Friday, November 3, 2017

5 Things on a Friday: What Is Clutch?

That’s the age-old question, right?
Let’s get it on!

"Hillary is a Satan, and her crimes and lies had proved just how evil she is," the post read. It added that Republican candidate Donald Trump was "an honest man" who "cares deeply for this country."
NY Times published a bunch of these ads yesterday, many of which I remember seeing.  That includes this one, a classic of the genre.

I realize that nobody cares and that nothing matters anymore, but these are still probably worth checking out.
2. The War on Apathy (Slate)
Whatever you think of John Kelly’s remarks, the divide between civilians and the increasingly small number of service members and veterans in the United States is real—and 40 years after the end of mandatory conscription, it’s never been wider. Because of this divide, most Americans have the luxury of ignoring the wars their country is waging on a day-to-day basis around the world, and Congress is under little pressure to rein them in…
So, how do we fix it? Given the nature of the debate, in order to engage the public in the outcome, an annual reauthorization of military should be tied to the revival of conscription. In other words, as a legislative forcing function, the law would require congress to pass a new AUMF every year for every military conflict in which the United States is engaged, or the draft would be reinstated. This would create a feedback loop tying public sentiment to congressional oversight of the use of military force.
That and a War Tax.  Or else the upper middle class and above will again claim college deferments and/or “bone spurs” like they did during Vietnam, and we’ll be right back where we started.  But a tax on high earners and conscription will hit the entire body politic.  People will HATE that.
Which is kind of the point.
We’re working with Lionsgate, and we’ve had a wonderful experience with them so far. Everyone’s really responsive to making sure he feels like we’re going in the right direction. And I look to him for that. That’s really my only job. At some point, I’ll hopefully get to write the music for the thing, which is exciting for me. And when it was announced it was sort of like, no pressure! But these are described as the greatest songs ever written, and every reader has imagined their version of Kvothe playing the lute until his fingers break all the strings. Or when he’s playing so beautifully at the Eolian that everyone in the room is weeping. It’s a daunting task to actually put notes to that, but one of the things that drew me to those books is how beautifully Pat writes about music and the way it speaks to us and the way it feeds us in the absence of actual nourishment. That was what grabbed me most powerfully about his stories, and so I’m terrified to help make that happen — but that’s what you’re supposed to run towards. Run towards the things that terrify you. So I’m excited to try to make that music a reality whenever these things make their way to a screen, big or small.
This is such a fascinating project.  I keep thinking that it ought to be impossible, but…  The Return of the King actually won Best Picture a decade ago, so I suppose that’s just not true.  
These books, The Kingkiller Chronicles, really are that good, by the way.
4. Friday Hair Metal: November Rain

Houston found their way into a bit of luck on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars trailed 17th ranked 24-21 with 1:46 to play. The Cougars spent the second half matching Bull’s scores, unable to take the lead. Now they’ve got under two minutes to either extend the game with a field goal or win it with a touchdown.
Although I disagreed with the authors at Forgotten 5 this week about the existence of “luck” -- what he’s calling “persistent luck” is, to me, the result of careful preparation and good play in the clutch -- I still really like this particular series from their site.  
They did Army’s drive against Temple last week.  That one was really good, too.
That said, I still think that being “clutch” is a thing, and that we can (at least attempt to) measure how players or teams perform in sports’ most important moments.  If you’ve ever seen Eli Manning in the playoffs or Derek Jeter at the end of an important game, I don’t see how you can question this.  Likewise, in swimming some guys win close races by infinitesimal margins over and over again.  Am I to believe that’s luck?  Look at Michael Phelps.  The guy is an absolute master of the close finish, as he showed repeatedly in Beijing.  He literally never loses in a touch-out.
Random chance would suggest that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose when the race is that close.  There are a thousand things that can change those outcomes.  But the reality is that some guys pull it out 85% to 90% of the time in the clutch, and the rest of us are mortal.
That’s been my experience, anyway.

* * *
Bonus Points:

Army's Jeff Monken has built Black Knights into a winner (USA Today)
H/T to my classmate Dante for pointing this out.
With a no-nonsense demeanor and a steely resolve, Monken has transformed Army into a winner, something the academy had desperately sought for the better part of two decades. The Black Knights, with their ground-gobbling triple option offense, are 6-2, the only losses coming on the road against Ohio State (38-7) and Tulane (21-17), and the school is the first in America to accept a bowl bid. Army has a tie-in with the Armed Forces Bowl and accepted its bid after beating Temple in overtime last month.

And also:
Nutile's 4 TDs lead Temple past slumping Navy 34-26 (ESPN)
"We don't have any excuses," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "We were rested. We had a lot of guys back. They beat the crap out of us."

Finally, in case you missed it:
Army Football Preview: at Air Force (Casa Cabeza)
After a week of rest and preparation, the Army Team heads to Colorado Springs to take on a suddenly hot Air Force squad that would very much like to put itself back into the race for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy while simultaneously taking an important step towards bowl eligibility.  The Black Knights have seen a bunch of good defenses this year, but the Falcons own by far the toughest offense they’ll have faced.  It will be interesting to see how the team responds.

That’s all I’ve got.  Enjoy the weekend.
Go Army!  Beat Air Force!!!

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