Reality check? 现实核查

2021.05.25

Reader question:

Please explain this headline: A reality check for those thinking BYU is a great BBall school.

My comments:

If you think Brigham Young University (BYU) is a great basketball (BBall) school, you are very wrong.

Basically, that’s what the headline says.

BYU may have just lost an important game, and whoever writes that headline wants that loss to serve as a reality check, i.e. a reminder that BYU isn’t as great as you’ve thought.

Consider a reality check in the same way you look at a health check. A health check, of course, is a physical examination or checkup.

You think your health is sound. You feel fine. You think there’s nothing wrong. But after the examination, the doctor reports that you’re actually overweight. Your blood pressure is a little high. Your blood sugar level is much higher than normal and you also have an irregular heartbeat, so on and so forth.

In other words, your health is not as good as you think. Not at all.

Now, that’s a tough health checkup. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, so to speak.

Also a rough and rude reality check. In other words, this is a checkup on reality, and the reality isn’t as rosy as you’ve imagined.

All right?

All right, here are media examples of “reality check”, an occasion when you consider the facts of a situation and whereby you’re reminded that what’s really happening is not what you would like or what you’ve imagined:

1. Joe Biden’s election is serving up a rude reality check for U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s desire to quickly close a trade deal with the U.S., a project that has until now depended heavily on the whims of President Donald Trump.

After five rounds of formal negotiations, both sides insist they have made good progress on what would be the U.K.’s second-biggest post-Brexit trade deal, eclipsed only by the pact with the European Union that it’s departing. There are even some discussions of having a further formal round of talks before Trump leaves the White House in January, according to people close to the negotiations.

Johnson indicated in a letter to Biden sent this past weekend that he wanted to make pursuing a bilateral trade deal a priority, according to one person familiar with its content. Trade was also among the issues discussed when the two men spoke by phone on Tuesday, according to a readout issued by Downing Street.

But trade negotiations are almost always prolonged affairs that depend more on a slow procedural march through the details than political desires.

People close to the negotiations say finishing them in the first half of 2021 had always looked ambitious, even if Trump had been re-elected. That timetable seems even less likely with Biden headed for the White House, which in turn raises other logistical challenges.

Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has authority over international trade. For decades that authority has been delegated to American presidents under what is now known as Trade Promotion Authority. Congress lays out priorities and rules for all negotiations in the legislation granting that. In return, presidents are given a guarantee that the legislature will consider trade deals under a simple up-or-down vote and won’t seek to renegotiate them.

The bad news for Johnson is that the current version of the TPA expires July 1. To get in ahead of what is almost always a laborious and politically fraught negotiation to renew the trade negotiating authority, the U.S-U.K. talks would have to be close enough to a conclusion that Biden could notify Congress of his intention to sign a deal before April 1.

- Johnson Dream of a U.K.-U.S. Trade Deal Hits Biden Reality Check, MSN.com, November 13, 2020.

2. The Portland Trail Blazers had themselves a borderline great offseason, albeit without the addition of any huge names, and are positioned to compete for a top four seed in an absolutely stacked Western Conference. Robert Covington gives them the kind of defensive wing they sorely missed last season after the departures of Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless, neither of whom possess Covington’s chops.

Derrick Jones Jr. is another long, athletic wing who makes the Blazers a for more versatile defensive team than they were a season ago, when they basically needed Damian Lillard to go scorched earth every night in hopes of outscoring opponents, because they surely weren’t going to stop anyone.

Jusuf Nurkic is back and fully healthy after looking like a beast in the bubble. Zach Collins returns healthy. Rodney Hood has re-signed. Harry Giles is a wild card. All of this impacts the standing of Carmelo Anthony, who returns to Portland on a one-year, $2.6 million deal and, likely, in a bench role.

Anthony has resisted coming off the bench in the past. He laughed when a reporter suggested it as a possibility while he was in Oklahoma City. Until 2018 when he landed in Houston, where he lasted just 10 games, starting two, Anthony hadn’t come off the bench even one time over the first 15 years of his career: 1,131 games played, 1,131 games started.

You can understand this idea of coming off the bench now, after a solid season, being a rough reality check for a player like Anthony, who has been a superstar his entire life and will forever, at the very least, be a starter at heart.

Anthony has been cast as selfish and hardheaded and, frankly, misguided when it comes to the level of meaningful basketball that remains in his tank. He hasn’t always come across as particularly mature or humble. Which is why, to me, it was such an impressive thing to hear him speak so honestly — not selfishly, honestly — about the mental challenge of coming off the bench and the “pill” that reality is to swallow.

- Carmelo Anthony is an NBA starter at heart, and his honesty about adjusting to a bench role is refreshing, NewsOpener.com, December 6, 2020.

3. Ronald Koeman believes that Barcelona’s humiliation against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday came as a reality check for the Catalans.

Barcelona had enjoyed a good run of form domestically, impressing in LaLiga Santander lately, but a 4-1 defeat at the Camp Nou has all but ended their Champions League hopes.

“They were better, they were very effective,” Koeman said after the game.

“Especially [Kylian] Mbappe.

“The first half was very close and Ousmane [Dembele] had a clear chance at 1-0, but we had defensive problems in the second half.

“Yes [it was a reality check], in the second half.

“We have to admit that they were better.

“They have a more complete team than we do.

“We have to accept it and move on. We know that these things can happen. Their team are ahead of ours.”

Refusing to give up on the tie, the Dutchman did acknowledge that progression was unlikely.

“We always have to play,” Koeman said.

“But 4-1 is difficult. We don’t have a great chance.”

- Koeman: The second half was a reality check for Barcelona, Marca.com, February 17, 2021.

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About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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