Perspectives from locals in Gettysburg regarding the Conn. shooting.

BY TOMMY RIGGS
Gettysburg Times

Members of local law enforcement, education, clergy, and Survivors, Inc., offered their thoughts and perspectives on the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticutt, Friday.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families concerning this horrendous tragedy," Adams County District Attorney Shawn Wagner said, expressing his condolences and the need to be thorough in school security. "It’s an unthinkable tragedy, and the first thing I thought of was my own three elementary school children. Every parent needs to feel comfortable that when they send their children to school that their children are going to a safe environment.

(See LOCALS on Page A5)

"As district attorney, I can assure the public that I and law enforcement will be diligent to ensure that schools are safe, and we will have conversations with all of the school administrators in Adams County to ensure that schools know what individuals are having access to their schools. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a tragedy such as this to spark a conversation about what we are doing locally."

Gettysburg Area School District Superintendent Larry Redding has been in discussion with the his staff how to best deal with the situation in the schools. The district made the decision to have parents break the news to their children in a controlled environment.

"Because it happened during the day, there was a feeling that the students would have had no knowledge of this happening," Redding said. "Because it was so traumatic, we directed staff to not talk about it. With kindergarten kids and young elementary kids, those are not conversations that we wanted to initiate, and we did not initiate any of those conversations with children today.

"Today was more about not having conversations, but beginning to address what we will do on Monday when children come back and we have those discussions. We’ll work with our standard level of school counselors. The weekend will help us from the standpoint of families being able to discuss those issues, but we’ll provide whatever resources are necessary to help children deal with that."

Pastor Michael Allwein, of St. James Lutheran Church in Gettysburg, stressed that society and community, must its best to keep hope alive.

"The purpose of the church is to always speak hope and love," Pastor Allwein said. "To continue to preach hope in the middle of darkness and in the middle of tragedy, I believe that’s our job. My job as a church leader is to always preach hope. Here’s a situation where people can give in to despair and fear, but the response of a church, from my perspective, is to continue to preach hope to people even when they look around and feel that there is very little to be hopeful for."

Allwein said that the church will try to help the people involved to overcome the tragedy.

"How do we make light come into this town in Connecticut?" he asked. "It’s not going to happen overnight, but I believe that’s the calling of the church."

Terri Hamrick, CEO and president of Survivors, Inc., Gettysburg, shared her thoughts on behalf of her organization.

"We are just sickened," Hamrick said. "Our hearts go out to the community, to the families, to the people lost. The ripple effect that atrocity has, sometimes, there are just no words to make sense of it. This was so unnecessary. No one should ever, ever have this happen, and no parent should ever have to bury a child. Violence is never the answer and no one wins. Unfortunately, sometimes things happen that we can’t control."

Hamrick offered advice for how families can deal with the tragedy.

"One of the biggest things is talking to your kids," Hamrick said. "There are resources that help parents with those discussions. One of the things is focusing on the here and now and having supportive discussions with your children. Talk about how this happened and why this happened while trying to reassure them in a way that’s realistic. That’s a real balancing act."

1,000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story

A lot of people were inspired by Cory Weissman’s story earlier this year, and the Gettysburg College basketball player and the college’s production company hope to spread that inspiration with a full-length film.
After being a 1,000-point high school basketball star at Jackson Memorial High School in Jackson, N.J., Weissman went on to play basketball at Gettysburg College. On March 26, 2009, after his freshman season, he suffered a life-threatening stroke. Three years later, his hard work in rehabilitation paid off when he scored a free throw in his return to the court during his Senior Day game against Washington College.
With influence and cooperation from Weissman and his family, the story will now become a movie called 1,000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story.
A production of Gettysburg Great Productions, LLC, a subsidiary of Gettysburg College, a portion of the movie will be filmed on the college campus.
"It’s just such a good opportunity to get my story out there to more people," said Weissman.
The script is faithful to what really happened, but there are a few tweaks.
"With the Weissmans’ cooperation, we took a little bit of liberty in terms of re-imagining a couple of scenes that maybe didn’t really happen but were still true to the spirit of what happened," said Burris.
Tina Weissman, Cory’s mother, is happy with her family’s involvement in the movie.
"I was told that I’m more than welcome to be up and around campus," she said. "I feel very much a part of it, and the producers are making me and my husband feel a part of the movie."
The movie is produced by former longtime Disney executive Bruce Gordon and Bob Burris (Growing Pains), who also wrote the script. The director is Michael Levine (Nowhere Man). Arturo Sandoval, a six-time Grammy winner, is composing the score for the movie.


The three leads cast for the movie are David Henrie (Wizards of Waverly Place) as Cory Weissman, multiple Emmy nominee Beau Bridges (Without Warning: The James Brady Story, The Descendents) as Gettysburg College basketball coach George Petrie, and Jean Louisa Kelly (Mr. Holland’s Opus, Yes, Dear) as Tina, a physical therapist who aided her son in his long recovery.
Weissman is making a trip to Los Angeles this weekend to meet Henrie.
"I talked to him on the phone a couple days ago, and he’s a really down-to-earth guy," said Weissman. "He has a lot of the same characteristics that I do, so they hit it right on when they cast him. The main point of the trip is to have him get to know my personality. He’s a professional. We are going to spend a good amount of time going through the script so he can get a clear picture for specific points in the movie. He’s trying to make it as accurate as possible."
The video of his successful free throw, posted to websites including YouTube and www.gettysburgsports.com, was one draw to making the movie.
"Once you see that video, and you see the triumph at the end, that’s the topping on the cake," said Levine. "It’s a journey with a happy ending, and there aren’t a lot of journeys with happy endings these days in movies."
Gordon enjoyed the aspect of overcoming adversity.
"After getting to meet Cory, it made me realize that people can use adversity to rise to a higher plain," he said. "In today’s day and age, where it’s hard to find heroes, Cory personifies that to me."
Burris saw a story he thought should be spread as far as possible.
"It’s an inspirational sports movie, which is great, but beyond that, Cory is such an amazing human being," he said. "Having the opportunity to help him tell his story to the world, that’s really what hooked me in."
Over the summer, between coverage from national news outlets in the spring and the movie production starting in Gettysburg in the fall, Weissman had a break from the media hysteria. A health sciences major who will graduate in December, he got experience in the physical therapy field. For his senior capstone project, he completed an internship with the therapist he has been seeing since his stroke. After that, he worked full-time with his mother, who works in a school that provides multiple types of therapy for kids.
"I was a one-on-one aid with a couple kids that had Down Syndrome," he said. "I worked with autistic kids. I worked in a classroom setting one-on-one with a kid who had severe cerebral palsy."
His mother was happy to have him home and around her during the summer.
"It was fabulous for me," said Tina. "It’s always wonderful when Cory’s around. It’s his giving-back nature. He’s working with severely-handicapped kids. He’s very gifted at working with these kinds of kids."
Weissman’s rehab also took another step over the summer when he started boxing.
"It was really good for my footwork," he said. "Any sport I played, I realized that my footwork really benefited from that, and it was fun at the same time."
Weissman is applying to the physical therapy program at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He may also apply to schools in the Conneticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania area to achieve his long-term goal of becoming a physical therapist. He will help people in that role, but he also hopes to help people who watch “1,000 to 1.”
"To see my story is able to influence so many people, that was the main objective of the movie," he said. "I’m hoping it does well so it can spread around the country and help as many people as possible. Everyone at the school has the same objective. I don’t see the movie as being my last chance to help people; I almost see it as the start."
There are two movie-related events coming up on the Gettysburg College campus. On Monday, Sept. 24, there will be a question and answer session, open to the public, with the director and both producers at Kline Theater at 7 p.m. Then, on Oct. 1, a campus-wide kickoff with a pep-rally type of event will be held from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the College Union Building ballroom. Filming on campus will take place from Oct. 2-21.
A number of local community and Gettysburg College people will play minor roles in the movie. Cast so far are Ed Riggs, College Dean Anne Lane (as herself), Cindy Wright, Chris Kauffman, Emily Windover, Katie Foelber, Washington College basketball coach Rob Nugent (as himself), and Ethan Harnish. There are also several dozen students working in a part-time capacity, and there will be hundreds of Gettysburg College and community members included as extras.

Cory Weissman: A True Inspiration

BY TOMMY RIGGS

Gettysburg Times Staff Writer

Gettysburg College senior Cory Weissman returned to the basketball court three years after suffering a stroke.

On March 26, 2009, Gettysburg College freshman and Jackson, N.J. native Cory Weissman had an experience that he will never forget and one with which few can relate. He had finished his first season with the men’s basketball team and was doing an offseason workout in the fitness center with friend and teammate Brendan Trelease when it started happening.

"The first thing I got was a really bad headache," said Weissman. "It just kept getting worse and worse, and I never got headaches before."

He sat down for a few minutes but decided to get back to work and headed to the dumbbell rack.

"I picked up a number that I’ll never forget, a 65-pound dumbbell," he said. "I lifted one of them up with my right hand, and I went to lift one with my left hand, and it just didn’t budge."

Feeling dizzy, he went outside of the fitness center to get some water with Trelease, and Trelease noticed something was off.

"He noticed all of my symptoms before I did," said Weissman. "He noticed me swaying back and forth. I couldn’t really feel it."

Trelease suggested that they go to the training room right down the hall, but he had no idea the magnitude of what was happening - Weissman, just 19 years old, was having a stroke.

"Even when I saw the left side of his body kind of go a little bit, I still just had positive thoughts," said Trelease.

Weissman could not make it to the training room under his own power.

"I started to sort of trip over my left foot," he said. "(Brendan) looked back and grabbed my arm and put it around him and just started helping me walk. From the time that I went around the corner to the training room to the time I got there, my leg just went from being almost 100 percent to completely dead. The last completely clear image I have of that day was walking through the doors of the training room. I didn’t have the strength to lift my head. (Brendan) was dragging me in there, and I was just staring down at my left leg dragging behind me."

Katie Whaley, the athletic trainer on staff, knew Weissman was having a stroke.

"I was standing on his left side, and I had my hand in his hand, and I asked him to squeeze my hand," said Whaley. "He reached over with his right hand to squeeze my hand. I said, ‘No, Cory. Squeeze my hand with your left hand.’ Again, he went to reach over with his right. He was almost seizing on his right side."

When asked to smile, only the right side of Weissman’s mouth went up.

"That’s what we see with a stroke," said Whaley. "One side is completely deficit of any movement. The next 72 hours were going to be critical. When it’s a stroke, minutes matter."

Weissman’s stroke was caused by an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) in his brain, which is “essentially a collection of abnormal vessels in the brain,” according to Dr. Robert Harbaugh, a neurologist at Penn State Hershey Medical Center who saw Weissman.

AVMs are rare and dangerous.

"Less than 1 percent of the population has an AVM," said Harbaugh. "If you took 100 people with an AVM, somewhere between two and four bleed per year. The risk of bleeding goes up over time. Probably 10 percent of people who have an AVM rupture will die after the first hemorrhage."

Harbaugh also noted that about half of the survivors of a first hemorrhage are left with some permanent neurological deficits.

Although rare in general, the hemorrhage from Weissman’s AVM came at the expected stage in life.

"That’s the most common time for it to appear, between the ages of 16 and 22," said Whaley.

Harbaugh also stated that, “hemorrhages in young people are more likely to be AVMs than almost anything else. People with AVMs typically have symptoms early in life.”

An ambulance rushed Weissman from Gettysburg’s campus to Gettysburg Hospital.

Weissman’s mom, Tina Weissman, is a physical therapist with a medical background, so she knew what her son was up against when she heard the news by phone.

"The nurse from Gettysburg told me straight out that Cory had a brain hemorrhage," said Tina. "I was going back and forth between the worst to, ‘Oh, it can be not as severe as a full-fledged bleed.’ I knew it depended on where the bleed was."

Gettysburg College men’s basketball coach George Petrie said things were under control at Gettysburg Hospital, but they were going to transport Weissman to Penn State Hershey Medical Center. The Gettysburg Hospital staff told Petrie to drive ahead and meet Weissman there.

"By the time I got to Dillsburg, this ambulance just goes screaming by," said Petrie. "My first reaction was something’s not right. I was trying to keep his parents in touch."

No matter what any doctor said, Weissman believed he would be back on the basketball court again soon, and his confidence was contagious.

"When I talked to Cory, there wasn’t any doubt," said Petrie."The more you listened to Cory, he gave you more confidence that he was committed to achieving his goal (of playing basketball again). Each day, there’d be a new movement that he could do in rehab that he couldn’t do the day before. It was fascinating listening to him describe the process. He never complained. He never felt sorry for himself. He took charge of his rehab. He stepped up. These are all things you look for in a point guard. It’s who he is."

The neurology staff at Penn State Hershey Medical Center stopped the bleeding, but when Weissman left its care after a week and a half, he was not completely safe.

"Initially, he still had a 30 percent chance of bleeding," said Tina Weissman. "We had to be very careful in how we did the exercises."

From Hershey, Weissman went to the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J. for about a month before he went home and continued out-patient therapy for a couple of weeks. On June 1, he went in for brain surgery.

"Once things had settled down, and some of the brain swelling had gone away, he had the AVM removed," said Harbaugh. "The most definitive treatment is surgery to remove the AVM."

Weissman was safe to start living his life again.

"After surgery, there was zero percent chance of bleeding," said Tina. "They were successful in removing the tangle of blood vessels."

Weissman’s doctors told him he was going to have a good recovery and that he should get back to 95 percent, which is another thing that drove him.

"I wouldn’t be as good of a basketball player, but I didn’t understand when they said 95 percent, they meant 95 percent to be able to operate functionally," he said.

Weissman went back to out-patient therapy until he returned to school in the fall.

"That summer, the professors at Gettysburg were so amazing and so compassionate," said Tina. "He was able to complete one or two of his spring-semester courses."

When Weissman returned, he instantly asked Coach Petrie how he could contribute to the basketball team.

"Not only did he have the stroke, he had major brain surgery that summer," said Petrie. "Now, you’re coming back into an environment that is highly academic, which is stressful enough. Not only was there the physical, there was the social, psychological. Here’s a kid going to school, going to rehab, and trying to go to practice. He never stopped. It was admirable, but in the very beginning, it was wearing him down."

The basketball staff and team members reassessed the situation and got on a better path to accomplish Weissman’s goals.

"It was incremental," said Petrie. "Running the clock, coaching from the sideline, skill work, warm up. There isn’t anybody that’s worked his ass off more than Cory Weissman. If you’re not inspired by that, I don’t know what you are."

Weissman’s road back to the court was anything but easy, but he persevered.

"The only bumps in the road were my seizures," he said. "Every time I’m having one, it’s like a punch in the stomach. I’m working so hard to beat this thing, and I’m still getting punched in the stomach. I had good days and bad days, but I always had it in my head that I was going to be back. I wasn’t going to let the stroke beat me."

He has been seizure-free for more than a year now.

"The more I worked, the more progress I made," he continued. "I could distinctly see changes in the way I was walking, changes in the way I was running. After things started to slow down, after the first year and a half, I would say I started to notice that it was going to take a long time, but I knew that if I kept working, I would get better. What I think helped me so much in my recovery is that I never really accepted that it was going to take so long. What I had trouble with at first was that I wasn’t the athlete right away. When I came back to school, I wasn’t able to just get back in and play."

Even though his progress was slower than he would have liked, Weissman kept a positive frame of mind.

"He never really let that get to him," said Trelease. "He’s very good at setting goals. In the beginning, he would set a small goal, and he wouldn’t really think about anything until that goal was complete. He fought that fight, and he’s still fighting the fight. Every day, he’s getting better."

Aside from the physical recovery, Weissman was back to being himself relatively quickly.

"It took me probably six months to get my swagger back, my cockiness and my confidence in general," he said.

Weissman’s teammates acknowledged his hard work and dedication to them and voted him as a team captain for his 2011-12 senior year.

"It meant so much to me because it was a vote from the team," he said. "Even though it’s not what I want people to see, it did feel good that people appreciate it and saw all the hard work I put in. That was a clear sign that my teammates really did appreciate me being there and my work ethic."

His next great honor came on Feb. 11 at home on Senior Day against Washington College.

"We wanted to honor him by starting him," said Petrie. "But we were stuck with, ‘How do we get him in the game, get out of the game without a foul or a technical or something?’"

The Gettysburg coaching staff talked to the Washington coaching staff, and Washington head coach Rob Nugent told them, “I don’t want to take advantage of you starting Cory. Whoever wins the tip, give the ball to Cory, and he rolls it out of bounds.”

That scenario worked perfectly for Gettysburg’s intentions.

"That way, no time off the clock," said Petrie. "No foul, no timeout."

The plan went smoothly.

"To get the start was unreal," said Weissman. "That’s all I wanted was just to get out on the court. Once I was subbed out of the game, that would have been the greatest day of my life. It was the hardest thing I ever had to work for."

Trelease was happy his friend got the chance to start.

"The kid’s worked so hard," he said. "I feel like that was the best thing we could do for him, the best gesture Gettysburg College could make, the best gesture we could make as a basketball team. It was almost a thank-you for sticking with us. He could have easily not stuck around, but he stuck it out. It inspired us as a team. All of the alumni were there to see him, his mom and dad walking out on the court for Senior Night."

With what seemed like a storybook ending already written, Gettysburg led the game by 20 points with two and a half minutes remaining.

"I started talking to my assistants about, you know, ‘I think we can put Cory back in the game,’" said Petrie.

With 52 seconds left, Weissman got his chance.

"(Petrie) looked at me during the timeout, and he asked me if I wanted to go back in," said Weissman. "I looked back him, and I said, ‘Hell yeah!’ I was going to be on the court. There was a minute left. I could run up and down the court. I didn’t need to touch the ball; just to run up and down would be cool."

Weissman inbounded the ball and had another couple of touches before Washington called a timeout.

"Our team saw him at the scores table with 50-something seconds left," said Nugent. "We knew we needed to do something, and we knew that we had a couple possessions to give Cory the opportunity he deserves."

Washington’s Sean Flanigan was guarding Weissman and explained to the officials that he was going to foul him to send him to the free throw line.

"Petrie told me they were going to foul me and put me at the free throw line," said Weissman. "The first thing I thought of was it was pretty amazing that I’m going to get the ball. I was thinking I better not miss these free throws."

The first attempt banged off of the rim, and the pressure was on. The gym was silent as he went through his pre-shot routine. He released the ball, willing it to go in, and it fell perfectly through the net for the first point of his collegiate career.

"The second one, I just knew it was going in," he said. "After three years of hard work, there was honestly no way, everything I’ve been through, there was no way that I was going to miss that shot."

The crowd erupted, tears in the eyes of most of the spectators.

"It was surreal," said Weissman. "I don’t even have a way of describing what I felt."

After the game, Petrie presented Weissman with the game ball.

"The best part for me was if you put Cory Weissman on a scale with Andrew Powers (the all-time leading scorer in the history of the program), his game ball and Cory’s game ball, to me, are of equal value," said Petrie. "That one point, that ball, is as meaningful to Cory Weissman for a four-year career as Andrew Powers’ scoring record. Cory Weissman has an indelible footprint in the history of the program, of that day."

Gettysburg won the game, 83-69.

The story of a stroke victim’s return to the basketball court caught of attention of such national news outlets as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and NPR.

"Anyone who knows me knows that I didn’t do one minute of rehab for the attention that I’m getting," said Weissman. "I’d go to therapy four to five times per week. It was a personal goal that I set. I don’t crave the attention, but I’m doing the best I could with all the articles. What I do like, though, as far as the media, is that I want my story to get out there just so that people could hear from me that you really have to be thankful for what you have.

"I’ve gotten emails and letters just saying how much my story has inspired people," he continued. "That means so much more to me than seeing an article about myself."

Looking back, Weissman said that the stroke affected his character.

"It made me become so much of a better person," he said. "Understanding life, understanding certain things that, if I hadn’t had the stroke, I might not have learned. The biggest change was my outlook on things. I don’t take anything for granted. I try to keep people as happy as I can. I try to relate my experience to anyone else’s hardships to try to help them understand that they could do it."

Weissman’s work ethic, desire, and never-fading support system are the reasons he is who he is today.

"(I want to thank) my whole family, the coaching staff, my teammates, my friends both here at school and at home, the athletic training staff, my therapist who has been there the last three years, the college as a whole from deans to professors to academic advisers. I don’t think I would have been able to survive at another college to be honest. The Washington College basketball team, especially Coach Nugent, for making the day even more special than it already was."

Weissman, now 22 years old, is a health sciences major, and he plans on going to school for physical therapy after he graduates from Gettysburg.

"Always had that in my mind, but going through rehab sealed the deal," he said.

He doesn’t see a stop to his rehab in the future, and his next goal is to play in a men’s league.

"I don’t know when I’ll ever stop doing therapy," he said. "Maybe when I’m like 60 or 70 and have to be put in a wheelchair. My leg is weak. I could keep strengthening it for the next 20 years, and it would make my walking better and running better. Really, there’s no reason for me to ever stop doing therapy. That’s why when I say, ‘The sky is the limit to how far I could get back,’ I mean that. No one, not even myself, knows how much better I can get."

Weissman lives his life by two quotes: “Nothing works unless you do,” and “Enjoy today because yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come.”


Penn State Scandal

There are so many things wrong within the Penn State scandal that they really can’t all be explained in one post.  This post assumes that people have read about the situation, and it gives my opinion along with asking questions that I just cannot get around.  If you have not read up on this, please read the “VICTIM 2” section of http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/documents/sandusky-grand-jury-report11052011.html

The fact that Jerry Sandusky is a monster who should be in jail for the rest of his life and never be allowed within eyesight of a child again is obvious.

The fact that everyone reported it up the line of superiors is a start, but it seems that no one followed up on it. How does nobody even bother to call the police or determine the identity of the child or question how many other children might have been involved in Sandusky’s evil pleasure?

Even if Mike McQueary’s eye-witness story was slightly inaccurate, which does not seem to be the case (as the Grand Jury report called it “extremely credible”), why would Sandusky still be allowed around children or on campus at all until there was a thorough investigation done?

It’s bad enough when things like recruiting violations or the illegal use of an agent are swept under the rug.  When things involving stripping the innocence from children for life are overlooked, whether or not on purpose, it is flat-out evil.  Other than Sandusky, I’m not sure who is most at fault here for the absolutely awful fact that no real action was taken toward Sandusky immediately following that incident.  What is worse is that because the actions to lock him up were not taken then, other little boys were subject to the same vile actions by Sandusky.

Whether this was a coverup or a serious case of neglect, there is no question that the entire situation could have, and should have, been handled better. McQueary did the right thing by telling Joe Paterno.  Paterno did the right thing by telling Athletic Director Tim Curley.  This went up the line until the team Head Coach, the AD, the Head of University Police (Gary Schultz), and the President of the University (Graham Spanier) all were briefed on the situation.  The fact that Schultz did not launch any type of investigation into this matter with the University Police Force (which has as much authority as a municipal police force) at his disposal is mind-boggling, and I think that certainly puts him at fault.  Also mind-boggling is the fact that none of the rest of these people followed up to make sure that either the University Police Force or other police were notified.

The one step that everybody missed was the most important one and a natural reaction when a violent crime has happened: call the police!  How in the world did these people, starting with the original eye-witness of Queary, not immediately call the police, either the University Police or 9-1-1?  There was no immediate action taken to deal with Sandusky.  It is beyond me how that kind of information could be shuffled away and no one bothered to tell law enforcement officers and see it through until action was taken against Sandusky.  Now, Sandusky is at home, basically on house arrest, but still at his house, out of jail.  How does that happen?

Regardless of who is involved, there comes a point in this situation and in all similar situations, when people and society need to stand up and fight for other people, especially kids, who cannot fight for themselves.  Protecting the helpless, especially when the helpless are kids, should be human nature and an obligation.

I’ve heard this phrase before, and it has rarely been more true: Bad things happen when good people fail to act.

NFL Post-Season Predictions

AFC - In No Particular Order

Steelers
Ravens
Jets
Texans
Broncos
Colts

NFC - In No Particular Order

Eagles
Packers
Rams
Falcons
Saints
Vikings

My Take on Some New NFL Rules

Kickoffs will now be from the 35-yard line instead of the 30-yard line.
I don’t understand this.  This rule is really going to take away a lot of the big plays because of touchbacks, and return specialists are unfortunately going to have way fewer chances to make an impact in the game.  Not to mention, it will alter the starting position of the offense, which in turn could alter the entire game.

Kickoff coverage teams will only get 5 yards of run-up before the kick instead of 15 yards.
I guess since the kickoff spot is moved up, this is a good thing.  It will allow an extra half second for a returner to make his first move since the coverage teams won’t be at top speed at the moment of kickoff.

The two-man wedge will still be allowed (three or more in the wedge is still prohibited), and touchbacks will still be placed at the 20 yard line.
So few returners follow their blockers anyway that I don’t really see this affecting the game a lot.

An instant replay review by the booth official will now be automatic for every play ruled by the referees on the field to have scored points.
Great idea.  Get the most important calls correct without making the coaches challenge them.

Osama bin Laden: The Exception

Just my opinion:

The death of Osama bin Laden was anything but normal.  Without seeing statistics or polls, I would guess that bin Laden was the most widely known infamous name on the planet, given that he was the face of the most widely known infamous organization on the planet.  The USA killed him, bringing back a “we” feeling that I haven’t personally felt since 9/11.

Some people are saying that we should not be rejoicing in the death of another person.  While I understand that viewpoint, and I agree that killing is among the worst crimes in society, if ever there were a time to be happy that another person was killed, this is the time.  Bin Laden is the exception, the one person who had to be eliminated for there to be any chance at all that al-Qaida will one day be defunct.  Bin Laden was the Hitler of the past decade and a half.  He was a serial killer and the worst kind of extremist.

As I see it, there were three options for what to do regarding bin Laden:

1. Do nothing and let bin Laden continue to lead al-Qaida.
2. Take him alive, knowing that he won’t talk, and knowing that in all likelihood, his followers will plan something extreme to try to get him back.
3. Kill him so there is no chance that he will ever be able to lead the world’s largest terror organization again.

Congratulations to the USA, especially that small group of Navy SEALS, for eliminating the world’s most wanted target.  This does not mean that our country is safer, and it certainly in no way means that the war is over, but this was one heck of a step in the right direction.

For those people who don’t believe that bin Laden is dead because they never saw the body, all I can say is, do you really think that the USA would release the statement in that manner without being completely sure that they had the right guy?  If the answer is yes, or you are a conspiracy theorist, try on some trust or even logic for that matter.

This isn’t just a win for the USA, this is a win for the world and for humanity.  The killing of another person is wrong and tragic in just about all instances, but Osama bin Laden was the biggest exception of them all.

Typical Conversation

  • A typical conversation between me and some random person.
  • RP: You're tall, do you play basketball?
  • Me: No, but I play Ultimate Frisbee.
  • RP: Oh yeah, that looks fun.
  • Me: Yes, yes it is!

It’s My Lifestyle

Ultimate Frisbee is an Ultimate Game

Ultimate Frisbee, or Ultimate, as it is called by those who play it, combines the running and non-stop action of soccer with the passing game of football to make a sport that is truly unique in nature. On a field similar to that of football, it puts two teams of seven players against each other on the field. There is no ball, but rather a 175 gram flying disc. Teams must advance this disc by throwing it to teammates until they cross the goal line, and players may not run when they are in possession of the disc. The most interesting part of the sport is the Spirit of the Game aspect. This means that there are no referees, and players call their own fouls. Honesty and sportsmanship are required to make the game work well.
Ultimate involves numerous aspects of physical fitness including endurance, balance, flexibility, and body toughness. It is a technical game and takes years to learn how to play well like other sports. The training and workouts for the sport are similar to those of other sports. Those who are the best at the sport lift weights, do track workouts, and train year-round so they stay in shape. Ultimate involves so much sprinting and continuous running that being physically fit and in shape is just as important as the fundamental skills of catching and throwing.
However, Ultimate is about more than just being the best you can be at the sport; it is also about teamwork and social interaction. The Spirit of the Game concept of Ultimate stresses sportsmanship and fair play. This forces players to interact with one another and solve disputes through brief discussion. Players must know the rules, they must be honest, and they must understand one another to make the right calls and play a fair game. In this way, the game of Ultimate also teaches self control because players have to control their emotions when questionable calls arise.
Another unique aspect of this sport is that there are co-ed teams from the youth level all the way up to the national and world level. These teams are in the mixed division, as opposed to the men’s or women’s divisions. Normally mixed teams are required to have at least two girls on the field at all times. No other team sport, at least in higher age groups, allows men and women to play on the same teams at the same time. The most interesting part about mixed divisions is that it brings a diverse playing style to the game. Men’s playing style is usually more about power (jumping and diving) and the long game, and women’s is usually more about shorter passes and quick movement. The playing style of teams in mixed divisions combines these playing styles. This makes it fun and different to watch and play because it is a little less predictable than men’s or women’s.