Thoughts on the NFL draft

Despite the gorgeous spring weather, I stayed glued to my television for 3 straight days and watched all 7 rounds of the NFL draft. Well not really, I actually have a life!! Anyone who watched the draft beyond the 1st round probably needs to take a hard look at the way they spend their free time.  In all seriousness, I did watch a good portion of the first round since my Minnesota Vikings had 3 first round picks.  I thought they picked up some excellent young talent and addressed some of their needs. Getting Shariff Floyd was an absolute steal!! I cannot believe he lasted that long.

I have watched many drafts in my time and this one was maybe the most unpredictable in many years. When was the last time a draft had that many offensive and defensive lineman go in the top ten? But the biggest surprise is having only one quarterback getting drafted and no running backs during the first round. That is an absolute shocker!! I thought a guy like Eddie Lacy was a sure first round pick but he dropped big time as well.  I was also very surprised that Manti Teo lasted as long as he did. He had a very solid year and is very solid defending the pass. I think many teams might regret passing him up.

In all reality, I cannot blame NFL teams for drafting offensive and defensive lineman. Show me a good running back or quarterback and chances are his offensive line is very solid as well. Those guys in the trenches do not get the recognition that skill players do but they are a very vital part of any team. The same holds true on defense. A defensive back’s  job is so much easier if the line can apply pressure to the quarterback. In my opinion, building a strong football team starts with those big guys on the offensive and defensive lines. This year’s crop of players had several good lineman who can immediately help teams.

I think people get way too excited about some of these players. Drafting players is such an inexact science. How can you tell whether some guy is going to pan out or not? Just because some guy runs a fast 40 doesn’t mean a thing if he does not have a strong work ethic or cannot deal with adversity.  Equally, there are many late round picks who might surprise a few people. Remember a guy named Aaron Rodgers? He was the 61st pick in his class. I think he did pretty well for himself !!.

I know fans in many cities are feeling rather giddy after this draft, myself included. I think there were many players who could probably step in and help a team right away. As far as any huge impact players, probably not but you never know. I know this year’s draft did not have any big named skilled players but maybe there is another Rodgers just waiting to prove people wrong.  I think every NFL fan is praying and hoping their team selected that guy.




Global warming? Really?

The other day, I had a rather fun and interesting commute home from work. The snow was  coming down in droves, the winds were whipping up from the north and the temperature was a rather balmy 32 degrees with a windchill somewhere in the teens.  All of this on April 18th for crying out loud!! As you might have guessed, I had a rather slow commute home which gave me plenty of time to listen to my car radio.  I happened to come across a station which had on a guest who was talking about global warming and how we are being affected here in Minnesota. The timing of this interview could not have been any worse!! So some activist is trying to convince me that we have a problem with global warming on a day when the temperature is nearly 30 degrees below normal with snow to boot? Give me a break!! I nearly had a huge meltdown in the middle of the freeway when I heard the guest talk about this huge problem we are under. Perhaps she needs to get out of her bunker and stand outside for about ten minutes. Then tell me about your global warming crab!!!

I personally think global warming is one of the most overrated topics and biggest hoaxes there is.  There is very little conclusive evidence out there that it is a long-range problem and we need to take drastic action before the planet burns up. There are certain environmental groups and many activists who think otherwise and continue to press for more legislation to control energy. Actually, these people are just causing energy prices to skyrocket and further harm the economy for everyone. Forcing down a law to everyone in this country will do absolutely no good unless the WHOLE world complies to our standards as well. It does not do any good tell a certain plant that they have to control their emissions when some plant is China is not following the same law.

The whole perception that the earth is suddenly warming is just a huge myth. Scientists are not conclusive at all on this topic. In fact, the earth has actually cooled in the last several years. Sure we get these heat waves and above normal winters and everyone gets on the global warming bandwagon but temperatures do tend to even out over time. Using only 30 years of data is not a sufficient amount of time to conclude that the earth is getting warmer. If you look at the history of the earth, there have been many fluctuations of temperatures in a given period.

People who claim that greater CO2 emissions cause the earth to warm need to look at the period of 1940-1970 when level of CO2 emissions began to soar. The average earth temperature began to cool during the same period. So why is there all this fuss about burning coal and putting too much carbon in the atmosphere? All this talk about global warming being man-made is a big myth. I get really upset when I hear politicians talk about how we cannot burn coal because it will emit too much CO2 into the air. Maybe they should look at the facts before passing laws that will have a huge impact on our energy prices and economy.

I would invite all those global warming freaks to come to Minnesota some time and see how global warming is doing such damage to our state. I look out the window and see snow flurries, wind and about 5 inches of snow on the ground. And it is April 21st!! I wish they could be here right now for one of their conventions. Maybe they could sit outside at one of our outdoor stadiums and have a pow wow about how global warming is ruining the earth. I am sure many would want to get out-of-town as soon as possible provided they would not get stranded by the next late April snowstorm!!

The totally senseless Boston bombings

When you think about bomb attacks and people getting killed and injured, the last place that you would think this would happen would be here in the United States. I mean that kind of violence usually takes place in the Middle East in places such as Iraq but certainly not in a safe country like ours. Well that line of thinking really changed last Monday when a couple of punk brothers decided to pull the unthinkable and activate a few bombs.

A few thoughts came to my mind when I  heard about this awful act of violence. First of all, it could have happened anywhere here in the United States.  I got a real chill up my back when I heard that a bomb went off near the finish line of the Boston marathon because I usually attend our local marathon here in the Twin Cities. It could have just as easily happened at our race in nearly the same location where I stand as a spectator. I am sure the victims felt very safe at the location of the bomb blast. They were enjoying a great afternoon at one of the most prestigious events in this country, when all of sudden, their lives were completely changed forever. Many lost arms and legs and unfortunately, a few people were killed in the blasts.

I think I can speak for millions in asking why? What motivates a couple of thugs to do this kind of violence and kill a completely innocent 8-year-old boy and take the lives of two young women who had promising futures ahead of them? If there ever is an example of how evil this world is, Monday’s events were a prime example. I never want to wish death or suffering on anyone but both of these got what they deserved. One of the guys got killed and the other probably suffered for many hours before being captured. Terrorists like these guys need to be wiped off the face of the earth. They do not deserve to be living, pure and simple. Forget about giving these guys Miranda rights. They deserve no rights at all!! I hope the remaining suspect is interrogated like crazy so he will spill some beans and maybe help prevent future attacks on innocent Americans.

The disturbing thing about these bombings is that there are probably more individuals in this country who are planning similar attacks. Like I said earlier, it could happen anywhere in the country. Maybe the next attack will be at some crowded mall or nightclub. We need to have some serious dialogue about what can done to prevent future acts of violence by these terrorists. There are many students in this country with overseas ties like these guys and you have to wonder if some of them are in contact with terrorist groups. There is a growing danger to Americans from many radical groups. What is going to stop some individual from walking into some crowded sporting event and blowing themselves up? I hope these bombings are not a sign of things to come in this country.

In about 51 weeks from now, the next Boston marathon will take place and I personally hope it will be the biggest and best ever. We need to show these terrorists that this country will not be intimidated by their actions. If there ever was a silver lining to this awful event, it is how people came together. I still cannot believe the sight of people in Yankee stadium the other night pay a salute to Boston. They are probably the biggest and most hated rivals in sports but funny how a tragedy can unite the most unlikely of people. Terrorist cowards seem to underestimate how strong us Americans are. We may have our differences but in time of need, we got each others back and support.

My heart really goes out to the families of those killed and to those people who survived but have had their lives totally turned upside down. We need to continue keeping these people in our thoughts and prayers. Another mention goes out to the fine work of the authorities in Boston. The video of people cheering the police on Friday night sent tears to my eyes. Those guys are true American heroes to me. They risked their lives to capture a very dangerous suspect on the loose.

I hope and pray that this event will not never be repeated anywhere else in this country. We really need to be more vigilant than ever as Americans to prevent this from happening again. Authorities and the police can do only so much. It is people like you and I who can prevent further tragedies from happening. Terrorists have a strong desire to kill as many Americans as possible even a poor innocent young boy.  They are our enemies we all could be the next victims of these cowards.





The misfortunes of Tiger and Kobe

You might say that last Friday, April 12th, will be a day that both Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods will want to forget as quickly as possible. Both of these high profile athletes probably had their worst nightmares come to true life in a matter of hours. It just goes to show you that even the great ones in any particular sport will sooner or later face adversity and how they respond will usually define their legacy.

I have never seen a golfer in any tournament get the kind of bad break that Woods got on the 15th hole. During his approach shot, Woods hit a nearly perfect shot onto a slanted green. The objective was to hit the ball towards the back of the green and spin the ball back towards the pin. Woods had the proper line and distance except there was a small obstacle in the way, the flag stick. The ball hit the flag stick on the way to the back of the green and promptly rolled off the green and into a creek located near the front edge of the green. Had the ball not hit the flag stick, it probably would have spun back to within a few feet of the cup and therefore giving Woods a great opportunity for a birdie on a par 5 hole. Instead, Woods was forced to drop his ball near the spot of his first shot and play the shot over with a one stroke penalty. His drop shot was perfect and landed close to the pin and Woods made a boogie 6. I believe Tiger could have probably hit a 100 balls from that same spot and not hit the pin. It was a terrible break and to add insult to injury, it was ruled later that Woods did not drop the ball in the proper place. He apparently dropped the ball a few yards back from where he was suppose to play his shot and according to the rules of golf, that is a no-no.

Although it seems like a rather silly rule, Tiger should have known about it. There is absolutely no excuse for any professional golfer not to know the rules of the game. They should know the rules inside and out especially concerning drops. That is a very common occurrence. I can remember a few years ago, Dustin Johnson got assessed a 2 stroke penalty for grounding his club into a trampled down area. Just days before, he received a memo explaining the rules of the course but obviously did not pay attention. It might have cost Johnson, thousands of dollars and a possible major championship.

The same can be said of Woods. The oversight of the rules along with a terrible, unlucky bounce cost him four strokes on the hole and probably will cost him the tournament. Imagine if he finishes three strokes behind the winners? If I were in his shoes, I would not be able to sleep for a week and have many nightmares about that incident.

The play that Kobe got injured on was just shear bad luck. If you ever watch him play, he is always making aggressive stop and start moves with the ball. The guy has the best footwork in the game. This time, the body finally caught up to him and he torn his Achilles tendon on a move to the basket.

The timing of the injury could not have been worse. The Lakers are fighting for a playoff spot and Bryant has been playing his rear end off during the last few weeks, trying everything in his power to put the Lakers in the post season. I am not really a Kobe fan but I admire his hard work and dedication to the game. He might be the hardest working player in the NBA and his work ethic is something that many younger players in the league should look at.

There was some talk after the injury that his career might be over. After all, Bryant is 34 but he has played in the league since he was 18. Along the way, Kobe has played in many playoff series so he might be considered an old 34. Those who say his career is over are totally full of it!! I would not be surprised if Bryant comes back better than ever for next season. His work ethic and determination will help him greatly in his rehab. I think the injury will give him another challenge to conquer and might be a blessing in disguise.

It seems like more athletes these days are suffering  serious injuries and it should really come as no secret. These guys need to take more time off from the game. Kobe has been logging heavy minutes this season after playing for the Olympic team last summer. A sport like basketball is hard on the body especially the joints. There is a great deal of pressure to do well and succeed but sometimes players need to dial back not only on their playing time but look at their off the court training. Kobe is a prime example of an athlete who probably pushed his body a bit too far. Just my opinion.

I am sure both of these great athletes will have brighter days ahead. I expect Tiger to bounce back and win a few more majors. Contrary to what people say, he has a lot of good golf left in his career and I believe he will break Nicklaus’s record for majors. The same can be said of Bryant. He still has about 5 good years left in him if he wants to continue playing. I am sure both of these guys will continue to have their ups and downs but both are tremendously tough minded athletes who will not let a bad day affect the rest of their careers. They will both bounce back.

The Supreme Court same-sex marriage cases

A few weeks ago, the Federal Supreme Court conducted hearings on a couple of same-sex marriage laws, The Defense of Marriage Act, otherwise known as DOMA, and the Prop 8 law from California which bans same-sex couples from getting married. The rulings of the court should be known by June. As is the case with anything to do with same-sex or gay marriage, it is a highly controversial case and will have a great bearing on the future culture of this country in many ways.

I have strong feelings about whether same-sex marriage should be legal or not and I am not alone. It might be the most divisive social issue ever to hit this country, even more so than abortion. I am against same-sex marriages for many reasons and in my opinion, it is totally wrong to redefine a union that has existed for thousands of years. God intended marriage to be between and man and a woman. But let’s look at these cases and what it may mean to this country in the future.

The Prop 8 law in California was not some bill that a few politicians decided to implement into law. It was put up to a vote by the people of the state and passed by a rather convincing margin, 52-47 percent. It is rather clear that people in California do not want same-sex marriage to be legal. This is not only the case with California but 30 other states have passed similar laws banning same-sex marriages. Now all of a sudden, a few activists judges want to overturn the wishes of many Californians by declaring Prop 8 to be unconstitutional. Why even have a vote then? If the California law gets struck down then what about the other 30 states? I would assume their bans on same-sex marriage would be declared unconstitutional as well. It is an extremely sad day in this country when a couple of judges are able to control things and overturn the will of the people. That is so un-American!! Maybe we should just let the judges elect who the president will be as well. Why waste time and money with having an election?

During the hearings, the word right was mentioned numerous times as in the right for someone to get married. I agree, we all have a right to get married and no one of legal age is actually denied the right to get married in this country. Gay people have the right to get married just as well as anybody else. All they have to do is find someone of the opposite sex to marry and they will be granted that right.  Just because we love someone doesn’t give us the right to marry that person. That is a very weak argument. Suppose people of the same-sex are allowed to get married, then what about my right to marry more than one woman? I may love more than one woman, perhaps 5, but why can’t I have the right to marry all of them? Suppose someone is bi-sexual. Do they have a right to marry both and have a 3 way marriage? A couple of family members may be very close, perhaps cousins and they want to form a union and live together to obtain the tax benefits of getting married. Where do you drawn the line on marriage? I hope the federal justices realize what a slippery slope they are dealing with. It will certainly lead to many different forms of marriage and unions. Do we want that in this country?

One of the biggest concerns I have about legalizing gay marriage is the impact it will have on our religious freedoms.  If a judge declares it a civil right for a gay person to marry his lover, then how are the churches across this country affected? If it is a civil right to have same-sex marriages, then I would think the any church in this country would be obliged to perform same-sex ceremonies, right? If not, they could be sued and many could lose their tax exempt statuses. Many churches do not support same-sex marriages and will not go against the will of  God.  Forcing someone to perform or be a part of one of those ceremonies is a clear violation of religious liberties and freedoms.

If same sex-marriage is declared legal and a right, then schools will begin teaching about it to children. Suppose I am a parent who opposes same-sex marriage and I do not want my children to be taught about it. What rights do I have as a parent? Believe me, there are many parents who would be outraged if their children were taught about that type of marriage. It seems like a big double standard in schools is starting to develop. We frown upon God and religion being taught in our schools but not same-sex marriages. That is totally wrong!!

I wish there was a way to solve these issues and make everyone happy. I have gay friends and wish them a lot of happiness. What they do in the privacy of their homes is none of my business but when they start forcing their way of life unto me and others, then it is MY BUSINESS!!. I hope the federal justices will consider the consequences of their decisions as well as other judges in making these decisions. The impact could change the culture of this country for generations and not necessarily for the good.




The Rutgers coach firing and player abuse

This past week, a video surfaced of practice sessions involving a division 1 basketball school Rutgers. In the video, the head coach was seen running around and acting like a complete maniac, shoving, screaming and throwing balls at players along with using language that would make a good many sailors blush. The coach, Mike Rice, apparently used several anti-gay references in his tirades and that seemed to be the final straw in determining his fate.

Being someone who has played both high school  and college basketball, my immediate reaction was why would anyone want to play for some lunatic like Rice? I was amazed that many players are still with the program. I mean, what kind of fun would the game be if your coach was constantly abusing and insulting you as well as throwing balls towards your direction? If I wanted to have balls thrown at me, I would join a dodge ball class!! In this day and age of high maintenance and fragile players, it is amazing no player snapped and went after Rice. I cannot believe that did not happen.

This type of coaching behavior probably happens at many other colleges and is not reported. There really is a very fine line as to how far a coach should go before he crosses that line. Many sports especially basketball involve being mentally prepared and some players simply need a good chewing out to get them going. I certainly do not have a problem with that but is it really necessary to shove a guy or hurl a ball at him because he failed to switch on defense? That type of extreme behavior is totally not right and any coach who does that should be at the very least, reprimanded.

A good coach knows exactly how to motivate his players and each player is different. Player A may respond much better than Player B when the coach gets in his face and yells at him.  No two players are alike and some respond better to criticism than others. From my experiences, I believe too much yelling and criticism is actually counterproductive for a player. Sure, installing the fear of getting yelled at will motivate most players to hustle after that loose ball or pay attention but it may force players to become timid and afraid of making mistakes on the court.  A player who is uptight and hesitant on the basketball court will never play well. I strongly believe in praising players and creating a positive environment so a player will actually develop confidence in his game.

The school was absolutely justified in firing Rice for his conduct. There is no way anyone can defend Rice for what he was doing on the videos.  When a coach starts grabbing and physically abusing players, then action must be taken. One of the greatest coaches of all time, Bobby Knight got fired for grabbing a player around the throat and Rice certainly deserves the same fate as Knight.  When a coach starts using those tactics, it is time for him or her to go. There is no place in society for leaders like coaches to be treating young people like that.  What kind of examples are they setting for these kids? A college coach in many cases is kind of like a fatherly figure to many players.  They can have a big time influence on a player, not for just the time they are on the team, but for life.

Rice is still a young guy who will certainly get a second chance. He has had some success in his young career but his reputation has really been tainted by this episode. I doubt many of today’s top-notch players will want to play for a guy like Rice unless he dramatically changes his ways. Imagine when his team goes on the road for a game and the reception he will get from the home team’s student section. I can just see some wise cracking student post a sign “Beware of flying basketballs”. Coaches like Rice eventually get what they deserve. John Wooden never had to act like a maniac to get results and neither should any other college coach.