Monthly Archives: January 2014

Respect Your Elders

I am two years older than my husband.  He loves this because right now I’m thirty, and he is still in his twenties.  I love it because I can play the “older and wiser” card.  Whenever we get into a minor spat, like our recent Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning conversation, I pull the “respect your elders” card on him.  It never works.  All kidding aside, there is a problem with people respecting the older generation in this country.

My parents raised me to have respect for adults, especially older people.  That doesn’t mean I had to take BS from people just because they were adults (in fact, I didn’t), but I dealt with adults properly.  I am concerned that we as a society no longer care for or about our elderly.  My parents, who are in their mid-sixties (they don’t look that old, and I’m not just saying that), have been affected by ageism.  They often get seated in the back of a restaurant or don’t get help in a store.  Ever a firecracker, my mom says this is really stupid because she and my dad have more money than the people my age they cater to.  As we can see in the media, the world really caters to people between the ages of 18-45.

Asian and Latin cultures really have it right when it comes to caring for their elderly.  There, older people are respected and a central part of society.  They are even celebrated!  Their families care for them and only place them in a nursing home when there is no other option.  I would have to imagine that this is beneficial to the older adult for several reasons.  First, I would have to imagine that the person is happier, and I would bet it slows down the aging process in many cases.  Also, the person is included in family life and forced to have social interactions, thus keeping his or her mind sharp.  Although I’m not a doctor, I would have to imagine that the person would have a greater will to live knowing that he or she is cared for and remembered.

In the USA, it’s like old-timers have become invisible, even the ones not in nursing homes.  Sure, they aren’t technologically savvy and that can be frustrating at times, but they have a lot of wisdom and insight from seventy, eighty, ninety years of living.  While their “way” of doing things may seem archaic to you, it has worked for them for years, so best to just let them be.  Give them some dignity.  Regardless, they deserve our respect.

The next time you are out and you see a golden-ager all alone, smile at them.  Maybe even say hi.  Let them know they have not been forgotten.  If you ever find yourself getting irritated with an older person, whether it’s a relative, co-worker, driver, stranger, ask yourself, “would I want someone to treat my mother or father this way?”  I would bet the answer would be “no.”  Believe it or not, one day you will be old, too, if you are lucky.  And I hope that you get to live your golden years with love, dignity and respect.

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A Tale of Two Coaches

This is the tale of two coaches.  This one: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20140108/bobby-petrino-louisville-jurich-win-now/ and this one: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/bruce-feldman/24372078/despite-being-cleared-in-unc-scandal-davis-still-waiting-for-next-gig

The first one was the head coach at the University of Arkansas (more recently Western Kentucky) and is an excellent coach.  This post isn’t really about him.  Coach Petrino was taken down by a motorcycle crash that included a young football office employee with whom he was having an affair.  It was revealed that he gave this young woman a $20,000 cash gift and that she received preferential treatment in the hiring process.  All this happened in the spring of 2012.  In 2013, Petrino was hired by Western Kentucky in his coaching comeback.  Last week, it was announced he would be the new head coach at Louisville, where he had previously been head coach from 2003-2006 (so much for loyalty to WKU).

Bruce Feldman tweeted “Save it with the talk abt how this is a “second chance” for Bobby Petrino.  His rep as a world class creep came from yrs of bad behavior.”  I guess that includes him bailing on the Atlanta Falcons thirteen games into he season to coach Arkansas.  Regardless, I believe in “second chances,” and it would be wonderful to see Petrino as a changed man.  “Hate the sin, not the sinner,” the say.  The one thing I don’t understand is why the second coach, Butch Davis, has gotten no such “second chance” (he really hasn’t done much wrong).

Coach Davis was the mastermind behind the greatest assembly of talent of ALL TIME, the Miami Hurricanes of the early 2000s.  He was the coach there from 1995-2000 and resurrected the Hurricanes from some of the worst sanctions in NCAA history.  The talent he recruited won two national championships (and should have played for a third) and held modern college football’s longest winning streak.  His quarterback, the one that was too skinny and not gifted enough for everybody else, went 39-1 as a starter (had to get my Dorsey plug in).  The majority of the Miami talent you see in the NFL today was his doing.  He left a bad taste in Miami fans’ mouths when he left for the NFL, but it turns out the whole issue was about a buyout clause.

After a failed NFL gig, Coach Davis landed on his feet at UNC.  The NFL talent he recruited to Carolina was unprecedented.  They were probably two seasons away from making a BCS bowl and were becoming regular contenders in the ACC.  Then, Coach Davis was fired in the summer of 2011.  There was an NCAA scandal involving improper benefits provided to UNC players by and agent via a rogue coach.  Then, there was a second investigation involving a tutor and academic misconduct.  This could have been really bad, however, Davis was cleared of any wrongdoing.  After the investigation, it would be shown that this was a widespread problem at UNC, not a football-specific issue.  I find Bruce Feldman to be very credible, and it sound like Davis had worked through these issues with the administration at UNC and was blindsided by the firing.

“There have been guys that get re-hired, who have had affairs,” Davis said to Feldman.  “Guys get re-hired that have trouble with kids and the NCAA.  Guys have gotten in trouble for being drunk, but the minute you say academics and football coach, it’s like you have leprosy.  People are terrified that I had anything to do with it, but I didn’t.  The NCAA even said as much, and I have a letter from the NCAA saying that.”

The aforementioned letter says, “This is to confirm that former University of North Carolina head football coach Paul “Butch” Davis was not alleged to have been involved in any violations of NCAA legislation in the University of North Carolina Case.” Three football seasons have passed, and Davis is still sitting on the sidelines (he was a special assistant in Tampa Bay but it sounds like he would have preferred to coach).  Davis wasn’t even given the NCAA’s dreaded show-cause penalty.  I honestly don’t understand how universities are looking past this talented, proven coach (probably for cheap!) but are willing to look past major character flaws in other coaches.  Heck, the assistant coach in the recent Miami scandal (who has a show-cause penalty) is still employed by Louisville.  Just this week, the new regime at Louisville told a commit that they were no longer honoring his commitment for no apparent reason (you don’t screw with kids, in my opinion).  I guess having your name mentioned in an academic scandal is worse than having a history of poor decision-making and unethical behavior…at least at Louisville.

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Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Last week, I read about Notre Dame’s “Pot of Gold” recruiting mail program.  Basically, their top recruits received 477 pieces of handwritten mail in a packet, one for each NFL Draft Pick Notre Dame has ever had.  I saw some of the materials posted online by one of the recruits, and it is high quality stuff.  You can read more about it here: http://espn.go.com/college-sports/recruiting/football/story/_/id/10165891/notre-dame-fighting-irish-sends-477-handwritten-letters-recruits-pots-gold

Kate is my name, and I will always hate Notre Dame, but that is not what this post is about.  If I had a son who was blessed with enough athleticism to be recruited to play college football (or more likely basketball, in our case), and he EVER received a package like this, that school would be in serious jeopardy of being cut from his list.  It’s annoying.  I’m all for recruits receiving basic mail and notes from coaches regarding the University and its football program, but this is a waste of resources.  I’m not a tree-hugger, but c’mon, man.  What poor intern/GA had to do this?  What a waste of time!

Unfortunately, these shenanigans  work.  We live in a society of one-upmanship.  If you read the linked article, you can see that the kids love the attention and see it as a notch on their belt.  They don’t necessarily care about the content of the letters, just that they received them.  One kid, who seems pretty intelligent, is quotes as saying, “From my perspective, it makes me feel wanted and shows interest because the letters are handwritten.  They take the time to write and design all of the letters, so recruits realize that and feel special.  It’s just different from getting letters from every other school, because of the time and effort they put into it.”  Another kid tweeted that he wanted more letters, like it’s a competition or something.  The NCAA so badly wants to regulate things – regulate this.

I understand the recruiting game better than most, but I feel that coaches can make kids feel “special” with the occasional phone call, note, and on his official visit.  (You hear about these moms who have to protect their sons from hundreds of phone calls per day – wouldn’t happen in my house!)  I want to raise a child that doesn’t need constant attention from the world to feel “special” – I’m beginning to sound like my high school English teacher.  As the last week has shown us, coaches move on.  Athletes should pick the school, not the coach.

If a kid is really going to select a school based on “how much love” he gets, I don’t know if I’d want that kid on my team.  That’s not a mature way to make a decision.  These seventeen-year-olds are treated like gods and are then expected to fall in line and say “yes, Coach,” six months later.  If Johnny Five-Star is too much of a diva and you have to jump through ridiculous hoops to get him, take Johnny Three-Star and coach him better.  It worked for Butch Davis.  And Chris Petersen.  Ed Reed, Ken Dorsey, and Jeremy Shockey (the list goes on) were not highly rated recruits but they were outstanding college football players (and NFL in some cases).  So often coaches fall in love with size and speed but fail to realize the greatest assets a player can have are in his head and his heart.

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