Thursday, August 7, 2014

Timer On

TigerBlog plugged his phone in to charge the other night, and when he woke up, it was dead.

This is quite the 21st century frustration, no?

So what does one do when there is a phone that won't charge? Well, TigerBlog figured maybe it was the cord and not the phone, so he tried a different cord, the only other one in the house at the time. And? Nothing.

Plugging the phone in to charge is a fairly simple part of the routine these days. TigerBlog isn't sure if he's supposed to let his phone get all the way to empty before recharging it or recharge it a little at a time, whenever it's starting to get below 50 percent or so and he has something he has to do soon and won't have power available.

The sound of the charger as it buzzes when it's connected to the phone is one that is taken pretty much for granted, until it doesn't happen. Then it's infuriating.

TB was stuck with the icon that instructs him to connect the plug, as opposed to the one that shows that the plug is connected. He loves the lightning bolt that comes up next to the battery level indicator.

TB is a bit fascinated by the fact that a smartphone can do so many, well, smart things but yet the battery can't stay charged for more than a half day or so, even on a new phone.

Speaking of new phones, TB's is pretty new. When he couldn't get it to power up after trying two cords and multiple plugs - and trying to charge it through his computer - he did a search for it. Of course, four million solutions came up - none of which worked.

TB also got an odd error message when he tried to charge it on his computer. It told him that the USB port was trying to draw too much power.

So he did a search for that, and another four million explanations came up.

TB figured he'd blame Jon Kurian, who works in the business office and who is in charge of getting people at Princeton their phones. Kurian must have told the phone people to give TigerBlog a substandard phone, TB surmised. Or no, Kurian dropped the box when it came in and never told anyone. Yeah, that must be it.

TB also figured he'd have to go to the Apple Store and figure it out. Short of trying two cords and trying to restart, that's about all TB was good for here.

Then he plugged in his car charger when he got into his car, and all of the sudden it began to charge his phone. And then he tried a third cord - and that worked as well.

No trip to the Apple Store. Apologies to Kurian for thinking ill of him - this time.

What are the odds of that? Two cords, neither of which worked. That was the problem.

Anyway, TB's phone got back to 100 percent charged, and he was able to go on with his day.

One of his tasks yesterday was to fulfill a request for the NCAA men's lacrosse rules committee, which is beginning its meetings next week to address possible rules changes for the sport. The committee meets in two-year cycles, so any rule changes that are made now are supposed to be for two years.

The biggest issue in men's lacrosse now is whether or not the college game needs a shot clock. TigerBlog would be shocked if the rules committee didn't vote to put one in, though the specifics of it remain to be seen.

Would a shot clock start upon gaining possession? Upon getting across midfield? Getting it into the box?

And then how long would it last? A minute? Longer?

Major League Lacrosse has a 60-second shot clock. It also has a two-point shot, similar to the three-point shot in basketball.

TB is pretty sure that when MLL first began, it viewed these two devices as gimmicks to 1) attract fans and 2) differentiate itself from the college game.

The current rules of men's college lacrosse put a great deal of discretion on the part of the referees to police the pace of the game. If the refs decided that the offense isn't attempting to go to the goal, after a certain amount of a time a call of "Timer On" is issued. At that point, the offense has 30 seconds to either score or get a shot on goal, or else it's a turnover. The first 20 seconds of this time is counted by a stopwatch on the refs belt; the last 10 seconds are by hand. The clock continues to run no matter what during the first 20 seconds, even if the ball goes out of bounds or a timeout is called by the offense.

There are inherent problems with this, yes. First, one group of three refs might have a different sense of when to call "Timer On" than another. Second, should the refs treat an end game situation differently than a first-quarter situation, or should they both take the same amount of time before the call?

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, nobody can see the countdown clock, because there isn't one, so it's not completely certain how much time is remaining.

TigerBlog might be the only serious lacrosse fan who thinks that the "Timer On" rule of two years ago - along with the rules about faster restarts - accomplished exactly what was supposed to be accomplished. The play is much, much faster.

Look at Princeton.

In the last two years, Princeton games have averaged 22.6 goals and 76.5 shots per game. The two years before that, those numbers were 16.6 goals 66.4 shots per game.

Was Princeton a fluke? TigerBlog chose another school completely a random, Sacred Heart University. The Pioneers averaged 22.9 goals and 75 shots per game the last two years and 19.7 goals and 69.3 shots per game the two before it.

 The problem with a shot clock is that it's not going to make the game move faster. Defenses will be able to react to the fact that the clock is winding down by packing it in. Teams may take more shots, but they won't necessarily be better shots. Scoring won't necessarily increase, because teams won't want to take bad shots late in the shot clock and risk transition the other way; instead they'll run the clock down, roll the ball into the corner and go set up on defense.

Besides, the sport doesn't need to keep making radical overhauls in its rules every two years. The current games are fast, well-paced. The ability to simply hold onto the ball and try to win 6-5 is gone - though TB is okay with games that end up 6-5 under the current rules.

The fact that the refs have too much discretion is something TB can live with. If anything, it adds to the drama, waiting for the "Timer On" call. The fact that nobody can see the clock? That's a pain, but a doable one.

But a shot clock? That won't really make the game better. Not in TB's mind anyway. He likes the current rules.

Maybe he's wrong about them. Maybe he's wrong about what the shot clock would do.

He's definitely in the minority though.

The shot clock is coming, he'd assume. He'll have to make the best of it.

No comments: