Keith Strudler

Keith Strudler: The Last Play

Jan 17, 2018

Calling Sunday’s last second touchdown pass by the Minnesota Vikings over New Orleans the greatest game winning score in NFL playoff history would bother a) Pittsburgh Steelers fans who assume the 1972 Immaculate Reception holds that title in perpetuity, and b) New Orleans Saints fans who might suffer flashbacks every time someone shows that highlight. But whether it was the actual greatest of all time or simply part of Mt. Rushmore, make no mistake that Minnesota’s unlikely walk-off touchdown will leave a mark.

Keith Strudler: The Uneasy Olympic Truce

Jan 10, 2018

Here’s the good news. If you have tickets to February’s upcoming Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, there seems to be an ever so slightly better chance you’ll enjoy that experience without the inconvenience of a military exercise from North Korea. That’s not a guarantee, but an aspiration made more likely due to the relative and very recent detente between the Koreas, much predicated upon the upcoming Games themselves.

Keith Strudler: Bulletin Board Material

Jan 3, 2018

In many ways, the bulletin board is a true dinosaur of communication. There are literally dozens of more effective and efficient ways of letting people know something than by pinning a piece of paper to a flat sheet of cork. 

Keith Strudler: A Beginning And An End For Eli Manning

Dec 27, 2017

The beginning of 2018 may also be the end of an era. Such could be the reality for Eli Manning and the legions of New York Giants fans who have adopted him as their own, especially after winning two Super Bowls against the New England Patriots. It’s a fair assessment that older brother Peyton was a better NFL QB, but it would be hard to imagine anyone – Manning or not – more beloved by his home fans.

Keith Strudler: Best Bar Mitzvah Ever

Dec 20, 2017

When it comes to Bar Mitzvahs, particularly in the greater New York metropolitan area, it’s always the case of trying to keep up with the Schwartzs. That means having more dancers, or a bigger band, or more elaborate deserts. Or, as is the custom, don’t serve dinner until around midnight, which seems to be the arbiter of status of the upper class. Or, if that doesn’t work, have Kyle O’Quinn of the New York Knicks come as your newly minted adult’s special guest. That’s right, if you play your cards right, you can have your very own New York Knick singing Hava Nagila and doing the chicken dance and being the envy of every 13 year old that’s ever played a single JCC pick-up game.

Keith Strudler: Roll Tide

Dec 13, 2017

Let’s face it, there’s one topic too big to ignore today. It’s on everybody’s mind, and it harkens thoughts of fairness and respect. It’s about winning and scoreboards and state and regional pride. It’s about the state of Alabama. I’m talking, of course, about the University of Alabama being selected as the last of four teams to make the College Football Playoff, joining Clemson, Oklahoma, and Georgia in the quest to become the number one football team in the country, a decision that nearly split the college football world and was truly up for grabs until the final decision. And yes, I am making a direct parallel with the election of Doug Jones in the same state, although I’d hate to suggest a senatorial campaign is nearly as exciting as a college football season.

Keith Strudler: Russia’s Olympic Problem

Dec 6, 2017

I never thought I’d say this, but wouldn’t it be great if the American federal government acted more like the International Olympic Committee. Generally speaking, that’s almost comedic. It’s like wishing your accountant could be a little more like Bernie Madoff or that your cab driver could be more like Lizzie Grubman. The IOC is often regarded as the most corrupt major sporting body outside of FIFA and has been accused of everything from systemic bribery to privileging human rights tragedies. But yet, IOC leadership seems capable of things our US leadership can’t, or won’t do. More to the point, the Olympics, unlike America, just stood up to Russia.

Keith Strudler: Almost Hired

Nov 29, 2017

So long Greg Schiano. Tennessee barely knew you.

To be clear, Tennessee, more specifically the University of Tennessee, really didn’t get to know you at all. They almost did, as the still current defensive coordinator for the Ohio State football team nearly became the head football coach for the University of Tennessee. But that seeming fait accompli fell apart with remarkable speed and venom somewhere between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning in a twitter fueled campaign of angst and moral outrage.

Keith Strudler: Two Minutes

Nov 22, 2017

In the official record books, Michael Porter Jr. will likely complete his college athletic career having played two official minutes of Division I basketball for the University of Missouri. That’s neither definitive nor official at this point, because Porter is only in his first season with the Tigers. But it’s a very strong hunch.

Keith Strudler: The Cost Of Sunglasses

Nov 15, 2017

Contrary to popular belief, Donald Trump is not the only American who can travel to Asia and cause an international incident. It seems members of the UCLA men’s basketball team have that same talent, which was on full display this past week, the opening for college basketball programs across the country.

Keith Strudler: The Winning Proposal

Nov 8, 2017

The World Series is now a something of a memory, ending almost a week ago with a Houston win in game seven on the road against the LA Dodgers. Since then, all the parades, accolades, second guessing – it’s all come and gone as baseball looks towards its hot stove season and American sports fans focus intently on football, if they hadn’t already. For most of us, players included, game seven was the end.

Keith Strudler: Soccer Art Imitating Soccer Life

Nov 1, 2017

In the spirit of art imitating life, the popular video game Football Manager 2018 takes its cues from reality. For the uninitiated, which in this case is probably the majority, football means soccer. And Football Manager is a popular video game that allows users to create and manage a soccer club based on real and sometimes mythical players. Based on real data and analytics, the game simulates league play while putting game users in the position of managing an actual soccer, or football club. Such is the wonder of the current technological age.

Keith Strudler: 26.2, Exactly

Oct 25, 2017

There is nothing inconsequential about running a marathon. It’s long and grueling and makes you chafe in horrible places and often ends in people vowing to never do it again.  It’s a well-known symbol of athletic accomplishment, which is why people love wearing finisher’s shirts to work. It’s 26.2 miles of heart, sweat, and tears. Except when it’s not.

Keith Strudler: The Future’s (Not) So Bright

Oct 18, 2017

There is nothing better than the future. It's bright, exciting, and assumes limitless potential.  No matter the challenge of the moment, the future always allows for unbridled optimism. In many cases, we live our life with that expectation, delaying instant gratification for the promise of tomorrow. For example, we don't buy sports cars we want today so we can have a lovely retirement. It's part of the DNA of raising kids. Almost every assignment we give our youth leads towards some attainable future goal. Take that away, and no child may ever take a calculus class ever again, much less clean their room.

Keith Strudler: Apologize For What?

Oct 11, 2017

Here’s the thing about apologies. They’re not always genuine. A lot of times we apologize for reasons other than complete remorse. Like say you have kids, and you tell one kid he can’t play with his tablet until he apologizes for putting his dirty soccer cleats on his brother’s lap the whole car ride home from the game. That’s an apology of convenience, and bad parenting.  But regardless, apologies aren’t always truly authentic, but perhaps also self-serving.

Keith Strudler: Running With The Boys

Oct 4, 2017

Perhaps the most painful athletic experience of my life came throughout college track in something called interval work, where we’d run a set of repeats of a certain distance – say, 400 or 800 meters – and do it over and over again at an uncomfortable pace. That usually ended with most of us lying down on the track in some kind of listless agony before we went out to jog a few miles to “cool down.” Such is the virtue of youth.

Keith Strudler: Sports And The Feds

Sep 27, 2017

This is a story about the federal government getting involved in sports. It’s about using massive power and influence against some of the biggest names and institutions in the game. It will outrage fans and perhaps even cost people their jobs.

9/25/17 Panel

Sep 25, 2017

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Political Consultant Libby Post, Communications Consultant Theresa Bourgeois, Albany County District Attorney David Soares, and Director of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University, Keith Strudler. 

Keith Strudler: Football And The Power Of Parenthood

Sep 20, 2017

A couple of days ago, someone asked me if I had heard about a new study coming out of Boston University about kids and football. Now I’ve seen the past studies out of BU that tie football and concussions and CTE – including the most recent that showed some 110 of 111 brains from former NFL athletes having signs of the disease. But this study isn’t about former NFL athletes. It’s not about college football players, or even high school football, when admittedly the game gets a quite a bit more physical.

Keith Strudler: The Cheap Seats

Sep 13, 2017

If you live in Los Angeles and didn’t get a chance to see a live NFL football game last weekend, that is on you. That’s because there were at least 30,000 vacant seats at the Los Angeles Rams home opener on Sunday, where they dismantled the Indianapolis Colts 49-6 in the debut of 31-year-old wunderkind head coach Sean McVay, who’s seems like he should still be doing an internship with the front office. The crowd was estimated at 61,000, which feels just a little like the White House’s estimated attendance at the Presidential inauguration, minus the self-righteous indignation. The Rams currently play in the cavernous Los Angeles Coliseum, the building best known for housing the 1984 Olympics, a space that comfortably holds over 90,000, although the term comfort should be used with great discretion in reference to that facility.

Keith Strudler: Stealing Signs

Sep 6, 2017

Here’s the least surprising thing you’ll hear today. A sports team from Boston was caught cheating. Here’s the second least surprising thing. The victim of their crime was a team from New York. Now perhaps one surprise is that the accused isn’t the Patriots. But otherwise, this is about as surprising a sunrise.

Keith Strudler: Houston Sports

Aug 30, 2017

It will be but a distant footnote in the epic novel that is Hurricane Harvey, but high school football fans will not be able to watch the opening week slug fest between Katy and Austin Westlake originally scheduled for this Friday night. 

Keith Strudler: Making Roger Goodell Money

Aug 23, 2017

The average NFL playing career is about three years. So after all the sacrifice of making a team, from pee-wee to college ball, after giving all your waking ambitions to this singular goal and basically winning the athletic lottery, you still get on average about three years. Which means half get less. It’s more like temp work than permanent employment. And most of these short-term hires earn at or near the league minimum, which is around a half a million a year for entry-level athletes that aren’t early round draft picks. That may sound like a lot of money to the rest of us – and it is – but it’s not what we normally assume about professional football players, most of whom are not Tom Brady or Dez Bryant. Which, among other reasons, is why so many former NFL athletes end up struggling with finances years after retirement, something that happens at around age 25.

Dr. Keith Strudler
Montclair State University

We’re going to talk now with a familiar voice on WAMC for more than a decade: sports commentator Keith Strudler. Each Wednesday afternoon, Strudler has weighed in on the intersection of sports and society, tackling everything from the NFL’s concussion crisis to the corruption of youth sports. With a PhD in Mass Communication from the University of Florida, Strudler founded the Center for Sports Communication at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. This fall, he’s starting a new job as the Director of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Don’t worry: he’s staying on as WAMC’s sports commentator. But we wanted to catch up about the job and the world of sports in the meantime.

Keith Strudler: Both Sides

Aug 16, 2017

The other side. That phrase, or a variant thereof, has gotten an unusual amount of play in the past several days. We’ve been told, by the President, no less, to look at both sides when assessing blame. Most every mediator or manager wants to hear both sides before making a decision. No matter your posture or position, it seems there’s always the other side to consider, even if it sometimes seems intuitively one-sided. Like the world is round. Or ice cream is delicious.

Keith Strudler: The Wrong Finger

Aug 9, 2017

As it’s said, a picture can be worth 1000 words. I’m not entirely sure we’d need that verbosity to understand the intent of a photograph posted on the social media site Snapchat last week by the Atlee Little League Softball team. This group of 12-15 year olds had just advanced to the Junior League World Series by beating a team from Kirkland, Washington, who was hosting the tournament. The game was allegedly feisty and ended 1-0, which was something of a contrast to Atlee’s blowout wins up to this point. In fact, their run total to date had been 29-1, which, among other things, made for some pretty unwatchable softball.

Keith Strudler: Olympic Planning

Aug 2, 2017
Olympic rings

Every now and then, I get into an argument with my mom about vacation planning. It’s usually because she wants to plan a trip a year in advance, and I have a hard time seeing past lunchtime. For a whole lot of reasons – two of them being my children – I’m not really good at long range personal planning. In other words, I barely know what I’m doing next week, much less next year.

Keith Strudler: 110 Of 111

Jul 26, 2017

You know how they say that knowledge is power. In some cases that’s true. Like if you know the winning numbers to the lottery, that’s powerful information. Which makes knowledge a valuable commodity. But sometimes, it’s not. Which means sometimes, you don’t want to know everything. That might be for plausible deniability, which, let’s say, could keep you out of jail. Our out of divorce court. That’s why some things are on a need-to-know basis. But the real issue with knowledge isn’t just that it can get you in trouble. It’s that once you know something, especially something bad, now you have to do something about it. It’s part of the cognitive dissonance thing, meaning it’s hard to manage inconsistent ideas.

Keith Strudler: The Politics Of Hair

Jul 19, 2017

If you’re like me, you spent a good amount of your late youth arguing with your parents about your hair. For me, it was one of a select few moments of protest, since I wasn’t really cool or sophisticated enough to break any real rules. But, I did like to challenge the barber shop to make my hair look more like something from the Muppet Show than GQ. Eventually, in college, I invested in my own pair of hair clippers and lived by the mantra that it will always grow back. I also seemed to think that having cool hair would make my band more popular, or at least more popular than if people simply focused exclusively on what they were hearing. Such led me down the exhaustive road of an extensive hair gel collection, fabric hair bands, and once even an experiment with orange hair dye – which I immediately regretted.

Keith Strudler: Finding The Longhorn Beach

Jul 12, 2017

When it comes to big time college sports, there is no shortage of irony and hypocrisy. So this story is neither isolated nor surprising. But at the least, it is explicatory. This is another story about major college football – its excess, its priority, its oblivion. It’s a story about an American pastime that can’t escape its own ambition. And one of poor judgement mixed with tunnel vision.