LOCAL VIEW –Is there life after Football?–


(Video credit NFL and Fox News.)

The Monday morning after the Superbowl the parents dropped off their kids at our Farm-childcare looking haggard, and no, I’m not from Atlanta. New England fans were seemingly in a state of serious shock, as not even they expected the come-back they had witnessed. In a dazed way, with stunned expressions, they were replaying the entire game over and over, like the above clip.

In a reply to a friend I gave my view:

“I’ve heard a lot of Monday-morning-quarterbacks say what Atlanta “should have done”, but such 20-20 hindsight is not there, in the heat of the moment. I think a sort of “fog of war” sets in during an actual game, and that is where Belichick is best, because he makes the right choices during crazy-time, when you are not given time to think. Belichick likely would have burned up the clock and run the ball, if in Atlanta’s shoes, but Atlanta was seemingly stuck in the habit of using what had worked before, thinking it would continue to work. It didn’t. They didn’t adjust but Belichick had adjusted. (One of my favorite camera shots was of Belichick jotting notes in a old-fashioned notebook with an old-fashioned pen; [he smashed his newfangled tablet-computer in the middle of a game, two months ago]; he looked as detached as a coach jotting notes in a practice session. Wouldn’t it be fun to get a peek at that notebook?)

Atlanta’s defense was utterly exhausted (or “gassed”, as the player’s say), by the end, as the Patriots had that defense on the field for 40:31 and they were off the field for only 23:27. I don’t think this is an “accident of fate”, because when Belicheck was defensive coordinator of the Giants, and they were up against the high powered offence of Kelly and the Buffalo Bills during the 1990 Superbowl, the Bill’s defense was on the field over 40 minutes. Can it be that Belichick actually plans that, if the opponent is going to score, they will do so swiftly, and their defense will get no rest before it is back on the field?

At the end of the game it looked like Atlanta was still in that “score fast” mode, because it had been easy earlier. They were lured into using the obsolete.

Sort of a strategy similar to “rope-a-dope.”

This sort of post-game analysis, back in my boyhood, was called “the hot stove league”, and was mostly about baseball when there was no baseball to be played due to deep snow, and old geezers were looking forward to the next baseball season, during New England’s interminable winters. Such blather was conducted around hot wood stoves, often in small stores or at the local post office, and likely drove some wive’s mad, as they likely felt husbands could be making better use of their time, (even as some husbands felt their wive’s could cut their phone-calls short.) In any case, since those long-ago days football has stepped in, during December and January at least, and usurped the position of baseball.

The approval or disapproval of spouses does not matter as much as the approval of God, and violent sports like football make me a bit nervous. A person, who I respect greatly, once informed me God really enjoys the sport of cricket. However, once the violence of football is over, I think God likely approves of people sitting about talking about what they have witnessed. Why?

I suppose it is because it is good to appreciate the efforts of others.

I’ve worked well over a hundred different jobs in my time, and you’d be amazed how often the work goes completely unappreciated. For example, next time you hold a bottle of ketchup, look at the label. I was the guy making such labels for ketchup, (and a hundred other bottled things), for all of two weeks one winter. (Yes, I got fired.) It was a horrible, miserable job, for minimum wage, and required a sort of heroism on my part to endure it, (and required heroism on the part of my wife to endure me), but, were there any cheering crowds as I (and my wife) heroically managed to scrape together the funds to feed my children?  Nooooooo….

Look around yourself. You are surrounded by things you take for granted, made possible by people you fail to appreciate. The lights you click on, the toilets you flush, the bread and the butter you eat, all involve toiling people you take for granted. If we had the slightest idea of how beholden we are to others we’d be flush with thankfulness, and far more loving than we actually are. But the thing of it is, we ourselves are too darn busy toiling to appreciate the toil of others, and, if we lift eyes from toil to think at all, it is of how we are the ones who deserves more credit. We are all too often too busy playing the wailing violins of our own self pity. We are as dependent on others as oldsters in  wheelchairs, crabbing that the ride is too rough.

Considering this unflattering portrait is how God likely sees us, I imagine he likes how we become utterly and amazingly different, regarding sports. Suddenly we appreciate the smallest details of other’s efforts. We see the nuances, the quick reactions, and the uncanny element of luck.

The exact same things we obsess about on football fields occur in our own lives. When the cook at our local diner cracks open a bad egg in the middle of the morning rush, it involves all the swift shifts of an athlete in a sporting event. There may be no cheering, and in fact there may be some grousing because orders are temporarily filled more slowly, but the swift recovery rivals the efforts of an athlete. There may be fewer tips, down here in earth, but up in heaven the angels are cheering wildly for the cook.

Remember that, when you next trudge through the drudgery of your day, largely unappreciated. Even if you don’t believe in angels, if you imagine that you are doing your unseen deeds in a stadium, with millions of cheering spectators watching, it has a way of making you, if not feel better, perform better.

As a young artist I used to trick myself in this manner all the time. I might be washing dishes in some slummy dive, but I figured a million were watching me. How?  Well, I figured it was only a matter of weeks before I’d be “discovered”, and my poems would sell a million copies, and all of a sudden many, many fans would want to know about my past life. Therefore, as I washed dishes, a million fans were watching me. And I tell you, few have ever washed dishes as I did, with such flair and pizzazz, flipping plates like pancakes and singing odd opera. (If nothing else, it made a dull job far more fun, and made me a fun fellow to work with.)

In the case of the Superbowl, there actually are millions watching, and appreciating every move, not only during the event, but afterwards. In some cases the efforts are appreciated decades afterwards. The nuances of fate, uncovered and discovered long afterwards, are all the more fascinating when the internet allows the “hot stove league” to involve a heck of a lot more people than, in the old days, you could fit in a post office or hardware store.

For example, regarding the Superbowl of a few days ago, I heard, during discussion of Belichick in the 1990 Superbowl which pitted the Giants against the Bills, that Belichick was the defensive coordinator, but the offence wide-receiver coach was  Tom Coughlin, who later became the head coach of the New York Giants, and is the only coach to ever defeat Belichick in a Superbowl (twice).

The fact that the coach of that 1990 New York Giants team, Bill Parcells, was able to recognize the genius of two young assistant coaches, could be the subject of a long, long article in a sports-section written by sports fanatics for sports fanatics. Me? I’ll cut things short, and just say Bill Parcells, when at the height of his powers, was able to do the thing this post is about:  Appreciate.

One thing I appreciate about modern times is what I spoke of before: The “hot stove league” has become enormous. One thing I investigated, on my computer, was “fan reaction”. You likely could spend hours just watching video of fans experiencing the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, and in some cases it is hard to tell the difference. New England fans collapse to the floor sobbing in victory, as Altlanta fans go insane with hysterical laughter.

Then you can likely spend days watching the “experts”, both on high-powered network sites and on small-time individual sites, indulge in post-game analysis, reexamining every play in minute detail.

The first is emotion and the second is intellect, but both appreciate.

Me?  I must be getting old, for I don’t care so much about winning as I used to. I’m more interested in the sport than who wins, and also sometimes more interested in the fans than the players.

Because I run a Farm-childcare, some of the fans I deal with are very young. The children who are under five could care less about sports, but around age five kids become fans, in a very unrealistic, dreamy way. For example, they think their Dad could outrun any player in the NFL. There is no cotton-picking way I am going to disillusion them. However they also seem to think I myself am nearly as amazing as their Dad, and that I myself could also play in the NFL, and I need to find some gentle way of disillusioning them.

In the world of Childcare and so-called Childcare Professionals, 97% of the people children meet are women. Therefore, as a male, I need only to walk in the door and I am immediately as welcome as a rock star. Because, even in nature, baby gorillas want to romp with a mean-looking daddy gorilla, if I so much as stoop to tie a child’s shoe I may get blind-sided by a kid who wants to tackle a daddy, for I am a temporary father-figure, and romping with daddy is natural. If I crouch down on creaking 63-year-old knees to help a kid with a puzzle, it is not unusual to immediately feel two or three kids climbing on my back. I feel like a quarterback in a blitz, and Freud would likely be cross-eyed about the physical contact involved. But, because I am hale and hearty for my age, I arise undamaged by the attention, and the children think I am a NFL star.

Over the years I’ve developed a way of entertaining children’s hero-worship, while deflating it with a dose of reality. For example, I may say that Tolkien stated certain trees are “Ents,” and that a maple over there used to stand over here, and that, if they don’t believe me, they should ask their Dad. Then the child returns to tell me, “My Dad says there is no such thing as walking trees!” I figures this teaches them to double check their teachers, and also to go to their fathers for advice.

By the time a child goes to kindergarten at age five they have learned to laugh at some of my tall tales. For example, I tell them, “Me and George Washington used to chop down cherry trees together, and, back when we went to school, school buses hadn’t been invented, and me and George had to ride to school on the back of a yellow dinosaur.” I always add that, if they don’t believe me, they should ask their Mom and Dad. I figure that, if nothing else, parents get a laugh.

It was in this spirit that my most recent tall tale involved Belichick using me, as number 99, on his kick-off team, in the upcoming Superbowl. I told the kids to look for the old 63-year-old guy with the gray beard sticking out from his helmet, running down the field. For some reason not a child doubted this was possible. After all, it is their experience that they can’t tackle me, so how could they know I’d be less in a Superbowl?

I waited expectantly for a laughing parent to tell me his child had asked if I was going to be in the Superbowl, but life got hectic, and it never happened.

After the Superbowl the parents were arriving late, so utterly drained by the unbelievable game they we in no condition to drive, let alone go to work, so I did not bring up the subject of whether or not I played in the Superbowl. But, with the kids, I asked, “So, did you see me?”

I let on that it “might” have been in the third quarter that the genius of Belichick had me out there on the field, gray beard sticking out from my helmet, as a “trick play”, and that I was so upsetting to the Atlanta Falcons that they couldn’t score again, adding, “If you don’t believe me, ask your father.”

I’m still awaiting feedback, with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. My aim is to make the parents enjoy a good laugh.

On a more serious note, I’d like to remind people that, as incredible and superb as the athletes in the Superbowl are, (and they are superb beyond belief), they are but adults playing a child’s game. The adult game adults play is far more serious, and the players deserve far more appreciation. And if you do not believe me, ask the “Father” who is not your physical father, but the One called the “Truth”.



Darth Belichick

I was so completely disgusted by the nonsense being spouted by the reporters on sports radio regarding the inflation of footballs that I vowed to listen to no sports radio until the Superbowl. However the ridiculous hubbub can’t be escaped so easily. Even when I tried to escape into the world of weather maps, I discovered both of my favorite meteorologists, Joe Bastardi and Joseph D’Aleo, had posted on the topic of “inflategate”.

Interestingly, they both brought up, in a far more scientific manner than I am capable of, what I brought up in my post:  https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/meteorological-explanation-belichick-deflation-psychological-explanation-reporters-inflation/

I simply stated that I’d noticed that the balls on my Childcare playground lost pressure when they got cold, and regained it when the were warmed again. No one was removing air or adding air. I stated reporters ought do a bit of research, rather than leaping to conclusions.

Joseph D’Aleo did far better, by quoting someone from:


Science teacher here. Given the conditions of the game, a ball which meets specifications in the locker room could easily lose enough pressure to be considered under-inflated. Some math:

  • Guy-Lussac’s Law describes the relationship between the pressure of a confined ideal gas and its temperature. For the sake of argument, we will assume that the football is a rigid enough container (unless a ball is massively deflated, it’s volume won’t change). The relationship is (P1/T1) = (P2/T2), where P is the pressure and T is the temperature in Kelvins.
  • The balls are inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 psi at a temperature of 70 degrees Farenheit (294.1 K). Let’s assume an average ball has a gauge pressure of 13 psi. This makes the absolute pressure of the ball 27.7 psi (gauge + atmosphere). Since these are initial values, we will call them P1 and T1.
  • The game time temperature was 49 degrees F (278 K). We are attempting to solve for the new pressure at this temperature, P2. We plug everything into the equation and get (27.7/294.1) = (P2/278). At the game time temperature, the balls would have an absolute pressure of 26.2 psi and a gauge pressure of 11.5, below league specifications.

*Furthermore, given that it was raining all day, the air in the stadium was saturated with water vapor. At 70 degrees, water has a vapor pressure of 0.38 psi. The total pressure of the ball is equal to the pressure of the air inside the ball and the vaporized water in the ball. At 49 degrees, the vapor pressure of water is 0.13 psi. Up to 0.25 additional psi can be lost if the balls were inflated by either the team or the refs prior to the game. Granted, it’s unlikely that anyone would inflate balls from 0, but it easily could cost another couple hundredths of a psi in pressure.

  • For a ball that barely meets specifications (12.5 psi gauge), it’s pressure would drop to 11.1 psi during the game… enough to be considered massively underinflated. 

(The discussion proceeds from there, and makes for some interesting reading. However most sports reporters didn’t even consider this possibility. They leaped to the conclusion air had to have been removed from the ball.)

The stupidity of the reporters is emphasized by their conclusion that the balls were weighed, rather than the air pressure measured. Some actually thought a football weighed 12.5 pounds, but Tom Brady was throwing balls that only weighed 10.5 pounds, (when in all likelihood the balls he threw were rain-drenched and made heavier, though not pounds heavier)

How could reporters be so stupid? It takes no brains to hoist a ten pound weight in a weight room, and know it weighs more than a football. (I assume sports reporters spend some time in weight rooms, even if they themselves don’t exercise.) It seems even the logic of personal experience went into abeyance.

Another thing I’ve seen through personal experience involves water condensing inside a ball. I notice this at my Childcare when we blow up balloons. The water vapor in breath, (which you notice making puffs of steam on winter mornings when you breathe out), can form drops on the inside of the balloon on cool days. I imagine air made steamy from hot showers in a locker room might do the same thing, inside a football, as a football cooled. This would cause another drop in pressure, (and is what clamps the lids of canning jars down, if you happen to be a person who cans vegetables, but I don’t suppose sports reporters do that.)

In any case, there are plenty of things that can cause a football’s pressure to drop, without anyone releasing any air.  The question then becomes, “Was this done intentionally?”

Another question might be, “Even if it was done intentionally, is it illegal?”  After all, if the balls pass muster, they have passed muster, haven’t they? Until the rules are written to specifically ban balls that lose pressure as they cool, one could conceivably fill a ball with hot steam, so they were at 12.5 psi when passing muster, but flat as a pancake when they reached the field, and they still would be legal.

I wish Belichick or Brady had said that. Oh, the howling that would have ensued!  People dislike the fact that, when people strive for excellence, they test the rules as they test the limits. However I think it goes further. People, especially underachievers, just plain dislike overachievers.

For example, in the hysteria about the inflation or deflation of footballs, everyone assumes it helped Brady throw better. The actual data shows he threw worse with the under-inflated balls, including an interception. Therefore, if one is going to leap to the conclusion conspiracy was involved, why not leap to the conclusion someone was attempting to sabotage Brady’s ability to throw? Why not imagine some sinister gambler bribing the ball boy to fill the balls with hot, moist air?

Why not? Because it doesn’t fulfill the childish need some have to belittle excellence:


Cheaties 48971be54e96c1119e28f275122c9f4c_belichick_cheaties As I have watched this “deflategate” stupidity play out, I can’t help but think I am actually watching a bunch of bad losers. I’ve tried to watch it from afar, but it seems to be wherever I turn. People seem to have grown up in a cushy America where everyone gets trophies at award ceremonies, so no ones feelings will be hurt, and therefore people have developed no resistance to loss, and have no resiliency, and simply can’t stand it, and must savage those who win.

If you can’t stand loss then you can’t stand life. Life is full of loss. This is especially obvious as you get older, and dear friends pass away. However that does not diminish the beauty of the gift life is, nor erase the real reason for living.

What is the real reason for living? Well, I am not going to launch into that sermon, tonight. However I will say that both Belichick and Brady know all about losing. Hasn’t anyone noticed they have gone a while without winning a Superbowl? It hasn’t stopped them from pressing on, or seeking to excel. Nor have I heard them screech at the people who have beat them, “You cheated!”

Losing is a part of the game, and if you can’t take it you shouldn’t get involved. This is something I teach the children at my Childcare. When we eat a carrot I make sure they know a carrot lost its life, and when we roast pork over the fire I make sure they remember the pig. However the clearest example of losing I can give them involves the game of checkers.

Though my Childcare emphasizes the outdoors, sometimes the weather is so awful we stay in, and sometimes I teach the little ones to play the game of checkers. Usually I teach them to play each other, but quite often they want to play me. If I can’t avoid it, I play them, and beat them.

Admittedly a shred of egotism may be involved in the fact I remain undefeated, when it comes to playing checkers with children under age seven, (through there have been some mighty close calls), for I am seldom a winner in other areas of my life. However my aim is to counter the belief that children should always be encouraged by sheltering them from the fact life involves loss.

Loss hurts, but so does skinning your knee. I don’t think childhood should be bubble-wrapped, and think skinned knees are part of a healthy childhood. As is the pain of losing.

Sometimes, as I inform a child I have just beaten them at checkers, they turn their innocent face up to mine, and it winces with the pain of loss, and twists to rage, and they yell at me, “You Cheated!”

What do I then tell them?

Oh for goodness sake! You are not a five-year-old! If you don’t know the answer to that, you need to stop and do some thinking.

That is what I think a lot of Americans need to now do. Too little of “escapegate” involves rational thought, and too much involves the mentality of a witch hunt. It likely should be renamed “hategate.”

People need to take a hard look in the mirror, and understand where this sort of hysteria leads. It led to six million Jews dead. It led to Jesus crucified.

Not that Brady and Belichick are saints, but I have noticed something. It is not the people who have struggled through many losses to excel at something who are screeching Brady and Belichick should be punished. Rather it is the losers.

Losers need to know it is OK to lose, and also that the escape is to admire and emulate the winners. It does not make a loser better to attack those who are better.

Meteorological Explanation–Belichick Deflation—Psychological Explanation—Reporter’s Inflation

Belichick MTE5NDg0MDU1MzM2MDI3NjYz

Every fall, on the mornings when when the weather first gets cold, the inflated balls children play with at our Farm-childcare sag and become downright flabby.  It is particularly noticeable in September, when the weather can be quite variable in New England, and the balls can be flabby in the crisp, frosty coolness of a 32° morning, and tight and bouncy in the heat of an 80° afternoon.

Therefore, when I first heard of all the fuss and bother about “Belichick”s Balls,” the very first thing that sprang into my mind was that the balls were inflated in a over-heated weight room, where the temperature was 78°, and then brought out into a windy and rainy night where the temperature was down near 40°.

Not only would the footballs be cooled by the temperature, but a sort of “wet-bulb” temperature, (lower than the actual temperature), would be reached by the fact the footballs were wet, and in the wind, and, due to the fact available heat becomes latent heat when evaporation occurs on a wet surface, (whether it be your skin after a swim, or a football on a rainy night,) further cooling would cause the air to “shrink”, or contract. No “deflation” is involved in such science. No air enters or leaves the balls.

In conclusion, if the balls were at the low end of the legal limit, when they were indoors at 78°. they would become “illegal” when moved outside, where it is over thirty degrees colder.

This seems a logical thing to consider, if one is a bumpkin farmer, or if one has a sixth grade science education.

The fact not a single sports reporter has brought this up reveals far more about the IQ of sports reporters than it does about the morality of a successful football coach like Belichick.

Using simple science, we can infer sports reporters are more stupid than bumpkin farmers, and lack a sixth grade science education. If any inflation is involved, it does not involve footballs, but rather the egos of reporters.

I challenge all reporters to defend their gross failure to investigate subjects properly, before reporting. In all honesty, they display the mentality of Junior High school schoolgirls who care more about who they are seen with, than whether that person has a shred of morality, credibility, or decency. Just as a thirteen-year-old girl lacks the life-experience to know that to be seen walking with some guy who has status, some “Quarterback” or some “A-student” or some “Star-of-the-drama-club” or some “whatever-has-status-this-week” means very little, reporters sell their souls for what means very little.

This is the only explanation I can come up with for the fact reporters completely ignore issues that matter, and instead focus on making mountains out of molehills.

The science of “Global Warming” is one of the greatest hoaxes in the history of mankind, involving high officials in governments all over the world, but will reporters investigate it?  No, instead they make mountains out of molehills, screaming like old ladies screaming at a mouse, when a quite ordinary big snowstorm occurs.

I challenge reporters to defend themselves. Are you mice or men? Why are you inflating small things all out of proportion, while ignoring the big things? Are you not “straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel,” and “pointing at the mote in another’s eye while ignoring the plank in your own”?

To return to the subject of football, I am disgusted by the failure of sports reporters to even mention, as a possible excuse, the expansion and contraction of gas in a ball relative to temperature. A true investigative reporter would do an experiment with a football, measuring the pressure indoors at 78° and outdoors at 42°. Only a fool cares more about fostering doubt and rabble rousing, inflating things to sell papers.

If reporters cannot answer this simple challenge I can only assume they are not real men with real wives, but are the sort of quasi-man who sleeps with an inflated doll.

 (PS: What am I going to do? I simply will refuse to listen to sports reporters, in the two weeks between now and the Superbowl. They produce a pound of hype for each crumb of decent analysis, and why should I waste my time on fools who are focused on making discord? Instead I’ll listen to Beethoven, and listen to a man who was focused on making harmony.) (A deaf man could hear more Truth than a reporter with 20-20 vision can see.)

(Note: Despite my resolve to avoid this topic, I was sucked into further discussion of the science behind what can change the pressure in footballs at:  https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/brady-and-belichick-a-genuine-witch-hunt/ )