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Monday, October 26, 2020

A College Basketball Season Blowing In The Wind


Replacing Justin Martin, the nation's leading scorer the past two seasons, is just one of many challenges facing Multnomah University of the NAIA. The Lions are one of eight Cascade Collegiate Conference schools in the state of Oregon hit particularly hard by state Covid regulations.

By Harry Cummins

     If you still seek certitude as your stronghold, you are definitely going to need some assistance weathering the approaching 2020-21 college basketball season.

    The shared wind of ambivalence is blowing with viral force thru every level of our round-ball sport right now, forcing everyone into re-choosing a way forward beyond old familiar preferences.

     With winter's breath on our doorstep, I am suggesting we approach the basketball season as we have the rest our lives in this season of pandemic.  Embrace this strange grace gift of newness.

     With the alarming national rise in Covid-19 cases, the list of special challenges facing the upcoming hoop season is lengthy and malleable.  In no particular order, here are just a few considerations:

1.  Playing a sport indoors without a true protective "bubble"

2.  Covid impacted school budgets that prevent uniform rapid, daily testing

3.  Obvious travel concerns and obstacles between two competing teams. In play, regional virus risks and the political politics of movement. The state of Oregon is a current case in point.  At present, all Oregon colleges and universities- except the four NCAA D-1 schools-are prohibited from playing against other schools inside the state.  They aren't even allowed to have full-contact practice.

4.  A myriad of scheduling difficulties, especially finding early and accessible non-conference opposition to fill out schedules.

5.  Adjusted new eligibility, transfer, scholarship, and especially relaxed red-shirt requirements, that threaten to alter the landscape of the sport dramatically in how they are deployed.

6.  Fans.  Yes. No. Maybe.  Custom cardboard cutouts?

7.  The state of future development, recruitment and opportunity for High School athletes currently impacted by Covid-19 restrictions and allowances.

     The list is endless.  At the heart of the matter is the well-being of every student- athlete attempting to chart the course of their future life, on and off the court.

     All we can know for now is that we all face an extended period of uncertainty.  If can also represent a blank, but pregnant, new page.  The dominant script of the game has been altered. Certitude has vanished. In its place, our own spirit of openness.   Spirit as wind..not a wall. 

    After all, how many of you saw Randy Arozarena riding on that storm cloud that obscured the opening of the 2020 major league baseball season!

     'Blowin in the wind', my friend.


Thursday, October 1, 2020

On A Clear Day - The View From Mount Vernon



By Harry Cummins

     I submit the following snippet extracted from the  Farewell Address of George Washington, delivered on Saturday, September 17, 1796.  

     "However (political parties) may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."

    Two hundred and twenty four years later, "in the course of time and things," these prophetic words, by George, have landed forcefully on our doorstep.  

     Raise your hand if you still think we can look to politics and politicians for our primary salvation.

     Although Washington's views on slavery from Mount Vernon were certainly clouded, his look into the future of politics in America was not.