Ohio State blitzed Illinois yesterday and avoided having an actual losing streak for the first time in years. Playing in front of a friendly home crowd, the Buckeyes shot lights out in the first half and gave their reserves plenty of playing time in the second half. They ended up beating Illinois 83-67, in a game that really wasn’t as close as the final score.
For Ohio State fans, there was joy in seeing the Buckeyes shoot the ball well. As Uncle Mack has (gleefully) pointed out in his last few basketball-related posts, Ohio State has thrown up its share of bricks in the losses to Michigan State and Michigan. Against Illinois — which, admittedly, is not one of the toughest defensive teams in the Big Ten — the Buckeyes shot 65 percent from the field and better than 50 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Getting some fast-break baskets and dunks certainly helped.
I’m convinced that there are two keys to how well the Buckeyes do for the rest of the year: William Buford and Aaron Craft. When Buford plays within the offense and shoots the ball reasonably well, Ohio State becomes a more multi-dimensional offensive team that is much harder to guard. Craft, on the other hand, is the engine that makes the team run. When he gets steals and forces turnovers, and particularly when he takes the ball down the lane and either dishes or shoots, he converts Ohio State from a very good team into a real contender.
The Buckeyes finish the season with a home game against gritty Wisconsin, a visit to Evanston to play Northwestern, and then the rematch against Michigan State. We’ll find out soon enough whether the Buckeyes’ home cooking against Illinois was the start of a good-shooting trend, or just the result of playing an overmatched opponent that is wrestling with all kinds of demons.
There is a black cat with a cut-off tail who lives nearby. Some days he will come up to our door and look right in the window. The nerve of that guy! Then he trots over to a tree and scratches his claws on the bark, and he goes to the bathroom in our yard, too. He makes me so mad when he does that!
When I go out after the cat has been there, I sniff around the front door. You can always tell when a cat has been there, because it cats have the worst smell in the world. Hey, cat, you stink! Ha ha! Hey cat — where’s the rest of your tail! Ha! Did I say you stink?
Isn’t this typical? We often recognize that a condition that is produced by some form of unrestrained, voluntary behavior — in this case, obesity caused by overeating and lack of exercise — has severe health consequences and vow to do something about it. But every effort to address the problem brings arguments by the self-esteem police at advocacy organizations. And, ultimately, we end up paralyzed and incapable of taking effective measures to deal with the problem and truly help the people who need the help.
I think the notion that the Georgia ad campaign is harming the psyches of overweight kids, who otherwise are perfectly comfortable about their weight, is ludicrous. Speaking as someone who was a fat kid — and who will always need to watch it — I am confident that most overweight kids are acutely aware of their weight and are embarrassed by it, ad campaign or not.
I don’t know whether these ads are a good use of public funds — but if they are going to work, they need to be hard-hitting. We can’t effectively address childhood obesity through school lunch programs or food labeling campaigns; we need to reach the kids and their parents. If tough ads can shame parents into better regulating their obese kid’s diet and exercise, or motivate the kids to quit overeating and get some exercise, that would be a good thing. And if we can avoid paying for countless future bariatric surgeries and treatments for weight-related diabetes, or for intrusive government programs that check what’s in school lunch bags, through a few hits at the self-esteem of heavy kids, I think that’s a price worth paying.
Shame and embarrassment can be powerful motivational tools. Why not use them?