Where Are the Other Combines?

Today I am very happy and impressed to report that those “other combines” that my article title is searching for, are in fact, very real and out there.  But before I dive into things let me set the backdrop.

Yesterday evening I was enjoying a wonderful BBQ chicken sandwich and freshly poured IPA  at a local Seattle brew pub (The emerald city has many, and I encourage everyone to come visit, we’ll make the rounds) when I looked up to see the below commercial finishing up and the screen cut to groups of grown men in alarmingly tight, very skimpy clothing, flying around the field of an empty stadium and realized we were in the middle of the annual NFL combine.

 

I made a few  encouraging comments about the combine to my girlfriend, who was so graciously joining me for the meal, and nearly had to ask our waiter to be seated at a completely different table when she responded that she had no idea what I was talking about.  I’ll leave the judgement of whether or not this is should be considered a heinous crime up to you, but you’ll be happy to know that I stuck it out and explained the combine and what it accomplishes, or tries to accomplish in the world of football.

After that conversation the idea that someone would be completely unaware of the combine stuck with me and took my down a path of philosophical reasoning about how people are aware or unaware of certain subject or happens, what makes a subject common knowledge etc. etc..  I will spare you the details of that journey and lead you to my last thoughts of  “Why aren’t there combines for younger football players, and why shouldn’t they be just as big of a deal as the NFL combine?”  I mean wouldn’t college coaches love to get in on that action?

I am here to report that after a little research and much to my joy, that there are  indeed football combines for groups of ages.  Check out the below video for a sneak peek of the high school age group (I’ll also remark that the song choice for the first video is top notch.)

The below is the combine for the younger age group ( a bit lengthy)

While these combines do not get nearly the limelight nor have as high a relevancy as the NFL combine (this likely relates to a numbers game, too many players to analyze, not enough time/money in youth sports-a subject I’ll cover in a future blog post) I really must give a huge shout out to Under Armour and other groups and organizations that help to put these things on.  While it is not as great a spectacle nor as defining for the young athletes’ careers, I am of the opinion that giving youth any opportunity to compete and showcase their hard work and abilities is a wonderful thing.  The more opportunities youth have for involvement and exposure to sports the better.

There is, however, another side to this.  Some might argue that these types of things, introduced too early, breed unhealthy exercise habits and health concerns.  Also, that maybe these things start youth down a path of too much obsession and focus on athletics, which could be better spent elsewhere.

So, I’ll call on you readers:  What are your thoughts on all this, the combine, the youth combines, startin’ ’em early?  Let’s hear it

 

Robert Melick

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Bracket Buster Already? Most Certainly

Hello sports fans, a quick intro before I get into the real post.  This is the sports section of The Weekly Snooze.  If you have the wrong classroom please exit quickly – try not to make eye contact with anyone to avoid awkward conversations with the cutie in the first row at the next frat party – consult your schedule, and head back to our home page and click the category you meant to land in.

I plan to take this sports section in loads of different directions and will be exploring and commenting on whatever is current and on my mind.  In hopes of keeping it fresh I’ll be going after all sorts of topics and questions in the wide world of sports and believe me, in my opinion it’s a wide one so brace yourself, and get involved.  This will be much more interesting if you readers give feed back and suggestions.  Pound out those comments or send an email to weeklysnooze@gmail.com and throw my name in the Subect line.  Now, let the games begin!

English: National Collegiate Athletic Associat...

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NCAA basketball is heating up and we’re inching closer and closer to that fabled and time honored week in March when sane men and women turn to animals, incapable of functioning and can only be found perched in front of the nearest television clutching worn-through print outs and muttering phrases like “Cinderella…,” “Upset…,”and  “14 over a 3…..14 over a 3“.

If you’re looking to get the edge in the office/dorm/random Facebook pool this year then now is the time to strike!  The games over the next few weeks will define the attitude and style teams take into the big dance.   Watching games now is going to give you a huge edge come pick time.  Don’t be the guy or gal that waits until the field is set and in a last second panic hastily fills in some numbers, an upset or two and calls it done.  There is a better way.  Here is my strategy until we find ourselves in that fabulous second week of March.

Skip the big names vs. big names, those will be easy to pick come bracket time.  My suggestion is to start watching conference play and focus on the two or three teams in each conference that seem to be falling in the middle of the pack.  Take a look at game summaries and see who, while they may not be winning, is putting up a fight .  End of season conference play is when a team truly defines itself.  Teams play hardest within their conference and team dynamics are much more visible.  These games are perfect mini peep shows of what a team can really do.

I look for consistent team play, shared point and rebound stats across the team, serious value from the bench, and most importantly leadership.  When it comes to the NCAA tourney, upsets and close games are the norm and it’s in these situations that teams that have the best chemistry with one or two very strong leaders can easily out perform much more talent-blessed squads.  Find great flow on offense (hint: this means very few isolation plays and hardly any standing around), a true leader, and that rebound as a team with everyone crashing the boards.  Combine this with quality defense from the bench players and you’ve got your Cinderellas down pat.  Keep track of who does this well as the weeks go on and that 8 vs. 9 pick might just be a breeze.

So who am I looking at?  If i told you that much I’d have to kill you, or at least un-friend on Facebook and any related march madness integrated social media platforms, not speaking with you until the pools are locked.  But I will leave you with this:  Take a peek at a little group of Royal Purple Wildcats over in the sunflower state and find teams that are doing what they’re doing.

The Age of Technology: How It Is Hurting our Economy and our Well Being

It is impossible to get around the fact that technology is changing almost everything about the way we live our lives.  Improved technology has allowed us to increase productivity in the workplace in many ways: communication is made easier with emails and video-conferences, etc., and many mechanical operations have seen increased productivity due to automation.  Technology in the public realm has also led to ease of communication, making the world seem smaller with social media, cell phones (texting and now even face to face interaction) and email.

It’s incredibly ironic (due to the blogged nature of this message), therefore, that I posit that technology is currently killing our economy and is generally harming our well-being.  You’ve undoubtedly heard at least one half of this position before: there are so many simple things that generations before us have dealt with that we would have no idea how to do anymore, which is certainly a small part of my point.

Many of us would have no idea how to start a garden, can foods, build a small structure or perform general maintenance on our cars.  Many out there would contend that we are better off for not having to worry about these things: such simple tasks are now either automated so we have less to worry about, or there is someone who we can get to do these things for us.

And that argument would not be incorrect.  If we need food, we can get it at the store; if we need something built we can have it done for us; if we need our oil changed, we go to the mechanic.  Things do seem easier.

Point taken.  But are we really at all better off for having these luxuries.  I think not.  Since the technology age has really taken off, we have simultaneously seen a steady decline in jobs, and I’m not sure that the two are at all unrelated.  Sure, the technology sector has created plenty of jobs over the years, but many of the things produced that serve to “make things easier” for us have almost obviously resulted in a net loss in jobs.

Take grocery stores for example.  Where before you would have to be checked out by a person, many stores now have completely automated cashier stations.  This is just one job out of millions that are being replaced by machines.  We can see the same effect on the auto industry.  From the 1970s to today, the number of people employed in manufacturing jobs fell from 17.5 million to 11.5 million, while at the same time, manufacturing value rose almost 300% due to increased productivity.

When fewer people are making more money, as in the example provided above, not only do the rich get richer, but more and more people are put out of work and are not prepared to enter into a tech centered economy.  With the seemingly endless ballooning of education costs, it is going to be very near impossible to train the next generation of people to be able to have the style of jobs that will be available.

As I mentioned, I also believe that the rise of technology for personal use is resulting in the decline of our physical and mental health.  Now I don’t want you to think that I am some sort of hermit living off of the land in the middle of the woods (not yet anyways): I, too, have an iphone, a laptop, fast internet, cable television…the works.

I believe, however, that we are reaching the proverbial tipping point, where we rely too heavily on technology.  When I see someone reaching for his or her phone to calculate a relatively simple addition problem, or watch someone walk into the middle of the street or a telephone pole because they’re busy on their phone, part of me dies.  I also understand that social media allows us to connect with so many more people than we otherwise would have, but I sometimes wonder about the efficiency that technology is supposed to be creating in the workplace when I see people cruising facebook, twitter and youtube for half of their day.

I do believe that there can be a healthy level of technology in the workplace and in our personal lives.  The difficult part is going to be figuring out where that delicate balance lies.  In the meantime, I will continue hoping that the movie Wall-E stays a humorous and pessimistic vision of the future, but a small part of me fears that it is becoming more and more poignant while each new piece of technology is introduced to make life a little easier.

– John Officer

Welcome to The Weekly Snooze!

Friends, webians, bloggersmen(and women) gather round,

Welcome to…..dum da da dum….The Weekly Snooze.  Some of you are joining us for the first time, others have come from the4815er.  We are very excited to have you with us on our epic adventure to bring humor, insight and a new look to the world of news and opinions, and well…pretty much everything.

We have decided to begin this process as soon as possible; for those with a voice must never be silenced!  However, that being said, the site is still taking it’s very first baby steps-almost ready to start opening all the cupboards and chucking pots and pans with reckless abandon.  Due to our infantile stage things will be changing often (hopefully for the better and spiffier) until we find our groove. So please, bear with us as we build and grow.

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