HGH in the NFL: Here To Stay?

I am surprised that it took this long for the inevitable to occur…and no, I’m not referring to the death of Adam Sandler’s acting career.  This is about the balance of power shifting in the universe; this is about the integrity of our athletes playing in our favorite sports. This is about: steroids…no, I’m sorry, I meant to say Human Growth Hormone. I still had Sandler on the mind, and steroids were popular the last time he put a good movie out.

Yes, HGH.  The NFL and the Players Association have finally begun the arduous process of testing for this hormone in their athletes. At least that’s what it will lead to eventually; both sides have agreed in principle on a population study for HGH testing.  This is basically a precursor to a formal testing method, just like the NFL already has in place for other banned substances.

Once the details are finalized, the plan is to have blood drawn from every single NFL player for the study.  One of the sticking points with the player’s union is the idea that players will be punished retroactively once an official policy is put into place; but it does sound like official testing will be moving forward eventually.


So the question is: what is the significance of this announcement?  Well, one aspect to consider is that it could have long-term effects on arguably the most popular sport in our nation.  Major League Baseball already conducts official HGH testing on the players in their league; why was the NFL so slow to follow suit?

You could theoretically argue that HGH is to football the same way that steroids were to baseball.  Everyone remembers when steroid usage was rampant in the MLB, and players were regularly hitting forty to fifty home runs a year.  This made for an exciting game and drew the interest of millions of fans throughout the country.

HGH, in theory, is supposed to be able to enhance the performance of athletes much more effectively than other methods. While there are some more recent studies that have been unable to support whether this is true, the reality is that there are quite a few NFL players that have been utilizing this substance to improve their game.  I imagine that the population study will give us a much better idea on how rampant its use is, and we can speculate from there on how effective it has been.  If test results come back saying that Tony Romo has been using HGH, I am going to REALLY question how effective it can be as a performance enhancer.

I was thinking about the timing of this agreement on testing as well. With Roger Goodell cracking down on player safety, the need for 275 pound, hulking linebackers is eventually going to go the way of the railroad.  Agreeing to preliminary testing could be viewed as a nod towards the direction that the league is headed in regards to player contact.

If it turns out that HGH is being used in the majority of NFL players, and a ban eventually comes into effect, will there be a significant drop in excitement to the game? Hard hits and amazing plays were a huge part of football for decades; if there is any drop in excitement, I would likely attribute that to the league implementing policies that protect the players and slow down the pace of the game.
Either way, we all know that an HGH ban would eventually clear the way for players to look into newer methods of upping their game.  Heck, I hope studies come back showing that the most gifted athletes took HGH, maybe we can give some to Adam Sandler…


Olympic Runner Won Bronze with Breast Cancer

When Jamaican runner Novlene Williams-Mills was standing on the podium at the 2012 Olympics with the bronze medal she had just won in the 400-meter relay, there was a whirlwind of uneasy thoughts racing through her mind. You’d never know it from the beaming smile she displayed as she clutched her medal, but the moment was extremely bittersweet.

“I was standing on the podium and I didn’t know if I would ever run another race,” Williams-Mills told the Daily Mail.

Why? Around a month before the Olympics, Williams-Mills discovered a lump in her breast, and after it was examined by doctors, she heard the word nobody ever wants to hear: cancer. She told very few people about the diagnosis, which came before she had even qualified for the Olympic team, and did her best to focus on making it to the Olympics.

image of Novlene Williams-Mills

Jamaican Olympian Novlene Williams-Mills won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics while battling breast cancer.

The fact that she was able to not only make the Olympics with the weight of the diagnosis constantly on her mind – but also win a medal – is a testament to her strong will and never-give-up attitude. She kept the story quiet until now, only telling her husband and a few close friends.

“My teammates in the relay did not know,” she said, calling her decision to compete despite the diagnosis “crazy,” but one she is glad she made.

The sporting world is no stranger to breast cancer – a number of high profile female athletes have battled the disease, while sports teams often give away breast cancer promotional items or participate in special breast cancer awareness campaigns to help raise money to fight it. From using pink bats during MLB games to painting the ice at a hockey game pink, breast cancer awareness and sports go hand in hand. However, seeing a young athlete in her prime diagnosed with breast cancer only to battle through it and triumph on an international stage is a true inspiration.

“For some people, being diagnosed with breast cancer means their world ends,” Williams-Mills said. “But you’re still that same person. A piece of you is taken away but it doesn’t mean life is over.”



On Valentine’s Day, We Highlight a Few Athletes We Love and a Few We Love to Hate

On this Valentine’s Day, there is a lot to love about sports. The Super Bowl was an instant classic, LeBron James is breaking records, spring training is underway, and hockey is back. But, what makes sports great is that there is plenty to hate as well. Like any good superhero film, the villains are what make it interesting. Whether it’s Lance Armstrong lying, Sidney Crosby whining, or Tiger Woods cheating on everything but his scorecard – there are plenty of bad guys. Enjoy our picks for the top athletes we love and the top athletes we love to hate in sports today.

Andrew’s Athlete to Love

Cole Hamels could be my favorite athlete ever. He is the biggest reason I have seen a Philadelphia championship in my lifetime. Before he was brought up to the Major Leagues in 2006, there was a buzz about him being the next big pitcher in Phillies history. At that point, a big pitcher to me was Robert Person. In other words, I had never seen a true ace pitch for the Phillies. Unlike so many Philadelphia athletes over the years, Hamels didn’t disappoint.

The Phillies Ace made all of Philadelphia fall in love when he won World Series MVP in 2008.

The Phillies Ace made all of Philadelphia fall in love when he won World Series MVP in 2008.

Aside from his accomplishments on the mound, Hamels has been an outstanding ambassador for the game of baseball off of it. He co-founded the Hamels Foundation with his wife Heidi (previously of Survivor fame), which helps gives children in the United States and around the world a chance at a better education. He’s truly the ultimate professional. Cole also hates the Mets, so that trumps everything else.

Andrew’s Athlete to Hate

To keep with the theme of the day, my love of the Eagles is a lot like an abusive relationship. I continue to give more to them, I buy tickets, merchandise, devote time and they continue to hurt me by making terrible decisions. Meanwhile, my friends are in great relationships with Eli Manning and the New York Giants. In the big moments, when you need him the most, he comes through. With two Super Bowls in the last five years, Eli Manning is the worst thing to happen to sports in my life since Joe Jurevicius.

There is nothing I love to see more than Eli making this face.

There is nothing I love to see more than Eli making this face.

Although a bit fueled by jealousy (because Eli doesn’t seem like a bad person off the field), I love to hate Manning. The best part of the past sports year was the Eagles beating the Giants in week four. When NBC played Eli making the “Eli face” after Lawrence Tynes missed the game winning field goal, it was the happiest sports had made me in a long, long time.

Jason’s Athlete to Love

When it comes to athletes we love, it’s safe to say that Kate Upton is the complete package.  The 20-year-old superstar is – wait, she doesn’t count as an athlete? Why is she always on the cover of Sports Illustrated then?

Kate Upton SI Cover

Kate Upton graces the cover of Sports Illustrated for the second year in a row.

Well, if we have to pick someone else, we’d go with Roy Halladay. Halladay is the ultimate professional, and a perfect example of how hard work pays off. He has a reputation for being the first one at the ballpark on game days, and his impeccable work ethic continues into the off-season, too. Rumor has it he spends frigid January days running laps at Citizens Bank Park to stay in shape.


Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay gives a hearty Valentine’s Day hug to catcher Carlos Ruiz.

Halladay’s talent and dedication have earned him a perfect game, something that has only been accomplished 23 times in MLB history, and he also recorded the MLB’s second-ever postseason no-hitter. This eight-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young winner isn’t just great on the field, though. He’s also a heck of a guy off the field. He bought his teammates custom watches to thank them for their involvement in his perfect game, and Halladay also works on a number of charitable initiatives. He has been recognized for his philanthropy on multiple occasions, and “Doc” is a fan-favorite wherever he goes. The only thing Halladay doesn’t have is a World Series ring, and with a guy like Cole Hamels pitching beside him in 2013, that could be coming soon.

Jason’s Athlete to Hate

There are plenty of a-hole athletes, but few more terrible than former NHL player Sean Avery. Avery is a total disaster. From his immature antics on the ice that caused the NHL to institute a new “Avery Rule” to his suspension for making an inappropriate “sloppy seconds” comment about ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert to his appearance in the “black book” of a New York City hooker, Avery can’t seem to stay away from controversy.

image of sean avery and brodeur

Hockey player Sean Avery is one of the biggest jerks in pro sports.

Hockey fans hate him, his teammates and the teams he played for grew to hate him, and now, he is out of the NHL and working in the fashion industry. Good riddance.

So, sports fans…take a moment to reflect this Valentine’s Day. Who are the athletes you love, and who are your favorites to hate? Leave a comment below to let us know!


Oscar Pistorius: Pioneer for Disabled Athletes, Gold Medalist, Murderer

On Thursday, Paralympic gold medalist and sporting sensation Oscar Pistorius reportedly gave his girlfriend the worst Valentine’s Day gift ever: four bullets to her arms and head. Pistorius, a double amputee who made history in 2012 by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete in the Olympics, is now in custody at a South African police station after the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius girlfriend

Olympic sprinter and double amputee Oscar Pistorius has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The incident was initially reported as a case of mistaken identity, as “Pistorius told the police that the shooting was an accident and that he had mistaken the victim for an intruder,” according to the New York Times. Some speculated that Steenkamp was sneaking up on Pistorius to surprise him for Valentine’s Day when she was shot by the sprinter (who reportedly kept a gun by his bed), but authorities do not believe the shooting was an accident. In addition, some news outlets are reporting that there have been previous incidents at the home of the celebrated sprinter.

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius, known as the “Blade Runner” due to the appearance of his artificial running limbs, is in police custody after shooting and killing his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day.

The “Blade Runner” made headlines last year for making it to the Olympics despite having both of his legs amputated at 11 months old, and he became an instant role model for amputees and disabled individuals. However, the headlines Pistorius is now making in 2013 are nothing to proud of.


Minnesota High School Goalie Scores Game-Tying Goal…for the Other Team

On Tuesday night, students, parents, friends, and family members from the  Farmington, Minnesota community filed into the Schmitz-Maki Arena to see their Farmington Tigers take on the Chaska Hawks in Farmington High School’s final home hockey game of the season. It was dubbed senior night, and the Tigers players were prepared to put on a show for the home crowd and bid a happy farewell to graduating team members.

Puck in net

It was supposed to be a big night for Farmington, and the players and their fans were excited.

“Senior night game for FHS boys hockey!!” tweeted senior player Grant Hauswirth the morning of the big game. “Be there to support the team and us seniors in our last home game!!”

Late in the game, the Tigers were on their way to sending the team’s senior players off with a win. The Tigers held a 2-1 lead in the final minutes, and it appeared Farmington would notch a win for the home crowd. However, cranky senior goaltender Austin Krause had other plans. With under four minutes to play in the game, Krause left his net to play the puck, but instead of passing it to a teammate or clearing it out of the zone, Krause calmly guided the puck into his own goal, tying the game at two. Krause’s actions were no accident; he then proceeded to “flip the bird” to his coaches before saluting the crowd and skating off the ice. You can see a video of the incident below:

Apparently, Krause was upset with the Farmington coaches for giving too much playing time to a sophomore goaltender, and he wanted to show his displeasure in a way that would both attract plenty of attention and be detrimental to the team. As a senior, Krause felt entitled to time between the pipes, and seeing a sophomore start in his place on many occasions throughout the season was too much for him to handle. Krause’s selfish actions led to a tie game, and before the third period expired, the Hawks cashed in with a power play goal to claim a 3-2 win, sending Farmington players and fans home stunned and sad.

According to some Farmington students, Krause had been talking about his plan for “revenge” all season long, and he indicated to some ahead of time that he was going to pull the stunt on Tuesday.

“Everyone was talking about it all day,” one Farmington sophomore tweeted. “It was sorta expected.”

“It was planned,” confirmed Rachel Markuson, the team’s student manager.

While whispers of Krause’s plan may have made their way around the school before the game, most of his teammates didn’t expect their goalie to score on himself.

“I didn’t think he was actually gonna do it,” one Farmington player posted on Twitter after the game.

Whether or not Krause’s teammates took him seriously beforehand, they certainly weren’t pleased with him after the game.

“Not only did you ruin our senior night, you let down our whole team,” Hauswirth tweeted.



Why Keeping Vick Makes Me Sick

On January 16th, the Philadelphia Eagles shocked the NFL world and announced Chip Kelly as their new head coach. The announcement came as a shock as it was widely reported that Kelly would remain at Oregon. Finally, after a 4-12 season and the end of the Reid era, Eagles fans were given a bit of hope that things could be different. Then, today happened and hope is about as real as Manti T’eo’s valentine.

News broke that Michael Vick has restructured his contract and will return as the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick will make ten million dollars and become a free agent after the season. The controversial quarterback is 33 years old, injury prone and fumbled 11 times in ten games last year. Meanwhile, Kelly runs an offense that requires a dynamic quarterback to run and take hits.

Fear not, expert analysis Ron Jaworski came out and called Vick a tremendous passer and a phenomenal runner in recent weeks. Of course, nothing on film last year supports this theory.

Athletes get old. It happens. Vick was a warrior. The guy took a ton of hits and his body shut down. It’s the risk you take when you play behind an offensive line that was decimated with injuries. And, while you could argue that the line will be better this season, the wear and tear on Vick’s body isn’t going to magically disappear.

At this point you may be saying, ok, well, what other options did they have? I’m glad you asked. Below is my list of realistic options that would be better than Vick:

The Michael Vick era will continue in Philadelphia.

The Michael Vick era will continue in Philadelphia.

Nick Foles – Kelly said when he came back that he would sculpt the office to get the most out of the talent on the roster. Well, the most talented quarterback on the current roster is Nick Foles. Foles showed enough in his rookie year to warrant an opportunity at entering camp as a starter. If it didn’t work out, you draft your quarterback for 2014, but at least you know. The team already knows what they have in Vick and will now never have the opportunity to see what Foles could have become.

EJ Manuel – I don’t believe any quarterback in the upcoming draft is worth a first round pick, especially with the holes the Eagles need to fill. Currently, EJ Manuel is projected as a second round pick. The Eagles have two second round selections and could have grabbed Manuel with one of them. He is 6’4″ 234 pounds and would be able to take the hits that the Kelly offense requires. EJ has a strong arm and would be the type of project an offensive guru like Chip should be able to thrive with.

Alex Smith – If the Eagles believed they could compete in 2013, Alex Smith would have been the best option available. Smith isn’t an elite quarterback, but he is a proven starter in this league. With the right team around him, Smith would have given Philadelphia a chance to make the playoffs.

Geno Smith – Admittedly, I would not be happy if the Eagles drafted Geno Smith with the fourth overall pick. It would be a tremendous reach. However, they could have convinced many fans that with Kelly molding him, Smith could be a top quarterback in the league. While Smith has youth and upside, Vick has deteriorating skills and a medical history.

When you are coming off of your worst season in almost two decades, it’s important to sell to your fans that change is on the horizon. Today, the Eagles showed that while Reid may be gone, the people in charge of player personnel are here to stay.

Go Phillies.


Jason Taylor Provides a Glimpse of the Pain Inflicted in the NFL

While it’s no secret that NFL players take quite a beating each week, former defensive end Jason Taylor gave football fans a better idea of the excruciating pain that many players endure in a revealing and compelling interview with the Miami Herald over the weekend. Taylor experienced more than his fair share of pain and injuries during his 15 seasons in the NFL, and he details a few cringe-worthy occassions in the interview.

image of jason taylor

Former NFL player Jason Taylor played through plenty of pain during his 15-year NFL career. He shared a number of shocking stories in an interview with the Miami Herald this week.

At one point, Taylor was within hours of having his leg amputated, but emergency surgery saved his limb. Another time, he collapsed in a parking lot while out with his wife, shaking and sobbing from the unbearable back pain. On a third occasion, Taylor was ushered into a “dungeon” in the basement of an NFL arena and given a towel to bite down on to muffle his screams as doctors worked on his injured leg.

Yeah, NFL players get paid a lot of money to play a game…but at what point does it become not worth it, or too much to handle? Taylor’s stories sound like scenes straight out of a horror movie.

Compounding the problem is the fact  that players are pressured into playing when hurt and are faced with the fear that their fellow players, their coaches, or their team’s fans will think they are weak or inadequate if they sit out with an injury. According to Taylor, players are under constant pressure to shrug off serious injuries in order to stay on the field and help their teammates.

The walls of the Miami Dolphins training room is even littered with quotes belitting players who head in for medical attention. “Dan Marino has a quote up on one of the walls in there, something about how being in the training room doesn’t make you part of the team,” Taylor said. Taylor even has his own quote up on the walls: “Be a player, not a patient.”

Why do football players risk their bodies – and ultimately, their lives – for a game? Money is part of it, and a love for the game is another, but perhaps the biggest reason is pride.

It seems absurd to play through such pain and to constantly take hits to the head that can cause degenerative brain disease, but the “macho” mentality of football players isn’t going away anytime soon.

“Would I do it all again?” Taylor asks himself. “I would.”

Whether you’re a football fan or not, Taylor’s story by Herald writer Dan Le Batard is an absolute must-read. Check it out here.


Lance Armstrong Admits to Doping: What Will It Cost Him?

On Monday, former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong finally admitted what everyone already knew: he used performance enhancing drugs throughout a storied career that saw him win the Tour de France seven times. Of course, Armstrong is no longer the official winner of those coveted titles, as the International Cycling Union stripped Armstrong of that honor in October. Armstrong’s shocking confession of steroid use came in an exclusive interview with Oprah, which is set to air in two parts beginning this Thursday.

image of lance armstrong

Lance Armstrong’s once-impeccable reputation continues to plummet. On Thursday, an exclusive interview with Oprah will air where Armstrong reportedly admits to doping.

While rumors of Armstrong’s performance enhancing drug use had been swirling for years, things didn’t come completely undone for the cyclist until late in 2012, when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a comprehensive report detailing Armstrong’s transgressions.  USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said Armstrong’s doping was ”the most sophisticated, professionalized, and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” Despite a plethora of evidence and witness accounts that painted a pretty clear picture of Armstrong’s drug use over the years, he vehemently denied the accusations, making him not only a cheater, but a liar, too.

What consequences will Armstrong face for this fiasco? He has already lost his seven titles (according to reports, he could have kept as many as five of them if he had come clean earlier) and the respect of millions, but his wallet could take quite a hit as well.

It is estimated that Armstrong has a net worth of around $100 million, but he has been rapidly losing endorsements sponsorship dollars amidst the controvery and is facing a number of lawsuits and penalties now that he has admitted to the steroid use. Armstrong is on the hook for millions, and it has also been reported that Armstrong is in discussions to return a portion of the sponsorship money paid to him by the U.S. Postal Service over the years.

Was admitting the steroid use the right move? Yes, it’s great that Armstrong admits to doping, but he should have done so much earlier, rather than denying it for years and then eventually giving up. Delaying the inevitable only cost Armstrong more in the long run.

Be sure to tune in to see Armstrong’s confession on OWN at 9 p.m. EST Thursday and again on Friday at 9 p.m. EST for part two of the interview. The interview can also be viewed online at Oprah.com.


Handicapping the Final Four: Who Will Be Crowned Super Bowl Champions?

The best weekend in sports came to an end yesterday when the Patriots beat the Texans 41-28. In an otherwise unpredictable slate of action, the Patriots made a case for the new boss of the NFL playoffs being the same as the old boss. However, they will have to get through a team starving for revenge and an NFC foe with all sorts of momentum. Do the Pats avenge their Super Bowl loss from a year ago? Let’s rank the final four and find out.

I believe San Francisco travels to Atlanta as the favorite for a reason.

4. Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan earned his first playoff victory yesterday, but it didn’t come easy. Leading 20-0 at the break and 27-7 in the third quarter, the Falcons completely unraveled. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks made a historic comeback and had Atlanta training 28-27 with just 31 seconds left to play. Fortunately for fans of the NFC South champs, Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez gave the team the Heimlich maneuver putting kicker Matt Bryant in range for a 49 yard field goal to win the game.

While the late game heroics were impressive, the overall performance was not. To win the big game, they would have to beat two favorites back-to-back. The 49ers are just as physical as the Seahawks and even better coached. I’m predicting curtains for the NFC’s #1 seed next Sunday.

3. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens will play New England in Foxboro for a trip to the Super Bowl for the second straight year, and for the second straight week, they will be big underdogs. Their win on Saturday was one of the most exciting in the history of the NFL playoffs. The mere fact that they were able to force overtime was nearly a miracle. With Ray Lewis set to retire at the end of the year, Baltimore has been labeled this year’s team of destiny. However, if you saw my closet, you would know that I am not a fan of labels.

This Sunday, Joe Flacco comes into the game with an impressive 7-4 record in the playoffs. But, Tom Brady has been to five Super Bowls and won three. While I think the Ravens could give an NFC team a real game with the momentum on their side and the retiring Ray Lewis revving them up, the hill in Foxboro should prove too steep to climb.

Tom Brady vs. Ray Lewis again? Yes, please.

2. San Francisco 49ers – Few coaches would have had the guts to bench a quarterback who took them to last year’s NFC title game. Fewer would make the move when their team was in first place, but Jim Harbaugh understood what he had in Colin Kaepernick. The young single caller is a dynamic quarterback that simply makes big plays. He lit up the Packers like a Christmas tree in the biggest game of his career Saturday night. And, like most Christmas trees in Green Bay, the Packers playoff chances were trashed.

When you combine the physicality of the defense and the new dimensions of the offense, the 49ers are favored to beat #1 seed Atlanta for a reason. The only reason I didn’t make them the favorites to win it all is a quarterback who grew up in the Bay Area that now resides in New England.

1. New England Patriots In an odd bit of trivia, the New England Patriots have been in three of the last four Super Bowls hosted by New Orleans. This season, they make it four out of five. They are the favorite to hoist the trophy because of their quarterback and their head coach. You can’t beat the experience of a team that has been to five championship games. Do upsets happen? Sure. Look no further than last year, but when you are talking likelihood – it’s impossible not to favor Coach Belichick and a healthy Tom Brady.


Is the NHL Lockout Finally Nearing an End? NHL, NHLPA Meet with Mediators

After last week’s promising negotiation sessions resulted in disaster, the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association are back at the bargaining table. This time, federal mediators are in tow, and many with knowledge of the situation believe the lockout could be over shortly.

image of NHL lockout

Federal mediators are currently overseeing negotiations and the 2012-13 National Hockey League lockout could be over soon, according to some players and experts.

“Barring stupidity, there are NHL players that believe that deal will be reached in 4 or 5 days,” said ESPN personality John Buccigross via Twitter. “Players then would have 3-4 days to report.”

As you may recall, the two sides met with mediators in late November, but the tactic proved to be futile. According to the New York Times, the federal mediators determined that the NHL and NHLPA were too “far apart” for mediation to be successful.

That failed mediation resulted in a set of meetings last week that saw the league and the union tantalizingly close to an agreement before things fell apart later in the week. However, some have speculated that the blowup was a calculated move on the part of NHLPA Director Donald Fehr.

In addition, a number of experts believe the parties are much closer than it seems.

“The most ironic thing about talks falling off the rails last week is that both sides are closer to a deal now than they ever have been during this process,” wrote Ken Campbell, a senior writer for The Hockey News. ”Not near as close as Fehr would have people believe, but not as far apart as the NHL has portrayed the chasm to be, either.”

Today, mediators are overseeing a negotiation session between NHL executives and 13 NHL players representing the NHLPA.  Gary Bettman is at the helm for the NHL, while Fehr is present with the NHLPA. According to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record, there are no NHL owners at the meetings, unlike last week’s collaboration of players and owners. In addition, the meeting is being held at an undisclosed location in New Jersey in an attempt to avoid the media circus that ensued at the negotiations last week.

Will the two sides finally get a deal done and end the NHL lockout, which has dragged into day 88? Games are cancelled through Dec. 30, but if an agreement can be reached, the season can still be saved. While it’s never good to see 42 percent of the season cancelled, a shortened schedule like the NHL saw in 1994-95 (which began Jan. 20) is certainly better than no schedule at all.