Sunday, November 13, 2011

Defining Sports Moments Should Give New Perspective

As the Penn State scandal continues to unfold, and the football era of a legend comes to a less than honorable end.  The weekend of sports would also bring us closer to earth, while destroying dreams, contradicting experts, making the odds makers look human and placing life back where it belongs, rooted in the reality that no one is perfect, no group is perfect, no guarantee exists for success and hard work can overcome potential, predictions, analysis and criticism.  Athletes, Coaches, Celebrities, often know as heroes and icons, are just people with high profile gigs, that are high profile because of what we say about them, how we react to them and the money this fame will command.  In the end these adults, students, pros and heroes are still human beings.  

While Joe Paterno was seen as the one college ball coach that travelled through his career with no character flaws or professional deficiencies, a fact that has been measured by his demeanor and the lack of NCAA reported infractions during the 46-year Head Coaching tenure, in the shadows was a secret so disgusting that it corrupted people, leaders, authorities and yes a community.  But what the assumption never envisioned was the most negligent and irresponsible follow up to one of the most egregious sex crimes in the world, the sodomy and rape of a child by an adult.  The lack of responsible follow-up, for at least nine years, will forever taint the college football coaching career that spanned over four decades.  The lack of follow-up leaves the suspicion of "Cover Up", the absence of outrage, reveals insufficient concern for the victims and their families, and some obvious social flaws.  The immediate proactive initiatives to acquire legal counsel to prudently prepare for the inevitable legal challenges that will subsequently be initiated by the victims in this affair, shows the forward thinking is in the capacity of the Paterno camp, so where was it in 2002?

Elsewhere in the world of sports, Washington Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped at gun point in front of his home, in front of his family and no one really cared.  Fortunately, the event which took place in Venezuela, was successfully resolved with the capture of his abductors with Ramos unharmed after being in captivity of nearly a week.  The rescue effort by the Venezuelan authorities was extremely thorough and efficient, but it did result in a brief gun battle.  I wonder how many people even knew.

With all eyes and experts on Andrew Luck, nobody outside the state of Oregon wanted to believe that #7 Oregon could defeat an Andrew Luck led Stanford team.  I guess it would have been a Cardinal Sin to think a LaMichael James Duck could pluck a bright red Cardinal led by Luck.  The 53-30 good old fashion "woodshed," "feathers flying" whopping of the previously unbeaten #4 Stanford all but takes Stanford out of the BCS Championship picture and the continued success of James as the nations leading rusher, may have just move near or ahead of Luck in the Heisman Race.  James went for 146 yards on 20 carriers and 3 TD's, while Luck, even though sharp at times, threw 2 interceptions and 27/41 but could not keep the Oregon offense off the field enough.  Luck did throw three touchdowns in a losing effort.

#13 South Carolina was projected by most to lose against Florida, but the Gamecocks continued to struggle to score points and move the ball with any consistency, but the character of this team has remained intact as the defense dominated program only allowed 12 points, six of which were only aided by a third and long roughing the passer and a pass interference.  The 17-12 Gamecocks, only needed a #20 Auburn victory over the #15 Georgia Bulldogs later in the day or a near impossible upset of Georgia, the rebuilding Kentucky Wildcats, to claim the Eastern Division of The SEC for the second consecutive year.  The 45-7 stomping of Auburn by the Bulldogs makes that an improbability, but who knows.  Who would have believed that the Gamecocks would have been unbeaten in two consecutive seasons against Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.

The NCAA finally decided that Ohio State was in violation as an institution and sanctioned them with a "failure to monitor" ruling that will undoubtedly include additional sanctions for the bewildered program.  In light of the events in Pennsylvania, this seems to be of little significance.

While Friday night history was made when the #1 North Carolina Tar Heels played Michigan State on board the USS Carl Vinson, in honor of our U. S. Armed Forces and Veterans' Day.  The game was attended by President Barack Obama and First Lady, and introduced a new congressional veterans' assistance program that will assist our veterans more aggressively, promptly and effectively.  While the game, inspired by patriot visions of Roy Williams and Tom Izzo, was eventually a 67-55 Tar Heel victory.  The contest, attended by James Worthy and Magic Johnson as Honorary Captains of their respective schools, was competitive and entertained the many active and retired military personnel in attendance on board the aircraft carrier that buried the body of Osama Bin Laden at sea in May of this year.  The game was attended by approximately 8000 on the flight deck of an impressively constructed court, with the players playing in camouflaged designed uniforms.  The inaugural game played on the USS Carl Vinson was called the Carrier Classic and was a very memorable event, that UNC Power Forward John Henson said, "It was so much more than a game this time", recounting the venue and meeting the President.  While Michigan State Coach Izzo called it "a hell of a memory-maker for all of us."

While the top five employers WalMart, IBM, UPS, McDonald's and Target,  in America provide jobs to over 3.5 Million citizens, 450 highly compensated NBA players have decided that they are the NBA and as such they are controlling the fate of their own livelihood and the employment of several thousand employees who work outside the lines of the court.  While the players want to believe that they are partners with the owners and thus they should be paid the lion's share of the income produced by the respective franchises.  The players fail to understand business in the sense of reality.  A business owner has other bills outside of payroll to its top performers., there are large operating expenses, debts and loans that require repayment, along with the extremely expensive process of marketing and advertising, just to cover a few.  In any partnership, the partner shares in those fixed and variable cost.  In this case, the NBA Players operating like most young children in a household, they only "want their cake and then to eat it too," familiar?   With the current average NBA player's salary at $5.15M per year, we are watching 450 selfishly greedy players, decide the fate of 16,000 to 20,000 administrative, arena, vendor and indirect personnel, as stubborn but profit conscious owners battle to stay lucratively profitable, which is their right as the original risk investors in the purchase and acquisition of the franchises.  Likewise, if a franchise fails they suffer the loss, players walk away with no obligations.  Currently, the stalemate says there will be no season unless the next week can get these parties closer together.  Apparently, reality has not set in yet for this rich and talented group.  Maybe unemployment is just what the doctor may need to order for the taste of reality to visit the NBA Players Association.

Dan Goodale Looks On
As 39 FG Sails Way Right
Boise State's run for another demand to be included in the BCS discussions ended with another missed field goal late in a game to ruin an undefeated season for the #5 Broncos.  TCU upset the Broncos on the Blue Field to destroy another near perfect season and eliminate the Boise State credibility discussions for BCS Championship contention.  Last year, Boise State found their season blemished by Nevada, when their kicker missed a game winning 26-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining in regulation, then went on to miss a 29-yard field goal in OT to tie and continue the extra period game.  This year's miss was a 39-yard field goal, missed by a freshman, last year it was a senior kicker, who went on to receive death threats.  Wonder when the misdirected fan base will blame this loss, along with other life's problems generated from this loss, on this young student-athlete.

In the meantime Manny Pacquiao, fighting an apparent 7-1 underdog, Juan Marquez, a rival and previous two-time loser to Pacquiao, was taken to a controversial decision amongst boos, cans and bottles as many in attendance believe Marquez had done enough to warrant either a split, draw or outright decision over the reigning champion.  The majority decision was two cards to Pacquiao and the third card was a draw (116-112, 115-113 & 114-114).  These guys have fought to a draw, split decision and now the majority decision in seven years.  Marquez contends this is the second time he was robbed in a decision with Manny.  The Associated Press scored the fight 114-114.  The ringside punch charts would supper a close but slight edge to Manny over Juan in both punches landed and power punches connecting.  Marquez believe his punches were harder.  Pacquiao who goes to 54-3-2 will earn approximately $22M for the fight while his challenger, Marquez will earn about $5M as his record now stands at 52-6-1, with the three decisions to Pacquiao.

So as the world of sports turns don't be surprised when the University of South Carolina basketball team makes a run at the SEC East, having been projected to finish dead last in the entire conference.  This young but talented team is both deep and larger than previous year's squads under 4th year coach Darin Horn.  

 By the way, #9 Clemson was a 16.5 point favorite over the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest, Clemson needed 17 unanswered points late in the game, that included a game winning field goal as time would expire, for a 31-38 victory.  An earlier 32-yard FG miss by Wake Forest may have been the biggest aid to the victory for the Tigers.  The win clinches the Atlantic Division Title for Clemson for the second time in three years.

This week has been an eye opening experience for those with minds open enough to see how distorted the view really is from the outside looking in.

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