Don’t worry, Mom and Dad. I made sure to put on a helmet and shin pads before I typed up this column.I mean, typing on a computer is about as dangerous as a pillow fight against a stuffed animal, but you just can’t take any chances today.And have no fear, Grandma Betsy. When I go home tomorrow, I’ll be sure to crawl up the stairs. You know how dangerous those elevators can be. I’ve seen ’em in movies.Oh, and don’t complain about me not calling every once in a while. Calling on my cell phone? Do the words “malignant tumor in my brain” mean a wink to you? It’s much safer to communicate this way.Any of that stuff sound ridiculous? Of course it does. But none of that is nearly as preposterous as this doozy of a story coming out of Attleboro, Mass., about 40 miles south of Boston.School administrators — probably reacting to an absurd lawsuit or two — have officially suspended all life-threatening activity such as touch football, tag and walking.Well, maybe not that last one, but it’s currently under advisement at Willett Elementary School in Attleboro.No tag? No touch football? What, are these kids made of glass? I would hate to be a kid at a school with no contact, no competition, no fun. Just because one or two lousy parents whines about their kid being touched — touched, of all things! — by Snot-nose Charlie or Muddy-hands Marge during a harmless playground game.The school, in its formal ruling, banned “any other unsupervised chase game during recess,” afraid that kids could be hurt without anybody watching, which would leave the school or district liable for any such occurrence.According to Willett Elementary School principal Gaylene Heppe, recess time is “when accidents can happen.” Hey, I know exactly what she’s talking about. This one time, at recess, a girl ran up to me and just tapped — tapped! — me on the back. She must have thought I was playing tag, and when she realized I wasn’t in the game, she said, “cootie-brain!” and ran away. This accident was certainly a horrible event that has scarred me for life.It’s not too late to nominate Ms. Heppe as a presidential candidate for 2008, is it? Clearly, this is a lady who’s got her head in the right place!However, I probably shouldn’t single out Heppe for her thoughts; as a matter of fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if those words were placed directly into her mouth by the aforementioned snotty parents who think their kid would drop dead if he or she ate a bug.Some schools around Attleboro reportedly tried to get rid of dodgeball some years back, calling the game “exclusionary and dangerous.”Oh, come on! In the immortal words of Patches O’Houlihan: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!” (Hey parents, calm down. I’m not actually suggesting the kids start flinging metal tools at one another. It was a joke, now clean up that Starbucks latte you just spilled all over the floor of your minivan).Here’s the thing: While I agree that maybe dodgeball or other games in elementary and middle school aren’t the safest of activities, there’s certainly a lot worse one can do. Bicycles aren’t safe; kids still ride those, right? How about skateboards? Those haven’t been outlawed? When kids play video games, things can get a little edgy: competition heats up, a controller or two goes flying across the room as somebody kicks the Xbox. What if someone pokes out an eye?Fact is, there isn’t much in life that doesn’t have a little danger that goes along with it. Every time you ride in a car, fly on an airplane, eat your food, go to sleep — you can never be perfectly safe. I can’t buy the belief that if kids at Willett Elementary School are shooting baskets, playing four-square, pushing each other on the swings or eating sand, they’re in any less danger than they would be by running around.Kids still play organized football, don’t they? And sure, they get hurt. But they recover, and usually learn a little something from being hurt. They get hurt playing youth sports, they get hurt playing tag — what difference does it make whether anybody’s watching or not?The problem, of course, lies with these parents who think they’ll be around their kids their entire lives. 24/7 surveillance, making sure that if their kid does get hurt, they can be the first ones on the scene. They seem to think if their child’s knee gets scraped, someone had better be there to help him or her within thirty seconds or their lives are at stake.These parents enjoy playing the “What if?” game. What if Johnny gets hurt? What if Johnny is scarred for life because he’s picked last for the football team? What if he gets hit in the face and never wants to play with his friends again? What if my Johnny has no friends? Oh, good heavens, what if my little Johnny, my baby, gets hurt?Uh, Mom, what if you let your kid grow up like a normal human being? Let kids be kids, and put down the phone; your lawyer’s tired of hearing from you.Celeste D’Elia, a Willett parent, said, “I’ve witnessed enough near collisions,” adding that “her son” feels safer because of the rule.Correction, Celeste: You feel safer. And your son misses out on being a kid. Shameful.Aaron is a sophomore who is headed to the Purdue game this weekend. Anybody who’s got any fun ideas for things to do in West Lafayette can contact him at email@example.com.
Mo Farah won the 5,000m gold in Beijing to claim his ‘triple-double’ and further cement his legacy as one of the greats of long-distance running.The 32-year-old Farah secured his second gold of the World Athletics Championships having already triumphed in the 10,000m – the first time back-to-back doubles has been achieved. Farah also claimed the double at the 2012 Olympics, with Saturday’s victory earning him a triple-double and marking out a stunning period of dominance in his dual disciplines.It was a slow race which suited Farah nicely and he was second heading into the final lap. He overtook Caleb Ndiku of Kenya on the home straight and crossed the line for a time of 13:50.38. Ndiku took silver and bronze went to Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet.Farah has suffered a difficult season after his coach Alberto Salazar was embroiled in a doping scandal – although there is no suggestion whatsoever that the athlete has any involvement and Salazar denies the allegations.But Farah finishes the IAAF World Championships on a huge high, winning his seventh successive global title. After being called the greatest British sportsman by BBC commentator Brendan Foster, Farah replied: “We had people such as David Beckham and the rest of the guys, we have had so many legends and to be in the same category as them is amazing.If you believe in something you can get there. Do what you can. I never doubt myself. I love the sport, I love what I do and I just want to continue that. Everything comes with obstacles and you just have to get them out of the way.”–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySports
View this post on Instagram Missing a key cog on their weakest end of the floor in a must-win game is a tough problem to overcome, and while the mid-season additions of Chalmers and Moreira added depth in the back court and up front, the wing position is now a bit sparse. Cournooh and Felipe Baldi-Rossi help to meet the domestic quota requirements, yet apart from Cournooh’s unsustainability high (and entirely anomalous compared to his career to date) 51% three-point shooting on limited attempts, they are marginal players who cannot much help to defend opposing wing players. Despite his good hustle and athleticism, Cournooh is too small, while the slow-footed Baldi-Rossi has no favourable defensive match-up at all. Bologna, then, can be attacked in individual match-ups just as much as they can attack opponents back.Nevertheless, in must-win individual game scenarios, it is often the performance of an individual player alone that can tip the balance. And with their backcourt pairing of Taylor and Punter, Bologna have two good options for doing so. https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/84/ed/mario-chalmers-bologna_1ijepvqnx41m21okijt7lr06k8.jpg?t=-473554319&w=500&quality=80 In the group stages of the 2019 Basketball Champions League, Virtus Bologna pretty much coasted their way through Group D. They won their first seven contests by a combined 92 points, and finished with a 10-4 record, with the four losses coming via a combined eight points. It could so easily have been a 14-0 sweep.In the round of 16, a tied 74-74 first leg against French side Le Mans was quickly rectified with a dominant 23-point win in the second leg. In that game, Bologna took apart the Le Mans defence, and, unusually for them, recorded 25 assists in the game as a team. https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/f4/95/tony-taylor-bcl_1nm0nlb0w6l0y1fqwndww63jk5.jpg?t=-474054511&w=500&quality=80 .@KPJunior_ has been in his 🎒 all season long! Is he the best player of the #BasketballCL?A post shared by Basketball Champions League (@basketballcl) on Jan 17, 2019 at 1:35am PST Sixth in the competition in scoring, Punter’s 15.5 points per game come in a highly dynamic fashion. Athletic and always attacking, his propensity for hitting tough shots bails out many an otherwise stagnant offensive position, and while he could do more work off the ball himself to alleviate the frequency of this stagnancy, Punter does enough when he is with the ball to carry the team through droughts. Herky-jerky in his style and with the ability to create space via his tight handle, Punter has unlimited outside range, a good mid-range game and the speed to push the ball in transition. When in doubt, Bologna turn to Punter.Alongside him at point guard, meanwhile, Taylor averages a highly efficient 11.4 points per game of his own, to go with a team-high 4.4 assists per game. Shooting better from outside than in any prior season of his career, Taylor does it differently to punter, probing the lane, using plenty of spin moves to get into the paint, dropping floaters and using guile rather than explosion. Unfazed by his relative lack of athleticism and size, Taylor attacks the trees in the paint, drops a hanging mid-ranger when pulling up, and is always getting into the paint. And if he is not getting himself into the paint, he is at least getting the ball there. The third leading scorer is power forward Abath M’Baye, whose 11.0 points per game adds a degree of balance to the team. Throughout his professional career, M’Baye has continued to try and prove himself as being an effective and reliable face-up four man, who can shoot from outside or put the ball on the floor and attack the paint. He is still not entirely convincing when working off the dribble, is more scrappy than smooth, does not have the best hands, and can disrupt an already disjointed offensive rhythm with his propensity to always take a dribble or two after every catch. M’Baye’s physical profile however does see him get to the rim and finish over or through opponents, with a long stride and ability to run the floor that adds a transition element to the front court.Alongside him, Brian Qvale is a smooth roll man and paint finisher, constantly slipping open, getting to the rim, creating a dump-off option and finishing with strength. Seven-foot Dejan Kravic is also an offensive option down low, always willing to give two bumps then turn to a short righty hook. YanickMoreira was brought in during the season to be yet another polished weapon inside the arc, pairing a smooth mid-range shot with some post savvy and delicate touch, while on the perimeter, Italian national team mainstay Pietro Aradori has all the craft and pro moves to be a spot-up, post-up, curling, cutting, screening, close-out driving off-ball offensive threat. Not one of those players looks to pass much – they are finishers rather than creators – yet the plus side to having the lowest assist rates in the competition is having also by far the lowest turnover rates in the competition too. Bologna do not pass or swing the ball much, but they get buckets anyway.Defensively, Bologna rank nearer to the middle of the pack. M’Baye is a willing helper, and Kravic makes for quite the internal presence even if he will not step up to the perimeter, but the team as a whole are prone to gambling and over-relying on playing defence with their hands alone. Punter and Aradori in particular are guilty of this, and while NBA veteran Mario Chalmers has been brought in to provide ball pressure in the back court (as does reserve combo guard David Cournooh), Bologna will have to make do tonight and perhaps hereafter without the disruptive defensive presence of forward Kelvin Martin, out for three weeks due to injury. On the BCL season as a whole, Bologna have the lowest assist percentage of any of the 32 teams to make it to the group stages. The only team near their lowly 49.8% mark was the 51.2% mark of the 3-11 Ludwigsburg; the next lowest amongst any of the teams to qualify for the round of 16 was the 57.4% mark recorded by Greek side PAOK. And of the eight teams doing battle in tonight’s second leg of the quarter finals, only Antwerp (58.9%) also rank under the 60% mark. For comparison’s sake, Iberostar Tenerife have a 70.6% mark.This in itself is not a problem, as there is more than one way to achieve in the game of basketball. To use an NBA comparison, for example, the Houston Rockets are one of the best teams in the league, yet they do so with the third-worst assist rate (54.0%) of any of the 30 NBA teams, because of the brilliance in isolation of James Harden. It does however speak to the way Virtus play. Whereas much of the competition ride their depth and multi-positional shooting, Bologna are by contrast heavily reliant on individual talents, and particularly those of Kevin Punter and Tony Taylor.