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Departmental News, Sports Desk, Station Programming

‘Tis The Season

The winner of the “Living with Sportz” Fan of the Day for November 17th is Ben Johnson. Ben is my first European winner. He is a huge New England Patriot fan and the leader of a group called NFL Fanbook. Ben is a good friend to LWS from the other side of the world. Ben is definitely “Living with Sportz.” Congrats Ben!!!

Thank you to last night’s special guests, Fletcher Cockrell and Cool Mike. It was a great show and I am honored to have such wonderful and informative guests on Living with Sportz Radio. This was truly an unbelievable show.

I want to thank everyone that has donated to “Living with Sportz.” I know times are tough and for you to dig in your pockets to support “Living with Sportz” is very much appreciated. I will always keep your donations anonymous but please forgive me for wanting to thank you publicly. We are all “Living with Sportz” Hit that donate button–PLEASE

Coryell Factor: Don Coryell was a high school coach in Hawaii where his teams ran a version of the I formation running game. He would also coach at the University of British Columbia, Wenatchee Valley College, and a military team at Fort Ord. Don Coryell, Hall of Fame 2011

Today’s Article: ‘Tis The Season

Watching the Monday Night Football game between the Eagles and Redskins, my mind wandered to the 24 hours of college basketball that ESPN was going to be showing immediately after the game. When the Eagles and Michael Vick literally took off to a 35-0 lead, I was hoping for a mercy rule that would enable the college basketball games to take over my TV. No such luck. I admit to you that I have been overwhelmed lately with my writings, radio shows and part time gig at the casino. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks and on top of that have been sick. You know what I did when the score was 35-0? I looked for a movie to take me away for a short time. I ended up catching the great movie, “Dead Poets Society” with Robin Williams and Ethan Hawke. It may be the first time in months that I was not connected to 3 or 4 sporting events at the same time but I needed my sanity back. I am always Living with Sportz and I needed a break. If you have never seen this fabulous movie, go rent it immediately. I only have to say one thing, “Carpe Diem” because we will all be worm food some day.

One of the greatest quotes from this movie is what we should share with our children everyday. Robin Williams, who plays Professor Keating is talking to his students in front of very old photos of previous graduates at this esteemed school when he has them look closely at the photos and says–

They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.

That brief movie promo was brought to you by sanity. I now have mine back. After watching this great flick, I switched over to ESPN, back in “Living with Sportz” mode to watch the Miami-Memphis basketball game. After about 20 minutes of watching this game, something hit me like a brick. I was not enjoying this as much as I thought I would. I was still in football mode.

When I was a kid, like most young people, I played whatever sport was in season. Most athletes of the 60’s and 70’s were multi-sport athletes. As I was preparing for last nights radio show it hit me that today’s athletes have specialized in one and only one sport. Today’s elite athletes have been playing primarily one sport every day for as long as they can remember. What happened to children enjoying their youth? I guess the days of the jack of all trades, master of none are over. Today everything is specialized.

Back in the days of my youth, there was no such thing as a middle reliever in baseball, a nickel defense, a defensive specialist in basketball or a 5 wide receiver set in football. If a pitcher started the game, it was his job to finish it. While playing basketball, you played until you were exhausted and needed a substitution. What happened? Even in the business world, people learn only one thing and specialize in it. Have we stopped learning as a society or do we only want to participate in activities that we can excel in?

One of the biggest changes in all of sports over the years, is that today’s quarterbacks have every play called for them. They no longer have to be football smart, only have the memorization skills to remember where everyone goes on every play. Guys like John Unitas and Bart Starr called every play from the huddle. They didn’t have coaches or subs bringing plays into them. I think Vince Lombardi rolls over in his grave every time that he sees that today’s quarterbacks have speakers in their helmets. I also believe that old school guys like me do not like that every situation in football has different players on the field. I wonder how Chuck Bednarik feels about this, considering he was the last player to play every play on offense and defense for the Philadelphia Eagles.

This article is not to talk about what so many people call progress, this is to talk about our mind set considering all sports. In my mind, basketball is starting too early. I will be in full basketball mode come January or even February. I will be glued to my television watching every college basketball game and every NBA game with playoff contenders. It will be like every Saturday currently when I watch about 50 college football games so that I am informed for you, the reader and listener of Living with Sportz Radio. I guess old habits are hard to break and I will be following each and every sport while they are in season. The problem is that I make the rules for when a season starts and when a season ends.

When I began writing, I had so many people tell me to specialize in one sport or team. I cant do it, I love all sports, except soccer, but that was mentioned in a previous article. I may not be the best writer because I do not specialize in one sport but I want to share my ideas and opinions about every sport that makes me “Living with Sportz.” This blog will always be about my love of sports and I am going to be the jack of all trades, master of none until I am fertilizing daffodils.

I got to know two of the greatest two sport athletes ever in Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders while I was umpiring. Even these two athletes knew they were good in both sports but only excellent in one. Bo and Deion were made to be on the football field. I saw them both up close on the baseball field and asked myself numerous times why they weren’t playing on Sundays in the NFL? Bo and Deion shared many of the same characteristics that so few athletes have today. They weren’t cocky like they have been portrayed so many times, they were mega confident. I believe with all of my heart that they both felt they could accomplish anything. They both had amazing speed and an unbelievable determination that I only saw in maybe a handful of athletes in my 11 years in professional baseball. They were unique and even an umpire could see the difference.

We may never see another multi-sport athlete in this day of specialization and 365 day training and practice schedules of today’s athletes. I know we will never see anything like Dave Winfield who was drafted by all three major sports leagues. I don’t know if this has given us a better product on the field or court but with the high dollars available today for an elite athlete, it all makes sense but I don’t have to like it.

For now, I am going to stay in football mode and then will turn the switch to basketball when my mind is ready. Then comes spring training and the start of baseball season and I wont forget about the Daytona 500 in February. March Madness is one of my favorite seasons of all, yes, I called it a season. I take a break from baseball in May and June for the NBA and NHL Playoffs but always have one eye on what is happening with every other sport. I am a man for the seasons and now I know a writer for every season. No specialization with me. Whatever your sport of choice I will be there and maybe, like me, you love all sports. For now I will stick with football and keep one eye on everything else going on–Tis the season.


About livingwithsportz

I was a professional baseball umpire for 11 seasons from 1979-1989. I follow all sports and read and study everything to do with all aspects of sport. I am now a 50 yr old man who feels the need for a new career and am hoping to get into the sports information age. I love starting discussions about controversial sports and life subjects. I am originally from Wisconsin. I am a diehard cheesehead and have been a lifelong Packer and Badger fan. I have lived all over the country and hope to give an interesting perspective to sports.


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