Inspiring Interview with Coach K

I’m no fan of Duke Basketball, but I pulled over before entering the garage to listen to Mike Francesa’s discussion with Coach Mike Krysweski (sp?) about the 2008 USA Olymic Basketball run.   I found it fascinating and came away with even more respect for Coach K.  He loves his craft, could not be more modest, and speaks with so much emotion.  Check it out.  It’s better than anything you will watch on TV tonight.

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Let’s Power the Bike Movement

Among my many new interests is the nascent bike movement captured by blogs like the slow bicycle movement and arthurmag.

The Obama administration intends to tackle several core issues during the next four years.  By now we know, it’s energy, education, and healthcare with the economy weaving it all together.  Many of the solutions being considered require a PHD in Policy Wonkology.  I wonder if our community should consider something simpler — biking to work.

I know that commuter cycling is impossible for many Americans who face long commutes, multiple morning stops, or live where they would be forced to bike on dangerous roads.  Sometimes the weather makes it difficult, if not impossible to bike.  Sometimes people have to wear certain clothes that make cycling unrealistic.

But what about everybody else?  There are millions of Americans who live in cities with short commutes and never ride.  They have reasonable excuses:  no room at the office to lock bike, scared to ride in traffic, no shower after tough commute. We can overcome these challenges.  You can ride a lame bike and lock it up outside with a chain, bike on city-designated lanes, and go slow enough so that you don’t need a shower.

The reasons to bike are obvious.  Obviously less oil in consumed.  I suspect one day we may look back and ask ourselves how so many individuals used to ride by themselves in a taxi.  Our grandchildren may be shocked that we could be so irresponsible in the year 2008.  Bike commuters will also be healthier.  On the whole, cyclists will require less lipitor and angioplasty.

Here’s what entrepreneurs can do:

Buy you employees a bike.  If that’s too much money and too many employees — subsidize it.  If you can’t afford that at least use your power as tenants to find ways to secure bikes safely at the workplace.  A biking nation, will be a more sustainable, healthier place to live.

Football and Faith

Periodically, I will post some personal observations on YallaGuy and I’m sure many of them will contain discussions about sports.

An old college friend, Marnie Berk,  who is trying to persuade me to check out her new synagouge Tribeca Hebrew (sounds almost like a clothing label), told me that she was spinning her wheels, “I don’t know why I bother,” she said. Your religion is sports.”

Wiser words have not been spoken to me in 2008.  Actually, I’m Jewish and to further cement my interest in New York’s hipster jewish scene, I lost a weight bet to my father and, as a result, I need to  join a synagogue.

But Marnie deserves credit for her perceptive, cogent analysis, I do feel a deep, spiritual connection with sports and have come to realize that watching, listening, talking about, and playing sports is an exceptional use of my time.  It’s a matter of faith.

This fall I was very disappointed when Ry announced he was quitting soccer because he did not feel good enough about his skills to play for the elite Manhattan Kickers.  I understood it, but was sad that he felt he had to be among the best to play.  Then he told me he wanted to play football.

Shame on me I thought.  I have glorified this great game, but I never intended for my son to play it.  I never played, because, well you know, Jews don’t really play a lot of football.  Quick! Name that tight end  who played for the Steelers in the 70’s.   When Ry quickly ascended to first team offense I had to get used to watching him get crushed as the Downtown Giants failed to get a first down for two games and Ry was lucky to escape with no injuries and no fumbles.

But then things started to come together a bit and while at 2-4, the Downtown Giants won’t be vying for the City championship for a while, they are having a really good time. And Ry is learning those greatest of sports values (team, honor, sportsmanship, hard work) in ways that are so unique to football.  Football is pomp and circumstance.  And I love every cliche because there is a great romance in these traditions.

It was a beautiful fall day and parents from diverse social, racial, and religious backgrounds watched two well-matched teams battle it out for a game that had no particular meaning whatsoever.  No talk of  recession,  terrorism, energy/healthcare/education crisis, or political drama.   There was football — hits, tackles, fumbles, rushes, passes, touchdowns– and there was community.

Now, I have more faith.