Category Archives: Point of View

IF YOU’RE NOT COMMITTED, THEN YOU’RE NOT A DUCK

            As I watched the Oregon Ducks play softball during a windy but otherwise beautiful spring Sunday, my mind returned as it has so often to a what-might-have-been season.

            Rather than lose the third game in a series to Oregon State University, I envisioned the Ducks drawing the strings tighter on another Pac-12 championship and being in an excellent position to win the World Series.

            That won’t happen because Texas hired our coach. Then three of the nation’s top pitchers and many of the other players turned in their Duck uniforms. Some followed Mike White to Texas; others went separate ways.

            Granted, Oregon probably wasn’t flush enough with cash to match the $400,000 Texas offer, but I continue to wonder how the university can pay the men’s baseball team coach a half-million if money is in short supply, especially given the fact that the Ducks haven’t shown up lately in the World Series.

            Of course, matching the Texas offer would have created other challenges. For example, Oregon would have been faced with increasing the salary of the women’s basketball coach, who led the team recently to the Final Four and the team is ranked No. 1 entering next season.

            After rechewing this excuse for Oregon’s poor showing on the softball diamond, I was reminded that an even more important principle often is overlooked in the discussion: commitment.

            If the talented women recruited by While were truly committed to Oregon, they would have persevered and stuck with the program this season.

            Rather than voice disappointment when some challenge rears its ugly head and makes you want to quit — to get ever, to protest — consider what may be the most important element in being a team member.  

          If these varsity players were committed to play for Oregon, they would not have thrown in the towel. Respect White as a person and as a coach, but coaching also is a business. White chose the money. Let him go. Batter up. Play ball.

            A number of newcomers joined the Ducks this season. They stuck with the program and have competed well. Give the new coaching staff time and the Ducks may make another run for the Pac-12 crown and maybe bring home a Series crown.

            As I watched Sunday’s game, I was certain that the outcome would have been different if White’s entourage had truly been committed to play for Oregon?

TIMES ‘THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ YET DO WE KNOW THE SONG?

As the leaves outside my retirement home apartment begin to change from green to a brilliant red, I realize that I have failed to apply the message in Bob Dylan’s 1964 hit, “The Times They Are a-Changin’.”Dylan

Times already were changing in 1964 when the album and song became a hit. Like most people, I nodded and continued my quest for fame and fortune along a familiar road, complaining occasionally about changes that affected my pocketbook and my lifestyle.

Sunday morning’s Register-Guard reported how the University of Oregon football team defeated California, 42-24. The lead story was written by a staff member, but for the first time that I can remember the newspaper didn’t send a photographer out of town to cover a varsity football game. The photographs were taken by an Associated Press photographer. Continue reading TIMES ‘THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ YET DO WE KNOW THE SONG?

IF YOU’RE NOT IN THE GAME, YOU’RE NO WINNER, LOSER

Each fall millions of people don the colors of their favorite football teams and settle in for another season.

It’s interesting to view how spectators begin talking about “my team,” about how “we’re performing,” especially when the team is winning.

UO DUCK imageThus, hundreds of people arose early Saturday morning to participate in the ABC “Game Day” festivities on the University of Oregon campus to hail the advent of another Pac-12 football season.

After three wins to open the season, we contemplate defeating those men from Stanford with 4-point GPA’s and whose mascot is a tree for crying out loud. Why not pick something more lively like a duck to lead the charge?

Saturday’s early game results are surprising, mind-boggling. We march down the field and score. Then we score again and again. Continue reading IF YOU’RE NOT IN THE GAME, YOU’RE NO WINNER, LOSER

WATCHDOGS DON’T CRY; THEY CONTINUE TO BITE

Seventy news organizations should continue focusing on being “watchdogs of the conduct of government” rather than try to explain Thursday why they are not “enemies of the people” as claimed by president Donald Trump.bulldog

If any medium is lying and acting as an enemy of the people it is the person who comments constantly with more than 11 million Twitter followers.

Fact checkers report that Trump made more than 4,000 false and misleading claims during the first year of his presidency. That number doubled six months later.

Now, the editorial board of The Boston Globe proposes that newspapers across the nation express their disdain for the president’s rhetoric on Aug. 16. The rally calls for the opinion writers that staff newspaper editorial boards to produce independent opinion pieces about Trump’s attacks on the media.

Meanwhile, until citizens of this country understand Trump’s reason for belittling members of the press, the freedom that serves as the bedrock of a democratic society is threatened.

Anyone as old and as moss-covered as I am knows that newspapers once were the primary means of disseminating news and opinion. Communities where I grew up supported a Republican and a Democratic newspaper. Those political biases were reflected primarily in the editorial sections of those newspapers. Continue reading WATCHDOGS DON’T CRY; THEY CONTINUE TO BITE

TRUMP INDICTS HIMSELF CRITIZING NEWS MEDIA

I watched a news conference on television Monday and heard President Donald Trump kick the U.S. intelligence agency under the bus. He later blamed the “fake news media” larry_the_twitter_bird_by_draganja-d52q3enfor creating the criticism that followed his statement, which he unsuccessfully attempted to revise.

Granted, the president suffers from narcissism, which in lay terms means that he’s an egotistical bully. Thus, it is understandable that Trump would be upset anytime he is portrayed as being less than perfect.

This, however, brokers no excuse for blaming the news media for doing its job of informing the public and commenting upon the conduct of government. That, Mister President, is the role of the press.

Keep in mind that media tools have changed. No longer are presidents and other public officials badgered only by people who own printing presses. We now are informed and influenced by what is called the new media.

Mister president, you are one of the most prominent, most unprofessional of all members of the new media with your constant streaming of opinion and misinformation via Twitter.

So, when you blame the news media for delivering “fake news,” look in the mirror.

Don’t take my advice, however. Look to Harry S Truman, the 33rd president, who once said: “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”

Better yet. Begin acting presidential rather than as a member of the “Fake News Media.”

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Note: In the event that I should be criticized by our chief communicator for being inaccurate and unprofessional, Harry didn’t place a period after his middle initial.

 

WANT SAFE VOCATION? STAY OUT OF THE NEWSROOM

The newsroom has never been a safe place to work. Reporters and editors have been considered “bearers of bad tidings” and targets of reader wrath since Gutenberg began printing a Bible.

Press hatSo, I was not surprised to learn that an unhappy reader gunned down five newspaper staff members Thursday afternoon in Annapolis, Maryland.

Personal safety was the first lesson I was taught by a weekly newspaper editor the day I entered the profession as a teenager.

“Always have a back-door exit when facing an angry reader,” he advised. “And learn how to run — fast.”

Later, I made certain that I worked in offices with “escape” routes while editing weekly newspapers in Missouri and in Oregon.

I also learned to keep my mouth shut when confronted by an angry person. Let them vent their anger before responding. The obvious lesson: It takes two to tango. Continue reading WANT SAFE VOCATION? STAY OUT OF THE NEWSROOM

When you yearn to escape, it’s time to travel west

NEW COVERED WAGONWhen I tire of reading about the state of human affairs, I turn to my favorite author, someone who never fails to entertain me, to challenge me, to whet my appetite for adventure.

I know that the book I choose will follow the same plot line of nearly every book this author has written.

I know that the protagonist will be someone who has honed his basic skills of survival, who will shoot straight, knows how to throw a left jab and gets the girl before the story ends.

I want to be lost in the woods, travel over the western landscape, know how to handle knife and gun, sweat along a dusty trail, shiver in the cold, fight off a bear, ride a horse, sit around a campfire, watch the stars light up the sky. I want to be reminded of pioneer men and women who face life-and-death odds and prevail by the sweat of the brow, dogged determination and a willingness to take risks.

Last week I spent a lot of time reading what I call “heavy stuff” about finance, politics, economics and international trade policy. I also worked on the last few chapters of a romance novel that I’m writing. Even penned a letter or two.

Then I did what I always do. I went to the library and picked out a book by the late Louis L’Amour, who knew and wrote about the western landscape and its people.

He wrote 86 novels before he died in 1988, including my favorite, “Conagher,” and books about Hondo and the Sackett family.

Not bad for a guy who left school at 15 and completed his education as he traveled about the world living the characters that appear in my favorite “escape literature.”

Enough of Donald Duck. Gimme a real man and a courageous woman who stride out for the western horizon, making America what it always has been: great.