There is no doubt that sports dominates our culture right now. Tiger’s injured back, Favre’s jersey retirement, some NFL guy knocking out his wife. These things Americans will definitely pay close attention to. It’s the first thing we click on when going to the Internet while world affairs seem to take a back seat.
So how do we get folks, particularly young ones, to become more interested in international goings on? Why not just turn the goings on into sporting events? Something on which one can place a bet, make a prediction, shed a tear when a loss comes or wreck some cars and break some shop windows when a team wins.
It could go like this. I was going to make a prediction on this year’s Israel vs. Hamas Middle Eastern Championship, but it looks like it’s going to end in another dreadful tie, (think soccer), a winner never decided. I honestly thought we had a chance of winning it all this year but as I write this today, it looks like another losing season or at best, batting .250.
One could lose money for the next 100 years placing wagers on this thing. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I would love to vent an opinion about Israeli versus Hamas but I live in Georgia and have never scouted either team. I do like the Israelis, and in fact, have a cousin who used to play on the Israeli team. She told me they begin training early for the championship and are required to do two years minimum on a local farm club (every town has one) to get ready for it. She’s retired now, raising three children, trying to make ends meet with her husband, who is a Presbyterian or something or other and doesn’t play.
She said the Israeli teams of the past have been mostly defense oriented with self-defense, civil defense, CPR, and first aid as hallmarks of the coaching philosophy. This year’s team seems to be more offensive, although I believe they’re about to pull their team off the field, as hard as that is to believe. Shoot, I thought for once we were going to actually see a winner over there.
I think she’s enjoying not being on the team anymore, content to raise a family in a safer, less competitive environment. She still follows the team, though, and says she wishes there were more reliable scouting reports coming from Washington. That would make sense to me also. Seems like if we’re going to sponsor that team we need to be honestly informed as to our chances of fielding a winner.
We’ve been through so many general managers since ‘47 it’s hard to keep up. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, just to name a few. And as far as the coaching staff over there goes, I wish we could keep one for more than a few years. We’ve had 12 since ‘48 with a few getting fired and rehired several times. No way to develop a winning franchise if you ask me.
The Israeli team is beginning to bore a lot of assistant GM’s and the Hollywood crowd is frankly ready to sell. I suppose you can’t blame them, with the cost of fielding the team going up every year and the failure to produce a real winner since 1967. One has to admit that we’ve provided the team with the best equipment possible in the last few years, resulting in most other teams leaving our Israeli team alone. Probably a smart move on their part. When you’re the champ, sponsors are easy to come by and the money just rolls in. And you can’t beat that New York media.
I am concerned about the bickering that’s been going on between Coach Benjamin Netanyahu and Assistant GM John Kerry. Kerry getting smacked around by the entire Israeli coaching staff doesn’t look good to potential draftees in 2015.
Heads need to roll, but where does one start? Let’s face it, it’s all about a wining tradition and with Israel versus Hamas we have one of the best in history. So let’s stop settling for ties in the game and do what we need to do to bring home a winner.
Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.