Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On Controversy

Since I don't have writing to write about, I'm going to weigh in on other random interests of mine. This is an "author blog," so it can definitely cover the interests of the author, right? We don't have to be business all the time. (Also, George RR Martin writes a lot about football, and that's what I'm going to do today, so I figure I'm in good company.)

Anyone watch Monday Night Football last night? I did not. But I sure did read about it this morning. The crazy ending seems to be on everyone's mind, and for good reason I suppose. Don't worry, I'm not going to pick on those poor replacement refs. I umpired baseball for five years. Did some soccer and basketball games, too. I've never done a football game, but I feel that there is somewhat a fraternity of officials, no matter what sport. Officiating is not an easy job, especially on the bigger stages. Even with the little league stuff I was doing, you often had unruly parents to deal with. Shocker, I know.

(Random side story. I only ever had to call the cops on a parent one time. I like to think I was a pretty good ump, and generally could explain my calls adequately so that most coaches were placated. There's no instant replay in little league, so while they may question your sense of sight, if you can honestly say what you saw, there's not too much they can do. Disagreements will happen, what matters is if you know the rule you're invoking. Get the rule right, and the rest is just opinion. Most coaches realize this and, though they fight for their kids, will respect you at the end of the game.

With regards to the cop incident, the argument wasn't over a baseball rule, but a league rule regarding equipment. To be fair, it was a bit silly, but it was my job to enforce it, as handed down by my superiors. The parent took issue with it, and threatened to "meet me in the parking lot" after the game. He would not leave the premises. We called the cops. That cooled things off, everyone went home safe.)

So I feel a bit sorry for the replacement refs. Not an easy stage, not an easy job. No officiating is perfect. But here's the thing: what do you imagine the television ratings have done this season? Are people watching less because of the poor officiating? If the media coverage of last night is any indication, more people are tuning in than ever before. It's like the old "train wreck" adage. Human nature is fascinated by the adversity of others. I don't know why. I didn't make the rules.

While we all sit here and say "the NFL has to do something," I feel like I should ask "why?" The NFL is in the entertainment business. Are you not entertained? Is angry entertainment still not entertainment?

It's an interesting thought. Any long time football coach can tell you that the Packers didn't lose that game on the last play. They lost the game because they put themselves in a situation to lose. By now, everyone should know not to depend on the refs to bail you out. If a bad call can hurt you, you have to assume it's going to. You need to play the rest of the game so strongly that there is no doubt at the end of regulation. You cannot blame a loss entirely on a referee, no matter how awful the call.

If I'm an NFL exec, I might be sitting back, cackling with fingers steeple and saying, "Let them stew for a bit. Ratings are up. We're making more money than ever. What's the rush?" Meanwhile, the old refs are out of work, and all it takes are some well placed comments to make it sound like they're the ones "holding out." Then the ire turns on them, and the big wigs keep getting rich. Sometime during the season, they can come up with some "miracle" of compromise, bringing the old refs back in to save the day. Perhaps right before tournament time. Can't ruin the Super Bowl, right? Too much $$ there.

Maybe this is a somewhat cynical view. Perhaps everyone is really trying, in good faith, to get the proper folks on the field as soon as possible. I just know how controversy works. Reality TV didn't rake in the cash because of its utter predictability and happy endings. We, as humans, love controversy. It's entertaining, and we'll pay good money for entertainment. One need only look at photos of the Coliseum in Rome to remember how basic our love of struggle can be; how "old hat" it is.

It sucks to be on the wrong end of a bad call. It really does. Losing isn't fun, either. But--dang!--did we have something to talk about around the water cooler this morning, didn't we?
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Not ROWing Right Now

Sadly, I do not plan to join round 4 of the ROW80 challenge. As obliquely referenced before, my world sort of got Blown the Eff Up (to put it mildly). Such things happen. I am neither the first, nor the last to have run this particular gauntlet. I will rise and write again... just not right now. I have to get through today first. And then tomorrow. And then the next day.

I can't make goals and promises, because all the old ones are still sitting around me in shambles, twisted and blackened from the explosion. And me? I'm like that grizzled war vet in the movies when a bomb goes off next to his head (I'm even sporting the typical unkempt stubble). I've got blood streaming from the ears and I'm wandering around aimlessly with a high pitched ringing in my ears. Occasionally, another soldier sidles into my view, visibly yelling, but not making any sound that I can discern. Also, where is the bunker? There's way too much shit flying around for me to be out in the open like this.

Love is a battlefield. Better go and get my armor.

So while I'm off looking for it, I don't quite feel that I can invest myself in anything productive. The goal, this round, is just to Get By. Haven't we all had a round like that? Doesn't exactly make for interesting blogging, does it? Oh, what did you do this week? I woke up, did some stuff, and then went back to sleep. And I did it seven times! Can you believe it? No, I don't really recall exactly what I did. Strange? I guess I didn't notice.

Sometimes life's just like that, though. When you're going through hell, the best thing to do is keep going.

I wish all you ROWers luck. I'll be lurking a little less than usual, but still lurking. Maybe come New Years, I'll be ready to hop back in. I know I still have stories to tell, I just need to get off this damn beachhead first.
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Friday, September 14, 2012

Stepping Back

I missed the Wednesday check-in. That's all right, I had nothing to report. The last check-in I mentioned priorities. I can honestly say that last week was the worst week I've ever had in my life. Totally trumps the week when my dad died and I had go home, do funeral stuff, then head back to college for finals. And that was a pretty rough week.

I've not told a whole lot of people the full story of what's going on right now. I don't plan on sharing all the details here. For now, at least. Eventually, I'd like too. Suffice it to say, for the few people I've told, the most consistent response has been "holy cow!" And then "if you need anything at all, let me know." I have great family and friends.

Unfortunately, writing has to take a back seat. I love it, I still have dreams to chase, but other, more pressing matters have to come first. I'll still write. I can't stop, especially not now. I just can't really commit to writing anything worthwhile.

I still plan to post the occasional blog post (but likely not as frequent), and lurk where I've been lurking. I may even keep checking in, we'll see. And once things settle, I promise a much less cryptic explanation.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far. It means more than you know.
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

#ROW80 - Priorities

Well, I don't have a whole lot to say for this check-in. My writing dream is going to have to take a back seat for a bit. There are some important things going on on the personal side of things that require my undivided attention. As such, I'm going to put my goals on hold for now and just be happy if I get anything done at all. I'm still going to try to learn something every week. My WIP is on hold until I find my way out of the woods. I'll probably read some more. I might blog less, just depends on if I have things to say or not.

The new goals (not all that different from the old, just more relaxed):
  • Lesson Learned - Life is about priorities. When you know yours and one preempts the others, it makes the decision really easy. Set your priorities before they conflict.
  • WIP Progress - 0.
  • Blogging - 2 Here. 3 on the gaming blog. 1 personal post. A couple of football posts.
  • Reading - I'm reading a football book right now called The Jersey Effect. Pretty neat. The goal is to finish it by the end of the season (Thanksgiving). Shouldn't be hard.
Like I said, I'm just going to be happy with carrying on. I still like to add up the words, though. I won't stop writing, so I shouldn't stop counting. It's just what I do.
  • Since last check-in: 2,678
  • New Fiction: 0
  • Round 3 Total: 47,893
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