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Soccer Finn No Fluke

Turns out Finn's goal-scoring, assist making spree in his 2nd soccer game wasn't a fluke. Grandma and Grandpa B, Aunt Robin, Lisa, Elliot, and I got to watch him put on another show Saturday morning. Here's a few photos and videos. Unfortunately, they tend to be a little blurry. Finn is pretty cute...especially the second video where he scores a goal and then skips down the field while waving to the crowd. Also, I need to learn to keep my mouth shut when recording these videos. I sound so lame yelling "Run!", "Pass it!", etc.




God, Head Ball Coach

You thought football coaches decide who plays what position? Daniel Sepulveda, a punter drafted in the fourth round by the Steelers, thinks otherwise:

"I guess the first couple of years that I was the punter at Baylor, and started to realize and recognize that that's all I was going to be doing. I tried to sneak my way onto some special teams throughout my career and was able to do that at times. I really did enjoy it, but finally did settle in to where I knew that punter was the position that God would have me to be at."

Daniel Sepulveda

My Steelers created some controversy among their fans when they traded their 4th- and 6th-round picks to move up in the 4th round to draft a punter. They hadn't drafted a punter that high in a long, long time. One the other hand, you've gotta love a punter that makes tackles like this one:

Study of N.B.A. Sees Racial Bias in Calling Fouls

From an article of the same title by Alan Schwarz in the NY Times:

A coming paper by a University of Pennsylvania professor and a Cornell University graduate student says that, during the 13 seasons from 1991 through 2004, white referees called fouls at a greater rate against black players than against white players.

Justin Wolfers, an assistant professor of business and public policy at the Wharton School, and Joseph Price, a Cornell graduate student in economics, found a corresponding bias in which black officials called fouls more frequently against white players, though that tendency was not as strong. They went on to claim that the different rates at which fouls are called "is large enough that the probability of a team winning is noticeably affected by the racial composition of the refereeing crew assigned to the game."

N.B.A. Commissioner David Stern said in a telephone interview that the league saw a draft copy of the paper last year, and was moved to do its own study this March using its own database of foul calls, which specifies which official called which foul.

"We think our cut at the data is more powerful, more robust, and demonstrates that there is no bias," Mr. Stern said.

Three independent experts asked by The Times to examine the Wolfers-Price paper and materials released by the N.B.A. said they considered the Wolfers-Price argument far more sound. The N.B.A. denied a request for its underlying data, even with names of officials and players removed, because it feared that the league's confidentiality agreement with referees could be violated if the identities were determined through box scores.

"There's a growing consensus that a large proportion of racialized decisions is not driven by any conscious race discrimination, but that it is often just driven by unconscious, or subconscious, attitudes. When you force people to make snap decisions, they often can't keep themselves from subconsciously treating blacks different than whites, men different from women."

I buy that last explanation...that people, regardless of the intentions, have natural and often sub-conscious bias against people that are different from them...and that bias can easily come out under stress or when there isn't time to think better. I see it in myself when I react differently to people of different color...until I consciously remind myself that I can't assume something about someone based on the color of their skin. I see it when Christians are more eager to attack people who are different from them (like homosexuals) while basically ignoring others that they can relate to (like gluttony, gossip, materialism, etc). I think racism is still a problem and that black people are just likely to be prejudiced against white people as the flip side.

If you have the chance, watch the FX series "Black. White" (which I've mentioned before and before).

This also reminds me of something else. A while back I set a season pass for Pistons games. I never watch them (until playoff time) but my six-year-old watched a bunch of them. He would tell me about the games and I got a kick out of when, for example, he called Billups "Mr. Big Shot." Anyway, we were watching part of a game together one day and he asked me, "Dad, why do so many basketball players have dark skin?" I wasn't exactly sure how to answer, but what else could I say except that the guys who play in the pros do so because they are taller and are better at jumping and putting the ball in the basket...and so these guys with dark skin must be better at those things. I also said that maybe they practiced more too. I didn't want to admit to him that black people and white people are different (in this admittedly narrow context of playing professional basketball), but it's so obvious and common-sensical that I couldn't help it.

Finn's First Soccer Game

Finn's first soccer game was Saturday afternoon. He seemed to have a good time running around. He made a point to tell me that he didn't fall down though once he came close to falling over in the goal. It did seem that one of his main objectives was to adjust his running trajectory to avoid any collisions with many of the other players who were a head taller than he...and with the secondary objective of getting near the ball and kicking it as a nice-to-have bonus.

Here are a few photos and a video:




Loons Game

Sunday afternoon Elliot went with a friend to a Great Lakes Loons baseball game. He had a hot dog, popcorn, and a lemonade. They also played some hitting game, ran the bases after the game, etc. Here is a photo:


Opening Day

We concluded our Cincinnati vacation by attending the opening day Cubs/Reds game. We were in the nosebleed seats, but the weather was great, and we had a good time. We missed the chance to boo GWB by a year. Here are some photos:












Basketball Class

For the last few weeks Elliot's been going to a basketball class for an hour on Saturday mornings at the community center. I know I'm not objective, but so far everything that Elliot has done (school, baseball, soccer, Taekwon-Do, etc.), he's always one of the few best kids in the game or in the class. He's smart, athletic, and competitive, but I think a big part of it is that he pays attention and focuses, listens to the coaches or teachers, and quickly learns how to be successful. Anyway, basketball is apparently no exception. Here are a few photos and videos from last Saturday:



Here he making a steal but missing the fastbreak shot at the buzzer

Here he is picking up a loose ball, breaking down the court, and making the shot this time

Here he is barely missing a shot and then playing some defense

Finally, here is with a nice cross-over dribble before getting mugged

Super Bowl Ads of Cartoonish Violence, Perhaps Reflecting Toll of War

From a NY Times article of the same title by Stuart Elliott about the Super Bowl ads:

More than a dozen spots celebrated violence in an exaggerated, cartoonlike vein that was intended to be humorous, but often came across as cruel or callous.

I don't know about a connection to Iraq, but I did notice this myself: an abundance of gratuitously violent commercials that left me wincing.

NFL's lawyers sack church's game plan

Watch out on Sunday...the NFL may be after you. From an article by Robert King in the Indianapolis Star:

The thousands of churches across the country that want to host Super Bowl parties Sunday night had better not pull out big-screen TVs, or they could face the wrath of NFL attorneys.

The NFL is telling Fall Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis that the church's plans to use a wall projector to show the game at a party for church members and guests would violate copyright laws.

The league even took exception to the church's plan to influence nonmembers with a video highlighting the Christian testimonies of Colts coach Tony Dungy and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith.


For groups that want to host Super Bowl parties -- other than sports bars and businesses that normally show televised sports -- here are rules the NFL says must be followed:

  • No admission fees (even to pay for snacks).
  • Only one television (55 inches or smaller).
  • No use of the words "Super Bowl" in promotional materials.
  • No exhibition of the game in connection with events "that promote a message."

Source: NFL

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