What if the NFL Draft was More Like Grade School Kickball

I get it. I played high school football in Penna. And in western PA, to add emphasis. The NFL draft is a chance for teams to reload -- pick the best player on your board, regardless of need. Owners need a return on their investment. And fans want to watch winning teams. But at what cost? Don't we want the wins to occur the right way? Aren't we using some of these games to teach our kids how to play the game?

In my new version of the NFL draft (I haven't really thought it out and I'm not sure what the new rules should be, how to implement them, or if they would materially affect the games), some of the marginal players with "character issues" would be ineligible to participate. Much like in 1st grade when the bad kids got detention and the really bad kids got kicked out, regardless of their kickball ability, the real "bad" college football guys would simply be removed from draft eligibility. Sometimes, your first offence eliminates your opportunity for a second chance. And a slide from the first round to the fifth round isn't the same as detention (obviously a hit to the pocketbook isn't enough of a deterrent) so other "lesser" players would rise in the rankings.

Would it be so bad for the game to get more hardworkers who happen to think of others? In 1st grade, we also wanted the best kids to be on our team, but they couldnt be inside cleaning blackboards or clapping erasers because of "character issues" and they couldnt be jerks either. Do you remember those days? It was pretty fun, wasnt it?

Speak with you soon. DC


Home Run Physics

Lately I've been focused on transferring an important piece of knowledge to a group of 6 year olds: how to hit a baseball. Finding the sweet spot. To those who don't know what I'm talking about, there are few greater joys in baseball than seeing a boy (or girl) hit their first ball without the use of a tee; to those of you who know, enough said.

One of the wonderful things about Florida is 12 months of baseball. I could do this every day. And while Alan Nathan continues to inspire me (even though he's a Princeton guy AND a RedSox fan) with his practical application of research to America's pastime, the simple fact that a 6 year old CAN hit a 25 mph baseball pitch is nothing short of amazing. Yeah, it's all physics, I know. But it is so fun to watch some of these kids hit the fence (ie, good bat speed, optimal takeoff angle, and maximum backspin, right Dr. Nathan?). And being a witness to this marvel of children, many times I've found myself a million miles away from performance reviews, goal tracking, marketing, shipping deadlines, and the daily drudgery of the office, which is not a bad thing. It helps to not only keep me sane, but also stay grounded.

Speaking of fielding grounders, uh, that's a bit more difficult of a task for these 6 year olds! What keeps you grounded? And when was the last time you hit a baseball?

Speak with you soon. DC


Just Try to Hit 50% of Your Free Throws

I'm not even really a basketball fan (probably has a lot to do with my very limited vertical reach) but its a shame to end a terrific season by failing to make a 15-foot shot that they learned when they were 8. I congratulate Memphis and Kansas for making it all the way to the end. But as with so many things in life, the importance of teaching (and learning) the fundamentals cannot be overemphasized.

Speak with you soon. DC