Link: “Lillipution Invasion”, the Flashy Fiction Friday Writing Prompt

poemLillipution Invasion, the Flashy fiction Friday writing prompt for 20 June 2014 is waiting for you at Creative Bloomings’ Flashy Fiction Friday.

Sleeping the beach becomes an encounter between “Gulliver” and “Lilliputions”.  Head on over to Flashy fiction and share your take on the story.

Write Something!

The Old Bait and Switch – Virtual Blog Tour style

Hello, and thanks for following from Walt’s Virtual Blog Tour post to mine, but I actually posted it on my reading/writing blog, Wanna Get Published, Write!

Since you’re here, though, maybe you’d like to look around at some of my scattered, seemingly random thoughts before continuing the Virtual Blog Tour.

My Virtual Blog Tour post can be found here:  My super creative Virtual Blog Tour title.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

It’s Not a Hand Ball…or my beef with what coaches teach our young soccer players

I love soccer.  I think we’ve established that through previous posts over the past few years.  I’ve played most of my life, coached for about ten years, and reffed for about eight months now. Recently, I agreed to get back into coaching club (travel/select) soccer.  As you can see, I’ve seen the sport from many perspectives.

Playing and coaching have led to a number of the observations to follow, but reffing has really brought clarity to how widespread some of these are.

The biggest misnomer in the sport has got to be the “hand ball.”  Everytime the ball makes contact with a hand, the players, coaches, and fans of the opposing team cry out “hand ball” and expect the referee to blow the whistle and award them a free kick.  First, the free kick is for “handling”.  This means there’s more to it than hand and ball making contact.  The position of the hand in respect to the body is a big factor, including motion of the hand after contact.  Another factor is the play itself.  Did the player have time, in the opinion of the referee, to move his hand out of the ball’s path.  Intentionally handling the ball, obviously, is a violation.  Yelling “hand ball” isn’t going to make a referee call it.  Play until you hear a whistle.

“I got the/all ball!”  This is another of those cries that’s supposed to make a ref not award a free kick to the fouled player’s team and, hopefully, prevent receiving a caution or send off from the referee.  Whether the player actually gets the ball or makes first contact with the ball may be a factor in the referee’s decision to simply award a free kick or to caution or send off the offending player, but it isn’t the deciding factor.  The direction from which the tackle came, the force used in the tackle, and the follow through weigh heavily on the decision.  The player can make what she thinks is a clean tackle that gets the ball, and then watch the rest of the game from the parking lot if the referee thinks the tackle was reckless.

Another cautionable offense that is actually taught by some coaches is standing in front of the ball to prevent the team awarded a free kick from taking a quick restart.  The Laws of the Game provide a 10 yard radius from the spot of the ball which defenders are to vacate and not enter until the ball is back in play.  Nowhere does it say that the kicking team must ask for the 10 yards.  If a defender plants himself in front of the ball to “direct his teammates” or tie her shoe, the ref can caution the player.  Do yourselves a favor and move back from the ball and coaches, don’t tell your players to get in front of it.  Some refs are real sticklers for this and will caution a player with little or no warning.

There are, of course, other fouls and violations that players and coaches often don’t quite understand.  Maybe I’ll talk about some of them later. For today, though, just remember that the referee is the authority on the pitch and different referees have different aspects of the game that they enforce more tightly than others.  Play within the laws of the game, show good sportsmanship, and respect the referees and their decisions.

Play to the whistle!

The Garden of Children

I’ve seen the van for this day care service around town and each time I think “How creepy is that?” I’m sure that the title comes from a Bible reference or from the idea that each child is a beautiful flower that just needs a little nurturing to bloom.

My mind, of course, heads right to horror movies and a garden full of children…which is only a little further down the darkened path than the comedy-horror flick “Motel Hell“.

 

Nope, don’t think I could have sent my kids to The Garden of Children, but I’m sure, in reality, it’s a fine day care.

Music Monday – Clap Along

Anyone who knows me knows that I gave up on contemporary, popular music back in the early days of the new millennium…back when Jason Mraz, John Mayer, and other singer-songwriters strumming their guitars began really boring me on the radio.  When it wasn’t the strum-you-to-sleep music on the radio, it was clubtastic, hip-hoppy crap…or the DJ and commercials jabbering away on the airwaves.
I went exclusively to my CD collection for my commutes.  Friends would occasionally tell me about songs or artists that I “had to hear”.  Some were good.  Others weren’t for me.
I used Yahoo Music and while I played it enough that most of the playlists managed to play artists I already listened to, other I hadn’t heard would pop up.  That’s how I found Evanescence. Now I use Pandora and iHeartRadio and have found a few more artists this way.  Slippery When Wet Radio on iHeart is a great station, by the way, and I’ve found myself getting back/more into metal over the last couple years listening to it.
Interestingly enough, a song and group that I’ve never seen posted by anyone was one of the included songs on my phone: “Trippin’ at the Disco” is a jamming tune by People Under The Stairs.
Having kids that like music and movies and their soundtracks has also lead to some stuff I like.  I like a number of Taylor Swift‘s songs (and find her to be a fantastic role model), a couple One Direction songs, some Selena Gomez, and have seen Hot Chelle Rae in concert at an amusement park.  Surprisingly, they can play some fairly good rock stuff, but it seems their pop-ish songs are what they are more known for.
Through social media, I found some other artists when friends posted songs…Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes being my favorite artist I’ve discovered this way.
All this being said, over the last decade or so, I’ve not been overly impressed with the music and artists I’ve heard on the whole.  In April, a friend posted a YouTube video on Facebook of people dancing around my hometown (or what I think of as my hometown) to Pharrell Williams‘ “Happy”.  I didn’t realize I’d heard the song on Despicable Me 2, but was instantly hooked on it.  I easily found the live version and Despicable Me version of the video on YouTube and posted the link to my wife’s wall.  We may be a wee bit ‘minion’ obsessed.
This is my pick for best song from the last decade or so.
While this song gets played at least once every time we go somewhere as a family, it still hasn’t changed my listening habit.  I’m still radio averse…but while I wait for the music scene to morph again, I’ll be Happy and clap along because I know what makes me happy.
Happy by Pharrell Williams

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

Link: “The Overturned Tricycle”, the Flashy Fiction Friday Writing Prompt

poemThe Overturned Tricycle, the Flashy fiction Friday writing prompt for 25 April 2014 is waiting for you at Creative Bloomings’ Flashy Fiction Friday.

Think up a setting for a story then click on over and share it as succinctly as possible.

Write Something!

Blind Justice

A quote from the The New Yorker article, “Whom Does Kobe Bryant Represent?”, about their interview of Kobe Bryant and his response to questions about the Trayvon Martin case:

“I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American,” Bryant said. “That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself.”

I couldn’t agree more with Kobe.  It doesn’t matter what color, nationality, region, gender, etc. you are, just blindly jumping to someone’s defense without know the facts isn’t any more helpful than persecuting someone without knowing the facts. This is one of the biggest problems perpetrated on our society by the 24 hour news media. “This just in…we don’t know all the facts…” Spewing forth information without facts, without ALL of the facts, causes tension and tempers to flare, and people leaping to defend or persecute blindly, or worse… completely misinformed.

Oftentimes, even after a case (when we’re talking about criminal proceedings) has gone through trial, we, the non-jurors, don’t know all the facts that were disclosed and the instructions given to the jury. Ultimately, it comes down to each individual juror interpreting what they heard, with all of their prejudices and beliefs, and voting for or against a conviction.

In almost every instance, it is better to learn the facts, what’s really going on, who’s really done what, and why before deciding to defend someone…or to yell and scream for another to be punished.

Hours after his interview hit the street and he’d been bashed in the media by folks who questioned his understanding of “being African American”, Bryant tweeted:

“Travon (sic) Martin was wronged THATS my opinion and thats what I believe the FACTS showed. The system did not work #myopinion #tweetURthoughts.”

It would be interesting to know if that’s truly what Kobe believes or if he caved to pressure and was trying to save his image. I hope it’s really his feelings on the subject, because if they are, agree with them or not, he’s come to them after listening to the facts of the case and made his decision.

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