Behind the Mic: Activity Suspended

“Activity suspended” – believe it or not, that is one of the definitions of a vacation.  Well, I just returned from vacation and, trust me when I tell you, activity was not suspended.

Before I get into the details, I want to thank John Leone, Scott Barr, Jim Best, and Randy Kane for filling my blog space while I was away.  They did wonderful pieces on a variety of topics and you should take the time to go back and read them if you haven’t done so.

While they were helping me, my wife and I were sailing on a two-week cruise on the Harmony of the Seas for our “suspension of activities” after the football and basketball seasons.

The ship (do not call it a boat) is the largest sailing vessel on the seas.  6,000 passengers are on board each week.  There are seven different “neighborhoods” to be found throughout the five stories–

  • A royal promenade (think shopping mall)
  • Central Park (think New York with live trees, upscale New York restaurants, and expensive jewelry stores and a beautiful open-air walkway)
  • A boardwalk (complete with a merry-go-round, two dry nine-story slides, two restaurants, a hot-dog shop and an aquatic theater)
  • An entertainment area (think a major theater, an ice theater, a comedy club, a jazz club, and a karaoke bar)
  • The pool area and water park (think three water slides and three pools)
  • A sports zone (think zip line, miniature golf, surfboarding, a basketball court, and ping-pong)
  • A spa (think “suspension of activities”)

If you think that is enough to keep you busy, let me get to the entertainment:

  • Two full-scale production shows (Grease and Columbus, the Musical)
  • A headliner show (a ventriloquist in week one and an a cappella group in week two)
  • Two full production ice shows
  • Two aquatic shows featuring high diving from 10 stories above the theater pool at the back of a moving ship
  • A comedy club featuring two new comedians each week
  • Three game shows
  • A major casino
  • An art auction, etc.

And, of course, there is the food and drink.  There is always food – all the time, anytime.  In fact there are 25 different places to eat (at least that’s what I counted) and 37 bars (no, I did not try each one).

To attempt to see and do everything in a week, or even two, leads me to believe that Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com, and the Cambridge Dictionary need to re-think their vacation definition when it comes to cruising – please drop “suspension of activity”.

It is much more restful at my desk.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. I will watch the NBA finals between Golden State and Cleveland. Now that should be great basketball.
  2. It is not easy to keep up with the sports scene on the ship. Upon returning, I realized the Phillies were 2-11 while I was gone.  I was glad I could not keep up while away.
  3. The 76’ers will get the #3 draft pick this year, so the franchise can continue to add good players. I just hope they add a player who can actually play and not be on the injury list for most of the season.  When will the Philadelphia fans finally see a competitive product?
  4. Parkland won the EPC baseball championship by beating Liberty. It was their 20th league championship, far more than any other school.  Congratulations!
  5. Once again, on Memorial Day, we will replay some of our most memorable football, basketball, and wrestling contests this past season (see schedule here). Everyone is a classic if you want to relive the memories.

Behind the Mic: NFL Parity – A Worthwhile Goal?

 

NFL Parity – A Worthwhile Goal?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
“Parity” is defined as “the quality or state of being equal or equivalent.”

“Competition” is defined as “the act or process of trying to get or win something that someone else is also trying to get or win.”

The NFL prides themselves on creating a league where parity is the goal; therefore, taking competition to the highest level – where, well, you know… “On any given Sunday…”

The NFL is designed to help those teams that are struggling, and vice versa to put up roadblocks to those teams that are always successful. They do it by a draft system, which allows those with the least success the previous season the opportunity to take the best college players first. There is free agency, where teams can negotiate with players from other teams when their contracts have expired, and a salary cap where there is an agreed upon limit that a team can spend on players. The ultimate goal is to give every team a fair shot at success. This, of course, gives every fan the feeling at the start of the season that their team can, not only compete, but win. And, it seems to be working.

This past week, New England lost to Cincinnati (what?) and Tom Brady did not throw a TD pass for the first time in the last 53 games. The Cleveland Browns have won three games in a row (what?). No one in the NFC East has a winning record (what?). Pittsburgh is 0-4! Kansas City is 5-0 (they won two games last year)! Based on the Vegas odds, there were six upsets this past week out of 13 games, and one game where the point spread was not covered. In almost half of the games, the underdog won.

Parity has arrived, but is it good? Well, it does appear that the “On any given Sunday…” adage has been achieved. However, it also appears to this fan that mediocre football has also been achieved. I cannot believe how inept the Giants look; how awful the Steelers are; how very average the Patriots appear to be; how bad the Eagles (who are currently tied for first place in their division) have looked, and so on and so on. Perhaps the best example is how Dallas now deserves to be only Dallas’ team, not America’s.

I have spent the first few Sundays watching NFL Red Zone and I love it. This week, however, I watched a game from start to finish and I was shocked. NFL Red Zone, for the most part, shows teams moving down the field as they are about to score; in other words, at their most successful moments. When I watched only two teams play one complete game this weekend, I saw what Red Zone does not show me – how bad teams are MOST of the time.

To this NFL football fan, parity has been achieved – almost every team now plays MEDIOCRE FOOTBALL!

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK (8-6: Last week; 48-29 overall 62%)
 
CHICAGO
KANSAS CITY
PHILADELPHIA
GREEN BAY
CLEVELAND
MINNESOTA
HOUSTON
JETS
CINCINNATI
SEATTLE
DENVER
SAN FRANCISCO
NEW ORLEANS
DALLAS
INDIANAPOLIS