Football Left Baseball in the Outfield

With the baseball spring training season just around the corner let’s all take a moment to understand why football will always be better than baseball.

Admittedly, baseball was once America’s pastime.  The game was played through wars and was the escape for a nation for more years than football has been.  With that being said, football stole our hearts and there’s no looking back. It’s like finding your soul mate when you’ve been dating someone else, it may not be nice to say, but you’re soul mate always makes you happier.

What arguments can be made for my initial statement?  Well I offer you, dear reader, examples from different realms to qualm your hearts, and show you that football will always be better.  Let’s look at the differences in the core philosophies of both football and baseball.  First, both are team sports, but football will always be the ULTIMATE team sport. Everyone works together on every play. Baseball has teams, but it seems like most of the time there are three people on the field:  The pitcher, the batter and whoever catches/misses the ball. Sure you have plays where more of the team is used, but for sitting through nine grueling innings, it barely seems to scratch the surface of “teamwork”

Football is played by athletic men.  Football is arguably the most athletic mass sport in the world.  The training that goes into one man to get ready for a season is staggering. You have to run fast, catch well while worrying about getting hit and keep in mind pass routes as well as strategies. Baseball seems to be one of the few sports where you can stand in a field for 3 hours and be called a sports star.  Have you seen how many baseball players have beer guts?  Sure, offensive lineman do, but I guarantee they are still in better shape than baseball players. Baseball players wear helmets while they bat; football players wear helmets all the time.  It is a more aggressive, manly and athletic sport.

Let’s talk statistics. How many games does baseball have, 137? (I think) Why? That is one of the most ridiculous things every!  Do you know why baseball has that many?  Because it’s not that much of a sport, so they need to play more to make up for lack of actual sport. Football has 16 games and they all matter. If I lose 20 baseball games who cares?  In the grand scheme of things there are plenty more to win.  In football every game counts.  You need to play your heart out every week to get to the playoffs.  Speaking of which, playoffs: one game per team paring in football and the Superbowl is just one game. Baseball has seven?  I’m tired just writing this it’s so boring. If you’re a numbers person look at it this way:  The Superbowl has consistently been the most watched SHOW in America for the past decade, and the Superbowl has more and more viewers every year.   Here is another fun one:  Regular Monday night football games have more viewers than baseball playoffs.  Read that again, that’s playoffs.

More reasons why football is better:  There are better teams and better fans for those teams. Football has more exciting, heart wrenching games. Every game is different; teams have real coaches, real players and real strategies.  Baseball its “hit the ball”. That’s not a sport, that’s an online game during work. Football players are more well-known than baseball players. Football players are better athletes than baseball players.  Football even has better statistics than baseball, and even our commentators are better, though admittedly, some of the commentators are the same. If you’re a kid who wants to play in your back yard all you need is a football. If you’re a kid, baseball is like ice climbing:  You need a lot of gear before you can even play. There are so many more reasons why.  If I haven’t listed enough then look at this for some more.

However, I saved the best reason for last. Football is about passion.  Football is about teams fighting for the last score, fighting to come from behind, fighting to be the best. It’s about having 75,000 people on their feet cheering for the team to come back from behind, to win it all.  Even watching on TV you can feel the palpable passion that exudes from the game. From the excellence that comes from the play, from the lessons that come from pure teamwork. And, when that final touchdown is scored and the crowed goes wild, there is no better feeling, in all of sports, for the passion that the players and the crowds feel.  Football is the ultimate standard of the freedom that we share in America.  Welcome home football, the ultimate American pastime.

“Football is an incredible game. Sometimes it’s so incredible, it’s unbelievable.”

~ Tom Landry

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Complicated Relationships are Far From Fiction

At what point does a relationship fail?  Is there a point, in hindsight, where you can look back and see the kinks in the armor of what you thought was a strong foundation?  Many of us can, but that doesn’t help with the fact that we didn’t save the relationship, and now, like many of the ancient wonders of the world, the relationship stands in ruins. What was once a great monument is now a lasting testament of what could have been, what went wrong and how it could possibly have been avoided.

Games to Play After Dark is such a book.  Perhaps the darkest book written in recent years on the nature of what relationships can become from humble beginnings, the book sets itself as a standard for what can become of people that we have loved so dearly.  Let me take a moment to clarify what I mean.  This book should be read, it is more important than any nonfiction book on the subject of relationships because of the message that it brings to the table.  What a lot of couples fail to realize is how much their selfishness and lack of understanding within a relationship can undermine its foundation. People tend to think that skeletons in the closet are dead and cannot harm anyone, while in some cases this is true; in the case with meaningful, loving relationships those skeletons become monsters, preying upon even the most stout of foundations until they are driven to the ground.

The book starts humbly enough with young love blossoming into a long-term relationship with kids, a mortgage and the settling into comfortable routines, but the roads that the characters follow lead to hopelessness. Do not let the dark nature of this book dissuade you, Sarah Borden has done a remarkable job of dealing with the intricacies of a maturing relationship and what consequences can lead to the choices we make within that relationship. I’ve recommended the book to many people who have told me that it was too dark and depressing to finish. To me I think that speaks more to how well the book is written then what people think. People are scared to imagine this could happen to them.  That they may not being doing everything they can in their relationship.

When it comes to relationships people have a very hard time understanding or evaluating the truth. We have an inner dialogue that goes: “Should I tell him that, Would she care to hear about this part of my past, am I willing to share this with her”?   These are questions that we may ask on a daily basis, but we usually whisk the answers under the carpet, quietly telling ourselves that it doesn’t matter, when it really does. What Borden has done here is remarkable:  She has been able to put into words an accurate description of a deteriorating relationship and the visceral nature from which the rest of our lives are affected from that deleterious climate.

This review is not stated to be a panacea for what is wrong with a certain relationship, in the case of the characters you can point things out from an admires perspective, but that is one of the main points of the book: Of course you can see it in their relationship, but what are you missing in your own?  What has been eating away at the life you’ve built together?  The book shows that most relationships are built one brick at a time and torn apart the same way.  The ironic part is that there comes a point where we don’t even realize we’re pulling bricks out of the foundation until it’s too late.

The book also presents the theme of fault. Whose fault is it that this is happening?  Is it the way I was raised?  Is it something she did or he said?  Borden shows that the fault only lies with the parties involved and that it tends to be the fault of both people. This is not always the case, there is a point in the book where the wife has an affair with another man.  People have told me that it is her fault because she broke and went outside the marriage. This is not true, the problems started long before the affair and the adultery was an ultimate symptom of what was going wrong all along, not the main problem. (This brings up an interesting side point: Which is worse, having a huge breakdown in the relationship from someone cheating or a slow, painful decadence of the relationship from the lack of things within it?) Scapegoats are easy to find when you need one for convenience.

Sarah Boren has done a masterful job of dissecting what a relationship can become. Don’t think of the book as dark or depressing, think of the book as a warning:  In a way this is not fiction at all, thousands of couples are going through the exact things described in this book. We hope that the couples stories’ in real life our different.  The ultimate lesson of the book is the ending, the fact that no matter where you are, you can wake up, realize what’s going on, and fix it.  The ultimate lesson is it’s never too late to stop the deterioration, and ultimately, that is the hope that the book gives everyone of us.

“Be honest, brutally honest. That is what’s going to maintain relationships.”

~ Lauryn Hill

Why it’s Not Just Business as Usual

Here we are in the year 2012.  If you’re particularly sensitive to conspiracy you could say we don’t even have a full year to live.

Why is it then that so many large businesses are stuck in the rut of the 1990’s?  I’ve seen a recent trend where you will see large scale businesses unwilling to change their very foundation in respect of the new way to do business.  Why is that?  I common answer you will receive on the topic is that it’s too expensive to change the core of the business.  To this I say – you would rather not spend money and fail as a company, then invest in the future of it?

R.I.P. 9-5

The American 9 to 5 is dead.  Our fathers and grandfathers put in long days to provide for us and what we have now, and for that we thank them.  However, we live in a different age. We live in an age where I can buy plane tickets on my cell phone, watch movies without a DVD player and stay up to speed on Miley Cyrus while I camp. Now many of these things may not be beneficial but for business it is.

Why do some businesses strive for quantity over quality?  If you have qualified workers who can get their jobs done in 4 hours instead of 9 why make them stay at work for 9?  Work should be quality and incentive based, not “follow the norm” based.

If I started a company and told my workers as long as you do the quality of work I expect, and meet the deadlines, I don’t care how long you stay, or even when you do it – as long as it gets done. Better yet, if you can do it from home why even come in?  Statistics have shown that large companies who allow their employees to work from home meet deadlines more often, do better work and are overall happier employees.

The argument can be made that not all companies can do this (retail, restaurants, etc…). The fact remains that in the non-retail world the 9-5 is dead and should no longer be enforced. It brings down moral and motivation.

Motivation and Incentive

Which is better:  going to a job, getting paid a standard salary, going home and hoping for more money on the next review, or going to a job for as long as you need, getting paid for the work you do, have an incentive based salary based on your job description, go home knowing that you’ve contributed to how much you’ve made, and the better you do the more you make?

This “new way to work” model is better for two reasons: it provides consistent motivation to good employees, and weeds out bad ones.  The employees who understand they’re employed to work will be willing to do their best and brightest knowing their paycheck is based on what they produce.  At the same time the employees that quagmire others, and don’t do their fair share will fall by the wayside.

Fire

Ever noticed how in some companies the only way some employees seem to get fired is because they do something criminal?  What happened to the days of firing people because they just plain suck at their job?  Companies that are scared of lawsuits or just plain lazy to weed out their bottom 10% suffer from lack of good work.

I’m not saying to create an environment of fear, where employees constantly worry about their jobs. I’m saying that if someone doesn’t do theirs, then they should be replaced with someone better qualified to do so. This rule not only applies to the worker bees, but trickles up to the presidents and CEO’s of the companies as well. Companies should be in a constant state of getting better and better. Bad employees are like excess fat, there’s no reason to have it, and trimming it off makes the company better, faster and just plain sexy.

Remember K.I.S.S.?  Not the Band

See how simple these principles are?  Business should always be simple.  Whether you run Apple or a small business out of your home Occam’s Razor should be the basis for your business.  Remember that change is a part of life and those businesses that don’t change both for their clients and their employees deserve to fail.

“Is it not in the most absolute simplicity that real genius plies its pinions the most wonderfully”?
~ E.T.A Hoffman