Monthly Archives: December 2011

New Year’s Resolutions

I usually shy away from resolutions of any kind (don’t wanna be tied down, ya see?) but maybe this will be cathartic or therapeutic or whatever.

Things I resolve to do in 2012 (listed in no particular order):

— Dominate my baseball fantasy league. It’s never happened, and I’ve never even qualified for the four-team playoffs, but it’s about time I changed all that.

— Start writing a book. I’d love to do a biography, but something with a broader base also could work.

— Practice investigative journalism. There’s a story brewing already.

— Referee more soccer games. I went to referee camp this year but I officiated less than 50 games in 2011. That’s simply not enough. I have to get more assignments, and assessments, if I’m going to get better.

— Obtain my AYSO National Referee badge. The Ken Aston Camp in June will allow me that opportunity, if only I’m invited. Oh, and I still need to be assessed for my Advanced Referee badge in order to become eligible.

— Be able to run faster, longer. I run well, but it looks like I need to prepare and participate in 5Ks and 10Ks if I’m going to have the fitness level needed to advance as a professional referee.

— Be a better soccer coach. After getting off the a 3-0-0 start this season, my patience during practice began to wane as we finished the season 2-3-2. The kids often became too silly, I struggled to reign them in, and drills suffered. Maybe I need to be tougher, or more strict or focused. Or maybe I need better drills. Haven’t figured that one out yet.

Whew. OK. I better stop there before I take on more than I can chew.

Sure, I could write things like, “Be a better husband and father,” but those are concepts I spend time thinking about and practicing every day. Putting it here would be redundant.

I also could write, “Be more awesome,” but again… redundant.

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Filed under Baseball, Coach, Dad, Fantasy Sports, Journalist, Referee, Soccer

Awakening The Spirits

Albert Pujols is worth the money. About that there’s little doubt.

However, what’s crossed my mind has been the thought that with all the free-agent blunders the Angels have made in recent seasons (someone check Vernon Wells for a pulse), the team would be so willing to go after the biggest fish in the tank.

Anyone not think Pujols fits that description? OK, I’ll move on.

What concerns me is the fact that the front office has misjudged free agents so poorly lately (don’t bother checking Scott Kazmir’s heartbeat), and I’m left wondering how that effected this team’s ability to judge free agents this time.

Ok, ok. Pujols is great. Has been great. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee, and his career’s only half over.

But what if… he’s cracked?

What if he’s defective? What if he develops a hitch in his swing or his step?

I’ll tell you what. It’d be 1999 and it’d be Mo Vaughn all over again.

We, as Angels fans, have seen this one before. Vaughn was a great hitter (not of Pujols caliber, admittedly) and a great community guy in Boston. He’s signed a monster contract to come to SoCal and fell into a dugout chasing a foul ball in 2001, injured a leg, and was never the same.

What if Pujols falls victim to the bizarre curse that has befallen so many Angels before him? Did Arte Moreno just pay a guy $250 million, guaranteed, to suffer an unseemly fate and not play up to the contract?

At some point, this is going to cost the franchise, but to what extent?

Will Pujols be Pujols for the next 10 years? He simply cannot, but it’s how he declines that will determine the relative worth of his new contract.

One thing is for certain: making a player among the league’s highest-paid sort of awakens the spirits, if you know what I’m saying.

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Filed under Baseball, Los Angeles Angels, MLB

Brandy-Sniftin’ BCS Bonanza

With the announcements of this season’s BCS schedule, I’ve decided that I’ve had enough with the SEC-dominated landscape of the BCS.

Yes, 100 percent of NFL rosters had SEC alums, and the SEC makes up for a ridiculous percentage of those rosters, but it’s not college football. It’s something else. It’s a super conference of which only the Alabamas, the LSUs, the Floridas, the Georgias, the Auburns — and coming next season, Texas A&M! — are members.

It reeks of Southern gentlemen drinking brandy from snifters as they siphon cash from their coffers. And I’m sick of it.

The players that play in that conference, my god the players, are some of the best athletes in the world. And they’re being purchased, monetarily or nay, to be football stars by these uber-rich, brandy-sniftin’ sonofabitches to make them even more money.

And all the players get is the chance at an education and a four to five-year contract. The players play, most skip classes, and everybody wins. The Brandy Snifters get the best product for their dollar, and the young men make their CEOs fantastic amounts of cold, hard cash.

Which, I suppose, brings me to a larger topic out the state of the BCS. I’ve written about the Bowl Championship Series on this blog before. I think this time, I just don’t care anymore. Or maybe I’m angry. Definitely frustrated.

There should by somebody, somewhere (maybe on Twitter) who is Occupying The Bowl Championship Series. I’d be willing to guess that only one percent of NCAA presidents have a piece of the pie. What about those other 99 percent of those presidents?

Sure, they’ll stick in an odd Virginia Tech or Stanford in the mix, to keep it relevant, but it’s easy to see that there’s serious money being made by these teams and their conferences. The BCS will go to great lengths to prove that a TCU, Boise State or Oregon has a shot. And they do. Certainly, on the field, they do.

But not every day, every year for the past decade. Six of the past 10 BCS champions are from the SEC. And this year’s championship is LSU vs. Alabama? Thud.

I know, I know. TCU won the Rose Bowl! Boise State beat Oklahoma! Oregon took Auburn to the wire in last year’s title game!

But did they? Did they really?

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Filed under Football, NCAA

Parenting Young Men

We want to raise our sons to be strong and brave, but it’s hard to see any results when it’s nothing but whining and crying.

Where’s the toughness? Where’s the machismo?

Certainly, behaviours are learned and repeated. It stands to reason that if I’m strong and brave, then they’ll see it and eventually start to emulate.

But then again, they’re just 6 and 2 and being strong means picking up toys, and being brave means going into an unlit room to flipp the light switch.

But what about five or ten years from now, when decisions have to be made about how to react on the playground, or even in the company of adults.

Will all the examples, all the training, prove useful to them? Will they decide to take charge of a situation and see it through to a just conclusion?

Will they be able to stand up for themselves, or others, when they’re being mis-treated. What will their first instinct be in an emergency?

These are all questions that cannot be answered until they are answered, but that leaves me questioning whether or not more can be done to create men. The kind of men other men look up to. My boys are gonna be tall.

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