Jim Vallet and Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Any empathetic human being would have had a hard time with the news lately.
Fifty-some days ago, I watched a cruel and inhumane attack on Israel. I watched in horror images of armed gunmen lying in wait and then attacking and murdering a carful of innocent civilians. I listened to stories of hundreds of innocent people being attacked, some killed and others taken hostage. I heard stories of beheaded babies (although that story seems not to be true, or at least verifiable) mutilated elderly, and rape. That close to 200 hostages are still being held seems to be lost in politics.
While I think Israel has the duty to defend itself, I believe that Israel should have known that conditions in Gaza are so deplorable that something bad could well happen, and they certainly got caught off guard. Now Israel seems to have pretty much demolished Gaza, and while I don’t know how many enemy combatants have been killed I do know that many innocent people have been killed. Senseless killing will be cured by more senseless killing?
While it seems that a horrible conflict might be coming in the Middle East, another awful war continues in Ukraine. I’m not sure how many babies and elderly have been killed in that “special operation” or how many villages have been leveled.
I watched the majority party in the US House of Representatives dump their Speaker without having anyone to replace him, effectively neutering that half of our bi-cameral legislature for a couple of weeks. Of course, it seems more important to be either a Democrat or Republican than to be an American, as right now it appears as though neither side is willing to work with the other.
We all are used to paying a lot more for pretty much everything, yet our government keeps telling us that everything is getting better.
We have a former president with four indictments against him charging 91 counts of various crimes, and the special counsel investigating him is looking for more. We have a current president also under investigation by another special counsel. Two Members of the US Congress are serving while under indictment. Many people in the United States actually believe the last Presidential Election was stolen, and many politicians, whether they believe the election was stolen or not, are stoking the dangerous fire of that cause.
For the first time that I can ever remember, I turned off the news recently. I couldn’t listen to any more alleged atrocities, and I couldn’t watch more stupidity.
So I went to play golf. When I got home, I watched football, hockey, and basketball. I even watched MAC Tuesday and Wednesday Night Football. I only surfed sports sites. For once in our house, there was no talk about politics.
Sports, to me, has always been my refuge. Even with all the dumb stuff I see some athletes doing, the consequences of their actions seem trivial. Whether Steve Smith and Jerry Jeudy get along or not has no impact on if millions of people get paid or not. No one dies because Antonio Brown walks shirtless off the field during a pity party worthy of any three year old. It has no bearing on me or my future if Sean Payton thinks Nathaniel Hackett coached the Denver Broncos poorly. But even with all this juvenile behavior, they sure are fun to watch.
When my mom died, I went out and played catch at my first opportunity. On September 11th, my sons and I did pitching drills. My dad told me to go to the racetrack and gave me two horses to bet the night before his open heart surgery. The first conversation my then future wife and I had was about golf. I got almost every friend I have ever had through sports.
When World War II started, President Roosevelt clearly stated that professional baseball should continue, because people needed to take their minds off their work and the War. So too, today.
Sports can be more than recreation. Now, as in the past, we need to back away sometimes so we can refocus on what is really important with minds that are clear and informed.
So, I say to really research so you can put your best fantasy lineup together this week. Watch football all day Sunday with a clear conscience. Cheer for the skills athletes exhibit. Go watch FHS play and have fun. Get out and play as many rounds of golf as you want without losing your wife or your job. Take the dogs for a nice long walk.
America needs you to be sane. We have some important choices to make.
Man, is the NFL hard for me to predict this year. I would not have thought Denver or Minnesota could ever pull it together this year, but they did. My Lions looked great, and I did use the past tense. I thought Green Bay was good, then terrible, now good again. I thought Najee Harris was done. The Chargers are too good not to turn it around. The “tush push” is just a fad. And, for some reason I feel ok about betting on the NFL…
Last week was a week of favorites covering, as happened in 12 of the 16 games. Here are my picks against the spread. Lines are from sportsline.com on Wednesday, November 29.
Dallas Cowboys (-9) vs. Seattle Seahawks: I’m sticking with my observation that the points don’t matter with the Cowboys. Whether my observation is accurate or not, I really hesitate giving a pretty good NFL team 9 points coming off a pretty bad home loss.
LA Chargers (-6) at New England Patriots: The Chargers are not good, but the Patriots really stink. Remember how the Chargers handled the bad offense of the Jets a couple of weeks ago.
Houston Texans (-3 ½) vs Denver Broncos: I struggle with bandwagons. I always jump on too late. I think the Broncos offense is terrible, and watching Russell Wilson play still drives me nuts.
Atlanta Falcons (-2 ½) at NY Jets: If I was a Jets defensive player, I might go ballistic.
SF 49ers (-2 ½) at Philadelphia Eagles: Looks like a great matchup for the 49ers. Beyond that, the 49ers right now are the best team in the NFL. The Eagles have been winning, but they have also been living on the edge.
Green Bay Packers (+6) vs KC Chiefs: I hope the Packers are as good as they looked against my Lions and not that the Lions just aren’t that good.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-8 ½) vs Cincinnati Bengals: I thought the Bengals would be better without Joe Burrow than they were last week against Pittsburgh. Teams have been able to score against the Jags, but I don’t think the Burrowless Bengals will.
Last week: 3-3-1
Washington +10 vs. Oregon: I’ve pored over the box score of the first meeting between these two teams trying to figure out why this point spread has flipped from Washington -3 ½ to Oregon -10 on a neutral field since they met Oct. 14. Oregon had 126 more yards of offense and eight more first downs, but ran 23 more offensive plays to do so. Oregon has basically blown everyone out since then, while Washington has had a couple of close calls, but I don’t see 10 points of difference between these two teams.
Boise St/UNLV over 59: Boise St. has averaged 38 point per game in the three games since firing their head coach, and that’s about how much UNLV scores per game for the season. The Boise defense is better, but this sets up as a shootout.
Alabama (+5 ½) over Georgia: I’m not too concerned with Alabama barely beating Auburn last week. After all, Georgia similarly needed a late touchdown to win at Auburn in the fifth game of the season. I’ve seen Alabama improve by leaps and bounds throughout the season, and Jalen Milroe’s scrambling ability makes the difference if the game is close.
Lions (-4) at Saints: The Saints defense that started the season so well has faltered of late, the offense can’t score in the red zone and the Lions will be the best team they’ve faced this season. The Lions should bounce back from whatever that effort was on Thanksgiving day.
Cardinals (+5 ½) over Steelers: It took a team quarterbacked by Jake Browning, but the Steelers finally finished a game with more yardage than their opponent for the first time all year. I’ll take the points against a Steelers team that seeming takes every game down to the last minute.
Eagles (+3) over 49ers: I didn’t understand why the oddsmakers opened the 49ers as the favorite in this game, then when they moved the line to 3, they suckered me in. I’ll take any team this good as a 3-point home dog.