Thursday, January 27, 2011
2011 marks my 30th year in sports broadcasting so, you might say, i've seen my share of compelling and thought provoking things. Now, coming down the pike, is a you tube video sent to me by my good friend, Riverside Coach John Smith. Entitled, "My Coach Sucks", it is a cartoon vignette that features crude animation but packs a powerhouse point. Without giving too much of it away, it chronicles a conversation between two students (one the athlete) concerning a complaining basketball player who, when confronted by his inability to gain playing time, mutters over and over plaintively, "my coach sucks". After being confronted by the student for his inability to improve by following the coachs' various edicts--the player continues on, ad infinitum, with the same banal three word reply. In our current state of affairs, where a shortage of verbiage and an inarticulate banter go hand in hand, this video 'goes downtown' in exposing some among us who seem unable and/or unwilling to take responsibility. It is not too much of a stretch to see this clever little video, in general, as a microcosm for certain societal ills. As the idea is promulgated that government is invested with the responsibility that once rested with families, churches and communities--less and less seem to take personal accountablity. What is old is new again as the time worn phrase"pass the buck" is again in vogue. With some americans' thristing for government as an incarnate godhead, all knowing and all giving--we have surrendered the ability to function as a independent entity. From this, many seem inclined to relinquish individualism, the ability to reason and, ultimately, to take responsiblity. You say, "come on Wald, you're making quite an inferential leap here". Am I? When Big Government wrests control of our everyday lives WE become less in control of our destiny and more inclined to look to it for all the answers. A natural outgrowth of this is the resulting 'blame game'. We in the electorate are never at fault--always the scoundrels! Who we, by the way, dutifully supported during the last election cycle. No example of this could be more telling than the left's on again/off again love affair with obama. It was only two+ years ago, when a supple and vital barack obama captured their collective imaginination with themes of 'hope' and 'change'. Now, many in the left have 'run for the tall grass' abandoning the president as 2008 now seems a distant memory. As for the 'sucks' video, i'm not suggesting that it is part of a larger government cabal or anything like that. It is, however, indicative of our society, so coddled and programmed by the mistaken role of government in our lives, that the refrain "its someone else's fault" becomes part of the national lexicon. Sure, this cartoon is a characterization of high school basketball players/coaches and their sometimes complicated relationship. Yet, it can also be reflective of a greater overall societal inclination to avoid 'owning up'. Rugged individualism was once a hallmark of the American character. Now, in basketball terminology, 'passing the buck', rather than the 'rock', seems to be the norm rather than the exception.
Monday, January 24, 2011
You don't have to be a football fan to admire the metoric rise of a California native son, Aaron Rodgers as he will be leading his Packers into Super Bowl XLV in Dallas. Rodgers, hails from Chico--a hybrid college/farm community a good 100 miles north of Sacramento. Yet, the refrain, "you're not in Chico, anymore" has to be ringing in his ears as he finds himself on the biggest stage of all. To get there, Rodgers' has had to employ the time honored american saw of 'rugged individualism' (with an obvious nod to Kurt Warner)--plus, sprinkled in with plenty of his own brand of talent and providence along the way. After having starred at Chico's Paradise Valley High School, Aaron found no takers for his particular gifts in the NCAA. Following the adage "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade", Rodgers next turn was at Butte College, a junior college where he toiled until Cal coach Jeff Tedford made a visit. Tedford saw something special in the young man as he invited Rodgers' to Berkeley. He signed on with the Golden Bears and had a terrific run in the Pac 10 while setting several school records including a remarkable 23 straight completions in a game vs. USC. After his stint at Cal and with the NFL draft fast approaching, the 'buzz' on Rodgers was papable as he was considered in the top tier of potential QB candidates. It was Green Bay who came calling as they were making preparations for the soon to be post-Brett Favre era. Yes, it would be a herculean effort in replacing the 'marble model' himself; the peripatetic Favre. Imagine filling the shoes of the all time leading NFL passer who's legend was already firmly etched in the hearts and minds of the Packer faithful? Moreover, the patient Rodgers' had to deal with the on again/off again Favre who couldn't decide whether to stay or go. Finally, getting his chance to start in 2008, Aaron made the most of it by being the first QB ever to throw for over 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons in the league. Also, Packer fans' collective memory of Favre has faded further for, in his short time in the league, Aaron has already set the all-time NFL pass rating mark. Still, those accomplishments pale in comparison to the 'heat' that Rodgers will feel in the next couple of weeks on his sojourn to the Big 'D'. Those currently jumping on the Rodgers' bandwagon can only imagine how he had to persevere through the trepidation of not knowing where his future would lie while serving his time in the 'solitary confinment' of jc ball. His is truly the quixotic story that we, as Americans, know all too well--no better embodied than in this 27-year old from the golden state who will be trying to 'strike gold' on his own at cowboys stadium. Sure, its a long way from the halcyon days of tiny chico to the bright lights of the NFL. Rodgers has made that chaotic journey but, not without his share of a few potholes and stumbling blocks along the way. Now, it will be Aarons' turn to try and create, on his road to Super Bowl XLV, his own personal 'Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood'. And, for him, a smooth landing to his place in football legend and lore.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
A sad farewell as Sen. Joseph Lieberman has announced his retirement from the Senate. Personally hand picked as Al Gore's running mate in 2000, Lieberman became more of a 'thorn in the side' of the outgoing Bill Clinton than to Republicans in that election. You see, it was the courageous Lieberman who railed against the sexual proclivities of Bill on the senate floor as he turned our 'sacred' national White House into 'Hot L Baltimore'. Just the act of nominating Joe was a similarly courageous act by Gore. For it constituted a sizable slap in the face of his former 'boss'; a personal repudiation for Clinton's hormonal driven behavior. As for Lieberman, he will be remembered for his stalwart support of Israel and for 'definiantly' supporting John McCain in 2008 and Bush's incursions in the Middle East. For those acts the left would never forgive the good senator ..let alone forget. With all that said, He was still a reliable dem supporting his party line 80% of the time. That's wasn't enough for hard line lefties who have shown the donkey, at times, will eat their own.TA