Forgive me, Blogfather, for I have slacked. It has been 5 days since my last run.

Thursday, I decided to rest ’cause I ran big on Wed. Friday, I was busy. Saturday and Sunday I spent about 16 hours on a ladder trying to paint the house. Tomorrow I run.


So, here’s kind of a digression, an idea, a riff, building on Friday’s “Pick up the Phone” post: Phil Knight and his waffle iron as Martin Luther and the door of the Whittenburg Cathedral.


Was it “Right Place, right time” in both cases – just an outspoken person grabbing on to an undercurrent (Luther – the idea that the Church needed reform couldn’t have been his and his alone; Knight – Swingin’ 70’s, with everyone wanting to look good and feel that pep), or was it something more – divine inspiration, lone guy going against the flow…

And will it happen again?

We watched “Space Jam” (the 1996 Michael Jordan vehicle) with the kids Saturday night. The good: MJ’s dog named “Charles” (as in Barkley); the NBA players who lost their talent (the Round Mound of Rebound, Patrick Ewing, Muggsy Boggues, etc) and the other NBA players not wanting to play (Wow – Vlade was young once); Bill Murray in an underrated re-enactment of his role in Caddyshack; Charles Barkey in general. The Bad: MJ betting on sports, and the team’s reliance on MJ’s “special stuff” to win the big game.

Watching Jordan play hoops, even in a movie, was just amazing. Took me way, way back. There’s something missing in the NBA today – a magic that was there in the late ’80s and early ’90s that is akin to Baseball on either side of WWII.

Dopes (Somewhat incomplete)

So this whole Floyd Landis thing has me all wrapped around a philosophical axel, so to speak. I’ve been working on this post for about 2 weeks, and can’t get it right. It starts off OK, but then degenerates. I’m leaving it here with my notes instead of just tossing it. Enjoy.

(ED – Hey, Bill, what’s with all this stuff about professional cycling)

(Me – I promise I’ll bring this back around to running. But isn’t cycling fitness, too?

(ED – Maybe, but WATCHING cycling isn’t.)

(Me – What if you’re watching it in December on the stationary trainer or the dreadmill? Huh? What then?)

(ED – Just make your point and move on)

(Me – Oh, I need to have a point? Wait one…)

Anyway, it’s got me wrapped around a philosophical axle that basically says to me “Why do I care? Why should I care? And, more to the point, what benefit do I get actually caring?”

‘Cause here’s the deal, see? The level of athletic prowess on display at the professional level nowadays is phenomenal, insane, out of this freakin’ world! Sure, they may be all hopped up on goofballs, but to paraphrase a quote from someone else’s blog (who stole it from the Simpsons), “Whaddya wanna see? A moral debate about the implications of doping, or would you rather see me hit some dingers*?”

“Dingers, Dingers!” we all shout.

And therein lies the rub. We do want to see the dingers. We want to see the legendary ascent of the Joux Plane, the 5 hour breakaway on a broken shoulder, and all that stuff that we wouldn’t do in our wildest dreams.

We want to see it.

And then blog about it, and then head down to the local pub for a plate of wings and a half dozen pints and some other folks who saw the same unforgettable event so we can yammer on about it while we watch the replay on 24 hour sports TV, sponsored by the DVD.

There’s a whole industry set up so that we can watch the unbelievable, then discuss, then market, and then replay. We fight to be the first to blog the next big thing, try to score tickets to the big game without realizing that we’re being counterproductive to the higher idea of “sport” as something that’s good for us all.

The sports entertainment industry doesn’t want us to actually play sports. It’s tough for us to generate ratings when we’re out on the road/track/court/field.

(Here’s where it degenerates into notes and incoherence)

– kids used to play at the sandlot, replaying big plays physically (“I’m Evel Kinievel”). Replay provided on demand now
– Smaller pool of talent competing for bigger bucks. Bigger incentive to cheat. No incentive in either atheletes or owners to catch cheats.
– For media, catching a cheat is good business. SO is covering the rehabilitation of a cheat: Don’t have to learn any new background, recycle the same talking heads

– Moderation
– Go race locally
– Get your kids involved
– Actually, spend some time with your kids dis-involved. Let them play without coaches, leagues, etc. Kick them out in the yard.
– Coach someone.
– Get coached.

Examples of “big stories” in the RBF – individuals every day, exactly as compelling as pros. Your encouragement here can make a real difference, as opposed to adding to the noise.

* For the baseball deprived, a “dinger” is slang for a Home Run, a ball hit so hard it leaves the field of play, allowing the batter to run completely around the bases and score a run.