Category Archives: Sports

Superbowls, Superegos and Superlatives

Last night, (as I started typing this post), February 5, 2016 I watched the new England Patriots led by Tom Brady play the Atlanta Falcons led by Matt Ryan. Coaches Belichik and  Dan Quinn dueling things out at a more cerebral level and many other match-ups taking place as particular members of each offense conflicted and struggled with particular member of each defense — all this on the great autonomous stage that is the Super Bowl. This Super Bowl was one for the record books certainly. Robert Kraft certainly got more attention than Arthur Blank but he was  very much in evidence from events like the NFL Honors which  aired on Fox the night before the game to other events and to the big stage itself. Lady Gaga performed at half time and there was a pregame presentation of Hall of Fame players who hailed from Historically Black Colleges and Universities The after game interviews featured the many African American players and their family stories in some cases. The commercials had a strongly multicultural flavor. But even more than I ever remember seeing it before the main story line in sportswriting and sportscasting was the duel between these six rich, famous (Blank being the least famous) white guys in formal leadership positions. More than usual that was appropriate. This was a clash of very different franchises. It was a clash of a relatively up an coming coach and an old legend. It was the clash of a 2017 MVP quarterback without a ring  and a quarterback playing in a season he started with a suspension who was playing to set himself outside the debate as the most successful quarterback in NFL history. It was the clash between the uniquely successful Kraft and the hungry Blank. Somehow all this multicultural tension and celebration mixed   powerfully with regional competition and the anxieties of the recent Presidential election. And somehow the duel of the six rich famous white male leaders provided a uniquely bright frame for national emotion. This was a function many other Super Bowl contests have performed this on was not more stark and clear than other games but more stark and clear than much of the confusion of life just now for many in America and the World.

No Super Bowl is ever likely to measure up for me to the Super Bowl forty -four (XLIV)  that was the first in which the Saints ever played and the one that they won. But of course, if they won another  I would be very pleased. But it was still grand and super, we also had a super meal. I brought catfish fillets brought in courtesy of a complex reciprocal relationship with a friend and my mother mad a courtbouillon  as well as many other snacks and side dishes. Dad and I and Mom and a a guest whose invitation I arranged but who is also my mother’s godson enjoyed the evening together. The event shared among us competed with the game, related events and halftime show more than if it had been the saints or we had been more hard core Super Bowl fans. But still we mostly watched the Super Bowl and related events and observed a great American tradition. Our guest was joined by brief drop-ins passing by. The guest himself had just returned form a long stay abroad and is here without his recently wed wife. But we all discussed travels and homecomings and enjoyed good food and good music in ways which sometimes interrupted the game.

In some ways our Super Bowl party reminded me of the different ways there are to participate in and observe the institutions and events associated with citizenship in the United States. Right now I am more obsessed with politics than most of the time. But still I like to think that this blog is a bit like that little Super Bowl party. It is about the big events but also about smaller events  and bigger events that are not known in a big way. The change from the Obama Era to the Trump Era has been momentous but so was the living breathing experience of being a human being as millions have experienced. I had coffee this morning with my sister and enjoyed being with her children as often happens on Monday. I wrote down the dates of the play her older son is in. Yesterday, having been to vigil mass on Saturday I did lawn work most of the day in the unusually pleasant weather. I also have lots of negative experiences and woes which best my thoughts, pocket  and health. All those are human realities more immediate and just as relevant to me as my current concern about politics as we know it from walls, travel bans and Senate rules. Sports play a special role in joining public communal interest and private concerns and values. The Super Bowl party is often a bit more than it seems.

Worrying About American Safety at the Olympics

I am concerned this morning about the safety of American athletes in Russia. The Olympics is a great symbolic gathering for sport and international dialog. I feel that there is risk of it becoming a venue for assault on Americans at the last part of these games. It seems the games are poorly attended despite great expense by Russia in providing them. There are two reasons fro this which Russians are likely to be aware of in every hour. One is Islamic terrorism and militancy and the other is the US led denunciation of their domestic policies about sex.

Today is a special day for symbols of a happy kind. Happy Valentine’s Day! I cheer and salute the love, romance, betrothals, special friendships and marriage in the world. I want that to stand alone and so I have made it my thought in a status update below. However, It is also the case that on this Valentine’s Day besides sexy gifts, flowers and for a few the memory of a Bishop and martyr who helped poor girls find dowries to be able to marry — the world is spinning around. We have our customs related to these things and we have a lot of problems of our own with sex in America. Right now there is a lawsuit in my hometown by a student expelled for sexual misconduct. He is suing the school and alleging racial discrimination and the whole thing is a microcosm of all the the tensions and many of the absurdities of our society. Even I can find fault with myself here as I once wrote along list of complaints about schools in which I listed condoms at schools as one sign of too loose of a view of sex for adolescents. I never have opposed kids receiving information about condoms nor having access to them but simply putting them out like a kind of textbook when kids ought to be encouraged to wait. But in the absurdity of our society (others are absurd in other ways) it is easy to say the young man who impregnated two girls (allegedly) should never have been allowed anywhere without condoms. He should also have been expelled from the school earlier but that does not deal with the school’s faults in all of this. The truth is thousands of American instances of sexual dysfunction occur every day. In the Olympic charter and elsewhere it is pretty clear that this is not the venue for attacking the domestic policy of host countries.

So the question emerges whether some part of the security framework in Russia will allow Islamists to penetrate the ring of steel to kill Americans? I think it is not impossible. I think Obama has not made American security and success here his top priority. The next question is what is the threat?

The threat is that in Pakistan we see sophisticated drilling with large numbers of suicide bombers with fake ID cards and models for planning, In Afghanistan experienced fighters have been released from prison, in Iraq masses of suicide bombers are being trained in a way which strains their trainers capacities. That is all the current applicable risk. The conditions are that Islamic secessionist forces in Dagestan and Chechnya are eager to provide a conduit of support and avenue of attack for Islamist assailants against the Olympics. The overall climate is that European and Russian intelligence are more resentful and less eager to cooperate with America than usual. I am not sure President Obama is on our side and does not want to provoke an incident with Russia but whatever he wants this may still happen in a really horrible way. I will breathe easier after the closing ceremonies end peacefully than I ever have for any other Olympics. This is not a small risk.

BP Oil leak and Hurricane Season Darkens the Season

The BP Oil Leak is still going on as we move into hurricane season.For a recent view of the spill from space go to this link:

Tropical Storm Alex is meandering its way through the region where perhaps the ghost of Ixtoc’s gusher may be said to brood.  My little niece Naomi is suffering from a suspected blood infection and is quite ill although we hope she will soon recover in the hospital.  My uncle is languishing from Hepatitis in another hospital. It seems trivial and inappropriate to mention that the USA was knocked out of the World Cup. But life is full of sad and disappointing realities for me and for everyone living on these coasts. But in addition we are looking ar a hurricane season which has storms popping up which may delay relief wells and work with the spill to create greater havoc. Nobody’s life was perfect before the spill. I just came from mass in a church which was flooded by two hurricanes in the last five years and has just been renovated.  Nobody worshipping there so far has asked me personally if the next flood will be soaked in oil.

BP Oil Spill and The Current of Current Events

Since the Oil leak began and the Deep Water Horizon Rig sank at Macondo in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast many things have happened. What I mean is that because of  the oil spill we see a skipper committing suicide, pelicans dying, a response worker dying of complications and no end in sight. But there are  other things that have happened too.

1. Since this mess started the UK elected the first Conservative or Liberal or non Labour coalition government in thirteen years.

2. Since this mess started the USA has won its group in the World Cup tournament for the first time in decades.

3. Since this mess started the longest men’s tennis match ever recorded has been played.

4. Since this mess started Louisiana’s own New Orleans Saints got their world championship rings with the fleur-de-lis on them. 

5. Since this mess started LSU lost its chance for the College World Series which is still going on and is still great baseball.

6. Since this mess started the National Spelling Bee has seen hard competition and has produced a winner.

7. Since this mess started this year’s TONY awards were given out to the exceptional achievers on Broadway by the American Theater Wing.

8.Since this mess started numerous prominent and accomplished people have given speeches at their commencement exercises on college campuses.

9. Since this mess started the US Supreme COurt has issued several opinions which will affect the lives and government of many Americans.

10. Since this mess started the North Koreans and South Koreans have done many things which deserve much attention and can affect the Position of the US in the world.

11. Since this mess started several large budget feature films and clever independent films have come on and off of the screens in most communities in America.

12 Since this mess started the first tropical depression has formed in the Caribbean.

13.Since this mess started the world has kept on spinning.

I hope that Americans and others who know us and do not live on the Gulf Coast or in the lower Mississippi Valley they will be understanding if we who do live here are a bit off. I hope that they will understand if we are a bit out of touch with life and the things we used to take an interest in these days. It is hard to explain if you do not live here what it is like to have this mess going on and on and on and on and on. It sort of reminds you of hell on the discount plan or some slow and horrible wasting disease…. So we may not be up to date on everything else.

BP Oil Spill, The World Cup & The Better Chances

I am not going to take a complete break from the Posts about the BP oil spill to discuss the World Cup. But I do want to discuss the World Cup nonetheless. I have been a sportswriter. As a sportswriter and as a feature writer for newspapers I have often written about soccer. As a world traveler I have often called it football or Futbol. As the games begin with South Africa and Mexico battling it out in the new Soccer City near Soweto, South Africa  I am watching and thinking of the US versus England which airs in the early afternoon Saturday my time.  England is a tough team and brings a great deal of respect to the event and commands it from us.

BP did not bring that same level of respect to its task here and does not command such respect. I have read and heard from many sources that their disaster response plan for this well dealt with walruses and sea lions (which do not live here) while ignoring most of the hundreds of species they threatened. What a horrible grotesque group of people for us to have to deal with who love and depend on these unique wetlands. Such vile minds inflict themselves on us all in a way unimaginable among the World Cup contenders. Maybe BP should hire some of the England staff and players to give them a basic orientation lecture about preparation.

 To be so hostile in fact to South Louisiana  and other areas in preparing this venture is beyond the parameters of mere greed and laziness. I am hopeful that somehow the story will end better than it has begun. In a few years I may finally leave this region for good but it will always be home. I will simply not be living at home any more. That is something I have done for years at a time before, leave here and live abroad. However, I used to hope a life would come together for me here but I have reached a point where it just seems impossible. The oil spill is the last great horror in a lifetime of reasons to give up on being here. Yet still it will always be home.   I do not think it would be right to discuss best case scenarios of recovery from the oil spill yet. However, it may be permissible to discuss some better case scenarios. Despite all the ongoing destruction and suffering it may be possible to behave in a moral way and discuss the possible better-rather-than-worst  results of the oil spill. For me there is a certain sense that in the small niche this blog occupies in the big world of cyber space there is little room to speculate on the good that may come out of this tragedy. But nonetheless, whatever good may come of this is part of  the event and its consequences. Since I am blogging so much about this I might as well blog about those good consequences as well. Just as every qualified country  from the more than thirty participants can at the time I write this at least fantasize about winning it all so I can fantasize about some good results.

1. Maybe the whole Oil Pollution Act regime will be improved.

2. Maybe a really sound coastal policy will have a better chance moving forward.

3. Maybe after the purifying trials of the present the reservoir of oil will fund a dynamic economy in the region  and nation.

4. Maybe state revenue sharing will work out sooner and more rather than later and less.

5. Maybe Gulf of Mexico oil will help the Arab world to sober up in its addiction to bad policy and fanaticism in religion among other things. If there is a large US oil find then all sides will have to adjust geopolitical positions. This could be the start of a large enough find.

I am not counting on any of these things happening. I am tired, discouraged and depressed. But in the spirit of the World Cup’s start I am focusing on the path to glory. Although few reasons for confidence may present themselves.

A Few Thoughts on the Winter Olympics

The  Winter Olympics as they are televised on the NBC networks do entertain and compel me. I could talk to you if you were sitting beside me about Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller, Julie Mancuso, Apollo Anton Ohno, Charlie Wise and Meryl Davis as well as Shanon Barkhe and Shani Davis. The stories of athletes from other nations also compel me. While I have skied, sledded and skated a very little — I do not relate to these events as even a competent winter athlete would. Also for me, as for many others, I relate with eagerness to the excellences that are not typical of my own life. The joy of representing a nation on a great stage is not something most us will ever know. Nor will we know the full discipline and dedication of many of these athletes. Further I remeber the youth they live as an increasingly distant memory. 

A US speed skater glides along the ice.

 The Olympics is not the only thing on my mind.  I had supper with last night and spoke today with Seth J. DeMoor who is trying to do some cool blogs and cycle across the country from Orlando, Florida to Buena Vista, Colorado.  He has a blog and his all out effort and adventure has many values in common with the Olympics.  His website is right here for your perusal  The New Testament is actually full of references to the events and traditions of the Olympic Games. So Seth’s faith tie is not unrelated either. However in these weeks I am spending quite a bit of time watching the Winter Olympics. It is not all that I do but it is important. I really get into the Olympics.  I like the Summer and the Winter Games.

USA team racing in the two man bobsled on a fast track.

 So I hope all of you are getting something out of it as well.  Let us press on and be a bit inspired to find an adventure and a winning route.  Let’s view the Olympics and try to live them out a little bit as well. I  may have more to say later after the closing ceremonies. But I do not want to pass up the chance to say something now. 

US figure skater Rachel Flatt fights to keep up a tradition in a tough field.

 Whether it Apollo Ohno becoming America’s most decorated winter Olympian or Rachel Flatt struggling against superb athletes in a field where the USA has long dominated– it is full of  drama and stories.  It recharges some of my creative batteries just to watch it. 

US Hockey team has been dominant.

 This is also a big anniversary for those who remember the famed Miracle on Ice hockey semifinal against the Soviet Union . Some of that emotional magic shone upon our professional hockey team when they beat Canada in a recent match. The Olympics pour out connections of moments in our lives, connections between countries and connections  between courage and opportunity. I do like the Olympics.  I am watching them intently.

College Football Meditation

Chilly changes in south Louisiana, now Death Valley’s mighty Bayou Bengals fight.

On days when cool weather will usually mark if not the day then at least the night.

Lots of folks are hunting and more watch American, National and World too,

Loving to see bats and leather do what they so beautifully in a series can do.

Even so in this land Cowboys, Demons, Indians, Cajuns and the Green Wave rise

Getting gridiron views more on weeks when Tigers play football out of view.  

Everyone in the stadia as the Greeks would say wants a coach who is wise.


Florida beat LSU last week. How is the PAC Ten shaking out for USC?”

Oregon looks strong, but Washington may be the one to watch out there.”

Ohio and the Big Ten feel defensive about this year and some recent games.

There is always talk of reforming the BCS . It is still good to be the SEC.

But whether your team plays for the whole thing or mostly goes down in flames,

America knows that pigskin and gridiron and tailgates in autumn’s  air

Link us to a sport we love and which we tie to our education’s temple.

Lord of college athletics is football, this old Harvard Game is never simple.


Michigan’s Big House or the fabulously feted and festooned freeways far

Entering near the proud Rose Bowl where USC oft avenges fallen Troy,

Do not have an equal even in the round ball’s Final Four wood floored war.

I mean no disrespect to the Diamond in October and the Yankee’s joy.

This is a land of sport and contest which cannot choose just one game.

All of us know that there will be interest in the Bowl Games of fame.

There are millions now who watch the young men in plastic helmets fight.

In the midst of pretty cheering girls, bad seats and glaring white light.

Our marriages, careers, friends from college days long past and not lost

Nudge us towards a ticket, tv party or the tailgate parties of real cost.