on not being the best at something.......................
there were 3 things in my life that I was passionate about and wanted to be - if not the very best at - at least among the best
these 3 things were basketball, blackjack and playing guitar
on all 3 of these things I think I can objectively say I was good - but nowhere near to being the best or among the best
this is the glory and pain of competition
the cream rises to the top
but so many are left behind
now, older, I don't really have a burning desire to compete any more
in a lot of ways it's kind of nice - not trying to be better than other people - there is no stress and no pressure
in other ways it's kind of sad
you feel like you're really an outsider - not really in the mix of things
such is life - I always think it's like the Chinese food that's called "sweet and sour"
>basketball, blackjack and playing guitar
in what order?
be at peace with yourself. why try and be the best? is the aim to enjoy life just the way it is, or try to enjoy life by living up to some ideal?
tricks of the grocery stores.................
it's not like you're going to save a fortune by not getting beat by grocery stores - maybe a few hundred over the course of a year - but it's nice to know their tricks didn't fool you
Trick No. 1 -
most of the time you get a better deal on the larger size. but not all of the time. sometimes the smaller size is the better deal and if you don't pay attention to the per ounce or per pound stat on the price label you can end up paying more for the larger size. Utz potato chips used to sell a tiny bag that was a much better deal than the larger bag. there are lots of examples of this. the stores know which products the customer usually grabs the larger size and they make more profit by doing this
Trick No. 2 -
not totally fair to blame the stores for this one, more the factories - but the stores are surely complicit:
the price stays the same but the amount of food in the package is less than last week or last month
many times, if the food is sold in a carton the carton is the same size - its just the food inside the carton that is less
ice cream is a good example of this - ice cream used to be sold mainly in half gallons - then maybe 30 years ago the cartons started shrinking - now its nowhere close to a half gallon
Breyers is the worst with this: their cartons are tiny - maybe only 1.5 quarts - as their cartons shrink their price stays the same
bait and switch. of course just about all retailers do this so its not really fair to just point at grocery stores. but they do it often with their meat showing a sale price and then when you go to look at the meat it can be seen that its low quality stuff - particularly beef
showing a very low price or a sale price on store brands
store brands are usually significantly inferior to name brands
there are a few exceptions where the store brands are pretty good
my store does this. a sale item is shown at 3 for $6.00 and that usually means you can buy 1 for $2.00
but sometimes you can't. in very small print it says you must buy 3 to get the sale price
but you didn't see that and you're already at the register with just one - and you don't want to buy 3 - then you say what the hell I'll take it - so you didn't get the sale price.
this last thing is not a trick but something the stores have to do. all the stores instruct their stockers to rotate the stock. so when it comes in, they put the new stuff on the floor and then pull the old stuff out and put it on the floor. then they put the new stuff in the back and the old stuff in the front. that way they don't get stuck with out of date products that they have to throw away. so, if you take a few extra seconds to pull what you're buying from the back instead of the front - many times you will get a fresher product
to be fair to the stores, particularly the larger chains, because of intense competition, you can sometimes get good deals on good products
I hate to knock the little stores but the reality is they are much more conscious of having to secure a nice profit on everything they sell
I've often wondered how the canard got started that claims that grocery stores only mark up their products a penny or two. This is completely false but back in the day, at least where I lived, it was commonly repeated. I still hear someone my age state this with an amazed face.
Of course it likely got started by someone trying to explain net profit as opposed to gross profit, but it was widespread and spread by the media of the time, newspapers and such.
Actually there is nothing wrong with a 1% net profit on an item that is turned over rapidly in the inventory
my hoops playing days.......................
know this falls into the who cares category
but I felt I had to post it somewhere - so I'm expecting bashing and ignoring
I'm 100% cool with that
hoops leaves me with bittersweet memories
basketball was everything to me between ages 13 and 20
in the summers, in 90-100 degree heat, I was at the playgrounds for around 6 hours every single day
playground basketball in DC and just outside of DC was highly competitive
I learned a very lot from the black players - they were way ahead of the game
I did very well in h.s. - 18 p.p.g. my junior year
I badly wanted to play major college ball
but I'm only 5'9" - and I only got recruited by small colleges
major colleges wanted 6'4" guards
I was unusual for that time - because at just 5'9" I couldn't dunk because I couldn't palm the ball - but I could jump to about 6 inches over the rim
that is nothing today - even for a player that size - the players have evolved so much
but back then it was impressive to many
I know, and everybody who knew me knew that I could have competed at the major college level - not saying I would have started or been a star
it still hurts that I didn't get that chance when I think about it, as I'm sure disappointments have hurt many other hoopsters and a great many who have competed in sports at all levels
I ended up playing 2 years for a small college - one freshmen and one varsity
back then freshmen were not allowed to play varsity
the team and the program sucked and after 2 years I transferred and my playing days were over
my claim to fame:
even though we were a small college Pitt was on our schedule
I had a 3 point play on Billy Knight, an All American and ABA and NBA all star
the funny thing is: he didn't foul me - he didn't even touch me - just got close - but the ref called it
it isn't much to brag about but it's the best that I have
when I think of hoops, I think of all the great players I saw and played with, who were much better than me, who just couldn't get to the NBA - the NBA was Supermen
their careers were over at age 21 - kind of sad
but still, they were great
back then, playing pro ball overseas was not a big option like it is now
a good thing about hoops for me was that it sharpened my competitive juices - and that is what carried me into profitability as an AP
back then, when I played, the NCAA had not yet been split up into divisions
everybody, even very small colleges, was part of the same NCAA
the website sports-reference.com made a web page about every NCAA player from my era - I'm pretty sure they now only do it for Division 1 players
so they made a web page about me with my unimpressive college stats
sometimes I look at that page and remember the good times
without basketball there was a very good chance I would have been a nerd
and sometimes I look at that web page and think..............................................................it was all just a waste of time
I get it. Intercollegiate competition is an amazing experience. Especially for regular folks who get a taste of greatness.
I was a below-average athlete but played hard and have a few moments of glory. It's why we practice and play the games!
I am also a BB player. Never was athletic enough to consider playing NCAA... I was going to an Ivy league school (Columbia) which when I was there was actually quite competitive with the big boys. But I have played for the rest of my life! Until COVID, I was playing around twice a week with all ages. At 60, I can say I have been dunked on with the kid nearly hitting me in the face with his sneaker!
From 30 until late 50's I competed in Gus Macker 3 point shooting championships for Buffalo, winning maybe 10 times? I got mentioned in Buffalo News. Unguarded, I can still shoot over 50% NBA 3, and 70% top of the key. Basketball has been an important part of my life from childhood and continues.... i CAN'T wait to play again!
IT WAS NOT A WASTE OF TIME FOR YOU! You are in a small group of men and women who played intercollegiate Bball!
You make being a nerd sound like a bad thing. Yes, nerds are the kids that get laughed at, but as adults nerds run the country.
Enjoyed reading your post about your basketball playing days especially that you played college ball - outstanding. As a gym rat I played ball at the local Y and Brooker T Washington community center. There was one kid that played division III ball and we always wanted to get a piece of him whenever he came around to our pick up games. As A D-3 player he ran circles around us and was unstoppable on offense. If he was covering you in the pickup games you might as well have just sat down on the sidelines for the rest of the game because he would strip you clean anytime you had the ball. This made me think how good guys who play organized college ball really are if this is a D-3 level player a D-2 or D-1 player must be stronger and faster. If at 5-9 you could get a hand above the rim that is solid. I once saw Earl Manigault [aka NYC playground legend The Goat] in warmups for a Rucker League game in one move dunk with one hand then catch the ball with the other hand and dunk it again and he was a shade over six foot. With your leaping ability did you ever try triple jumping, try triple jumping?
thanks for the comments guys
Jimmy2Times: the track coach came to me and asked me to try high jumping - I had no interest in it but out of courtesy to him I tried it - I couldn't do it - I didn't really give it a chance
a couple of other stories from my playground days
the most famous players that I played with on the playgrounds were John Thompson and Austin Carr
Thompson was an as*****.........and he couldn't play worth sh**...................he made nasty comments to and about the white players
he got to the NBA - 2nd string Celtics behind Bill Russell - on size alone - he had zero game
I do give him credit for what he accomplished as a coach
Austin Carr was by far the greatest player I ever got to see close up, or that I was out on the same court with
nobody could stop him - nobody - he could score at will
he had no flash about him - he was all about rock solid fundamentals
his accomplishment at Notre Dame - which I won't list here - are incredible - he has to be one of the greatest college players ever
I suppose my claim is I hold the distinction of playing for two hall of fame coaches in HS. And played, coached, and officiated HS State Tourney games. Actually, won 3 Championship games as a coach and did 1 as an official.
I played and officiated at the college level.
My approach to blackjack is very similar to basketball in my early years. My family, except my brother and I, were musically inclined. Some still today. I found singing to be a surprise of something I forgot I had. It was sort of an a bet. My mom wouldve been proud.
Im still very competitive. But learned yo find ways ti decompress. An important value later in life IMO.