cliff pfenning

America is a lot stronger than a moment

Our leaders can take a few lessons from the sports world
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

In the wake of political garble from Tuesday night, it occured to me to look at where the state of the world is in relation to ... our future. As in, if the students of today watched one of the 24-hour news channels for about 90 minutes (and as a parent of two teenagers I wonder what the Vegas odds would be on that), how would they look at the world they're inheriting from the leaders of today.

What lessons are they getting from politicians, from journalists who dominate national news coverage? What are they getting out of their parents? Their teachers? Their coaches ... if they're lucky to be involved in a sport.

It wouldn't take long for many students to get a handle on the idea that the only thing that matters is winning. You're either a Democrat or a Republican and your side has to win, pretty much at all costs. That those two parties combined make up America - so you're an American above all else - seems to have gotten lost, although these days the significant focus on immigration has made the nation one of Americans and immigrants who are invading the nation illegally.

The supreme focus on winning at all costs is one I cannot think would go very far in the sports world, especially in youth sports. Imagine a football coach telling his players it was okay to injure an opposing player because that would impact that team's ability to win? If there were an assistant coach available, that strategy would get challenged immediately. Players would challenge that, and likely rebel. But, that's essentially a lesson coming from so many leaders, and that's politics and business. Win at all costs.

A "New American Moment" ended up as a catchphrase Tuesday night, but it had exactly zero weight behind it. The new moment is one of collaboration? Teamwork? President Donald Trump has made a name for himself as one of a bully starting with his mantra of never apologizing. Apologies are a sign of weakness, so don't apologize for anything.

A "New American Moment" would start at the top, with the nation's head coach, and it could start with an apology for basic things such as name-calling, from the President. Hillary Clinton. Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio. They all should get an apology for the playground names thrown at them. Imagine what a simple round of apologies would do for America? For the world for that matter.

Political leaders of today owe their voters of the future, students in the education system and before, a big apology for allowing the world to veer in directions that are entirely opposite of what they should be getting taught.

Nuclear codes? That's the most basic way to get students to tune out, tell them that America is actually ready to unleash an atomic bomb on another nation. All the education that the adult world has, and it still hasn't figured out there's never going to be a need to drop a nuclear bomb on a city. America apologizes to Japan annually for using atomic bombs to motivate the end of World War II. At least it has in the past.

There's a great source of strength within the sports world, and these are days when that strength is sorely needed by our leaders, both political and business.

Can Oregon still reach the playoffs?

SPORTSLAND - College football might be crazy enough for that to happen
Oct. 6, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

Imagine if the Oregon football team went unbeaten the rest of the season, and beat unbeaten Utah in the Pac-12 Conference title game. Would that be enough for the Ducks to reach the College Football Playoffs?

Even though Oregon would have two losses at the time, while there may likely be more than four other teams with just one loss.

That's a subject for Sportsland, Oregon co-hosts Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber in this week's episode. Will there be a two-loss team among the four teams that reach the playoffs.

And, is that even something the Ducks should be focused on at all? Once upon a time, the Rose Bowl was a big deal - remember?

The NFL's crazy season as well gets some time, as does the upcoming Major League Baseball playoffs. Sure the American League has some prime contenders, but will anyone watch the Toronto Blue Jays play the Kansas City Royals if they win their division series? And, just who's on the Yankees these days other than A-Rod?

Fortunately, there's five outstandings options for the World Series on the National League side, so an audience for that series seems assured.

The Timbers get a few moments, too, as do the Oregon football uniforms for this week.

All recorded Monday at Pour Sports Restaurant in Southeast Portland.

 

Blazers have their work cut out

Memphis wasn't Portland's first choice for playoffs
April 22, 2015 / Staff report

It's wasn't supposed to be Memphis.

But, the Grizzlies are who the Blazers got for the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

It's the key topic of this episode of Sportsland, Oregon 2015.

Portland got the Grizzlies after they slipped from second to fifth in the final stretch of the regular season, which they may have done by design. Memphis beat Portland four times this season, and has homecourt edge in the best-of-seven series.

The series is, of course, the first of a two-month long playoff voyage that ends in late June, with all but the most hearty of competitors still around. Others are on beaches.

Co-hosts Cliff and Derek take on the Portland=Memphis series along with pro soccer, pro football, pro baseball and all the other topics of the day, recording from Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.

 

Cliff Pfenning

Oregonsports Columnist

Oregon's big foray into the college football signing day phenomenon actually happened five days late - or later - in terms of news the rest of the nation could focus on.

Monday, the Ducks extended the contract of head coach Mark Helfrich to the 2020 season, with the specifics being $17.5 million over five seasons. Oregon put a tattoo on its coach for the rest of the decade, unless he wants to bolt for the NFL - and the $3 million buyout. Doesn't seem likely, though.

Then, later in the day, the Ducks announced they had landed Vernon Adams, the three-year starting quarterback at FCS power Eastern Washington, as a potential replacement for Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.

Adams joins a crowded group - at least until someone transfers - of players awaiting their shot at becoming the next standout at Autzen Stadium.

Adams threw for more than 10,000 yards while guiding the Eagles on their red turf. He'll graduate from EWU in June, then be able to join the Oregon football team in time to get ready for another run at a national title.

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