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“Where’s The Sports?” – The World on The Knife’s Edge

“Where’s The Sports?” – The World on The Knife’s Edge 1920 1080 Jason Stadtlander

Conflict and competition are in our nature as a species. Going back to our earliest prehistoric survival, the friction between one another has been crucial in many aspects of our history and it is perhaps the primary driving force for what we are as a species.

In the earliest times, we fought one another for mates, for land, and for what we believed was true. Over the millennia this changed to conflict over religious beliefs, power, and monetary gain. As far back as the ancient Greeks, sports became an outlet for this conflict. It gave us a way to compete against each other without the conflict ending in death. Granted, the Romans and several other civilizations still added ‘death’ as an ultimate loss. I would like to believe that in the last few hundred years we have learned to remove the death element to sports – at least intentional death. But, it is a hardcore fact that we need to have someone to dislike, we need to have someone we want to battle. So, over time we have developed the intense rivalries of the NFL (Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers) or FIFA (Scotland and England) or if you really want to get primeval – Chess (Alekhine and Euwe).

Jason, Katerina & Stuart in Montana

Now, my stepfather; Stuart Whitehair (owner of the University of Colorado fan website CU at The Game) will be the first to tell you that I am not a sports fan. Do I enjoy going to a football game or watching my son play soccer? Absolutely! I may not be getting down and dirty talking stats and previous games and who’s going to annihilate who at the next game. But, I enjoy the excitement and the thrill of backing the winning (or losing) team. Whether I want to admit it, it’s in my blood, it’s in your blood. You may love sports, or you may hate it or you may not give a damn either way, but you most likely feel something.

My colleague and decades-long friend Craig loves sports, in fact, he has WEEI Sports radio going in our office every day we are there. Yes, I listen to it a little. Most of the time its background noise and I complain about how much Bill Belichick really sounds like an idiot and doesn’t want to be on the radio anyway, so why does he even do the press conferences. I suppose you can’t lead one of the most winningest teams in NFL history without doing a few press conferences. Have Craig and Stuart converted me? No. However, there is a strong part of me that has wanted to understand sports and understand what drives them to love it so much.

So, here we are in 2020 amid the largest pandemic of modern history, and what is canceled? Sports. My first inclination was “Thank God. Finally, I get a break!” However, as things have developed and after listening to WEEI, finding out that when they don’t have sports – they have nothing to talk about, and after having some discussions with Stuart (who also was a history and political science major) he raised some very good points. Before this all started, here in the United States were already a nation deeply divided politically and on top of that, we have a lot of very passionate rivalry with cities with regards to sports and politics.

Here are some of Stuart’s thoughts (from his site):

“I’m not going to go all political here. I don’t want the website to deteriorate into mud-slinging rants. I am grateful to those of you who have posted comments the last few months, yet have not strayed from the topics at hand.

That being said, I think we can all agree that the country is divided.

Which brings me back to sports.

I am not a sociologist, but I believe I have a solution to America’s problem…

We need the Nebraska Cornhuskers back on the field.

Not because I want to see the Cornhuskers play, but because I want to see them play… and lose.

It’s primal. It’s us against them. Yankees v. Red Sox. Lakers v. Celtics. The Patriots v. well, everybody.

I would like to submit this basic theorem: Americans will spend less time hating each other when they can spend more time… hating each other’s sports teams.

Which leads me (Jason) to wonder, “What is the breaking point?”, is it the election? Are we looking at a potential civil war or is that being overdramatic?

At any rate, as everyone says “We are all in this together.” – which could mean that we are all going to strangle each other if we don’t find a way to release some tension. But, I’m rooting for a more positive note: “We’ll all make it through this, together.”

Educators Should Educate – Not Manipulate

Educators Should Educate – Not Manipulate 1024 926 Jason Stadtlander

In October of 2016 I picked up my children one day from school and my son says, “Daddy, who are you going to vote for?”

I remember looking at him with an expression of concern. “Why do you want to know?”

“Because my teacher said everyone should vote for Clinton.”

I immediately felt a flash of anger. Not because I dislike Hillary Clinton, but because I believe it is vital for children to come to their own conclusions and hear unbiased perspectives, especially from educators. I do not think that any teacher or principal has a right to try and sway my children one way or the other with politics.  I have no problem with them unbiasedly discussing what the political platforms are, and why they (politicians) choose different platforms, but the children should be allowed to come to their own conclusion regarding their own political views.

I got down at eye level with my son and gently grabbed his shoulders, “Son, I will vote for who I feel is the correct person to put into office as the President. Your teacher will do the same, and one day, when you’re old enough – you too will choose the person that you feel is the correct person. Voting is a very personal thing. It is our right granted to us by those who founded our country. Three things you should never discuss until you understand what you are talking about are religion, politics, and money. They are all very personal things, and everyone has a right to believe what they want to believe without it being ridiculed or forced down their throat.”

There is “education,” and then there is “influence.” Influencing causes children to go home and question their parent’s choices that they have spent a lifetime establishing. I’m not saying that a child questioning (or developing their own beliefs) is terrible. What I am saying is that their questioning should not be due to outside manipulation.

It is a parent’s job to teach children about faith (or lack of), political views (both sides – preferably without pushing one or the other), finances and what is right or wrong with regards to sexual preference especially since a parent’s faith can lead this. I can honestly say that any parent that doesn’t teach these things are doing a disservice to their children. A child needs to have the foundation they are raised with and needs to be objectively taught each of these views to be a well-rounded member of society.

I believe it can be handled unbiasedly as follows:

You can explain the liberal platforms, the desire for social programs, their belief in how healthcare should be managed and civil rights – Then you can explain the conservative platforms and how faith sculpts some of their views and how they feel about various political issues.

An educator can explain something without injecting their own personal views. Yes, I know it can be difficult – especially when dealing with children who are curious and want to know their teacher’s views. But there is wanting to know, and needing to know, and I do not feel they need to know. At least not in the classroom environment.

In the meantime, as a parent, I will do my best to try and educate my children on the platforms, what people are hoping for and what people (and myself) want in leaders and world issues. I hope that you as parents will do the same.


The Rise of a Corrupt Leader – Germany 1923

The Rise of a Corrupt Leader – Germany 1923 768 576 Jason Stadtlander

As everyone knows, last November 8th was an historic election in the United States, but what many might not know is that it is also an important day in history back in 1923. An event known as Beer Hall Putsch.

Beer Hall Putsch

Beer Hall Putsch was a failed coup attempt by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. He and other Kampfbund leaders attempted to seize power in Munich on November 8th, 1923. Nearly two thousand men marched to the center of Munich and battled police which resulted in the death of 16 Nazis and several policemen. Two days later, Hitler was arrested and charged with treason. Had it not been for the Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler very likely never would have come into the public eye of the German people. He stood trial for his treason and over a twenty four day trial, which was widely publicized, he used his publicity as a chance to let Germany know about his nationalistic views. Hitler was found guilty and sentenced to five years in Landsberg Prison during which time he wrote Mein Kampf; his autobiography.

Damage and Control

It has been strongly debated as to what led to the rise of power and the damage that was Adolf Hitler. I feel the reality is, a combination of things many of which were simply world economic circumstances that Hitler just happened to be in the right place at the right time:

  • Hitler was extremely distraught over Germany losing during World War I
  • After losing his father Alois in 1903, Adolf became very close to his mother. After losing her to breast cancer in 1907 he was never the same.
  • An artist, Hitler applied numerous times to various art schools but was continually denied. This built up resentment and a desire to show he was not the failure he appeared to be.
  • He developed a fondness for German nationalist Georg Ritter von Schönerer who promoted anti-Semetism, anti-Slavism and anti-Catholism.
  • The general morality of Germany was depressed and badly needed a boost.
  • The Great Depression provided Hitler with an opportunity to unite the people of Germany.

This along with many other influences may have led to Hitler’s attitude on the world around around him and his strong anti-Semitism beliefs. In 1920, Hitler announced a 25-point program for the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (NSDAP) which would later become known as the Nazi party. In October of 1920, the party was officially renamed to the Sturmabteilung or SA.

In 1928, feeling that Germans needed to know more about his goals, Hitler wrote a second book called Zweites Buch which was released posthumously.

On October 24, 1929 the United States stock market crashed, an event that was felt world wide. In Germany millions were thrown out of work and several major banks collapsed. It was the perfect opportunity for Hitler and the NSDAP to gain support for their party and they promised to repudiate the Versailles Treaty as well as create jobs for the German people. In January 1932 Hitler gave a speech for the Industry Club in Düsseldorf, winning him support from many of Germany’s most powerful industrialists. Hitler adopted the slogan “Hitler über Deutschland” (“Hitler over Germany”) for his campaign for president. Although he lost to Hindenburg, he gained a strong following and respect as a political force among the people.

Hindenburg, a strong opponent of Hitler’s views reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler as chancellor after two parliamentary elections had not resulted in the formation of a majority government. In being appointed as chancellor, Hitler had insisted on the ministerial positions as a way to gain control over the police in much of Germany so  Wilhelm Frick was named Minister of the Interior, and Hermann Göring was appointed Minister of the Interior for Prussia, securing a total of three posts for the NSDAP.

In 1933, the new Reichstag was created with an opening ceremony at the Garrison Church in Potsdam. This “Day of Potsdam” was held to demonstrate unity between the Nazi movement and the old Prussian elite and military. That year Hitler’s government brought to vote the Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich (“Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich”), giving Hitler’s cabinet the power to enact laws without the consent of Reichstag for four years. Using provisions of the Reichstag Fire Decree, eighty-one communist deputies (and strong opponents of the Nazi party) were arrested which prevented several Social Democrats from attending the vote on the Act.

On March 23, 1933, the Reichstag assembled at the Kroll Opera House under turbulent circumstances. Ranks of SA men served as guards inside the building, while large groups outside opposing the proposed legislation shouted slogans and threats towards the arriving members of parliament. The position of the Centre Party, the third largest party in the Reichstag, was decisive. After Hitler verbally promised party leader Ludwig Kaas that Hindenburg would retain his power of veto, Kaas announced the Centre Party would support the Enabling Act. The Act passed by a vote of 441–84, with all parties except the Social Democrats voting in favour. The Enabling Act, along with the Reichstag Fire Decree, transformed Hitler’s government into a de facto legal dictatorship. [1]


The reality is, Hitler’s rise to power did not come overnight. He worked very hard to not only gain control, but to slowly eliminate those that opposed his views and ideals. I do not personally believe that any country ever decides to elect a dictator. A dictator slowly takes control at times when control is needed and opportunities present themselves. By the time the public realizes that there is a dictator in control of their homeland, it is too late.



[1] Shirer, William L. (1960). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-62420-0.
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