E Pluribus UnumAs so often is the case, the very simple sport of running is an excellent prism through which to view life’s more complex problems. For life in all its saturated colored highs, depressing grays, and even coal-black lows can be found within the compressed world of long-distance foot racing.

The lesson, overall, is not to give in to the highs any more so than to the lows. Instead, one learns to soldier on, establishing intermediate goals that lead to more profound ones as the process itself becomes the primary directive.

Therefore, much like how individual track and field events merely share the same venue at a track meet, but don’t cohere into anything beyond that unless bound by a unifying intention (i.e. the NCAA Championship), so too are myriad Americans increasingly sharing this land of the Pilgrim’s Pride, but not its common values or cohering historic assumptions.

That is the backdrop that frames the argument du jour of whether to allow thousands of Syrian refugees to immigrate to the U.S. in the wake of the ISIS attacks in Paris last week. And it isn’t an argument that easily translates into precise lanes of right or wrong. Continue reading


Sir Isaac Newton (sans Capri pants)

         Sir Isaac Newton

While science has been at odds with both churches and states throughout the centuries, and even today finds wide swaths of deniers at all compass headings, it is generally agreed that the world has been more assisted than not by the discoveries of the noodle-minded among us like Newton, Einstein, etc.

So why, for heaven sakes, can’t clothing manufacturers all get together once and for all and agree on what constitutes small, medium, large and XL?  Why can’t they come up with a unified field theory of shoe sizes world-wide? How come a Nike size 10 is an Asics size 11!? How am I supposed to shop on-line or at Costco when everyone makes up their own dimensions?

If Archimedes (287 – 212 B.C.) could find a method to trisect an arbitrary angle (using a markable straightedge — the construction is impossible using strictly Platonic rules) how hard is it to measure the waist and inseam on a pair of jeans? How does one brand’s 34”-32” fit like a glove, while another brand ends up looking like Capri pants on me?

People, the world is seemingly coming apart at the seams all around us. Might I suggest we set aside our tribal, religious and political differences for just a half-second and straighten our the tailoring dysfunctions as a unifying place to begin the reconciliation?  I’m certain Sir Isaac and Albert would concur. Thank you.




Last year at this time I was in Durban, South Africa to give a keynote address at a Global Athletics Conference (GAC 2014)Ato Boldon was the conference emcee, and he opened with “if you love something, you are supposed to be critical of it.” With that in mind, some thoughts on the eventful goings on in this second week of November 2015.

WADA Report 2015WADA’s scathing report on the systematic drug abuse and perfidy within Russian athletics wasn’t just an indictment of one federation. Coming on the heels of the arrest of former IAAF President Lamine Diack by French authorities for allegedly taking bribes to cover up drug offenses, the WADA Report simply underlined the scope of the moral crisis facing the sport. Continue reading


Norman RockwellAre we surprised Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Dr. Ben Carson are leading in the U.S. presidential polls? Are we shocked Pope Francis seems bent on radically reforming every Catholic prohibition heretofore considered canonical?  Are we indignant that women’s marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe has been linked (though unnamed) to assertions of PED use by a British parliamentary committee during a hearing into doping allegations in athletics?

I wish I were, but I am sorry, I am not. I guess I have been around too long.

From Paula Radcliffe to Tom Brady, Hillary Clinton to the Catholic Church, what we are witnessing is the new assumption of guilt by a public grown too cynical for Norman Rockwell’s vanilla version of life. Nothing is above reproach. Facts may not lie, but like quarks are never directly observed or found in isolation, either. Instead they exist within the larger narrative that forms a constantly moving target that applies only to the moment, never universally over time.

“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is,” don’t you know. Continue reading


DeflateGateThough the Symmonds Matter has managed to leak into the public sphere, let there be no doubt as to which sport’s legal case the population is riveted.  Deflate-Gate hit federal court today in Manhattan where the long unraveling of each side’s case began before Judge Richard M. Berman.

The judge had requested that the NFL and NFL Player’s Association meet prior to today’s hearing to discuss or even come to a settlement.  That didn’t happen. So Judge Berman conducted an open court hearing followed by a closed-door session in an attempt to get the two sides closer to doing for themselves what he will eventually do for them if they can’t work it out for themselves. Continue reading


The Man


The whole Donald Trump political phenomenon, culminating (so far) in last Thursday night’s Fox News GOP presidential debate, has the American political class in a tizzy and his opponents in a quandary. For that alone we ought to thank him. No matter the hair, the harangues, or the heresy, none of it seems to matter as Trump’s standing in the polls continues to defy accepted political gravity.

While the media keeps insisting that this is only the “Silly Season”, and The Coiffed One will tumble eventually, even his debate take down of Fox News darling Megyn Kelley last Thursday hasn’t taken the pink from his political cheeks. And previous barrages against Mexicans and John McCain he now wears like political battle ribbons. Everyone keeps wondering how the Big Bluster can remain atop the heap of what is considered the best class of GOP candidates in recent memory.

On Monday, Bloomberg Politics’ Mark Halperin asked, ‘if it’s such a strong field, and he’s so weak, why isn’t it any Republican overtaking him?”

Might it be suggested that the issue/problem isn’t the Trumpster, as such, isn’t the great field of candidates, isn’t the political mainstream’s dislike. The Trump ascendancy — like that of his Democratic counterpart Bernie Sanders — has risen out of the disaffections in America circa 2015.  That alone should give us pause. For when the usual complement of political assets: experience, likability, collegiality, well-modulated argument, get Trumped by bluster and bullying, what we have is a political reflection of a nation on the defensive, one putting on its bark as it senses the loss of its bite.

People have become more sensitive, rubbed raw, feeling pressed. They are keeping a closer inspection of perceived slights.  Comics don’t do colleges anymore, too PC.  But how much longer do we keeping spouting ‘everyone is a winner’, where grade inflation and social advancement are seen as educationally worthy, and celebrity lacquers the culture in a shiny, vacuous veneer? Who was it that said, “people get the government they deserve?” Continue reading