Monday, January 31, 2011

Excessive Celebration in Sports

The sarcastic among the pundits like to refer to the NFL as the No Fun League instead of the National Football League. I guess that's because the players aren't allowed to have enough fun. Call me boring, call me old school, call me whatever you like, but they and other pro athletes are having a lot of fun. They are playing games and making millions of dollars, sometimes without being that kind of fantastic at their sports. To me, that would be fun enough.

So, I watch a wide receiver make a fairly routine catch for a 12-yard gain and a first down. And, he struts all over the field. Hasn't he just done what he is getting paid for? Or, is he the one who is right and in fact, when I help out a client, I should be doing chest bumps with my nearest colleague? I don't think so. That is what I get paid for. Don't get me wrong, it's fine to show some emotion, but this has gone way too far. To a large extent, I blame ESPN the most , and the networks that carry the games to a slightly lesser extent. They show these stupid celebrations over and over again. So, the players really believe, in my opinion, that this is what everybody wants to see.

Don't get me wrong. When B.J. Raji (all 338 pounds of him) ran back an interception for a touchdown a week ago, that was different. While interceptions are part of the game he plays, that was probably a once in a career thing for him. It was unexpected ... to him and to everyone else in the stadium and out in TV land. He deserved some celebratory moments.

But, when you do exactly what it is that you are getting paid for, just treat it as part of your job. I never saw Walter Payton practicing Zumba after he scored a touchdown (OK, there was no Zumba then). Johnny Unitas never shook his booty in an opponent's face. Alan Page didn't do a dance over a fallen quarterback. To players like this, being great at what they did and contributing to wins was enough. And, they didn't get paid anywhere near as much.

Obviously, more people than not disagree with me. But, it's my blog, so here I am correct, until you convince me otherwise. Disagree? Tell me so. Convince me. But, if you think that's easy, You Don't Know John.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Don't They Teach Grammar in School in the 21st Century

Look up the word 'myself' in a dictionary. I looked it up online. I learned that this word is used both as a reflexive pronoun or in place of 'me' for intensity.


Nowhere does it say that using the word myself for no reason other than to attempt to sound smart and to really sound stupid is appropriate. Are you confused? Read on.

I've received many e-mails that end with this sentence: If you have any questions, call myself. Why oh why ... doesn't call me do the trick. Blondie even did a song about it in the late 70s or early 80s. You remember:
Color me your color baby, color me your car. Color me your color darling, I know who you are. Come up off your color chart, I know where you're coming from. Call me on the line. Call me call me any time. Call me, oh my love. When you're ready we can share the wine, call me.
It doesn't say call myself.

While I'm at it, it's time to dump on the talking heads on the over-the-air and cable networks. They love to invent words. They love to make verbs out of nouns and then turn around and make nouns out of the verbs that they made out of nouns.

Example: Radical has become a noun (some might argue, but a person who displays radical tendencies is often referred to as a radical). Now, radicalize has become a verb. Come on people, radicalize is not a word. And, to make it worse, the act of radicalizing someone has become radicalization.

This is as bad as the duo credited to none other than Al Gore in the venerable Oxford English Dictionary. He is credited with having coined the verb (ouch, it's not a verb, it never was a verb, and it never should be a verb, but the OED says it's a verb) 'incentivize', and it's even uglier cousin, the non-noun, 'incentivization'. What's the matter, is motivate no longer a legitimate word? Is providing an incentive to cumbersome?

And, then there is one of my other favorites -- the use of impact as a verb. Look up the etymology. Impact comes from the same root as incite. It implies a physical collision whereas affect (effect is a noun) does not imply a physical collision.

There are many more of these horrendous uses of words that I could come up with, but that's enough for today's rant.

You think I'm too stuffy here, comment. You think I'm wrong, comment. It's my blog and my turn to rant, and if you don't believe it, You Don't Know John.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Every Child Left Behind

It was one of the crowning achievements of the administration of Bush 43 -- No Child Left Behind. It was the revolutionary law that was to hold teachers accountable for their students. Schools were to be held accountable.

But, there was a problem. It didn't work.

Students are now judged largely on standardized tests. So are their schools, and in some cases, so are their teachers. So, what happens? Many teachers are afraid to teach useful stuff. it's much easier to teach to the standardized tests, so that the students will look like they are succeeding.

What happens? The students learn how to score well on standardized tests. They don't learn problem-solving skills. They don't learn to read ... to really read. They don't learn to write proper English. Their math skills are horrible. Sure, they can use a calculator or computer, but they have no idea how to assess if the answer that is coming out is correct.

I shouldn't generalize this to all schools, all teachers, all students. But there are far too many. President George W. Bush was correct. We needed (and still need) education reform. He tried. I give him credit for that. And, he did place a newfound focus on education. It's a first step, but perhaps we need to take at least half a step back before we take a step forward.

Tell me I'm wrong. Comment. Berate me. I like a good argument, but as I said in an earlier post, of course, my opinions are correct. Or, at least they are until you convince me otherwise. And, you know what, if you do convince me otherwise, I'll be grateful.

I Have Opinions on Sports - Tennis This Time

I have opinions on sports. So does everyone else. The difference, of course, is that my opinions are closer to being facts. Oh, you think yours are, too?

Since a major tennis tournament is in progress, I am going to get controversial about tennis, first. I hear all this stuff about Roger Federer being the greatest player of all time. I take exception. Roger Federer may (or may not) be the greatest male singles player of all time. He has an excellent serve, one of the great forehands in history, an outstanding backhand, and a good net game when he uses it.

Roger Federer has never won a Grand Slam. Rod Laver won 2 of them, 7 years apart. He won one in 1962 as an amateur. Then, he turned pro and wasn't eligible for the Grand Slam events from 1963 through 1968. Then, he won the Grand Slam as a pro in 1969. He won 11 major singles titles and 8 major doubles titles despite being in eligible for 6 years in his prime. He was arguably the #1 player in the world every year from 1961 through 1971. That's 11 straight years. He won on grass, he won on clay, and although there were no Grand Slam hard court events at the time, he won on hard courts. He had perhaps the best forehand in his era, one of the best backhands, and probably the best serve and the best net game.

Today, they play with different equipment, they have tour trainers, the players are pampered. I know that we really have no way of comparing, so all we can do is look at dominance in their own eras. For my money, The Rocket was the best ever.

You disagree? Then, comment!

My Second Blog

My other blog at is for business. There I blog about exciting stuff like benefits and compensation, and other HR, Finance, and Risk issues. None of that is going to happen here.

Here I am going to be opinionated. I am going to blog about outside interests, frustrations, pet peeves, misconceptions, and anything else that I feel like.

I hope you'll enjoy.