Speeding Things Up

Speeding Things Up

Put aside concerns about Afghanistan, Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, the presidential primaries, oil prices, mammoth national debt, the health care bill, Muslim extremist terrorist acts, school problems, and any other insignificant issues that may provoke you, and consider a real issue: sports events take much too long.   I bring this up because this is the sports overlap season: hockey, college basketball, football supplemental draft and free agency, golf, baseball start-up, even racing. All this takes time something we have too little of. So, we need to change the rules and the parameters.

   Do you play golf?  Four and a half hours to play a game - or maybe longer in the busy season. Absurd. And that doesn't consider the time to get to the course and warm-up. You could drive to Orlando and back in less time. You could get married and have a reception in less time. You could fly to Denver in less time. 

  Reduce golf to nine holes, or, generously, 12 holes, and enforce "ready" golf rules. If you don't know the phrase, you don't care anyway. I know golf courses are hurting these days, but this may draw more people to the courses. Yes, I know that you can play nine only, but only a wimp, or very old guy comes to a course and says, "nine only", or unless they quit because the round is taking too long. 

  As for the pros, who hit the ball straighter, longer and less often, but seem to spend agonizing minutes over each shot, not to mention the endless pacing around the greens looking for every undulation, put a tighter time limit on each shot or give them golf carts. Let's see them sink those long putts with only a half a minute or so to think to figure it out.

  However, my favorite sport is football. I mean I really do like it, but let's speed it up. Let's make every quarterback call his own plays and provide only 30 seconds between plays (see how Peyton Manning likes that). Double the yardage for delay of game penalties. Eliminate the re-plays. Eliminate the two minute warning. What's so important about the last two minutes? Those last two minutes take 15. Play the first 58 minutes with the same intensity.

  Shorten the time-outs and keep the clock running. No touchbacks on kickoffs. Kickoff from your own 25 ( pro-football). Keep the fair catch for safety reasons, but don't permit downing of the ball. Get the injured off the field quicker. Restrict advertising time-outs. Yes, I know this will decrease the income, but the pay is too high anyway.

  Moving on to baseball. Baseball should last only seven innings. Or, start the game about the third inning. Not much seems to happen before then, anyway. Shorten warm-ups, and give less time between pitches. Don't let the guy step out of the batter's box once he's in there. I'd change the dimensions of the field, too. Move the pitcher's mound back, increase the distances between the bases. Automate calling of balls and strikes. TV already does it for you. Congrats to baseball, by the way, for not using instant replays to second guess the umps.

  As for hockey, it moves pretty quickly with few time outs, but ties and shootouts take far too much time and are boring, and the periods could be shortened. Let the clock run during fights. The fights are boring too. The guys play lots of games anyway, and shorter games would give more breaks, and save their legs.

  Let the clock run in basketball. Double the penalty for deliberate fouls so the last couple of minutes don't take as long as the entire game. I don't know enough about racing, but fewer laps would mean a shorter time.

  And, that's the point. Shorten everything up. Time is precious. It's something we don't have enough of and we waste far too much of it on frivolous things. Sports are fun and we all need recreation whether we're playing or watching, but enough is enough. Taking three hours or more for an event is too much. Here's a rallying cry: " Take Back Your Time."