Evanson column: A few resolutions for the sports world - and beyond - for 2020
New Year, new you — that's what they say. Right?
Fitness. Eat healthier. Read more. Typically, some of the more popular New Year's resolutions you'll see and hear. But while we'd all benefit from the aforementioned declarations, I'm a sports writer, so let's narrow the scope to the people, places and things that reside in my world.
Much like the "real world," the sports universe is imperfect. People make mistakes, there are flawed performances, and despite sometimes century's worth of games played, tweaks are needed to even the most popular and successfully run competitions.
So while all the answers escape me, I have some, and I'll happily make suggestions as to the solutions for a handful of problems facing the sports world in 2020.
Let's begin with the worst rule in football: fumbling into and through the end zone. As it stands now, if a player who's inches from scoring a touchdown fumbles the ball and it rolls into and out of the end zone, the ball is turned over to the defense at their 20-yard line.
This is stupid for several reasons, but primarily because had the same thing occurred a millimeter short of pay-dirt, the offense retains possession at the point it went out of bounds.
So what gives? The defense never recovered the ball, so why should they be rewarded so handsomely for something that they'd see no reward for had it occurred in the field of play?
I'm not sure who conjured up this rule or how much they were drinking when they did, but this is a horrific tenet for which the punishment far exceeds the crime. Fix this, football. Give the offense the ball at the point of the fumble and right this obvious wrong in 2020.
Next, quit testing for marijuana.
I'm not even a "pot guy," but we're long beyond the point where the obvious pros to smoking weed don't outweigh the cons, so, by all means, let these professional athletes cope with pain in the least detrimental way possible.
Let's see, opiate addiction or habitual late-night munchies run? Feels like a no-brainer.
Next, people need to accept imperfection as it pertains to officiating. Everyone, in general, has fallen into this trap that refs, umps, linemen — they've all gotten worse. No, television has gotten better, and when you slow things down and zoom in to the nth degree, you have the luxury of applying superhuman strength to human behavior. It's unfair and, for the most part, ruining the viewing experience based on the level of scrutiny which accompanies it.
Moving on, let's get a shot clock in high school basketball. I don't know what needs to happen for this to happen, or what the hang-ups are, but watching games decided based on stalling tactics and free throws is very 1985. Let the better team win, not the team that is the first to a six-point lead late in the third quarter.
Next, and this is outside the sports realm and something teenage Wade would've hated, but how about we get fast food out of our high school cafeterias? This is nothing more than a cash grab by our public institutions. How in the world can we spout-off about childhood health and obesity, then throw Taco Bell into the list of options at are places of education? Kids will eat s**t if you put s**t in front of them. I know because I was a kid who once happily ate my share of s**t. But if it's truly our job as adults to nurture those not yet ready to best decide for themselves, how about we do it?
Next, a legitimate resolution needs to be found to the obvious problem hovering above pay-for-play collegiate athletics. Recent legislation in California, along with NCAA amendments to rules regarding athletes' likeness, is simply further evidence of concessions opposed to legitimate solutions for an understandable problem. Like it or not, society has pushed this issue to the edge of the cliff, so rather than slowly climbing to the bottom, jump off already so we can begin rebuilding a fairly negotiated system from scratch.
Lastly, let's quit acting as if high-level professional athletes and celebrities are brilliant because they're now making a boatload of money off of the court, field, or TV or movie screen. Recognition of the financial benefits to your celebrity is not a sign of intelligence; it's more so just evidence of ambition and the savvy necessary to put smart people around you — and listen to them.
I'm not knocking those who are cashing in. In fact, more power to them, after all, they are setting a great example for those coming behind them, as to fiscal responsibility. But making money on your money isn't reinventing the wheel, it's just making the most of a great opportunity.
And for me, I'm just going to continue on my everlasting quest to be better, which means more patience, more understanding, and being less critical of myself and others as a result.
Wish me luck.
Happy New Year! Here's to a fitter, healthier, and better read 2020 — and more if I get my way.
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