As you remember, yesterday I talked about year-round sports. Today I am exploring another aspect of this trend. You will notice that most municipal athletic complexes stand dormant for much of those vacation days of summer. The older kids don’t have the time to spend at the pool or on a recreational field just having fun. In days gone by, there would have been no open fields. Somebody would have been playing baseball or softball on it. Today you can drive by Liberty Park most nights of the week and the ball field is empty. Why is this? The high school kid has had practice starting as early as 5 a.m. He/she then goes to work and then most will report back to their school sometime in the evening for more of the same or a different practice. How much time does that give them to really do fun things? If this trend continues, I can see a time when a high school varsity team will have just enough kids to participate in games with almost no subs, because the kids will have said “I’m not going to put in all this time and not play.” Unfortunately, it is already creeping in to some sports. This past year Batesville had to really scout to find a full freshmen football schedule. Many girls sports only have varsities because the girls have already decided that the time needed to be a reserve athlete does not fit into their schedules. When a young person decides not to participate, they loose interest and they find a much easier path for recreation instead of calling friends for a “pick up game”. Worse yet, some of them begin to loiter in wrong locations. We all know what that leads to.
INDIANAPOLIS >> With All-Star forward Blake Griffin recovering from a broken shooting home in Los Angeles and the sluggish Clippers needing a spark Tuesday night, Doc Rivers got exactly what he needed.A big game from Chris Paul.The All-Star guard scored 19 of his 26 points in the second half including a 19-foot pullup jumper with 33.7 seconds left in the game and J.J. Redick added 19 points to help the short-handed Clippers hold on for a 91-89 victory at Indiana.“With all the stuff in the last 48 hours, we always say it’s the game that brings a team back,” Rivers said. “You could feel that (Tuesday). That was a good win for our team.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Clippers (29-16) desperately needed a victory to create some semblance of normalcy on an otherwise bizarre day.Just hours before playing the game, word leaked that Griffin had broken his shooting hand after punching equipment manager Matias Testi, one of his friends, in the face. The Clippers later confirmed Griffin would miss four to six weeks with the injury and could also face additional punishment.Before the game, Rivers answered question after question about what happened before joking with reporters he appreciated questions asked about the game. There were none.For the first 21/2 quarters, it looked like the distraction had taken a toll on the Clippers.But late in the third quarter, the defense buckled down and held the Pacers scoreless for nearly eight minutes as Los Angeles scored 13 straight points to take an 81-72 lead midway through the fourth. The Clippers never trailed again thanks largely to Paul, who made three 3-pointers and was 8 of 13 from the field in the second half and finished with six rebounds, seven assists and one steal. “It’s tough, I don’t know much about it,” Paul said, noting he had spoken to Griffin once since the incident in Toronto. “But for me, I’ve got to lead this team. We’ve got games to win.”Paul did everything he could to make sure the Clippers did win Monday though it sure wasn’t easy.Paul George had 31 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Pacers (23-22) and spurred a late 14-7 run that got the Pacers within 88-86 with 1:43 left in the game. His 3 with 28 seconds left made it 91-89 and after forcing a turnover with 2.1 seconds to go, Indiana had a chance to force overtime or win the game.Instead, Jamal Crawford deflected the inbound pass from the frontcourt to the backcourt on the opposite side, running off all but 0.3 seconds. George Hill then tried to lob the ball into the paint, but it bounced off the backboard all the way past midcourt before the Clippers touched it to run out the clock.“We had lot of plays that we wish we could have taken back, just poor execution, poor spacing,” George said after the Pacers’ third straight loss. “We just did a terrible job during that (eight-minute) stretch.”