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Sports

25 Free Throws A Day

This summer I challenged myself to shoot 25 free throws a day. It’s a good excuse to get outside, enjoy the longer days, chat with neighbors, and I also wanted to see how good I could get if I did it every day. Well of course I haven’t actually done it every day, but I’ve come pretty close. And of course I tracked all the data in a spreadsheet…

I’ve tracked 700 shots this summer and the biggest change I’ve noticed is that I’m more consistent than I was in the beginning. For example, my first four scores were 16, 9, 17 and 8. Now I hover much closer to 17 with a couple really good rounds mixed in. My record is 22 and I feel like it will be a long time before I beat that, but I’ll keep going and see what happens. The trend is going up, but if you take out those first four rounds, the slope of the line is still positive but much shallower.I don’t have data for this, but it feels like I usually get better as the round of 25 goes on. So would my average go up if I did more in each round? I might mess with the experiment a little bit too and change to either “how many shots does it take to make 25” or just “how many did I make out of 50”.

Mentally I’ve been comparing this to trap shooting. Both use rounds of 25 and both have a big mental factor once you learn the basic physical skills. At this point, I’d say that free throw shooting is harder than trap shooting which seems crazy to me thinking about the physics of it. But the number of free throws shot over my life is dramatically higher than the number of clay birds I’ve broken and yet, my trap shooting scores are generally better than my free throw scores. I also believe that if you look at professional trap shooters, they have higher success percentages than professional basketball players shooting free throws.

Maybe I think too much about going outside to enjoy the sunshine…

NFL Clock Stoppage

refereeconfusionI’ve watched a lot of NFL games in my life, but I still don’t understand when the clock keeps running and when it stops, especially related to players going out of bounds. I finally remembered to look up the answer:

The game clock stops when a ball carrier goes out of bounds maintaining forward momentum. The game clock continues if the ball carrier’s forward momentum is stopped in bounds before he goes out of bounds. For most of the game, the clock is restarted when the line judge resets the ball and whistles play to continue. The exception is in the last 2 minutes of the first half or the last 5 minutes of the second half. In those cases, the clock does not start again until the offense snaps the ball.

Ok, maybe that wasn’t as complicated as I thought it was, but while I was reading through the rule book, I came across this rule:

When, in the judgment of the Referee, the level of crowd noise prevents the offense from hearing its signals, he can institute a series of procedures which can result in a loss of team time outs or a five-yard penalty against the defensive team.

Huh? How are the Seahawks not hit with that at every home game? It turns out that the rule is officially not enforced as of 2007. I don’t understand why there is such a thing as official rules that officially aren’t enforced but I’ll save that internet rat hole for another day.

Cubs Win!

What an incredible game 7! That game had everything. They put on a good show and in the end, the Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. Watching these Cubs games brings back a flood of great memories. Go Cubs go! Fly the W!

cubs2016

Cubs

cubs2016For the first time since the end of World War 2, the Cubs are going to the World Series. I watched a ton of Cubs games going up and attended quite a few too. I remember watching games on TV at my parents house, at college, and floating on a sailboat on a sunny day on Lake Michigan (that one was radio, not TV.) I played a lot of baseball growing up and Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson and Mark Grace were my heroes. And going to the games was even better. You can hate baseball or the Cubs and still have fun at a game at Wrigley Field. It’s an awesome experience. I will always remember standing in the Cubby Bear bar and singing “Go Cubs Go” before a game.

Now? I’m a terrible Cubs “fan.” I haven’t watched a game in years and I couldn’t even name one player on their team if not for the videos I’ve seen during the playoffs. In fact, I’m a terrible baseball fan in general. I go to a Mariners game or two every year, but I don’t follow baseball at all during the season. It’s just too much to fit into my life and it got squeezed out. 162 games and 30 teams. That’s a lot to follow. Too much.

So am I excited that the Cubs are going to the World Series? YES! It spent so many years dreaming about that happening. But I feel like a total fraud cheering for them because I know I’m not even going to watch the World Series. You might get me to watch a game where they have a chance to win it all though. I would love to see the curse of the goat finally end.

What’s that? You don’t know about the curse of the goat? That linked article gives you all the details but basically Billy Sianis was at Game 4 of the 1945 World Series with his goat. Apparently that was a thing in 1945. Anyway, he got kicked out because his goat was unruly and he put a curse on the Cubs saying “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” And win they haven’t. They haven’t event made it to the World Series since then. They’ve been very close like in 2003 when things were going well until the curse struck and Steve Bartman and his headphones destroyed their chances and became a pariah in Chicago forever.

So go Cubs go. I’ll cheer for you quietly from Seattle.

Reframing The NFL Player Protest

policenflVarious NFL players have been protesting police brutality against minorities and it’s getting a lot of press. It seems reasonable that we should take an objective look at the situation and determine if and where it needs adjusting. That’s something we should always be willing to do.

If they would rephrase it slightly, I’d be more on board. Instead of just investigating situations where cops are acting incorrectly, let’s also look how we can keep cops safe. Cops should be able to do their jobs without getting shot and minorities should be able to live their lives without getting harassed (or worse.) Focusing on one side or the other is going to escalate the violence, not reduce it. Maybe it really is a case where only one side is to blame, but that seems pretty unlikely to me. Let’s take a holistic approach to the problem and figure out what really needs to change so we can fix this situation. Even one more body bag is too much regardless of who is inside it.