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Roundball Shaman

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  1. All over the news right now. Decade-long (at least) scheme to help the wealthy and privileged and their offspring cheat the system at the expense of others.   It is amazing just how much corruption there is going on all around. Only a tiny fraction of these activities ever come to light. Which means a whole lot of things are being gotten away with. College sports followers know of the ongoing college basketball corruption scandal investigation. And other scandals in other sports as well - too many to mention. Also, this new fiasco also involved students getting athletic scholarships who never played their sport and paid athletes taking the place of others. Most Americans still believe in the idea of fairness and not cheating to get ahead. At least I hope it’s still most. As a Federal prosecutor pointed out, "For every student admitted through fraud, an honest, genuinely talented student was rejected." This point CANNOT be overstated. Thousands of honest young people have had their lives permanently changed by being overlooked and passed over for someone else who didn’t deserve to be where they got. And entire college programs have suffered - those who tried their best to play by the rules and not cheat even though others they were competing against may have played by different rules. Wrong teams and programs have won championships. Deserving teams were cheated out of what should have been theirs. It’s incredibly sad when someone feels they have to "win" so bad that they don’t care what ugly means they use to do that. Numerous titles have been won this way. But the trophies in those trophy cases can’t mask the fact that they were acquired by the worst kind of losers in the game of real life. Deserving teams who would have won had their rightful championships robbed from them. Scandals and cheating are nothing new. It’s too bad that so many people can’t use that kind of ingenuity for a much better purpose.
  2. Roundball Shaman

    Powerful Sports Bad Boys

    Patriots official statement: "We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.” So the Patriots franchise officially denies their owner was pursuing any recreational events at a strip mall. But did Mr. Kraft himself deny this? The video was faked? It’s somebody else that looks just like him? Aliens made him do it? The New Patriot Way? Other excuses? Beyond the snickering, this is just sad. But wealth and power and influence creates a bubble that these guys live in. And lots of people are around them who are facilitators for guys like this. He’ll get a fine and suspension so the NFL gets a public relations look going. Tom Brady will declare what a nice guy Mr. Kraft is and that we all make mistakes (except for Tom himself). NFL owners are not choir boys. In fact, many of them do not bother to even sit in the farthest back pew. They own an expensive toy and they like the acclaim and special club they are a part of. And we are left wondering what kinds of other things are going on that will never, ever come to light or public knowledge.
  3. Roundball Shaman

    Powerful Sports Bad Boys

    Millions of football fans around the world don’t care much for the New England Patriots. They have been called smug, aloof, and even cheaters. Now there’s another reason not to like them. Owner Robert Kraft has just been charged with soliciting prostitution. Reportedly, he is seen on video engaging in certain... acts. A family member of the Chicago Cubs has recently apologized for making racially insensitive remarks. Various sports organizations in recent years have had to restructure and apologize for certain workplace harassment and other issues. There has also been a sad procession of athletes in recent years who have been charged with various unsavory acts of conduct. People are not perfect. Athletes and owners have always been subject to human frailties. Sports has never been totally innocent. But something is still wrong here. In a media age when most everything is put or seen on-line, our behavior has never been more under a microscope. Very public people like owners and players are even more exposed to scrutiny. Do they ever stop to think about this, or do they just do whatever they want? We know that we don’t live in a Leave It To Beaver world where authority figures live virtuous lives. But athletes used to live with an awareness that many kids looked up to them. And owners know they are supposed to lead by example. Today, it’s all about developing Brands and giving attitude and snark and shade and whatever else they feel like. And treating others simply as an extention of themselves. A little bit of Leave It to Beaver today would be refreshing.
  4. Roundball Shaman

    $300-million For MLB’s Manny Machado

    The MLB star decided to accept a big money offer from the San Diego Padres. He was quoted last year as saying he is not a Johnny Hustle type of player, not of the style who would go all-out down the first-base line, and he has no plans to change his effort. He gets points for honesty. He gets points taken away for having such an attitude. One can only wonder how much money he could make if he cared enough about the game and the fans who pay to watch to actually hustle. Not that we’ll ever find out, because he has 300 million reasons not to change a thing. And since they are on the hook for tons of money ahead, the Padres are going to have to do a lot of praying (yes, Padres praying) that this makes sense for them in the end. Maybe the Padres win a World Series. Maybe $30 million per year is now considered a good investment. If he plays in 150 games a year, he gets $200,000 PER GAME. Giving good effort is sort of an Old School kind of thing. Not everyone wants to do that. But it never goes out of style. But what kind of message does not hustling send to young people?
  5. Roundball Shaman

    The Race To LA

    The LA area is a strange market. The “LA Basin” area is very spread out. People from all parts of the world live there. As such, they have divided loyalties if they care about sports at all. For some games, the opposition team has as many fans at the game as are the LA rooters. For actual LA fans, they only care about teams that win or are “events” to be seen at. With few exceptions, they are just not passionate about sports. The Lakers are the team they seem to care about the most. But even there, LA basketball fans can’t compare to the rabid fans of Boston or Chicago or places like that. The idea of LA fans being “laid-back” are true. The only thing that works them up is the terrible traffic on the freeways, or if In-And-Out Burger runs out of food (no, never happens). The owner of the Rams pulled them out of St. Louis for this big California payday. St. Louis does have issues, but they also have some good fans even for football. They did not deserve what happened to them. They are going to be paying off bonds for the St. Louis stadium yet for many years to come. So, LA goes over 20 years with NO teams and now they have TWO. In what marketing world does that make sense? And did LA care when they had no teams? The Rams will pick up fans because they did have a history in that town and they are good right now. But the empty seats will quickly appear when that is not the case. It happened before with the Rams, and it will happen again. And the Chargers? They did start their history in LA but that’s back when there were two competing leagues. Charger ownership picked up their helmets and took them up to LA when San Diego refused to use taxpayer bucks to build them a stadium there. Chargers have no LA history to speak of and will be tough to get one. The only football team that really seemed to have fans was when the Raiders played in LA. But that was wrong, too, because the Oakland fans didn’t deserve that. Maybe all NFL teams can move out there. Move the Bears to San Bernardino, the Dolphins to Palm Springs, the Falcons to Pomona, etc. And maybe move the Cowboys to LA. When they play in LA, they get more fans there than the locals ever do.
  6. Statement regarding the issue: “For the past several months, counsel for Mr. Kaepernick and Mr. Reid have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with representatives of the NFL. As a result of those discussions, the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances. The resolution of this matter is subject to a confidentiality agreement so there will be no further comment by any party.” The NFL does not like anything that takes away from “The Shield”. Whether it is the concussion and health damage issue, players who exercise their right of speech, forcing cities to use taxpayer money to fund new stadiums, moving franchises around when they feel like it, or anything else, they just want business to go on as usual. Thing is, the game and the league is composed of people. Human beings. People have thoughts, wants, different backgrounds, problems, their own agendas, their own ideas about things, just like The League does. What smooths over these issues? Money being passed around. There’s a conflict today in what sports used to be. Sports has always been a place to go to get away from the problems of life. Getting away from all those difficulties for a few hours is what makes sports tick. But as the years have gone on, that is getting to be almost impossible. First, sports leagues became really big business. Average players began to make millions of dollars a year. Players want to be Stars and developed Their Brand. Players want to make statements about issues while “on the job”. Players getting into personal problems. All of those things leave the average fan behind. The owners care about their bottom lines. The players want to make lots of money. Sports media wants to create controversy to sell their ad time. No one is looking out for the fans. So, good for everyone else getting some or all of what they want. Everyone seems to be winning except... the fans. One day soon, fans will wonder just why they are fans anymore.
  7. Roundball Shaman

    Omaha In The Major Leagues?

    For a sweet few years in the 1970s, Omaha had a major league franchise. Well, part of one. The NBA (now Sacramento) Kings franchise played some home games in Omaha, with most of the home games played in Kansas City. But for that time, Omaha was in the major leagues and seeing top NBA stars in town. Omaha has had a series of minor league pro franchises in all four major sports. Some were somewhat successful and others were not. Hockey has been popular. But that hasn’t been a sure thing for every franchise. Omaha was a top affiliate of a NHL team not long ago. But after a couple seasons of poor support, they left town. Omaha will likely always have a baseball and hockey presence in town. Pro basketball and some version of pro football look to be harder to survive. Omaha won’t have a major league franchise in the four major sports anytime soon. A smaller population size and having proximity to Kansas City and the Twin Cities are two reasons. The Cornhuskers are so popular that pro teams have a hard time finding their place. But the Huskers belong to the State... and Husker Nation. Will a day ever come when Omaha really has a major league team of its very own? What does Omaha want in its sports future?
  8. Roundball Shaman

    What if Nebraska went the Notre Dame route...

    The Big Red do not belong in the Big Fourteen. This was an arrangement due to needing to get away quickly from The Big Texas Conference and having access to stable conference money. Nebraska vs. Michigan or Ohio State or Rutgers , et al... is just wrong. Nebraska is not a Rust Belt state like the Big Ten was born from and still largely remains. Nebraska has no Big Ten legacy and can never compile one to compare with those Rust Belt schools. If the Big Red were in the Big Ten for the next fifty years they still would not have the historical place of those conference Blue Bloods. The Big Ten is a league centered on high population states with big cities and old heavy industry. Those power schools will retain the power in the Big Ten just like a school in Austin, Texas will always be the power in that other league. None of them will surrender their place to the newcomer. Nebraska shares a lifestyle with the likes of Oklahoma and - forgive me - Colorado. Schools and places like that. Nebraska vs. Iowa or Wisconsin or Michigan will never be on a par with Nebraska vs. Oklahoma no matter how many times they play or beat them. When, and not if, there is conference realignment... the Huskers need to find a new home where they really belong. Where they can thrive and not just be an add-on like they are now. Do I expect this to happen? Odds are against it for sure. It’s too easy to just stay where they are now. Younger Husker fans won’t remember how special it was waiting for that big football matchup at Lincoln or Norman at the end of the regular season... beating the Sooners... going to a good bowl game... and - win or lose - knowing everything is right with the world and the Land of Corn. Instead, get back and drive East on I-80 again and again and again... for years to come.
  9. Roundball Shaman

    Husker Fans Favorite MLB Team

    What is baseball? Much like learning to love the Huskers, baseball is a game that you get hooked on as a youth. For the Boomer Generation, baseball was the thing. When growing up, the NFL hadn’t yet become a national obsession. The NBA and NHL were more regional-type leagues. MLB owned the stage. Players were national heroes. Since the Boomers grew up, all three of the other sports have rapidly grown and baseball has been stuck in place. MLB games are taking longer to play, fundamental baseball has been ignored in favor of the home run, and younger people are finding other things to do. Look at the crowd during a typical MLB game and you’ll see plenty of people of all ages looking down at their cellphones and not out at the field. That’s a shame, because baseball can be exciting. But people only have so much time during the day, and we vote with our choices on how we want to use that time. There’s a place for baseball in tomorrow’s world. But this game has to speed up. And they have to find ways to make this a 21st Century game instead of a 19th Century one. And keep an eye on the White Sox. Lot’s of young talent coming up.
  10. Roundball Shaman

    Husker Fans Favorite MLB Team

    Husker fans are centered of course in the Great State of Nebraska. But Husker students come from all over the world and live all over the place as well. Major League Baseball training camps are opening soon. So... As a Husker fan, what is your favorite MLB team? Why do you like them? Due to geography, do most Husker fans like the KC Royals, Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cards or the Chicago teams? Do most Husker fans even care about baseball much?
  11. Roundball Shaman

    Your Most Fun Time At A Huskers Game

    What’s the most fun you ever had at a Husker game? What is a home or road game? Was it the game itself? Or was it being with your friends and family? Or something else? Why was that one so special?
  12. Roundball Shaman

    Error Bowl 53

    It was reported that as of Friday, the average game ticket for this event costs $5,653.00. Previously, a study of games found that a normal game has 11 minutes of actual action. Eleven minutes equals 660 seconds. So... For this game today, the average ticket buyer is paying $8.50 for EACH SECOND of action. Just to compare, for someone who bought a $10,000 ticket? That’s over $15 per second of action. And if the Saints had been allowed to win, the costs would have been higher due to greater interest.
  13. Roundball Shaman

    Error Bowl 53

    Nickell Robey-Coleman, Inglewood Rams defensive back said of Saints fans: “I hope they forgive me one day." Earlier, he had said: "Obviously, I smacked his (thing).” The rumor is... if the Rams win The Massively Colossal Bowl, they will erase the Ram horns from their helmets and paint on them a big yellow Asterisk instead.
  14. Roundball Shaman

    Error Bowl 53

    Commissioner Roger Goodell: “There’s never been a better time to be a part of the NFL.” As for officials, he said... “I think they’re doing an excellent job”. A long time ago, a famous Greek guy said... “In war, truth is the first casualty.” Many fans in America today might say truth is also a casualty in sports.
  15. Roundball Shaman

    Error Bowl 53

    Former NFL ref Gene Steratore, reacting to the blown call... “The human element of the game — coaches, players and officials — I think that’s part of the excitement of the game.” Sending the wrong team to the biggest game of the season is exciting? So that America gets to watch the Cleveland Rams of Inglewood? Mister ref, ask Husker fans how “exciting” it is when bad calls go against the Big Red. And what about a call that was so bad it kept the Huskers from a National title like was made against the Saints?