Saturday, January 17, 2015

NBA Best GS Warriors 32-6


Because It's All Our Turf ! Can You Dig It? 
(The Warriors 1979)

The Warriors continued their dominating drive through the regular season in a 131-106 blowout of the Rockets in Houston.  The story, which never gets old to us long suffering Warriors fans, was the splash brothers; Klay Thompson and Steph Curry.  The boys have grown into their roles as leaders on the basketball court. 

Ask any Warriors fan who's been watching the team for the past say, 20 years. This is the best Warriors team we've ever seen.  They've had some good runs in that time, but never have they looked as ............Unstoppable as they do right now.

Klay Thompson shutdown Rockets offensive star James Harden tonight, keeping him 15pts below his average, while Curry simply took control of the game, lighting up the joint in a now all too familiar Warriors run that put them up by at least 20pts.   And the beauty of the splash brothers style of play and explosiveness is that's its addictive; the rest of the team feeds off the energy of their two stars, producing what looks like an all-star chemistry every time they take the court.

The Golden State WARRIORS are bopping their way through the best efforts of opponents who want to put a stop to their magical, mystical season.  So far they've been bested only six times in thirty-eight match-ups, Wow!

If you're old enough to remember the 1980's movie "The Warriors", then you know how this script plays out. 

Yes, the WARRIORS have come out to play. And this time the train leads to Oakland. Can-You-Dig-It!

Eve - A Novel Of The First Woman

Yes, even a boisterously swaggering Raiders fan likes a good book that features a female heroine every now and then.  In reading the book Eve I have to say I was shown parts of the many women I've been blessed to have had as a part of my life, with my mother at the top of the list. Mom was the first woman in my life.

The story speaks to you through female voices that are all too familiar. As a man, I found it fascinating how this book reminded me of the man I once was and the man that I've become.  The saying is so true, that it takes a good woman to bring out the best in a good man. And I'll add that it takes an understanding man to realize all that he has in a good woman.

My Amazon Review of the book:





4.0 out of 5 stars I Keep Coming BackDecember 8, 2014
This review is from: Eve: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
This book just will not let me go. Its one of those books I started while reading something else. It seems the book beckons me back every time I'm away from it for awhile. So now that I've finished the other book(s) I hope to make Eve my reading mate for awhile. I'd originally bought it for someone else, that's how enticing this story of Eve and Adam is. And though the writing is contemporary and gives no feeling of ancient mysticism being imparted, the book has a way of engaging the reader with its Garden of Eden tone and grace. There's an eternal peace flowing through this book that is familiar and pleasant to the touch.

To Be Continued......

And what a reading mate Eve turned out to be. Even with all the turmoil that arises from bad decisions on the part of some family members, the story flows along with a grace that only an all-knowing Creator could imbue. If you've ever finished a book and just wanna immediately share with others the companionship it brought you, then you know the feeling this book has given me. Yes, I really enjoyed the novel of the first woman Eve and the murder of her favorite child. I am one of six siblings and I confess here with a resounding no, I was not my mother's favorite. There were times that we all wanted to, to put it mildly here, vote the favorite off the island.  And yet my mother taught all of us the equality of God's love for us and the love we share for one another. She was an amazing woman, with all her faults, just as Eve is here. Thanks mom.

A Delacort Press Hardcover Edition / February 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Coach


Is it me or does newly acquired Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio look like a Raider?

I know this much, he's the first hire in a long time that comes with some head coaching experience.  I can't say for sure what Del Rio will bring to the Raiders, but anything resembling a winning season will be cheered. 

Its said that when he became head coach in Jacksonville he placed a wooden stump and axe in the locker room as a symbol of his then rallying cry "Keep chopping wood."  Its a good mantra coming from someone who played in the league for 11 years; keep swinging the axe and the obstacles, both personal and professional, individual and team, are whittled away leaving you with a sense of pride and accomplishment. 



'When you place it on the chopping block and swing the axe, it cleaves. '

I like that our Raiders will be led by a man that's been in the wars and walked the walk.  I also like that he hails from the hills of Castro Valley, a stones throw away from the Oakland Coliseum. And I like that he was a recipient of the Glen "Pop" Warner Memorial Trophy presented annually on the west coast between 1950-2004. 

Most of all, I like that he knows what it means to have the right tools and skills at your disposal and wielding them just so to produce the results intended.

Just Win Jack! Just Win.
Welcome Aboard






Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Courtesy of Raiders.com

Just Wait Until Next Season!  Its Gonna Be Our Turn To Rise.

REAL MEN WEAR BLACK

Oakland Raiders 2015 Opponent Capsules
Home
Away

The Ravens make their first trip to Oakland since a 21-13 Ravens victory in 2009. Baltimore leads the all-time regular season series 6-1 with the only win for the Silver and Black coming at home in 2003.
The Silver and Black fly back to Pittsburgh for the first time since a 35-3 2010 loss to the Steelers. The Raiders have won four of the last five match-ups and lead the all-time series 12-9.
The Raiders host Denver in the hopes of snapping a four-game losing streak against the Broncos at home. The Silver and Black last defeated Denver at O.co Coliseum in 2010.
The Silver and Black fly to Colorado in the hopes of winning their first game in Denver since a 20-19 2009 win over the Broncos. Although they lost both meetings to the Broncos last season, they still lead the all-time series 59-48-2.
The Raiders in-state rivals fly north to take on the Silver and Black after close victories in both 2014 match-ups. Although the Chargers secured two victories last season, the Raiders still hold the edge in the all-time series, 58-50-2.The Raiders take on the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium looking to snap a two-game losing streak in San Diego. The Raiders lead the all-time series 58-48-2.

The Chiefs return to Oakland to take on the Raiders after splitting the season series in 2014. The Silver and Black defeated the Chiefs 24-20 on Thursday Night Football. The Chiefs lead the all-time series, 56-51-2.

The Silver and Black return to Arrowhead Stadium trying to snap a two-game skid against the Chiefs in their home stadium. The Raiders last road victory against Kansas City was 26-16 in 2012.

The Jets and Raiders square off for the third-consecutive year in 2015. Although Oakland flew east and lost to the Jets in the opening game of the 2014 campaign, they still lead the all-time series 21-17-2. 

The Raiders and Titans meet for the first time in Nashville since a 2010 contest that the Silver and Black lost 38-13. The Raiders least beat Tennessee in 2005, but lead the all-time series 23-20.

The Bengals travel west to Oakland for the first time since the Silver and Black bested them 20-17 in 2009. The Raiders have won four of the last six match-ups and lead the all-time regular season series 18-9.
The Raiders return to Cleveland in 2015 to take on the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium for the second year in a row. In Week 8 of 2014, rookie QB Derek Carr threw for 328 yards and a touchdown although the Raiders fell to the Browns 23-13. 
The Raiders and Packers will square off in Oakland for the first time since a 2003 meeting that Green Bay won 41-7. The Silver and Black have lost their last six meetings with the Packers, with their last win coming in 1987.
The Raiders and Bears meet for the first time since 2011, and in Chicago for the first time since 2003. During their last match-up in the Windy City, the Raiders fell to the Bears 24-21, but still lead the all-time series 7-6.
The Raiders host the Minnesota Vikings for the first time since a 2003 meeting that the Raiders won 28-18. Oakland has won three of the last four match-ups with the Vikings, and lead the all-time series 9-4.
The Raiders and the Lions square off for the first time since 2011, and in Detroit for the first time since 2003. The Silver and Black came up short on their last trip to Ford Field, but still lead the all-time series 6-5.

Ohio State Buckeyes Are Champions

OSU Mascot Brutus Buckeye
(a buckeye is a nut)

The first National Collegiate Athletic Association Football Playoff Championship went to the Ohio State Buckeyes. They played their style of rugged, hard-nosed football that the Oregon Ducks could not match up with in a thousand years.

I missed the first Oregon drive where they zipped down the field and scored to lead the game 7-0. What I arrived to was a Buckeyes offense revving up its engine as it honked and gronked its way to a tying touchdown.  Now it was the Ohio State defense revving up and adjusting to the flash and slash trickery of the Oregon offense. 

When the Buckeyes got the ball back you saw a big, bruising locomotive rolling down the tracks with little Ducks bouncing off its sides unable to stop it. The Buckeyes pounded there way to a 21-7 second quarter lead before allowing the Ducks to squeak out a field goal before half-time.

The Ducks would edge there way closer to the eventual champion, mostly on gift turnovers from the Buckeyes, but everyone knew that barring a complete collapse, Ohio State was heading toward victory.

Sure enough, when the final whistle blew, the Ohio State Buckeyes were National Champions of college football.  The college football world was shown exactly what throwback football looks like in 2015.  The run and gun style of the Ducks was simply bowled over by a stronger team that executed the basics of football to precision: Quarterbacking, Running, Receiving, Defense.

We've gotten accustomed to seeing and hearing about all the grace and creativity in today's football game.  The pretty catches, the slice and dice running, the fast paced greatest shows on turf.  Ohio State reminded us that Football is, and always will be, a punishing and brutal sport that requires "beast mode" style strength and "go the distance" determination to win.


Congratulations Ohio State Buckeyes



Sunday, January 11, 2015

In The Act of Catching A Pass - Someone Got It Wrong


The reason Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant's catch should have stood is in the rules.  The rule states: 

"If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone.  If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete.  If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete."

I believe Dez was in the act of running and not catching the ball, thereby negating the rule. He became a runner once he hauled in the pass and turned to lunge toward the goal line for extra yardage and/or a touchdown.  He had complete control of the ball tucked firmly against the inner part of his left arm. 

Dez caught the ball, turned, took steps, dove forward with the ball in his left arm while using his right hand against the ground to catapult his body forward, hoping to break the goal line.  His right elbow and knee hit the ground before his left arm with the ball did.  That alone constitutes a down by contact call as he was making a football move, not falling after the catch.   

Comparing Dez Bryan'ts play to the  Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson play is comparing apples and oranges.  Johnson's reversal was a first game in September, whereas Bryant's was within the final 5:00 minutes of a January divisional playoff game.

Calvin Johnson was falling to the ground, off balance after the catch, in premature celebration mode, and the ball slipped out of his hand when it hit the ground. That was a catch, fall and ball pops out.  Bryant's was a catch, football move lunge and the ball comes out after his knee and elbow were down. The rule clearly states, 'going to the ground in the act of catching a pass', there lies the controversy in Dez and possibly Calvin's reversals. There lies the blunder.  

Sometimes, in big games such as divisional playoff games, you gotta defer to the spirit of the rule. The rule is there to make sure a receiver falling to the ground after a catch has and maintains possession of the football. The NFL is truly losing its football spirit.

Final Score
Cowboys 21
Packers 26

Friday, January 02, 2015

College Football Playoff Delivers

When the smoke cleared from yesterday's NCAA football playoff semi-final round, everyone watching knew that the better teams had won and were advancing to the championship game.  There was no second-guessing, no controversial calls and no last minute miracle plays that would have fans of the games debating whether this team or that was deserving of a championship game appearance.

The Oregon Ducks and the Ohio State Buckeyes convincingly beat their opponents and earned outright, the chance to play in the first playoff era championship game.  The two teams did it by dominating two teams' that have been hard to bet against in recent bowl games.   
video

Watching the Ducks unleash that high-scoring offense on the defending champion Florida State Seminoles was confirmation enough, but when Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott broke off an 85-yard TD romp in the fourth quarter against the tough defense of Alabama, he broke more than the spirit of the Crimson Tide team, he shattered our fairytale belief in an unbeatable Alabama juggernaut that hardly ever gets beat in bowl games.

If you're a college football fan, yesterday's two playoff semi-final bowl games were treats to be chewed on and savored right up until kickoff on Monday, January 12, 2015 @ 5:30pm pacific time. Because that's when the Ducks and Buckeyes meet to settle just who's the best team that beat the best.  So enjoy these upcoming first two playoff rounds of NFL fooball, then get ready for that Monday night showdown in Arlington, TX., where the college championship playoff game comes to town; and may the best team win.




Tuesday, December 30, 2014

#21 CLEMENTE

Roberto Clemente Walker (August 18, 1934 – December 31, 1972)



MLB awards and achievements[edit]

Awards
Achievements
  • National League leader in batting average (1961, 1964, 1965, 1967)
  • National League leader in hits (1964, 1967)
  • National League leader in triples (1969)
  • National League leader in putouts as right fielder (1958, 1961, 1966)
  • National League leader in fielding average as right fielder and outfielder (1972)

Citizens Medal Citation
"All who saw Roberto Clemente in action, whether on the diamond or on the front lines of charitable endeavor, are richer for the experience. He stands with the handful of men whose brilliance has transformed the game of baseball into a showcase of skill and spirit, giving universal delight and inspiration. More than that, his selfless dedication to helping those with two strikes against them in life has blessed thousands and set an example for millions. As long as athletes and humanitarians are honored, Roberto Clemente's memory will live; as long as Citizens Medals are presented, each will mean a little more because the first one went to him."

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Saddest Story Ever Told - George Stinney, Jr.


In a South Carolina prison sixty-six years ago, guards walked a 14-year-old boy, bible tucked under his arm, to the electric chair. At 5' 1" and 95 pounds, the straps didn’t fit, and an electrode was too big for his leg.
The switch was pulled and the adult sized death mask fell from George Stinney’s face. Tears streamed from his eyes. Witnesses recoiled in horror as they watched the youngest person executed in the United States in the past century die.



I first read about 14 year old George Stinney Jr., the youngest person ever executed in the United States, about three years ago while researching the death penalty in the United States.  His story gripped me so that I felt uncomfortable posting it on this blog. It felt like discovering the tragic remains of a shipwreck, like the Titanic, where you just want to leave what you've found at rest. Until today I've done just that.

Last week I'd read that the young 14 year old was exonerated by a circuit court judge in South Carolina, 70 years after their justice system executed him in the electric chair.  George Stinney, Jr was a victim of American southern justice, not by a prejudiced ku klux klan led lynch mob, but a white sheriff, white deputies, white defense attorney, white judge, white jurors and state and federal laws that gave no protection whatsoever to black citizens and their children in these United States.  It was white justice that took this child's life.  If George had been white I seriously doubt he ever would' ve been accused.  But George was black, and in the south of 1944, it was a crime to be black.

I just can't fathom that of all these white people involved with the case, none had the courage or decency to stand up and say putting to death a child, who it had to be obvious did not commit the crime he was accused of, was a wrongful sin against humanity, regardless of their feelings toward Colored folks.  The only answer I can come up with is that the year was 1944.  The U.S. had been fighting in World War II for three years and the country was busy being angry, hateful and down right scared. Its so hard to accept that at that time in the south its just the way it was.

Maybe if it had been a year later and photos and newsreel of atrocities done to Jewish children in Europe by Hitler's German death camps, maybe the grown white Americans of South Carolina would have seen George Stinney, Jr as an innocent human child, different from their own children only by the darker hue of his skin. How could then new Governor, Olin D. Johnston, not act to stop the execution after hearing pleas from local black churches and the NAACP? 

Local churches, the N.A.A.C.P., and unions pleaded with Johnston to stop the execution and commute the sentence to life imprisonment, citing Stinney's age as a mitigating factor. But he did not act, instead allowing the execution to take place.

But still, I just can't see how grown white men and women can allow a child, identified then as a teenager, but he was a 95 pound child, to be executed in a monstrous, man-made killing contraption, while they watched without protest. 

I decided on Christmas day to watch the movie "Carolina Skeltons," a 1988 fictionalized movie based on the George Stinney, Jr. case.  It was truly the saddest story I've ever seen on film. The young actor playing the part of George became George on film.  Just imagine how scared and alone this young boy had to feel while locked up waiting to be judged and killed by what must've felt like alien abductors. His family was run out of town with threats of lynching the entire family not long after George was arrested.

Its said they used little George's bible to prop him up higher in the electric chair so that the headgear and mask would fit.  I know its not the story anyone wants to read today, but take seven minutes to hear the facts about the arrest, trial and execution of young George Stinney, Jr, as read by The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur.  It took four minutes for the precious life of this child to be short circuited permanently by a South Carolina electric chair nicknamed "Ol' Sparky."