Monday, September 28, 2015

NFL Head Injuries

Football is undoubtedly a violent sport. The game is fueled on aggressiveness, physicality and shear force. In many cases, it encourages and warrants hitting players so hard, that they don’t want to get up. In turn, the game comes with many types of injuries. Bones, ligaments, and muscles are all routinely hurt over the course of an NFL year, but the most serious and controversial injuries are to the head.
It is coming out that more and more retired NfL players have CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE is a disease often found in athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma as well as concussive hits to the head. Of 91 NFL players who donated their brains to science after they died, 87 of them had some form of CTE. Symptoms of this horrible disease include depression, aggression, and disorientation. So how bad really is CTE? Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend before killing himself two years ago. Doctors believe that his behavior was a direct result of CTE which unfortunately can only be diagnosed after death. Not only Belcher but many other former NFL players who were diagnosed with CTE showed decades of cognitive decline before their death.
Obviously this has the potential to not only become a major problem in the NFL but also in society as a whole. The NFL is trying to take steps to make play safer. They have started conducting pregame medical assessments of players, along with on field and post game assessments. They also have reduced the number of kickoff returns which is the most high impact part of the game. Finally, they continue to implement rules to limit hits to the head.
My take is that NFL officials and executives can only do so much to protect the heads of players. At the end of the day, it’s still going to be a sport based on violence and aggression. I’m interested to see how parents with small children react to reports like this and if it will result in a decline of youth football. If I were a parent, I would obviously not want to put my growing son's brain in jeopardy of injury. With that said, technology and and science will continue to advance and come up with new ways to minimize risk of CTE and head injuries as a whole.                   

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Jay Cuter

Chicago has always been a town rich in football tradition. For example, the 1985 team which included Chicago greats like Jim McMahon, Walter Payton, and Mike Singletary, was all time great. But lately, Bears fans can’t say the same. The last four years the Bears have been an average, 8-8,10-6, 8-8, and 5-11, making the playoffs only one of those four years. This year doesn’t look much better as the Bears have lost their first two games, both at home. So what’s the problem? The main problem for the Chicago Bears in Jay Cutler, who has been the quarterback in Chicago for the last six years.
Cutler was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2006 out of Vanderbilt University and was later traded to the Bears in 2009. Since then he has only one playoff victory recorded. Not to mention, as of the beginning of this season, Cutler was the highest paid offensive player in the league. So, what’s wrong with Jay Cutler? The frustrating thing about Cutler is that he has all the talent and athletic ability in the world. He’s 6’3, 235 lbs, with one of the strongest arms in the league, and an incredible ability to take off and run when he needs to. Cutler isn’t weak physically, but mentally. “Have you ever heard of someone being that tough, with those intangibles, and still stinks. That’s Jay Cutler”(Stephen A. Smith). Plus, it’s not like Cutler has no offensive weapons. Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal, and Matt Forte are some of the best position players in the league, and Cutler is still average at best.
Cutler has an inability to lead, to inspire his teammates, and to exhibit passion for the game. When I watch Jay Cutler, it appears as though the only thing he cares about is receiving his check (22.5 million dollars in 2014), and going home. “He’s like a tick, he sucks the life right out of you because he gives you absolutely positively nothing”(Stephen A. Smith). If you watch Cuter on the sidelines, you can see him portraying little to no emotion. There’s no fire or passion on his face like you see from other Quarterbacks in the NFL such as Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers.
So, what do the Bears do with him? In my opinion the Bears should attempt to stick with him for the remainder of the 2015 season and then attempt to trade him. If no one wants him and his large contract, the Bears should cut him and draft a new Quarterback. The 2015 quarterback draft class is good with players like Trevone Boykin out of TCU, Cardale Jones out of Ohio State, or Cody Kessler of USC. Whatever happens, the Bears need to get rid of Cutler and start over.


Monday, September 14, 2015

At the end Louise Erdrich's novel, The Roundhouse, It appears as though Joe tries to kill the man who raped his mother. This begs questions such as were Joe’s actions just? What kind of thinker is Joe and what kind of morals does he have? Now, keep in mind that Joe does not kill Lark but it is actually his best friend Cappy who commits the murder. So, it would not be far fetched to say that Joe thinks that murder is never justifiable as a categorical thinker would say. But I believe Joe is a consequentialist thinker which means that he locates morality in the consequences of an act. Joe’s actions are truly justifiable and his full intentions are to Kill Linden Lark.
Joe’s actions are justifiable because of what Lark did to his mom, and how it tore his family completely apart. Before the incident, Joe’s mom was caring, hardworking, and loving. After, the incident, she lays in bed all the time and does nothing all day. Joe and his family are practically ruined. As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, Lark is not prosecuted and gets in no trouble with law for his crime. This is why Joe rightfully takes matters into his own hands. No, Joe doesn’t think murder is right, but in some situations, such as this one, he uses morality and says that the ends justify the means.
At the very end of the book when Joe is contemplating murder he says, “Murder for Justice maybe. Murder just the same...and I can take him”(280). One might think Joe is reluctant to commit the crime but deep down, he knows he actually wants to. If you want to go skydiving, sure you actually want to go, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be extremely nervous and express reluctantcy. After all, Joe is making a decision that is going to affect you for the rest of your life.        

Monday, September 7, 2015

Tiger's Time is Over

             Ten years ago, the game of golf was dominated by a young man named Tiger Woods. He was iconic, polarising, and passionate. After he won the U.S. Open in 2008 (Receiving his 14th major title), it was not a matter of if he was going to beat Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major championships, but when. That was seven years ago. Fast forward to today and Tiger still has 14 majors and very few people ever believe he will catch Nicklaus. Last August marks the end of another golf season and another year where Tiger comes up winless. It used to be that Tiger was fighting for a victory in every major Championship, now he’s lucky if he makes the cut (Which he did not do in 3 out of 4 majors this year). “In all my times covering sports I’ve never seen such a dominant player, in any sport, fall so hard, so fast” (Skip Bayless). Missing the cut not only means your not playing the full tournament, but also has a negative connotation. When a player misses the cut, it's as if he's swept under the carpet.  So, what is wrong with Tiger?
            Tiger’s main problem is not his age, or his coaches. It’s the fact that he is mentally broken. Today, Tiger lacks confidence, something that he always used to have. No one believes Tiger can win on Tour anymore especially himself. Early in his career, it didn’t matter what anyone thought or said about him. Tiger had a killer instinct and a ferocious will to win that made other golfers fear him. To put Tiger and his mental state of mind in perspective, after he missed the cut by seven strokes during the Open championship at St. Andrews he said, “I thought I was playing well enough to win this event...I had my opportunities. and when I got the ball close enough, I just didn’t make them.” This is coming from a man who used to dominate golf like no other person has ever dominated a sport. Tiger has lowered his bar so much so that he accepts far less than he used to.
            In conclusion, golf needs Tiger way more then Tiger needs golf. I do not regularly watch golf nor do I consider myself a large golf fan. In fact the only time I will watch golf is when Tiger is playing well and is in the hunt. As much as the sport tries to let go it can’t. Still, at every major championship, Tiger is the top story and at every major championship he underperforms. People need to understand that Tiger will never be the same regardless of how much people want it.