Never Forget that the World is Beautiful

You, and I, should read more poetry.

Your thoughts don’t have words every day
They come a single time
Like signal esoteric sips
Of the communion Wine
Which while you taste so native seems
So easy so to be
You cannot comprehend its price
Nor its infrequency

Emily Dickinson, 1452

Never forget that the world is beautiful, nor that there is more to this world than the world.

If they but knew!  They’re steeped in luck, country people,
being far removed from grinds of war, where earth that’s just
showers them with all that they could ever ask for.
So what if he hasn’t a mansion with gates designed to impress
and callers traipsing in and out all morning long.
So what if there’s not rabble gawking at the entrance with its gaudy tortoiseshell veneer,
and tapestries with gold filigree, and bronzes plundered on a march to Corinth.
So what if their wool’s merely bleached and not stained with Assyrian dyes,
and the olive oil they use hasn’t been diluted with that tint of cinnamon —
no, what they have is the quiet life — carefree and no deceit —
and wealth untold — their ease among cornucopia,
with grottoes, pools of running water and valleys cool even in warm weather,
the sounds of cattle and sweet snoozes in the shade.
There are glades and greenwoods, lairs of game,
young men wed to meagre fare but born and built for work.
Here, too, is reverence for God and holy fathers, and it was here
that Justice left her final footprints as she was taking leave of earth.
And as for me, my most ardent wish is that sweet Poetry,
whose devotee I am, smitten as I’ve been with such commitment,
would open up to me the courses of the stars in heaven,
the myriad eclipses of the sun and phases of the moon,
whence come earthquakes, which are the reason deep seas surge
to burst their bounds before receding peacefully,
and are why winter suns dash to dip themselves into the ocean
and are what causes long nights to last and linger.

Virgil, Georgics, II.458-83


Pulls are Important

Cued by a comment on a recent episode of Deep Look, I began to think about the importance of pulls; whether it was worth it to spend real effort cultivating pullers this year.  The more I thought, the more I became convinced that it wasn’t just a good idea, but something quite important and that I should be working at it more in my own game.

The Football Outsiders place the importance of special teams in football at about 13% of total performance, or roughly one-quarter that of O and one-third of D, not an insignificant percentage.  Moreover, they’ve always emphasized the importance of kickoffs, particularly before the recent kicking rule changes, as an underrated aspect of evaluating a kicker and special teams unit’s performance.  Essentially, a kicker who goes 20/25 on field goals but consistently pins the other team deep could be significantly more valuable than one who goes 24/25 but is lousy at kickoffs.  The connection to pulling is obvious.

But is it worth working on something that, while important, is far less important than O or D, particularly on a developmental squad which has such stark deficiencies everywhere?  The answer is yes, and it’s precisely because of those deficiencies.  B-Team offenses are really bad.  An extra 10, 15 yards or trapping the disc on the sideline might increase the chances of a turnover by 50%, if not more.  Moreover, pulling is an inefficiency.  There simply aren’t that many good pullers.  Part, the main part, of my job is to make my players better and more valuable to higher-level teams, and players who are good at things that no one else is good at are valuable.  Finally, pulling isn’t particularly conceptual or difficult to practice.  It’s one of the easiest things to practice alone, and I imagine getting a few players to hang back and work on pulls after practice won’t be too tough.

Thus, Team Goal: develop at least 2-3 designated pullers by the time Regionals roles around.  Individual Goal: Consistent (8/10? is that realistic? too conservative) inbounds/in-the-endzone pulls by Summer League.