Thursday, June 25, 2015

Brad's Sports Comments #5, Dec 2014

Greetings readers, here's a bunch of tidbits after a long break from my last update. 

Speed Golf: I played in the 2014 World Speed Golf Championships at Bandon Dunes, OR in October. I placed 20th in the pro division with a score of 134 - shooting an 83 in 51 minutes. The winner Eri Crum, a teammate of Tiger Woods at Stanford, scored 122 (76 in 46 min) at Bandon Dunes. Here is the Sacramento Bee article about my participation, 18 years after my last pro event.

"A stitch in time saves nine"
Anagram: "This is meant as incentive"

Fat is healthy, carbs make you fat and sick: Mainstream news story says high fat diets are effective for health and weight loss. These are helping turn the tide of conventional wisdom to embrace a different idea than the disastrously flawed official positions on diet and health that have prevailed for decades as America has become the fattest population in the history of the planet.

How Not To Talk To Your Kids: The Inverse Power of Praise: This New York Magazine article radically changed my approach to parenting and I think about it every single day since I first read it in 2007. Effusive character praise can be counterproductive to self-esteem and peak performance. Telling a kid, "you're smart; you're pretty; you're a great athlete; I'm proud of you" and so forth are dispensed without a second thought by well-meaning parents, but they can promote a fixed mindset instead of a growth mindset. Instead, praise should be focused on effort and incremental skill building instead of results. Here's more from Sal Khan of the Khan Academy on a fixed vs growth mindset

I recently interviewed Ashley Merryman on the Primal Blueprint Podcast, the co-author (with Po Bronson) of the praise article as well as the book Mindset, a book that detailed these concepts and other work by Stanford researcher Carol Dweck. While Mindsetfocuses on parenting, anyone who is interested in competition will enjoy Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losingwhich shatters many of our conventional notions about what it takes to succeed in a competitive arena. I'll alert you to my show with Ashley when it publishes soon.

LeBron James Gone PrimalMore leading athletes are embracing the primal/paleo dietary approach. While hard core endurance athletes are experimenting with very low carbohydrate diets that promote ketone burning as an alternative to glucose, athletes in sports that involve speed and explosiveness will need to obtain adequate carbohydrates to restock muscle glycogen that is easily depleted during high intensity workouts like a basketball game. 

Letters Gone Unpublished: I have been working hard to tell the world my opinions and on a bit of a cold streak lately. Here are some unpublished recent gems: 

UNPUBLISHED to Sports Illustrated
The World Cup was an exciting and refreshing departure for American fans from their usual major sports league action. However, while purists might not complain, the average fan and mainstream media are clearly flustered and unfulfilled by low scoring games, grueling overtimes, and the overly abrupt resolution of penalty kicks. Here's
an All-American solution for the beautiful game: As tie games extend into overtime, hydraulic goal posts widen and rise by three feet every 10 minutes, and they play until a ball goes into the net!

UNPUBLISHED to LA Times {About UCLA football summer training camp in San Bernadino}
So, coach Mora ("I hope it's hot...As long as we're in triple digits, I'll be happy") Lemme guess: you don't participate in drills like Pete Carroll did at USC? FYI: athletes--especially large ones--don't gain fitness or get tougher from heat (or poor air quality), they merely survive it. 

UNPUBLISHED to Sports Illustrated {about Baseball commissioner Bud Selig's celebrated retirement; I believe he should be in jail instead}
The Aug 4 Scorecard's glorious tribute to Bud Selig making baseball more competitive, exciting and wealthy during his tenure failed to mention one of Selig's principal strategies: ignoring and thereby implicitly allowing pervasive steroid use. As the pressure mounted, he feigned ignorance, talked tough while establishing comically weak penalties, and eventually had to be dragged into Congress to address the mess on his watch. His strategy has allowed doping to become the integral element of baseball culture that it remains today. Selig's legacy has many positive elements, but we shouldn't ignore the fact that this man was arguably the single most influential facilitator of the Steroid Era.

UNPUBLISHED to Sports Illustrated {about slow pace of baseball}
In Steve Rushin's 60th Anniversary edition piece, "The Game Remains the Same" (SI Aug 11), Stan Kasten argues that "baseball has a surprising advantage over other sports" because its tedious pace allows fans to interact with personal digital devices between pitches. Baloney. Screen distraction time is neither an "advantage" for baseball nor for our ever shorter attention span culture. #nicetry

PUBLISHED in LA Times {about USC player fabricating a story to cover up a stupid move that caused injury}
Go ahead heap your scorn upon Josh Shaw, but at least he fessed up. In an age of rampant doping and criminal behavior off the field, we have much worse stuff to worry about than a panicky alibi for a likely foolhardy injury.
Stu Foldez
Woodland Hills, CA

I took some heat for this one, and indeed I should have reworded the letter to say that the entire fabrication and revelation was of less consequence than the common criminal behavior. Shaw doesn't deserve any credit for 'fessing up', because he was essentially forced to.

UNPUBLISHED in Sports Illustrated {about Roger Gooddell, NFL commissioner}
A haiku for the Commish:
Roger, it is time
to step down, for the good of...
the game and yourself
- Stu Foldez

UNPUBLISHED in Sports Illustrated
Our collective outrage about the Ray Rice incident, while warranted, could be a rationalization for our unabashed enjoyment of a violent sport that is drastically overrepresented by criminals of all kinds.
If we were to condemn NFL player misbehavior with the same consistency that we demand from Roger Goodell, there might be more jerseys returned than jerseys sold.

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