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Monthly Archives: July 2010

This blog is a Kitsap Sun reader blog. The Kitsap Sun neither edits nor previews reader blog posts. Their content is the sole creation and responsibility of the readers who produce them. Reader bloggers are asked to adhere to our reader blog agreement. If you have a concern or would like to start a reader blog of your own, please contact sunnews@kitsapsun.com.

I’m Baaack!

OK….I took a little vacation!

On Wednesday, I decided to do something I never had before….have an unscheduled surgery. Right out of the blue! My appendix and I are now parted and I’ve been convalescing watching lots of golf, Sportcenter, and reruns of NCIS.

Let’s talk golf…

Watching the US Seniors Open at Sahalee. Would have loved to be there in person, but this appendix thing got in the way. Friday was the day that the big names moved to the top of the leaderboard. Bernhard Langer leads by 2 shots, but big names like Loren Roberts, Tom Watson, and hometwon hero Freddie Couples loom. Langer looks tough. He won last week in the British Open and was terrific yesterday. He is a formwr 2-time Masters winner and knows how to play in championships.

My rooting interest is for Fred, but he needs to pick it up today. Loren Roberts is an excellent putter and will definitely stay in contention. Also watch for Tom Kite to make a run…he plays well in the Northwest.

At this point, I give the edge to Langer. Let’s see how “moving day” at Sahalee unfolds…

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Head Injuries, the NFL and Jack Tatum

The New York Times has a terrific story in today’s paper about the proactive approach the NFL is finally taking on head injuries. If you are an athlete, coach, parent, or athletic trainer, you must read this. Head injures are no longer being taken lightly. The long-term affects of head injuries is staggering.

Read the article

As for me, this is a 2008 article I wrote for the Washington State Coaches Association quarterly journal. As a risk management consultant and former high school basketball coach, I have my own take and here is its reprisal…

It was December, 2005 and I was coaching the first game of our high school basketball season at North Kitsap High School (WA). It was late second quarter and we were playing North Mason at home. A North Mason player was heading on a two-on-one fast-break and my point guard Katie was in great position to take a charge. As the offensive player made her move to the basket, Katie stood her ground, feet planted, in perfect position.

BAM!

The collision came and the referee signaled offensive foul. Everyone on our bench and in the stands jumped up and cheered…except for Katie. She lay motionless on the floor.

When I went out to see her it was apparent she had suffered a concussion. Her head hit the floor hard after the impact with the other player. This was her second concussion in a couple of years. Needless to say Katie didn’t finish the game and missed two more before she was cleared to play again.

It’s not only football coaches that should be worried about head injuries. Concussions are common in most sports, especially basketball, soccer, wrestling, and baseball/fast pitch. Any opportunity for contact with either another player or equipment lends itself to this peril. In fact last winter, the UCLA basketball program was in the news as two of their players were out a significant time due to concussions.

Concussions and other head injuries are tough to prevent. They are part of the game. That being said, as a coach, you can plan for them and how you respond. As you head into a new year, now is the time for you as coaches to start preparing your game plan when it comes to head injuries. What do I mean by that?

o Regardless of your sport, make time in your pre-season meeting with players and parents to discuss the inherent dangers of your sport. You need to lead off with a discussion about head injuries. Document your presentation, both with the players and parents. If you can, use video to record the meeting. As I used to tell my players, the video never lies. If you are ever accused of not warning properly, you now have proof. Sorry…it’s the world we live in.
o Don’t take chances. It’s easy to say now that you won’t put an athlete back in a game after a head injury. It’s harder when the game is on the line, the emotions are high, and he/she looks fit to participate. Make a decision now that part of your game plan is to resist that urge and just say no. At North Kitsap, we were fortunate to have a training staff that had to clear an athlete to play. Most high schools don’t have that luxury. And, if you think this doesn’t happen, think again. The newspapers are filled with stories of kids who received serious injuries after going back in following a head injury. Just say no.
o Resist the urge to play them too soon after a concussion. Look, I was one of you. Good sense sometimes flies out the window in the middle of a season. The player wants to play; the parent wants them to play; YOU want them to play. The bottom line is that nothing is as important as your athlete’s health…period. Once a player has suffered a concussion, it is easier to get another one. Troy Aikman and Steve Young are perfect examples. Wait to get medical clearance from a doctor before letting them back into play.

There are two important factors you face with this issue. The first is the long-term health of your player. You have a great responsibility as their coach to protect them from undue harm. Take that responsibility seriously. The second is to protect you. You have liability for their care. If you don’t use best practices, you may find your name on the front page of the paper instead of the sports page…for all the wrong reasons. If you do everything a prudent and educated coach should do when it comes to head injuries, you will be also protecting your reputation and career.

By the way, breaking news on the hard-hitting safety who is famous for applying th hit that paralyzed New England Patriots WR Daryl Stingley. Former Oakland Raiders start Jack Tatum passed away today as the result of a heart attack. He was 61 years old.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Tod Leiweke Leaves Seahawks and Sounders

Tod Leiweke stepped down today as CEO of Vulcan Sports & Entertainment (Paul Allen’s group that owns the Seahawks, Sounders, and Blazers). This is bad news for both local teams.

Leiweke is the behind the scenes executive who made the organizations run. You may not be happy with the Seahawks on the field, however he was an exceptional executive, garnering the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Executive of the Year in 2009.  Leiweke is leaving to be CEO and part owner of the NHL Tampa bay Lightning – apparently hockey is his first love.

Leiweke directly oversaw the team that went to the Super Bowl in 2005 and has since made a major splash in a transition to Pete Carroll. There is no doubt that the Sounders have been a tremendous success in their first two years.

This creates a huge executive void to fill for Paul Allen. The average fan may not fully appreciate the role of the CEO, but in this case they have big shoes to fill.

Read the story

© 2010 Dan Weedin – All Rights Reserved

Wak and Figgie – Go to Your Corners, Round 2

So now it’s come to this.

For those of you who haven’t heard, Chone Figgins was benched last night in the 5th inning by Manager Don Wakamatsu for not backing up the cut off man and allowing Mike Cameron to go to 3rd base on a double. Figgins became irate in the dugout and players needed to get involved to avoid any escalation. So much for all the clubhouse harmony from last year.

I saw the play. Figgins was at fault. Had he made an effort to back up Michael Saunders overthrow, Cameron would not have mafe a bee-line to third. However, Figgins probably feels singled out. Let’s face it, there are other guys on this team who continually make huge errors. Jose Lopez has been a disaster on the basepaths and on the field. Why has he not been benched.

This team is in complete disarray. Figgins and Milton Bradley are headed the way of other big free agents signings of th past, Carlos Silva and Jeff Cirillo. They are terrible and we are stuck with them or their salary for several year. We have three first baseman who can’t play other positions. Our pitchers continue to throw great games with no run support (except for Ryan Rowland-Smith who gets lit up every time he pitches).

This latest episode is indicative of losing. The “harmony” that Wakamatsu apparently brought last year looks like an aberration. Jack Zduriencik had better make some moves to turn this around. For now, I believe Wakamatsu is safe. He won’t survive another first half like this next year, though.

Now is the time to see who can play. I’d like to see them recall Matt Tuiasososopo and play him at third every day. He was a high draft choice; let’s see what ewe’ve got. Trade Lopez for whatever you can get. Continue to play Saunders every day in left. Play Justin Smoak at first every day. When Branyan returns, he’s your DH. Release Milton Bradley….the experiment is over. Stop sending Rowland-Smith out there just to spot the other team 6 runs. See what you’ve got down in Tacoma.

By the way, does it make you angry that we’ve been watching Adrian Beltre and Bil Hall beating us with their bats over the past 2 days? These guys were both on our team last year. I’d trade Hall at 2B and Beltre at 3B for Lopez and Figgins in a heart beat.

Well, at least I will say this – Wak and Figgie gave is something to talk about other than a 2-1 loss.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Jared Prince from North Kitsap Tearing It Up

Bremerton resident Gary Gartin recently called me and told me that he saw former North Kitsap star Jared Prince playing for the Hickory Crawdads while visiting friends in Lexington. Prince, an outfielder for the Crawdads, is playing A-ball in the Texas Rangers organization. To say he’s tearing the cover off the ball lately is an understatement.

Check this out – in the last 10 games, Prince is batting .395, with a slugging percentage of .558 and an on base percentage of .435! Overall, he’s batting .299 with 8 HR’s and 58 RBI in 81 games.

Read Jared Prince stats here

I’ve always been a big fan of Jared Prince. He was at North when I was coaching girls basketball. This guy is a great athlete competitor, and even a better guy. I’m really happy for him and hope he gets called up to the next level soon. He deserves it. To bad the Mariners couldn’t have brought him over in the Cliff Lee trade, huh?

P.S. Minor league baseball has the BEST nicknames on the planet. The Hickory Crawdads is an excellent example!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Indy Car Watching

On Sunday, I watched my first Indy Car race…ever. Of course, in the beginning I was switching back and forth from the British Open, but because Louis Oosthuizen had such a big lead, it was okay.

I decided to watch because I had a dog in the hunt. I’m a Mona Vie distributor and Mona Vie has a car and driver – Tomas Scheckter. It was interesting to watch the cars drive through the actual streets of Toronto. I’ve only ever seen bits and pieces of previous races in huge cereal bowls. I must admit this was pretty cool. The announcer mentioned that it was much more difficult and challenging due to the curvatures, bumps, and other exposures not present on a regular track. This probably was the main reason there were so many crashes.

Scheckter was one of those crashes, although he was ale to back out and finish the race. He eventually finished 15th out of 26 racers. I actually found myself interested in the race and may (just may) tune in again…

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Louis Louis….

Wow…who would have thunk it?

If you would have heard that someone won the British Open by 7 strokes, the last name you would have guessed was Louis Oosthuizen. That’s because even the most ardent golf enthusiast never heard of the South African.

He took the lead on Friday on #7 ad never looked back. Unlike all the other big names, he looked like he was playing a round of golf with his pals on a cool Sunday afternoon. Instead, he was playing on the greatest course in the world on the biggest stage. At 27 years old, it’s odd that this talent hasn’t surfaced before. It will be fun to see if Louis is a one-hit wonder, or if he can parlay this into more wins and major challenges.

I three-putt on my predictions all weekend. Congratulations to King Louis on taming St. Andrews and the top golfers of the world. Last chance for a major championship for Tiger and the gang next month at the PGA at Whistling Straights…

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Moving Day at St Andrews

FORE!!!!

One of my favorite things to do on British Open week is getting up early and watching The Open on TV. It’s my World Cup. It’s still windy, but looks playable. U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell is at -5 and in the hunt. The last two times players have won both the US and British Opens were in 2000 (Tiger Woods) and 1982 (Tom Watson). Don’t be surprised to see McDowell in contention tomorrow.

((Hey look – Phil finally makes a putt this weekend))

I love having Tom Watson and Paul Azinger in the booth with Mike Tirico on ESPN. As much as I loved watching Watson play as a leader last year, he is very goo as an analyst , and Azinger is brilliant.

As I watch this morning I can only think of one thing – I just love The Open.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

British Open

Play is suspended at the British Open for the 2nd round, however I think we can make some good guesses at this point for the weekend…

1 – John Daly needs to go on “What Not to Wear.” Somehow Daly always manages to play well at The Open and is a 2-time past champion. I just wish he’d find someone to help him dress.

2 – As is normally customary except for last year, there is a virtual unknown at the top of the board. Louis Oosthuizen from South Africa boasts a 5-shot lead over Mark Calcavecchia. After that, three British golfers are on the leaderboard and none of them are Justin Rose. Rose has been terrific this year, but he will miss the cut after shooting +4 today.

3 – Tiger Woods is hanging around. Just like the first two majors of 2010, Woods is hanging around the top of the leaderboard. He’s tied for 15th, but only 3 strokes out of second place. Tomorrow is moving day and if the leaders falter and Woods plays well, we might see him in the final group on Sunday.

4 – The weather is going to be a factor over the weekend at St. Andrews. Watch for a lot of wind and a lot of crying players.

My pick at the halfway point. For some reason, I think Tiger Woods is going to make a charge. He’s my pick to be on the platform on Sunday.

Stay tuned…

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved