Monday, June 28, 2010

John Cleese Rants: Soccer vs Football

For all the World Cup haters out there, watch this piece from Monty Python's John Cleese, and his Euro-centric views on American football. While I disagree with Mr. Cleese about denigrating the sport of American football, I agree with the idea that soccer players get to think for themselves.


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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Voting for the Inn-Bedded Resorter -- We Made History, Sort Of

I am 1 of 5 finalists for the Inn-Bedded Resorter contest organized by The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. The winner gets to spend 2 months at the resort, serving as their social media manager. We get to enjoy all the amenities of the resort, as long as we're reporting back, via social media, to the rest of the world about the great time we have.

Dixville Notch and The Balsams are actually famous, because it's the location of the very first vote cast in each presidential primary election. It's the kickoff location of decades of presidential politics. In fact, the box that is pictured below is the very box they use for those votes. And they cast our votes in it. It was quite an honor to have my name placed in a presidential ballot box. (Oh God, I hope someone put my name in there!)



But, don't feel like you had to be there to vote. You can actually VOTE FOR ME right now. Just click the link back there (or click this one, I'm not picky), and cast your vote.

Or, to tell you the truth, vote for any of the other people there. Although one of our fellow contestants, Melissa McCart, couldn't make it, the four of us — me, Martin Earley, Nacie Carson, and Liz Oehlschlaeger — got along famously. We love each other! Those three are some awesome people, and I would be happy to see any one of them win it. Martin even sang a song he wrote for the contest (I've posted it below, because it's really cool). And during his "stump speech," Martin played it again, with a new verse thrown in about the time he had already spent with us. (He even came up with a rhyme for Nacie that wasn't spacey. I'm telling you, the guy's a genius!)



So, if you have a chance, do your patriotic duty, and send one of us new friends back to New Hampshire's North Woods. (I'd prefer it if it was me though. I'm just sayin'.)


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Friday, June 25, 2010

My Video for the Inn-Bedded Resorter Contest at The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in New Hampshire

For those of you who have been following my efforts for the last few days, you know I am part of Inn-Bedded Resorter contest at The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire. We had to put together a video stating why we want to be the Resorter.

I didn't get to do one until I actually got to the Resort, so I made it at 7:30 in the morning, before breakfast. The place is gorgeous, and I would love to spend 2 months there telling you all about it.

For me to get there though, I need you to vote for me. Please just take 30 seconds to vote. Click the link, follow the instructions, and you'll be done.




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Zero Tolerance Takes On The Army, Loses

Zero Tolerance Takes On The Army, Loses


Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2010


It was a simple assignment for 8-year-old David Morales: make a hat for the day his second-grade class would meet their pen pals from another school.

So the Providence, Rhode Island 2nd grader wanted to be patriotic and decorate a camouflage hat, complete with an American flag and little green Army men attached to it. He had befriended a neighbor who was in the Army, so he wanted to honor the military with his hat choice.

This is when you all go "awww."

And then you go "booooo!" because David's mom, Christan, received a call from David's teacher, who said the hat wasn't appropriate, because it was in direct violation of the school district's zero tolerance weapons policy.

Why? Because the little green Army men had little green Army guns. Guns that couldn't do any harm, even if you pointed it at someone and went "pew! pew! pew!"

According to the school's inflexible policy, not only does the school district not allow weapons or drugs, it doesn't even allow images of weapons or drugs on clothing. And since a little green Army gun that is barely visible with an electron microscope is considered an image of a weapon, the hat was confiscated by teachers and returned at the end of the day.

Presumably a t-shirt with a bottle of ibuprofen would merit a suspension.

Christan said banning David's hat "sent the wrong message to the kids, because it wasn't in any way to cause any harm to anyone. You're talking about Army men. This wasn't about guns."

After David was humiliated by his school district, the principal said that David could wear a different hat, if he could replace the horribly beweaponed little green Army men with ones that weren't holding any weapons at all. The problem was, David only had one little green Army man who was clutching little green Army binoculars. (Because, as everyone knows, real binoculars are not heavy and solid, and cannot be used to conk somebody in the head if nothing else is handy.)

So, after the school district gleefully accomplished their mission of grinding out any sense of creativity and original thinking out of a little boy (because if public education is good at anything, it's grinding creativity and original thinking out of children), David wore a plain baseball cap on the day of the pen pal meeting.

"Nothing was being done to limit patriotism or creativity, other than find an alternative to a weapon," superintendent Kenneth R. Di Pietro said in the June 18 AP article. "That just is the wrong and unfair image of one of our finest principals."

But on Thursday, Di Pietro and the unnamed principal (I checked. It's Denise Richtarik) met with Lt. General Reginald Centracchio, the retired commander of the Rhode Island National Guard, at the commander's request.

In their initial meeting, the general bellowed at Di Pietro, "There are two kinds of idiots from Rhode Island, boy, politicians and administrators! Which one are you?"

No, that's not true. But Centracchio did disagree with the district's decision to ban David's hat, and said he hoped the school would review its policies.

"The American soldier is armed. That's why they're called the armed forces," he said. "If you're going to portray it any other way, you miss the point." Then he said "uh-doi," crossed his eyes, and jabbed his finger on his forehead.

But this all changed at the end of the week when Di Pietro realized that no matter how much he said it wasn't about patriotism, it was totally about patriotism. And after the national outrage by people who didn't have their heads planted up their backsides, he said he would work with the school committee to change the policy to allow hats and clothing like David's.

According to the AP, Di Pietro said in an email "that the no-weapons policy shouldn't limit student expression, especially when students are depicting 'tools of a profession or service,' such as the military or police."

"The event exposed how a policy meant to ensure safe environments for students can become restrictive and can present an image counter to the work of our schools to promote patriotism and democracy," Di Pietro said.

To further rub the school's nose in the mess they made, Centracchio gave David a medal, and thanked him for recognizing veterans and soldiers.

"You did nothing wrong, and you did an outstanding job," Centracchio told David.

I've been in New Hampshire for the past 24 hours for The Balsams Inn-Bedded Resorter contest. You can vote for me to become the Inn-Bedded Resorter here. If I win, I can spend 2 months in New Hampshire being their social media guy.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I need your vote for the Inn-Bedded Resorter contest at The Balsams

Big announcement: I'm 1 of 5 finalists of the Inn-Bedded Resorter national competition. I'm in NH right now. Go to www.thebalsams.com and vote for me.

If I win, I will spend 2 months at The Balsams in northern New Hampshire, being their social media guy. So, stop by the site, and vote for me.

These are a couple of my competitors: Martin Earley (red-headed kid) is a musician from Maine, and Nacie Carson is a peofessional development specialist from Boston. Melissa McCart (not pictured) is on her way, as is Elizabeth Oehlschlaeger.

We're having a great time getting to know each other and secretly plotting each other's downfall. Er, I mean, trying to learn about the resort.

Posted via email from Erik Deckers

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Met Mike Tomlin, Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers

A couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to travel to Pittsburgh, PA with my good friend, Darrin Gray, who works for Family First.

FF is the organization that puts on the All Pro Dad and All Star Dad events around different NFL and MLB cities. And All Pro Dad is the fatherhood initiative that former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy started with the Colts' offensive coordinator, Clyde Christensen.

Darrin and I traveled from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh for the All Pro Dad Steelers Father & Kids Experience, and I had a chance to help out with media relations, and some of the different ongoing events. I was also the self-appointed social media guy, tweeting the bejeezus out of the entire event. (Family First has a real social media guy who does an awesome job, but he wasn't there, and most of you know what a Twitter slut I am anyway, so what was I supposed to do?!)

When I was growing up in Muncie, IN, you were given two choices for football teams, the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since the Steelers were THE team to beat during the 70s, a lot of us were Steelers fans. So it was quite an honor to be in their practice facility for even a couple of hours.

"Wow," I said to myself more than once, "Hines Ward works out on this field. Troy Polamalu beats the hell out of people on this field." I wanted to take just a couple blades of Astroturf with me, but I held off. I took photos instead.

I also had a chance to meet the Steelers' head coach, Mike Tomlin. He's a bigger guy than he looks on TV. When he's on TV, he looks like he's maybe 5'10", and kind of skinny. He's not. His players are just that much bigger. You have to respect a guy who can command the respect and loyalty of 51 guys who are his size or bigger. (There are 53 guys on a football team, but the kicker and punter tend to be little bitty guys, so I didn't include them.)

This was a big deal for me, since the Steelers remain my #2 team, behind the Colts. It was a real honor to meet Mike Tomlin, former center Jeff Hartings, and to even see all the Super Bowl trophies lined up in their big trophy room. Something tells me they're going to need to make a little more room in a few years.

Posted via email from Erik Deckers

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dad's Night Out at Indiana Fever Game

It was our first Indiana Fever game of the year, and we scored some sweet tickets from my friend and fellow Ball State University alum, Julie Graue, who is also the Fever's VP of Basketball Operations (official motto: "I'm kind of a big deal around here.")

  • We were in section 17, row 5, directly across the court from the Fever's bench. Perfect view of the floor, and within earshot of some of the player's antics, including the giant thudding sound when Katie Douglas pushed over a Dream player, who fell over another player. It was like when you had a friend crawl behind someone, and you shoved the other person, only 3,000 people weren't cheering madly when you did it. We were close enough to hear the thud.

  • In other boxing action, #20 Briann January got popped in the face in the first quarter, sank 2 foul shots for her trouble, and then on a fast break, brought the ball home for a pimp slapping 2 points to show who's the boss. Nobody puts Baby in a corner, and nobody punches Briann in the face.

  • My 9-year-old daughter was very excited to get her very own Ebony Hoffman jersey, but we had to get it at the custom shop, because they don't sell Ebony Hoffman jerseys. Shows what a fan my daughter is. She could have gotten a jersey with her name on it, but she wanted her hero's name on it instead. Afterward, she would shout "GO EBONY!" anytime Ebony had the ball, was running down the court, and once while she was sitting on the bench.

  • At one point, Coach and Tennessee native Lin Dunn was red-faced shouting at one of the refs over a 5-second violation on an inbound pass, and the entire crowd started booing the call. I'll bet the ref felt like his Memaw was yelling at him for making his little brother cry.

  • My favorite moment of the game: 5'7" Tully "Tenacious B" Belivaqua, got into a jump ball situation when she grabbed onto the ball currently in possession of one Alison Bales who towers at 6'7" (that's no typo; six feet, seven inches) and held onto it as Bales lifted it over her head. (Not really.) The ref blew the whistle and signaled for a jump ball, and the crowd went "ooooh" and then started cheering, like when the nerdy kid challenges the captain of the football team to a fight, only you just know the nerdy kid is going to come out on top.

    The crowd screams as loud as it can, the ref hesitates before tossing the ball, Tully springs up, and. . . Alison gets her hand on it, with several inches to spare. And accidentally tips it to a Fever player. Big thumbs up to Tenacious B for going up against someone who's a foot taller, without batting an eye.

  • The Indiana Fever have a hip hop squad, the Fever Inferno. Sure beats the Chicago Sky's chamber orchestra squad. The squad may be called the Fever Inferno, but I'm going to call them "the hip hop squad." I like the way it pops. Plus, it makes me think of a Robert Smeigel cartoon from Saturday Night Live. Hip Hop Squad, assemble!

  • Atlanta Dream starting linebacker Shalee Lehning (#5) tackled Briann January and yanked the ball away from her, all without getting a foul call. MMA fighter Kimbo Slice looked up from mercilessly beating his opponent and grunted his approval.

  • I've been checking my Google Analytics, and I keep getting visits to the blog over the question, "Is Tully Bevilaqua married?" She's not, but she should be allowed to be. I hope Indiana joins the 21st century and allows two consenting adults to marry, regardless of orientation or gender.

  • This was an awesome game. The Fever won it 94 - 91, and they put on an awesome display of fight, desire, and teamwork. If you have never been to a Fever game, you really owe it to yourself to go. The Fever barely lost in last year's WNBA championship, and Julie says that ticket revenues are up 48 percent. It's Guy’s Night Out with the Indiana Fever on Thursday, July 8 (which is also Freddie Fever's birthday). Get all you can eat and drink for only $25. Tickets available at FeverBasketball.com.

  • My oldest daughter pointed out that this game outscored Game 7 of the MenBA championship game, which clocked in at 83 – 79.





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    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Why Don't Americans Like Soccer?

    Why Don't Americans Like Soccer?

    Erik Deckers
    Laughing Stalk syndicate
    Copyright 2010

    Now that the World Cup soccer championship is underway, I'm starting to realize which of my friends like soccer, and which of them are change-hating xenophobes who automatically mistrust anything invented outside the United States.

    Not that I'm bitter or anything.

    The World Cup is a magical time for us soccer players, both current and former. I played soccer for 14 years, but I haven't played for nearly 17, but I still love watching "The Beautiful Game."

    No other team sport has athletes who play with the speed and the grace of soccer players. When you see a top-notch player launch himself into the air, without regard for his own safety, connect with a ball traveling through the air at 50 miles an hour, and rocket it into the back of the net, you know you've just seen one of the most impressive athletic feats in all of sports. And there are only a few people in all the world who can do it with any regularity.

    Anybody can throw an orange ball through a hoop. Anybody can tackle someone carrying an odd-shaped ball. But not everyone can do what professional soccer players do.

    I'll admit it takes amazing skills to be a professional basketball or football player; I'm not discounting what they do. But I'm tired of the grumbling by soccer haters who watch a game with their arms folded, muttering that nothing's happening, and rolling their eyes any time there's a shot on goal that doesn't hit the mark. But when a team does score a goal, the soccer hater will throw his hands in the air, and half-shout "finally," as if the 22 players finally figured out the point of the game.

    "Why do they call it 'football?'" the haters grumble, forgetting that the game is played with one's feet.

    We call it soccer here in the United States, as does Canada, Australia, and South Africa. The rest of the world calls it "football."

    When the game was first organized in the late 1890s, it was called "association football" both here and in Europe. However, around the turn of the century, America had a new game they called football. So they took the "soc" out of association, and called the old game by the nickname "soccer."

    "But they don't DO anything?" whine the soccer-haters. "A game can end up with a 1-0 score, or even a 0-0 tie! That's not exciting!" Then they turn on professional wrasslin', hoping to see some feller get a can of whup-ass opened up on him, lemme tell you whut.

    We've been spoiled in this country. We're the microwave society — we want things fast and hot. Our games are fast, and the scores are dramatically, almost artificially high. We watch sports like we've got a cheat code, and we're using it to create meteoric scores.

    In football, a single touchdown is worth six points, a field goal is worth three.

    In basketball, a basket can get you two, or even three points.

    And in tennis, your first two points are worth 15 each, and your last one is worth 10. Talk about crazy scoring. Why can't you just get 4 points to win a round? Or 10 points for each scored point? Why 15, 15, and 10?

    This seems to be lost on the soccer haters. Instead, they think that since a bunch of foreigners like the game, it must be stupid.

    During the first day of the World Cup, I was sitting in a restaurant watching the game, and some muscle head and his girlfriend came in for lunch, and to play video golf.

    "I don't see why it's even on. Nobody likes soccer," the guy whined to his girlfriend.

    "Actually, I like it," I said to the guy. "So does the rest of the world."

    "Just because 10 percent of this country watches soccer doesn't mean everyone likes it."

    "I know. That's what 10 percent means," I said. "But the World Cup has more viewers than any other sport in the world. In 2006, there were 1 billion viewers of the World Cup final, but there were 106 million people around the world who watched this year's Super Bowl."

    The guy stared uncertainly for a second. Never argue soccer with a guy who's got his laptop and a wifi connection.

    "Yeah, well, that still doesn't mean it's popular."

    "Actually, that's exactly what it means," I said.

    The doofus turned back to his girlfriend, who was looking at him like he was some kind of idiot. "What? I just don't like soccer." Then he returned to his video golf game, not realizing he was playing a video game of a sport played by 16 million — that's 6.7% — people in this country, compared to 18 million soccer players.

    Not that I'm bitter or anything.


    Photo credit: CatMurray (Flickr)
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    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Rubber Stamps Contribute to Editorial Laziness

    Rubber Stamps Contribute to Editorial Laziness

    Erik Deckers
    Laughing Stalk syndicate
    Copyright 1997

    Erik is out of the office this week, so we are firing up the way-back machine, and republishing a column from 1997. However, out of sympathy for our readers, we have edited and improved it. A lot. Like, "it would have been a whole lot easier if he had just written a new one" edited and improved.

    We're extremely lazy as a society. Some experts have referred to my generation the "microwave generation." But that got too hard to say, so we just call ourselves "microwavers." And we're trying to find a way to shorten that.

    We expect a quick resolutions to situations, and that most of our problems should be solved in less than 30 minutes with only two commercial interruptions. And now, many people wonder if our microwaves are too slow, and have taken to cooking food with a flash furnace.

    But some of the things that people have invented to make our lives easy have actually made them more difficult. First, there's the microwave oven, a machine that will let you explode a baked potato in less than 10 minutes, rather than waiting the required two hours in a regular oven.

    Computers are another time saver that have given us newer and faster software and hardware with great time-saving features. Now, you can accidentally forward that email of blonde jokes to the entire department, and be fired in hours, instead of days.

    Remote controls are the classic example of laziness. Nothing reinforces the image of the Couch Potato more than a TV remote. But it doesn't stop there. We have remotes for the TV, another for the VCR, a third for the stereo, and a fourth for the CD player. But wait, there's more! We have remotes to turn on the house lights, start your car while you're still in the house, and even remotes for car radios.

    That's right, there are now remotes for your car radio, and not just the one that's installed directly onto your steering wheel either. No, these are the little wireless remotes that you hold in your hand.

    So now, if your arm is three inches too short to reach the radio from the driver's seat, you can just hold the remote and change stations on the radio from a few inches away. Most people would just lean over a little bit, but not you! You're Mr. (or Ms.) Technology! You use a remote control to operate your gadgets, even though the remote itself is long enough to span that extra three inches.

    However, for sheer laziness, nothing beats a rubber stamp. I'm not talking about those rubber stamps which you can use to stamp the dates on a piece of paper, or the one you use to stamp your boss' signature on the memo approving your 20% pay raise. While certain stamps are useful and necessary, they can also be used for some really obnoxious reasons.

    Several years ago, I submitted a book manuscript to a publisher in hopes of getting a polite rejection form letter (I've stopped trying to get a publishing contract, and just collect polite rejection form letters instead). This guy was so lazy, he returned my submission letter with the words "Not interested -- Ed." stamped on it in blood-red ink.

    Rather than printing out the standard polite rejection form letter that started with "Dear ___________," so they could misspell my name with a blue ink pen later, the editor picked up his rubber stamp, smacked it once on the ink pad, smacked it again on my letter, shoved it back in the self-addressed stamped envelope I had provided, and mailed it back to me.

    When I received my rejection, I was so disgusted by his editorial rudeness, I felt like stamping "Addressee gone. No forwarding address" on his forehead, but I realized that would be mean and petty. So I did the mature, adult thing instead, and put his name on every chronic bedwetter information mailing list I could find.

    Another time, I received another rubber stamp rejection from an editor who had stamped "DOES NOT MEET OUR NEEDS" in red ink. Much like his "Not Interested" rubber stamping counterpart at a magazine, this insensitive lout couldn't even be bothered to print out a simple form rejection letter thanking me for my submission, but that it didn't meet their needs at this time, blah blah blah. How freaking hard is that?

    No, instead this mouth breather had gone to the effort to buy a rubber stamp and ink pad in order to more efficiently expedite the crushing of writers' souls. Not too surprisingly, the magazine folded less than a year later, and the publisher was out of business. I guess he didn't meet his readers needs.

    I suppose it's a good thing I never actually met the guy in person, or else I might have left a message on his car using the precursor to the rubber stamp: a hammer and chisel.

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    Wednesday, June 09, 2010

    Getting Ready to Speak at Skyline Indy's Get Sociable Event

    The big day has arrived, and we are just now starting the Get Sociable lunch and learn. We're talking about social media and tradeshow marketing. I'm hoping to have video up later.

    Use the #skylineindy hashtag to communicate with us during our talk.

    Posted via email from Erik Deckers

    Friday, June 04, 2010

    Is Sportsmanship Lost on Pro Baseball?

    Is Sportsmanship Lost on Pro Baseball?

    Erik Deckers
    Laughing Stalk syndicate
    Copyright 2010

    "That was a great game," said Karl. "Man, I love baseball!" We had just finished watching the Cincinnati Reds trounce the Milwaukee Brewers at Rounders, a Welsh bar. It was our regular tradition to watch the Reds-Brewers match-ups in a bar named after the baseball-like game played in the United Kingdom.

    We watched the ball players congratulate members of their own team on the game, but I noticed the players didn't do the same for the other team.

    Whatever happened to sportsmanship? I asked Karl. Since when did professional athletes lose their sense of sportsmanship?

    "They're not sportsmen," Karl said. "They're mercenaries. They're grown men playing a boys' game, trying to get as much money as they can for it. They're no longer playing it for the love of the game, they're playing it for the love of money."

    The root of all evil, I said.

    "Kid, what are you talking about?" Karl plonked his empty mug on the bar, and signaled to the bartender for two more beers.

    Well, look at these guys, I said, gesturing at the television. When I was in Little League, we all lined up and slapped hands with the other players, and said "good game." We did that in high school and college soccer. We did it in football. We did it in cross-country. We even did it when I played Ultimate Frisbee after college.

    But you give these guys millions of dollars, and suddenly they're too good to shake hands? Since when did money replace sportsmanship? I demanded.

    "They do it in other sports," Karl said. "The NFL, NBA, and NHL all have a post-game congratulations."

    Not really. The NFL players just kind of mish-mash together on the field, and some of them head straight to the locker room. The NBA does the same thing. The NHL players will actually line up and shake hands though. I will give you that one.

    "But doesn't the idea of sportsmanship seem incompatible with the intense competition and masculinity of sports?"

    No, if anything, competition should bring out the best of sportsmanship in an athlete. A good sport is not just someone who doesn't cheat, or doesn't gloat after a win. A good sport is someone who wants to see his or her fellow athletes do well too. A good sport doesn't want to see their competition get hurt, and can lose with grace and dignity.

    "In other words, the only thing worse than a poor loser is a poor winner."

    Esse é o verdadeiro Campeão.Respeito,amizade e espirito esp... on Twitpic
    Exactly. Let me give you an example. Last week, I had a chance to interview some Indy 500 drivers, and I asked them who their big rivals were. I talked with four drivers, and only one said he had one guy he really liked to beat. Other than that, they had no real rivalries. They said they participated in one of the world's most dangerous sports, and that made them close. They were friends, even if they were on different teams, and while they wanted to win, they didn't want to do it at the expense or safety of their friends. They congratulate each other after a win, and commiserate together after a crash or bad finish.

    I even saw a photo of Tony Kanaan hugging Dario Franchitti, after Dario won the 500 this year. Right after the race, Tony tweeted "My best friend and 2 time Indy 500 Champ, I am happy for him" and a link to the photo. Now that's sportsmanship.



    "Are you saying baseball players should embrace after each game, and be happy that the other team won?" Karl said.

    No, I'm just saying that in some sports, people are happy when their friends win. Why can't baseball players at least pretend to congratulate the other team? Just slap each others' hands, and mumble "good game good game good game" without meaning it? My son's soccer team does that each week.

    "So?"

    So, are you telling me that a bunch of 7-year-old kids know more about sportsmanship than grown men being paid millions of dollars? Are you telling me that the 33 fastest men and women can show more sportsmanship and good grace than all 1,200 major league baseball players combined?

    "I don't know. But you've sure given me a lot to think about." Karl paid for his beers, and set down his beer mug. "Good debate, Kid."

    Good debate, Karl, I said. Then we shook hands briefly, thumped each other on the back, and I went home, secure in the fact that I had completely trounced him.


    Photo credit: MsKanaan (TwitPic)
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    Wednesday, June 02, 2010

    IZOD Indy Racing League Moving to a Multi-Engine Model for the 2012 Racing Season

    A press release from the fine folks at the Indy Racing League:

    Basically, the ICONIC (Innovative, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) Advisory Committee is throwing the doors wide open to any and all engine manufacturers for the 2012 season.

    It looks like Honda is not going to be the default engine manufacturer for all Indy cars. They have been the sole engine provider for the last few years to the Indy Racing League. I don't know if the racing teams have always had the chance to choose different manufacturers, but they always chose Honda, or if Honda was the exclusive provider.

    What this all means is that engine manufacturers are allowed to change the engine design, meeting the maximum possible specs, but be flexible enough to work on different types of tracks. It also means that teams will be allowed to choose any engine for their cars that they want.

    Either way, this should be interesting for future races, as it will force/allow engine manufacturers to pull out all the stops in order to be the most attractive option to the different teams.

    One technology I'd like to see (my friend, Mr. Noobie, calls those TILTS), is a technology that allows engines to maintain the same speed while conserving fuel. Given that this year's race really came down to who was able to conserve their fuel the longest, a fuel saving piece of technology might have made a difference and brought us a completely different winner.

    Fans and industry representatives have asked for increased manufacturer participation in the sport, and the IZOD IndyCar Series is providing such a platform with its new engine strategy.

    The series announced today that its new generation of engines will be more powerful and efficient than the current formula. The new engine strategy is based on a recommendation from the ICONIC (Innovative, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) Advisory Committee.

    The exciting new platform, which debuts in 2012, will allow manufacturers to produce engines with a maximum of six cylinders as well as maximum displacement of 2.4 cubic liters. The ethanol-fueled engines will produce between 550 and 700 horsepower to suit the diverse set of tracks on which the IZOD IndyCar Series competes and will be turbocharged to allow for flexibility in power.

    "The ICONIC Advisory Committee has researched future engine platforms with manufacturers, teams, drivers and fans, and they felt this strategy best highlights key attributes of the sport - speed, competition and diversity," said Randy Bernard, chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League. "We feel this open and all-inclusive platform will make our sport an attractive option to engine manufacturers, while allowing development of a relevant and innovative platform to the current and future automotive industry by highlighting efficiency, performance, durability, quality, environmental responsibility and safety."

    The IZOD IndyCar Series will explore new and relevant technologies to incorporate into the engine such as energy recovery, hybrids, fuel conservation and other developing green initiatives.

    "Everyone wants to see competition and high performance on the track," said Bernard. "We are the fastest and most versatile racing in the world and this new engine strategy will continue to enhance that. Now that we have a platform in place, it is our job to put this package in front of the automotive industry to attract the type of participation that will elevate the sport. We truly want to challenge manufacturers to once again make our sport a proving ground and a platform to showcase technology that will benefit the future of their industry."

    The new engine strategy will require that the IZOD IndyCar Series to adopt rules that can accommodate various engine architectures.

    "We will continue to evaluate rules that will keep a level playing field across the board with the various engines that could enter our sport," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and racing operations. "For example, we could see a V-6 competing against an Inline 4 at all IZOD IndyCar Series events in the future. We will require reference engines as a benchmark in performance while looking at sonic air restrictors, fuel flow restrictions and more as key criteria for competition."

    The IZOD IndyCar Series formed the ICONIC Advisory Committee is tasked with reviewing, researching and making a recommendation to the league on the next generation IZOD IndyCar Series engine and chassis. The league plans to have a decision on its chassis by June 30.

    "Speaking on behalf of the ICONIC Advisory Committee members, it has been an honor to contribute to the development of the new generation of IndyCar," said Gil de Ferran, team owner representative to the ICONIC Advisory Committee. "We feel this new engine strategy is open, inclusive, powerful and high performance, in keeping with the historical values associated with Indy car racing. Additionally it poses relevant challenges to which the automotive industry faces today".

    Committee members include de Ferran, Barnhart, Tony Cotman, Eddie Gossage, Rick Long, Tony Purnell and Neil Ressler. It is mediated by retired Air Force Gen. William R. Looney III.

    No comment on the ICONIC mediator's name. I want to be invited back to blog about future races. Although it makes me wonder if he has a plaque in his home that says "you don't have to be a Looney to live here, but it sure helps."

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    Getting ready for Social Media Tradeshow Marketing seminar

    I'm at the Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel, doing some prep work for our seminar, ironing out the final details. That's Molly Worthington from the hotel (l), Lori Reitz, and Reggie Lyons from Skyline Indy.

    Posted via email from Erik Deckers