PUT IT ALL ON THE LINE

Del Olaleye: In a win-or-lose-it-all championship scenario, who do you trust more -- Ken Giles or James Harden?

Ken Giles with one out to win it all? Or James Harden with the last shot? Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Who do you trust? It a simple question with no simple answer. I’m not trying to be existential. I talk about sports for living. My capacity for higher thinking is limited to Netflix and naps. Fandom is based on belief. If your favorite team broke your belief why would you even watch? The Astros provided people reasons to believe time after time in the 2017 season. That belief was solidified with a World Series win. I think most people trust the Astros to come through. One central figure in their title run failed enough on the field to erode any trust fans may have had in him. Not just the fans by the way. His manager stopped believing in him as well. We’ll get to him later.

The Rockets have done everything in their power to wipe away the end of the 16-17 season. They set a franchise record in wins well before the season was over. The acquisitions of P.J. Tucker, Chris Paul and Luc Mbah a Moute have brought a defensive focus that was absent in the past. They have the soon to be crowned MVP and a possible coach of year candidate. But do you trust them? Specifically, do you trust their most important piece?

The question of trust prompted me to create a high pressure hypothetical and go around the office and ask for a gut reaction and answer. Remember when I wrote one hundred words ago or so “We’ll get to him later”? Well now is later. The man who’s postseason performance eroded the trust placed in him is Ken Giles. He’s been a topic of conversation throughout the Astros hot start. He’s not the only one to create trust issues by failing in the postseason. One player who has a chance to gain some trust back is James Harden. For this scenario we’ll call him “Elimination James.” He earned that nickname with a string of bad performances in series clinching exits.

Scenario 1:

Ken Giles is facing Bryce Harper in Game 7 of the World Series in Washington. It is the bottom of the ninth and the bases are loaded with two outs. The Astros lead 5-4. An out and the Astros win the World Series. If Harper gets a hit, the Nationals win.

Scenario 2:

The Rockets trail the Cavs by one in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. It is Rockets ball with 15 seconds to go. Lebron James tells the world “I’ve got 13.” Elimination James vs Lebron for the NBA title. Harden makes the shot and the Rockets win the title. If he misses, the Cavs win it all.

I created these two hypotheticals and walked around the office and laid them out for my co-workers. I asked one question. Who do you trust to get their job done more?

The Responses:

Raheel Ramzanali - Not Giles

James Weddington - Giles

Michael Carrell - Elimination James

Robert Harris - Elimination James, “he’s a true closer.”

Tyler Frisby - Not Giles

Tyler Scott - Not Giles

Beautiful Andrew - Not Giles

Lance Zierlein - Giles

Jong Lee - Not Giles

Joel Blank - Elimination James

Barry Lamanick - Elimination James

Nick Sharara - Not Giles

Ron Culver - Not Giles

The Sean Salisbury Show? It was Unanimous - Not Giles

Lance and James used probability and math to pick Giles. The math is in Giles’ favorite to get the job done in their opinion. Only Barry, Joel and producer Robert Harris picked Harden to succeed. The majority of the office went with “Not Giles.” They didn’t believe in Harden, they just believed in Giles less.

So who do you trust?

Patriot Paws/Facebook

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

It's that time of year: Houston Ballet's packed and popular Nutcracker Market will be held Thursday, November 14, through Sunday, November 17, at NRG Center with more than 100,000 shoppers expected to scoop up everything "Christmasy" that can fit under a tree, down a chimney, on a dinner table or you can put a bow on it.

About 260 merchants, including 23 rookie booths, will kick back 11 percent of their sales toward the Houston Ballet Foundation. When you add in all the admission money, thousands of Houston area students will get a valuable lesson in the arts.

As always, all roads will lead to booth 920, to the back and to the right in NRG Center, where the Donne Di Domani ladies will be selling their legendary marinara sauce for the 28th year. Donne Di Domani means "Women of Tomorrow" in Italian, or "Spaghetti Sauce Ladies" in plain English.

The sauce is still $10 a bottle, credit cards accepted. If you buy a 12-bottle case for $120, they'll throw in a dozen recipe cards guaranteed to please the family, including your uncle who comes to your house each Christmas and does nothing but complain about your cooking.

Here's why I love writing about these ladies. Sure their sauce is amazing. Consider this a warning: If you wait till Sunday to buy the sauce, you'll be the little piggy who had none. But the real story is what Donne Di Domani does with their profits — we're talking millions here. Yeah, they sell a lot of sauce.

Each year, after the market closes and they total up the profits, the ladies decide which charities they'll support. It's a long list of organizations such as Shelter for Cancer Families, Casa Juan Diego, Triumph Over Kid Cancer, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the Carmelite Nuns of New Caney, and many more.

One year, when I was in the hospital getting my X-rays touched up, I heard that Sister Angel and the Carmelite Nuns said a prayer for me. Wrong church, wrong pew, but I'll take it.

Pawsing for our heroes
The charities may change, but the ladies will always support an organization dedicated to helping veterans and their families. Last year the charity was Folded Flag, which lends a hand to widows and children of soldiers killed in the line of duty.

In recent years, Donne Di Domani sponsored service dogs trained by Patriot Paws in Rockwell, Texas. I've been to Rockwell and seen how these remarkable dogs help wounded veterans get through their day. It costs $30,000 to train a dog, and the dogs are given free to vets who need them. Donne Di Domani so far has sponsored four Patriot Paws dogs:

"Hoffy," who was named after me (best honor I ever received), didn't make the grade. His mind wandered and he didn't concentrate on his studies. (The acorn sure didn't fall far from the tree.)

Continue on CultureMap to find out what happened to "Hoffy."

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