to relatively the same amount of money, and they’re allowed to spend about the same amount every year. Yes, some owners don’t spend all the way up to the cap, so they may not have as many superstars, but the point is they all have a chance.

In the NCAA, it seems like these ranked teams line up as many piece of junk teams as they can in order to throttle them to try to earn a higher place in the rankings. Then, they’ll put a few ranked teams on the schedule to see who actually might be better.

There’s no parity in the NCAA either. Top players go to the teams that are already good or have a system in place to be really good. Savannah State? Sorry, no luck.

So don’t get me wrong. Is there excitement in the college football season? Yes. But does it feel to me like the same level of excitement every week as the NFL? No. Why? Because there isn’t nearly as much parity. Oh well.

I don’t see any way to change that. Do you?

How did the game end? It got suspended due to weather. Florida State won by a paltry 55-0.