Friday, March 13, 2015

Stop Bad Fan Behavior-Indian Wells 14 Years Later

I turned to the sports pages this morning for early thoughts on Terps basketball tonight in the Big Ten Tournament.

But my eyes wandered to a side-bar tennis article about Serena Williams and the Indian Wells (California) BNP Paribas Open. This year marks Williams' return to the tournament after 14 years of deliberate absence.

Serena was a teenager booed from the crowd during play at her last Indian Wells appearance. Her father heard racist remarks. These hurt her young sensitivities and her dad's mature feelings. He said that she should never play Indian Wells again. And she hasn't. Until this year.

How Serena decided to make a return is a family story. She talked to a reporter about the decision being influenced partly by the urging of sister Venus, a film about Nelson Mandela, and the quality of forgiveness, in her words, where she noted Mandela's reconciliation ideas. "'In order to forgive you have to be able to really let go of everything,' she said. 'I went through something that wasn’t the best for me. Trying to get over those nerves of coming back and how will I feel and what’s it going to be like. I have to experience that. When you do forgive and you do try to let go, you have to let a lot of those emotions go as well.'”

Tennis fans at Indian Wells this year might have changed and matured in character and morals. They should make an unusual effort to show, clearly, a determined welcome for Williams now. An unsportsmanlike few in a crowd can make any sports competition turn sour and unfair, as well as nerve-wracking for players and onlookers.

Looking back, the losers 14 years ago were the rude few among the multitude at Indian Wells; they lacked the ability to appreciate the dynamism of two powerful players, sisters trained by their father and on their way to the top of their sport, amid a growing sports-like openness to all skilled players.

The beauty of the Williams story is that a close family, talent, focus, hard work, world-tennis championships--and yes, faith and prayer--have enthusiastically outdone the foul shots of insult and injury. When good does not give up against evil, good overcomes even on playing courts, or grass, and in the bleachers.

Good fans should spurn bad fan behavior of whatever kind. The bad behavior should not go unnoticed by sports officials anywhere. Fan entry rule #1: Throw hidden alcoholic drinks, drugs, and ingrown prejudice in the trash where it belongs, outside the sports arena.  

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Netanyahu Heard, Iran Exposed, American Leadership Absent, Radical Faith Growing

The formatting has a mind of its own with this post. Thanks for bearing with it.
Note: I realized as I wrote this post, listened to and read analyses and comments on PM Netanyahu's speech that we are in "worse shape" as a nation than I thought. Yet, as one Twitter member, @ethicapolitika, expresses his view, I agree that this age is no worse than others.  Now is our opportunity to understand prior generations more and admire them even more....

I appreciate very much that the U.S. congress and the world have heard the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu speak about Iran's nuclear arms development. The PM's concerns are now fully known. Unlike what some would have us believe, his was not the first "foreign" speech before the congress, and as he follows the example of Winston Churchill.

What I learned 

What I learned from Israel's prime minister is that he takes Iran's post-revolutionary history into his calculations, a consideration that seems contrary to U.S. leadership approach. Iran intends not only to produce nuclear weapons but also intends to enrich its uranium in-country. Iran intends to maintain ts global jihad in its plans. Their words, read by Netanyahu, prove this.

Changes must happen n the context of nuclear arms negotiations with Iran

The U.S. negotiations in Geneva continue within the context of Iran’s label of the U.S. as “the Great Satan” and its chanted: Death to America!  They continue within the context of Iran's insistence that sanctions now in place be lifted and no further sanctions added. 

The U. S. needs to reverse what has been given away so far in efforts to "win" in negotiation. "Winning" is key for this administration in the U. S., however, and there is not likely to be a Wisdom Awakening, humanly speaking.

"A Negotiated Agreement OR War--the Only Options Left"


This claim is not true. The U.S. has more than two options: "negotiate OR go to war, " and to use a middle option would not be "the end of the world."

We could allow the Iranians to walk away and return another day, while sanctions remain. Not likely, however, due to the "winning" factor.

Nehemiah in Persia  


Nehemiah, a figure of Israel's history, was a Jew in exile in Persia, a land where Iran is now. He served Persia's King Artaxerxes hundreds of years ago, in the BC Era. He was at the palace at Shushan when returning exiles told him about Jerusalem, the city's walls-their equivalent of homeland security--destroyed. 

Nehemiah wept at this news and prayed fervently to be able to help. The king agreed, and answered other requests of Nehemiah: (1) letters of passage and (2) a letter to the king's forest manager;  "instructing him to give me timber for the beams and for the gates of the fortress near the Temple, and for the city walls, and for a house for myself.”

Nehemiah said: "And the king granted these requests, for God was being gracious to me."

A nuclear-focused Iran from military perspective


Iran changed radically in 1979 when the Shah was deposed and outcast. The incoming caliphate changed the country and 36 years later is ready to be a nuclear-arms Iraq. Sanctions have worked to a point regarding today's Iran. IAEA oversight, as Netanyahu mentioned, has not worked fully, due to Iran's resistance of it. The U. S. appears ready to drop sanctions.

American strength, like Jerusalem's walls of old, crumbling regarding Iran and Middle East 


American strength needs rebuilding in character as well as confidence and service. I would like U.S. leaders at executive and congressional levels that know how to be wise about nuclear armament questions everywhere in the world. That's the hope, but reports today say that will not happen regarding Iran.

Middle negotiation option with Iran could help rebuild America


But, this middle option is not likely to happen. Good for Iran, bad for the U. S., Israel, and others.



Regular Americans should  have spoken up earlier; but "should'a, would'a, could'a," as Hillary Clinton once said about one of her controversial actions.

I think now of the biblical Habakkuk. this situation now "is what it is." Habakkuk's final word was that if the worst happened he would maintain his hope in God.

What gives you and me the urge to follow these events carefully and to write or speak about them? First, it is basic to think and to learn for ourselves; second, we are not alone in our views. That does not mean they are correct, but it means that they just might be reasonable. Third, we care about this country and the world.