Sunday, June 28, 2015

Brad's Sports Comments, Edition #3, Jan 2014

Thoroughbreds or Mules? Saw the recent rumors about Steve Nash facing retirement decisions because of nagging injuries. It seems to me that the professional leagues are incredibly stupid in caring for their players - treating them like mules instead of the thoroughbreds that they are. In Nash's case, he broke his leg early last season and then reappeared on court late season complaining of nerve issues in his back and leg. He reportedly got repeated injections to deal with the pain and try to play. Russell Westbrook was knocked out last season with meniscus surgery, came back to start this season, and is now out again with more surgery on the same knee. 

If an elite professional athlete has pain beyond the typical aches and transient pains and bumps and bruises of intense competition, they should rest instead of play, period. Any elite athlete knows the difference too. Instead, these players and teams disregard the future and rush the natural process of healing with objectionable results. It was great to see Derrick Rose take his time recovering from knee surgery, miss the entire 2012 season and return to the court on his own timetable. Alas, his return was perhaps still too hasty (either that or his diet is pro-inflammatory) and he tore the meniscus in his other knee and will likely miss another season.

Lindsey Vonn, in a desperate attempt to get right for the Sochi Olympics after major reconstructive knee surgery, entered a World Cup event and re-aggravated the knee, knocking her out of the Olympics. Might she have been better off just waiting until the Olympics and trying her luck there?

It seems that players in individual sports such as triathlon, golf, track and field and other sports where compensation is largely prize money and performance incentives do a better job respecting pain, injury, rehabilitation and recovery than the athletes who are property of their teams. An individual sport athlete who overrides common sense quickly finds themselves facing a reality where they can't compete, nor eat.

Finally, is a hobbled star player thrust back into action too early really going to perform that much better than a fresh, healthy bench player? In case no one has noticed, the guys on the bench in the major pro leagues are pretty good!


Re: Football Imploding: Speaking of my commentary last month about the sport of football possibly going away in the near future due to head injury issue, it's apparent with the implementation of the new "safety rules" what kind of no-win situation football faces. These severe game penalties and subsequent fines for targeting seem to me to be more PR-related than anything. Very, very few players at any level head out to the field looking to intentionally harm an opponent. When you are playing a high speed collision sport, many of the collisions will inevitably end up hitting the wrong surfaces - helmet to helmet or whatever.

What's happening now is that players get penalized, or even ejected and fined for a hit that was perfectly well intentioned and sportsmanlike, but became a penalty due to the randomness of two opposing forces. Continued attempts to "clean up" the game will get more and more random and ridiculous. Consequently, fans, players and teams will become more and more irritated. Perhaps with enough critical mass we will be compelled to move to Plan B, which is flag football or passing league style play.


Mike Pigg Flashback
In Mark Allen's book Total Triathlete, he wrote about mindset and training, how important it is to have a brave and fearless mindset. He wrote how on Saturday mornings in Boulder the top triathletes would gather to do a 20-mile Switzerland trail run that is really hilly and challenging. One time Allen relates that he was nervous because he didn't sleep well before and wondered if he could perform to par. He drives to the trailhead in the morning and Pigg is parked there - crashed out in his truck and trailer, having driven all day and all night 1,350 miles from his home in Arcata, CA to Boulder to train for the summer. Pigg grabbed a quick nap in the parking lot and hit it hard with the big boys on the Switzerland trail. Allen related that seeing Pigg take on the challenge despite his difficult circumstances put him into a different mindset.

Pigg and I were both sponsored by Hind Sportswear one year we had a race in Orange County Sunday and then a Tuesday morning sunrise photo shoot on the beach in San Luis Obispo. Pigg was a disappointing 3rd or 4th (sic) at the race. So on Monday afternoon he got dropped off in Malibu, CA and rode about 14 hours to San Luis Obispo via inland route, a distance of 230 miles. He arrived at hotel at 4am and was in the lobby at 5am for the departure to the sunrise shoot.

I had some extra pizza from the night before and offered him some cold pizza slices and he was overjoyed. The shoot took hours of tedious clothing changes and shooting same scenes over and over. He was jumping off sand dunes and having a ball the whole time. There were and are a good number of superhuman physical talents populating the triathlon circuit, but they can't compare to an athlete with a superhuman mindset like Pigg.

PS - his only hitch on the trip was his bike light ran low on batteries so he rode in the pitch dark till he saw vehicle headlights, switched the light on briefly, and then back into pitch dark. 

Incredible High School Basketball Steals and Dunks
This kid Sam Kobrine at Corona Del Mar is only a sophomore and already a far better player than any of his uncles were at the same age...Look at these incredible steals and slam dunks!:

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