Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. I usually struggle to write a blog this time of year. Football is over and baseball has not yet begun. But this year is a bit different. The Longhorns are playing good basketball this year, so I have been paying a bit more attention to college basketball. Basketball is a great spectator sport. Unlike any other sport, there is no barrier between the players and fans. I must admit that in my youth, I have been guilty of being a “spirited” fan. My senior year in high school, we used to head over to the Longhorn’s Gregory gym and cheer on what was becoming a very talented Texas team. We loved to sit behind the basket and cheer loudly. Since some of you only know the modern gymnasiums, it is tough to describe what the atmosphere was like at “old” Gregory. Capacity was probably only 6000, but the fans were very close to the action…and damn it was loud. The last game I attended at Gregory was against the Texas Aggies. I guess everyone has seen the Aggie yell leaders, dressed in all white with matching buzz cuts. There was a group of 4 of us behind the basket that were giving it to the yell leaders the entire game. What we were yelling was pretty silly really…stuff like I can’t see, get your ears out of the way. Does your Mom cut your hair? Do you shop at the same men’s store? No profanity, but a constant chatter. What was funny to us is that we got the crowd around us involved in the Aggie yell leader heckling. One guy in particular was getting upset, which of course only egged us on more. The game was a tight game that saw Texas pull away late. Freshman Ron Baxter stole the ball late and slammed the ball home with a rim rattling dunk. One of my buddies stood up, pointed at our yell leader friend and said…that one is for you. He took two steps toward my buddy before the other yell leaders pulled him back…sputtering and red in the face.
"Old" Gregory Gym
While in the pep band at SMU, our main job was to play and make a ton of noise. Of course, since we prepared for the games with beer at a place called Cardinal Puffs…the making noise part was pretty easy. I watched some great basketball and really loved being so close to the floor. Heckling was part of the deal, but the players understood that was our job…and in most cases, they seemed to enjoy it. The best heckling was done in a clever way. Our unspoken rule was no profanity and it wasn’t really good unless it was funny. Basketball can be a very intense game. The best games are often settled at the end of the game. During the final moments, the volume of noise is amazing, but I am not telling you anything that you did not already know.
This week there was an incident in Lubbock, Texas that has ignited a firestorm of controversy. Oklahoma State suffered a last second turnover and Tech raced up the floor for a game clinching dunk. Marcus Smart attempted unsuccessfully to block the dunk and ended up partially in the stands. Words were exchanged with a fan (Jeff Orr) and Smart gave Orr a shove. Those are the facts, but not the entire story. Jeff Orr, may or may not have used a racial slur toward Smart. Some think that what Orr said in some way changes the act of shoving Orr…it does not. Players do not go into the stands and confront fans, they just don’t. I laugh when I hear someone say, if the fans said that or this that I would knock him out…no you wouldn’t. The difference between you and a college player is that they know that they are held to a higher standard than a dumb ass fan. Marcus Smart knows better than to do what he did and so does each collegiate player in the country.
From all I have read, Marcus Smart is a really good guy. He is not doubt frustrated by the recent play of his Cowboys and criticism that he is king of the floppers. To watch the turnover against Tech and know that OSU was going to lose another conference game surely had to hurt. A fan calls him a piece of crap and he snapped. What many are missing in all of this is what this will mean for other players considering coming back to school. Marcus Smart turned down a chance at the NBA last year to return to Oklahoma State and play another year of college basketball. Nobody does this, but Smart did. Damn it makes me proud for him even though I don’t know him. This is a good kid that made a mistake. Smart will learn from this and use the experience for what it is…a life lesson.
Hopefully, Jeff Orr will learn something from this as well. While I have patience and understanding for a kid playing the game…I am less inclined to give Orr a pass. Jeff Orr sat in the same seat in college that I did, playing in the band yelling for his team. But that was long ago. There is a bible verse that says “when I became a man, I put away childish things.” It is difficult to explain why Mr. Orr drives hundreds of miles to cheer for his alma mater. I suspect that Thomas Wolfe would have something to say about this behavior. Wolfe’s words about not being able to go home again seem very appropriate here. Hey Jeff Orr, college is over. I get that it was incredibly fun, but what was okay for a college kid is not okay for a grown man.
Let’s not miss the truth of this matter…there are Jeff Orr’s all across our country. They are at college and professional games and sadly probably at high school events as well. For some, it is the reason that they choose not to bother attending sporting events. Why subject yourself or your family to idiots? I don’t have an answer for this behavior, or a solution. I know that in Philly that they set up a judge to actually bring fans in and have them booked at the football games. Increased security helps, but obviously does not eliminate the boorish behavior. In England the hooligans got so bad at soccer games that they developed a network to identify and ban said hooligans from soccer matches. England is also putting teeth to the charges of hooliganism…as in prison time. It more or less broke up the gangs by keeping them away from the matches and putting offenders in jail. Maybe it is time that schools begin to identify these rabid fans and begin to invite them to stay home?
What is more troubling to me is the behavior of the general public. Once again, it is react instantly and assume the worst. In case you have not heard the ESPN magnified recording, it clearly has the voice of Jeff Orr calling Smart a “piece of crap”. Perhaps Marcus heard something else or maybe he realized that he needed a good reason for the shove. Whatever, the reason…the truth seems to be exactly as Orr said it was. I am not sure if everyone is on edge because of the harsh winter or what, but there seems to be quite a bit of hostility oozing from many. It is a very good thing that our court system does not operate like the court of public opinion. I got to thinking that maybe everyone just needs a song to make them feel better…
The words of this song are simple and also very true. Why look for the negative in everything? While this is prevalent in all aspects of life, I have noticed that it is particularly evident in the sports world. Everyone wants to bash the Olympics because the venue is not perfect. For many of these Olympic athletes, they are having the time of their life. This sort of reminds me of American golfers when they have to go to Europe and play. They complain like crazy because the US golfers are not used to playing on courses that are a bit rough. The Europeans are used to playing on courses of questionable condition…so they just compete. Has Russia done a great job preparing for the Olympics? Hell no, but the conditions are the same for everyone. These are the Olympics and for many athletes, the high point of their competitive careers. Relax and enjoy these fine athletes competing like crazy…because that is what is so cool about the Olympics and sports in general.
While on the Olympics, I have to give a nod to the creativity of one Russian athlete. Snowboarder Alexey Sobolev put his phone number on his helmet. Although the IOC heavies eventually made Alexey put tape over the number, it was too late. Sobolev received so many nude pictures and texts that his phone literally quit working. Sobolev finished 12th in the slopestyle competition, but many would say he was the big winner in these Olympics.
With the heat that Russia has taken over their screw ups, apparently they figured that a distraction was needed. So…we get the distraction of beauty. I am torn between laughing and being distracted. Here are a few samples…
I saw this late and had to add...the Canadians have devised a clever way to keep other athletes out of their beer. The passport scanner. Only Canadians are allowed in the beer cooler. Very cool...
Michael Sam announced to the world this week that he is gay. I think for most of us, we read or heard this and shrugged. Okay, no big deal…right? If you do not believe that what Sam did required courage, you probably are like other players and most fans. If the guy can play, then who cares about his sexual preference? The question has long been asked…is professional football ready for an openly gay player? The truth was revealed after Sam’s admission. The players may be ready, but apparently management is not. Hidden behind the veil of anonymity several GM’s and assorted management types have concluded that the NFL locker room is “too fragile or immature” for a gay player. Another anonymous quote was even more puzzling…“This is a lot more okay in society than it is in lots of locker rooms. Some locker rooms are still stuck in the ’50s.”s? I have a difficult time believing this to be true. It is more like the suits running the NFL are stuck in the 1950s. I don't believe that Michael Sam should be compared to Jackie Robinson, but apparently some in the NFL are stuck in this time period. What Jackie Robinson did took great courage. But, in one sense, I guess Sam does have something in common with Robinson...he is the first acknowledged gay in the NFL, just as Robinson was the first black in baseball. Thankfully, most of society has moved way beyond the 1950's mentality. It sad and embarrassing that football executives refuse to evolve. If I was a team owner, I would have to ponder my choice in personnel if this was the thinking of my management team. Grow up guys...
Apparently, Congress has decided to enter the conversation regarding the Redskins team name. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) delivered a letter to Roger Goodell that chastised the league for allowing the use of a racial slur (Redskins). It was also intimated that the NFL’s tax exemption might come into question if they could not “get on the right side of history”. First of all, why does the NFL receive a tax exemption? It is a farce that the NFL makes money hand over fist, but is not held to the same standard as millions of other business owners. Goodell has previously pointed out the Redskins name has been used for 80 years and has actually honored Native Americans, instead of slandering them. There does not appear to be any quick compromise to this matter. The Washington Redskins responded to this threat in this way… "With all the important issues Congress has to deal with such as a war in Afghanistan to deficits to health care, don't they have more important issues to worry about than a football team's name? And given the fact that the name of Oklahoma means 'Red People' in Choctaw, this request is a little ironic." Actually, the Redskins make a very good point.
I love cleverness…in books, movies, jokes, advertisements and even business. I saw a picture this week that literally exudes the definition of cleverness. I got a big laugh and figured I should share…
The feel good story of the week has to be the story of Kevin Grow. Grow is senior student manager for the Bensalem Fighting Owls. Despite having Downs’s syndrome, he was called upon to take the court with 2 minutes left in the final home game. It was obvious that the opponent helped Kevin initially, but as Grow warmed up…he needed no help at all. In his 2 minutes Kevin knocked down three 3 point shots and ended with 14 points in all. Just an awesome story!
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
I think a good product would be "Baby Duck Hat". It's a fake baby duck, which you strap on top of your head. Then you go swimming underwater until you find a mommy duck and her babies, and you join them. Then, all of a sudden, you stand up out of the water and roar like Godzilla. Man, those ducks really take off! Also, Baby Duck Hat is good for parties.
I remember that one fateful day when Coach took me aside. I knew what was coming. "You don't have to tell me," I said. "I'm off the team, aren't I?" "Well," said Coach, "you never were really ON the team. You made that uniform you're wearing out of rags and towels, and your helmet is a toy space helmet. You show up at practice and then either steal the ball and make us chase you to get it back, or you try to tackle people at inappropriate times." It was all true what he was saying. And yet, I thought something is brewing inside the head of this Coach. He sees something in me, some kind of raw talent that he can mold. But that's when I felt the handcuffs go on.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own...
HAPPY NEW YEAR GABBERS AND OTHERS!!!!!!!!! Welcome to my first NASCAR updates and other fast stuff of the year. Looks like Godzilla has lost his rubber duckie when he took his bath. Actually it's a huge inflated duck made by some European artist. It deflated this past week. Shame. It's kind of cute.
Well that nasty storm hit this week. The weatherman was wrong. We got 8 inches instead of 2-4. Dug out my driveway in the wind. Got a flat tire on the way home from work. Brand new tires and I lose one already. I limped home in the snow (no use stopping with snow piled high along that back road), parked at the end of the driveway, called AAA and shoveled out the snow that drifted back into said driveway & carport while I waited for AAA. Good thing I decided to use personal time to leave early so I could be home before the sun went down and it got cold. The tow truck guy was there in 20 minutes and after he put my donut on, it was off to my garage guy for a new tire. Got home at my regular time if I'd have worked. I make plans and God laughs at said plans........sigh.
The Harrisburg Farm Show is up and running. Would love to go but more fun weather is coming. Rain and ice all day Sunday. I love the farm show. Milk shakes and other goodies to eat are all through the place. I love looking at the cows and roosters too. So many different breeds to check out. Don't know if the weather will break up towards the end of the week so I can go. My grandsons would love it.
CASTING CALL FOR DIY NETWORK SHOW
The Yard Crashers Show is hosting a casting call to all home owners in the Charlotte area. Bring a picture of your back yard to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and convince Matt Blashaw that he should pick your yard to transform into a race fans dream space. Will be held on January 5th from 10am - 2pm.
Never heard of this Yard Crashers show before. So am I missing anything? Me thinks not. Moving on.
DAVE DESPAIN BACK ON TV
Just before SPEED got turned off so did Dave. His show Wind Tunnel got the boot. I loved the show. Never got to call in to talk to him but I liked watching it.
Dave has signed a 2 year deal with MAVTV AMERICAN REAL to host 5 live events and do a series on grass roots racing in America.
The first event is the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals on January 18th.
Then Dave will be out interviewing drivers and personalities that represent grass roots racing in America. He says he's very excited to get out there again.
I never heard of MAVTV American Real. No I don't get out much. Good luck to Dave. Those interviews should be good. I'd like to see them. What channel number is this network? Any body know?
2014 ROLEX 24 HOURS AT DAYTONA
This years Sprint Cup rookie Kyle Larson will be on a team with Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon and Marino Franchitti to take turns driving a sports car on the road course at Daytona on Jan 25th & 26th. They'll be driving for Chip Gnassi. Chip is also Kyle boss in NASCAR this year. He takes Juan Pablo Montoya's place.
Chip has 2 cars in the Rolex race and he has 5 wins and 2 runner up finishes in 8 years between those 2 cars. Kyles NASCAR team mate Jamie McMurray will be in the other car with Scott Pruet and Memo Roja.
All are excited for a chance to win a watch. AJ Allmendinger will be driving for a watch too. Not too many NASCAR guys are in the Rolex club.
Congrats to Kyle for getting this opportunity so soon.
F1 CHAMPION MICHAEL SCHUMACHER IN A COMA AFTER SKIING ACCIDENT
This past week Schumacher was skiing with his son in the French Alps when he fell and hit his head. He was wearing a helmet and conscious right after the incident but fell into a coma while being air lifted to a near by hospital. Several surgeries have been performed to alleviate the swell of his brain.
Right now he remains stable but still in critical condition. Race fans waving Ferrari flags and banners have been waiting outside the hospital. The family is grateful for the well wishes.
Schumacher was wearing a helmet cam when he fell and it has been handed in for investigation.
Schumacher is retired from F1 racing with 7 championships. Well wishes for a speedy recovery.
So I hope everyone had a safe and warm New Years Eve. I know I did. Slept right through. Still resolving to work on my opportunity to pare down my pack rattery in the house. I love all my treasures but I believe they're weighing me down. Time to lighten up and then maybe lose weight. Wow. One thing at a time here. Saw an article where a teacher told his students to pick McDonalds menu items for him to eat for all 3 meals but they had to stay within the guide lines of nutrition and calorie intake for some one his age and he actually lost weight in the 90 day experiment. I guess there was no super size me going on there. Nope. Not me.
Everyone have a safe weekend. Especially those of us in the northeast. Walk like a penguin in the driveway and on the side walks. Safety first. And.....
I know it has been a while. Overtime at work, and no let-up in site...
I'm Just Saying.....
There is no way I am paying Robinson Cano $305 million for 10 years. I hope the Yankees learned their lesson with the contracts of A-Rod, Texiera and Sabathia.
I feel that Richie Incognito should be suspended for 8 games without pay, fined $100,000, do 400 hours of community service and sent to anger management school.
Come to think of it, how come no one in the Dolphin locker room came to the aide of Jonathan Martin? There is a major difference between hazing and bullying.
If you have an I-phone and have Siri, ask her who her favorite NFL football team is. Can you tell me what she says????
You have a college quarterback who has won two national championships in his first two years as a starter and he is not ranked as the number one NFL quarterback prospect. Mmmm.
Of all the players Syracuse has sent to the NBA I would never have thought that Michael Carter-Williams would have started off with impressive stuff. 20 points a game. 7.9 assist a game and 5 rebounds a game.
Are the Heat beatable this year? There are some good teams out there.