Tag Archives: Sports

The 07/05/13 Joy Jar

5 Jul

Moi say the movie ’42’tonight. It is the story of the great Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey The baseball executive who hired Robinson as baseball’s first major league African American player. Rickey was a man of faith and the movie didn’t gloss over that. Moi’s favorite quote from the movie as to why Rickey hired Robinson in particular was, ‘I’m a Methodist, He’s a Methodist, and God’s a Methodist.’ On this 4th of July weekend, moi salutes those with a conscience and the courage of their convictions. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ are those individuals with conscience and courage.

“I don’t like the subtle infiltration of ‘something for nothing’ philosophies into the very hearthstone of the American family. I believe that ‘Thou shalt earn the bread by the sweat of thy face’ was a benediction and not a penalty. Work is the zest of life; there is joy in its pursuit.” Branch Rickey

Baseball Almanac has a great collection of quotes by and about Branch Rickey

Quotes From & About Branch Rickey
Quotes From Branch Rickey
“A great ballplayer is a player who will take a chance.” Source: Baseball Greatest Quotations (Paul Dickson, 1992)
“Baseball is a game of inches.” Source: Quote magazine (July 31, 1966 Issue)
“Baseball people, and that includes myself, are slow to change and accept new ideas. I remember that it took years to persuade them to put numbers on uniforms.”
“(Ty) Cobb lived off the field as though he wished to live forever. He lived on the field as though it was his last day.”
“Ethnic prejudice has no place in sports, and baseball must recognize that truth if it is to maintain stature as a national game.”
“Fill in any figure you want for that boy (Mickey Mantle). Whatever the figure, it’s a deal.”
“He (Leo Durocher) had the ability of taking a bad situation and making it immediately worse.” Source: Baseball Greatest Quotations (Paul Dickson, 1992)
“He’s (Mickey Mantle) the best prospect I’ve ever seen.”
“How to use your leisure time is the biggest problem of a ballplayer.” Source: Baseball Greatest Quotations (Paul Dickson, 1992)
“I am alarmed at the subtle invasion of professional football, which is gaining preeminence over baseball. It’s unthinkable.” Source: New York Times (Arthur Daley, August 20, 1959)
“I did not mind the public criticism. That sort of thing has not changed any program I thought was good.”
“I don’t care if I was a ditch-digger at a dollar a day, I’d want to do my job better than the fellow next to me. I’d want to be the best at whatever I do.”
“I don’t like the subtle infiltration of ‘something for nothing’ philosophies into the very hearthstone of the American family. I believe that ‘Thou shalt earn the bread by the sweat of thy face’ was a benediction and not a penalty. Work is the zest of life; there is joy in its pursuit.”
“I find fault with my children because I like them and I want them to go places – uprightness and strength and courage and civil respect and anything that affects the probabilities of failure on the part of those that are closest to me, that concerns me – I find fault.”
“If things don’t come easy, there is no premium on effort. There should be joy in the chase, zest in the pursuit.”
“It (a baseball box score) doesn’t tell how big you are, what church you attend, what color you are, or how your father voted in the last election. It just tells what kind of baseball player you were on that particular day.” Source: I Never Had It Made (Jackie Robinson, 1997)
“It is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind.”
“Jackie (Robinson), we’ve got no army. There’s virtually nobody on our side. No owners, no umpires, very few newspapermen. And I’m afraid that many fans will be hostile. We’ll be in a tough position. We can win only if we can convince the world that I’m doing this because you’re a great ballplayer, a fine gentleman.” Source: Giants of Baseball (Bill Gutman, 1991)
“Leisure is the handmaiden of the devil.”
“Let’s not get panicky.”
“Luck is the residue of design.” Source: New York Times (Arthur Daley, November 17, 1965)
“Man may penetrate the outer reaches of the universe, he may solve the very secret of eternity itself, but for me, the ultimate human experience is to witness the flawless execution of a hit-and-run.”
“Never surrender opportunity for security.”
“Only in baseball can a team player be a pure individualist first and a team player second, within the rules and spirit of the game.” Source: The American Diamond (Branch Rickey, 1965)
“Our pitching staff is a conspiracy of ifs.”
“Problems are the price you pay for progress.”
“The greatest untapped reservoir of raw material in the history of our game is the black race.” Source: AP Wire During the Signing of Jackie Robinson (1946)
“The man with the ball is responsible for what happens to the ball.”
“There was never a man in the game who could put mind and muscle together quicker and with better judgment than (Jackie) Robinson.”
“Thinking about the devil is worse than seeing the devil.”
“This ball—this symbol; is it worth a whole man’s life?” Source: Sports Illustrated (Gerald Holland, 11-71)
“Thou shalt not steal. I mean defensively. On offense, indeed thou shall steal and thou must.”
“Trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late.”
“When (Rube) Waddell had control and some sleep, he was unbeatable.”
Quotes About Branch Rickey
“I realized how much our relationship had deepened after I left baseball. It was that later relationship that made me feel almost as if I had lost my own father. Branch Rickey, especially after I was no longer in the sports spotlight, treated me like a son.” – Jackie Robinson in I Never Had it Made (Jackie Robinson, 1997)
“It was easy to figure our Mr. Rickey’s thinking about contracts. He had both players and money-and just didn’t like to see the two of them mix.” Chuck Connors in Baseball is a Funny Game (Joe Garagiola, 1960)
“I went into Mr. Rickey’s office and sat across the table from him. He told me he had scouts watching me for months. There was no question I could play. What he couldn’t tell was my habits. Did I drink? Did I run around with women? Would I embarrass the club with my conduct? That’s what they had to be sure of before they signed any Negro player.” – Roy Campanella in Bo: Pitching and Wooing (Maury Allen, 1973)
“Mr. Rickey had great insight into everyday life as well as baseball. In one of our player meetings he once said, ‘Never play checkers with a man who carries his own board.’ I never forgot it.” – Bob Purkey
“Mr. Rickey went out of his way to do so much to put blacks in the major leagues. he could tell you so many things, Mr. Rickey, just like my mother or father reading a book to me as a youngster. He made me a better catcher, a better person on and off the field. He made me a completely changed individual.” – Roy Campanella
“The scope of his thinking constantly surprised even those who knew him well…He relished digging into something and then sharing his insights with others. He was always lecturing, tutoring, motivating, cautioning, and inspiring.” – Grandson Branch B. Rickey
“The thing about him was that he was always doing something for someone else. I know, because he did so much for me.” – Jackie Robinson

The NCAA changes grade eligibility requirements

9 Apr

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an intriguing article by Libby Sandler about whether coaches should be responsible for the academic performance of their players. In Making the Grade Sandler reports:      

Head coaches hold significant sway over the athletes on their teams. So why not hold those coaches accountable for the academic performance of the athletes they recruit?

After a year and a half of tinkering, officials of the NCAA have rolled out a new database that they hope will accomplish just that. The first-ever Head Coach APR Portfolio, as the data set is called, includes single-year academic-progress rates—the NCAA’s metric for gauging how well a team does in the classroom—for head coaches in six Division I sports. (The database will be expanded to include the rates for head coaches in all NCAA sports at the conclusion of the 2010-11 academic year.)

The academic-progress rate, which is now in its sixth year, assigns scores to all Division I teams based in large part on the retention rates and academic eligibility of their athletes. The new “portfolio” for coaches, available to the public on the NCAA’s Web site in a searchable format, shows the single-year team scores for each program a coach has led, dating back to 2003-4. The NCAA will update the database every spring when it releases new academic-progress rates for teams.

Unlike the academic-progress rate for athletes, which can trigger penalties for some teams that fail to achieve a certain score, the new mechanism for coaches carries no threat of punishment. Instead, NCAA officials say, it is intended only to increase the transparency of head coaches’ academic priorities and aid recruits and their families, as well as athletic directors and college presidents, in evaluating how seriously a coach takes academics.

Unfortunately, in this win at all costs culture, schools will recruit a cube of Swiss cheese if the cheese could score some points. Brian Burnsed of US News has an article about player graduation rates.

In NCAA Basketball Graduation Rate Disparity Between the Races Grows Burnsed reports:          

While college basketball players graduate at a higher rate than nonathletes, the NAACP and the Department of Education argue that universities are leaving some of their student-athletes behind. Their concern arises from the expanding fissure between graduation rates of white and African-American college basketball players. According to a study of basketball players’ graduation rates from 1999 to 2003 recently released by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, 79 percent of the teams in this year’s men’s NCAA Tournament graduated at least 70 percent of their white athletes, while only 31 percent of the teams in the field graduated at least 70 percent of their African-American players. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a former college basketball player, says, “I grew up with too many players who played on successful teams who no one frankly cared about their educational well-being. And when their playing careers were done, they struggled.”

Seventeen teams in this year’s men’s tournament had a 50 percent or greater disparity between graduation rates of white and African-American players. In fact, only three schools in the tournament—Texas A&M University, the University of Washington, and Oakland University—graduated African-American players at a higher rate than whites….

To help bridge this gap, Duncan suggests that schools that cannot graduate at least 40 percent of their student-athletes be banned from postseason play. If the rule was applied to this year’s tournament, 12 of the 65 teams would be locked out of the tournament. Three of them are No. 6 seeds or better—the University of Tennessee, the University of Maryland, and the University of Kentucky. “If you can’t manage to graduate two out of five players, how serious are the institutions and the colleges about the players’ academic success?” Duncan asks. “How are they preparing student-athletes for life?

Generally coaches who have been players know the difficulty that most students will have in an attempt to compete at the professional level. The NCAA has compiled a probability chartwhich shows the chances of a student athlete making to college and the professional ranks of sports. In other words, most kids need to prepare for a life outside of athletics and for parents who are living out their dreams and hopes through their children, to tell them differently is reckless.

Bryan Toporek reports in the Education Week article, NCAA to Launch Academics-Based Ads for High School Student-Athletes:

During a press conference at the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Thursday, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced that his organization will be launching a series of academics-based advertisements targeting middle- and high-school student-athletes in the coming months.

Back in October 2011, the NCAA Division I board of directors approved a proposal that raises the academic eligibility standard for incoming student-athletes. Freshmen only need to enter college with a 2.0 GPA to be eligible for athletics now, but starting in August 2016, they’ll need to have a 2.3 GPA or higher in core courses to have immediate access to competition.

From August 2016 onward, if a student-athlete meets the current 2.0 GPA requirement but fails to reach the 2.3 GPA required for competition, he or she will still be allowed to remain on his or her athletic scholarship, under another proposal approved in October 2011. The NCAA refers to this as an “academic redshirt” year.

Based on when this higher academic standard takes effect, current collegiate student-athletes aren’t the ones who have to worry about this particular rule change. It’s the K-12 student-athletes who need to be concerned if they hope to participate in intercollegiate athletics after graduating high school.

Emmert and his staff are well aware of this fact. That’s why the NCAA is developing a program called “2.3 or Take a Knee,” Emmert said during his Final Four press conference on Thursday.

“We’re going to be launching a variety of advertisements that are geared toward youngsters, which means nobody in this room will get the jokes, but that’s okay,” Emmert said at the press conference, according to a transcript from ASAP Sports. “It’s not aimed at us, it’s aimed at young people to get them to understand that not only do they need a good jump shot, they need good grades in math if they’re going to be successful in NCAA athletics.”

The NCAA’s website already features a “2.3 or Take a Knee” section, detailing the exact minimum academic requirements for all incoming student-athletes starting in August 2016. The NCAA eligibility center also contains the academic information for college-bound student-athletes, detailing what will change between now and the start of the 2016-17 school year. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/schooled_in_sports/2013/04/ncaa_to_launch_academics-based_ads_for_high_school_student-athletes.html?intc=es

Coaches have a great impact on players, but parents have a great influence as well. Too many players have pressure put on them to succeed in athletics because they are living out a parent’s failed dream or the parent feels the child is a lottery ticket out of miserable circumstances. The outcome of these failed dreams is often devastating.

Most kids will never appear at the Final Four or Superbowl. For kids who possess extraordinary talent and desire to achieve at the top level of sports, of course nurture their talent and their desire. But, society and their families owe it to these kids to be honest about their chances and the fact that they need to prepare for a variety of outcomes.

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The 03/24/13 Joy Jar

23 Mar

Like many, moi has been watching the NCAA road to the ‘Final Four.’ Basketball at its purest is a graceful sport. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the joy one receives from watching a great game of basketball.


If I weren’t earning $3 million a year to dunk a basketball, most people on the street would run in the other direction if they saw me coming.

 Charles Barkley quotes 


A basketball team is like the five fingers on your hand. If you can get them all together, you have a fist. That’s how I want you to play.
Mike Krzyzewski

There is no such thing as a perfect basketball player, and I don’t believe there is only one greatest player either.

Michael Jordan


I tell kids to pursue their basketball dreams, but I tell them to not let that be their only dream.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

We can have no progress without change, whether it be basketball or anything else.

John Wooden

I’m not comfortable being preachy, but more people need to start spending as much time in the library as they do on the basketball court.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The 02/03/13 Joy Jar

2 Feb

Moi is not an athlete and has no athletic ability. Walking is what moi does. When moi was growing up, she was that geeky kid with her head in a book. Still ,moi can appreciate the grace of a really good basketball game and wonder how those hockey players can get around on skates so fast. The Superbowl would have been more fun to watch if the Seahawks were playing, but moi like everyone will be watching Beyoncé sing. Watching sports adds another dimension to life just as music and the theater do. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is watching an athletic event that makes one think about competition and grace.


Winning isn’t everything–but wanting to win is.”
Vince Lombardi Jr.


Don’t let them drag you down by rumors just go with what you believe in.”
Michael Jordan,
I Can’t Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan on the Pursuit of Excellence


Outcasts may grow up to be novelists and filmmakers and computer tycoons, but they will never be the athletic ruling class.”
Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto


They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.”
Wilt Chamberlain


The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
Muhammed Ali


Academe, n.: An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught. Academy, n.: A modern school where football is taught.”
Ambrose Bierce,
The Devil’s Dictionary


I have failed many times, and that’s why I am a success.”
Michael Jordan


Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart.”
Phil Jackson

Study: Effects of a concussion linger for months

13 Dec

Moi wrote in Don’t ignore concussions:

Kids Health has some great information about concussions at their site:

What Is a Concussion and What Causes It?

The brain is made of soft tissue and is cushioned by spinal fluid. It is encased in the hard, protective skull. When a person gets a head injury, the brain can move around inside the skull and even bang against it. This can lead to bruising of the brain, tearing of blood vessels, and injury to the nerves. When this happens, a person can get a concussion — a temporary loss of normal brain function.

Most people with concussions recover just fine with appropriate treatment. But it’s important to take proper steps if you suspect a concussion because it can be serious.

Concussions and other brain injuries are fairly common. About every 21 seconds, someone in the United States has a serious brain injury. One of the most common reasons people get concussions is through a sports injury. High-contact sports such as football, boxing, and hockey pose a higher risk of head injury, even with the use of protective headgear.

People can also get concussions from falls, car accidents, bike and blading mishaps, and physical violence, such as fighting. Guys are more likely to get concussions than girls. However, in certain sports, like soccer, girls have a higher potential for concussion. http://kidshealth.org/teen/safety/first_aid/concussions.html#a_What_Is_a_Concussion_and_What_Causes_It_


See, Update: Don’t ignore concussions https://drwilda.com/2012/05/20/update-dont-ignore-concussions/

A concussion is a serious injury.

Bryan Toporek reports about concussions in the Education Week article, Concussions Alter Children’s Brains for Months, Study Finds:

Months after sustaining a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) such as a concussion, the changes in a child’s brain still persist even if the child is symptom-free, according to a study published online today in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Researchers from the Albuquerque-based Mind Research Network and the University of New Mexico studied 15 children between the ages of 10 and 17 who had sustained a concussion to examine the lasting effects of the injury, comparing the results to 15 healthy controls between the ages of 11 and 17.

Previous research has suggested that concussions affect the brain’s white matter, which contains nerve fibers that transmit signals from one area of the brain to another, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Thus, both the healthy and concussed children underwent “diffusion tensor imaging” (DTI), which specifically images white matter in the brain, and neuropsychological testing two separate times. The concussed children were tested and imaged within 21 days of sustaining their injury, and then once more in a follow-up visit roughly three to five months after their initial screening….

On a brief related note: I just went through yesterday and updated our youth-concussion law map.

Of note: Both Michigan and Hawaii have passed youth-concussion laws since July, making 43 states (including the District of Columbia) that now have such laws. Not far behind is Ohio, whose youth-concussion bill just passed through the state Senate last week after being approved by the state House in June. It’s waiting to be sent to Gov. John Kasich for a signature.




Neurobiology of Disease

Diffusion Abnormalities in Pediatric Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

  1. Andrew R. Mayer1,2,3,
  2. Josef M. Ling1,
  3. Zhen Yang1,2,
  4. Amanda Pena1,
  5. Ronald A. Yeo1,2, and
  6. Stefan Klimaj1


Pediatric mild traumatic brain injury (pmTBI) is the most prevalent neurological insult in children and is associated with both acute and chronic neurobehavioral sequelae. However, little is known about underlying pathophysiology and how injuries change as a function of recovery. Fractional anisotropy, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity were examined in 15 semi-acute pmTBI patients and 15 well-matched controls, with a subset of participants returning for a second visit. A novel analytic strategy was applied to capture spatially heterogeneous white matter injuries (lesions) in addition to standard analyses. Evidence of cognitive dysfunction after pmTBI was observed in the domains of attention (p = 0.02, d = −0.92) and processing speed (p = 0.05, d = −0.73) semi-acutely. Region of interest (ROI) and voxelwise analyses indicated increased anisotropic diffusion for pmTBI patients, with an elevated number of clusters with high anisotropy. Metrics of increased anisotropy were able to objectively classify pmTBI from healthy controls at 90% accuracy but were not associated with neuropsychological deficits. Little evidence of recovery in white matter abnormalities was observed over a 4-month interval in returning patients, indicating that physiological recovery may lag behind subjective reports of normality. Increased anisotropic diffusion has been previously linked with cytotoxic edema after TBI, and the magnitude and duration of these abnormalities appear to be greater in pediatric patients. Current findings suggest that developing white matter may be more susceptible to initial mechanical injury forces and that anisotropic diffusion provides an objective biomarker of pmTBI.

  • Received July 13, 2012.
  • Revision received October 12, 2012.
  • Accepted October 16, 2012.

This Article

  1. The Journal of Neuroscience, 12 December 2012, 32(50): 17961-17969; doi: 10.1523/​JNEUROSCI.3379-12.2012
  1. » Abstract

  2. Full Text

  3. Full Text (PDF)

The Sports Concussion Institute has some great information about concussions:



People must take concussions very seriously.


Concussions                                                                                    http://kidshealth.org/teen/safety/first_aid/concussions.html#a_What_Is_a_Concussion_and_What_Causes_It_

Concussion                                                        http://www.emedicinehealth.com/concussion/article_em.htm

Concussion – Overview                                                   http://www.webmd.com/brain/tc/traumatic-brain-injury-concussion-overview

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The NCAA run meat market for ‘student’ athletes

26 Oct

The idea of recognizing that “student” athletes are really low-paid employees of colleges and apprentices in the billion dollar sports industry would force college administrators, parents, and athletes to face some very hard truths. The NCAA has compiled a probability chart which shows just how few student athletes have a realistic change of even being drafted to play professional sports and then go on to have a successful professional career. See, http://www.collegesportsscholarships.com/percentage-high-school-athletes-ncaa-college.htm

Moi has about as much chance of playing for a professional team as the average kid with dreams of sports stardom.

Jorge Castillo has an intriguing report in the New York Times about historian Taylor Branch’s Atlantic article. In After Leaving Football, a Historian Emerges as an N.C.A.A. Critic, Castillo reports:

The October issue of The Atlantic magazine featured a 14,000-word cover story by Branch titled “The Shame of College Sports.” Its focus was the N.C.A.A., and the thesis Branch presented was that the organization was little more than a sham, exploiting athletes in revenue sports like football and men’s basketball to make hundreds of millions of dollars while expounding the virtues of amateurism.


The problem is literally 1000s of starry eyed kids and in some instance, stage parents who are willing to do whatever for a slim chance and wealth and stardom. Add to this mix the big business system of agents, coaches, and colleges who want to stay on the good side of powerful alumni.

Brad Wolverton is reporting in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, NCAA to Consider Sweeping Changes in Athlete Aid and Eligibility Rules.

Billion-dollar TV deals and multimillion-dollar compensation packages for coaches have led to growing calls for paying athletes. While Mark A. Emmert, the NCAA’s president, refuses to go there, he supports the idea of giving athletes more money for travel and other incidentals, moving closer to covering their full cost of attendance. Median college costs at public universities exceed an athlete’s scholarship coverage by about $4,000, according to a recent USA Today analysis.


Contemplated changes seem to calculated to take the heat off the college sports industry.

It probably is not an accident that the same time proposed changes were publicized, the NCCA is releasing new graduate statistics, probably to bolster the idea that the “student” athlete reigns supreme. Collin Eaton is reporting in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Athletes Continue to Graduate at Record Levels, NCAA Says.

Over all, more than two-thirds of the NCAA’s roughly 5,000 Division I teams reported graduation-success rates of 80 percent or higher, while fewer than 4 percent of teams reported rates of 50 percent or lower.

The NCAA uses its own formula to calculate the graduation-success rates of Division I athletes. The figures are different from the graduation rates calculated by the U.S. Department of Education. The NCAA statistics, unlike the federal ones, do not penalize institutions when athletes transfer to other colleges, as long as they depart in good academic standing. [Emphasis Added]


Excuse moi for being a tad bit cynical. Were these kids helped or “helped?” Wink. Wink. If you know what moi means. Are these kids taking the classes and are they in the college majors which will give them a chance at life after competitive big money sports?

Most kids will never appear at the Final Four or Superbowl. For kids who possess extraordinary talent and desire to achieve at the top level of sports, of course nurture their talent and their desire. But, society and their families owe it to these kids to be honest about their chances and the fact that they need to prepare for a variety of outcomes.

Maybe it’s time to look at athletes as apprentices for the sports business. The question then becomes how to adequately compensate fodder for the big business, big money sports machine? Most of the kids who are part of the process will never see a payoff in sports. Maybe the compensation should be an education trust fund for college athletes so that when they are perhaps more mature and more realistic about career prospects, they have have the resources for a real education.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©