Author: Jim Sack

Today’s Title Is… Fixing the National Football League

Today’s Title Is… Fixing the National Football League

The National Football League needs some “fixing”. There have been way too many controversies, the tv ratings are down, and, quite honestly, the attitudes relating to, and the image of the league, could stand improvement.

To be clear, I’ve never been an NFL player, coach, owner, etc. For that matter, I never played in high school- one of my biggest regrets ever. I’m writing strictly as a fan.

In no particular order, here are fixes, some easy and others not so much, that would address problems as I see them.

The owners need to be quiet. They’re all perceived as billionaires that only care about money anyway, and should stay behind the scenes, especially when embroiled in their sport’s controversies and societal problems.

Think about supply and demand. It just may be that the supply of games on so many days and nights exceeds the demand from fans. Thursday games were added a while ago, and Thanksgiving games seem to have multiplied, not to mention the Saturday games that start earlier than they used to. Encourage people to look forward to football again by limiting games to Sunday and Monday.

Get serious about standards, discipline, and professionalism. First, football is a violent game regardless, and probably appears worse by the multiple camera angles and replays, but certain on and off the field behaviors have changed the image of the league for many. On the field, address the more violent actions, such as fights and plays where the body is used as a weapon, such as helmet to helmet hits. I truly believe that suspensions and substantial fines will work. For example, among the numerous incidents that have recently occurred, there was a fist fight early in a particular game in which two players began throwing punches with the action extending well beyond the sidelines. Suspending each of those players three games, including the loss of game checks, would certainly act to deter them from further incidents and other players as well. The same can be said of a player who launched himself into the body of another player who was on the ground after the play was over. A one game suspension was viewed by quite a few in the media as a needed “week off” for the offending player. A suspension for multiple games would be viewed quite differently, especially if accompanied by the loss of game checks. Second, although it may seem minor, enforce rules regarding media obligations, also, because it appears to fans that players are babied. Third, as to serious off the field issues, such as drug use, domestic violence, etc. fair solutions aren’t easy to come by because there is a legal process, in addition to the role played by the NFL.  If, however, the league decides to take action, the consequences must be substantial. “Small” fines, such as $10,000-$12,000, for players who often make millions of dollars do not act as a deterrent. Likewise, players who receive multiple chances or whose punishment is delayed again and again severely hurt the image of the league. Bluntly speaking, the NFL must reinforce the notion that it is a league of PROFESSIONAL athletes.

I’m probably in the minority when it comes to missing the days when celebrations didn’t occur after every play. I know about the whole “let them have fun” thing. Quite honestly, I’m sick of players not just celebrating with a touchdown dance, but having a choreographed routine with several teammates. This sets a bad example for younger players and suggests a complete lack of sportsmanship and humility from athletes who are perceived as spoiled anyway. By the way, what’s next for celebrations?

The topic that’s getting the most attention this season concerning the National Football League is protesting racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. There are strong feelings on all sides of this issue, but there is little doubt that it has had a negative effect on the league, with many viewing players as rich, spoiled young men who are showing disrespect for America, the flag, and our military. I don’t believe that was the original intent, nor do I believe it’s the intent now, but this action is still hurting the image of the league, and the message about racial injustice is becoming lost. I also think that the recent agreement involving the league giving tens of millions of dollars to address this issue is viewed as just another case of billionaires using money as a solution and the fact that the players agreed to this is also damaging. Money doesn’t solve every problem.

**This is my own “pet peeve”. Please. I’m begging you, as well as the owners of teams in other professional sports. Stop “forcing/intimidating/bullying” cities into building new stadiums at taxpayer expense. The tax paying citizens in these cities often can’t afford to go to the games in the first place and there’s immense frustration when billionaires force situations where those with little money pay higher taxes so those same billionaires can avoid paying for stadiums and make even more money. I realize that “forcing”, etc. isn’t a fair term to describe the actions of owners, but it’s pretty close.

Finally, emphasize the good things the NFL participates in even more than they do now, such as charitable giving and players involved in worthwhile causes. Good news rarely gets the attention or recognition that it deserves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Title Is… Classroom Priorities

Today’s Title Is… Classroom Priorities

Teachers have so many decisions to make each day regarding instruction and classroom management. I found over the years that there were “smaller” specific issues that I could deal with quickly so that they didn’t take up a lot of time and didn’t have a lasting affect on my instruction. It’s not that they didn’t matter, it’s that, in the scheme of things, they were not as big a priority. Here are 5 issues that can and should be handled quickly and then moved on from.

  1. Swearing: Yes, we all know that there are certain words that aren’t appropriate for school. That being said, if one of my students came up to tell me that a classmate swore, I usually asked what they said. Sometimes they’d share and sometimes they were embarrassed. Then I asked them to spell it. In the end, I’d remind the offending student that we didn’t use that language in school. That was it. I don’t remember ever having a repeat offender.
  2. Head lice: When head lice showed up in our school, we’d get a notice to bring our class to the nurse for “head checks”. I simply let the kids know that it’s a common problem, anyone can get them, and we’d all be getting our heads looked at- me included.
  3. Cheating: My kids knew from Day 1 that honesty was a priority for me. If I suspected a kid of cheating I just reminded everyone about the importance of doing your own work, etc. and that I didn’t want to single out someone for cheating, in part because of the embarrassment it would bring, but I would if necessary.
  4. Kids w/o pencils, etc.: It did bother me when a student ran out of every day supplies like pencils, but it was never worth making a big deal out of it. I either gave him/her an extra or a classmate would. Other than expecting a thank you, that’s all there was to it.
  5. Leaving the classroom for extra help: Whether for academic reasons, counseling, etc. I never made it a big deal. If it came up, I just used the analogy of a professional athlete, singer, etc. having a coach and reminded kids that we all need help or guidance to improve.
Today’s Title Is… Words Politicians Should Never Use

Today’s Title Is… Words Politicians Should Never Use

I’ll get right to it. Politicians seem to be an entirely different species. Most of us don’t believe much of what we hear from those running for office or already in office and that’s really too bad because I’m sure there are people in politics who really are sincere and honest in their dealings with constituents, the media, and anyone else that’s paying attention. I’d like to offer one suggestion that would improve at least my own image of politicians, and that would be to avoid using the following words and phrases.

When a politician says, “trust me”, that’s usually a sign that the listener or viewer is going to hear a dishonest statement next.

Beginning a thought with “honestly” means exactly the same thing.

I have a friend who often uses the word “folks” to describe people he thinks are nice. When I hear a politician say the word, it usually sounds like the person is trying to convince voters that he or she is just a regular person. That’d be ok, but I often hear it from those who don’t act like regular people.

“I don’t recall.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a politician say those words when asked a question that they don’t want to answer. That way, they can avoid be punished for whatever they did in the first place.

“I’m going to fight for …” is a phrase that I hear from every politician trying to get votes. It makes it sound like they’re on your side and they’ll stop at nothing to do whatever it takes to improve your life. Really?

“I’m an outsider.” I suppose anyone not in office already is an outsider, but since most voters don’t seem to trust those already in office, candidates want to appear as if they’re not part of the regular political process.

Any that you want to share?

Jim

 

 

 

Today’s Title Is… There’s Sick…and Then There’s Sick

Today’s Title Is… There’s Sick…and Then There’s Sick

When I was a teacher, I was rarely out for two reasons. First, I was hardly ever sick anyway, and I thought my responsibility was to be in school with my students even when I didn’t feel so great. Second, it was really more work being out. You had to get a substitute, hopefully someone you could rely on. Then, you had to write plans which spelled out in detail things which you already knew as the teacher, and make sure they got to the person. Even when you thought everything was set, unexpected things happened, usually small stuff, although one day, one of my kids ate a sock just to see what the sub would do. She left me a blunt note saying she’d never be back.

These days, I’m a retired teacher and full time author and writer who works from home. That means that if I’m sick, even a little, I can sit around and watch tv all day or stay in bed if I want to. Since I don’t “punch a clock” anymore, and can do as I please with no real deadlines or obligations, being sick just isn’t the same. I may feel lousy, but I don’t have to worry about going to work and I haven’t written sub plans for years.

For those of you who still go to work even when you’re sick- well, I’m sorry.

Jim

 

 

 

 

Today’s Title Is… The Pile Grows

Today’s Title Is… The Pile Grows

One source for subjects for my blog, “Today’s Title Is…”, is the newspaper. I read the Albany Times Union each day and tear out stories that may become blog topics at one point. I try to balance using positive and negative articles, but it seems that the bad outweigh the good by a lot. Regardless, the pile of articles on my desk has been growing by leaps and bounds. For example, today’s articles ranged from the appropriate age for a thoroughbred to race, to building a soundproof booth for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency for $25,000, to a worker employed by the state of New York whose location to sign in for work has been moved from one outdoor location to another- all of them quite offensive. There’s an ongoing lawsuit, by the way.

Anyway, here’s hoping that my pile dwindles and my generally sunny disposition results in mostly positive posts. It may also help to make your day a little better! Always feel free to share any ideas you may have for future posts in the comment section below or you can contact me directly. Thanks!

Jim