Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Footballers

An open letter to Illinois state representative Carol Sente, regarding the dangers of playing tackle football, especially by children;

April 19, 2018

The Honorable Carol Sente
Illinois House of Representatives
59th House District
272-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, Illinois 62706

Dear Representative Sente,

While reading an article in today’s Columbus Dispatch regarding a proposal to ban children in your state under the age of twelve from playing tackle football, I could not believe your comment that parents “need more time to absorb the evidence” which links repeated blows to the head to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Throughout the past two decades, colleges and pros have cut back on tackling in practice because of the brutality of the game, however, studies on the effects to the brain has only centered on concussions.

During the past six or eight years, if not longer, PBS aired two programs detailing the impact of tackle football on our youth. I do not remember the person’s name or occupation, but I will never forget the comment he made regarding the effects on a child’s brain when helmets bang together. He compared what happens to the brain as to shaking a bowl of Jell-O. This banging together of helmets occurs on every single play in every game and during every practice.

I grew up playing football, however the only time I wore a helmet was when I made the high school reserves team in the tenth grade. The ironic thing about helmets is that the more safer we make them, the more dangerous they have become, turning them into death-defying weapons of destruction. The sporting world only seems to link CTE to concussions, however, to me, and I’m no doctor, but the shaking of brains comparable to shaking a bowl of Jell-O, especially in children, is the real concern.

My son (and my daughter too) got his love of the sport from me, and he played two years of peewee tackle football twenty some years ago. Knowing what I know now, I would not allow him to play tackle football at such a young age.

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring

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“Dissed”

December 30, 2017

I do not understand why more and more draft eligible players are choosing not to play in a bowl game, fearful of injuring themselves and potentially losing millions of NFL guaranteed dollars. Granted, in the past few years, a couple of players suffered from this cruel fate, but, how does a player face his teammates?

What I really do not understand is why coaches allow a player who is refusing to play to still be a part of the team, allowing them to stand along the sidelines. I’m no coach, but if one, would tell any player who refused to play, that’s fine, but you’re staying home.

Players have been complaining for several decades now about being disrespected. The complaint become so widespread it ended up with its own slang word, “dissed.” But, isn’t refusing to play the ultimate form of disrespect? Coming of age on the south side of Columbus through the ‘70s, we would have had one word for such a player, a word now days most associated with the president.

What does this say about a player? What does this say about us as a society and a nation?

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Is Chris Duarte The Greatest Living Guitarist?

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July 8, 2017

I have seen in concert or have listened to the recordings of most, if not all of the greatest rock and/or blues guitarists during the past forty-five years, and without a doubt one of the best is Chris Duarte. There have been comparisons made to Stevie Ray and Jimi Hendrix and there are several Duarte songs that have that SRV sound, but I believe it’s due more to a Texas blues shuffle thing going on than sounding like the man himself.

I have seen Duarte in concert five times and every show has been amazing. As someone who is not widely known, to put it mildly, I always saw him in very small bars and every time he puts on a two to three-hour show of amazing guitar playing for less than ten bucks. The only time I paid more for a ticket, and when he played less than two hours was when he opened for Gov’t Mule at Ludlow‘s, a bar in Columbus, Ohio, which cost fifteen dollars. These seven photographs were shot at Chelsie’s, a now defunct bar that was located in the Short North artisan district in Columbus on June 18, 1999. The price of the ticket was an incredible seven dollars. Needless to say, these photos were shot with film, and then the 4×6 prints were scanned onto my computer to be adjusted, framed and matted before being uploaded online.

For those who have yet to experience the fury of Chris’ playing, I would recommend starting with his 1994 album Texas Sugar/Strat Magik. However, on his 2003 album Romp, is his incredible version of the Bob Dylan song One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below). This song in itself is worth the price of the CD. It was while listening to this CD for the first time while setting up my computer for a new high-speed internet connection that I came up with the name of my new email address, that being DoTheRomp@SBCglobal.net, borrowing the title from the first song on the CD.

Do not take it from me as to the greatness of Chris Duarte, as on the guitarist’s website is a quote from Eddie Van Halen who, when asked during a 1989 Rock One Radio interview what’s it like to be greatest guitar player in the world, Van Halen replied “I don’t know, ask Chris Duarte.”

Do The Romp? Yes, indeed!

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Black & White #33A

black-white-33afmFebruary 18, 2017

I decided to post this photograph as a change of pace with my usual posts, lest anyone wonders if all I photograph are flowers. This photo was taken sometime in 1982 while I was taking several photography courses at Ohio State, paid for by the G.I. Bill after serving four years in the Navy as a weatherman aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-61).

By the time I started school, I was already married with two precious babies soon on their way. After taking a couple of black & white courses, all the advanced courses were all late in the afternoon, which interfered with my full-time, second shift job. Making the situation even worse, I was living in London, commuting forty-five miles back and forth to Columbus every day for either school or work. I would leave home and 9:00 in the morning and not arrive back home until midnight or later. Lunch and dinner were sack lunches. On good days, I would only have either school or work. Rarely did I have an entire day off in the five years it took me to earn my degree.

Instead of trying to find another job with hours that would allow me to continue in the field of photography, I did the prudent thing and switched majors, earning my bachelor’s degree with a major in accounting. That degree served me well, until a rather severe mid-life crisis derailed everything. However, after buying my first new camera in thirty-three years in June of 2013, finally going digital, photography has now consumed my entire life, as I spend at least eight hours a day either photographing flowers or working on the slightly more than one hundred thousand photographs I have taken during the past four years.

Only thirty more days until spring. But who’s counting?

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Muddy Waters #25A, 77A, 77B, 52A, 21C & 21B

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January 21, 2017

McKinley Morganfield (aka Muddy Waters) was born on April 4, 1913 in Jug’s Corner, Mississippi. Although he first began playing the blues on harmonica, by age 17 Muddy was playing local parties and juke joints on acoustic guitar. In 1940, Waters moved to Chicago for the first time, but soon returned home. During 1943, he returned to Chicago for good. In 1945, Muddy was given his first electric guitar from his uncle, Joe Grant, and the rest as they say is history. In 1950, Muddy recorded Rollin’ Stone, a song one decade later five young white, English lads would take as the name of the band, who would become the world’s greatest rock and roll band, The Rolling Stones. Over the years, Waters would have as his backing band some of the most respected sidemen in blues history, including Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers, Pinetop Perkins, Otis Spann, James Cotton, Calvin “Fuzz” Jones and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith.

In 1977, Waters recorded Hard Again, a comeback album of sorts that featured Johnny Winters on guitar, producer and miscellaneous screaming. The first song on the album is a blistering, powerful remake of his 1955 classic, Mannish Boy. For anyone not familiar with the music of Mr. Waters, this is the album to start with. If I could only own twelve albums, and what a hardship that would be, however this would definitely be one.

These photos were shot at a very small bar on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, USA, and as such, the lighting was not very conducive to someone wanting to photograph arguably the greatest bluesman of all-time. As a matter of fact, of the two or three rolls of film I shot that night, only one print actually looked worthy of posting on my blog. All others came back underdeveloped. With the use of my computer, I was able to adjust both the color and contrast levels to make them presentable. The one print that looked halfway decent did not even make the final cut to this post. Instead of shooting only two or three rolls of thirty-six exposure film that night, if I had a digital camera back then, I most likely would have shot a thousand photos that night, if not more.

I have always thought the location of this show was Stache’s & Little Brothers. However, when doing some research, it seems the location was a place called High Street Brewing Company, but this might be the same locale, only under a different name. The date of the show was either Sunday February 8, 1981 or Tuesday November 3, 1981, as it seems that Waters played at this bar twice during that year.

Muddy Waters passed away in Chicago on April 30, 1983. The blues are rock and roll and Muddy Waters is the blues!

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Is It Legal To Sell Alcohol Only To Rich People?

September 9, 2015

An open letter to Gene Smith, Athletic Director at The Ohio State University, regarding its new policy of selling alcoholic beverages only to the wealthy elite;

September 8, 2015

Mr. Gene Smith
Director of Athletics
The Ohio State University
Room 224, St. John Arena
410 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1166

Dear Gene,

I was surprised to read in last week’s Columbus Dispatch that alcohol will now be sold in Ohio Stadium. That is, only to rich folks. It was only a few years ago that alcoholic advertising was banned from all NCAA events. I guess the organization decided that, despite multi-billion dollar television contracts, it was no longer making enough money and caved in to the almighty dollar. I was also shocked to learn that alcohol was being sold to patrons in the Schottenstein Center ever since it first opened. Again, being sold only to those fans who pay top dollar for their seats.

I assume the rationale for this decision is the supposition that rich folks are much better behaved, especially when consuming alcoholic beverages. Even if true, you are punishing the masses for the behavior of only a few. I think there is no dispute that the working man and woman are far more zealous fans than their wealthy counterparts. This is why Value City Arena, for most games is a dead arena. Selling seat licenses for prime seats and seating students up in the rafters led to no home court advantage for Coach Matta and his BasketBucks. I will give you credit for moving some students down behind both benches. However, the huge eyesore of a black ribbon behind several rows of students, roping off three or four rows of prime seats is an insult to the great job that Matta has done. The reasoning given for this black ribbon is that fans in those seats might actually have to stand to watch the game.

This new policy does not affect me, as I gave up drinking some thirty-five years ago and I stopped buying alumni football tickets a decade ago not only because of the cost of a ticket but also your asinine policy of not informing alumni what game you are purchasing tickets to. I have far better things to do with $150 than waste it watching the Buckeyes beat up on Podunk U. I find it astonishing that it is much cheaper to go to a professional game than it is to a college game, played supposedly by amateurs.

College sports long ago sold its soul to the devil that Big Money is. Selling alcohol to rich people is just the latest example. The lust of money is leading to the demise of capitalism, and thus America itself. Your policy of selling alcohol only to the wealthy elite reeks of elitism. The Ohio State University should be embarrassed by this act of discrimination.

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

Henry Paul Band #13B, 7C, 46B, 23B, 43B, 26C, 63C, 88C & 73B

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February 14, 2014

Henry Paul formed the Henry Paul Band in 1978 after leaving the Outlaws the previous year. While a member of the Outlaws from 1972 to 1977, the band released its first three albums: 1975’s Outlaws, 1976’s Lady In Waiting and Hurry Sundown in 1977.

The Henry Paul Band released three albums: Grey Ghost in 1979, Feel The Heat in 1980 and Anytime in 1981. The title track on their debut album was a tribute to Ronnie Van Zant and Lynyrd Skynyrd. In 1982, Paul released the eponymously titled Henry Paul album. From 1983 to 1986, the guitarist and vocalist rejoined the Outlaws.

During 1992, Henry formed the country band BlackHawk, which has released seven studio albums over the years, including their latest, Brothers Of The Southland, in 2014. During this same time period, Paul has played on and off with the Outlaws. With the 2007 death of founding Outlaw guitarist Hughie Thomasson, Henry has assumed leadership of the band.

These photographs were shot on August 25, 1980 at the Agora in Columbus, Ohio, across the street from the Ohio State University campus. The Agora, which bills itself as America’s longest continually running rock club first opened as the State Theater in 1923. It was converted into the Agora Ballroom in 1970 with a seating capacity of 1,700, although seating is a misnomer as there are no seats down front by the stage. The ballroom was purchased by PromoWest in 1984 and changed the name to the Newport Music Club.

The price of a ticket to this show was $4.50.

Steven H. Spring