A Potpourri of Thoughts

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* A few Sundays ago, the Baltimore Ravens played a late afternoon game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers took the field wearing retro 1934 jerseys with alternating horizontal yellow and black stripes. Upon first glance after turning the channel to the game I thought I was seeing a real live prison break.

*As some of you may remember, this writer has a special interest in making football safer for our youth and professionals. The first column I wrote on this was in Newsmax.com in 2006, as seen here.

The column lay relatively dormant until rediscovered in 2011 by a Canadian reporter who took it to the national player’s meeting. Subsequent uproar led to changes in the Canadian rules. Likewise the NFL has done an excellent job over the past few years of adjusting the rules for safety. Although initially of concern to some players, sports writers and fans, the new rules soon gained acceptance. This was due, in part, to someone pointing out that all forces (hits) are met with equal forces. Therefore the defensive players have their bodies at risk as well.

There are a few more changes I would like to see. The first you may agree with, while  the second you are more likely to disagree.

**The NFL should go to the college system of review where the refs upstairs watch all plays and review calls that are questionable. The college method has resulted in a smooth efficient system with few officiating errors and minimal loss of time. This would eliminate the pro coaches having to guess which plays they want officially reviewed, as the number of challenges is limited. There would be no more throwing of those silly little red flags that set off a more time-consuming review.

** In college and high school football, the runner is “down” at any time his knee touches the ground. In the NFL, the runner must also be touched while down. The latter is a good rule except when the untouched ball carrier tries to get up and run. The human body is extremely vulnerable to injury while trying to stand–particularly while being hit by a gang of tacklers. Down means “down” is a safer rule.

*We are bombarded daily by disaster scenarios in movies, novels, magazines, and newspapers. America gets threatened from and by the sky, sea, air, nuclear bombs, chemicals, bio-warfare, dirty bombs, hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, avalanches, volcanoes, earthquakes, blizzards, black ice, draughts, electrical outages, fires, floods, and secret new weapons. Until now we could always rely on some hero to figure out what was happening, how to solve the disaster and save us all in the last second.  All it took was a few changes from the novelist or screenwriter’s pen or typewriter. Perhaps a flip of the page or altering the camera’s eye or angle would save us. America, being the good guys, would somehow always win in the end. The events of the past few years show that we do not always win or overcome the tremendous power of nature or our enemies. Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy were far more destructive than we had ever imagined. We need to prepare for and anticipate the coming disasters. It is, as they say, no longer if but when? Hollywood loves war and disaster stories as long as they are paid well but not harmed. Now we see and experience real harm!

*From time to time I end this column with a funny quote from one of my grandchildren. Mimi and I have maintained excellent relationships with our son’s and daughter’s in-laws. We talk with them long distance every week. We usually coordinate plans so that only one set of grandparents visits at any one time. This keeps things from becoming overwhelming for the grandkids and us.

Recently my son’s in laws from the East Coast visited the grandkids, Alexandra and the twins, in northern California.

At bedtime Alex asked her grandmother to read them a story. Alex selected a book and showed the beautiful fold out pictures to her grandmother. Said Alex, “Grandma Mimi and Grandpa Mike gave us this book. Do you know them?”

Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., Newport Beach, is an ornery curmudgeon who writes extensively about medical and legal issues. He is also an avid baseball and football fan.

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