Remember why we play? For fun

Earlier this week, I was at the final baseball tournament for my brother. It’s been a great summer but I saw firsthand the evidence for the mounting injuries and poor sportsmanship that are taking place in youth sports.

To provide some brief context, my brother’s team entered this final game of pool play 2-0 and had advanced to the semifinals the next day. Meanwhile, our opponent was 0-2 and had been eliminated from the tournament as a result of the victory of my brother’s team. Anyway in our 15-16 U age bracket the matchups were pretty much set and due to a rainstorm that had cancelled this game, it was taking place at 9:40 PM.

According to a presentation by George A. Paletta where he discusses the rise of elbow injuries in young pitchers, he mentions the following: “A young athlete should never throw through pain or continue to pitch when he or she is obviously fatigued,” says Dr. Paletta. “Additionally, parents should familiarize themselves with the recommended single game, weekly and season total pitch counts, suggested recovery times, and recommended ages for learning various pitches.”

Now you may ask why am I bringing this up? In a meaningless game for the opposition, the pitcher of the opposing team threw 138 pitches in a complete game 13-2 loss. He gave up 14 hits, 13 runs (3 of which were earned) and faced 42 batters. Again this poor kid threw 138 pitches in a 7 inning game that was completely meaningless for his team!

The game was a 4-2 game in our favor entering the top of the sixth; this poor kid threw half of his pitches in the final two innings. In the seventh inning it just became sad as his team kicked the ball around the infield. On three consecutive plays with two outs, simple errors extended the kid’s night. It got so bad that our kids were trying to get into rundowns and find a way out of the inning. Continue reading

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Football is meant to be played outdoors

When did we become such wimps?

It’s a question that has been bouncing around in my head the last couple of weeks. And no it’s not because we have had two Polar Vortexes in the past month. Anyone who complains about everything being closed in negative temperatures needs to have their head checked. Don’t compare it to the old days either as nothing would have been open in the days when any of us were kids.

But the current weather isn’t the reason that I am writing. It’s amazing all of the whining and moaning that has taken place because of the Super Bowl being held in New Jersey. Has there ever been a championship game in the NFL that created so much debate before the game because of where it was being held?

There are plenty of people who think that the Super Bowl should not be played in a cold weather city. In fact, a family member recently that they hoped that there is a blizzard on the day of the Super Bowl so that it is never played in a cold weather city again. The reasoning is that the game should not be decided by the elements.
When did we become such wimps? Some of the greatest NFL games have been the result of great weather phenomena. One of the all time classics is the Ice Bowl in 1967 between the Packers and Cowboys. The extreme cold is what made the event memorable as well as the game winning play by Bart Starr. How about the 1981 AFC Championship game between the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals?

Come on, you’re telling me it wouldn’t be fun to watch the Super Bowl in these conditions?

Football was made to be played outside in the elements. The argument that the Championship game for the NFL should not be played outdoors is insane. Think about all of the great games you have read or heard about in the NFL history. Plenty of them involve some type of weather element coming into play. The Ice Bowl is still the greatest game in NFL history and the highlights are always played in December when the weather turns cold.
The NFL has two conditions for the Super Bowl. One is that the average temperature needs to be 50 degrees or higher. The other condition is that some cities need to have a dome which is why Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Detroit have hosted Super Bowls before. One of the best Super Bowls in recent history was Indianapolis two years ago. Everything was close and people were actually happy to have the event there. Sure it was cold outside but that didn’t diminish the event one bit.

The big concern of the NFL is that a cold weather city won’t be able to sell itself to the fans and be a cash cow. Look the Super Bowl is going to sell itself and fans from all over are going to come because it is a once in a lifetime event no matter if it is held in Green Bay, Chicago or Miami.
So for all of the whining and debate that has taken place, we should cherish the fact that the Super Bowl is finally coming to the New Jersey after 48 years. It’s going to be a magical event and the weather is going to be great with temperatures around 40 degrees. The NFL needs to take a page from the NHL and move the championship game to more outdoor locations. The Stadium Series has been a huge hit for the NHL because hockey was meant to be played outside. Football was meant to be played outdoors in the elements. Who cares if there is a snowstorm or rain? That’s what makes football great because there are no rain delays and games are hardly moved because of weather.

Let’s all stop being wimps and embrace the weather!