Monthly Archives: December 2013

TBT – Merry Christmas from the Champs Bowl!

TBT - Merry Christmas from the Champs Bowl!

Christmas 2009 was a magical time – my lovely family drove all the way from Michigan to meet us at what was then the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando. Memories included: a dinner down the street from Tiger Woods’ house (this was less than a month after his scandal became public), Disney World, Mom and I sitting at Universal Studios while everyone else went on rides, The [_ _] bus fiasco both to and from the game, and the guy behind us that was hilarious and loved Mom. Hopefully the outcome of the game is better this time!

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December 26, 2013 · 1:22 pm

Thoughts on Youngstown Boys

As a graduate of the University of Miami in the early 2000s, I am not a fan of Ohio State or its former star running back, Maurice Clarett.  I followed his career closely, and at the time, I found him to be a punk, and to a certain extent, he probably was.  But, I always felt that he was mistreated by Ohio State.  ESPN’s 30-FOR-30 documentary Youngstown Boys solidified that view and showed me that perhaps Clarett wasn’t as obnoxious as I thought.  He’s actually really smart.  Ohio State tolerated his bad behavior as the wins rolled in (the documentary skipped the academic fraud allegations), but the second there was some adversity, they washed their hands of him.

It is amazing how the media can manipulate our perception of someone.  Once Clarett pissed off the OSU athletic director at the Fiesta Bowl, he was portrayed as a “bad boy” in the media.  In fact, Clarett just wanted to go to his friend’s funeral and felt like he had been given the run-around by the university.  The picture of him throwing his OSU jersey paired with the “one-and-done” quotes were taken out of context but provided us an image of an ungrateful troublemaker.  Even the Ohio State faithful turned on their former star.  But how could he not be intrigued, especially when his buddy LBJ was going to sign a multimillion-dollar contract with an NBA team?  All Clarett said was that he would consider “one-and-done” as a means to provide for his family.  He never said he would do it and only did it when Ohio State cut him loose and he was out of options.  Trust me, we have tolerated far more obnoxious football from Johnny Football over the past two seasons.

As a former athletics administrator, I have an even harder time with this next point.  When Clarett accused the (now former) Ohio State AD of lying about the paperwork issue that prevent him from attending his friend’s funeral, he started a war.  The athletic director, in vengeance, did everything in his power to crush that kid.  This could have been handled in so many different ways than a fifty-year-old man orchestrating the demise of an eighteen-year-old…all over some choice words.  Who’s the adult here?  The athletic department set parameters that would have been impossible for him to meet.

Jim Tressel’s reaction was just as disappointing.  I can imagine that a “national championship winning” coach’s job would be in jeopardy if he had shown the kid some support.  Instead, he sat back and let it happen.  Tressel claimed to care about Clarett but didn’t reach out to him until his subsequent fall from grace.  Until recently, it was as if Maurice Clarett had never happened.  Regardless, people make mistakes, and it is nice to see that “The Senator” and his player have reconciled for the greater good.

As previously hinted, not all facts are presented in a film like this.  While Clarett was cocky and probably engaged in some inappropriate behavior while at Ohio State, I certainly don’t believe he deserved the treatment he got back in 2003.  He was a kid who needed to be taught some life lessons, and it looks like he got them the hard way.  He didn’t rape, murder, or assault anyone.  He didn’t do drugs until after his Ohio State days.

After Maurice Clarett was out of football, he went down a destructive path and did some really bad things.  On a happier note, this film showed that not everybody blows his second chance.  As a young man, Clarett must have felt the world turned on him unfairly.  He was pushed until one day he said “enough.”  He served his time, educated himself, and is now working to help young men in his native Youngstown, OH.  I hope he does well.

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Enjoy the Quiet

As Toby Keith sings, today “I wanna talk about me/ Wanna talk about I/ Wanna talk about number one.” I don’t usually write about “me, Kate” but this topic has been on my heart for a long time, especially since moving up to North Carolina over a year ago and having to meet a lot of new people.  I have always been a very reserved person.  Even when I was a teenager, some adults told me I had an “old soul,” and I never found the typical activities of high school and college students fun.  I was always okay being with myself.  Many of my peers thought there was something wrong with me, but I knew that wasn’t the case.  Fortunately, I had the wisdom to accept myself.

At parent-teacher conferences, my mom and dad were often told I was “too quiet,” like I was some sort of alien or something.  I know this infuriated my mother who would fired back something to the effect of, “Do you want every kid in your classroom to be loud and obnoxious like so-and-so!?!”  I’m not saying that gregarious people are obnoxious (although there are a lot of obnoxious people in this world), but it is okay to be reserved, too.

Recently, I have read a lot of articles about “traits of introverts,” and these lists describe me to a tee.  I would willingly do a song and dance in front of the entire Orange Bowl (RIP) before I would go to Christmas party with people I don’t know.  I find forced social interactions inauthentic and very uncomfortable.  The month of December is my personal nightmare with all the holiday parties.  I’m already mentally exhausted looking at my calendar for next week.

Nothing makes me more agitated than when Eric wants to mingle somewhere or “do the pee-pee dance” as I call it.  Over the spring, I had to go on a weekender with a bunch of  people I barely knew.  It was the most awkward weekend of my life, and I really think I’m the only one who had a miserable time.

I also like to “get in and get out;” I’m highly efficient in everything I do.  Wasting time kills me.  We only have so much time on this earth.  If you lose money, you often have the chance to earn it back, but time is lost forever.  You might as well do the things that matter, at least that’s how I feel.  If I commit my time to an organization, cause or friend, I’m all in.  Don’t waste time being who you are not.

Some may describe me as an “aloof nerd” or “standoffish,” and I am fine with that.  My husband even jokes that I am an “ice queen.”  I can tilt my head back and give a sideways glance with the best of them.  I am an observer who is usually satisfied with her own inner monologue.  I have been blessed with the gift of discernment and don’t feel the need to talk unless I have something meaningful to contribute.  I have been told on multiple occasions to “lighten up” or “fit in,” but I just can’t.  I’m actually a very happy person and enjoy life in my own understated way.

Not to say that I don’t enjoy social interactions.  I am actually quite normal and polite.  Once I’m comfortable, I can talk your ear off about history, college football, Once Upon A Time, etc.  A former co-worked once said her favorite thing about me was that I could sit there quietly for weeks, months, years, and then suddenly BAZINGA!  If I played football, I would be a linebacker because I come out of nowhere and blindside.

Not everyone in this world can be an “entertainer.” Extroverts are great, but we introverts have our purpose, too.  If everybody were talking all the time, nothing would ever get done.  God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason.  Enjoy the quiet.

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