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The Colin Kaepernick Syndrome Ver. 1.0.2

The Top Gun National Crises Troubleshooter, Retired

https://thephilosopheronpolitics.wordpress.com/tag/Kaepernick-Syndrome/

2/9/2016

Copyright 2016

Definition

Colin Kaepernick is, or was, or may still be, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers football team for 2014-2017.  Colin came to the forefront of professional football when the then quarterback Alex Smith gave it his all to gain a first down by diving head first for the chain marker line.  Going head first made him an eligible runner and he received a concussion-producing blow to his head in a helmet-to-helmet collision.  The helmets are of no use in protecting the brain from colliding with its own skull, and when a collision causes rapid acceleration of the head, a severe concussion is the result.[i]

Colin Kaepernick brought some new talent to professional football; he could throw a fastball with the football, for he also was a pitcher in college baseball.  He could run like a gazelle.[ii]  These two talents helped Kaepernick lead the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl.  Kaepernick was defeating the competition with his individual skill package.  He had only one flaw, and that flaw was carried over from his baseball pitching days – he occasionally threw a wild pitch.  In professional football, the cost of a wild throw is often an interception and a touchdown for the opposing team.

The other teams did not like being beaten by this new skillful quarterback and looked to find ways to “Shut Him Down!”  This is now to be known as “The Colin Kaepernick Syndrome.”  The opposing teams reorganized; they needed to give Kaepernick less time to throw the ball.  He was sacked more times than any other quarterback in the NFL in 2015.  He was not allowed to escape from the pocket and use his high speed running skills.  The opposing teams in the NFL shut Kaepernick down.  In 2015, Kaepernick was put back on the bench and a new quarterback emerged for the 49ers.  Too many “arm pumps” for his touchdowns in the end-zone may have contributed to his downfall; it does not pay to gloat over your successes against the other teams.

Case Study 1

I first became aware of this “Colin Kaepernick Syndrome” when I played basketball in high school.  I had read in a Boy Scout news article stating that if you knew where you were on the basketball court, you could practice shooting baskets from these positions and become skilled at making baskets from these identified positions.  I picked a few positions on the free-throw arc – today  known as the three-point range – and had a successful shooting average of over 70 percent from these positions (though in these days, this shot was worth only two points, not the three points given today).

In one game, during my sophomore year, my long term boyhood friend and teammate guard since junior high basketball was feeding me the ball as we faced a zone defense in our guard positions.   When I tossed the ball back to him at the other guard position, the defender who had been guarding me would move over to guard him.  He fed the ball back to me and I turned and shot “my shot.”  After completing three of these shots in succession, there came a BOOMING voice from the coach of the opposing team, saying “SHUT HIM DOWN!!!!!!” The next time my friend fed me the ball, I had to duck a haymaker swing from the farm boy who was guarding me, and I was double-teamed. They were on me “like white on rice.”

After college and once I was into my career in physics, I joined a health club and joined in on the pickup basketball games. Being one of the shortest players on the court, I had to learn how to deal with the other taller players.  I quickly received the handle as “The Gun,” as I did not miss a basket from the outside.  This resulted in a big guy always in front of me to block my shot.  Putting my knowledge of physics to use, I knew that a target could be hit without being able to see the target, like a projectile from an artillery weapon. Therefore, I only needed to know where on the court I was, as the basket is always in the same place. I could shoot the ball on a trajectory and it would always hit the unseen target.  Since these were really tall guys, the trajectory needed to be very high to get over their out-stretched arms as they jumped into the air to block my shot. This turned out to improve my shooting average, as the downward momentum of the ball from this high arching ball made the basket look bigger to the ball, as the downward momentum of the ball would put the ball through the basket, even if the rim of the basket was contacted. [iii]

When the Golden State Warriors were in the NBA Finals in 2015, Steph Curry was their consistent three-point shooter.  The opposing team reacted to his skill as an outside shooter by assigning a defender to him whose assignment was to keep a hand in Steph’s face when he had the ball, in an attempt to shut him down. I sent off an email to the Warriors outlining my “High Arching Shot, Shot Blindly like an Artillery Piece.” I missed the last game of this series, and do not know if Steph received my message, but the Warriors won the championship and Steph has improved on his performance in 2016.

Case Study 2

When I graduated from college with a Bachelor Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, Physics and Metallurgy, I accepted an offer to join the staff at a national scientific laboratory.  The first thing I heard from my new supervisor was, “We have never had anyone like you come to this laboratory before and we did not know how to classify you.”  So I was classified along with others who had much less education than I had and with supervisors of the same. Surviving  a “Reduction in Force” (RIF), working out of my field for three years, I entered into a classification that put me in direct competition, for salary, with others of this same classification, and still with both peers and management with less education than myself.

In one of our safety meetings, the supervisor brought in an incident that had happed in a different department.  This person put water in a glass beaker and put it into the microwave to bring it to a boil for tea.  When the tea bag was introduced to the water, the water exploded out of the beaker and scalded this individual.  I stated that, “Because the surface of the beaker was smooth, there was no place for nucleation to take place and the water had become superheated. When the tea bag was introduced to the water, it provided this nucleation point and a cascade of nucleation progressed rapidly throughout the beaker, causing a steam bubble that forced the scalding water out of the beaker and onto this individual, resulting in severe burns to the upper body.”  My peers, who were in competition with me to achieve a high ranking and thus a bigger piece of the wage pie, assailed my augment as crazy.  This incident was put under professional investigation and, a few weeks later at another safety meeting of my peers, the supervisor released the results of this investigation into the exploding water in the beaker. “The results of this investigation showed that, because the surface of the beaker was smooth, there was no place for nucleation to take place and the water had become superheated. When the tea bag was introduced to the water it provided this nucleation point and a cascade of nucleation progressed rapidly throughout the beaker, causing a steam bubble that forced the scalding water out of the beaker and onto this individual, resulting in severe burns to the upper body.”   This is clearly “The Colin Kaepernick Syndrome” in action.

Case Study 3

A few years later, at the turn into the twenty-first century, an incident occurred which involved our workspace being filled with dense toxic contact cement fumes. This was a high security Bay and was sealed off so tight a mouse could not get in to this Bay let alone fresh air! The visible ventilation fans in this very high celling bay could not bring fresh air into this area so the toxic fumes accumulated. This was a new team to this Bay and they were not familiar with this ventilation situation and they attempted to use floor model fans to move the air out of their immediate area and the toxic fumes accumulated in this entire Bay.  As the Safety Representative for this area, I confronted the team leader to his error in thinking and his actions taken trying to rid the fumes from his work area.  Again my solution to “move the units in front of a large local ventilation fan” was dismissed as CRAZY.  To achieve a high ranking and thus a bigger slice of the salary pie, one must accomplish the mission one is assigned, which does not include making errors in judgment along the way.  Is this ”The Colin Kaepernick Syndrome” in action?  Safety took a back seat to the competition for a bigger slice of the Salary Pie.

Case Study 4

I reported the above Case Study 3 incident to management and also reported my loss of being able to remember numbers.  The top manager asked me, “What was the first symptom to occur from this exposure to these toxic fumes?” I answered, “A loss of ability to make good decisions.”  He recognized the direct supervisor was on the scene of this incident and agreed that a lack of good decisions contributed to this industrial accident.

After living with a constant headache for two months, and after being charged with a couple of minor safety issues of my own, and being evaluated for a disability from this incident, I was directed to be evaluated for dismissal.  This may or may not have had something to do with my proposal to “Allow the Partial Participation in Management by the Rank-and-File,” as this proposal was based on the premise that “cooperation is better than competition” and threated the power structure of this management system.  The top supervisor accused me of trying to bring in a labor union and, on my exit, after thirty years of exemplary service to this organization, I received a deadpan wet dishrag handshake from both my direct supervisor and the top supervisor. This incident would also come under “The Colin Kaepernick Syndrome.”

The moral of this story: Never accept a position that puts you in competition for salary with peers and with management of lesser education than your own.

Conclusion

The Colin Kaepernick Syndrome” is real.  When in competition as a team, only team effort is acceptable for winning the game. Individual effort will be met with “Shut Him Down!!”  If your individual effort is beating the competition, don’t flaunt it in their face. Cooperation is better than competition in a group, even in the workplace, when this group is in competition with other groups.   

QED

[i] https://thephilosopheronpolitics.wordpress.com/tag/football/

[ii] Coach Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers, 2014

[iii] https://thephilosopheronpolitics.wordpress.com/tag/basketball/