Ben's Babbles: Chemistry Lesson

October 15, 2011

I write this the rain is pouring down outside, and small rivers are flowing into storm drains around Hood River.

Before the rains even started it was many sports seasons circling the drain.

National sports writers have already spilled enough angst online and print over the the meltdown of the Boston Red Sox in September.

Apparently their chemistry was bad because several starting pitchers were playing video games in the clubhouse and eating chicken and drinking beer on the days they were not starting.

Now if the team had not played terribly to start the season or to end it, this would not have been an issue. Mind you it probably would have been hyped up as a great thing.

Look how fun and loose Boston's pitchers are; that sort of camaraderie is why they are so successful!, would be the refrain.

"The 2011 Boston Red Sox may have been the first time bad chemistry came out of beer, fried chicken and video games," one writer wrote on Twitter.

I agree, mainly because bad chemistry didn't come from that.

It probably came from the Tampa Bay Rays getting hot, while the Red Sox picked the wrong time to get tired, injured and play their worst baseball of the year.

Listen, I believe in team chemistry, I also happen to believe winning and losing affect chemistry, not the other way around.

Losing sucks, and after a loss, there is not typically that many people in a locker room who are happy.

It doesn't matter the sport, or the activity, nobody, not the six-year old pee-wee soccer player or the 40-year old chess player -- likes to lose.

On the other hand, if you lose, nobody's happy. It doesn't matter how many points you scored, or hits you had you always wonder what more you could have done to get the win. In other words, its not fun times.

When losses pile up, everyone looks for a scapegoat. In the case of the Red Sox it was their manager, general manager, and well ... pretty much the entire roster.

After all having someone to blame makes for a much sexier story than an aging roster and bad luck.

It's always funny how teams react when things do go south though. Some emerge on the other side of a rough stretch determined to go back to work. The bad apples are weeded out and everyone gets at it.

Just look at the HRV girls soccer team. They knew they were better than their early season struggles indicated. So they kept at it, beat Woodburn to end their non-league season, and now here they are 2-0 in league playing and beating No. 4 ranked Hermiston in convincing fashion.

Some teams appearantly aren't as confident in themselves.

That's appearently they case in Boston this year, where they late season swoon dissolved the team into a round of backbiting that has repercussions which will last for years.

Good chemistry isn't always necessary to win, but winning always seems to build good chemistry

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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