The Guys in The Stripes

Basketball is not a sport. Well – it is a sport for the guys in the stripes.

On average, according to NCAA statistics in the 2015 basketball season, 20.2 fouls were called per team per game. Thus in a game with two teams – all of them – a total of 40.4 fouls were called in the entire game between the two sides.

There are 40 minutes in a basketball game.

This is a problem, a major problem for the “sport” of basketball.

Here is Wikipedia’s definition of a sport:

Sport (UK) or sports (US) are all usually forms of competitive physical activity or games which,[1] through casual or organized participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators.[2] Usually the contest or game is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other. Some sports allow a tie game; others provide tie-breaking methods, to ensure one winner and one loser.

Nowhere in that definition does it include the word “referees” or even “rules.” However, all sports (that I can think of) have a set of rules and regulations by which the goal is to achieve as fair as a competition that can take place between the two sides. Someone must enforce those rules – the guys in the stripes.

The guys in the stripes in the sport of basketball simply have too much input. We are at a point in the sport’s history where it is unclear most times of what the rules even are.

Who actually knows the rule for taking a charge? Blocking foul? Or Offensive foul? I have heard arguments that the player’s feet must be set in order to get the charge call. How can one keep his or her feet still playing defense? The offender would just go right around them. Some say it is about beating the other person to the “spot.” Where is this magical spot, until they eventually collide? Who has the right to the spot first? Does it have to do with the offender putting his or her head down and plowing through the defender? Or how about all of the flops that have been going on in basketball today? So long as the defender flies backwards on his butt and hits the deck, it’s a charge? Referees are simply blind to what is actually happening, and so are the rules.

What say you to this clip? Blocking foul or offensive foul?

The rules seem to essentially change from official to official. I have been told many times by my coach from my high school days to “see how the ref is going to call the game.” Why do I, as the player, have to see that and adjust to the referees’ interpretations of the rules? NO.

The game/sport has a set of definite rules, and it is up to every referee to consistently enforce those rules to the best of their ability.

How many of these outbursts have you said or heard during a basketball game?

“That wasn’t a foul!”
“That was a travel. He took three steps!”
“C’mon these refs are horrible.” *other team’s fan says* “Good call Mr. Ref.”

The list goes on and on, and depending on your fandom and colored glasses you may wear, we all will see things differently. That is the nature of being a fan of a team. However, we hope that referees are officiating the game objectively – which after all is their job.

But let us entertain the hypothetical idea for a moment that 100 percent of the calls that all referees make are correct. Let us assume that they are without flaw or error like that of a robot. Let us assume that they make every call correctly…and still –

Are you satisfied with the results of having 40 fouls called per game in a 40-minute game? One foul per minute. This isn’t even counting the number of times the whistle is blown for turnovers that go out of bounds or for the number of TV timeouts there are or team timeouts between both teams. Unfortunately, there are no statistics kept on how many times an official’s whistle is blown per game nor how many turnovers go out of bounds warranting the referee to blow his whistle.

Let’s take a look at this in comparison to football.

Can you imagine 60 penalties being called in a 60-minute football game? The most penalized team in the FBS this past season was Baylor who averaged 9.8 penalties per game. Give or take certain teams in basketball, but most do not even come close to using the entirety of the shot clock.

As a diehard Ohio State fan, I was pleased to have seen Curtis Samuel scamper into the endzone in double overtime to defeat our arch rivals, but just about the entire Wolverine fanbase concluded – “But JT Barrett was short. That play never should have happened. The refs cost us the game.” It was certainly possible that Barrett was short, certainly possible that he wasn’t. But football games do not ride on one call, at least not at the rate of calls officials make in each football game. I saw two Michigan turnovers while they were leading and a fumble on the one yard line. There are no more excuses but to blame themselves, not the officials.

We can’t say either that an entire basketball game rides on one call either. However, what we can conclude is that at such a rate that college basketball referees blow their whistle per game for any and all infractions, those calls can easily add up and could actually cost a team the game no matter what that team does. It also adds to the total of wrong calls that they actually make. With football, there might be some wrong calls every now and then, but it does not ultimately determine the outcome of the game.

Even in a perfect world where every call is correct (which in reality, a lot of them are not), the referees still have too much input in the outcome of the game.

Just look at the egregious traveling violations missed in the NBA. LeBron James gets away with five step travels every night. And who could forget the infamous nine step by Kendrick Perkins?

When it all boils down to the final score, the referees be them right or wrong on the calls they made, were essentially responsible for half of the outcome.

From a player’s perspective, would you like to play a sport where you didn’t have control over the game entirely? You would at least want 90 percent of it in your control and realize the refs make up the other ten. But to surrender 50 percent of a basketball game over to the referees is simply not a sport. No wonder players, coaches, and fans alike are always fuming at referees in basketball. They are too involved in the outcome.

I love the sport of basketball. I played it in high school and continue to do so today for fun whenever I can. But I would be wrong if I said the players controlled the outcomes of the games anymore.

Right now at this point in basketball’s history, the outcomes may as well be determined by the guys in the stripes.

Advertisements

Clemson is My National Champion, And Trump is Our President

January 9, 2007, I woke up, and the Florida Gators were the national champions.

January 13, 2015, I woke up, and The Ohio State Buckeyes were the national champions.

January 1, 2017, I woke up, and Clemson had defeated Ohio State in the Playoff Semifinal 31-0 before going on to win the National Championship over Alabama on January 9, 2017.

January 20, 2017, I woke up, and Donald Trump was our President of the United States.

Anyone that knows me as an Ohio State fan knows that I do not take losing well. And I over-exaggerate wins, like any fan of any sports team does. But in the above scenarios in which my team failed to win, I was mad, salty, bitter, angry, and I did not want the next morning to come, but despite my wishes, I woke up, and the above facts were that – facts.

Regardless of the team that you are a fan of or the political candidate you sided with on election day, there is and was always going to be a winner and a loser. That is the very nature of a competition. There was once a time when sportsmanship meant something, losing with grace and dignity, likewise winning with grace, dignity, and humility.

If you are a parent, or a kid, or somewhere in between – what does a child do at the toy store when he or she does not get the toy that they deemed to be the apple of their eye? Cry, kick, scream, and punch until they get that apple. The parent either gives in to the child’s demands, or the parent puts their foot down and does not give into their child’s demand. This is more commonly known by Adult Real World USA as a temper tantrum.

From what I have seen from what are being referred to as “protests” throughout the nation’s capital the few days have been nothing short of simply being temper tantrums.

A simple Google search defines protest as: “a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something.” Nowhere in that definition does it say that a protest reverses the outcome that occurred. “Protest” until you are blue in the face, Democrats, but your temper tantrums will not change the outcome.

proudemocrat-logo

Blue in the face. I had too much fun with this one.

Take it from someone who has been there on the losing end of the spectrum, my temper tantrum in ’07 did not change the fact that my Buckeyes lost, and lost badly. No matter how much I cried and screamed at my television, no one could hear me, and frankly no one cared. My fussing wasn’t going to change the score.

But guess what – the coach that kicked Ohio State’s ass in that game, Urban Meyer, is now the head coach at Ohio State, and he has made Ohio State fans pretty damn proud since being hired. He has won a national championship, lost a handful of games in five years of coaching, nor has he lost to our bitter rival, Michigan.

Therefore – loserswhoever and wherever you are out there in this world – Democrats, Buckeye fans, Packer fans, Browns fans, Hillary Clinton, Satan, Jim Harbaugh, Michigan fans who thought that JT Barrett was short  – do us all a favor, and act like an adult. Don’t tweet stupid things like #notmypresident or #notmysuperbowl. That would be like me tweeting about Clemson – #notmynationalchampion.

Jim Harbaugh complaining post-game about the JT Barrett spot didn’t change the outcome, did it? It did however earn Harbaugh a lovely $10,000 fine for criticizing the officials.

harbb-1480197085dr2qa8

Answer: No, Jim, nobody.

But don’t get me wrong, as mad as I am that two of Clemson’s players committed sexual assault on live television and later claimed to enjoy such activities in their locker room, Clemson is, despite my wishes, my national champion.

Suck it up, your candidate lost, and Donald Trump won. That does not give you the right or privilege to smash windows, attack conservatives physically or on social media. I couldn’t care less about your age, but if this tirade describes you, then you are nothing more than a child.

Clemson is my National Champion.

Atlanta versus New England is my Super Bowl.

Donald Trump is your president.

Wake up, suck it up, move on, and don’t be a Jim Harbaugh.

Donning of the Excluded

Dear, to those it obviously concerns at Emory & Henry,

I doubt you know who I am, but I am a graduating senior this semester, and I just wanted to let you in on a little something.

The avocation and approval of the “Donning of the Kente” ceremony by you and the “Diversity Task Force of Inclusion and Equity” this year is perhaps the most hypocritical, stupid, and downright racist ideas of this school year (in the midst of other supposed racist and exclusive incidents on our campus this year, that’s really saying something).

This event is, by its very nature and its structure, an exclusive gathering. Aren’t we trying to be inclusive? Yet the school is holding a special ceremony just for African-American students. African-American students are going to receive special Kente cloths from the country of Africa with my tuition money? I sure wish Emory & Henry College honored my ethnic background enough to order me a personal scarf from my home continent. Holding this event is literally recognizing the achievements of a select group of students based on their race.

By the way, I hope to be seeing that in the near future that you will be advocating in the future for a Chinese ceremony, a Japanese ceremony, and a Russian ceremony for the students at our college that are those races. I’m sure that those people feel very “included,” you know, since that’s what we are all about here at Emory & Henry College.

To quote Martin Luther King Jr, a man that this college so greatly deems worthy of admiration and recognition,

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

King wanted us to be color blind, not: “blind to those except the minorities.” It’s about there not being any minorities to celebrate, recognize, or advocate for. It’s about not recognizing anybody’s color or race apart from another. That is what it is about. Everyone will be recognized by the content of their character at the regular graduation ceremony. So why do we need another ceremony especially for African-American students?

You are more than welcome to share this with the Diversity “Task Force,” who, let’s be quite honest, has been doing such meaningless and quite frankly, terrible work, this semester. Even though the creation of the group was entirely unnecessary in the first place.

I don’t care if I offended you or if you think I am a bigot or a racist or just simply a jerk who doesn’t know how to be “inclusive.” But if you are offended by this, then by all means try to tell me truthfully, that the Russian students, the Chinese students, the Japanese students, the white students, and the Hispanic students and any other grouping of races on this campus that I’m forgetting to mention don’t feel offended that their background and heritage is not being especially celebrated with cloths from their homeland and a ceremony especially for them.

The one thing the task force is supposed to be doing is creating inclusiveness, but yet it created an event that is exclusive in nature and by structural design. And that is truly the saddest part of all this. Those in that task force group and those in charge with leadership roles at this college don’t even know that they are failing. They think that they are making progress or that they are justly doing the correct thing here. In honor of exam week, if this were a class, the task force as well as yourself would all be getting failing grades.

Sincerely,
a Euro-American. Not a Caucasian. Not a white man. But a Euro-American. That is since everyone else has to call blacks “African-American” even when they were not born in Africa to begin with.

We are all and simply should be known as – Americans.

Buckeye Blessings

It all started last year with my grandmother and a young man by the name of Curtis Grant.

My grandmother was terribly ill. If you’re not sure of who Curtis Grant is, he is/was the starting linebacker for Ohio State this season. He is from Richmond, Virginia. That’s where I and my family now live, and one day my grandmother received a hospice nurse. She noticed our radical Buckeye fandom, and she was able to contact Curtis to come see us and my grandmother. The nurse and Curtis were high school friends, and so I along with my family got to meet Curtis:

Curtis&Gram

IMG_1366

Although I was already as big of a fan that could exist, I made a connection with Grant. And I also noticed how he interacted with my family, and I oddly felt like I knew him already. Despite my fandom already, I became even more of a fan (if that’s even possible), and from that point on, I wanted nothing more than for Curtis to succeed in his final season with the Buckeyes.

Fast forward to September 6 against the Virginia Tech Hokies – I took a buddy of mine who is a Hokie fan, and well, everyone knows what happened at that game. I was mad. I was upset. I was infuriated at our loss to the Hokies. I also, as well as everyone else in the country, ruled out the possibility of my team making the final four in the first ever College Football Playoff Championship.

After that sting, Ohio State started a run that will never be forgotten by me as a Buckeye, nor anyone who is a fan of college football. Ohio State turned their season around with JT Barrett. They beat Michigan State and Minnesota in back to back victories that propelled them back into discussion for the playoff.

Then came the Michigan game…Barrett went down and was ruled out for the season. I witnessed this first hand and was devastated. Though our team fought back to try and make the playoff, I did not (nor did anyone else) have much faith in our third string quarterback – Cardale Jones. I have never been so happy in my life to admit how wrong I was.

What ensued was a thumping of Wisconsin, a Sugar Bowl victory over the nation’s best in Alabama, and then the unthinkable – a national championship. All in one season, Ohio State got the SEC monkey off their back, and they won the first ever playoff in college football.

I was blessed and fortunate enough to attend the event with my father. Even though I wanted to win for bragging rights and other reasons, I wanted Ohio State to win the most for two reasons – the death of two people – my grandmother and Curtis’ father.

Going back to what started it all, Curtis went through losing his father and even considered quitting football. However, he dealt with the adversity and persevered. He was also selfless, by coming to visit my grandmother in the midst of losing someone in his life.

At the end of a storybook season, Curtis along with the team and all of Buckeye Nation were National Champions:

IMG_2506 IMG_2522

In that moment, I thought of what that win meant to Curtis, his father, myself, and my grandmother. It truly was like a season of destiny. The guy that offered his time to come visit my grandmother to cheer her up was now a national champion.

I can only imagine and think of the cheering that commenced from them in heaven when Ohio State won that game.

Through all the adversity that Curtis went through as an individual and the team as a whole, that’s what made this season so much more special. Everyone called Ohio State undeserving. Ohio State was an underdog in all five of their biggest games this year, and they proved the doubters wrong.

The first line of The Ohio State University’s motto is “The People,” and even as a fan, I felt as apart of the team and Buckeye family as any of the players.

It was amazing to see Grant become a Big Ten Champion, Sugar Bowl winner, and National Champion all in his senior season. I will miss his play as a linebacker at The Ohio State, but I will always remember his blessing on our family and the season that this Ohio State team had.

For all the other fans in the Buckeye Nation – O-H!

IMG_2486