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Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

UNDERSTANDING THE NFL’s PROBLEMS

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 5, 2017

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– It goes well beyond disrespect for patriotism.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The brouhaha surrounding the NFL player protests during the playing of the national anthem is slowly fading from view, just as the NFL had counted on, knowing the fans addicted to professional football couldn’t stay away forever. Unless the Main Stream Media keeps it in the public’s eye, the fans have the attention span of a gnat and are slowly beginning to tune back into the league. So, after hitting a few speed bumps, the NFL money machine continues on its way. The commissioner and owners refuse to discipline their players, in fact they appear to be downright intimidated by them, but is everything truly back to normal yet?

Not so fast. During the recent Thanksgiving holiday, the Detroit game saw its ratings fall 12.3% since last year, and the Dallas game was down nearly 20%. The NFL may try to put a positive spin on this, but the fact remains the protests turned a lot of patriotic Americans off. Even though the fans believe the players to be wrong, they are not so insulted anymore and the NFL will continue on its merry way.

The reality though is if you attended a game or tuned in, you are siding with the players, plain and simple. You are overlooking their disrespect for the country and believe we are suffering from racial injustice. Either that or you have no scruples whatsoever. Personally, I find it rather ironic that the American system the players are protesting, is the same system that has made them incredibly rich.

My problem with the NFL goes way beyond disrespect for the flag and anthem. For a long time, the NFL has been willing to overlook the indiscretions of the players, be it for battery, domestic violence, assault, guns, drugs or whatever, and give them nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Whereas NFL players in the past were held in high esteem as role models of sportsmanship, now it is fraught with thugs and criminals, people we should not respect. Yet, the NFL allows them to keep playing, making millions, and allowing the NFL money machine to continue unabated. They may have to pay a nominal fine now and then, but it would be better for the character of the sport if they were banned from the league instead, thereby giving a clear sign such behavior is not acceptable. By not properly disciplining the players, the NFL is condoning their behavior.

Banishment will likely never happen as the players now set the terms for the NFL, not the owners. Whereas the players represent employees who should follow the policies as prescribed by management, they now know they are untouchable as their athletic skills are sorely in demand and the owners want to win. As Houston Texan owner Bob McNair correctly observed recently, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” However, in fact, they are, as evidenced by McNair being forced to issue an apology for making the comment.

The NFL is now the model for corrupt athletic competition; they may know how to make money, but they also know how to sabotage the morality of the country. It is not that the owners or commissioner know what should be done, they are just scared to change the goose who lays the golden egg.

In addition, the media is hesitant to criticize the league as they have also hitched their wagon to the NFL money machine. Without them reminding the public of the indiscretions of the players, the topic slowly disappears. Instead of just producing an injury report prior to a game, I would like to see a crime report. Since the television media refuses to mention this, we are left to discover it ourselves. Fortunately, some outlets, such as USA Today, maintain an NFL Arrest Data Base which clearly lists player indiscretions, both current and in the past (click HERE).

In a way, we should thank former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick for starting the protest last year. From it, we have discovered the true character of the players, their new role in setting team policy, and the greed motivating the league.

“Alas, poor football! I knew it well.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WHAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM? – Is it still “the land of freedom and opportunity”?

LAST TIME:  SHAPETH UP AND GETITH THINE ACT TOGETHER  – Some tricks of the trade for being productive.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

AN ODE FOR A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALLER

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 21, 2017

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– What I learned from the game.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I played High School football from 1968-1971 in a little town in the northern suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. Our team, the Wyoming Cowboys, had a winning tradition for as long as I can remember. We won numerous championships over the years and were always considered a contender even against much larger schools. In 1962, we had a team who not only went undefeated, but didn’t allow a single point to be scored by their opponents, racking up a record of 446-0 points. Baseball, basketball, and track were all well represented, but football was king, not just then but now as well. This year, the team went 10-0 to win the league championship and play in the Ohio state playoffs.

Wyoming is the type of small closeknit community where everyone attends the Friday night game. Beyond that, they have a loyal set of alumni who follows the games over the Internet. In preparation for the league championship this year, alumni sent best wishes from around the USA, two from Africa, and one from Europe. Yes, they take it rather seriously.

As the team prepared to enter the state tournament, I drew upon my past and penned the following piece. I sent it to the Wyoming coach who read it to the team before the tournament game. I tried to capture the feeling we had back in 1971 when we won our championship. Hopefully, some of you who played high school football will appreciate what I’m describing. Hope you enjoy it.

“LOVE THE GAME” – by Tim Bryce

It’s not the championship that matters or the record, it’s how you play the game.

It’s not the school that matters or the coaches and spectators, it’s about your band of brothers.

You play football for the love of the game.

It’s a game where people of all sizes, shapes, and talents each play an important role, not as a group of individuals, but as a cohesive unit, a team.

It’s not the accolades or criticisms afterwards that matter either.

You play to watch a teammate dash to daylight, to perhaps punch a hole in the line allowing him to slip through.

You play to watch a ball spiral through the air to find its target.

You play to demonstrate some sleight of hand in a trick play, or to watch a punt returned for a touchdown.

You play to watch the steamy breaths of the linemen in the trenches on a cold wet night, to listen to their growl and pain as they try to move heaven and earth for a teammate.

You play to watch a defense-man penetrate the line and sack an opposing player behind the line of scrimmage, or to cause and recover a fumble when it was desperately needed, or to intercept and return a pass.

You play to make a goal line stand and stop the opposing team cold, or if you are on offense, to find a way to punch the ball through.

You appreciate the simple things of the game, such as a solid block, a straight kick, the crisp snap of the ball, a perfect throw, the smell of the field, a good tackle, and speed afoot.

You play to watch it all come together in unison, like a fine jeweled watch.

You find joy in picking up a teammate, both physically and spiritually; to stand at the end of a game mired in sweat and mud, proud of your team and the small role you played.

After all, this is a game of teamwork, not one for those seeking individual glory, an important lesson that will follow you through life.

So play the game hard, without regrets, so you can hold your head up at the end of the game knowing you gave it your best.

Play it with reckless abandon, for the day will come when it will be over, and you will miss it dearly.

Love it and it will teach you some important lessons of life, such as pride, self-esteem, the power of tradition in winning, empathy for others, and to put aside differences and find ways to cooperate.

Play it in such as way that when you finally hang up your cleats for the last time, you know you accomplished something meaningful.

And when it is over, you do not need accolades or a trophy or ring to remind you of the job you’ve done, just a pat on the back simply saying, “Well done.”

Football is a great game. Love it.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  WELCOME TO BIZARRO WORLD – Where everything is the opposite of what you are used to.

LAST TIME:  I’M JUST NORMAL…REALLY  – You can save a lot of paper if you just take my word for it.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Life, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

POLITICIZING SPORTS

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 24, 2017

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– The media will not leave us alone.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Super Bowl 51 is now in the record books as one of the most exciting games since the inception of the series. The New England Patriots’ stunning come from behind victory of 34-28 over the Atlanta Falcons surprised a lot of people, including yours truly. Quarterback Tom Brady set many records, Julian Edelman made a miraculous catch, and the Falcons grasped defeat from the jaws of victory. There was also the moment afterwards where NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell awkwardly presented the MVP award to Tom Brady, thereby finally concluding the “Deflategate” incident.

All of this though pales in comparison to how the news media tried to politicize the event. In the week prior to the game, Brady was asked about his relationship with President Donald Trump, who is reported to be a friend. When he balked at answering questions about it, claiming his attention needs to be focused on the game, the press seethed at his lack of response. Then there was the half time show featuring singer Lady Gaga where the media desperately tried to decode some anti-Trump message from her performance. The press also scrutinized all of the new ads debuting during the Super Bowl, trying to determine if they had any hidden anti-Trump messages. Finally, Patriots Tight End Martellus Bennett reportedly said he would not attend if invited to the White House to honor his team’s Super Bowl win, claiming differences with President Trump. As to the latter, had this been tried during the Obama administration, the person would have been labeled a racist.

Instead of allowing viewers to enjoy the event, the news media politicized it thereby ruining what would have been a very entertaining show. Look for such shenanigans to continue, such as at the Daytona 500 on February 26th, Major League Baseball Opening Day (April 2nd), The Masters Golf Tournament (April 3rd – 5th), and the NCAA College Basketball Tournament (March 14th – April 3rd). Mixing politics with sports has become the norm and I believe it will ultimately alienate viewers.

There is also the problem of celebrity sports figures sharing their political perspectives, most notably the NBA’s LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton. As with entertainers, I am really not interested in the political opinion of athletes, whether they are pro-Trump or anti-Trump. It shouldn’t have a place in our culture. If I wanted to listen to such mumbo-jumbo, I would tune in Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Madonna, et al, but I do not respect their opinions either. I would much rather let them entertain us, then listen to their political pablum.

Frankly, wouldn’t it be nice if the athletes, entertainers, and the press would drop the political spin and just leave us alone so we can enjoy the show? Unfortunately, that doesn’t look like it will happen as they are determined to push the liberal agenda. I cannot help believe they are hurting their viewership and ticket sales as a result of all this.

It used to be sporting events were a haven from the nasty world of politics, but that seems to have radically changed with the 2016 presidential election. We better get used to it as it appears the politicization of sports is here to stay.

Also published with The Huffington Post.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  HANDLING FAILURE – Failure is something we don’t handle very well as a species.

LAST TIME:  IT IS TIME FOR THE REPUBLICANS TO FLEX THEIR MUSCLES  – No more excuses; let’s roll!

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Politics, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

BASEBALL CARDS

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 3, 2017

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Are they a commodity or a memento of our youth?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Something near and dear to a young man’s heart is his collection of baseball cards. Although cards today are bought and sold as a commodity, years ago we collected them simply because of the love of the game. My friends and I would trade them, discuss the stats of each player, and chew the lousy gum accompanying each pack of five cards. We would also attach them to our bicycles using clothespins so they would flicker between the spokes of the wheel thereby making a rather impressive sound as you were riding, something like a motorcycle, at least so we thought. In my day, you weren’t cool unless you had a Stan “The Man” Musial baseball card powering your bicycle. In hindsight I wish I had kept that card as opposed to ruining it on my bicycle, but such is life.

The nirvana of baseball cards in my day was to get Mickey Mantle’s (see accompanying photo). As a kid growing up in the New York area in the early 1960’s, Mantle was a god to us. Sure, we watched other teams and other players, but there was something special about the Mick. So much so, obtaining his baseball card meant a step up in your social stature. Fortunately, I got mine in a regular pack of cards and I was the envy of my friends. I was offered stacks of cards for the Mantle card but I stubbornly held on to it, and I’m glad I did. I was even offered a Willie Mays, Roger Marris, and Whitey Ford. If he had thrown in a Yogi Berra I would have been tempted, but such was not to be. Besides, I had a couple of Willie Mays cards already.

Most of my card collection ended up in a shoe box where I kept them neatly organized. For my really good cards I’ve got a special binder with plastic sleeves which keeps them neat and clean. As the cards were important to me, I kept them hidden in my bedroom. As I grew up and moved away to college, the card collection remained hidden in my room. It’s a good thing I hid them too as my room was purged and cleaned by my mother after I moved out. As is common for moms to do, she disposed of my old comic book collection and “Mad” magazine collection, both of which dated back to the early 1960’s. I’m not sure why mothers do this, perhaps as a form of revenge for leaving the nest, but I know a lot of guys who lost such collections, not to mention coin and stamp collections. Moms view such things as nothing more than dust-catchers, guys cherish them as mementos of their past.

Today, baseball cards are bought and sold at hefty prices, a lot more than the nickel we used to pay for a pack and probably without the bubble gum. In my day, “Topps” was the only manufacturer of baseball cards. Today, there are many others, but I can’t say the quality is any better. Some now have special stamps emblazoned on them, some come packaged in air tight plastic containers, and some are real works of art. Whereas baseball originally had a monopoly on such cards, today there are cards for football, hockey, basketball, soccer, even wrestling, entertainment and politics. I still don’t think I would trade my Mickey Mantle for a Barack Obama, no way, no how. I would be much more interested in a Jackie Robinson or Satchel Page, but I think I would still hold on to the Mick.

I still appreciate the simplicity of the cards from years ago. In preparing for this article, I brought out my baseball card binder so I could scan the Mickey Mantle card. Afterwards I stopped by a friend’s house and showed him the binder. He enjoyed it immensely and as he flipped through it we would discuss the various players, what teams they played on over the years, their statistics, memorable moments in their playing careers, and argue over who were the better players. A lot of baseball ears should have been burning that day. Then again, that’s what we did as kids, we talked baseball, and this is what I think baseball cards were originally designed to do.

I just wish I still had that Stan “The Man” Musial card instead of ruining it on my bicycle.

Also published with The Huffington Post.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  TOO MANY TALKING HEADS – We should thank Howard Cosell for this.

LAST TIME:  WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TRAVEL EXPENSE REPORT?  – Are your employees abusing travel expenses?

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

Posted in Life, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

TAKING THE SPORT OUT OF ATHLETICS

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 13, 2017

BRYCE ON ATHLETICS

– Is the scientific approach dehumanizing sports?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

As charges of doping were brought against members of the US Bicycle Team, the investigation discovered the problem was much larger in scope than originally thought, not just here in America, but internationally as well. Americans should be familiar with the drug problem by now as just about every professional sport has had more than its share of incidents and scandal. Actually, we shouldn’t be surprised by the rise of doping today as athletics are less about sports and more about business, big business.

Gone are the days when athletes would play just for the love of the game, who would endure bus rides and uncomfortable hotel rooms. Gone are the days of the amateur status, even the Olympics is no longer a haven. Athletes now take a professional and highly scientific approach to sports. We measure every shot, stroke, basket, and swing, in terms of speed, distance, height and trajectory. The athletes themselves are carefully monitored in terms of age, calories consumed, pounds, inches, breath, heartbeats, and grams of fat. Nothing is overlooked. Everything is precisely scrutinized by packs of high-priced sports consultants. Got a hangnail? Stop the game and have it fixed by people specializing in sports medicine. Need a better bat, ball, or iron for your game? An army of vendors are at your disposal representing billions of dollars in merchandise. It’s not about the sport of the game anymore, it’s about business, and the precision by which we develop and market it is overwhelming. It’s no small wonder doping is the next inevitable stage in the evolution of athletics. Frankly, I’m surprised by all the hubbub surrounding drugs. Since we have radically altered what the athlete wears and the tools of his/her game, tampering with human physiology seems only natural.

All of this has changed the face and character of athletics. Today’s World Series champion would surely whip the “Murderer’s Row” of the 1920’s, the “Gas House Gang” of the 1930’s, and the “Big Red Machine” of the 1970’s, but they were certainly more interesting to watch as they had more character than science. The antics of people like Babe Ruth, Dizzy Dean, Mickey Mantle and many others were legendary. Fortunately, they were natural athletes who could overcome their hijinks with some rather brilliant play. “It ain’t braggin’ if ya can back it up,” said Dean to answer his critics and reflected the philosophy of such players.

Throughout the 20th century fans relished the colorful characters who became icons for the teams they played on. In baseball, you had players like Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Bench, Brooks Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Sandy Koufax, Stan Musial, Ted Williams, and Cal Ripken; inspirational “Iron Men” who played with quiet dignity and grace. Then there were the fierce competitors like Ty Cobb, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Pete Rose who played with seemingly reckless abandon. There were others who butchered the English language, causing sports writers to scratch their heads in bewilderment, like Yogi Berra, Satchel Page, Bob Uecker, Sparky Anderson, and Casey Stengle who said such things as, “Most ball games are lost, not won.” Their logic may have seemed convoluted, but they told you only what they wanted you to know, which quite often was a smokescreen to conceal what they were really thinking.

Players were often given friendly nicknames like “Pee Wee,” “Slick,” and “Charlie Hustle,” and were considered intricate parts of our community. They were our neighbors, our friends, our heroes, and possessed the same human frailties we all shared thereby making it easy to identify with them. At one point, baseball was 50% character and 50% skill. Today, it’s all about skill, and in the process the charm of the game is diminishing. Instead of being viewed as an average Joe with an uncanny ability to play their game, today our athletes are viewed as Supermen and Superwomen with Godlike abilities.

Baseball was not alone in terms of colorful characters. Football had players like Daryle “The Mad Bomber” Lamonica, “Slingin” Sammy Baugh, Norm Van Brocklin, Bart Starr, Kenny “The Snake” Stabler, Len Dawson, George “The Grand Old Man” Blanda, and of course, “Broadway” Joe Willie Namath. Aside from quarterbacks, there was Dick Butkus (whose last name alone would strike fear into his opponents), Alex Karras, Jim Brown, Bob Lilly, Merlin Olson, Chuck Howley, Ben Davidson, Ray Nitschke, Forrest Greg, Lou “The Toe” Groza, Anthony Munoz, Paul “The Golden Boy” Hornung, and Ted “The Mad Stork” Hendricks, players who made a name for themselves on and off the field.

Basketball had Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, Jerry West, Oscar “The Big O” Robertson, Willis Reed, “Pistol Pete” Maravich, Magic Johnson, Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Bill Bradley, and Dave DeBusschere (who also pitched for the Chicago White Sox). Hockey had such luminaries as Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky, Bobby “The Golden Jet” Hull, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux, Stan Makita, as well as Phil and Tony Esposito who were affectionately referred to as “Mr. Go” and “Mr. No.”

All of these men were not only talented, but possessed a character that people naturally gravitated towards. To them, it was about the love of the game which they played fiercely and competitively, and the fans loved them for it. Regardless of their achievements though, all of these heroes of yesteryear would probably be defeated by today’s scientific approach to sports which is sad by my estimation.

Has the scientific approach taken the fun and excitement out of the game? Maybe, but you cannot argue with such things as attendance and revenues, which is what it is all about today.

As much as we might like to see doping disappear from sports, it will undoubtedly continue. Beyond this, the next stage will be the genetic engineering of athletes of the future. As long as we remain obsessed with the economics of the game, athletics will lose its heart and soul. Frankly, I don’t think we will be satisfied until we’ve driven the human element completely from the game and create Robo-players. Then it will be nothing more than a race for the best technology which, in essence, it is already.

I for one, will miss the human character of players like Bob Uecker who said, “When I came up to bat with three men on and two outs in the ninth, I looked in the other team’s dugout and they were already in street clothes.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2017 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Also read Tim’s columns in the THE HUFFINGTON POST

NEXT UP:  PERFECTION REQUIRES PATIENCE – Sometimes it is simply not possible to achieve.

LAST TIME:  A FRESH PERSPECTIVE OF DONALD J. “TR”UMP  – Daniel Ruddy’s recent book on Teddy Roosevelt provides tremendous insight into Mr. Trump.

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

WHY DO WE TOLERATE THUGS IN SPORTS?

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 10, 2016

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– Is victory more important than morality?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Recently, a friend brought to my attention a web page produced by USA Today containing a data base of “NFL Player Arrests.” Between the years 2000-2015 there were 810 players arrested for various offenses. Some beat the rap, others were fined, and some served jail time. In 2015 alone, 28 players from 21 teams, representing two-thirds of the teams in the National Football League (NFL), were arrested for such crimes as illegal drugs, speeding, driving under the influence, other traffic offenses, battery, domestic violence, burglary, animal cruelty, disorderly conduct, rape, and gun offenses. In addition to paying fines and serving jail time, the offenses resulted in player suspensions and, in some cases, they were promptly released by the teams.

These are the cases formally documented in the courts, there are many others simmering on the sidelines, such as the rape case involving Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston which hangs over his head like the Sword of Damocles. Until such time as he can clear his name, he will continue to be a liability to the Buccaneers organization.

I realize football is a rough sport, but the NFL is developing a reputation for condoning immoral behavior. A lot of this could be chalked up to high spirited young men who do not know better. If this is true, perhaps it is time for the NFL to promote a mentoring system where seasoned veterans offer wise counsel to the young, or perhaps some training. It is the responsibility of the coaching staff to prepare the players for game day, but perhaps it is time for them to assume the same responsibilities corporate managers have in supervising the activities of their younger workers to assure they properly adapt to the corporate culture.

The point is, the youngsters have to be told they are no longer teenagers, but adults who are responsible for their actions, not to mention role models for the teams and cities they represent.

The NFL is not alone in its problems controlling its players. Similar offenses can likely be found in the NBA, MLB, NHL, and just about every organized sport.

Whereas we have been experiencing a general breakdown in morality due to the deterioration of the family unit, it becomes the responsibility of managers to practice what I refer to as “Parenting Management,” whereby the manager has to make up for what the parent failed to instill in their offspring.

There is another major problem though, loyal and enthusiastic fans tend to overlook the indiscretions of the players. To such people, victory is more important than a player’s brush with the law, and this is perhaps more disturbing than the offense itself. The fans and the teams should be as indignant and concerned as the courts. Too often they are not.

Can we completely eradicate thuggery from organized sports? Probably not, but we can significantly reduce the volume of incidents with some basic management techniques, such as education and mentoring.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS… – that makes life worth living.

LAST TIME:  MOVING UP TOO FAST  – What happens when you do not pay your dues.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific); and WWBA-AM (News Talk Florida 820). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Morality, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

BASEBALL: THE LOVE OF THE GAME

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 22, 2015

BRYCE ON SPORTS

– It is a great game.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have always had a fondness for the game of baseball. As a kid, I played Little League but also carried my glove and bat with me just about everywhere for a quick pickup game whether it was before or after school, or during recess. Growing up in Connecticut, I followed the early 1960’s Yankees and vividly remember when the Mets were introduced. As we moved around the country I became a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs, and finally watched the emergence of the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati. Frankly, I do not believe we will ever see another team as good as the 1976 Reds. They were very special.

I played in coed softball leagues as I got older. When I became a parent, I coached boys baseball, girls softball, served on the local Little League board of directors, and umpired to boot. My signature as a coach was to line my kids up on the infield foul line before a game and pledged allegiance to the flag. After all, it is America’s game. Curiously, there were some coaches who adamantly opposed me doing this, but I see citizenship as an inherent part of the game.

I suffered under no illusion my kids were going to be superstars and, as such, I concentrated on teaching the basics (hitting, fielding, and pitching), teamwork, and hopefully, the love of the game. There is something magical about the game of baseball; the smell of the grass, the heat of the sun on your back, the taste of the leather string on your cowhide mitt, the crack of the bat, and the excitement of the play. You relish the camaraderie of your teammates, the precision of a perfect bunt, the tenacity of a runner stealing a base, and the grace of an infielder flawlessly throwing out a runner or executing a double play.

Baseball is a game of nuances and you really cannot appreciate it if you have never played it. As you approach home plate to bat, you see how the fielders are setting up to play you, either deep, in close, or to a particular field. You take your sign from the third base coach, check the eyes of the pitcher, hear the cheering of the parents, and all along your mind is constantly calculating all of the variables involved. Your hands grip the bat as you position yourself in the batter’s box. Your body language tells the other team whether or not you can be intimidated. Finally, just before the pitcher makes his wind-up, you spit. Translation,
“Bring it on!”

There is also a lot of communications in a baseball game, both vocal and silent. The vocal is rather obvious, the silent communications is a lot more interesting. We’re all aware of the third base coach making strange gyrations with his hands in order to call the play, but there are also a lot of subliminal signs not so apparent, such as a manager turning up his collar or crossing his legs. The communications between pitcher and catcher is also well known. The great Willie Mays was notorious for his ability to study and steal the signs of the opposing team. It just takes a little concentration and attention to detail.

When I coached Little League, and my kids were batting with one or more runners on base, I would suddenly yell from the dugout, “Red-22, Red-22.” Actually, it was nothing more than a smoke screen as it meant absolutely nothing, but it put the other team on edge as they thought some trick play was about to be executed. My kids thought it was a riot.

As a Little League coach, you realize you are having an impact on your young players when they start asking you more questions about the game, such as the meaning of the infield fly rule, how to keep a scorecard, how a batting average is calculated or ERA, the number of ways a runner can advance to first base (eight) or the number of ways to make an out (14), etc. It’s no small wonder baseball is a great game for trivia buffs as there are so many facets to it. Casual spectators do not truly appreciate baseball as much as students of the game.

You know you have a love of the game when you collect baseball cards, not as a commodity, but simply to have them; that you keep a prized baseball signed by your teammates many years ago; that you cannot bring yourself to throw away an old baseball bat or glove years after you have stopped using them, or; you completely understood what Pete Rose meant when he said, “I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball.”

It is a great game.

Originally published: April 16, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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HAS BASEBALL’S TIME PASSED?

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 22, 2013

BRYCE ON THE NATIONAL PASTIME

– It looks more like a three ring circus as opposed to a sporting venue.

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I recently had a friend make the observation that nobody goes to baseball stadiums to watch baseball anymore. He made this observation after attending a Spring Training game down here in Dunedin, Florida where the Toronto Blue Jays practice. Prior to the game he noticed all of the Canadians in attendance got up to proudly sing “Oh, Canada!” then settled in to watch and study the game. In contrast, the Americans gave a lethargic rendition of our national anthem, and then did everything but watch the game.

I have to admit, my friend had a point. When I go to see our home town Tampa Bay Rays, or my old team, the Cincinnati Reds, I am often distracted by the eye pollution, the people wandering around the stadium aimlessly, or partying at the many social venues they have. Last year, when I visited the Reds, a friend sprung for some rather expensive tickets featuring a restaurant venue where you could gorge yourself on all of the local cuisine if you were so inclined. Many people stayed inside the air conditioned clubhouse where they imbibed on cocktails. Television sets were laced throughout the clubhouse, but I didn’t see too many people watching them. As for me, I settled into my seat outside and watched the game.

I’m one of those guys who has always been a student of the game. When I go with my old high school buddies, we talk about such things as the positioning of the fielders, how their feet are placed, where and how the batter is standing in the batter’s box, the pitcher’s eyes and his motion to first base, and dozens of other nuances. We also talk about history, and who had what batting average. I’m not sure why I’m like this, maybe because I am an old Little League coach. Whatever the reason, I’m an anomaly as compared to the other people in attendance who need to be entertained. While others are downing all of the local delicacies, I’m happy with a beer and a simple bag of peanuts.

Sometimes I keep score of the game myself, an old habit I picked up while coaching. I do this more to study patterns, and see where the batters are likely to hit the ball. Most of the other people in the stands couldn’t care less. They are more concerned with getting a free T-shirt as shot out of an air cannon by the stadium crew.

To me, baseball is a great game, full of nuances, communications, and strategy, but I don’t believe Americans share the passion for it as they did years ago. To illustrate, membership in Little League has dropped 25% since 1996. Attendance at MLB games in the 21st century has been flat, which probably answers why ballparks have been turned into three ring circuses.

It is certainly not the national pastime anymore. What a shame. Then again, my friend who made the observation about baseball, also noted basketball has changed likewise. People go to games, pay hefty prices for tickets, and expect to be entertained as opposed to watching the game. Maybe they think of such venues as another form of “American Idol” or “Dancing with the Stars.”

Maybe I should just stick to watching Little League games or the Minor Leagues. They may not have all the glitz of the Majors, but they certainly try harder.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  SOME THOUGHTS ON MEMORIAL DAY – It’s not about barbecues, auto racing, or the start of summer.

LAST TIME:  THE DECLINE OF CRAFTSMANSHIP – They are getting harder and harder to find.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

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THE LESSONS OF A LITTLE LEAGUE COACH

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 12, 2012

BRYCE ON LIFE

– How one coach taught America’s pastime to young players.

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For ten years I coached Little League baseball and softball, not to mention being an umpire and serving on the local board of directors. I cannot lay claim to being the greatest coach, nor the worse. I certainly didn’t suffer under the illusion this was the big leagues, nor that my kids would go on to play pro ball, even though a handful made it to the college level. Instead, I wanted to teach the mechanics of the game (how it is played), sportsmanship, and the general love of the game. My kids are all grown up now and if I made the slightest impression on them, that I somehow shaped their perspective on the game, than I consider myself lucky. There were only two things I asked of them; that they try their hardest, and maintain their grades in school.

Baseball is a game; something you are supposed to find entertaining and rewarding. I never understood those coaches or parents who believed in winning at all costs. Some would accuse me of not being competitive enough. Sure, I wanted to see our team win, but not “at all costs”; not if it caused us to lose sight of right and wrong and a distorted sense of sportsmanship. There were coaches who would make their kids run laps if they lost a game. I guess this was designed to shame them into playing better and to teach them losing was a disgrace. Had this been some life threatening event, I may have understood their rationale. It wasn’t. It was Little League. It was a game.

Whether I was coaching boys or girls, prior to the game I would have the kids line up on our foul line, take off their caps, and recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag. It became my signature to do so. To my way of thinking, baseball is America’s game and it was my way of making the kids cognizant of not only our country but the need for fair play. When we recited the pledge, we would invite the other team to join us, as well as the parents. Most were happy to do so, but I ran into at least three coaches who steadfastly refused to have their teams participate. I thought this was strange, as did the parents of the other teams.

During practice we would spend a lot of time teaching defensive moves both in the infield and outfield. There was also a lot of batting practice. The league would also sponsor clinics in batting, pitching, catching, and umpiring. During batting practice, I would spend considerable time on bunting. Girls had no problem with it, but boys tended to resist it. Nonetheless, they learned the virtue of a good bunt and how it can win a game. There is perhaps nothing more exciting to see a bunt win a game or a stolen base. Speed was important to me. If we got on base, we made it clear we were going to challenge the arms of the other team, if for no other reason than to unnerve them.

Aside from the physical nuances of the game, we also taught the psychological aspects, such as the importance of momentum, dominance at the plate or on the mound, and how to “sell” a play to an umpire. As to the latter, we obviously didn’t want our players to cheat, but we told them an umpire has only one set of eyes and cannot possibly see everything. Therefore, it is important to do such things as showing the ball in your hand after a close play, thereby helping the umpire make up his mind for him.

One time, when we were playing defense, a player from the other team advanced to first base in a close game and we were concerned he would steal second base. From the dugout I would yell a football call, “Red 21″…”Red 21.” This confused the runner and coach who believed a secret play was in the works to throw him out. Consequently, the runner held at first and never advanced. As the inning ended, my players returned to the dugout where they asked me what “Red 21” meant. “Nothing,” I replied. It was just a smokescreen to confuse the other team. The kids thought it was a riot.

We also spent a lot of time explaining the strategy of the game, such as when to throw a pitch-out to a dangerous hitter, how a third baseman should challenge a bunt, picking-off a runner, how to keep a runner on second base, and much more. A lot of my kids, particularly the girls, learned how to keep score and came to realize the value of a well maintained scorecard.

It was also important to teach the kids to have fun. During practice we would play certain rock and roll songs with a certain beat and rhythm to teach them timing, particularly Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, and The Who. Parents who would normally drop the kids off and leave would stay and listen to the music. It became somewhat of a social scene for the parents who would gel and become strong supporters of the team.

Now and then, when our hitting was off, we would say “Time to wake up the bats,” and drop three or four bats loudly in the dugout to get the kids to snap out of their slump. If the kids were groggy at an early Saturday morning game, which seemed to be common, we would give them sugar-sweet pixie sticks which would give them a jolt of energy to wake them up.

Little League games typically last just six innings. One time, during a night game, we were playing a team coached by a friend of mine. We concocted a little scheme with the umpire and at the end of the fifth inning, the umpire called “time,” and both teams came out of their dugouts and over to the sidelines where the parents were sitting. They looked perplexed as to what we were doing. We had the kids assemble in multiple lines in front of the parents and, on queue, we began to sing “Happy Birthday” to one of the mothers who was a local school teacher. Both the parents and the kids enjoyed the experience, and I’m sure the mom won’t forget it anytime soon.

As we live in Florida, we have a Fall league to provide additional coaching to players. Inevitably, we would play during the day on Halloween in October. For this, the coaches wore masks which looked ridiculous but broke the tension for the kids.

There were of course many other things to liven up the season, such as ice cream, pizza, and an occasional barbecue. It was important that we taught the kids to play hard both on and off the field.

I learned a lot from this experience. I met a lot of good, caring parents over the years, but more importantly I got to meet a lot of great kids and it was fun watching them grow into adulthood. It’s not important they remember me, although I will bump into one of my players now and then, but it’s more important they remember something they learned along the way, such as how to lay down a bunt, how to keep score, appreciating the difficulty of throwing a runner out at second, the importance of teamwork, or standing for the national anthem with their hand or cap over their heart. If I contributed in any way to such things, then I consider myself a successful coach. It’s not the runs scored that makes baseball a fascinating game, it’s the kids.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
NEXT UP:  OUR INTOLERANT SOCIETY – What role does technology have in all this?
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FLY FISHING IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 24, 2012

BRYCE ON OUR CHANGING WORLD

– Beware of hatchery fed trout.

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I have been fortunate over the years to fish in a variety of locations throughout the country. You may remember me discussing my passion in “Fly Fishing at St. Timothy’s.” The last few years though I have primarily been concentrating on the streams in the picturesque mountains of western North Carolina or as it is better known down south as the “Florida Riviera.” While northern tourists come to Florida during the winter, Floridians tend to gravitate to the Carolinas and Tennessee for their getaways.

Unlike Florida which is an extremely flat state, North Carolinians build their homes in mountainous terrain that only a billy goat can navigate. Instead of placing their houses on level terra firma, the locals have a propensity for building them in the most awkward places possible. Driveways have steep inclines with twists and turns that would probably stump Harry Houdini. Despite this, during the summer months the foliage is in full bloom, a variety of butterflies start their mating ritual, soft breezes blow through wooden front porches, and the melodic sound of nearby mountain streams can be heard just about everywhere.

The streams themselves are shaded with cool, clear mountain water providing refuge for our adversary, the rainbow trout. In a way, they remind me of the streams in Connecticut where I grew up and would swim, fish, and make rock dams in the streams. The water was crystal clear and the cool waters felt delicious on a hot day. The rocks in the stream can be treacherous, so you are always mindful of wearing appropriate boots or water shoes to avoid slipping. In my case, I have some old mountain boots I like to wear with wool socks to keep me warm. They have served me well over the past twenty years, but this time I found they tended to weigh me down as I trudged in and out of streams. Frankly, I felt like I was wearing ten pound wingtips. I think it’s finally time to trade up to something lighter and more comfortable.

Some fly fishermen consider the sport an art form. As for me, I am there to fish, not to paint. True, I love to be out in the wild with my rod and reel, a good cigar, and no phones, but I tend to be more pragmatic about it. Fly fishing requires you to become a traveling salesman. If the customer doesn’t like your product, you have to either keep moving along and knock on another door or change the product on display. In less than sixty seconds I can determine if the fishing spot holds any potential. If it doesn’t, I move along or change my fly. Others can take what seems like an eternity to make up their mind; they may be persistent but rarely are they rewarded.

Although I have had success in the mountains in the past, on a recent visit I came up empty. So much so, I started to believe the North Carolina fish hatcheries had somehow trained the fish to ignore flies and, in a way, I was right. My friends and I heard the state hatcheries department had released some trout upstream from us and we eventually stumbled upon a half dozen of them in the clear waters. We then set about catching them as quietly as possible. One by one, we gently floated our flies just a few inches above their heads. They evidently were not impressed and ignored our advances. We then tried a variety of different flies, but to no avail. Becoming desperate, we started to try other methods to catch them, including spinners, plugs, a hook and worm, even a piece of beef jerky. Time and again, the result was the same: Nada. I would have even tried a small piece of Spam had it been available but I am certain it wouldn’t have changed the outcome, they just let it pass indifferently under their noses.

Later that evening, we came upon a native whom we explained our dilemma to. He was not surprised by our failure and even seemed to relish in our frustration. He then went on to explain how the state feeds the hatchlings which consisted of small pellets containing a tiny white grub or worm that emerges upon hitting the water. Frankly, we didn’t stand a chance. It was like stalking our prey with filet mignon when they had been weaned on Captain Crunch. Fortunately, we changed tactics and moved elsewhere, but it took us awhile to improve our disposition.

For three days, I clomped around the streams of western North Carolina, wearing clunky footwear and a fishing vest loaded with enough gear to equip a small RV. I am my own worst enemy in this regard. Between the slippery rocks in the stream, heavy equipment, and a growing case of arthritis, I discovered I was no longer as spry as I once was. Now and then, I would just stop and enjoy the calming and therapeutic effect of the cool waters which refreshed me. It was only on the last day of my trip did I shed myself of the gear, the ancient boots, and began to enjoy fishing again. “Simplify” was my mantra for the day which produced beneficial results. Instead of worrying about hatchery-fed fish, I concentrated on the basics. Like Willy Loman, I just knocked on a lot of doors and kept moving along enjoying the great outdoors.

North Carolina is a wonderful place to fish, you just have to be a little smarter than your adversary.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
PROVOCATION & THE OWS TAMPA – Tampa welcomes Occupy Wall Street to the RNC.


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