A few random thoughts on the 2015 NBA/NHL playoffs

Finally!! As Bob Costas recently said “After 9 months of playoffs, the finals are finally here”. The NBA and NHL will begin their championship series this week. This means that the winter professional sports seasons will finally end just a few weeks short of the 4th of July. Perhaps in the future, the leagues can finish their seasons like around Memorial Day? Just a thought! Well anyways, I have enjoyed spending quality time sitting in my recliner watching some great playoff action. It is a great thing to see the games really mean a lot after several months of meaningless regular season games. I believe the players and coaches enjoy this time of the year much more as well. While watching some of the playoffs, I have come up with a few observations that I would like share.

1. MVP of the NBA playoffs so far:  In my opinion, it has to go to LeBron James. Sure Steph Curry and James Harden have put up some big numbers, but LBJ has really shown his greatness in leading his injury riddled team to the finals. Great players make their teammates better and James has certainly done that in this year’s playoffs. Who would have thought that the Cavs would be advancing to the finals without Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving playing much? He is basically carrying that team on his back. In the NHL playoffs, my vote goes to Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks. The captain of the Hawks has once again shown his brilliance in the playoffs with 2 goals in yesterday’s big game 7 clincher against Anaheim.

2. NHL playoffs are far more exciting than the NBA playoffs:  The NBA playoffs so far have been a real dud. As a fan who prefers the NBA, I have to confess that I have occasionally switched over to watch the NHL games. The Chicago, Anaheim series was a classic. The NBA conference finals nearly had two 4 game sweeps which is unthinkable for the conference finals. The NHL on the other hand, had a couple of game 7’s for their conference finals.

3. The story of high-profile injuries in the NBA playoffs:  It really starts with Cleveland losing Love and Irving; somehow they managed to overcome those huge injuries. Washington loses John Wall, Atlanta has some key injuries which hurt their chances to capitalize against Cleveland. Golden State nearly loses one of their very key players, Klay Thompson to a concussion. It appears that Thompson will be okay for the finals. It just goes to show you that a team is only a twisted ankle away from having a promising season go up in smoke.

4. The hockey hotbed of Tampa Bay?:  If you are a hockey purist, you cannot be happy with the success of Tampa Bay in this year’s playoffs. I hardly think of the city of Tampa being a hockey paradise. No offense to those fine fans and people of that city, but it just seems weird having a warm weather city like Tampa play for the Stanley Cup. The only ice that a majority of people in that city probably prefer to look at is the kind that goes in their drinks while they are sitting poolside or at a beach, not at some hockey rink.

5. Disappointed NBC executives, happy ABC executives:  Don’t you get the feeling that the sports executives of NBC were not happy when Tampa Bay knocked off the New York Rangers in game 7 on Friday night? A Rangers, Blackhawks finals would have been great for ratings being that both teams are from major markets and part of the original 6 teams of the league. On the other hand, the big wigs over at ABC have to be jumping for joy over what looks like a great NBA finals with 2 of the league biggest stars in James and Curry.

6. Predictions: Cleveland seems to be on some sort of magical run led by James, but I like Golden State to prevail in 6 games. Chicago has been a nice roll in the playoffs, but I expect Tampa and their good team speed to give the Hawks all kinds of problems. I like Chicago to win in 7.


A soldier died so I could write this blog post

This weekend marks the unofficial start to the summer season. Families will be gathering for picnics, barbeques and loads of fun. Very few will even give a thought about what this weekend is all about. If it wasn’t for the brave and courageous acts of many young men and women in our military, we might not be able to enjoy those precious moments with our families. Instead, we might be forced to participate in a national day of events for some dictator who rules this country. If you do not participate, you are thrown in jail and faced with the threat of execution. Families picnics and barbeques would be carefully monitored by the dictator’s secret police with restrictions on what we eat and drink. Yes, it would not be a fun country to live in. Chances are people like myself, who likes to call out the government on certain issues through social media, would be thrown in jail and faced with execution. Nobody would have any freedom of speech. Yet those scenarios are not happening because many brave men and women have made countless sacrifices to ensure those nightmare scenarios would not happen.

Tomorrow, every single American should take a moment of silence and think about the soldiers who have died serving this country and protecting our freedoms. These brave and women are the definition of what a true hero is all about. Our countries military is strictly voluntarily and nobody forces anyone to join. Many young men and women join because they feel a deep patriotic duty to do so and protect our freedoms. They know the dangers and risks of doing so. That does not stop them from making sacrifices so you and me can live a much better life. To die in serving this country is the most honorable way to end your life.

Unfortunately, many fail to acknowledge our fallen soldiers like they should. Some even like to blame our government for the death of so many soldiers such as the case in Iraq. The fact is that freedom comes with a cost. Those who are naïve enough to think otherwise are terrible mistaken. A large majority of people living in this country have never served in the military. Only a small percentage have had the guts to do the dirty work so we can all enjoy living in the greatest country in the world. I know I will take some time tomorrow to reflect on our true heroes. Because of their commitment to freedom, I can express my thoughts and opinions through my blog posts without facing the risk of losing my life.

Too harsh of a punishment for Tom Brady

A ruling on the much over-hyped deflate gate was finally made early this week with Tom Brady receiving a very harsh penalty of a 4 game suspension, as well numerous other fines levied at the New England Patriots. You would think from the severity of the punishment that Brady committed the biggest crime ever in the league. Once again, the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell makes another rather peculiar ruling that in my mind is way too harsh on, not only Brady, but on the Patriots in general.

For the record, I am not a huge Patriots fan and yes, they have been known for cheating in the past. But why is it that a player such as Ray Rice knocks out his fiancee in an elevator and initially only gets a 2 game suspension, while Brady gets tagged for a 4 gamer for allegedly knowing that the footballs were deflated? Yes, Brady may have known that the footballs were somewhat lacking in air and perhaps he instructed someone to take air out of the balls. Why is this such a big deal that Brady and the Patriots have the kitchen sink thrown at them for punishment? How does deflating the ball really affect the outcome of a game? Furthermore, isn’t it the job of the head referee to make sure the balls feel right before the start of the game? They handle the ball throughout the game and the fact that a player on the opposing team finally said something is rather puzzling. The referees should have noticed the under-inflated balls before the game even started.

This ruling will be appealed and it should be interesting to see if Brady gets his suspension lowered which he should. Suspending a player for a quarter of the season over this rather ticky tack violation is way too extreme in my view. Of course when you have a rather incompetent commish in Goodell, nothing should be surprising. Perhaps Goodell should spend more time worrying about the increasing violence in the league and come up with solutions. Somehow, I just don’t think that levying a huge fine on a player and organization just because the football is a few meager psi’s lower than the league rule should be a top priority for the NFL. Is Goodell all of sudden going to throw the hammer down on every team in the league? He could probably fine every team in the league for some little rules violation. Maybe he can have the league officials make sure the sideline heaters are the same temperature for both teams during cold weather games. The NFL should reserve their harsh sentences on things that will actually ruin and destroy the game. An under-inflated football is far from being one of those things. The NFL and Goodell needs to stop this foolishness right away. They are doing a great job of turning the NFL even further into the No Fun League.

The right verdict in the Boston bombing trial

In the aftermath of the verdict in the Boston bombing trial, which a federal jury convicted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for his role in that awful event, it has been very interesting to read how many people view the death penalty. Some are opposed to putting Mr. Tsarnaev to death. They simply want him to be locked away for the rest of his life in some prison. Others like myself agree with the verdict and support his execution. Amazingly, there are some people who feel he deserves leniency from the courts because in their minds, he is a so-called “follower” of his older brother and was influenced by his actions. Whatever your opinion may be about the verdict, it certainly is nice to have this trial come to a close and enable the victims families to have some closure over this awful event.

For the most part, I am not really a huge fan of the death penalty. Locking a killer up for the rest of his or her life seems to be a more reasonable way of punishing someone. Some criminals may even want to die and they view a death sentence as the perfect way to go out. In their opinion, they may looked at as being a martyr and get the attention they are seeking. Another drawback of the death penalty is the fact that too many innocent people may be sentenced to death for crimes they did not actually commit. However in this case and other terrorist acts where great casualties occur, I fully support it. The Boston Marathon bombings had the potential to kill many hundreds of people, fortunately only 3 people lost their lives. Over 200 people were severely injured. The fact that Tsarnaev and his brother intended to kill as many innocent people as possible should be reason enough to put this thug to death. He is an animal who deserves the same fate that his brother received a few days after the event. It was very unfortunate that so many families and victims had to endure a trial for this madman and yes, terrorist.

It is about time that we start treating terrorists like they should be treated. No more sympathy for evil people who are enemies of this country. They deserve the ultimate punishment. Tsarnaev knew exactly what he was doing and do you really believe for a second that he feels remorse for what he did? He is probably sitting in his lonely cell and dreaming of killing more of us. That punk deserves to die. We need to send a message to terrorists, not only around the world, but here in the United States that terrorist acts will be severely dealt with. If you go out and kill innocent people, there will  be a heavy price to pay.

Those folks who are sympathising for Tsarnaev make me sick!! What about the victims of his evil acts? Are you feeling the same compassion for that young 8-year-old boy who had his life abruptly snuffed out in an instant? Or the several people who lost limbs? Maybe if it happened to one of your family members or loved ones, your attitude might be a little different. Terrorist thugs like Tsarnaev do not deserve to being living. The world is a better place if we get rid of him and other terrorists who want to kill innocent Americans. The sooner we can eliminate them, the better.

Great words of advice from my Mother

Tomorrow is a very special day for millions of moms across this country as we celebrate Mother’s Day. For many of us, our mothers play a vital role in shaping who we are. Show me a successful person with lots of character and integrity and chances are, there is a mother responsible for those traits.

Over the years, I have had and still have a very close relationship with my mother. She is always the person that I feel most comfortable talking to regarding any personal problems that I might face in my life. Even though I live a few hundred miles away, my mom is always just a phone call away from giving me plenty of advice on any issue. She really loves her family and will do anything to help either myself or my sisters. Some of her words of advice has really paid of in my life and can’t thank her enough for them.

When I was in high school, my mom once gave me a little speech about the importance of choosing your friends wisely. Of course at that time, it didn’t really dawn on me how important that is. She told me how choosing the wrong group of friends can really sink you for life, especially when it comes to dating. Unfortunately, I did not take her advice and began dating a few people who were totally wrong for me. I was not happy and miserable. Then I remember what my mom had told me. Luckily those relationships ended and my peace of mind, as well as my life came back.

My mother always used to tell that there is always something good to take away from every situation, good or bad. She might be the best person to go to in the world when you are down and out over a particular negative issue. She is always very helpful and encouraging when I talk to her about a certain negative situation in my life. About 5 years ago, I went through a very dark moment in my life and my mom’s constant words of encouragement were very vital in helping me through that dark storm. People tell me that I have those same traits and I have certainly picked them up from my mother.

Lastly, she is a very generous woman who will give every last penny to help someone in need. My mom did stress being generous many times during my childhood and she certainly backs up those words of advice. I am not necessarily talking about giving money to other people, but simply doing random acts of kindness for others. For instance, she is always willing to help and support my sisters raise their children. Several times a week, she gets up very early in the morning and travels to my sister’s home to babysit my nieces and nephews. My sister can then go to work early and not have to worry about childcare. She is always giving money to charities and has several times worked in a soup kitchen for the poor.

Those are just a sample size of words of advice that my mother has given me. As I have grown older, I have really learn to appreciate what she has done for not only me, but my family. Those words of advice will never be forgotten and have made me a better person.

Why not just eliminate the Baltimore cops?

In the past year or so, there have been numerous high-profile incidents of so-called bad cop behavior which has certainly grabbed the national headlines. Any time a black man is gunned down by the police, there is automatically rage and anger by many people who claim that the men in blue are out to get people of color. Never mind that many of those victims, such as Michael Brown, were just asking for their fate due to their behavior. The recent Baltimore incident involving Freddy Gray just adds more fuel to the fire over whether police go way too far in dealing with African-American suspects.

Gray was a well-known to police as drug dealer and was apprehended one morning. While in police custody, Gray suffered a serious spinal injury and later died. It was assumed by many in the community that the police caused his injuries and riots along with protests broke out last week. There was and still no concrete evidence that the police caused the injuries; the only thing that is known is that the police were very negligent in dealing with Gray. Of course, the protesters and rioters are much smarter than everyone else and knew exactly what happened! Never mind that there was little evidence to support their claims of police brutality. When the DA announced on Friday that chargers would be brought to 6 officers involved in the incident, there was wide-spread celebration in the streets of Baltimore. The upcoming legal battle involving those cops is just beginning.

With all these incidents involving the police and accusations involving bad police conduct towards blacks, especially in Baltimore, why not just get rid of the cops? Perhaps the loud protestors and thugs who burnt down buildings can now police the city themselves. As a matter of fact, why not just eliminate cops from every city in this country. Let the people police themselves; no need to have those annoying cops harass us. If that happens, then those protesters and members of “Black Lives Matter” can go to places where they are really needed such as the inner city of Chicago and other major cities where there are several incidents of black people killing other black people. Many of those victims are young innocent children who just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Yes, things would be so much better if we just got rid of the cops and let the people of those inner cities just police themselves. No more incidents of police brutality to deal with. Life would be grand, wouldn’t it? Well maybe just not so!!

Sometimes I just want to scream in rage when I hear people whine and complain about our police officers. Imagine how bad things would be if we did not have any officers? Our society would be totally unlivable. It would be like the wild west. Our crime rates would be off the charts? Those protestors who were out celebrating last night because 6 officers were convicted make me totally sick! It is no secret that they have a real grudge with any man or woman in blue. Maybe they should learn to appreciate how those officers protect their lives. Some of those people demonstrating and protesting might be dead had not an officer risked his or her life for their safety.

The mayor of Baltimore is another person who has completely lost my respect. The town is burning up with rioters on the loose and she is telling the officers to not get involved and stand their ground? Really? What kind of poor leadership is that? She richly deserves all the criticism that she is receiving. Imagine for a minute if all Baltimore cops decided to just walk off the job. Her town would be an absolute mess and she would be the first one begging for the cops to come back. She and the district attorney are turning this into a total political event and that is just not right.

I can see in the very near future when no person in their right mind will want to be a police officer. Why pursue a job that is terribly dangerous and their actions are becoming more and more scrutinized? They will be more and more hesitant to use force on criminals who really deserve that kind of treatment for fear of being involved in a huge legal mess. Yes people, those days are just around the corner. The protesters will really be happy then. The world will be a much better place wouldn’t it? Somehow I think our society would be a real mess is that scenario took shape. The anti-police protesters need to appreciate that the police actually do a great job of protecting black lives. Imagine how many black lives would be lost if we did not have brave officers protecting our streets everyday.