Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekend Sports Edition: When The All Star Game Mattered

Miami has the good fortune of hosting, in the span of eight days, the NFL's most meaningful and meaningless games. The latter of course is the Pro Bowl, an event that is now on par with professional wrestling in the sincerity department. I would not be surprised to see an open bar on the sidelines hosted by Hooters. Perhaps for good measure, we could throw in mulligans for plays that need to be done over for dramatic effect. That the Pro Bowl is a joke is almost universally accepted, or at least should be. All sports all star games are now rigged gimmicks used to promote the product the way commercials are used as props for whatever merchandise is being hawked. In fact, we have reached a point where the tail is now wagging the dog: all star games are no longer competitive events but commercials for the league that is sponsoring them. But, alas, it was not always so. I remember all too well the 1970 baseball all star game. Pete Rose came barreling into home plate where Ray Fosse, the Indian catcher, was waiting for him, ball in glove. Rose ran over him as if he were an 18 wheeler crushing a VW bug at 80 mph. It was not a pretty scene. Rose made no apologies nor should he have. The thinking was if you are not going to play the game to win, why bother showing up. Say what you want about Rose. I would be the first to say that he was one of the biggest jerks ever to play professional sports and that covers a lot of territory. But he had a drive that is all too rare in today's athletes. In fact, the so called all star game is symbolic of what ails all professional sports: the pampered athlete who no longer has to worry about danger. In 1967, I believe Red Auerbach was ejected from the all star game for arguing with the refs. Imagine that happening today!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Does Atheism Defy Logic?

Bishop Fulton Sheen once said that the chief characteristic of an atheist is not that he believes in nothing but that he will believe in anything. Maybe. I was always intrigued by the atheist philosophy or epistemology. I felt it was more of a form of rebellion and chic irreverence than a firm system of belief. Years ago I read a book review of something called the scientific basis for the belief in God. The chances of the earth being formed by some accident of physics was one over some trillion to the trillionth power. In other words, impossible. Here is a recent link to the book ( I have another approach to atheism that might shed light on its moral vacuity. An atheist does not believe that there is a supreme being. That is, human life begins and ends as we know it. Once you die, you are a mass of physical matter indistinguishable from the ground in which you are buried. Every person will end up the same: soulless. If this is a given, I have on occasion posed this question to an atheist: why should murder be illegal? If all humans are going to die anyway and their souls never resurrected, living is nothing more than the postponement of the inevitable. Sort of like sitting around waiting to pay the toll to get over a bridge. Each life is nothing more than a blink of an eye relative to time. It is insignificant. Whether you live a productive or happy life is beside the point. You and your loved ones are going to die anyway and end up in the same predicament regardless of what they did during your living years. So the big question is this: are there any moral consequences to committing a heinous act? Let us say you walked into a school and opened fire on a room full of children, killing them all. You then killed yourself. If you are an atheist, the answer must be no. You might answer that the families of these children will suffer. That may be true, but they can do themselves a big favor and commit suicide. That will end their misery. And since their is no after life or God, they will become part of the earth. They will end up no different from the person who murdered the children. Of course, people do not routinely behave this way because it is unnatural. The reason it is unnatural is because life is a gift from God and people have a God given moral compass that they struggle mightily to adhere to, often times unsuccessfully. The secular establishment has always boasted that millions of people have died because of religious persecution. This fact is true. But that does not detract from the point. People are capable of evil even if they pretend to adhere to a moral code inconsistent with their acts. Well, that is my Sunday morning sermon. Now, time to prepare to worship at the altar of a few other supreme powers: football, cigars, scantilly clad waitresses, and wine.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Weekend Sports Edition: The 1973 Miami Dolphins

Every NFL fan remembers the 1972 Dolphins. They won the Super Bowl and are the only team that ever finished the season undefeated. An amazing feat that has yet to be replicated. Were they the greatest team ever? No. They were not even the greatest Dolphin team ever. That prize must to to the 1973 Dolphins, one of the most underrated and forgotten teams of all time. The 1972 Dolphins played opponents who had a combined record of 51-86-3 (ten different teams when you factor in that they played the Colts, Bills, Patriots, and Jets twice). The 1973 Dolphins' opponents had a combined record of 69-69-4. Another factor hampering the 1973 Dolphins is that they were an inviting target, no longer underrated as they were a year ago. To go undefeated one season and repeat as Super Bowl champions the next is quite an accomplishment. Unlike 1972, Griese played all year. And unlike the 1972 Super Bowl, which was more lost by the inept Redskins than won by the Dolphins, the 1974 game was dominated by the Dolphins from start to finish. So here is a salute to the forgotten but great 1973 Miami Dolphins.