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  • Blue Jackets


    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    NEWS ITEM: A recent 16-game win streak gave the Columbus Blue Jackets the best record in the National Hockey League.
    Yes, it’s true. My Blue Jackets are finally on top. A “Cinderella” story, to be sure.
    There aren’t many of us Blue Jacket fans around. Truth be told, the Bruins are my favorite NHL team, but I’ve always been a closet Blue Jacket fan, going back to when they joined the NHL in 2000.
    I like the idea of a major league pro sports team in a “small” town like Columbus and I like their team name. “Blue Jackets” honors Ohio’s considerable Civil War heritage—kind of like “Patriots” honors New England’s Revolutionary War heritage. (When it comes to the Civil Wat, I’m definitely a fan of the North.
    My favorite Blue Jacket is #13, right wing Cam Atkinson, the NHL leader in power play goals. My man Cam is a New Englander, hailing from Connecticut—which, like Ohio, was on the right side in the Civil War. Goalkeeper Sergie Bobrovsky has a sparkling 1.97 goals against average at this writing. A hot goalkeeper can take a team a long ways. My man Sergie was born in Novokuznetsk in the old Soviet Union back in 1988. Presumably he’s extolled the virtues of freedom and capitalism in his old homeland. I love it.
    My Blue Jackets have been loveably hapless throughout most of their history. They did make the playoffs twice, but were quickly eliminated with first round losses in 2009 and 2014 respectively. But their recent win streak—one shy of the all-time NHL record—could be a harbinger of future success. May they not only win their first playoff series, but advance to the Stanley Cup Finals (assuming the Bruins aren’t viable).
    I’d love to see my Blue Jackets face the dreaded San Jose Sharks in the Finals. While the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and his fellow poo-bahs may prefer a New York/LA or a Boston/Chicago Final, I like the idea of two small markets making it to the Finals. San Jose actually was in the Finals last year, losing to Pittsburgh, so a classic Columbus/San Jose showdown is quite possible.
    Actually, Columbus has a population of almost a million—the 15th largest city in the country. And San Jose is even bigger, with over a million inhabitants. But if we can’t have a Bruins/Blackhawks final, then bring on the Blue Jackets and Sharks.
    As Cinderella said, “Dreams do come true!”

    Sports Quiz
    What is the maximum time limit allowed to look for a lost ball in golf? (Answer follows)

    Born Today …
    That is to say, sports standouts born on January 26 include baseball catcher/actor/announcer Bob Uecker (1935) and ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky (1961)

    Sportsquote
    “I gave (pitcher) Mike Cuellar more chances than I gave my first wife.”—Earl Weaver, Baltimore Orioles manager

    Sportsquiz Answer
    Five minutes.

    Michael Moffett was a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord. He’s co-author of the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is mimoffett@comcast.net.


  • Sportscasters

    Jim Nantz

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    The final 2016 regular season NFL football game was played on Sunday evening, January 1, 2017. The Green Bay at Detroit contest was part of the Sunday Night Football series, featureing sportscasters Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth. The Packers controlled the game, but I watched because I enjoyed Michaels and Collinsworth. To paraphrase Sally Field, “I like them. I really like them!”
    Michaels, 72, has done national sports telecasts since the 1970s. He’s forever immortalized by his shout-out at the end of the American Olympic ice hockey team’s 1980 victory over the Soviet Union. “Do you believe in miracles? YES!”
    Collinsworth, 57, is a former All-NFL wide receiver with the Cincinnati Bengals who once worked for FOX. These guys are knowledgeable, consummate professionals who love sports while enjoying the broadcast booth.
    With the NFL’s network television deals worth billions of dollars, the telecasters handle some very valuable material. They can’t alienate viewers.
    FOX’s “A-Team” of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are a bit iconoclastic, but they transmit a sense of drama, reverence, and excitement about every game they cover. Their voices on Sunday afternoons have become part of the sound-tracks of our sports lives.
    The CBS “A-Team” of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are also welcome and appealing regular guests to my living room. Nantz is also CBS’s “Voice of the Masters” golf tournament—an event wouldn’t be the same without him. Maybe that’s why Nantz makes over $5 million a year talking about sports. But Nantz’ salary doesn’t compare to that of Jim Rome, the sports host of the most popular radio show in the world, who makes $30 million a year.
    Nice work if you can get it.
    Sports broadcasting remains a dream job—one that’s difficult to retire from. Dodger announcer Vin Scully was still describing Los Angeles baseball action this past season at the age of 88. Scully’s done Dodger games for 67 years, going back to when the team was in Brooklyn. Continue reading  Post ID 2587


  • Florida Sports Adventures

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    A fellow Plymouth State alumnus named Steve recently invited me to fly to Florida to meet and speak to veterans on beautiful Marco Island. Not wanting to “look a gift horse in the mouth,” I happily accepted, exchanging snow and sleet for sun and sand.
    The Florida people were wonderful, although a transplanted New Yorker—an Air Force vet—sized me up with a critical eye at a social event.
    “So you’re a Marine and a Red Sox fan? What a bad combination!”
    I gave him a Clint Eastwood squint.
    “It’s better than being an Air Force guy and a Yankee fan. That’s the worst of all worlds.”
    My antagonist stared at me for a moment.
    “No, the worst of all worlds would be a Navy guy who likes the Mets.”
    We both laughed and did a fist bump and then the Yankee fan bought me a drink.
    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    A Gulf of Mexico boat ride provides an opportunity to absorb much-needed sunshine.



    My Sunshine State sojourn was a wonderful opportunity to speak, swim, and socialize. During a boat trip around the island, my host cautioned me about getting too much sun.
    “Bring it on,” I exclaimed, as I removed my shirt. “It was ten below zero back home.”
    I ended up with a sunburn, but that was OK.
    Sports are ubiquitous in my world, of course, and circumstances required that we find an appropriate venue to watch the Patriots/Broncos showdown. That venue turned out to be the Foxboro Sports Tavern near Naples, where the walls were covered with Boston sports memorabilia and the seats were filled with New England expatriates. The lone Denver fan there had about as much chance as did the Broncos, as the Pats romped.
    Golf was a must and Steve put the top down on his sporty red convertible and drove me to meet a couple friends at the Arrowhead Golf Club. I borrowed some clubs from Roger The Marco Island City Manager, but I was out of synch and didn’t play well and unfortunately lost most of my benefactor’s golf balls. It WAS cool to play on a flat course, although there were plenty of giant sand traps and water hazards.

    This alligator made playing the adjacent golf ball a bit more complicated.

    On the back nine Steve sliced a shot toward a pond but I kept my eye on it as it rolled over a bank.
    “I think I can find it,” I said and I headed towards the water, actually hoping to find some balls for Roger The City Manager to replace the ones I’d lost. I did locate Steve’s orange ball next to an old tire at the water’s edge and I saw another ball in the water which I sought to claim by scooping it up with an eight iron.
    But then the “tire” straightened out and I realized it was a big old alligator. Now I’ve dealt with geese, wild turkeys, squirrels, ground hogs, and even a moose at Loudon Country Club, but never an alligator.
    I stood near the gator and had an idea. I’d ask Steve to let me play his ball with my eight iron. And I’d ask him to get a phone video of me making the shot just inches from the alligator. Surely the video would go viral. I could see it making the Golf Channel! If the gator attacked, well, I’d wield my deadly eight iron.
    But then Wendy The Ranger/Beer Girl, drove by in the Refreshment Cart and yelled at me.
    “Hey! Get away from that alligator! What are you, some kind of nut?”
    I retreated, more afraid of Wendy than the gator.
    Steve got a free drop.

    Sports Quiz
    What was the original nickname for the Oakland pro football franchise? (Answer follows)

    Born Today …
    That is to say, sports standouts born on Dec. 29 include legendary Green Bay Packer middle linebacker Ray Nitschke (1936) and renowned MLB baseball executive Theo Epstein (1973).

    Sportsquote
    “Football is not a contact sport. It is a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport.” Michigan State football coach Duffy Daugherty

    Sportsquiz Answer
    A “Name the football team” contest in Oakland in April, 1960 resulted with the “Señors” as the top choice. Nine days later the owners arbitrarily changed the team’s nickname to “Raiders,” the contest’s third place finisher.

    Michael Moffett is a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord, while also teaching on-line for New England College. He co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is mimoffett@comcast.net.


  • Cleveland Browns

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity …” – Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities”
    Dickens was writing of London and Paris. I write of Foxboro and Cleveland—of Patriots and Browns. New England’s NFL franchise has been a top Super Bowl Contender for 16 straight years. Cleveland’s current NFL franchise, established in 1999, has seen losing season after losing season. These Browns never make the playoffs. They were 3-13 last year and started this season with 12 straight losses.
    It wasn’t always so for the Browns. Named for their original coach, Paul Brown, the team dominated the All-America Conference in the late 1940s, going 47–4–3 and winning four titles in four years. They joined the NFL in 1950 and immediately won the league title. Led by quarterback Otto Graham, the team played in six straight NFL Championship Games. Superstar running back Jim Brown joined the team in 1957 and the Browns remained constant contenders, winning another title in 1964.

    Johnny Manziel

    Then fortunes changed for the Browns’ passionate fans, who dressed up as dogs and barked and yelped from end-zone seats in what came to be called “The Dog Pound.”
    The Dogs wondered if their beloved Browns were cursed, as the team lost two conference championship games in the closing moments in 1987 and 1988, just missing out on Super Bowl trips. Cleveland is the only NFL city never to experience a Super Bowl. (Jacksonville’s Jaguars have been around since 1995, and also have never been to a Super Bowl, although the city has hosted one.)
    Still, the Dog Pound and Municipal Stadium were always packed with devoted fans who never gave up hope. Their reward? Owner Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore after the 1995 season and renamed them the Ravens. Cruelly, the Ravens would win a couple Super Bowls.
    Cleveland had no team for several years, but built a stadium anyway and the NFL rewarded the city with a franchise which took the traditional “Browns” nickname. But unlike the old Browns, the new Browns became perennial losers.
    The team was the subject of a 2013 movie starring Kevin Costner called “Draft Day” where a general manager turned around the team’s fortunes by acquiring key draft picks and getting a franchise quarterback. The 2014 Browns sought to emulate the movie by drafting Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
    Manziel’s career started poorly during his first pre-season when he was fined $12,000 for flipping the bird at heckling fans. He played little over two seasons and was released by the team following a series of embarrassing alcohol-related incidents. Manziel’s experience was a metaphor for new Browns tradition of “flailing failure.”
    Patriot fans—so spoiled by the success of the Brady/Belichick era—should ponder the plight of Browns fans.
    Eventually the Paris of Dickens’ time rallied and became the “City of Light.” Can the Browns similarly rally and someday march into the broad, sunlit uplands populated by Patriots, Packers, and Panthers?
    May all those fans in the Dog Pound—as well the Browns’ lone New Hampshire fan—someday get to sample that sweet taste of success that Patriot fans so routinely enjoy.

    Sports Quiz
    Next April will see the Boston Celtics celebrating the 60th anniversary of their first NBA championship. Whom did the Celtics beat in the Finals that year? (Answer follows)

    Born Today …
    That is to say, sports standouts born on Dec. 15 include former Patriot and Dolphin linebacker Nick Buoniconti (1940) and NFL defensive back Rodney Harrison (1972).

    Sportsquote
    “You can sum up the game of baseball in one word: ‘You never know.’ “—Joaquin Andujar, St. Louis Cardinals

    Sportsquiz Answer
    Bill Russell and Tom Heinsohn led the Celtics to a 125-123 Game #7 overtime victory over the St. Louis Hawks on April 13, 1957 at the old Boston Garden.

    Michael Moffett is a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord, while also teaching on-line for New England College. He co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is mimoffett@comcast.net.


  • Notre Dame Football

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    NEWS ITEM— The University of Notre Dame is forfeiting all football victories from the 2012 and 2013 seasons due to violations of NCAA rules by a student-trainer.
    What? This can’t be true!
    With all the shenanigans that we know go on with so many big-time college football programs, is the NCAA actually going to screw the Fighting Irish like this? Over a student-trainer?
    Apparently.
    USA TODAY reported that the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions panel ruled the student-trainer violated ethical conduct rules when she committed academic misconduct by helping two football players complete their coursework. Three players allegedly committed individual academic misconduct, violating the school’s academic integrity policy. The student-trainer also provided inappropriate assistance to six other players.

    Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly is not pleased with the current NCAA ruling.
    Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly is not pleased with the current NCAA ruling.

    Continue reading  Post ID 2587


  • Kickers, Pressure and TR

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    “It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles…The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Teddy Roosevelt
    I thought of TR’s quote while watching the recent 27-27 NFL tie game in London between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Washington’s Redskins. A missed PAT by Bengal kicker Mike Nugent arguably cost Cincinnati the win—much as New England kicker Steve Gostkowski’s missed PAT in the playoffs against Denver in January arguably cost the Patriots a trip to Super Bowl L.
    Washington appeared to have the game won with 2:13 left in overtime, but then Redskin kicker Dustin Hopkins sliced HIS 34-yard field goal attempt wide left.
    The FOX camera’s focused on Hopkins afterwards, standing isolated on the sidelines. My heart went out to his friends and family. Presumably Hopkins’ mom watched the poignant imagery and her heart must have ached to see her son’s miscue shown to untold millions around the world. She had to be aware that countless Washington fans (and numerous gamblers) must be cursing her son’s failure.
    We all deal with various pressures, but the stress on NFL kickers is profound. While they get paid well, imagine having millions of people watch you make a costly mistake on national television! Continue reading  Post ID 2587


  • The “Fall Classic”

     

    Carlton Fisk hits historic walk-off homerun in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.
    Carlton Fisk hits historic walk-off homerun in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    The World Series is upon us—a belated reminder of how the Red Sox so-teased us with such a strong regular season finish only to be swept out of the playoffs by Terry Francona’s Cleveland Indians. Many of us were anticipating a special October with Boston again participating in a Fall Classic that would hopefully pit the Sox against Theo Epstein’s Chicago Cubs. Alas and alack.
    Still, the World Series deserves at least the partial attention of local sports fans—while gearing up for the next Patriots game.
    While Super Sunday has certainly eclipsed the Fall Classic in terms the ultimate American sports event, the World Series does bring back poignant memories of Octobers past. And while many of those Octobers involved the Yankees, we DO have those special Red Sox memories. Continue reading  Post ID 2587


  • Sports Nicknames

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    I once asked a class if anyone knew what a 49er was.
    “A football player from San Francisco,” was a speedy response.
    “So how did that name come about?”
    Silence
    Just another example of the lack of historical awareness so prevalent in our country. As some readers surely know, a 49er was a fortune-seeking prospector who made his way to California following the discovery of gold there in 1848.
    So “49ers” is a worthy name for a San Francisco football team, historically speaking.
    Nothing against Lions, Bears, Jaguars, Eagles, Rams, Falcons, Cardinals, Giants, Colts, et al, but a nickname that ties a team to its city’s historical roots creates a meaningful, lasting bond with the community.
    (Think Inter-Lakers “Lakers” or Lin-Wood “Lumberjacks”.)
    The Steelers are beloved in Pittsburgh in part because the nickname reflects that the city was once the center of America’s steel industry.
    paul-brownSo who knows what a Packer is?
    “A football player from Green Bay.”
    Yes, we know. But how did this nickname come about?
    Silence? What if your child asked “What is a Packer?” Would you have an answer or would your child be left thinking of you as an incurious dullard?
    Packer refers to “meat-packer,” an industry that used to employ many thousands of workers in the mid-west. In fact, there was once an NBA team known as the Chicago Packers, which later became the Baltimore Bullets, and then the Washington Wizards. (Bullets being politically incorrect in a city with so much gun violence.)
    Patriots is a great nickname for a football team that plays in New England, where the American Revolution commenced. (Revolution also being the name of the soccer team that plays in Foxboro.)
    Minnesota’s “Vikings” honor the Scandinavian heritage of so many Minnesotans with Nordic roots, not unlike how the “Celtics” honor an Irish heritage so predominant in Boston.
    The politically incorrect but beloved “Redskins” of Washington have an interesting history. They used to be the Boston Redskins who played at Fenway Park in the 1930s. The name was chosen to honor Native Americans but also because it was similar to “Red Sox,” the Redskins’ fellow Fenway tenants. (President Obama later declared the nickname to be offensive, despite the fact that large majorities of Native American Indians endorse it.)
    This all finally brings us to the Cleveland Browns. So what if your child asked you, “What is a Brown?” Would you have an answer?
    I’ll let you Google this one, if you care.
    Don’t be an incurious dullard!

    Sports Quiz
    What were the Chiefs known as before they moved to Kansas City, when they played in Dallas? (Answer follows)

    Born Today …
    That is to say, sports standouts born on Oct. 13 include Hall of Fame third baseman (512 home runs) Eddie Mathews (1931), Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones (1942), and former Celtic great Paul Pierce (1977).

    Sportsquote
    “Better to die a small boy than to fumble a football.” – John Heisman

    Sportsquiz Answer
    The Chiefs were once the Dallas Texans, in the old American Football League, from 1960-62. After winning the AFL title in 1962, the team moved to Kansas City.

    Michael Moffett is a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord, while also teaching on-line for New England College. He co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is mimoffett@comcast.net.


  • Tom Brady Vs. Hillary

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    Though the presidential campaign is heading down the home stretch, a distressing number of New Englanders can’t name Hillary Clinton’s or Donald Trump’s back-ups (vice-presidential picks). But football fans throughout the region know that Jimmy Garoppolo is Tom Brady’s back-up. Jimmy G is starting the first four games of the season for the Patriots, due to Brady’s suspension.
    This is old news to local sports fans, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Brady for his alleged involvement in tampering with footballs before a 2015 playoff game with Indianapolis that the Patriots won 45-7.
    Goodell’s rationale for imposing the suspension involved Brady not providing requested cell-phone information. Brady’s failure to respond satisfactorily to Goodell’s request did him in. The courts denied Brady’s appeal. Fair enough.
    But with the aforementioned presidential election fast approaching, many wonder why candidate Clinton received a free pass from the system when she erased thousands of e-mails and when her people took hammers to destroy phones to which investigators sought access. This was blatant obstruction of justice.
    So why is Brady paying such a steep price while Clinton gets a “pass” on her glide path to the presidency?
    Why indeed?

    BoSOX!
    The Red Sox are in a pennant race! As September unfolds, the drama builds. Whatever happens, it’s nice to have September baseball mean something around here again. The BoSox finished last three of the past four years. And five years ago the team suffered the greatest September collapse ever. Continue reading  Post ID 2587


  • Colin Kaepernick

    Rick Monday runs with the American Flag after saving it from being burned by a couple of protesters at Dodger Stadium on April 25, 1976.
    Rick Monday runs with the American Flag after saving it from being burned by a couple of protesters at Dodger Stadium on April 25, 1976.

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

     

    “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” – Warren Buffett
    An old adage advises people to “Pick your battles wisely.” This dictum implies that one should know when to fight for a cause and when to seek to advance that cause by other means. Fighting for too many causes—or for doubtful causes—can be counterproductive. Expending personal treasure unwisely for a dubious cause is wasteful at best, and tragic at worst.
    Which brings us to San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who said he’d refuse to stand for our national anthem until such time as the USA achieves whatever measure of social justice is deemed satisfactory by Kaepernick.
    This brought a predictable tidal wave of opprobrium down upon Kaepernick, along with ripples of praise from the disaffected usual suspects who delight in trashing the USA.
    While there is always value in reflecting on how we can improve things, did Kaepernick really need to torpedo his own career to create even more divisive debate on issues and agendas embraced by Black Lives Matter?
    Kaepernick is presumably not an idiot and knew that his stance would draw a visceral, negative, and costly reaction from countless millions of Americans. But many who disagreed with his approach did laud his courage and nerve.
    But for me, the larger point—the biggest “take-away”—from the Kaepernick affair is that our country is strong because it allows dissent. There is a reason that the First Amendment is FIRST. Freedom of expression is priceless. Continue reading  Post ID 2587


  • Joe DiMaggio

     

    Marilyn_Joe_DiMaggio

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
    A nation turns its lonely eyes to you …
    What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
    Joltin’ Joe has left and gone away?
    Hey hey hey, hey hey hey
    (Simon and Garfunkel, “Mrs. Robinson”)

    As this summer is the 75th anniversary of Joe DiMaggio’s epic 56-game hitting streak, I was moved to buy Richard Ben Cramer’s wonderful biography entitled JOE DiMAGGIO: The Hero’s Life. Recalling how much I enjoyed reading Ben Bradlee Jr.’s comprehensive bio on Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams, I looked forward to Cramer’s treatment of Williams’ New York Yankee archrival. His book did not disappoint.
    (I purchased a used copy of JOE DiMAGGIO for $3.99 at Annie’s Book Shop in Laconia—a magnificent bargain!)
    Even casual sports fans are generally aware of DiMaggio’s heroic trajectory, beyond the hitting streak—to include his Hall-of-Fame baseball career, his MVPs and World Series triumphs.
    His awesome New York City celebrity, his marriage to Marilyn Monroe, and his persona as “Mr. Coffee.” On and on.
    The Big Apple was a big part of his story. One wonders if Simon and Garfunkel would have sung of him if he’d played in Pittsburgh, like his brother Vince did. (Another brother—Dominic—played centerfield for the Boston Red Sox.) Continue reading  Post ID 2587


  • Silver’s Shame

     

     

    Will Boston Celtic GM Danny Ainge distance himself from the NBA Commissioner.
    Will Boston Celtic GM Danny Ainge distance himself from the NBA Commissioner.

     

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    NEWS ITEM – The National Basketball Association announced that it’s pulling the 2017 NBA All-Star Game from Charlotte, due to a recently-passed North Carolina law seeking to prevent males from using female restrooms.

    The above news item represents my own paraphrasing, but that’s essentially the issue.
    Seriously.
    The North Carolina legislation was in response to recent Obama administration “guidance” to public schools that transgender students be allowed to use bathrooms of their choice. States or locales resisting Obama’s “guidance” risk losing federal funds—or in Charlotte’s case, the NBA All-Star Game, which will cost the Tar Heel State tens of millions of dollars.
    What does “transgender” mean? It relates to a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender. Basically, it means that if a biological male (with x and y chromosomes) feels more female than male, then he should be allowed to pursue behaviors consistent with a female orientation—to include using female bathrooms and locker rooms.
    Some understandably worry that the Obama “guidance” gives license to troubled individuals to engage in behaviors that could threaten innocent females.
    Of course, those who express such concerns are labeled as intolerant, homophobic bigots by those who otherwise counsel “tolerance.” And when the Obama administration defines the issue as one of “Civil Rights,” it plays a powerful card that emotionalizes the situation. This creates a very chilling effect on those with contrary perspectives—like the North Carolina legislators, who simply don’t want males using female bathrooms. Continue reading  Post ID 2587


  • Certified Sports Fans

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    The martial arts designate the quality of practitioners via a belt system and with various degrees. For example, in Taekwondo, the “black belt” designation includes nine ranks, or degrees. A degree is indicated on the belt itself with stripes, Roman numerals, or other methods.
    Marines wear ribbons and shooting badges on their dress uniforms. These convey to the world what campaigns the Marine took part in, as well as how well he—or she—can shoot. An expert badge is best, better and more ornate than the sharpshooter badge. Woe to the Marine who only rates a marksman badge—a square box of shame.
    Academicians similarly have regalia indicating degrees earned.
    So it occurs to me that we should also have designations for sports fans. Experts, Intermediates, Dullards, and Yankee fans. There could be degrees, as in Taekwondo—i.e. “Third Degree Intermediate with a Specialty in College Football.”
    Standardized testing would determine degrees and designations. Badges and certificates would subsequently be awarded. The credentials could be displayed as required, as during an argument in a bar re: the greatest baseball catcher ever.

    Roy Campanella.
    Roy Campanella.

    “I say Roy Campanella was best ever. Three-time MVP with the Dodgers. And I’m a first degree sports expert with a specialty in Major League Baseball, so don’t even think about arguing with me!”
    These designations would look good on resumes, especially for people who want jobs in the sports world. Or elsewhere.
    Like in politics. Politicians like to hang with sports people. But they need to talk the talk. When Mike Huckabee claimed to be a big baseball fan, but couldn’t pronounce Albert Pujols, he lost all credibility. When Ted Cruz went to Indiana and called a basketball hoop a “ring” he doomed his campaign—Bobby Knight endorsed Donald Trump and the rest is history. Or consider Barack Obama claiming to be a big White Sox fan, and then being unable to name any players.
    Dullards all.
    In all honesty, I may no longer be a First Degree Sports Expert. There are so many teams now. Thirty-two NFL teams, instead of the 16 I knew so well when I became a sports fan. And 30 NHL teams instead of only six. Keeping up with everything is overwhelming, especially as I also try to keep an eye on craven politicians nowadays as well.
    So kudos to those who are able to stay current with our ever-growing sports universe, including the Olympics. Those like some of my students—or my fellow sports columnist Dave Long, who writes for the weekly Hippo. Dave may get confused over politics, but when it comes to sports, his readers get insights from a seasoned, first degree sports expert.
    Even if he doesn’t understand that Roy Campanella was the greatest catcher ever.

    ALLY LONG—OLYMPIAN
    The aforementioned Dave Long is godfather to my daughter Kendra, a soccer striker extraordinaire at Concord High School from 2006-09. Dave somehow worked her name into several sports columns when she was a senior scoring numerous goals for the Crimson Tide, even though Dave’s not a soccer guy.
    But he’s watching soccer now. His niece, Ally Long, is a member of the USA Women’s Olympic Soccer team, right out there on the pitch with the likes of Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan. Wow! That certainly rates a mention in THIS column!
    Ally! Ally! USA! USA!

    Sports Quiz
    David “Big Papi” Ortiz set the all-time Red Sox single season home run record with 54 round-trippers in 2006. Whose record did he break? (Answer follows)

    Born Today …
    That is to say, sports standouts born on August 18 include Pittsburgh Pirate Hall-of-Famer Roberto Clemente (1934) and Olympic decathlete Rafer Johnson (1935).
    Sportsquote
    In 1992, the Phillies acquired Michael Crouwel, a Dutch catching prospect who played on Holland’s national team. When asked what he thought about the city of Philadelphia, Crouwel said: “The only thing I know about it is that it’s in New Jersey.”

    Sportsquiz Answer
    Jimmie Foxx hit 50 home runs for the 1938 Red Sox.

    Michael Moffett is a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord. He recently co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is mimoffett@comcast.net.


  • The Olympics!

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    The Summer Olympics are upon us and NBC projects huge ratings, thus justifying its 2014 decision to pay $8 BILLION dollars to retain broadcast rights through 2032.
    NBC does a great job promoting the Games with wonderful participant profiles to help viewers personally identify with athletes. Who knew that so many were refugees, cancer survivors, or orphans? These profiles are part of the reason that a majority of Olympic viewers are female. Women LOVE the Olympics.
    This quadrennial sports extravaganza has drama, triumph and heartbreak. It’s the ultimate reality show— with a worldwide audience.
    Records will be broken and thanks to You-Tube, the imagery will last forever. In fact, You-Tube has already immortalized athletes from many Olympiads ago. I sometimes pull up some classic moments when seeking inspiration. Check out Billy Mills’ victory in the 10,000 meter race at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Or Dave Wottle’s triumph in the 800 meter race at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
    Munich brings back difficult memories. The USA basketball team was jobbed there by the referees, who gave the gold medal to the Soviet Union. The Americans subsequently refused to accept their silver medals. Continue reading  Post ID 2587


  • Sports Bars—Where Everyone Knows Your Name!

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    True sports people generally go through three phases.
    Phase One involves dreaming of playing for the Red Sox, etc.
    Phase Two involves redirecting to coaching, officiating, sports-writing, playing golf etc. when the Red Sox don’t offer that contract.
    Phase Three occurs when coaching, officiating, sports-writing, playing golf etc. starts to get old. Phase Three involves Sports Bars!
    Admit it. You’ve thought of opening your own bar. Mine would be called “Mike’s Sports Pub.” I’m not exactly sure where it would be. Maybe on an island in Lake Winnipesaukee—accessible by boat in the summer and snowmobile in the winter, assuming we can resolve all zoning and environmental issues.
    That would be part of the charm of “Mike’s Sports Pub.” Location, Location, Location! Having the bar on an island will keep out the riff-raff. Exclusivity has its place.
    Given that my bar would be surrounded by water, there would be a nautical theme. Fishermen, boaters, and water-skiers welcome! A Marine Corps flag would fly below an American flag over the docks. Marines would get libations “On the house.”
    There would be a modest menu, of course. As I don’t know anything about cooking, I’d have to hire a chef and some assistants. They’d just need to make sure we offer cheeseburgers and hot dogs. Continue reading  Post ID 2587