Friday, January 4, 2019

5 Things on a Friday: Trying to Move On

Back to work this week.  It hasn’t been an easy transition, and yet here we are.
I hope you all enjoyed your time off.  I know I did.  I already miss skiing.

When asked about Odell Beckham Jr.’s future with the team, Gettleman laughed aloud and quipped, “We didn’t sign him to trade him,” before frostily shutting down a clarifying follow-up. Obviously the nature of their respective positions make the circumstances meaningfully different—the Giants can tinker with Beckham’s role without trading him or gluing him to the bench, whereas there can be only one starting quarterback—but where the suggestion of moving on from Beckham is apparently laughable, it’s both appropriate and telling that Manning’s future is subject to sober film study, and is discussed using phrases like “brutal honesty” and “tough decisions.”
Sad but probably necessary.  Granted, the offensive line didn’t do a lot to help Manning out, especially early in the year, but still…  
He was not good.  At all.  And a few decent performances in selected spots are not what this team needed.
34. Armed Forces -- Army 70, Houston 14: Major Applewhite was already on thin ice going into this game, and watching his team get utterly wrecked by a service academy -- even one as good as this Army team is -- while showing absolutely no interest in being there gave you the feeling it would cost him his job. The only surprise was how long Houston waited to announce it afterward.
I loved the game, but it’s a fair point.
For decades, Army recruiting has relied disproportionately on a crescent-shaped swath of the country stretching from Virginia through the South to Texas, where many military bases are found and many families have traditions of service. Young people there enlist at two to three times the rate of other regions.
By contrast, in the big metropolitan areas of the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast, young people are less likely to have a parent, teacher or coach who served in the military, which can be a major factor in deciding to enlist. And in those regions, many high schools openly discourage recruiters from interacting with students…
“Whenever that happens, the Army faces recruiting challenges,” said David R. Segal, a sociologist who advises the military on recruiting. “But they have always doubled down on areas where they know they can get results. This is a 180-degree turn.”
I personally could not be more in favor of this change.  Living in Coastal Connecticut, you barely ever meet veterans, but ironically, many of the most successful people I know are amongst their number.  Maybe not successful in the “Fairfield County Hedge Fund” sense, but definitely in the “I have a wife, a job, a house, and some peace of mind in my day-to-day life” sense.  Is it a secret that most of those hedge fund types are miserable bastards?
You meet so many dudes in this area who just don’t seem to have the first clue what a man is supposed to be.  I mean, I get that correlation is not causation, but man, that correlation is real.
But the cultural stigma is real, too.  I have a friend whose son was super-interested in the Army, and she flat panicked when I started talking to him about service in a realistic way.  I mentioned High School-to-Flight School, for example, and she actually got angry.  And her husband was a veteran!  Fast-forward a few years, and I think they’ve all sort of made their peace with whatever their son’s decision turns out to be, but still…  I’m constantly surprised by how the kids around here never seem to think about enlisting, even when they transparently have nothing else going on.  The kid across the street would rather work at Dunkin’ Donuts for $10/hour.  It’s honestly sad.
Tyler Huckabee, an editor at Relevant magazine, pointed out that Falwell’s willingness to cleave the personal and the political puts him at odds with his own institution. Liberty University, founded by Falwell’s televangelist father, has a mission statement that promotes “a commitment to the Christian life, one of personal integrity, sensitivity to the needs of others, social responsibility and active communication of the Christian faith…”
At one point, reporter Joe Heim asked Falwell whether there is anything Trump could do that would endanger his support from Falwell and other evangelical leaders. He answered, simply, “No…”  There’s something… sad about seeing this kind of idolatry articulated so clearly. In a kind of backhanded insult to his supporters, Trump himself once said that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” without losing his base. It’s rare to see a prominent supporter essentially admit that this was true.
This article points out the main reason I don’t talk much politics anymore.  There’s just no point to it.
5. Playoffs?  PLAYOFFS?!

The weirdest thing about this season has been the way that most of the teams reverted to the mean over the course of the season.  The good teams faded, and a lot of mediocre teams found a bit of life late.  For instance, I wouldn’t have said that the Titans were a good team, but even they had a real shot at the playoffs with a final win over Indianapolis.  It’s not the coaching staff’s fault that QB Marcus Mariota got hurt in the weeks leading up to the game.
If I had to guess right now, I’d say Rams at Saints is your NFC Championship Game while the AFC Championship gives you Ravens at Chiefs.
You’re surprised I picked the Ravens, right?  But the whole League is going lighter and faster while the Ravens have gone to a run-heavy option-based set, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they are killing with it.  The Rams and Saints are also both terrific running teams, which proves that the running game is not dead, even in the NFL.  Really, it never left despite the League’s best efforts and all the passing highlights.
* * *
That’s all I’ve got.  Enjoy the weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment