Every-thing Sports

The wussification of America continues

During Michigan state's first round win over Bradley in the NCAA tournament, head coach Tom Izzo was seen getting very angry and going after freshman forward Aaron Henry. Henry was giving what Izzo referred to as a lack of effort. By now you've all seen the clip or heard a version of what happened so I won't go into too much more detail. The outcry after the incident against Izzo would have you thinking he was a criminal or worse. It got me thinking about how soft we've gotten as a society, especially when it comes to being corrected.

What Henry and Izzo called coaching, most of the people who weighed in on the situation said it was uncalled for, unnecessary, a hole behavior, etc. You get the picture. To me, this was just a moment in which a man in charge of young men and their growth decided to have a teaching moment that happened to be caught on the national stage. Nowadays, everyone is so sensitive to being corrected, told they've done something wrong, be criticized, or anything remotely negative. Quite frankly, I'm sick of it!

This is an extension of the wussification of America. John Granato wrote about the drama queens in sports last month and I couldn't agree with him more. He came at it with the approach that we know too much about the behind the scenes drama and ancillary things about athletes these days. Back in the day, we wouldn't have known any of that stuff and wouldn't have cared. Now, we have a 24 hour or less news cycle and social media that constantly need feeding.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that kids are raised differently these days. Back in my day (I know, I know), we got ass whippings. I used to get in trouble so much, I knew how to get a whipping and not have it hurt as much. I even perfected fake crying and being dramatic. I knew I was next level when I would use psychology to get out of trouble.

These days, kids have safe spaces. Parents are afraid to be hard on their kids because they're being told it will harm their kids' psychologically and stunt their emotional growth. That's the biggest load of crap I've heard in some time! I got my ass whipped and turned out just fine! I got fussed at and criticized when I messed up and ended up more mentally tough than most. I didn't let adversity turn me into a crying little bitch. No. I used that adversity, the criticism, the hard times, created a Texas-sized chip on my shoulder, and led all of that to motivate me into the person you see.

People tell my wife and I how well-mannered or well-behaved our kids are all the time. "They can come over any time" or other iterations of that phrase has been told to us numerous times over the years. Why? Because we raised them to be respectful, thoughtful, and we're hard enough on them to ensure they are ready for how tough the real world can be. Are they truly ready? Only time will tell. They're still teenagers, but they have a better foundation than some of these entitled spoiled brats.

A well-placed tongue lashing, a good ass whipping, and some tough love could have made some of today's athletes much better, or easier to tolerate. What if Kevin Durant wasn't so sensitive to twitter comments? What if Antonio Brown handled his grievances behind the scenes? What if Jonathan Martin had slapped the crap out of Richie Incognito? Have you ever thought about what the news cycle would look like had social media been around when Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Babe Ruth, Lawrence Taylor, or some other all-time greats were in their heyday?

I didn't write this as a pity party, to brag on our parenting skills, to bash current athletes, or to brag on how things were back in my day. I wrote this to bring attention to how soft we've gotten as a society and how it's bled over into sports. If you can't see the parallels between sports and society, you've got worse eyesight than Stevie Wonder. It's time we woke up. Not every criticism is an insult. Not every correction is an indictment. Sometimes we need tough love in order to reach our greatest potential. We need to realize that being pushed is better than being pulled or left behind. When we do, society, and sports, will all be better for it.

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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