5 Things the First Day of February 2014

1. We are leaving for Vermont in just a couple of days. My Weather.com app says that the high temperature will not rise above 30 while we are there. There is no prediction of snow at this time, though it is supposed to snow the day before we get there. So yesterday Julie and I went to look for some warm clothes on sale. Our biggest problem, we live in Spring, TX. Even if the clothes are warm for south Texas, I’m not sure how much good they will do us in Vermont. Thankfully I’m pretty warm blooded anyway, I don’t mind the cold, but my poor wife may freeze to death :)_

2. I read an article this week that said that we should never put two spaces after a period when we are typing.
This may be the hardest thing I have ever done. I learned to type on a manual typewriter when I was in ninth grade and we were taught to put two spaces after the period. Now I have learned that that is no longer correct, and probably wasn’t when I was taught. (My teacher probably just taught how she learned it and didn’t google the rule to find that it had evolved) So what do you do? I’m trying to change but this is hard. It is a natural, unthought move for me to hit the space bar twice at the end of a sentence.

3. I just finished reading Charles Krauthammer’s best seller, “Things that Matter,” and it was great. He is a terrific writer who uses language in a wonderful way to communicate. The book is a collection of his essays over the past 30 years not all of which are political. I think I enjoyed the ones about his brother or his family the most, though his political thoughts are challenging in their depth.  He closes the book with three essays on American power after the Cold War.  Each is written in a different time frame, the nineties, early 2000’s and 2009 and he gives a sound synopsis of the challenges facing us and the divergent philosophies that are put forth and implemented. If you are a political junkie you will love this book.  If you hate politics but like to read good essays, borrow the book and pick and choose some sections to read.  You will enjoy it. One more thing: as Krauthammer says early on, politics are necessary to allow us the freedom and space to pursue non-political ends.

4. Our oldest turned 22 this week. Wow! She graduates from UNT in a few months and then the next phase of life begins. I am in awe of the beautiful young woman she has become. College is often, as is true in her case, a time of great growth intellectually, socially, emotionally and spiritually. Holley has matured in multiple areas of life and it has been a joy to watch as a parent. It is often difficult to see how your child will become what you have wanted and worked for during the first 18 years of life. There are glimpses early on and you hope that those those moments become patterns.  We have seen those things in Holley. As hard as that has been at times and as radical as some of those changes have become, I also know that the next four to five years hold more growth, maturing and stretching. I look forward to all that God has in store for her as she continues to amaze us by the beauty of her life.

5. I’m picking the Broncos in the Super Bowl. Not because of intense scrutiny of the teams and a belief in the better systems and strategies of guys from Denver, but for two specific reasons. 1) Peyton Manning was my fantasy league quarterback who led my team to my third straight league championship (see how  worked that in there).  I owe him my support. 2) While Earl Thomas, a Longhorn, has become a perennial Pro Bowler playing for Seattle, there are two Longhorns playing for Denver, Quentin Jammer and Michael Huff.  It is worth noting that all of these are DB’s who played for Duane Akina.  I hope Charlie Strong didn’t mess up when he decided not to retain Akina as a coach.

Fixing the NBA and College Basketball Isn’t Difficult

I love basketball. I love to play and I love to watch, though I will admit I’ve done much more watching lately than playing. I am a fan of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA and the Longhorns in every sport, but I’ll watch pretty much any game.

I, like many others, am growing tired of the poor play, especially in college, and the lack of name awareness. Too many players come out of college after only one year, some not even starting in college. They come to the NBA needing to learn the game and having an inflated opinion of their own talents. It’s bad for the NBA and it’s bad for the college game. I don’t think anyone would say the two leagues are better today than they were before the huge influx of high school seniors which led to the compromise of forcing these players to go to college for a year.

So here is my solution. Adopt the MLB rules. In baseball a player can be drafted directly out of high school and go straight to the big leagues, though most end up spending a few years, and some a career, in the minor leagues. However, a player can opt to go to college if they want. If they step on the college campus for the first day of classes, the MLB team that drafted them loses the rights and the player can be drafted again, but only after three years. This means a player in college won’t be hounded about a decision each year until after their junior year. They have time to be a college student. This is never a bad option in my opinion. They can develop as a player and the college gets a player for at least three years.

I believe this system can be implemented in the NBA because of the new developmental league. If a player wants to go straight to the NBA but isn’t physically or mentally ready to play against grown men, they can be put on a developmental team and the drafting team keeps the rights to them. However, if the player wants to play in college they will have to stay three years and will have a chance to become a good player. The college game gets to keep talent for a longer period of time and the nation learns who the best players are by name. The NBA is better off getting a player who has proven their worth and gained recognition in college. Instead of going from a year of college to a year sitting on an NBA bench, they get a player who has become a household name and is now seeing the court everyday in the league. The college game is so much better when you have teams of talented juniors and seniors playing each other than when you have talented freshmen and sophomores playing each other.

No doubt there are some players who can go straight to the NBA and play right out of high school. But most of those who think they can, they really can’t. Why burden colleges with kids who have no interest in education, who are just playing by the rules and waiting on the draft. Many of these kids don’t even go to class their second semester because they have no intention of being around for the second fall.  Some might discover the benefit of being in class and many will be better off later in life because they stuck with school.  But those who don’t want the benefit of college or who want to go to work right out of high school can take that route.

Nothing spiritual here, just wisdom.