RIP to a great basketball junkie, Flip Saunders

Today is a very sad day for me and many other sports fans here in Minnesota because we lost a very popular coach in Flip Saunders. He was my favorite NBA coach. I was a big fan of him and have been for a long time. Saunders might not have been the best coach that ever lived; there have been far more successful coaches at many levels. But in terms of being passionate about the game of basketball, Flip has very few equals. That man lived, slept and dreamed basketball. If you look up the word basketball junkie in the dictionary, Flips picture is right there. He defined what a true basketball junkie was all about.

I have heard stories that Saunders used to wake up his son, who is an assistant coach for the Timberwolves, to go over a new play that he just thought of. How amazing is that!! It was basketball 24/7 for that guy. I don’t know if the guy ever slept! Lately, he was dead set on turning the struggling Timberwolves franchise around. He was excited to be coaching this upcoming season because he had some very good, young talent on the roster. A guy like Saunders is perfect for developing young players just starting out in the league. You could just tell from the press conference this summer in which Karl Anthony Towns was introduced that Saunders just chomping at the bit to start the season. This was his new project; rebuild the team which is something he was very passionate about. Now those dreams are a distant memory.

Outside of being a coach, Saunders was a great family man according to many reports. He had a weekly radio show on one of our all sports radio stations and I used to love to listen to the show. He was very articulate on talking about the NBA and the Timberwolves. Not only that, but he was a very knowledgeable sports fan who could talk about other sports as well. I even heard him talk about some of his favorite musicians and some of the concerts that he recently attended. Saunders was the type of guy who you would want to go out to dinner with. He seemed like just a normal everyday fan who just happened to be doing something that he loved, coaching basketball.

Somewhere up in heaven, Flip is probably discussing a new way to run the pick and roll with God. The Timberwolves were extremely fortunate to have him be part of the organization. He had planted the seeds on what could be the start of something very good for this franchise. RIP Flip!! All of us hoops fans here in Minnesota will greatly miss you!

A huge lesson to be learned from the Oklahoma St. tragedy

One of the most tragic events of the year in this country occurred yesterday during a homecoming parade at Oklahoma State when an intoxicated driver lost control of her vehicle and plowed into a group of people watching the parade. 4 people were killed including a 2-year-old boy. Several people were injured including several children. You would think that this would be the very last place an incident like this would take place, but unfortunately as this story shows, we are all at risk from those idiots who irresponsibly and selfishly decide to get behind the wheel of a 4000 pound weapon and put the lives of innocent people at risk.

There are always many public service ads on television and radio warning of the dangers of drunken driving and the impact it may have on one’s life. Yet it is amazing how nonchalant many people folks are when it comes to drunken driving. “Oh, I am okay to drive” is the typical response from someone who has had way too many to drink at a party. They are not willing to swallow their pride and let someone else drive them home. That sense of pride and lack of understanding about the effects of alcohol on the mind has caused numerous people to lose not only their lives but the lives of others. It doesn’t even have to involve a fatality. A person driving under the influence can receive or give someone else a devastating lifetime injury. It is sad how one stupid mistake can have such awful endings.

The woman who caused this accident might not be the most evil person in the world like most people seem to think. She might be a perfectly normal loving human being who just happened to make a terrible mistake. Imagine for a minute if you were in her shoes today, how could you even begin to live with yourself? You just killed an innocent 2 year boy who had the rest of his live ahead of him. You killed 3 other people who now have family members and friends grieving for their losses. Many people might have suffered injuries which will affect them for the rest of their lives along with a lifetime of pain and suffering. All because of your stupid decision!! The woman will no doubt get a harsh sentence for what she did, but the real punishment will be the fact that she has to live with this event for the rest of her life.

Just maybe something positive will come out of this tragic event. Drunk driving is a very serious problem in not only this country, but everywhere in the world. Millions of innocent lives are forever changed by the poor decisions of a few individuals. Perhaps this event serve as wake up call to people to start taking intoxicated driving seriously. It is NOT cool to be driving home after drinking at a bar. I can’t think of no greater life mistake than putting my life and the lives of others in danger. Since this event was so well publicized, maybe somebody last night decided to put down their keys after a night of drinking and in the process, save an innocent child unlike what happened yesterday.

The outrageous Democratic party debate

About 10 years ago, I made a little vow to myself to never ever vote for another Democratic again, whether it be in a local election or a national one. From now on, it will be either a Republican or in many cases, a strong independent candidate. The reason is that this party has turned into nothing but a bunch of extreme left-wing zealots. They might as well rename the party the United States Socialist party because many them of are nothing but a bunch of socialists! My vow was totally reaffirmed last week while watching the first Democratic debate for 2016. This debate should have made all Americans mad and disgusted with the party. Is this group of candidates the best the party can offer us? Several key moments happened during the debate which really left me shaking my head in amazement.

1. Dear Mr. Sanders, I DO CARE about Hillary’s emails and so do many Americans across the country. Your statement that “Americans do not care about Hillary’s damn emails” was totally foolish and short-sighted. When a high-ranking government official allegedly uses here own private server to store private, classified documents and thus, put the security of the entire nation at risk, I DO CARE!!! The effort to brush this controversy aside is appalling. I would say the same thing if Hillary was a Republican or an Independent. Public officials NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE!!!

2. All lives matter, period!!¬† A question was asked to the candidates “Do black lives matter or do all lives matter” Well apparently 4 out the 5 candidates don’t believe that my life as a white guy matters. A person running for the office of the president should value the lives of every single person in the country, whether it be white, black, Asian, Indian etc. The answer given was typical pandering by many Democrats towards certain minority groups. Look at cities run by Democrats and tell me how they are helping people of color.

3. Free stuff to illegals. I heard Mr. Sanders, the misguided and delusional socialist talk about giving free tuition to people in this country. First of all, nothing is free. The free stuff that Sanders and the other candidates are talking about will be paid for by the tax payers in this country. Second of all, any American in this country who is here legally should be outraged by the idea that we should give away free stuff to illegals in this country. Those who are in this country illegally need to go through the same process as those folks who actually went through the same process to get here legally, and many have. What kind of message is it when a candidate is willing to give away free stuff to people who break our laws? Many of us normal people are affected by this “Santa Claus” approach to illegal aliens.

4. Terrorism vs. climate change. My jaw nearly dropped to the floor when I heard Sanders give his answer on this question. The group ISIS is trying hard to recruit here in the United States to carry out home-grown terrorist attacks. There are people living in my city who were caught trying to board a plane to fight for them. I believe it is only a matter of time before they conduct a major strike here in the United States. The threat of terrorism should be a major concern to everyone, especially those running for the president. And then you have old man Sanders saying that climate change should be something that we should worry about more. Seriously? Climate change is something way, way down on the list of things that keep me awake at night. Somebody who lives 20 miles away who is willing to kill me is what I am really worried about. Let’s cut out the nonsense, Mr Sanders!!

5. Income inequality. I definitely agree that income inequality is a growing problem for not only people in this country, but for those around the world. The answers given by the candidates were typical Democratic answers on how to fix the problem. Let’s take away from those high earners. I did not hear many candidates talk about the fact that there are many opportunities out there for high-tech and skilled jobs. Why not give more opportunities for people to become those high wage earners? Instead, I just heard about how we should punish the rich even more, raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour etc, policies that have been proven time and time again to fail.

Where are the days of Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy when the Democratic party actually had people in charge who knew something? Instead we have this group of delusional misfits who don’t have a clue. Why would anyone in their right mind vote for any of them?

Hooray for the Cubs

It is very typical for a sports fan to root for the underdog, especially when it comes to playoff time. I mean, who wants the same old team to win the championship ever year? There is a team in this year’s playoffs who define what a lovable loser is, that team is the Chicago Cubs. It has been nearly 70 years since that famous franchise has made it to the World Series, 70 years!! The last time the Cubs won the World Series happened in 1908. A few years ago, I began to wonder if there was better chance that hell would freeze over before the Cubs won the World Series. It is hard to believe, but this year’s squad may just the team that breaks that long curse of the Billy Goat.

I still remember like it was yesterday. Who can forget that infamous Steve Bartman game! The year was 2003. The Cubs were just 6 outs from going to the World Series. They had a 6-3 lead in game 6 and lead the Series 3 games to 2. One more win and the jinx would finally be over. Then the unimaginable happened. First, Bartman interferes with a Cubs outfielder on a fly ball hit near the seats which would have been a sure out. By the way Cubs fans, blaming Bartman for losing that game is one of the most ridiculous things that I have ever seen in sports. Blame the team for choking on the field, not a fan. The Cubs went on to lose that game, followed by losing game 7. I remember watching the television shots of dejected Cubs fans in the seats. How could this have happened? One of the most stunning collapses in sports history. The Cubs are going home and the jinx is still alive.

This year’s team is very capable of not only going to the Series, but winning the whole thing. They seem to be a team of destiny. Every year, a team suddenly gets hot at the right team and the Cubs just may be that team. First they beat Pittsburgh on the road in the Wild Card game. Then they beat a good St. Louis Cardinal team. I firmly believe they have as good of a shot at winning the whole thing as any other team. They have absolutely nothing to lose. If they don’t make it this year, they will surely be contenders for the next few years. If you are a Cubs fan, you have to feel good about all that good young talent on the team.

The Cubs fan are among the most loyal fans in all of sports. I cannot help but to be happy for them if the Cubs went to the Series or even better, won the whole thing. I still remember all of the lean years when they still filled Wrigley field despite the awful team on the field. Loyal fans like that deserve a championship and a successful team. Imagine if the Cubs did win the World Series? I can just hear Harry Carey shouting down from heaven, “Cubs win!, Cubs win!” Justice would be served for all the loyal and patient Cubs fans in not only Chicago, but around the country. This could be the year that the jinx of the Billy Goat comes to a screeching end.

The very slow game of baseball

Like many sports fans, I have my favorite sports that I cannot get enough of. For instance, football and basketball top my list of favorite sporting events to watch on television. Don’t get me wrong, I will watch any sport on television that at least peaks my interest somewhat. I just prefer the excitement and entertainment that those two sports offer. Sports that are fast paced¬† tend to keep me glued to the television for hours. And then we have the sport of baseball, the sport preferred by millions of turtles around the world.

In the game of baseball, it would be interesting to track the amount of the time that the ball is actually in play during a 3 hour game. Ball 1, strike 1, foul ball, timeout while the batter steps out of the batter’s box to adjust his uniform the 10th time in the game. In many cases, the pitcher takes forever between pitches to throw the ball to home plate (see Derek Lowe). He needs to get his signals 100 percent in agreement with the catcher before he delivers the rock. JUST THROW THE BLEEPIN BALL, PLEASE!! After a few tosses to the catcher, there is a moment of excitement, the batter actually hits the ball which in about 70-75 percent of cases is an actually out. Then the process starts over again. The batter will arrive to the plate, adjust his uni, step out again and the pitcher will once again take forever to deliver the rock. This process will continue for 9 agonizing innings. And lets not forget the constant change of pitchers late in the game which greatly slow down the game.

If you think watching the game is bad, just imagine the fun of playing the game which I have had. When I was 15 years old, I quit the game because it was simply too boring to play. I switched to track which I found was far more enjoyable of a sport to participate in. After I nearly fell asleep in the outfield during a game, I knew I needed to change sports. It is great to get an opportunity to go bat and hit the ball on those few occasions, but playing in the field can be extremely excruciating and boring experience, especially if you have an ace pitcher on the mound who strikes out a number of batters.

In this new fast paced society of ours, I wonder about the future of baseball. Are kids going to keep playing the game that is very slow and boring to play? When I was a young lad growing up, Major League baseball was the number one sport in the country. Now it has fallen to number 2 and I can see where the NBA will overtake it in the near future. Just how will this new generation of kids view baseball?

Before all you baseball junkies start sending me hateful comments, I do watch several games each year. I greatly respect the tradition of the game and baseball is one of the cheapest sports for any kid to play. The Major League playoffs and World Series have offered up some of the most dramatic moments ever in sports. But if you really want to torture me, force me to watch a double-header in the middle of August with a couple of non-contending teams playing. For good measure, maybe thrown in Derek Lowe to pitch one of the games and I might suddenly lose my sanity!! Baseball is indeed a very slow sport that fast paced sports lovers like myself sometimes struggle to watch.

Those awkward first dates

So you have met that promising prospect on an internet dating site who appears to be everything that you have ever hoped for in a partner. You guys have been exchanging emails frequently in the past few weeks along with a few text messages and phone calls. Now is the time to finally meet face to face. Millions of single people and yes, perhaps some married, have gone through this anticipation of finding out more about this mysterious person. What are they like in person? They sure sound nice based on the text messages you have received or the phone conversations, but in person, are they still that charming or is it just some front that they are putting up? It is a big mystery that makes first dates very fascinating and at times, a little awkward when a couple of strangers meet in person for the first time.

I must confess that being a single person, I have gone on several first dates in my life. I sometimes wonder while driving to our meeting place if this is really worth it. I feel like I am about to go on a job interview. The pressure is on; do my clothes look good? How will I be able to handle some of the questions that may come up? What if she turns out to be totally different from what her profile indicates about her and I find myself greatly disappointed in the first few minutes? Or perhaps the opposite happens, she turns out to be a knockout and I suddenly get extremely nervous and intimidated over her looks. I may try to hard to impress her. The level of uncertainty and the fact that you are trying really hard to make a good first impressions can lead to a lot of awkwardness and nervous moments.

As I have gotten older and just maybe? a little wiser, I have put aside the thought that a first date should be like a job interview. It should be a fun and fascinating experience for both of you. What do you have to lose? If the date does not go well and the hopes that you really built up are suddenly shattered, move on and find someone else! There are plenty of other people out there. Plus you have gained some valuable dating experience by going on this date. The more dates you go on, the more you learn how to handle the awkwardness and nervousness that occurs. Even if the your date does not end up being your type physically, you can still keep in touch and remain good friends. Just go out and have the attitude that you will have a good time and ENJOY YOURSELF!! If your date is a complete loser, find some excuse ahead of time to cut the date short. No need to waste your time. First dates should be short anyways.

I find the most awkward part of any first date is how to end it and say goodbye. Suppose we both had a great time and things seemed to go fairly well? What about a second date? Unless I am meeting a woman with whom I am totally turned off by, I will usually bring up getting together again. I find that you really need to go out multiple times before getting to know someone. One date is just not enough in my opinion. Maybe the next date can be something like going to a new release movie together or going to a concert.

I certainly want to wish the best of luck to anyone planning on meeting someone new for the first time. In this day and age of internet dating, profiles and the way they are written and presented can tell a lot about a person and who they are. But nothing can replace the actual first face to face meeting between a couple. I certainly know that awkward and nervous feeling that a person goes through during this process because I have been through it several times. But that feeling of awkwardness should disappear during the date and you might end up feeling like you have known your date for several years.

More delusional gun control talk

You could almost see the steam coming from the head of our president during a press conference the other night. Just a few hours earlier, several people lost their lives to a crazy young man in yet another mass murder involving a firearm, and the president once again had to bring up the old topic of tighter gun control laws. One has to wonder if he and the rest of his liberal buddies will ever be satisfied with our gun control laws!! Probably not until there is a permanent ban on all guns in the United States. Just maybe that will make them happy!!

The fact that the president decided to partially blame lawmakers for this and other mass murders in this country because they will not pass tighter gun control laws is absolutely outrageous!! Just how would tighter gun control laws have prevented this and several other mass murders from happening? How are we to know that someone is mental head case and does not deserve to purchase a gun? The fact is that we have many tight gun control laws in this country. Ask the people of Chicago how those tough gun control laws are working out for them? Chicago is still one of the leading cities in homicide deaths by gunfire in the country. There are several areas with tight gun control laws and they continue to see an unbelievable level of gun violence. Oh sure, I suppose the criminals will follow the laws in trying to purchase a gun in this country. Sadly, some people actually are delusional enough to think that everyone will gladly follow our laws. I have news for those naive folks, it ain’t going to happen. Criminals will always get their guns and the law-abiding citizens who purchase guns legally will suffer.

The fact of the matter is that we need much more than tighter gun control laws, we need greater people control in this country. These mass murders by troubled individuals is a very disturbing trend that shows no sign of letting up. Some kid sees a violent mass murder at a school and thinks that it is very cool to do the same thing. He or she wants to be famous and feels the need to go out in a big blaze of glory. What is being addressed to have a greater knowledge of the warning signs for these individuals. Of course, their civil rights will probably be thought to be violated if they are targeted too much by law enforcement officers. In many of these mass murder cases, there are many warning signs that get bypassed and that needs to be change.

Our culture nowadays only feeds these troubled people. Many of these people are easily influenced by the stuff they see on television and the internet. This can only fuel the hate inside them. You have to wonder what type of upbringing these disturbed people come from. Obviously, they are not taught to respect by their parents, if they are even around!

Radically changing a basic constitutional right of all Americans is a totally naive way of approaching this troubling trend of violence in our country. Guns don’t kill people, the person behind the trigger is the one responsible. We need to take a very deep look into why more and more young people feel the need to commit such awful acts. Those who feel that producing tighter gun control laws is the answer are totally divorced from reality. Sadly, some of them are running this country.