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    Archive for May 17th, 2008

    French Baseball

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 17日 Saturday

    An interesting article about a minor sport in a major country, baseball in France. It kinda mirrors ice hockey in Japan where the sport’s development was largely driven by one man (now jailed Tsutsumi who supported the sport nationally through the Seibu-Kokudo group companies, otherwise hockey would’ve been still confined in Hokkaido which is very Canadian in climate). (Via Dodger Thoughts)

    Completed in 1995, practically in the center of town, the field was the country’s first artificial turf park and instantly became coveted by baseball clubs everywhere. It also was used for national championships and international competitions between high schools from all over Europe, and for soccer and other sports by local schools. Over the years it also helped increase, if only slightly, local interest in baseball and inspired legends such as Frederic Hanvi. 

    Hanvi started playing in Montigny when he was 6, and last year as an 18-year-old became the second Frenchman selected in a Major League Baseball draft after he was recruited as a catcher (called a “receiver” here) by the Minnesota Twins. (The first was Joris Bert, an outfielder drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and now with one of their minor league teams.)

    Christophe Herard, president of the Montigny baseball club, talks proudly about Hanvi, noting that his parents and friends eagerly watch his career. He is finishing school in France before he heads off in June for training in Florida. 

    “The [American recruiters] were placing a kind of bet on him,” Herard says. “The road is still very long and tough . . . but we are going to follow him in Montigny.” 

    But baseball remains a marginal sport in Montigny. Last year the town’s gymnastics club was the most popular, with 1,100 members, followed by soccer with 850. With just 160 members, the Montigny baseball club may be one of the largest in France, but it’s still smaller here than fishing and badminton.

    Even when the championships for the top-level teams (equivalent to Class-A baseball in the U.S.) were played in Montigny, they drew only 100 people to the 230-seat stands.

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    Posted in 02_English, baseball, hockey, Japan, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    For you procrastinators

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 17日 Saturday

    Yeah, you know who you are.

    If you haven’t found it already, Slate did a special procrastination issue this past week. Good stuff. I found it while, what else, procrastinating. This isn’t even ironic.

    I especially liked the Procrastinators Anonymous piece:

    Procrastinators Anonymous had an announcement about its weekly phone-in meeting that came with this disclaimer: “This meeting was originally scheduled for every Wednesday, 9 a.m. ET. But people have not been showing up at this time.” I called in anyway and listened to the sound of Kenny G-style sax and my own breathing for 15 minutes before giving up.

    According to the small but annoyingly prolific band of scientists who study procrastination—serious research began in the 1980s—a lot of us aren’t making our meetings. They say the chronic inability to get things done, what they call “trait procrastination,” affects about 20 percent of the public, a number far greater than those who suffer from depression (about 10 percent) or phobias (about 9 percent).

    Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University (and the expert who says there’s no DNA for delay), divides us into two general behavior types: arousal procrastinators and avoidance procrastinators. Arousal procrastinators seek the excitement and pumping stress hormones of having to finish everything under duress. (I’m this type.) Avoidance procrastinators make their work the measure of their self-worth and so end up putting it off out of fear. (I’m this type, too.) I talked to Ferrari and discovered that after 20 years of studying us, his sympathy is wearing thin. “I don’t understand this, why they’re consistently like this. I don’t like cutting the grass, but I do it.”

    And the Letter to a young procrastinator piece:

    Stop resisting and embrace your procrastination. Don’t agonize in front of a blank computer screen. Don’t sit around for hours—intending to start your work any moment now—only to find that in the end you’ve accomplished zilch, save for ruining your own day.

    You could instead, for instance, work on a small, tangential aspect of the assignment. Some weird take on things—one that doesn’t make you miserable. This may be of little direct application, but there’s a chance it could also pay off, kick-starting a new line of thought or adding nuance to your final result.

    Or, better, take a walk outside. Read a book for pleasure. Roll a spliff and share it with a friend.

    You’re going to procrastinate anyway, so you may as well enjoy the time you’re stealing from your tasks. While that grind in your econ class is toiling, you’re becoming a more relaxed, quirkier, less-programmed person. You nurture the creative sprouts that take root only in long hours of idleness. You’re open to soulful experiences that lie only beyond the bounded worlds of work and study.

    Of course, this is all dependent on there being a deadline waiting at the end of your walkabout. For true procrastinators, nothing gets done without a deadline. As we say in journalism: The deadline is your friend. And when that deadline looms too near to procrastinate any longer, you need to take care of business. Crank it out, baby.

    Yeah, I’ve come to terms with mine, well sort of  😛

    Posted in 02_English, culture, opinion, random | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »